With fewer in-person holiday gatherings and obligatory gift-giving situations this year, you may not get your usual supply of candles. And if you’re someone who actually keeps and uses these gifted candles (instead of passing them along to the next person you have to buy a generic present for), you may need to replenish your stock.
But aside from picking one up and smelling it in the store—or choosing a candle based on its name when shopping online—how do you know which ones to buy? If you’re looking for the best value, you’re going to want to take a look at a candle’s burn time. Here’s how to do that.
What to know about burn time
When candle shopping, it may seem like picking one based on its size is the way to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. But, as lifestyle blogger Adriene Davidson recently pointed out on TikTok, this is a case of size really not mattering. Instead of ounces, she says we should be checking a candle’s burn time, which is the number of hours it will last while lit until it is completely burned out.
For example, Davidson compares a $30 Capri Blue candle to a $25 Bath & Body Works candle. Yes, the Bath & Body Works candle is $5 cheaper, but it has a burn time of up to 45 hours. The Capri Blue candle, on the other hand, has a burn time of up to 85 hours, making it significantly better value.
To figure out a candle’s burn time, just turn it over and check the label on the bottom—it should be there. If it’s not, then Google the candle’s brand and name (and size, if applicable) and “burn time” and find it that way.
“Obviously, burn time isn’t the only thing that makes a great candle,” Davidson says. “Some candles are going to be stronger than others, and some you just may love the smell of. But it’s something to consider if you feel like you’re constantly replacing your candles, or if you’re trying to decide if you should buy a fancy one.”