How Long Does It Take For A Tea Light To Melt?

What is a Tea Light Candle?

A tea light candle is a small, thin wax candle encased in a metal or foil cup. They are also known as votive candles or miniature candles. According to Reverso Dictionary, a tea light candle is defined as “a small wax candle in a metal or foil cup used in candle holders for decoration or to produce an ambient light.”

Tea lights get their name because they are about the same size as a teacup and originally were used to provide warming candlelight at afternoon tea tables. The metal cups allow the candles to float on water for candle-lit baths or centerpieces. The foil cups are disposable and inexpensive.

Tea lights typically measure 1 1/2 inches tall by 1 inch wide. The wax cylinder is only 1/2 inch wide, allowing the candle to burn for 4-6 hours. The small size facilitates use in votives, candle holders, and lanterns where a regular or taper candle won’t fit. Tea lights are made from paraffin wax and come in colors, but plain white is the most common.

Tea Light Burn Time

The burn time of a tea light candle can vary quite a bit depending on a few key factors. According to Homemory, the typical burn time of a tea light is between 2-6 hours [1]. This wide range is due to variables like the size of the tea light, the wax used, and the type of wick.

Smaller tea lights with a shorter wax pool will burn for a shorter period than larger versions. Tea lights are available in sizes ranging from 1/2 oz. up to 2 oz. The most common size is the 1 1/2 oz. which burns for around 4 hours [2].

The wax composition also impacts burn time. Paraffin wax tends to burn longer than vegetable or soy-based waxes. Beeswax and soy wax tea lights may only burn for 2-3 hours. Using a thinner wax can increase burn time but makes the candle more prone to melting and collapsing [3].

Wicks are another factor, with some designed to burn slower and some made to burn brighter. A braided cotton wick is standard. Going with a thinner wick can extend burn time slightly.

Factors That Affect Burn Time

There are several key factors that impact how long a tea light candle will burn:

Wax Type – The type of wax used in tea lights affects burn time. Paraffin wax, which is a petroleum byproduct, is the most commonly used for tea lights. It is inexpensive and releases a bright flame as it melts. Soy wax and beeswax tea lights burn more slowly than paraffin. Beeswax in particular can burn up to 50% longer than paraffin tea lights (

Wick Type – Tea lights use different materials for wicks including cotton, wood and paper fibers. Cotton wicks tend to burn the hottest and brightest, while wood and paper wicks produce a dimmer flame and burn more slowly. Wick thickness also plays a role, with thicker wicks typically burning faster than thinner ones.

Candle Dimensions – The diameter and height of a tea light affects burn time. Standard tea lights are approximately 1-1.5 inches tall with a 1.5 inch diameter. The more wax there is, the longer the candle can burn before all the wax melts away. Smaller tea lights will burn faster than larger ones.

Ambient Temperature – Warmer environments cause tea lights to melt and burn faster than cooler ones. Burn time can be 25-50% faster at higher ambient temperatures. Tea lights will burn slowest at around 60-72°F.
warmer environments cause tea lights to melt and burn faster than cooler ones

Testing Tea Light Burn Time

To accurately measure how long it takes for a tea light candle to melt, it’s important to conduct controlled testing.

One method is to test multiple tea lights of the same size and wax type. Light the candles at the same time and observe how long each one burns before going out. Take note of the precise burn time for each candle tested. For accuracy, measure the burn time in hours and minutes rather than estimating.

Another approach is to compare tea lights of different sizes and wax types. For example, test a regular size tea light, a mini tea light, and a large tea light made from soy wax. Light all the candles simultaneously and record the exact burn time. This allows you to analyze how size and wax type impacts the melt time.

Repeated testing of multiple tea lights under controlled conditions will provide the most accurate results for how long tea lights burn on average. Careful attention should be paid to documenting the precise burn times. Environmental factors like drafts should also be minimized to ensure consistency.

Maximizing Tea Light Burn Time

There are a few tricks to make your tea lights last as long as possible before the wax pool is completely melted:

Use a wax with a higher melting point temperature like beeswax, which resists melting and absorbs heat more slowly. According to this source, wax with a higher melting point will extend burn time.

Consider braiding or using a double wick, which provides more surface area for the wax to melt into before the wick becomes overwhelmed or drowned. The increased wick area creates a broader channel for melted wax.

Trim the wick to an optimal length, generally around 1/4 inch, so it doesn’t drown too quickly in melted wax or produce excess smoke from a wick that’s too long.

Store tea lights properly in a cool, dry area to prevent wax blooming, which is when wax migrates to the surface. Blooming can make candles tunnel or burn unevenly. Follow storage recommendations from reputable candle makers.

Safety Tips for Tea Lights

Tea lights can provide gentle light and ambiance, but they also come with some safety considerations. Here are some key tips for safely using tea lights:

Never leave burning tea lights unattended. Like any open flame, tea lights should always be monitored when lit to prevent accidental fires or burns.

Always place tea lights on a heat resistant surface. Tea lights can get hot enough to scorch or ignite surfaces like wood, plastic, or paper. Opt for surfaces like stone, metal, or ceramic.

Keep tea lights away from drafts which can disrupt the flame. Avoid placing tea lights near open windows, vents, or fans where sudden air currents could blow out the flame and allow hot wax to pool or drip.

Don’t burn a tea light for more than 4-6 hours. Tea lights are designed to burn for a few hours at most before the wax is consumed.

Keep tea lights out of reach of children and pets. The small size of tea lights makes them a choking hazard for kids and animals who could try to ingest them.

According to Titan Ready Products, tea lights should be closely monitored and never burned for more than 6 hours continuously for optimal safety (source). Following basic precautions will allow you to enjoy these miniature candles without incident.

Uses for Tea Light Candles

Tea light candles have many versatile uses in and around the home. Due to their small size and low heat output, they can be used safely for creating ambiance, but also have practical applications. Some of the most common uses for tea lights include:

Votives/Candle Holders – Tea lights are designed to fit perfectly into votive candle holders and small containers. Their short burn time makes them ideal for votives. The small flame casts a warm glow and can create ambiance throughout a home.

Oil Warmers – Tea lights can be used under oil warmers to gently heat fragrance oils. As the candle warms the oil, the aroma will be dispersed in the room.

Emergency Lighting – During power outages, tea lights can provide supplemental lighting. They’re safer than candles and provide enough light to see when the power goes out.

Cooking Heat Source – Campers and backpackers often carry tea lights. They can be used to warm food contents without the danger of an open flame.

Aromatherapy – Tea lights can be used to warm essential oils in a ceramic diffuser. This allows the aroma to be released into a room.

With their versatile design, tea lights have many helpful and creative uses in and around the home. Their small size makes them easy to place in votives, oil warmers, ceramic diffusers and more.[1] [2]

History of Tea Lights

The history of tea lights goes back to medieval times, when small candles were used as night lights. These early versions of tea lights were made from tallow and beeswax rather than paraffin wax.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, tea lights began being mass produced for commercial use. Modern tea lights emerged in the 1950s as inexpensive paraffin wax candles that could be placed in small metal or glass holders.1

Over time, tea lights grew in popularity and became used at restaurants and cafes to provide mood lighting at each table. They also became popular as wedding favors and were given out as party favors due to their small size and low cost.

Today, tea lights continue to be used for decorative ambient lighting as well as in votive candle holders, lanterns, and luminaries.

Tea Light Crafts and Decor

Tea lights can be used in a variety of crafty projects to create beautiful decor pieces for the home. Some popular crafts using tea lights include:

Melted crayon tea lights are a fun recycled craft. Old leftover crayon stubs can be peeled and combined in a muffin tin, then a tea light is placed in the center before putting it in the oven. The crayons will melt into a colorful holder for the tea light. This makes a nice DIY candle craft. See more at

Painting or decoupaging the outsides of tea light holders is an easy way to make them part of your decor. Try painting them with patterns or designs, or use decoupage to adhere paper, fabric, or other materials. The small size makes them perfect for holiday crafts. Get ideas at

Floating tea lights in glass vases, jars, or bowls creates a beautiful ambiance. Use water, sand, beads, or other fillers to hold the tea light. These look lovely grouped together for centerpieces. The floating element creates interesting shadows and effects.

Hanging tea lights in colorful paper lanterns adds festive flair. The lanterns diffuse the light beautifully. Trycrafting them with children for parties. Punch holes near the top and thread embroidery floss through to hang.

Comparisons to Other Candles

Tea lights differ from other common candle varieties in a few key ways:

Pillar candles are designed to burn longer, with wax pools up to 3 inches wide and burn times over 50 hours. Their large wax pool generates more heat and light compared to a tea light. However, pillar candles lack a container so the melted wax can drip and create messes (Source:

Votive candles are similar in size to tea lights, but are designed to be used in glass containers or candle holders. Their melt pool is wider and they burn longer, around 10 hours on average. Votives work well for centerpieces, ambient lighting, and candle holders (Source:

Taper candles are taller and slimmer than tea lights. Their wicks are longer which results in a taller flame. However, taper candles require candle holders and their elongated shape means they don’t last as long as wider candles.

Similar Posts