What Are The Best Fragrant Candles To Buy?

Fragrant candles have become increasingly popular home accessories for their ability to emit pleasant scents throughout living spaces. Beyond just providing ambiance, fragrant candles offer a variety of benefits according to https://homecourt.co/blogs/candles/the-benefits-of-using-candles-for-home-fragrance. The fragrances from candles can relax the mind, set a mood, and even provide calming effects that lower anxiety. Scented candles also serve as a safer alternative to synthetic room sprays or plug-in air fresheners. When used properly, fragrant candles made from natural soy, beeswax, or paraffin wax can fill a room with pleasant aromas for hours.

Most Popular Scents

When it comes to the most popular candle scents, there are a few tried-and-true favorites that tend to top the charts. According to research from The New York Times, some of the most sought-after fragrance notes in candles include vanilla, lavender, citrus scents like grapefruit and orange, woodsy aromas like cedar and pine, clean scents like linen and cotton, and cozy gourmand notes like pumpkin, cinnamon, and baked goods.

Vanilla remains one of the most universally-loved scents for candles. The sweet, warm, and comforting aroma lends itself well to relaxation and can evoke feelings of nostalgia. Lavender is another soothing and stress-relieving scent that is perennially popular. Citrus scents provide an energizing and uplifting effect that helps brighten up a space. Woody fragrances like pine and cedar give off an outdoorsy, inviting vibe. Overall, the top candle scent preferences tend to have warm, cozy, relaxing, and nostalgic characteristics.

Natural vs. Synthetic Fragrances

When choosing a fragrant candle, one of the biggest considerations is whether the scent comes from natural or synthetic fragrances. Natural fragrances are derived from plants, flowers, spices, fruits, and other natural materials like essential oils and absolutes. Synthetic fragrances are created in a lab with chemical ingredients. There are pros and cons to both options.

Natural fragrances provide a more authentic, pure scent and are often perceived as healthier and safer. However, they can be more expensive and less consistent batch to batch. Natural scents also tend to not last as long when burning compared to synthetic fragrance oils (Each & Every, 2022).

Synthetic fragrances allow candle makers to recreate scents reliably and cost-effectively. They typically offer stronger scents that last longer when burning. However, some synthetic fragrance ingredients have faced scrutiny over potential health risks with long-term exposure (Malibu Apothecary, 2021). There is debate around how risky small exposures really are.

Many candle brands opt for a hybrid approach, blending natural and synthetic fragrances to find the right balance of scent quality, intensity, price, and safety. When shopping for fragrant candles, look at the brand’s fragrance sourcing and ingredient transparency to find the right fit for your priorities.

Soy, Beeswax, or Paraffin

When choosing a candle, one of the most important decisions is which type of wax to go with. The three main options are soy wax, beeswax, and paraffin wax. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Soy wax is made from soybeans. It’s a renewable and eco-friendly option. Soy candles burn slower and cooler than paraffin, which helps preserve fragrance (1). The natural texture of soy wax allows more fragrance oil to be absorbed. One drawback is that soy wax doesn’t hold color as well as paraffin.

Beeswax is natural wax made by honey bees. Beeswax candles are biodegradable and non-toxic. The texture enables excellent fragrance throw. Beeswax produces minimal soot and burns brighter than other waxes (2). However, beeswax is expensive and can be prone to bending or bowing.

Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct. It’s the most affordable option and readily available. Paraffin allows dyes to spread evenly and makes vivid colors. But paraffin produces more soot, requires more frequent trimming of the wick, and doesn’t retain scent as well as natural waxes (3).

When evaluating the different wax types, consider your priorities like fragrance, cleanliness, cost, and eco-friendliness. Testing out candles with each kind of wax can help identify which suits your preferences best.

soy, beeswax, and paraffin are top candle wax types with pros and cons for fragrance, cleanliness, cost and eco-friendliness

Jar vs Vessel Candles

There are two main types of candle containers – jars and vessels. Jars are the traditional glass containers with lids, while vessels can be made from glass, ceramic, metal or other materials in decorative shapes and designs.

One of the biggest differences between jar and vessel candles is burn time. Jar candles tend to burn longer because of their straight sides and larger surface area of wax. Vessels are shaped containers, so there is less surface area exposed to melt the wax. This means vessel candles often have a shorter burn time.

In terms of fragrance, jars can trap the scent a bit more than vessels. The lid contains the fragrance when the candle isn’t burning. Vessels allow more fragrance to escape into the air when not lit. However, some people prefer this lighter fragrance from vessel candles when not in use.

Vessels come in endless shapes, colors and materials so they can be much more decorative than basic jar candles. But jars remain popular for their classic simplicity and longer burn times. There are also many creative ways to decorate plain jars. In the end it comes down to personal preference on the look you want and performance needs.

According to one source, “Even though it actually costs a bit more to make jar candles than pillar candles, it’s a lot less labor intensive and therefore usually preferable for beginner chandlers.” (Source)

Best Candle Brands

When looking for a quality fragrant candle, the brand matters. According to the Wirecutter, some of the top candle brands known for their excellent scents and burn time include:

Diptyque – This luxury French brand is known for unique and complex scents like their popular Baies candle which features notes of rosemary and fruity blackcurrant. Their candles are poured in high-quality glass vessels.

Voluspa – Voluspa specializes in clean-burning coconut wax candles with exotic fragrance blends like Japanese Plum Bloom and Santiago Huckleberry. Their ornate glass jars make beautiful home decor.

Jo Malone – Understated yet elegant, Jo Malone is beloved for their subtle and sophisticated scents like English Pear & Freesia. Their candles burn evenly and have excellent throw.

Nest New York – Focusing on home fragrance, Nest offers candles in unique vessel shapes with light, fresh scents like Moroccan Amber and Blue Garden. They are known for long burn times.

Boy Smells – This trendy brand offers gender-neutral scents with notes like cannabis, blood orange, and suede. Their candles come in sleek, minimalist vessels.

Factors to Consider

When choosing the best fragrant candles to buy, there are several factors you’ll want to take into account:

Burn Time

Look at the candle’s burn time, which tells you how many hours it will burn. A longer burn time means you won’t have to replace candles as often. Most standard candles offer 20-40 hours of burn time. Luxury candles may offer 60-80+ hours.


Candle prices range widely, from a few dollars for basic candles to $50+ for high-end luxury brands. Consider your budget, but know that more expensive candles often use premium ingredients that produce better fragrance.


Many brands now offer eco-friendly candle options made from soy, beeswax, organic materials, recycled glass, etc. If sustainability is important to you, look for natural, non-toxic candles with eco-friendly packaging.


Test candles in person if possible, as fragrance can be subjective. Take note of scent throw (range of fragrance), longevity, and complexity. Many candle retailers allow returns if you don’t like the scent once lit at home.

Use and Safety Tips

When burning candles, it’s important to follow some basic safety precautions. Proper wick trimming is one of the most important candle safety tips. The wick should be trimmed to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to prevent excess smoke and uneven burning (https://candles.org/fire-safety-candles).

Candles should be placed in stable, heat resistant holders on an uncluttered surface. Keep candles away from drafts, vents, and air currents that can cause rapid, uneven burning (https://www.fmins.com/blog/candle-safety/). Allow candles to burn for 1-2 hours before extinguishing and relighting to avoid tunneling. Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep while candles are lit. Extinguish candles before they get within 2 inches of the holder or container bottom. Adhering to these simple safety tips will allow you to enjoy candles without worry.

Top Picks

When selecting the best fragrant candles, it’s helpful to focus on popular scent categories and specific brand recommendations. Here are some top picks in common scent profiles:

Lavender and Vanilla

For a relaxing lavender vanilla scent, Excelsior Candle Co’s Lavender Vanilla soy candle is a top choice. It mixes real lavender essential oil with cedarwood, lemon, and orange oils. Another excellent lavender vanilla option is Inara’s Natural Soy Candle, which offers 40+ hours of burn time.

Citrus and Florals

If you prefer an uplifting citrus floral aroma, try A Cheerful Giver’s Grapefruit Lily soy candle. It blends pink grapefruit and lily of the valley with undertones of cedarwood and musk.

Spicy and Woody

For an invigorating spicy woodsy scent, Homesick’s Clove + Cedarwood soy candle is a top pick. It mixes clove bud, cedarwood, and vetiver essential oils for a warm aromatic blend.


To summarize, the best fragrant candles combine appealing scents with high quality ingredients and safe materials. Opt for candles made from soy wax, beeswax, or a natural wax blend for clean burning. Look for fragrances using essential oils rather than synthetic chemicals. Jar candles tend to provide better fragrance throw than narrow vessels. Check reviews to find reputable candle brands known for fragrance intensity, longevity and an enjoyable experience. Consider your usage – will it be for relaxation, ambiance, a focal point? Be mindful of safety – keep wicks trimmed, don’t burn unattended for more than 4 hours, allow to fully pool and cool before relighting. With so many factors at play, it’s worth taking the time to find your personal favorites. The right candle can transform a space and delight the senses.

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