It’s not that I’m thrifty. As someone who’s willing to pay $300 for a touch-screen toaster, a hefty sum for a tablecloth, and an undisclosed amount for a vintage side table (we will never discuss that purchase again, ever), I’ve become accustomed to throwing down serious cash for items that I’ll keep for a long time.

But a taper candle? Well, aside from a few special ones that I’ll never light because they’re just for show (don’t ask me to explain my logic on that one), I prefer to hunt for cute, colorful options that won’t break the bank. After all I’m just burning them anyway, and in general I like to avoid literally lighting my money on fire. 

In my personal quest to avoid spending more than $4 per candle, here are my favorite taper candles that come in sets, give off the perfect glow, and are well within my budget.

The Classics

Each of these is a solid choice for dinner parties (when we can do that again) or even takeout on a Tuesday. And in a fun color like neon pink—those are Jordan Ferney’s faves—they’re anything but basic.

The Dipped Ones

Dipped candles get narrow at the top, giving them a rustic, handcrafted vibe. And because they usually come in pretty pairs held together by a string, they’re a gift that doesn’t need wrapping.

Danica Taper Candle, Hawkins New York ($8 for 2)

The Shape-Shifters

Twisted tapers are having a moment, and so other fun designs have followed, from super-straight columns to a hexagonal one that proves geometry is officially cool.

The Multicolored Ones

From ombré to marbled, these pattern plays make a style statement, even if you never light them. Though I strongly encourage that you do, especially the color drip one.

The Variety Packs

These six-packs each come in a perfect palette—no guesswork or online color matching needed. It’s the easiest way to set a cohesive table, period.

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