What Makes A Candle Have A Good Throw?

What is ‘Throw’ in Candles?

Throw refers to how well a candle’s fragrance disseminates and fills a room or space (Source: https://www.harlemcandlecompany.com/blogs/journal/what-is-candle-throw-and-why-it-matters). It describes the strength of the scent and how far the aroma travels from the candle. A candle with good throw will have its fragrance noticed throughout the entire room. On the other hand, a candle with poor throw will only have its scent detected when you are very close to it.

In simple terms, throw describes the reach and dispersal of a candle’s fragrance. The further away you can smell the candle and the more it fills the space, the better the throw.

Wick Size

The width of the wick plays a critical role in determining a candle’s throw. Wider wicks allow for larger flame sizes which enable more heat, wax pooling, and fragrance to be released. According to CandleScience, “The wider the wick, the larger the flame it can support.”

properly sized wicks produce ideal flame heights to maximize a candle's scent throw.

Larger flame sizes generate more heat to melt the wax pool and allow for increased fragrance evaporation and diffusion. As CandleScience explains, “More heat means the wax pool can spread farther across the candle’s surface to release its fragrance.” Wider wicks also provide a larger surface area for the fragrant wax to melt and diffuse into the air.

However, wicks that are too wide can cause excess sooting from unburned wax particles. Properly testing wick sizes during the R&D process is key to optimizing throw. The ideal wick creates the largest flame possible without generating smoke or soot (CandleScience).

Wax Type

Different wax compositions burn at different temperatures, which affects scent throw. Higher temperatures release more fragrance molecules into the air. The optimal wax for scent throw burns hot enough to disperse fragrance without getting so hot it burns the wick quickly.

Paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct, burns the hottest of all waxes, typically between 150-170°F. This makes it excellent for releasing fragrance. However, paraffin can burn too hot for some fragrance oils and wicks (Source).

Soy wax burns cooler than paraffin, between 115-125°F. It can throw scent well with an appropriate wick. Blends like soy-paraffin combine the benefits of both waxes (Source).

Beeswax and coconut waxes burn the coolest, under 120°F typically. They may not release as much fragrance as hotter waxes. However, they can allow more delicate scents to shine.

Testing different waxes with the fragrance oil is the best way to determine which gives the optimal throw without getting too hot.

Fragrance Oil

The quality and concentration of fragrance oils have a major impact on candle throw. Stronger, purer fragrance oils project scent more effectively than weaker or diluted oils. As explained by The Flaming Candle, “As a general rule, paraffin waxes still provide better scent throw than soy waxes.” This is because paraffin can hold higher concentrations of fragrance oil than natural waxes like soy or beeswax. According to CandleScience, “Candles overloaded with fragrance oil just don’t burn as well, so they won’t throw fragrance as well.” Finding the right balance of fragrance oil is key – too much can clog the wick and hinder burn, while too little results in poor scent throw.

When selecting fragrance oils, it’s best to choose high quality, concentrated oils from reputable suppliers. Always check for recommendations on an oil’s throw properties before purchasing. Proprietary fragrance oil blends designed specifically for candle making often have excellent throw. Follow the usage instructions, as some oils are formulated to be used at higher concentrations. With quality fragrance oils and the proper concentration, you can create candles with an enticing scent throw.

Vessel Shape

The shape and size of the candle holder or vessel impacts airflow and thus the candle’s throw. More open vessels like hurricane vases or open glass containers allow fragrance to disseminate more freely into the surrounding air. Closed or restricted vessels like tin containers limit airflow and concentrate fragrance, reducing throw.

According to testing by CandleScience, an open container like a hurricane vase increased throw by 25% compared to a standard glass jar. Geometric and angular vessels also promote airflow and can boost throw. This is why many modern candle vessels feature geometric shapes with lots of edges and angles.

In addition to shape, the size and opening of the vessel matters. Large pillar candles in open containers will have much stronger throw than small votive candles or tealights. The more exposed surface area, the better the throw. So maximize the candle’s exposure to open air wherever possible.


Certain additives like Vybar 260 can enhance the scent throw of candles. Vybar is a proprietary additive that allows paraffin wax to hold more fragrance oil. As explained on CandleMakingSupplies.net, “Vybar enables the candlemaker to put twice or even three times as much fragrance oil into their mixture, causing the candles to have much better hot throw.” Source

Vybar improves scent dispersion by increasing the capacity of the wax to absorb fragrance oils. More fragrance oil held in the wax allows more fragrance to be released into the air when the candle is burned, thus enhancing hot throw. Vybar is typically added at a rate of 1% by weight to paraffin wax blends. It allows the wax to hold up to 15% fragrance oil vs 5-8% in normal paraffin. Source

Wick Trimming

Trimming your candle wicks is an important step for maximizing throw. As the candle burns, the wick will get longer and cause issues like tunneling, excess soot, and uneven burns (Paddywax, 2023). Trimming the wick to the proper height relative to your melt pool ensures an ideal flame size for throwing the scent effectively.

For container candles, trim the wick to 1⁄4” before each burn. Pillar candles can have wicks trimmed a little longer, to 1⁄2” (Paddywax, 2023). Votives and tealights don’t need trimming due to their small melt pools.

Keeping wicks trimmed prevents the wick from drowning in wax or producing a flame that is too large for the melt pool. This allows for the maximum wax to melt and scent to diffuse into the air for better throw.

Second Burns

It is common for candles to have stronger scent throw after the first burn. This is because on the initial burn, some of the fragrance oil can get trapped in the cold candle wax. As the wax melts and pools during the first burn, it absorbs more of the fragrance oil. When the candle is extinguished and the wax re-hardens, the fragrance oil becomes locked into the solid wax. On the second burn, as the pooled wax re-melts, more fragrance oil is released, creating stronger scent throw.

The wax acts like a sponge, soaking up the fragrance oil during the first burn. The second burn allows this wax-infused oil to be released into the air as the candle burns. Testing a candle’s throw only after the first burn may underestimate its potential strength. A good practice is to test cold throw when the candle is new, then again after the first burn once the wax fully absorbs the fragrance during the first melt pool. The second burn is when the candle will showcase its maximum hot throw capacity.


Allowing candles to cure properly improves throw. Curing refers to allowing the candle to rest after it has been poured and cooled. This extra time allows the wax and fragrance oil to fully bind together through a process called syneresis. When fragrance oil is added to wax, the oil molecules initially float separately from the wax. During curing, the oil molecules migrate into the wax and the two components fuse together at a molecular level.

Curing allows wax and fragrance to properly synergize. As the wax and fragrance fuse during curing, more fragrance gets locked into the wax. This allows the candle to retain and emit more fragrance when burned, improving hot throw. Curing for at least 2 weeks before burning is recommended for best results. Some makers even cure candles for 4-6 weeks or longer for maximum throw. While candles can be burned after 24 hours, extending the cure always helps enhance throw.

During curing, candles should be stored at room temperature with lids off. Lids can trap fragrance before it has fully absorbed into the wax, reducing throw. Storing candles in a temperature stable environment avoids fragrance separating back out of the wax through melting. Proper curing results in candles that fill rooms with fragrance from top to bottom burns.

Testing Throw

There are three main methods for evaluating the throw or scent intensity of a candle:

Cold Sniff Test

This involves smelling the unburned candle wax to evaluate the cold scent throw. According to The Armatage Candle Company, “This will allow you to get a base level understanding of the fragrance’s intensity in your wax”[1]. A stronger cold throw indicates the fragrance oil is well-incorporated into the wax.

Hot Throw Test

Also called burn testing, this evaluates scent throw when the candle is lit. Burn the candle in a small enclosed space like a bathroom for a normal amount of time, then step out and re-enter to assess the lingering fragrance. A strong scent indicates excellent hot throw[2].

Scent Meter

Special scent meters can quantitatively measure fragrance intensity. These devices use chemical sensors to numerically rate the concentration of scent compounds in the air while a candle burns.

Regularly evaluating throw is crucial for candlemakers to test and improve their products. Combining subjective sensory tests with scent meter measurements provides the most complete throw analysis.

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