The best candles – by season, scent and room

The Real Homes edit of the best candles for your home, listed by scent, by season and by room...

Best candles: The White Company Spring Candle on chair with other scents
(Image credit: The White Company)

If you are searching for the best candles – whether for a particular room, a particular season or if you prefer a particular scent – then we can help. Our guide below features 14 of the very best candles on the market in 2021, some of which are fruity, others floral, some woody and lots of which will leave your home smelling fresh. Whether you can have guests in your house right now or not, lighting a candle is an easy way to make your room(s) smell lovely – and they look lovely on display, in most cases.

Use the links on the left to jump to the best candles by category. Head to our best home fragrance guide for plenty more suggestions – not just candles but reed diffusers, room sprays and more.

The best candles – by season

If you are choosing a new candle based on the current season, then see our favourites for spring, summer and winter below. Where's autumn? It's coming soon...

Best spring candle: The White Company Spring Candle

(Image credit: The White Company)

The White Company Spring Candle

The best candle for spring

Specifications
Burn time: 33 hours
Size: 140g
Notes: Honeysuckle, Rose & Cut Grass

If you are searching for a signature spring scent for your home, then look no further than The White Company's Spring Candle. It's subtle yet makes a statement – it reminds us of the perfect spring morning spent outside in the fresh air.

Scent
With light and sweet notes of honeysuckle and rose paired with jasmine, this spring-scented candle also has base notes of freshly mown grass! Unique but we love it.

Packaging
This candle is poured inside a lovely looking glass vessel – it's different to all other Thee White Company candles, actually. This vessel is ribbed for added luxury. 

What we love
It's unique – in looks and smell – and the jar looks lovely on display. That and it's a nice scent for pretty much any room from your kitchen to your living room. The candle is made using the highest quality mineral wax to ensure a long, even burn as well as maximum scent release.

Good to know
This candle comes in a range of sizes, as well as in different forms including a reed diffuser and a room spray.

Best candle for summer: The White Company Wild Mint candle

(Image credit: The White Company)

The White Company Wild Mint

The best candle for summer

Specifications
Burn time: 45 hours
Size: 210g
Notes: Wild mint, tea, peppermint

Another refreshing number on our list, The White Company's Wild Mint is a bestseller for a reason. It's unobtrusive while also being the perfect summer fragrance for anywhere in your home – from your hallway to your living room or bedroom.

Scent
Its perfectly balanced blend of mint and sweet white tea results in a fragrance that is fresh yet distinctive. This is also a great choice for those who don't love the smell of mint all that much but would like something fresh and non-floral. 

Packaging
A white ceramic container. We don't love it, but it's nice enough. It also comes with a lid.

What we love
The beautifully balanced fragrance that's perfect for warmer days. It reminds us of Pimms.

Best winter candle: Diptyque Pomander Scented Candle

Diptyque Pomander Scented Candle

The best candle for winter

Specifications
Burn time: 60 hours
Size: 75g
Scent: Orange, cloves and cinnamon

If you are searching for a new candle to burn during wintertime, then look no further than this Diptyque find. It also makes a lovely Christmas gift. 

Scent
We've found that the scent of the Diptyque Pomander Scented Candle was noticeable and distinctive, but never overpowering, with some even likening it to a stronger version of the White Company’s Winter Signature candle

Packaging
The instantly recognisable label of Diptyque’s candles are almost as much of a treat as their expertly blended scents, making the whole package a wonderful luxury gift with which to treat a friend or loved one (or yourself). The actual vessel is simple glass, but it works! Great if you like something unfussy.

What we like
The superb quality of the fragrance.

Good to know
This candle is more expensive than others when you bear in mind its size.

The best candles – by scent

If you already know which type of candle scent you prefer – whether that be floral, woody or fresh – then see our recommendations below.

Best rose scented candle: Baies candle Diptyque

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Diptyque Baies Scented Candle

The best rose scented candle

Specifications
Burn time: Up to 60 hours
Size: 70g and 190g
Notes: Rose

Think most rose-based home fragrances smell dusty and unrealistic, and nothing like real roses? We're with you. The freshness of a rose is very difficult to get right in scent; Diptyque have nailed it, though, by blending this rose with blackcurrant leaves. Versatile...

Scent
The Diptyque Baies Scented Candle has a floral scent that's fresh and zesty, and not one bit old-fashioned.

Packaging
Although we love the product, the packaging is pretty basic from Diptyque. The scent sits in a plain glass jar and has the logo in a sticker on the jar.

What we love
The smell of this candle really is amazing and it does a superb job of filling an entire room fast. We also love that you can purchase a matching reed diffuser.

Good to know
We have found Baies, like all other Diptyque candles, to be rather strong, so it's best to start with the smaller size. It also doesn't tend to last very long in comparison to other candles. So we suggest not leaving it to burn for hours unless you've got the money to keep on replacing it.

Best vanilla candle: Shearer Candles Vanilla and Coconut Large Scented Silver Tin Candle

(Image credit: Amazon)

Shearer Candles Vanilla and Coconut Large Scented Silver Tin Candle

The best vanilla candle

Specifications
Burn time: 40 hours
Size: 141g
Notes: Vanilla and coconut

If you are searching for the ultimate vanilla candle, it's right here – the Shearer Candles Vanilla and Coconut scent is incredibly fragrant. It has a long burn time of 40 hours while boasting a lovely scented design. 

Scent
Use this candle to picture yourself relaxing on a sun-kissed beach thanks to its heady mix of coconut and vanilla. It's subtle but still nice – great for smaller homes.

Packaging
As well as making it the perfect gift, the attractive tin means this candle can be taken anywhere such as trips away, overnight stays at a friend’s house or just as easily moved from room to room.

What we love
Its 40 hour slow burn means you’ll get your money’s worth and you won’t need to be constantly splashing out on a new candle every weekend.

Good to know
Shearer Candles were founded back in 1897, so they know what they are doing, with 121 years’ experience in handcrafted candle making. Additional fragrances are also available in the same design, including Orange Pomander and Egyptian Cotton.

Best fresh candle: Neom Organics Happiness candle

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Neom Happiness candle

The best fresh candle

Specifications
Burn time: 20 hours, 35 hours
Size: 75g, 185g
Notes: mimosa, neroli, lemon

If ever the title of a home fragrance corresponded exactly to the effect it creates, then this is it. Happiness in a candle? It's not just a marketing ploy. This all-natural Happiness candle by Neom Organics smells absolutely amazing and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Scent
A sparkly, sunny neroli blossom; we can't really smell any mimosa here, and the lemon is in the background rather than dominant. What we really like about this fragrance is that it's very different from most natural or spa-inspired products out there, which usually smell of lavender. This smells strong and distinctive, and not at all herbal.

Packaging
Simple but effective glass with a sticker. It's not particularly interesting, but when the scent is this good, it doesn't really matter.

What we love
This candle smells incredibly natural, which is great for those who prefer organic and natural candles. Having said that, the scent is by no means weak and will fill even the largest of rooms, with the smaller sized candle. It's also rather reasonably priced for what it is – especially when bearing in mind how strong and high quality it is.

Good to know
Obviously, if you don't like neroli, steer clear, as it's the dominant note, and it's very, very strong. However, if you're a fan of orange blossom based fragrances (or even just white florals), you will be in heaven, we promise.

Best woody candle: Cire Trudon Ernesto candle

(Image credit: Cire Trudon)

Cire Trudon Ernesto Scented Candle

The best woody candle

Specifications
Burn time: 65 hours
Size: 270g
Notes: Tobacco, bergamot, labdanum, leather

Cire Trudon are something of a legend in the world of scented candles. Hand-poured into opulent Italian green glass vessels, their home fragrances are perfectly balanced and complex compositions. High quality comes to mind, as well as extremely long-lasting.

Scent
Our favourite scent is the classy yet characterful Ernesto, which smells like pipe tobacco and booze, and leather armchairs. Papa Hemingway would've been proud.

Packaging
Packaged lovely in a light blue box, the Cire Trudon Ernesto Scented Candle sits in a hand-blown glass case that features a signature gold emblem. We can tell you now that it looks as good as it smells.

What we love
This candle is long lasting, classy and most of all, the quality is superb.

Good to know
It's expensive!

Best floral candle: Kate Spade Bon Voyage Garden candle

(Image credit: Kate Spade)

Kate Spade Bon Voyage Garden

The best floral candle

Specifications
Burn time: 10oz
Size: 284g
Notes: Peony, rose, jasmine

Kate Spade's Bon Voyage home fragrance series is powerful and evocative, with a strong fragrance that really travels across the room or down a hallway.

Scent
Garden is our favourite – a well-rounded blend of peony, jasmine, and rose that really does remind us of a luscious garden in late spring. 

Packaging
Minimalist opaque white glass. Nothing special, but nice.

What we love
This is one hardworking candle: really fills a room.

Good to know
This type of fragrance isn't for the faint of heart, and you have to really like powerful florals to enjoy it. 

The best candles – by room

For those who are choosing a new candle based on the room it will live in, see below for our suggestions on which candles work best in different rooms of your home.

Best candle for bedroom: Neom Organics London Scented Candle

(Image credit: Amazon)

Neom Organics Sleep Scented Candle

The best candle for bedrooms

Specifications
Burn time: 20 hours
Size: 75g
Notes: 19 essential oils including lavender, rosewood and jasmine

Creating a relaxing setting just before bed with this sleep-scented candle. The Neom Organics Sleep Scented Candle is a great choice if you find you have trouble getting off to sleep. It's a better choice for smaller rooms as it's quite small in size.

Scent
Combines 19 essential oils to create a calming, therapeutic scent including English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine.

Packaging
This candle is poured into a large, thick glass vessel. It has a minimalist white label with the logo and name of the fragrance, and it's packaged inside a lovely box. All in all, it's pretty simple so as not to distract eyes from the rest of your decor choices.

What we love
Light this candle an hour or so before bed and let the fragrance fill the air. No petrochemical paraffin or mineral wax in this candle, just the purest possible ingredients for a 100% natural product, ethically sourced and made in Britain.

Good to know
The advice is to keep alight for two to four hours for an even burn. This candle is said to burn quite fast, and it can sometimes be hard to keep the wicks alight.

Best candle: True Grace Manor Classic Candle Fig

True Grace Manor Classic Candle Fig

The best candle for living rooms

Specifications
Burn time: 40 hours
Size: 190g
Notes: Fig, rose, cedar

This True Grace candle is the king of fig home scents, of which there are many on the market. It's a sophisticated take on a fig fragrance, with a long burning time of 40 hours. It would make a lovely addition to a living room – not just because of its smell, but because it looks the part, too.

Scent
The scent has depth and complexity, thanks to the woody base and the addition of rose, while still smelling recognisably of ripe figs. 

Packaging
Packed in a brown branded box to make a lovely gift, the aroma is poured into a handmade brown-tinted branded glass jar, ready to burn. 

What we like about it
It's a bestseller for a reason. It's a juicy fragrance, so if you like your fig strong, this is the option for you.

Good to know
The jar could be a little prettier. We love the scent, but not so much the look. This fragrance is also on the heavy side, though, so avoid burning it in small rooms. 

best candle for kitchens: Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin

(Image credit: Jo Malone)

Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin

The best candle for kitchens

Specifications
Burn time: 45 hours
Size: 200g
Notes: Lime, basil, mandarin

Jo Malone is by now a fragrance giant, and there's nothing quite like the spot-on quality of her home fragrances (to say nothing of the timelessly elegant packaging). This candle in particular is a classic fragrance that is suitable for any room in the house. 

Scent 
Lime, Basil, and Mandarin is a classic for a reason: it's the fragrance that is guaranteed to get someone in the room to exclaim, 'Oooh, what's that lovely smell?'. Fresh and zesty, with sweetness from the mandarin. 

Packaging
Gorgeous! With the signature black bow on top of the lid, this is ready for gifting.

What we like
The overall effect – this is pure luxury from the fragrance to the presentation.

Good to know
These candles are pricey and gone far too quickly. Better to go for the larger size to avoid disappointment.

The best gourmand winter candle: Trish McEvoy Wild Blueberry Vanilla candle

(Image credit: Amazon)

Trish McEvoy Wild Blueberry Vanilla candle

The best candle for hallways

Specifications
Burn time: 40-50 hours
Size: 205g
Scent: Blueberry and vanilla

The most gorgeous vanilla candle ever, and we're not even exaggerating. It's comforting, easy going and it could even fill a large room – or several rooms if placed in a hallway.

Scent
We can't get enough of the gorgeous scent of the Wild Blueberry Vanilla candle from Trish McEvoy – imagine filling your home with the most comforting smell of sweet blueberry muffins being baked in the oven, and you're pretty close to the smell of this. 

Packaging
The packaging could be a bit more exciting, but when a home fragrance smells this good, we're prepared to overlook the plastic wrapping. 

What we love
How intense the scent it - you don't even need to light the candle. The wax is of a great quality and burns very evenly.

Good to know
Could give you a headache, so use it sparingly.

Best fresh candle: Yankee Candle Large Jar Clean Cotton

(Image credit: Amazon)

Yankee Candle Large Jar Clean Cotton

The best candle for bathrooms

Specifications
Burn time: 150 hours
Size: 623g
Notes: Clean Cotton

The Yankee Candle Large Jar Clean Cotton gives a clean, even burn thanks to its 100 per cent natural fibre cotton wick, which is straightened and centred by hand for the best quality burn. Though subtle, it's ultra-long burn time means you can light it and use it for hours on end.

Scent
Using natural essential oils, this candle is so alluring with its sun-dried cotton overtones with hints of white flowers, green notes and lemon.

Packaging
The classic jar suits all room schemes and makes an ideal gift for family and friends.

What we like
It's subtle yet still lovely – and perfect for using in any room of your home. It smells like fresh washing, essentially. The premium-grade paraffin wax gives a clean, consistent burn.

Good to know
There’s also a matching Car Jar to give your motor a fresh smell, too!

Best candle for a guest bedroom: Heyland & Whittle Clementine Prosecco Candle

(Image credit: Heyland & Whittle )

Heyland & Whittle Clementine Prosecco Candle

The best candle for a guest bedroom

Specifications
Burn time: 40 hours
Size: 180g, 230g
Notes: Clementine and prosecco

The Clementine and Prosecco candle from Heyland & Whittle does exactly what it says: it fills your home with the celebratory scent of freshly peeled clementines and bubbly. It's also very reasonably priced and it would make a lovely gift.

Scent
The only way to describe the scent of this is as light, zesty and fruity. it's simple yet cheerful, and it definitely fills a room.

Packaging
Beautifully boxed to make the perfect gift, the Heyland & Whittle Clementine Prosecco Candle sits in a cream patterned glass vessel which features the logo. As the wax burns away it reveals an etched glass pattern. Fun.

What we love
Perfect for Christmas (or any other celebratory occasion, for that matter), this candle is zesty and fun, and it's the perfect pick-me-up on a dull day. It's also made from clean-burning soy wax and is environmentally-friendly.

Good to know
It doesn't have amazing complexity or longevity,


What to consider when buying a candle

It’s all too easy to be guided by price when it comes to buying a scented candle but the most important things are quality, burn time and fragrance. Think about the scent you want to fill your room with – something soft and subtle, calming and soothing or something that packs a punch? Some lose their smell too quickly so read buyer’s reviews to see what others think of their purchase before you buy. Look for good quality wax and for larger candles, two or three wicks for an even burn.

Soy wax candles are better for your health, as they burn cleaner and produce much less soot than paraffin versions. This helps keep your space pollution-free and is kinder on pets, too as well as avoiding stains building up on walls over time.

And if you want to be able to give a candle as a gift, look for a design that comes in an attractive tin, box or jar with a luxe look. Candles are great accessories for room revamps or bathroom makeovers so choose the packaging carefully.

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