The 13 Best Candles to Buy in 2023

Nette candles evoke heartfelt memories fit in with every aesthetic.

In This Article

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Best Candle Brands

Nette / Boy Smells / Sidia

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as having too many candles — after all, different scents evoke different moods. Fresh, airy scents can help you recenter after a stressful day, while cozy, warm fragrances can transform your space into an inviting oasis. Finding a scent you like is only part of the process, though. It's also important to take into account burn time, aesthetics (so you can match your decor), and wax type so you can get the most out of your candle. With so many candle brands out there it can be difficult to figure out which ones are actually worth your money. Luckily, we did the research to find the top 13 candle brands.

Nette tops our list for its chic vessels, unique scents, and incredible burn time. If you’re looking for a new candle for yourself (or to gift!) keep reading — whether you like fresh, floral scents or prefer more woody or spicy fragrances, we have something for everyone on our list.

Find the 13 best candles to buy, below.

Best Overall

Nette

Nette

Nette

What We Love: They look stunningly chic on shelves.

What We Don’t Love: Though these candles are said to have a 60 hours burn time I managed to burn through one in two days. 

If you’ve never burned a Nette candle in your space, now is the time. The NYC-based candle brand has been gaining popularity, and it’s easy to understand why: Each scent somehow smells familiar and new at the same time and manages to bring old memories to the forefront of your mind. Whether they remind you of a place or a mood, Nette fragrances create a satisfying ambiance and evoke feelings that sometimes words just can’t describe. Beyond the scents, the packaging is simple yet chic and begs to be repurposed once you’ve burned through the candle. 

Though there are 17 scents to choose from, our favorites are Queen and Twelfth Night. Queen reminds us of the golden days of summer — it smells sweet thanks to notes of cardamom, wild lupine, and honey, but hints of pine needles and hay give it a woodsy twist. Twelfth Night smells what it feels like to journal on a daily basis. Verbena, pear, and tinge of cedar wood permeate the room just like a pen puts words to paper. 

Price at time of publish: $82

Burn Time: 65 hours  | Wax: Coconut-soy | Best-Selling Scent: Queen

Best Splurge

Nest New York

Nest New York Candle

Nest New York

What We Love: The luxurious scents turn your space into an oasis. 

What We Don’t Love: Some scents are too light for our liking.

If I could choose only one candle brand to burn for the rest of my life it would be Nest New York. From the moment any Nest candle is lit, a luxe scent envelops your space, transforming the ambiance in seconds. (Depending on the aroma, I question whether I’m in my apartment or actually in a woodsy cabin, in the south of France, or in a majestic flower field.) Though strong, the complex aromas don't overwhelm your senses. Plus, the vessels are like mini works of art, and look beautiful wherever you place them. 

While there are 30 scents to choose from, our favorites are Wild Mint and Eucalyptus and Moroccan Amber. The former transports you to a high-end spa — it smells fresh and awakens the senses thanks to notes of mint, eucalyptus, Thai ginger, and basil. Moroccan Amber, on the other hand, is very exotic. With a blend of Moroccan amber, sweet patchouli, bergamot and a hint of eucalyptus, I imagine it’s what the desert smells like at dusk — warm and moody. 

Price at time of publish: $78

Burn Time: 50-60 hours  | Wax: Paraffin | Best-Selling Scent: Wild Mint and Eucalyptus

Best Budget

Yankee Candle

Yankee Candle Balsam and Cedar Candle

Yankee Candle

What We Love: These candles can burn up to 150 hours, so you get a long-lasting scent for an affordable price. 

What We Don’t: We wish the vessels were more stylish and less bulky.

Yankee Candles are classics for a reason — not only do they have an impressive burn time of up to 150 hours, there are also over 600 scents to choose from. While the options are seemingly endless (and can be overwhelming) they're organize into six well thought out categories — citrus, floral, fresh and clean, fruity, sweet and spicy, or woody — to make it easier to find the perfect fragrance for your space. The one downside of these candles is that they are quite bulky and aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other options on this list. But, aside from that, the sheer amount of scent profiles and long burn times make them a true winner in our eyes.

Price at time of publish: $31 

Burn Time: up to 150 hours  | Wax: Paraffin | Best-Selling Scent: Autumn Wreath

Best Three Wick

Bath and Body Works

Bath and Body Works

Bath and Body Works

What We Love: Each vessel is uniquely decorated to match the candles notes. 

What We Don’t Love: The three wick candles burn faster than options on this list.

It would be a crime not to include Bath and Body Works’ iconic three-wick candles on our list — they’re a favorite among InStyle editors. The brand has a variety of scented products (including perfumes, body lotions, and shower gels), but the candles are next-level. Three-wick candles are known to carry fragrances further, and these do just that, completely encompassing small and large spaces alike. Though there are hundreds of scents to choose from, Bath and Body Works is always adding new, exciting fragrances to their line up and reinventing old favorites. In the winter, light Winter White Woods to turn your home into a magical winter wonderland with hints of glistening icicles, cedarwood, and sandalwood. Or, pretend you’re at a seaside resort by burning Linen and Lavender (which combines fresh lavender, crisp linens, and fresh air). 

Each vessel is uniquely decorated to match the scent within, which is a playful twist on the classic candle jar. The only fault we can find is that these candles burn much quicker than other options on this list. Fortunately, Bath and Body Works hosts promotions often, so you can get more than one at a discount and stock up on your favorite scents. 

Price at time of publish: $27

Burn Time: 45 hours | Wax: Soy | Best-Selling Scent: Autumn Wreath

Best Single Wick

Anecdote Candles

Anecdote Candles

Amazon

What We Love: The candle names and can’t be beat — Adulting, Astrological Storming, Bottomless Mimosa — need we say more? 

What We Don’t Love: These candles are smaller than average.

Have you ever heard of Hygge? It’s what the Danish call an obsession with getting cozy and creating a warm atmosphere within their space. We want to feel and create hygge every day — and Anecdote Candles do just that. Each fragrance has a funny name and description that will make you belly laugh before saying, ‘that makes sense!’ Not to mention, there truly is a scent (and anecdote) for everyone.

While the scents themselves are pleasing, the descriptions are truly delightful — and we find that there’s a candle for virtually every situation. Know a friend who just quit their job? Gift them Two Weeks Notice to give them reassurance that they made the right decision (it smells like “burn out and peace out,” but also vanilla and black cedar, which feels like a warm embrace from a loved one). Adulting, on the other hand, smells like steady paychecks but with a side of Uber Eats, and investing in expensive jeans — all that and fig and cashmere, of course.

Essentially, the playful names will draw you in, but the intoxicating fragrances will keep you coming back for more. The candles are smaller than a lot of others on this list, but we don’t mind because picking out a new scent every few months is part of the fun. 

Price at time of publish: $14 to $34

Burn Time: 40 to 50 hours | Wax: Coconut-soy | Best-Selling Scent: Adulting

Best Fall Scents

Diptyque

Diptyque Santal Candle

Diptyque

What We Love: These candles are super elegant and double as beautiful home decor. 

What We Don’t Love: For their size, they’re quite expensive.

Honestly, I always thought Diptyque candles just looked pretty. I never thought that they could possibly smell as lovely as they looked, but I was so wrong. One whiff instantly made me a Diptyque believer, especially when it comes to cozy fall scents. I’m an autumn girl to my core: I love cozy nights and crunchy leaves, and, — most of all — a good bonfire. The Feu de Bois candle smells exactly like those things and reminds me how great fall weather feels. It’s the perfect woodsy scent that I like to burn when the colder weather starts to set in. 

Lighter, airy scents tend to evoke memories of spring time, but some floral fragrances can conjure feelings of fall, too. Try Feuille de Lavender if you prefer lighter autumnal candles that smell a bit more earthy and herbal. 

Price at time of publish: $72

Burn Time: 60 hours  | Wax: Soy | Best-Selling Scent: Feu de Bois

Best Cozy Scents

Snif

Snif

Snif

What We Love: Snif makes scents that are somehow cozy, fresh, and relaxing all in one. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish there were more scents to choose from.

Snif actually started out as a fragrance brand before expanding into candles — and because they understand that fragrance is a deeply personal selection, you can even ‘try’ a candle at no cost. If you don’t like it, you can return it, no questions asked, or you can opt to keep it and pay for it then. 

If you’re indecisive (like I am) Snif offers a candle bundle kit of their signature scents including Off the Grid (a warm, calming fragrance), Birds and the Breeze (a light, airy scent), and Instant Karma (a creamy, spicy fragrance). Each kit contains three full-sized candles plus minis of each scent. I’ve burned all three at once because I couldn’t decide, and my apartment transformed into what felt like the coziest place on earth, making me want to cuddle up and read a book for days on end. Though it’s difficult to choose a favorite, I have to go with Instant Karma. I keep it on my desk and burn it each morning because it sets my day up for success with notes of cardamom, vetiver, cedarwood, and black tea.

Price at time of publish: $44

Burn Time: over 50 hours | Wax: Soy and vegetable wax  | Best-Selling Scent: Instant Karma

Best Jars

Lafco

Lafco Clary Sage Candle

Lafco

What We Love: These candles come in multiple sizes, including a jumbo 86 ounce option.

What We Don’t Love: They’re hard to burn right down to the bottom. (You’ll need to pop out the remaining wax and place it on a wax melter).

It’s one thing for a candle to have a pretty, aesthetically pleasing jar (who doesn’t love that), but it’s another thing when the scent is just as gorgeous. That’s the case with all of Lafco’s minimalistic candles. These are the best jars to scatter across your home — they’re made of artfully crafted hand-blown glass, and come in an array of sizes, from mini 1.9 ounce vessels to massive 86 ounce canisters. Once burned through, they can be repurposed (though you might have to pop the last bit of wax out, because they usually don’t burn down to the bottom). After finishing my first Lafco candle, I placed it in my bookshelf and kept little candies in it, but they also make great makeup brush holders and mini flower vases. Their scents cover the gamut from fresh and airy to spicy and woody, with Feau de Bois (a wintry spiced aroma) and Chamomile Lavender (a soothing, spa-like fragrance) being top-sellers.

Price at time of publish: $19 to $375

Burn Time: Up to 200 hours | Wax: Soy and paraffin wax | Best-Selling Scent: Feu de Bois, Chamomile Lavender

Best Aromatherapy Candle

Sidia

Sida

Sida

What We Love: These candles can instantly change your mood, melting away any stress.

What We Don’t Love: These tend to tunnel.

I like to start and end my days with an intention — doing so puts me in the best mindset. After incorporating these candles into my routine, they quickly became a necessity in my daily ritual. Wired is for the morning: It’s like your cup of coffee, and encourages you to get through your entire email inbox. It smells like tobacco, citrus, and eucalyptus, a combo that awakens the senses.

And while there’s no better feeling than ripping your actual bra off, settling down at the end of the day with a candle called Braless feels similar. Burn this while you’re making dinner or while you draw a steamy bath. The woodsy, cashmere musk scent helps me unwind after busy days. Both these candles did wonders for my seasonal depression last winter and continue to be go-to's. My one strife is they tunnel a bit, so keep an eye on them while burning to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Price at time of publish: $58

Burn Time: 50 Hours | Wax: Soy and coconut wax | Best-Selling Scent: Wired and Braless

Best for Gifting

Boy Smells

Boy Smells Slow Burn Candle

Boy Smells

What We Love: The packaging and lengthy scent descriptions are unique and memorable. 

What We Don’t Love: Their pricing isn’t standard across the candles despite the sizing.

Everyone recognizes a Boy Smells candle — the simplistic vessels can often be found in carefully curated Instagram shelfies. While the aesthetic is what initially drew me in, the scents are what keep me coming back for more. For the past few years, Boy Smells candles have topped my holiday wish lists. If you receive one as a gift, know that you’re incredibly loved; and if you’re giving one, know that you’re one of the best gift-givers around.

Boy Smells has a wide array of olfactives to choose from, ranging from the woody and spicy Cedar Stack to the fruity and floral LES. We love that many of their signature scents come in two sizes, too: A classic 8.5 ounce size with a 50 hour burn time, and the magnum 27 ounce size that can burn over 100 hours. Additionally, their specially-crafted sets are ideal for gifting because they combine scents from the same fragrance family, so if you know someone who is partial to floral candles, there’s a six piece set that is sure to please. Our one strife with Boy Smells is the fact that its pricing isn’t consistent, but that’s a minor inconvenience that can be overlooked. 

Price at time of publish: $36 to $96

Burn Time: up to 110 hours | Wax: Coconut and beeswax | Best-Selling Scent: Cedar Stack, LES

Best Fresh Scents

Elorea

Elorea Earth Candle

Elorea

What We Love: Each candle has a corresponding perfume. 

What We Don’t Love: They have a hefty price tag for such a small vessel.

Woodsy scents can often be overpowering for those with sensitive noses. For those who still yearn for something fresh and earthy, Elorea has the solution. The brand’s four candles channel the elements: Water, fire, earth, and air. Water smells like a fresh flower field after a rainfall, with bright notes of eucalyptus. I actually burn this scent when I’m cleaning my apartment because it provides the feeling of a much needed reset. Earth transports you to nature, highlighting all of the intoxicating fragrances you experience during a mountain hike — oakmoss, patchouli, and sage. Despite the name, Fire isn’t inherently woody, rather it feels warm and inviting with an amber base that is brightened with fresh citrus and spices. Finally, Heaven is light and aromatic: Sandalwood intertwines with green tea and sweet florals to create a scent that lifts your spirit to the heavens. If you fall in love with any of the candles (we’d be surprised if you didn’t) they also come bottled as perfume, so you can wear the fragrance wherever you go.

Price at time of publish: $75

Burn Time: 60 Hours | Wax: Soy and coconut wax | Best-Selling Scent: Water

Best Floral Scents

Lake & Skye

Lake & Skye

Lake & Skye

What We Love: This brand is female founded and plants a tree for every order placed on their website.

What We Don’t Love: The candles burn fast and do not last for the full 50 hours mentioned.

While Lake & Skye has only recently ventured into crafting candles, it has quickly become one of my favorite home fragrance brands. I was hooked from the moment I started burning Verbena and Velvet Moss. Floral scents can often be too light, leaving you wondering if you actually lit the candle, but this one is strong without being overpowering. The unique floral fragrance combines fruity verbena with luscious rose that is then enhanced with hints of eucalyptus, cedarwood, and sandalwood. It reminds me of wandering through a lush forest, and stumbling upon wildflowers. Other standout floral scents include Echo Lake and Iris & White Orchid. Just be wary that these burn quickly, and you probably won’t get a full 50 hours out of them. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Burn Time: 50 Hours | Wax: Soy  | Best-Selling Scent: 11 11

Best Musky Scents

Rukske

Rukske Hiriko Candle

Rukske

What We Love: These scents quickly fill the room. 

What We Don’t Love: The wick can sometimes float away from the center as you burn it.

If we could only describe Rukske candles in one word it would be chic: The label-less black jars (and black wax) make them feel a little mysterious, which is fitting for their sensual, musky scents. From the moment you light these, the fragrance permeates the room. Try Black Oud, a heady multi-layered mixture of sandalwood, vanilla, amber, and nutmeg, or light Hiroko, a brighter, yet still sexy medley of patchouli, orange, rosemary and musk. The newest scent, Goldie, gives sexy a new definition with hints of amber, musk, and sweet clementine. I’ve burned through multiple fragrances from this brand, and you’ll want to remember to trim the wick to keep it in place and prevent tunneling.

Price at time of publish: $65

Burn Time: 50 Hours | Wax: Soy | Best-Selling Scent: Goldie, Hiroko

What to Consider

Burn Time

Burn time is closely correlated with the size of your candle — so typically, the bigger the candle, the longer you’ll be able to burn and enjoy it. Of all the brands on our list, Lafco makes the largest candles (the mega vessels are 86 ounces) that have a burn time of up to 200 hours. With that in mind, the standard single-wick candle usually has a burn time of 50 to 60 hours. Depending on how long you want your candle to last, you should take the burn time into consideration, but be sure to check the packaging for an accurate estimate before purchasing. 

Scent Profile

The scent profile of your candle is perhaps the most important thing to think about, and it all comes down to personal preference. For this guide, we selected many of the winners based on scent profile offerings. For example, if you prefer fresh fragrances, Elorea features four candles that capture the essence of the four natural elements. If floral is your jam, Lake & Skye reinvents traditional flowery fragrances by adding unexpected zings to their candles. As for musky scents, Rukske candles make any room feel sensual and inviting. 

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best wax for candles?

Most candle companies use soy, coconut, vegetable, or beeswax. “Beeswax is an excellent wax and one of the oldest candle making waxes,” says Jessica Bragdon, co-founder of Koala Eco. “It burns clean and even, and releases negative ions which help clean the air.” The other waxes are also natural and have great burn longevity. 

Some brands use paraffin wax, but overtime candle companies have been phasing it out. “Soy wax, coconut wax, and beeswax actually burn more slowly than the common paraffin wax.” says Isabel Lazo, essential oils expert and founder of Isa Lazo Skincare. “I generally avoid paraffin wax candles because they also produce more soot and potentially toxic chemicals.”

“If you're using a candle with Paraffin wax, I recommend reviewing some of the literature around potential emissions/by-products from burning paraffin wax candles. There are some studies about carcinogen emissions and as with everything, I recommend people arm themselves with knowledge about what goes into their body (yes, inhalations from candles — just like cigarette smoke or air pollutants — impact your overall health),” says Shrankhla Holecek, Ayurvedic expert and founder UMA Oils.

How should you remove candle wax from the jar?

Removing every last bit of wax from your candle jar isn’t always easy. While you can burn to the bottom and actually see the bottom, your wick is likely not long enough to get through all the wax. 

To remove every last bit, first burn your candle as far as you can. We expect each candle to have about half an inch to an inch of wax left at the bottom. You’ll then want to put your jar in the freezer to loosen the leftover wax. Freezing helps it come out in one piece, then you can melt it in a wax melter. 

You might need a little butter knife to aid in the removal process, especially if the jar is deep. But more often than not, the freezer will have lifted it loose on its own. 

Why Shop With Us

Olivia Cefalu is a Brooklyn-based freelance beauty editor and writer. She covers everything beauty and wellness related, and has a real passion for SPF, a good facial, and nail art. With bylines in Shape, Well & Good, Fatherly, Ipsy, and Very Good Light, her research is thorough and inspired by a passion for teaching others about beauty practices and products. She burned through dozens of candles to find the best ones for this piece. Plus, she consulted Jessica Bragdon, co-founder of Koala Eco; Isabel Lazo, essential oils expert and founder of Isa Lazo Skincare; and Shrankhla Holecek, Ayurvedic expert and founder UMA Oils for more information on candles and how they can affect our well-being. 

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