What Are The Disadvantages Of Candle Warmer?

Fire Hazard

Candle warmers pose an open flame risk, even though the candle itself is not lit. The exposed hot plate reaching temperatures up to 140°F can ignite nearby flammable objects like curtains, books, clothing, or furniture if they make direct contact.

The hot plate remains dangerously hot for an extended period after being turned off. Anything flammable that touches the plate during this cooldown phase risks catching fire. There is also a danger if the candle warmer gets knocked over while the plate is still hot, which could ignite carpets, rugs, or other surfaces.

Unlike traditional candles, the flame is exposed on a warmer. Pets’ tails or curious children’s hands could accidentally brush the hot plate and get burned. The open design also allows for more oxygen circulation, which can feed fires started by contact with flammables.

In summary, the exposed flame element creates a fire hazard not present with a contained candle design. Candle warmers require extra care and caution around flammable objects and children/pets to prevent open flame risks.

Air Quality Issues

woman using candle warmer on table
Candle warmers release small particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and scented chemicals into the air when in use. These can negatively impact indoor air quality and health.

The candle wax is heated in a warmer, which enables more of the chemicals and scented fragrance oils to evaporate into the air compared to a regular candle. Studies have shown that the air near burning candles can contain high levels of VOCs such as formaldehyde and benzene. These have been linked to headaches, asthma attacks, and other health issues when inhaled.

Additionally, the particulates released from candle wax can accumulate on surfaces or be breathed deep into lungs. Wax melts and warmers often use synthetic fragrance oils too, which increases emissions of hazardous chemicals. This is a disadvantage for those concerned about indoor air quality and potential health impacts.

Limited Fragrance Options

One of the main disadvantages of candle warmers is that they only work with wax melts and cannot accommodate regular candles. Wax melts come in limited scents and collections compared to the vast variety of scented candles on the market. With a candle, you can choose from an endless range of fragrance options from clean and fresh, to warm and spicy, to sweet and fruity. The possibilities are virtually endless. However, wax melts have a much smaller scent selection, usually only available from the brand that makes the warmer. So you are limited to whatever fragrance options they offer, which is typically just their most popular or seasonal scents.

If you have a favorite candle scent from a different brand that you love burning in your home, you won’t be able to experience it in a warmer. You can only use the proprietary wax melt shapes and fragrances designed for that warmer unit. For those who love exploring new candle scents and switching up their home fragrance regularly, the limited options from wax melts and lack of candle compatibility can be very restricting.

Heat Damage Risk

One of the main risks of using a candle warmer is the potential for heat damage. Candle warmers use a light bulb or heating element to melt the candle wax in order to release fragrance. This concentrated heat can get hot enough to potentially scorch, burn, or melt nearby surfaces.

Candle warmers designed for use on tables or countertops can damage the finish if left on for too long. The heat conducting plate that sits under the candle can get hot enough to singe wood finishes. On more delicate surfaces like glass or granite, it could potentially cause cracking or discoloration if the heat level is too high.

Hanging candle warmers pose a similar risk for damage if hung too close to ceilings, walls, or lampshades. The rising heat from the bulb can scorch or melt these surfaces over time. Additionally, hanging candle warmers could potentially be a fire hazard if hung too close to flammable materials like fabric or paper.

Proper placement and supervision when burning candles in a warmer can help mitigate the risks of heat damage. Allowing adequate ventilation around the warmer and not leaving it on for extended periods can also reduce the chances of scorching nearby surfaces or materials.

candle warmer too close to wall causing scorch mark

Electricity Use

One key disadvantage of candle warmers is that they require electricity to operate. Unlike traditional candles that only need a flame, candle warmers must be plugged into an outlet to heat the wax melts or oil. This means that using a candle warmer has an ongoing energy cost over time.

Candle warmers use electricity to power the light bulb or heating element that warms the wax or oil. This results in higher electric bills compared to not using any product at all. The amount of electricity used can vary based on the size and wattage of the warmer, but they do require power constantly when in use.

Those looking to reduce their energy usage or electricity bill may want to reconsider using a candle warmer for this reason. While the energy cost may be low, it’s still higher than sticking with candle options that do not demand any electricity. Any product that plugs into an outlet will consume power, which piles onto other energy uses in the home.

Some may see paying for electricity as a trade-off for the safer, cleaner operation of a candle warmer. But for those wanting to minimize their electrical usage or carbon footprint, candle warmers could be seen as a disadvantage over classic candles when it comes to electricity use.

Cost Over Time

Although the upfront cost of a candle warmer may seem low, over time the ongoing expense of constantly having to buy new wax melts can really add up. The average wax melt only provides fragrance for 4-6 hours before needing to be replaced. For someone who wants an ambient scent in their home at all times, this requires purchasing new melts every few days. At $2-5 per wax cube, the costs can quickly surpass that of buying standard candles which provide 30-50 hours of fragrance per candle. So while candle warmers seem like an inexpensive option, their long-term costs can make them less economical compared to candles.

pile of used up wax melts

Limited Ambience

Unlike traditional candles, candle warmers do not provide the soothing and mesmerizing effect of a flickering flame. The flame of a candle creates a calming ambience with its dance-like movements and warm glow. Many find gazing into an open flame to be therapeutic and prefer the ambience it provides over electrically heated wax. With a candle warmer, you miss out on the visual atmosphere and ambience created by real candles. The still pool of melted wax in a warmer simply cannot replicate the ambience of flickering flames.

Mess and Cleaning

Candle warmers can create messy wax drips that require regular cleaning. As the candle melts, wax can drip down the side of the jar and pool under the dish. Some warmers have a design that leaves wax exposed. This wax can drip through cracks or holes in the warmer plate. Dripping wax can damage furniture, tablecloths, carpets, and other surfaces.

Wax drips also need to be cleaned off the warmer plate and housing regularly. If wax builds up too much under the plate, it can prevent the plate from sitting flush or transferring heat properly. Wax left on the warmer can also emit unpleasant burnt wax smells. Proper cleaning requires removing the warmer plate and scrubbing to remove all wax residue. This frequent cleaning can become a hassle.

Some warmers are prone to getting dust and dirt trapped in nooks and crannies too. Dust sticks to wax drips and needs cleaning. Multi-piece warmers with grooves and joints tend to collect more dust. Keeping the warmer clean requires diligence.

Safety Around Children/Pets

Candle warmers pose some safety risks when used in a home with children or pets. The warming plate and liquid wax can be an attractive nuisance to curious kids and animals. Children may be tempted to touch the hot surface of the warmer, potentially burning themselves. Pets like cats and dogs could also burn themselves by stepping on or touching the warmer.

There’s also a risk of ingestion if a child or pet were to drink the melted wax in the warming dish. Wax is non-toxic but could cause choking or intestinal blockage if swallowed. Supervision is advised when using candle warmers in homes with kids and pets. Keep the warmer out of reach and unplugged when not in use.

Lack of Roast/Toast Ability

marshmallow being toasted over candle flame
One of the downsides of using an electric candle warmer instead of a real candle is that you cannot roast marshmallows or warm food over an electric warmer. With a real candle flame, you can toast bread, melt cheese on crackers, or roast marshmallows for s’mores. The open flame provides an easy and traditional way to lightly cook or brown food. This is not possible with the enclosed heating element of an electric candle warmer. While the warmer will melt the candle wax inside, it does not produce an open flame suitable for roasting or toasting. So if you enjoy making s’mores or other toasted treats as part of your candlelight ambience, you will not be able to continue this activity with a candle warmer.

Similar Posts