30 of the best candles, tried and tested by us — from $12

The best candles in 2024 — from giftable vessels, to classy wax lights that will impress guests

Four of the best candles from Jo Malone, Diptyque, Maison Margiela and Boy Smells on Holographic vector graphic
(Image credit: Future / Jo Malone / Diptyque / Maison Margiela / Boy Smells)

Lighting the best candle you have can evoke all the feels, and they're a simple but luxurious home experience to enjoy.

Since joining the team in 2018, I have tested over 100+, and only the products I would repurchase have been shortlisted in this guide.

These are the best home fragrance if you're in the market for a scented wax. They've all been approved for having a good throw (how well the scent travels through the air), providing a lovely scent, and burning beautifully during testing.

The very best candles to buy this year

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

By the way, these selections make for great Mother's Day gift ideas, but don't be surprised if you end up snagging one for yourself, too. 

Spicy, warming, and woody candles

Fresh scents

Floral scents

Fruity and sweet scents

What to consider when choosing a candle

When shopping for a candle, here are five things to consider:

  • Burn time — compare this with the size of your candle and the price to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
  • Size — choose this based on how large your room is, and go for more than one wick if you can.
  • Notes — what does it mostly smell like? does this fit the current season we're in? Avoid any heavy notes (fruity, woody, spicy) in smaller spaces or windowless rooms.
  • Wax— soy is better for your health, but it is more expensive and it's harder to clean from a jar afterward. Paraffin is an affordable choice and still burns well.
  • Shape — Generally speaking, there are five types of candles to choose from. Tea lights are small enough to dot around the house and are often housed in thin metal containers. These can either be lit or melted using a candle warmer. Votives are a little taller and are great for small spaces. Filled candles are the most popular with wax poured into glass or terracotta vessels. Pillar candles can be used to create height. Some come in containers, and others are OK to light without one. And, tapered candles and thin and long. Typically, these fit in candle holders and are placed on a dining table or a mantelpiece for added light or to create intimacy.

How we test candles

A range of scented candles on Annie's white coffee table with a bunch of daffodils in shot

(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

Here's what we look for when testing candles:

  • By scent — how fitting is it for the current time of year?
  • By throw performance — does its fragrance spread itself around a room?
  • By design — what does its vessel look like on display? 
  • By burn — does it burn clean and is it soot-free?
  • By price — is it affordable? Can you realistically afford to replace it once it's empty?

We're mindful of the environmental impact candles can have, which is why we have guides on what to do with leftover candle wax and how to reuse a candle jar

And, while the team aren't fire safety experts, it pays to be responsible when lighting a candle. When igniting the wick, the best way to do this is with a long matches (these Diamond wooden matches on Amazon are highly rated), or an electric candle lighter (like this one from Iuire on Amazon).

To extinguish a candle — don't just purse your lips and blow it out. Doing this can be hazardous and messy, causing hot wax to drip over and potentially damage surfaces. The safest way to put out a candle is by investing in a snuffer. This is a small hollow metal cone on the end of a handle, used to put out the waxlight by smothering the flame. This accessory by Kirecoo on Amazon is under $7 and will save you from flying soot.


What candles give off the most scent?

There's no one straight answer as this will depend on the size of your room and how insulated it is. If your space is large, go for a bigger candle (try one with three wicks) to adequately scent your space. Always place your candle in the center of your room for maximum performance. 

And, if you have a window open, you'll smell your candle a lot less. The same goes if your room is cold. Warmth will move the scent around a room and stretch it from corner to corner.

If you're also obsessed with that TikTok-famous candle warmer, you'll be thrilled to know we found six budget-friendly options. 

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. I've been part of the Real Homes team since 2018, when I joined as Deals Editor. Along with covering major sales events — from Black Friday to Amazon Prime Day — I review home must-haves so that you can buy with peace of mind. Mostly focusing on home fragrance and sleep, as well as a few vacuum cleaners, I've tested pretty much every item you can think of that you need in your home. I live on the outskirts of the city in a two-bed apartment with my husband and my pug, Doug. So I am always searching for compact alternatives and ways to save floor space. What about when I am not typing away? Well, you'll find me enjoying an iced coffee (no matter the season) and trying out the latest brunch spots the city has to offer, or booking my next holiday. Where else can you find my words? Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, Gardeningetc, and Woman & Home.

With contributions from