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It seems like every other day there’s a new It candle. (Have you seen Hope’s Night Scented Candle or Piglet’s Country Garden?) To that we say: The more the merrier. According to Sylvana Kiss and Sasha Zinshtein—the creative couple behind Casa Ziki, a housewares and gift shop with storefronts in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York—the candle market is crazily saturated right now. Keeping up with the trendiest sniffs is like chasing perfect sunsets, which makes choosing a signature scent (or even a few) for your home into a sport. We test heaps of candles, and our 24 top picks are below, including those that are a part of our permanent rotation and new-to-market favorites that we’re eyeing right now. Light ‘em up.

Our Favorites

New Favorites 

As we said, there’s always a new candle debuting from beloved brands and newcomers. We stay on top of what’s out there, and here’s what we’re feeling right now. 

Flamingo Estate just dropped its annual limited-edition candle, Petrichor. It’s oversize, equipped with two cotton wicks, and made from 100% vegetable wax. The scent is created by microbes in the soil interacting with warm water, with hints of myrrh, amber, vetiver, sage, and eucalyptus. The brand calls it an “invitation to wash away what no longer serves you.” Burn it for 85 hours and then reuse the recycled glass vessel elsewhere. Diptyque’s Baies scent might not be new, but these adorable heart-adorned mini vessels are—and they’re perfect for gifting to your special someone. Nopalera, a Chicana-owned body-care brand we love, just released three candles with reusable vessels (re: margaritas); we’re very into the copal and sandalwood notes of the Tepoztlán. Byredo, which you’ll see throughout this guide, just gave us Choco Mascarpone, full of roast coffee, floral jasmine, bitter chocolate, and patchouli.

Best Woodsy Candles

Keap has somehow distilled the scent of our ideal setting—being parked next to a long-lingering fire, a warm beverage in hand—and ensconced it in wax. The Wood Cabin scent is a mélange of cedar, palo santo, and fireside embers, and you can almost hear it crackling. Other woodsy darlings: Joya Studio’s brick-oven-inspired collab with Brooklyn pizza haunt Lucali; P.F. Candle Co’s Southwest-inflected Piñon; and M.Hainey by Mizu’s Forest Sun, meant to evoke a stroll among trees. Stylist and market guru Cat Dash is crazy about all of Joya Studio’s candles. “The company does the coolest collaborations, and the candles are truly crafted in an artistic way,” she says. “The vessels are so special. Really, everything about them is special.” 

Best Floral Candles

Floral doesn’t have to mean punch-you-in-the-face begonias. Exhibit A: Diptyque’s Baies. Named for berries, it’s the lively rose accents here that really sing and make your space smell like the lobby of a five-star hotel. Vacation’s High Ceiling Resort Lobby candle takes that even more literally, inspired by exactly what it’s named for (with fresh-cut flowers and an ocean breeze fragrance). Danish darling Frama’s 1917 puts bergamot and lilac front and center, and perfume go-to Maison Louis Marie’s Kandili leans into jasmine, tuberose, and white lily. 

(Take note: No matter which scent you pick, be mindful that Diptyque candles can tunnel—when only the middle part of the candle melts—if not burned properly. It’s a good idea to actually read the instructions here.)

Best Earthy Candles

Earthy is wide-ranging, and for good reason: to encompass both land and sea. The idea with this category is to evoke a fancy gym, one that might have a calming steam room and extremely fluffy towels. D.S. & Durga’s Big Sur After Rain is exactly what we want to burn to get that vibe, with its Cali coastal notes of rain, eucalyptus, and wet wood. More to love in this category includes Audo Copenhagen’s Midnight Soak; Rain Rock Creek from Ginori 1735 and Luke Edward Hall; and Glossier’s Sandstone.

Best Musky Candles

The French really seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to making candles, especially those of the musky persuasion. While there’s a lofty price tag attached to Trudon’s Abd El Kader, it’s still our favorite in this category—it has a superluxe scent and makes your space feel that way, too. The Normandy-based brand can trace its candle origins back to 1643, and the product looks as good as it smells, with a dark vessel and gold branding. Boy Smells makes seductive candles, and its collab with Kasey Musgraves is spicy, smoky goodness with incense, black pepper, and guaiac wood. The brand uses packaging that “provokes outdated ideas of gender and identity woven into the social fabric,” explains cofounder Matthew Herman. “We make nontraditional fragrances for modern, complex identities.” Burning Byredo’s Sweet Grass is like sage-ing your home, and Malin + Goetz’s aptly named Leather speaks for itself. 

Best Fruit-Forward Candles

We all know the tomato is a fruit, but this is a tiny reminder that those trendy scented friends land here. Our favorite of the moment is Flamingo Estate’s Roma Heirloom variety, a ripe juice bomb reminiscent of late-summer dinner parties. If your brain goes right to citrus in this space, make sure to add Loewe’s ribbed Orange Blossom to your cart, or Le Labo’s Verveine, an homage to verbena leaf and makrut lime. If you need to be transported directly to Italy in the dead of winter, give the fig- and cassis-laden Ralph Lauren Home Amalfi Coast a light. 

Best Fresh Candles

There’s just something about fresh laundry—starched shirts, fluffed linen—that offers a clean, crisp scent to your surroundings. Byredo’s Cotton Poplin borrows quite literally from that idea, mixing chamomile, cedar, and musk with a backbone of metallic iron. Voluspa’s French Linen calls to mind a just-made bed on a windows-open afternoon, and Otherland’s Clean Blossom goes all in on sheets drying on the line, maybe near a flower-laden bush. We’re big fans of DedCool’s detergent, and its Taunt scent comes in a candle, too. 

Our Shopping Checklist

Types of Wax

Not everyone can agree on which wax is best, so we’re breaking down the basics that you’re likely to come across in your search. 

  • Paraffin may not score many sustainability points as a petroleum-based product, but it’s still tapped by candlemakers for its ability to hold scent and color. 
  • Soy wax is hydrogenated soybean oil that has gained headway as a top alternative to paraffin. Herman notes Boy Smells candles, made mostly of beeswax and coconut wax, include trace amounts of organic soy wax to improve stability and more effectively diffuse fragrances. This wax also has a lower melting point than paraffin, elongating its burn time.  
  • Beeswax is just as it sounds: a byproduct of honey bees used to build and fill their hives. It is naturally dripless (a high melting point translates to a slower, smokeless burn) and considered a renewable product. This is why our photo editor, Andie Diemer, is always on the lookout for candles that are 100 percent beeswax (and swears by bluecorn beeswax tapers).   
  • Coconut wax may be new to the scene, but it’s already a featured blend in some of our favorite picks. While a bit on the pricey side, it does everything the above waxes do and more: It retains both color and fragrance and produces little soot. 

Ingredients and Scents

Candles don’t necessarily offer a nutritional-label level of detail on ingredients, but the bottom of the container sometimes includes clues to the makeup of your fiery friend. Not to set off any alarms, but you do breathe in what you burn; it’s why most experts we chatted with prefer natural ingredients over manmade ones, whether it’s the wick (stick to cotton, wood, or hemp) or the wax. We recommend avoiding plastics like resin and artificial fragrances whenever you can—for example, keep an eye out for words attached with -phthalates—and opt for essential or natural fragrance oils. 

Casa Ziki’s Kiss and Zinshtein have seen an uptick in additions like dried herbs and essences that conjure a place or lifestyle. “If a scent can trigger a memory for someone, that can be super-powerful,” they point out, listing Dancecandles as a prime example. 

Herman’s take? Be playful and try new things. “Every fragrance I have burned in my home or worn on my body has opened me up to new perspectives,” he says. “They are like looking through color lenses. I have tried things I thought I would not like but ended up loving.”

Burn Time

You don’t want a candle that burns so fast that it feels like you were barely able to enjoy it. How quickly your candle burns away is often described in hours, and this number can vary depending on all sorts of factors, whether it’s the wax type or weight, size of the container, number of wicks, even the length of it. For instance, a longer wick will produce a bigger flame, burning your candle faster (yes, this is why trimming is so important). 

Ask Domino

Q: When—and how often—should I trim a wick? 

You might be surprised to hear that there is 100% a wrong and right way to burn your candle, and according to Herman, it all starts with whether or not you’re trimming the wick. In order to ensure a clean, smoke-free burn, the experts all agree to shave off about a ¼ inch of your wick prior to each lighting. 

Q: Any other dos or don’ts of candle care I should keep in mind? 

The most important step in candle care is allowing the entire surface of wax to melt the first time it’s lit to prevent tunneling. In general there’s a sweet spot of time for this, hovering somewhere between two and three hours, though never any longer than four. Carbon can gather on your wick and force it to balloon up into a mushroomlike cap if you keep it lit too long, though it can even happen when a wick is too large and fails to burn at the same rate as your wax. Whenever this does happen, don’t panic: Just reach for your handy-dandy wick trimmer (or nail clippers; they complete the job just as well!). 

If taller or sculptural candles are starting to look a little wonky or misshapen compared to the first day you brought them home, it might be a result of where you’ve placed them, warn Kiss and Zinshtein. “Temperature and climate can have a huge effect on candles, so think twice before putting your brand-new twisty taper in your window or by a heater,” they explain. In fact, Cire Trudon specifically suggests keeping candles in a dry, temperate environment between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: Can (or should) you mix candle scents? 

This all depends on you and how sensitive your schnoz is. Kiss and Zinshtein have enjoyed  experimenting. “We typically try to stick with a ‘one scent per room’ rule, but we have also often surprised ourselves with mixing and matching,” the duo notes. “We haven’t found anything that clashes too badly, but at the end of the day just follow your nose!” Of course, if you’re looking to light more than one flame to relax during bath time or to create some ambience at the dinner table, you can never go wrong with an unscented option, particularly in the shape of a pillar or taper. 

How We Chose These Products 

After tapping the Casa Ziki crew, Boy Smells founders, and Dash on how they decide which candles they love best—they take all sorts of things into consideration, from original designs to nontoxic scents—our editors pooled together picks by scent, from woodsy to floral and everything in between.

The Last Word 

Scent is powerful, but it isn’t the only characteristic you should look out for in your search for the best candles. Whether you’re sensitive to strong smells or looking for a candle that doubles as a sculptural conversation starter, there are plenty of choices on the market to peruse—just keep wax types, natural ingredients, and original designs in mind.