Best candles 2024: tried and tested by our master perfumer

The best candles will revitalise your rooms, set the mood, and elevate your interior design.

A collection of the best candles in our roundup Trudon, Boy Smells, Officine Universelle Buly, and Jo Malone
(Image credit: Future)

A high-quality candle can lift your spirits in a matter of moments. If a new scented candle is on your wishlist, or you're looking to subtly elevate your room, then I can help you. A former master perfumer, I've got plenty of experience in the home fragrance industry. I tested a range the best candles, from woody and spicy to floral and fresh scents, and only the very best are featured below.

The scents below are simply exquisite for any room in the house, whether its a kitchen, bathroom, living room, or entryway. I know first hand - I tested these candles throughout my home for a month. But a new candle isn't only great for adding scent to your rooms. A simple candle can make or break your interior design, whether it's that's pride of place on a coffee table, perched on a console table, or sitting on a nightstand to lull you to sleep.

Whether it's a musky, warm fragrance for the evening or a fresh citrus fragrance for the day, these are the best candles you can buy. 

The best candles to buy for your home

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

How we test our candles

We want to have a sense of how these candles work in your day-to-day life at home. Our expert testers, Laura and Annie, used each of these candles for a month in different rooms in their homes. We chose Laura to review these candles because she is a ‘master perfumer’ qualified in perfumery. She was trained by two different luxury fragrance companies, both of whom are suppliers to the royal family. She's incredibly well placed to inform you about candles.

Laura burned the top layer of each candle until it was entirely liquid, recording the scent, speed, and appearance of the candle. She then continued to use them for a month to establish what it would be like to own each one. After making her own notes on how each candle performed, she researched how other users found each candle to ensure that she caught any issues or merits of these candles in her review. 

You can find more info on how we test products at Homes & Gardens.

We're always environmentally conscious and will try our best to reuse these jars after testing candles. Find how to get candle wax out of jars so that you can reuse yours, too.


What scents should I consider when choosing a candle for my home?

It's imperative to consider the location of where you're looking to display your candle. 

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. 

For 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. 

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.  

Otherwise, if you have pets or inquisitive children, or if you are worried about the safety worries that come with burning a candle, a reed diffuser is an elegant alternative. 

What is the best candle wax?

I would look for beeswax. It’s the highest quality and slowest to burn. However, it’s expensive and can interfere with the essential oils. Soy, vegetable, and coconut wax are more common, but still good quality waxes to look for. 

What should the wick be made from?

Always cotton. Some might have lead in, but you really don’t want that in your home.  

Is it better to have essential oils or fragrance oils in candles?


Essential oils are less versatile and not as strong as fragrance oils. However, they are the more natural alternative, so it depends what you are looking for. Most candles with use fragrance oils and this is nothing to worry about.

Why does my candle flicker?

 This will probably be because of air flow. Make sure your room is well-ventilated, but keep your candle away from draughts, vents or any strong air currents. 

What do I do if my candle wick is too long?

 Make sure to trim your candle wick to get the best burn. It should be less than 0.25 inches, but not too short. The best way to do this is using a wick trimmer, like this brass wick trimmer from CB2

What do I do if my candle wick is too short?

 If you can’t light your candle wick because it’s too short, try to take a little bit of the wax away from around the candle. You could scrape this away, or soften up the surrounding wax using a blow drier or candle lighter. Be careful doing this because you’ll have the flame at different angles. Remove the wax around the wick using a Q-tip or tweezers, or by pouring. Then light the wick and it should burn down like it used to. Let it burn for 30 minutes to establish a pool of melted wax around it. 

Why is my candle’s glass black?


This is an accumulation of soot which can occur for a number of reasons. If your wax is paraffin, it’s probably that. The Harlem Candle Co reassures customers that all candles can produce soot, especially if they aren’t maintained and trimmed. They explain that

‘incomplete combustion occurs if that balance is upset and wax is drawn into the flame faster than it can be burned. When this happens, the excess wax is released as soot instead. You might see soot being produced in the form of black smoke, which slowly settles on the sides and around the rim of your candle jar.’ So don’t worry too much if you do see black soot on your candle case. 

Why is my candle tunnelling?

 Candle tunnelling sounds like its name. If you have a draft, cheap wax, or don’t burn your candle until the whole surface is a liquid, it might not burn evenly. Make sure that the first burn of your candle makes a pool of wax to the edge of the container. Try to do this every time you use the candle and make sure to trim the wick. If you keep your candle maintenance routine, you should be fine. It’s all about burning it evenly. 

Which candle burns longest?

In this roundup, the Officine Universelle Buly candle will burn for the longest. I noticed that it burned slowly in my tests. As a general rule, bigger, deeper candles will last longer than smaller ones. Another factor is the wax composition; beeswax, soy, and coconut will take longer to burn than paraffin, another reason why investing in quality will save you money in the long run. If you have multiple wicks, you’ll burn through the candle quicker, but it will look very aesthetically pleasing.  

What makes a top-quality candle?

 I asked the WoodWick team what makes a good candle and they had a list of suggestions. 

Premium Raw Materials
The wax should be premium and consistent, so you can rely on a long-lasting fragrance that won't pollute your room.

If you aren't a candle specialist, the 'ingredients list' for candles can look confusing. Ask the staff or search for the candle and wick composition. This isn't a place to compromise. Better formulations will prove themselves when the candle is hot and cold, stable, and burning.

WoodWick are an example of a company which goes above and beyond standard tests, so that their products are consistent. If a company is thorougly testing their candles, it's likely that they'll want to shout about it.

Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie is Deputy Ecommerce Editor at Homes & Gardens. With a penchant for shopping, a first-class Journalism degree, and four years of eCommerce experience behind her, she is our shopping guru when it comes to what to buy for your home, when to invest — and where to do your shopping. 

Her eCommerce experience has inspired countless online purchases across the titles of Ideal HomeLivingetcGardeningetcReal Homes, and Woman & Home. Annie and her team currently curate shopping content for Homes & Gardens, so whether you're in the right place if you're looking for some fragrance expertise.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.  

With contributions from