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If there’s someone out there who doesn’t love a good candle, we have yet to find them. Whether you’re using one to make your living space smell nice, as a piece of décor, or as a form of self-care (what is it about lighting a candle that instantly makes you feel like you’re doing something nice for yourself?), the simple object can do so much. Not to mention that, per our point of universal appeal, a candle makes a foolproof gift in pretty much any situation.
Is this starting to sound like a love letter to candles? Maybe. The bottom line: It’s always a good idea to have a stocked candle collection.
Get started with any—or, if you’re like us, all—of these stand-outs. Here are the best candles money can buy.
Best Overall: Byredo Candles Bibliotheque Candle
How much do we love these candles? Let us count the ways. There’s the wide array of sophisticated and complex scents; the brand is known for their fragrances, after all. Good luck choosing your favorite (though for reference Bibliotheque is one of the best-sellers and our go-to). There are two different sizes, with 60-hour and 14-hour burn-times, and the black glass vessels add a chic touch to any space.
Best Budget: Voluspa Candles Macaron Classic Textured Glass Candle
Here’s affordable luxury at its finest. From petite glass votives to three-wick tins to adorable sets, there are a plethora of wallet-friendly options, though all with very high-end scents and the prettiest packaging. The vessels are so cute that we like reusing them once the candle burns down; they make for perfect catch-alls to keep on your desk or dresser.
Best Splurge: Venus ET Fleur MAISON Rose Blanche Candle
If you're a fan of roses, surely you've heard of Venus ET Fleur and their collection of roses that last a year; they're the ultimate gift or purchase for anyone looking to enjoy a fresh bloom for more than just a few days. New to their portfolio is this candle with notes of freesia and Damascena roses (no surprise there) accented with geranium and cinnamon. Stored in a gorgeous porcelain vessel, this candle is utterly chic and worth every penny.
Best Sticks: Nest Fragrances Liquidless Diffuser
If anything can give the beloved Nest candles a run for their money, it’s these scented fragrance sticks. Totally spill-proof, the biodegradable sticks sit in an open-air base, gradually diffusing any one of the 13 addicting Nest scents into your space for at least 90 days, no flame or liquid involved.
Best Sustainable: Siblings Scent No 01
So right off the bat, this doesn't look like your average candle—and it shouldn't really, because there's nothing average about it. Siblings candles are sustainable, made with candle wax that is all-natural (a coconut-soy blend), harsh chemical- and phthalate-free fragrance, and packaging that is plant-based and 60% compostable.
The brand encourages less waste through reusable vessels; instead of throwing out your glass candle tumblers—which can take years to break down—hold on to them to house a new Siblings candle. Don't have one? You can purchase the brand's Forever Vessel through the site and use it over and over again (hence the name) with your favorite scents, including blends of Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Cardamom, and so much more. You simply melt, pour, and enjoy.
Best for Fall: Maison Margiela REPLICA By The Fireplace Scented Candle
Think outside of fall’s pumpkin spice box and burn this as the leaves start to change colors. Smokey and woodsy, balanced with spicy pink pepper and clove, it’s reminiscent of well, sitting by a fireplace on the first chilly day of the year. City dwellers who don’t actually have fireplaces, take note.
Best for Winter: Diptyque Feu de Bois Wood Fire Candle
Forget everything you thought you knew about ‘holiday candles’—there’s no artificial pine scent here. Just a warm, woodsy, and comforting scent that’s ideal for the holiday season, but also all winter long, too. Plus, it comes in a variety of different sizes and vessels, too.
Best for Spring: Le Labo Santal 26 Classic Candle
Inspired by one of the brand’s most iconic unisex fragrances, Santal 33, this candle version is the perfect balance of coco and vanilla coupled with earthy musk and sandalwood. It’s both feminine and masculine and pairs perfectly with the change in seasons.
Best for Summer: Sunday Forever Tanlines Candle
Very apropos name aside, one whiff of this truly will transport you to a summer day (preferably one where you were OOO and on a beach), thanks to creamy notes of coconut and vanilla. Also nice: It uses coconut and soy waxes, a cotton wick, and phthalate-free fragrance for a super clean burn. It’s no surprise this is one of the brand’s best-sellers and somewhat of an Instagram sensation.
Best Three-Wick: LAFCO Champagne Penthouse 3-Wick Candle
When you want to treat yourself, candle style, this big boy is the way to go. Substantial enough to work as a décor piece, the 30-ounce, three-wick candle touts a 120-hour burn-time and gorgeous hand-blown glass. There are six scents to choose from; you can’t go wrong, but we’re currently burning the slightly-fruity ‘Champagne’ and ultra-crisp ‘Sea and Dune.’
Best for Minimalists: Apotheke Amber Woods Candle
Anyone who likes things to look clean, smell clean or both will appreciate these simple yet sophisticated candles. There are a dozen fragrances to choose from—all straightforward but still so nice—housed in crisp white jars.
Best for Bedroom: Bastide Miel de Lavande Wax Candle
Lavender always makes sense for the bedroom, but we love that here it’s balanced with honey, making for an herbal-yet-slightly sweet end result that’s not too lavender-y, if you know what we mean. Made in Provence and housed in handblown amber bubble glass, one of these is the perfect addition to your nightstand.
Best for Bathroom: L:A Bruket No. 152 Coriander Scented Candle
You definitely need a good-smelling candle in your bathroom because…well, you know why you need one. The clean and crisp fragrance—a mix of herbaceous coriander and fresh mint—is ideal, and it burns for over 45 hours.
Best Korean: Soohyang Candle
K-beauty is a thing and apparently, so are K-candles. From one of South Korea’s most sophisticated fragrance brands (Soohyang means ‘excellent fragrance’), these statement-making candles are becoming a big stateside hit. Along with the iconic pink packaging, there are 33 scents to choose from, ranging from fruity to woodsy, and everything in between.
Best Gift: Hearth & Hammer Fine Print Literary Candle
Any candle makes a great present, but we’re particularly into gifting these. The artisanal Illinois-based company handmakes candles with a unique literary hook, think scents such as ‘Fine Print’ and ‘First Edition.’ They also donate a portion of their sales to organizations that support childhood literacy, and we’re all about a gift that gives back. Remember that you can buy yourself gifts, too.
Best Variety: Bath & Body Works Champagne Toast 3-Wick Candle
If you truly believe that variety is the spice of life, hit up BBW for all your candle needs and wants. With over 100 different options, there’s something to fit any and every fragrance and packaging preference. There are also fun seasonal collections launched on the regular.
Best Personalized Option: Birthdate Co. Candle
Sure, you could get a candle with your name or hometown on it, but this brand takes personalization to the next level. Combining astrology, numerology, and tarot, they create candles based on your birthday. Along with cool packaging that features both the date and some of your unique traits, the custom fragrance is also blended to reflect your personality.
Best Packaging: Otherland Kindling Candle
Playing with unique shapes, colors, and patterns, the packaging on these candles is modern and trendy. A surefire way to step up your coffee table décor game, there’s something to fit any aesthetic, and they all smell as good as they look. Be sure to reuse the gorgeous glass tumblers, too.
What to Look For in a Candle
Unsurprisingly, when choosing a candle for yourself nailing down the perfect fragrance is step one. Identifying your base scent interests is an easy way to ease start narrowing down specific fragrances. Whether you like florals, fruits, and citruses or earthy, woody, and fresh scents, there is something for everyone.
Different candles are made with different ingredients. If you prefer a natural candle, look for key ingredients such as coconut and soy waxes. You'll also want to keep an eye out for phthalate-free fragrances (phthalates are a class of synthetic chemicals commonly found in consumer products).
Whether it's a funky shape, pop of color, or subtle accents, the appearance of the candle jar is just as important as the scent it gives off. All contribute to good feng shui in the home.
How many candles does it take to scent a room?
This can depend on the room size, location, and of course, the candle. The general rule of thumb is one to two candles per room. Too much fragrance can be overwhelming and even lead to feeling physically ill.
Do candles mask odors?
Be careful when using a fragrance candle to mask an odor. Often, if you light a candle to mask the odor, the two scents compete with one another rather than canceling each other out. Opt for an odor-eliminating solution instead.
Are there candle subscription services?