I love candles- the real ones, not the fake ones by Glade and Febreeze that have little walls around them and pretend to be a real, lit, glowing candle. I prefer the real thing. But it sucks when I buy a candle that I thought was going to burn great, only to have it sputter for about 10 minutes and then drown out in its own wax. Even worse is when I light a candle and the only thing I can smell is burning wax- what happened to the “pineapple bliss,” the “fresh pear?” Am I blind- did I buy “lit match” scented candles by mistake? Oi vay. Here are the best ways to ensure the candle you buy is going to burn great and release a wonderful scent that you can actually enjoy.
Look for a cloth wick. You want a thick, ropey looking wick, which ensures the candle is going to burn long and strong. Those thin, waxy looking wicks (think birthday candle) are the ones that burn down into the wax and melt themselves out. A thick, rope-like wick (that you can obviously see is woven or ropey) that is coated well with wax is a greater indication that you’ve picked a winner.
Smell the candle without looking at the label to see the name of the scent, and then move your face away. If the scent lingers in your nose after about 15 seconds without changing, and you can identify the scent without looking at the label, chances are you have a candle that is sure to bring a lot of scent to your home when burning. If you can’t smell anything but wax (or that nasty “old lady” perfume smell), or if the scent can only be distinguished if your nose hairs are tickling the wax, or if no matter how hard you try just cannot figure out the scent, move on. The candle is likely a bust.
Avoid candles made of gel or liquid. You want thick, greasy, waxy candles that when you touch them look almost like they’re sweating. A heavily oiled candle wax is a better burning, longer lasting candle, as opposed to gel candles, liquid candles, or candles that have a smooth, dry surface. You don’t want a crumbling, powdery looking candle by any means. The greasier the better.
In general, candles that have one or more scent in them (like 3 layers to the candle in 3 different complementing scents) don’t have as strong a scent as a single candle with just one scent in it. I have better luck buying 3 individual candles in complementing scents than trying to get an all-in-one deal.
The smaller the candle, the less the output. I always buy candles in medium or large jars, as they just have more coverage and burn better overall. Smaller candles are great for smaller rooms, like the bathroom, but if you want a single candle to scent up your whole house, a larger candle will be your best bet, or else you’ll end up lighting 2 or more little ones. Get more value and use for your dollar and go larger.
Don’t automatically assume the expensive candles are the best ones. If you know how to look, you can get a cheap candle that burns awesome. Some of my best candle purchases were from dollar stores. Don’t use dollar amounts as a guide to a great candle. Your nose will tell you.