Candle Quality and Price

Candle prices are all over the place!  You can spend a buck at the local dollar store, or go to a specialty shop and spend $20 or more for a candle.  Is there really that much difference in candle quality?

And how do you know that you’re getting your money’s worth?  Brand is important.  I would be willing to spend more for a brand name like Yankee Candle than at a flea market.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get some great candles at flea markets.  To make sure you’re getting the highest in candle quality, here are some pointers to keep in mind if you’re buying from flea markets, candle parties, the internet etc.

If you’re buying directly from the candle-maker, ask lots of questions.  Find out how long they’ve been making candles, the type of wax they use, how they test, whether they use fragrance oils or essential oils.  Also ask about the use of additives.  There are many additives to make the candles look prettier, the scent disperse more evenly, make soft waxes harder, etc.

Just because a candle is labeled ‘soy’ doesn’t mean it’s 100% natural.  Or even 100% soy.  Some candle-makers use a blend of soy and paraffin that combines the best qualities of both.

If the candle is scented with something other than an essential oil, it’s not 100% natural.  As a general rule, if the candle is highly-scented, the fragrance probably comes from fragrance oils, not essential oils.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with fragrance oils.  But they are synthetic, and not natural.  If you’re looking for a 100% natural candle, look for either no fragrance or essential oils.  Or beeswax, which is naturally scented.

Colored candles have a tendency to fade, especially in direct sunlight.  If the candle is a deep, vivid shade, it might have an additive to make it more resistant to fading.

If a candle is truly all-natural, or organic, 100% soy or other plant-based wax, with no color and either no fragrance or essential oils for fragrance, expect to pay more.

Don’t rely on the scent alone to determine your candle’s quality.  Almost all candles smell good in the store.  But once you get them home often the fragrance quickly fades.  Or it doesn’t disperse throughout the room. Unfortunately, there might be some trial and error here.  I usually start with tea light or votive sizes to get an idea of the scent, before I shell out $15 or $20.

If you’re buying a container or jar candle, check the quality of the jar.  Not every glass jar or container is suitable for candles.  The glass must be able to withstand the heat from the burning candle.

A common complaint that I hear is that container candles burn down and leave wax clinging to the sides.  A good, quality candle will burn cleanly down the sides of the jar.

Also think about why you’re buying the candle.  I’m willing to spend much more on a candle that will never be burnt just because I think it’s pretty.  But if you’re going for scent, try buying from several sources and compare.  Stick with the ones with the best fragrance.

I guess the key to finding great candle quality is to buy and try.  With a little trial and error on your part, it might surprise you to find out that the best candle may not be the one with the highest price!

Return to Candle Tips

Leave a Reply