Best candles: 5 warm and inviting scents for every season, reason, and occasion

From fresh florals to seasonal scents, here are the best candles our Editors can't stop buying.

Included in this guide:

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you've ever found a scent from the past or had an aromatherapy spa treatment, then you know that smell is a powerful thing; Which is why we consider selecting the best candles an essential element of décor at home. They help set the mood and atmosphere of space, and the best home fragrance is unmatched.

A delicious-smelling candle can do everything from put your mind at ease, setting the mood for another dinner at home, or help you celebrate the season. 

Smells such as lavender or vanilla create a safe and relaxing atmosphere, working wonders on the mind and spirit. While a citrusy scent may remind you of a favorite vacation, and a whiff of rose petals is reminiscent of days in the park with friends. 

Of course, when choosing the best candles, it all bubbles down to personal preference, but the upside to that is that some fail-safe fragrances are guaranteed to bring warmth and luxury into your rooms (and days) – and that's why we're here. 

Whether you're looking for a subtle, striking, or in-between scent, we've rounded up a shortlist of the best candles that are both suited for everyday use or on the days you require a little self-care. 

The best candles to invest in, according to our team

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(Image credit: Diptyque)

1. Diptyque 'Vanille' Candle

The best candle: the best year-round scent

Specifications
Family: Spicy
Scent: Vanilla
Size: 190g
Burn Time: 60 hours
Reasons to buy
+A soothing vanilla scent suitable for year-round use+Burn time up to 60 hours
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier side

If you're looking for a universal scent in an iconic little jar, it's best to start with diptyque's Vanille/Vanilla Candle because it is suitable for year-round use. 

Why do we love it?

With a burn time of up to 60-hours, it justifies the $68 price tag, alongside its signature black-and-white decorative vessel. This candle will seamlessly double as your favorite home dècor and has the versatility to be repurposed later on to hold makeup brushes or pencils on your desk. 

What does it smell like?

Dense, black vanilla pods, so vividly fragrant that candle is more than enough to fill the air with its sweet-smelling scent. Layered with a spice that discloses a leathery, smoky accent, together, both are so blissfully beautiful when released, forging a captivating, powerful fragrance. 

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(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Bath and Body Works 'Wildberry Jam Donut' Candle

The best candle: the best sweet-smelling scent that isn't overwhelming

Specifications
Fragrance Family: Wildberry with a hint of cinnamon
Features: Essential Oils
Burn time: up to 45 hours
Type: 3-Wick
Reasons to buy
+Warm comforting scent+Affordable+Long-lasting three-wick model to ensure longevity
Reasons to avoid
-May be too sweet for some

For those wondering how a Bath & Body Works candle made it on our must-have list, you've never smelt the Wildberry Jam Donut. It's the comfort and joy-induced candle that makes you feel so warm-and-toast inside, impossible to resist — and trust me, I've tried. 

What does it smells like?

Who are we kidding? We're all looking for ways to find comfort – and the sweet wildberry jam notes in this candle will get the job done. With top-notch concentrations of natural essential oils in its formula, alongside hints of powdered donuts and brown sugar crumble, this scent is reminiscent of childhood days baking cookies with loved ones or going into your favorite bakery shop on the weekends; it's the familiar scent that makes you feel at home (and at peace). 

Why do we love it?

The three-wick candle is lead-free, soot-free, and offering a long-lasting, clean burn that's brighter for extra ambiance. With a burn-time of up to 45-hours, it's the sweet-smelling scent that you'll want to treat yourself to day-in-and-day-out. 

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(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Village Candle Spiced Pumpkin 16 oz Glass Jar Scented Candle

The best candle: the best Autumn-inspired scent to have on-hand

Specifications
Size: Medium, 16 oz
Fragrance: Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Vanilla, And Ginger
Fragrance Family: Spice
Material: Paraffin
Reasons to buy
+A great Autumn scent that can be used throughout the Fall season+Affordable+Larger size
Reasons to avoid
-It's a one-season scent

This Village Candle Spice Pumpkin scent is like fall in a jar. Perfect for those chilly early autumn days when you're cozying up at home. 

What does it smell like?

For all you Pumpkin-Spice Latte-lovers out there: this candle is for you. Village Candle has blended warm cinnamon, rich vanilla, and tangy ginger with the freshest notes of pumpkin for an energizing and cozy homage to fall. 

Why do we love it?

We love a high-quality fragrance, and when you factor in the food-grade paraffin wax for a clean, even burn, it's hard to pass up this perfect piece. The lead-free hand-trimmed cotton wick assures shoppers that we're not only investing in a worthwhile candle but will enjoy it with peace of mind as well. What's better than that? Nothing. 

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(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Chesapeake Bay Reflection + Clarity Candle

The best candle: the soothing all-season scents that'll bring clarity and calmness

Specifications
Fragrance Family: Aquatic
Size: Medium
Material/Type: Soy Blend
Burn Time: up to 50 hours
Reasons to buy
+A calming scent to awaken senses+An extremely long burn time of up to 50 hours+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-N/A

A simple way to achieve balance and harmony in your home (or to mentally transport yourself to the spa) is through Chesapeake Bay's Reflection + Clarity Candle. 

What does it smell like?

Awaken your senses with this candle's diverse blend. Designed with a combination of eucalyptus, lavender, and sea salt with hints of sage blends perfectly here, emitting a light aroma and providing a sense of calm. 

Why do we love it?

Similar to taking a relaxing bath, this candle has the same effect on our mind, body, and soul — but with a long-lasting effect. With a burn time of up to 50 hours and a formula that includes essentials oils, it's the one-stop-shop for restoring mindfulness.

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(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Yankee Candle, 'Coconut Beach' Candle

The best candle: the best beach-inspired fragrance to have in your cabinet

Specifications
Size: Small, Medium, Large
Scent: Coconuts
Color: White
Type: Wax
Burn time: up to 150 hours
Reasons to buy
+Exceptionally long burn time of up to 150 hours+Powerful scent that isn't overwhelming+Multiple sizes available+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-N/A

Rounding out our list is by far one of the most long-lasting fragrances on the market, and that Yankee Candle's Coconut Beach Candle. 

What does it smell like?

Transport yourself to a tropical paradise courtesy of this candle. Designed with an intoxicating fragrance of wind-swept palms and coconut milk, it's the peace paradise we're all in desperate need of during this pandemic. 

Why do we love it?

There are so many reasons to love this soy-blend candle, but let's state the obvious: the burn-time. Most options on the market have a candle-life expectancy of 40 to 50-hours when used, but not here. 

This candle blows the rest out of the water with a burn-time of 110-to-150-hours. Exception! More so, since it's highly affordable. Ringing in at around $23 — contingent on what size jar you select — this super affordable jar is the vacation-in-a-bottle we all need ASAP. 

What to consider when selecting a candle?

It's crucial to estimate the place where you're looking to store your fragrance. 

For the living area: it's best to consider your aesthetic or decor; minimalists will want to reach for woody scents, whereas traditional settings require a scent floral-based. 

With kitchens: it's best to reach for something lighter and airier; the last thing you want to do is compete with food aromas, so we suggest a spicy scent or subtle aqua. 

Now, if you are shopping for your bedroom: opt for an aroma that's lavender or vanilla-based; you'll want to calm your senses and create a peaceful oasis. 

What to look for in the best candle?

There are a few considerations to take into account when selecting the best candle, such as the wax. Most recommend selecting a candle with 100% pure beeswax and no artificial colors. 

Another important aspect is the wick type. Sure, most candles range from one-wick to three-wick, but whichever you do select (it's personal preference), it's best to find one that is 100% cotton. 

Lastly, when it comes to fragrance, there are two ways to go. Some recommend 100 percent pure essential oils due to their healing properties and natural-based formulas. While others say find a fragrance-free base, but truthfully, either way, works. 

Nonetheless, with that said, it all boils down to personal preference and what you like. Take everything with a grain of salt, and go with your gut feeling to help you find your match. 

Brittany Romano
Brittany Romano

Brittany Romano joins the Real Homes team as their U.S. E-commerce Editor, based in New York City. From her start as a fashion market assistant at Marie Claire to building highly profitable commerce vertical at Us Weekly and AMI brands, Brittany has produced award-winning content covering everything from celebrity beauty hacks to must-have items from online sales. She is a graduate of New England College. When she isn’t writing, you can find Brittany indulging in yet another DIY-project or cheering on her beloved Boston Bruins. Find her on Instagram at @Rammmyyy.

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