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Updated November 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best votive candles

What better way to set the mood than with votive candles? These small candles create the perfect ambiance. From quiet meditation to romantic evenings at home, votive candles are an essential home decor accessory. Unlike tea lights, they don’t require holders for burning.

When it comes to votive candles, there is more variety than you may think, with differing wax types, burn times, colors, and scent profiles. There are even eco-friendly votive candles, which use environmentally safe wicks and ethically sourced wax. You can enjoy votive candles as a set, especially if you intend to illuminate a cozy space. Light a single votive instead if you prefer the simplicity of a lone flame while you read or work. It’s not a stretch to say that there’s a votive candle for everyone.

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If you’re buying a set of votive candles and giving them individually, wrap them in a unique way. Try wrapping in fabric, gauze, or tissue paper, and tying with colorful ribbons or raffia.

Key considerations

Wax

There are a few types of waxes used in candle making, with some better suited for votive candles than others. Soy, palm, paraffin, and beeswax are the most common. Often votive candles use a blend of waxes.

Some manufacturers of votive candles are transparent about their wax sourcing and production. These companies typically list whether the wax is ethically or locally sourced, fair trade, or produced from recycled materials. There are also manufacturers who partner with commercial beekeepers and help raise awareness about the importance of bees in the ecosystem. If you’d like to inquire about the supply chain and production of wax, many manufacturers list information on their websites or provide it upon request.

Wick

Wicks in votive candles are typically made of cotton or wood. Wood wicks are less common, though they’ve grown in popularity since they make a crackling sound as they burn. They also stay upright no matter what, so lighting a wood wick is easier than a cotton wick.

Top-quality cotton wicks are made from braided cotton. Some of these wicks have a fine wire inside called a stiffener, which is attached to a metal disc at the bottom of the candle. The wire keeps the wick rigid and conducts heat for a better downward burn. For those who prefer avoiding wire, alternative stiffeners are made with paper or synthetic fibers.

Burn time

Votive candles typically list burn time on their packaging. This refers to how many hours you can keep the candles lit before reaching the end of the wax. On average, votive candles have burn times between 10 and 25 hours.

With that said, it’s not recommended to keep candles burning that long for safety reasons. More than anything, burn time helps you ballpark how long your votive candles will last before they require replacement.

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For your safety
Always double-check that you’ve blown out your votive candles. It will give you peace of mind that there are no safety hazards when you leave the room.
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Features

Color

The most common colors for votive candles are white, ivory, blue, red, green, and yellow. If you’re looking for a unique color for a votive candle, chances are you’ll be able to find it. That said, it may be more difficult to find specific shades, especially if you need to match it to decor, so be prepared to search. If you’re more flexible with color choice, you’ll be able to find a good range of colors from most leading manufacturers.

Scent

Votive candles are either unscented or scented. Unscented candles are popular choices for event decoration and faith ceremonies. They’re also preferred by those who are sensitive to fragrances.

Scented votive candles, however, are embraced by those who enjoy aromatherapy. Some manufacturers produce dozens of unique scent profiles, whereas others stick to mainstream candle scents like vanilla, lavender, and pine.

Holders

Votive candles don’t need holders when burning. You can purchase votive candles with or without holders, which are usually glass. It’s more common to find votive candles without holders, and they tend to be much less expensive.

Votive candles that come with their own holders are available in two styles. Some votives are poured into the holders directly, marrying the candle and holder into a single piece. In other sets, the candle and holder are separate pieces. This makes it easier to recycle the leftover wax, and you’ll be able to reuse the holder for another candle.

Flameless

Love candles but don’t like the upkeep or fire safety concerns? Flameless votive candles are ideal alternatives. These ingenious devices look just like regular votive candles but feature LED lights, often with a realistic flicker. Most flameless votive candles are operated by a switch on their base. Premium styles can be controlled by remote control and even come with color and timer settings.

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When ordering votive candles for wedding decor, confirm the color to ensure an exact match. With so many shades of white, off-white, and ivory, color uniformity can be a challenge.
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Accessories

Votive candle holders: 2.75-Inch Speckled Mercury Glass Votive Candle Holders
Keep your beloved votives in these attractive candle holders. 

Candle lighters: BIC Multi-purpose Candle Edition Lighter & Flex Wand

There’s no need to struggle with matches when you can use a candle lighter instead. It’s easy to light for adults, and it’s child-resistant to protect kids.

Votive candle prices

Votive candles are as affordable as you can get when it comes to decorative accents around the home. You can find individual votives for $1 apiece, or you can spend as much as $40 on a designer four-pack.

Inexpensive: For less than $12, you’ll find sets of three to 12 votive candles, some of which will be scented or come with their own holders.

Mid-range: If you’re spending between $15 and $25, you’ll end up with a set of 12 to 50 votive candles. Sets with more votives tend to be plain or unscented as they’re often used for event lighting.

Expensive: When you spend between $30 and $40, you’ll find better quality sets that come with their own holders. They tend to be scented and burn longer than other votive candles. You’ll also find bulk sets of 50 to 100 plain, unscented votive candles in this range.

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Caution
Be mindful of surrounding items when lighting votive candles. Curtains, plants, and paper can catch fire easily, so allow ample space for the candles to burn safely.
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Tips

  • Pick up a set for a white elephant gift. For a universally appealing present, choose a votive candle set with a popular neutral scent.
  • Carry by the base. To prevent burns, carry lit candles by the base. Get a good grip to ensure the candle or holder won’t slip through your hands and spill wax on the floor.
  • Be mindful of overwhelming scents. If you’re lighting scented votive candles for guests, be aware that some smells can be overpowering to some people. Stick to neutral or mild scents to keep everyone comfortable.
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If you’re not sure which scent you’d like from a certain brand, pick up a variety pack of votive candles to compare.
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