Lulu Chang, provided by
Published 5:00 pm EDT, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
- Whether you’re looking to set the mood or freshen up the scent of a room, a candle can do the job. And, it makes a great gift.
- If you think candles are old-fashioned, our favorite candle brands are sure to show you otherwise.
- Read on to learn more about our favorite candles and where to buy them online.
When Forrest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolates, perhaps what he really meant was that life is like a collection of candles. Sweet at times, acrid at others, but certainly always worth trying. Really, there isn’t an occasion that couldn’t be made better by the addition of a candle or two. Whether it’s the mood lighting or the fresh scents it provides, candles are worthwhile additions to any home.
Of course, not all candles are created equal. As it turns out, Yankee Candle is not the only candle purveyor in the world, and not all candles have to be the size of your head and smell sickeningly like a pumpkin spice latte. Rather, if you’re looking for an elegant, classic candle that can elevate rather than overwhelm the senses, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
First and foremost, what kind of scent are you after? Our favorite candles tend to smell a bit earthier and somewhat floral, without any artificial additives that result in a cloying sweetness. Sandalwood is often a pleasant scent, as are jasmine or gardenia.
Second, in what situations are you most likely to burn a candle? If you’re looking for something to complement dinner, you’ll probably be looking for a different candle than the one that performs best in the bathroom.
You’ll also want to consider the amount of light you want your candles to emit. Whereas some candles have only one wick, others have two, three, or more, which can offer a warmer glow in the evening.
Finally, you’ll want to keep the packaging in mind. Some candles are (almost) too pretty to burn, which could be useful if you’re looking to display candles as decor.
Candles can feel like a dime-a-dozen, but as someone who has tried many brands, I can tell you that not all candles are the same. I’ve narrowed down our list to the best candles, ones that offer something unique. Diptyque makes our favorite candles, but you should also check out Le Labo, LuDela, Otherland, Voluspa, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day for reasons outlined below.
Here are our top picks for the best candles in 2019, and where to buy them:
- Best overall: Diptyque
- Best affordable candle: Voluspa
- Best candle for men: Le Labo
- Best seasonal candle: Otherland
- Best natural air-freshening candle: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Scented Soy Candles
- Best candle that isn’t actually a candle: LuDela
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best candle overall
Diptyque candles are not only pleasant to smell, but they’re also beautiful to look at, making them the absolute perfect candle.
What truly separates a Diptyque from other candles are the unique scents. You could opt for the best-selling Baies (French for berries), which combines blackcurrant leaves and rose petals for a fragrance that is warm, welcoming, and sophisticated. Or, you could opt for the newer Lys scent, which is floral without the sickly sweetness that generally comes from candles. Diptyque describes Lys as being akin to “a huge bouquet of fresh-cut lilies, like a shower of white petals,” and while these descriptions are over the top, this is surprisingly fitting.
And as lovely as the Diptyque scents are, what makes the candles popular is the attractive trademark packaging — it’s classy yet understated, discrete enough to fit in with any decor. While many of these candles come in clear glassware, some other options come in opaque black or white containers that are equally elegant. As for sizing, the Diptyque candles come in quite a range, from small, single-wick to double- or even triple-wick candles.
Pros: Pleasant scents, elegant packaging, wide array of sizes
Cons: Expensive, limited variety of scents (though for good reason)
The best affordable candle
Fancy candles don’t have to be expensive to be worth your money, and Voluspa proves that.
Looking for a candle company that offers a wide range of scents, sizes, and containers, but doesn’t come close to breaking the bank? Enter Voluspa.
Voluspa offers not only classic scents that are available year-round (like my favorite, the Bergamot Rose, which smells exactly as it ought to), but also sells holiday-specific fragrances. Unlike many of our other top picks, these candles come in different sizes, so you can actually choose how many wicks or how much wax you want to work with. If you’re particularly fond of a particular scent, you may want to choose a larger size and make it last a bit longer.
Similarly, you can also customize the packaging of certain candles by choosing different containers and colors. Sure, that might result in a bit of paradox of choice for some, but if you’re one who prefers more optionality to less, then this is certainly the way to shop for a classic candle.
Voluspa’s candles can also be purchased in sets of miniatures, which makes them ideal for gifting.
Pros: Affordable, wide range of sizes, wide range of scents
Cons: Packaging may be a bit too flashy for some
The best gender-neutral candle
Le Labo will convince you that candles need not be effeminate, and can indeed be perfect for a so-called “masculine” household.
Not only does Le Labo make the soaps and lotions of my dreams, but they also make some of the best candles. And while my boyfriend generally makes his own candles (seriously, with pine sap), the only other scents he allows into his home are ones from Le Labo.
Le Labo‘s scents tend to veer toward woodier notes. While that’s not manly, it is more gender neutral than, say, a bouquet of fresh flowers. For example, Le Labo‘s trademark Santal 26 scent offers a smoky, leathery fragrance, and doesn’t bear any cloying sweetness or lingering artifice. Instead, it’s a pure, simple smell that would work just as well in a kitchen as it would in a bathroom. So not only are these scents gender-neutral, they’re location-neutral as well.
I’ve also noticed that you don’t have to burn a Le Labo candle for the fragrance to become noticeable. That isn’t to say that it’s overpowering, but simply that its scents are noteworthy and quickly dispersed throughout a room.
One of my very favorite Le Labo candles is undeniably a splurge, but if you’re looking for a gift for a special occasion that will last for months on end (and realistically, years, if you don’t light it much), I would definitely spring for the concrete candle. This incredibly unique offering is actually poured into a concrete pot and is enormous (and also enormously expensive). But for a candle that doubles as a conversation piece, this is the way to go.
If you’re looking for something a bit less imposing, the majority of Le Labo candles are packaged in a chic glass cup with a wide base and slightly tapered top. Once you’ve burned out the candle, these little containers are absolutely beautiful as vases or as a home for your succulents.
Pros: Gender-neutral scents, quick-dispersing, beautiful packaging
Cons: Like Diptyque, these Le Labo candles are very expensive
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