Candles vs Wax Melts: What's Better?

Article's Main Points:
  • Compare cost-effectiveness of wax melts and candles: consider initial price, lifespan, and frequency of use.
  • Evaluate aesthetics and convenience: consider the visual appeal and ambiance created by candles vs. wax melters/warmers.
  • Take into account environmental impact: choose beeswax or coconut/soy-based products for sustainability.
  • Consider safety: wax melts may be preferable in homes with pets or small children due to the lack of an open flame.
  • Think about scent longevity: some users find that wax melts retain their scent longer.
  • Make a personal choice: decide based on your lifestyle, budget, and preferences. Both candles and wax melts can enhance your home's atmosphere.

Understanding the Basics: Candles and Wax Melts

In the realm of home fragrance, two contenders dominate the scene: candles and wax melts. Both offer unique ways to fill your rooms with delightful scents, but they're not created equal. To make an informed decision on which is better for you, it's crucial to understand their basic composition and how they work.

The Composition of Candles and Wax Melts

Candles comprise two primary elements: wax and a wick. The wax is typically made from paraffin, soy, coconut, beeswax, or perhaps a blend of these materials. Fragrance oils are mixed into the wax to create a scented candle. The wick, usually made of cotton oe wood, acts as the fuel delivery system when lit.

On the other hand, wax melts, also known as wax tarts or cubes, are scented pieces of wax without a wick. They're typically made from the same types of wax as candles. However, they're designed to be slowly melted in a wax warmer, releasing their fragrance without the need for a flame.

How Do Candles & Wax Melts Work?

When you light a candle's wick, the heat of the flame melts the wax around it. This liquid wax is drawn up into the wick where the heat of the flame vaporizes the liquid wax, turning it into hot gas. The heat also vaporizes the fragrance oil mixed into the wax. As the vapors move away from the flame, they mix with the air and cool down, becoming solid again and releasing the scent into your room.

Wax melts operate differently. Instead of a wick, they require a wax warmer, which can be electric or tea-light based. The warmer heats the wax melt, causing it to slowly melt and release its fragrance into the air. Since there's no flame involved, the wax doesn't evaporate; only the scent is dispersed. Once the fragrance has been fully released (usually after about 8 hours), the now unscented wax can be removed from the warmer and replaced.

Understanding these fundamental differences between candles and wax melts is the first step in determining which option better suits your needs and preferences.


Safety Comparison: Candles vs Wax Melts

When it comes to fragrance options for your home, safety should always be a top priority. Candles and wax melts each have their safety considerations that are important to understand.


wax melts on a table


The Flame-free Advantage of Wax Melts

One of the most significant advantages wax melts have over candles is their flame-free operation. Since they're heated in a wax warmer, there is no open flame to worry about. This can be a huge relief for families with small children, pets, or anyone concerned about fire safety.

Without an open flame, there's also no risk of something accidentally catching fire if it gets too close to the heat source, making wax melts a safer option in busy households or environments where the fragrance source might not be closely monitored.

Moreover, without a flame, wax melts don't produce any smoke or soot, eliminating the risk of inhaling potentially harmful particles or causing damage to walls and ceilings.

In contrast, candles require a live flame, which always carries a risk of accidental fires if left unattended or knocked over. Plus, burning candles may produce soot that can stain surfaces and may contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Therefore, in terms of safety, wax melts seem to hold a clear advantage. However, it's important to remember that any electrical device, including electric wax warmers, should be used with caution to prevent electrical mishaps.


Soot, Residue, and More: The Hidden Concerns with Candles

While candles can create a cozy ambiance and fill a room with delightful scents, they also come with some hidden concerns. One of the most significant issues is the production of soot and residue, which can have both aesthetic and health implications.

When candles, especially paraffin-based ones, burn, they produce smoke that eventually settles as soot in your home. This is not only unsightly but can also damage walls, ceilings, and other surfaces over time. Furthermore, this soot can contain toxic chemicals like benzene and toluene, which could contribute to poor indoor air quality and pose potential health risks.

Choosing soot-free candles, such as those made from soy and coconut wax, can help mitigate these issues. 

Therefore, while candles offer a certain charm, they do come with their share of hidden concerns. These challenges underscore the importance of understanding the potential impacts of your choice between candles and wax melts on your home environment and wellbeing.


Fragrance Experience: Wax Melt vs Candle

When it comes to selecting the best fragrance experience for your home, both candles and wax melts offer unique advantages. Your choice will depend on various factors such as scent intensity, duration, and the ambiance you wish to create.


Scent Intensity: Choosing Between Wax Melts and Candles

The intensity of the fragrance is a significant consideration when choosing between wax melts and candles. How strong or subtle you want your scent to be may determine which option is best for you.

Candles can provide a powerful scent throw, especially when they have been burning for a while. The heat from the flame helps disperse the fragrance oil incorporated into the wax throughout the room. However, the scent intensity can sometimes diminish over time as the candle burns down.

In contrast, wax melts are known for their ability to deliver a more consistent scent intensity. You can control the strength of the fragrance by adjusting the amount of wax you melt - use one or two cubes for a subtle scent, or add more if you prefer a stronger aroma.

Moreover, since wax melts are heated slowly in a warmer, the fragrance is released evenly over time, providing a consistent scent experience. They also tend to last longer than candles because the wax doesn't evaporate; it's merely the fragrance oil that gets dissipated.

In terms of scent intensity and consistency, wax melts might have the edge. However, the choice between wax melts and candles ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific fragrance experience you desire.


Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness: Candles or Wax Melts?

In today's environmentally conscious world, many people are looking for ways to make their homes more sustainable. This includes considering the eco-impact of their choice between candles and wax melts.


The Environmental Impact of Candles

Candles, especially those made from paraffin wax, can have a negative impact on the environment. Paraffin wax is a by-product of crude oil, and its production involves the use of non-renewable resources. When burned, paraffin candles may release harmful toxins into the air.

However, not all candles are created equal. Beeswax, coconut and soy candles, for instance, are considered more eco-friendly and sustainable than paraffin wax candles. They burn cleaner and longer and don't produce harmful by-products.

Shop our coconut/soy blend candles below.



The Environmental Impact of Wax Melts

Like candles, the environmental impact of wax melts depends largely on the type of wax used. Paraffin wax melts share the same environmental concerns as paraffin candles. However, coconut, soy wax or beeswax melts are a more sustainable choice, as they are made from renewable resources and burn cleaner.

Wax melts also have the added benefit of being flame-free, which means no soot or harmful emissions from burning wicks. This makes them a more eco-friendly choice in terms of indoor air quality. However, it's important to consider the electricity usage of the wax warmer, which could contribute to your carbon footprint.

Both candles and wax melts can be sustainable and eco-friendly, depending on the materials used. Opting for products made from natural, renewable resources like soy or beeswax can help minimize your environmental impact.


Cost-effectiveness: Are Wax Melts Cheaper than Candles?

When it comes to creating a fragrant home environment, cost-effectiveness is an important factor to consider. Let's compare the longevity and costs of wax melts and candles to determine which one might offer more bang for your buck.


The Longevity of Wax Melts vs Candles

In terms of longevity, wax melts generally last longer than candles. A single wax melt can continue releasing scent for up to 8 hours, depending on the quality and type of wax used. On the other hand, the average burn time for a candle varies considerably, usually between 20 to 50 hours for most standard-sized candles. This means that you may need to replace candles more often than wax melts, depending on how frequently you use them.

However, it's also worth noting that the scent from wax melts can start to fade after a few hours. While the wax doesn't evaporate as it does with candles, the fragrance oil does get used up over time.


Breaking Down the Cost: Candles and Wax Melts

When comparing costs, it's essential to consider both the upfront price and the overall value you're getting.

Candles can range in price significantly, from budget-friendly options to luxury brands. However, considering their shorter lifespan compared to wax melts, they might not always be the most cost-effective choice.

Wax melts, on the other hand, are typically less expensive upfront. Plus, given their longer-lasting fragrance, they can provide good value for money. You can also control how much wax you use each time, allowing you to extend the life of a single pack of wax melts.

While the choice between wax melts and candles ultimately depends on personal preference, wax melts could potentially be a more cost-effective option due to their longevity and lower upfront costs.


Aesthetic and Convenience: The Battle Between Candles and Wax Melts

Beyond fragrance and cost-effectiveness, the aesthetic appeal and convenience of candles and wax melts can also influence your choice. Both options can enhance the ambiance of your space, but they do so in different ways.


candle on a table


The Visual Appeal of Candles

Candles have a timeless charm that is hard to beat. The warm, flickering flame of a burning candle can create a soothing and romantic atmosphere that's perfect for relaxation, meditation, or intimate dinners.

Candles come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to choose one that fits your interior decor. Whether you prefer a rustic look with chunky pillar candles, an elegant vibe with tapered candles, or a modern aesthetic with container candles, there's a style for everyone.

Moreover, candles often come housed in beautiful containers, such as glass jars, metal tins, or ceramic pots, which can serve as decorative pieces even when the candle isn't lit. Some candles also feature beautiful labels or intricate designs, adding an extra layer of visual appeal.


The Visual Appearance of Wax Melters/Warmers

Wax melts, while they may not offer the same traditional charm as candles, have their own unique aesthetic appeal. The main visual aspect of using wax melts is the melter or warmer itself. These devices come in a wide variety of designs and styles, making them a versatile decor option.


Making the Right Choice: Candles or Wax Melts?

When deciding between candles and wax melts, it's crucial to consider various factors, including environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, aesthetic appeal, and convenience. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks that can affect your choice.


Considerations for Choosing Between Candles and Wax Melts

When choosing between candles and wax melts, consider the following:

  1. Eco-friendliness: If you're concerned about the environment, you might want to opt for beeswax or soy-based products, as they're more sustainable and burn cleaner than paraffin-based ones.
  2. Cost: If you're on a budget, wax melts can be a more cost-effective option due to their longevity and lower upfront costs.
  3. Aesthetic Appeal: If you're looking for a decorative element for your home, candles offer a wide variety of styles, shapes, and containers that can enhance your decor. However, wax warmers also come in numerous designs that can add a unique touch to your space.
  4. Safety: Wax melts can be a safer option, especially if you have pets or small children, as they don't have an open flame.
  5. Scent: Both options offer a variety of scents. However, some people find that wax melts retain their scent longer than candles.


The Final Verdict: Which is Better?

The choice between candles and wax melts largely depends on personal preference. If you prefer a traditional ambiance with a warm, flickering flame and enjoy having a decorative element, candles might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a safe, cost-effective, and long-lasting fragrance option, you may lean towards wax melts.

In the end, both candles and wax melts can help create a cozy and fragrant atmosphere in your home. It's all about finding the right balance that suits your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences.


If you found that article beneficial, be sure to check out our scented candle guide below.