Do Scented Candles Burn Faster Than Unscented Candles?

Does it ever seem that when burning candles your scented candle lasts longer than your unscented candles? Or have you ever just wondered?

Unfortunately I cannot provide a clear and precise answer, which is frustrating enough, but have no fear, I come with *other* answers. Let’s dig in.

In various studies it amounted to no clear answer on which candle was the fastest to burn. In some instances the unscented candle was the first to run out of flickering joy, and in others the one that smelled like an orchid was the first to fizzle out.

The controlled parts of the experiments were all kept the same; the brand of candle, the size, wick size, and areas in which they were lit were kept consistent.

The only time one of the candles was given an unfair advantage was when a scented candle was suddenly snuffed out. New candles were set up, and the results documented.

The best conclusion is that there really isn’t a clear cut winner, it just so happens one candle burnt out faster than the other.

So, what clear answer can I supply? What can be determined is that scented candles do seem t​o appear that they last longer. This can be attributed to the fact that scents linger.

So, long after the candle burns out or when you blow it out for the night, the scent is still cascading through the air. While your unscented candle does offer immense relaxation, when you blow it out at the end of the night it’s effects are immediately extinguished.

When on the other hand you blow out your cherry blossom candle and you can still smell it as it oscillates around in the air with the ceiling fan.

Does scent affect how the candle burns?

Oddly enough, even with various inconclusive studies it’s a common misconception that when a candle has scent it burns for a longer period of time.

In reality, candles that are accented with heavy perfumes are often made with paraffin wax.

This results in a slower burn rate than a higher quality candle made of beeswax or soy, hence making it seem as if it burns slower.​ 

So when your apple crisp candle made of paraffin burns slower than your candle made of beeswax, know it’s most likely the quality of wax, not the scent.

As mentioned above, candles of the same quality (this means candles made with the same wax), same size, and same wick were used in the studies. Resulting in inconsistent results, that ended essentially in a tie.

Do scented candles smell when not lit?

Shopping for candles can be a whole experience within itself. You decide on what scent you want, the color, size, and style you would prefer it in.

But when selecting a perfectly perfumed candle, you may wonder, will this scent last even when it’s not lit? The good answer is yes.

The smell of fresh hydrangeas will prevail, and what’s even better is this term has a name. In the world of candles the scent a candle gives off even when it’s not lit is call “a cold throw”.

Even when not lit the appetizing aroma is still giving off subtle hints of its full lit potential.

Included below are other interesting tidbits to consider when selecting a candle and how fragrant you want your candle to be as it sits unlit.

  • Woody notes: Woody notes are on the weaker side for giving off their ​cold throw. ​They tend to need heat in order to release their full potential.
  • Gardenia or Tuberose: (Tuberose flowers are native to Mexico, mainly used to decorate now, and are used heavily in perfumes); they have a strong aroma when not lit. This is because white florals are so intense and potent in the most beautiful way.
  • “Wood Fire”: Candles that are smoky in nature or have a resinous quality (for example pitch, or tar common in fir and pine trees), can be smelt quite well without being lit.

Another term used by candle aficionados is “Hot Throw” this is the term given to the scent candles emit when lit.

The hot throw of a candle is measured by the amount of area that the scent of the candle travels through when lit after it is given ample time to release its fragrance.

A hot throw is determined to be poor when a person must sit on top of the candle even when it is lit in order to enjoy its scent.

If they still can’t smell the candle across the room they are in after it’s had at least an hour to release its fragrance, it’s advised to put the candle into a smaller ​but still well ventilated room. Doing this will allow you to enjoy its full potential.

Candles that have the best hot throws include:

  • Candles with notes of pumpkin
  • Candles with spiced aspects such as cinnamon
  • Or again scents with white floral contributions such as gardenia
  • Candles with honeysuckle in them as well as jasmine also make for great hot throw choices.

Do cheap candles burn faster?

More often than not cheap candles don’t seem to melt faster than candles of a higher quality.

Candles of a higher quality are generally those made with soy, beeswax or coconut oil, and they tend to be softer and burn faster, but their flame and wick burn brighter and cleaner.

Whereas candles made on the “cheaper” side are generally made from the carcinogenic containing paraffin wax which burns a bit slower, but produces harsh chemicals into the air and the wicks often produce soot.

Another wax that is often blended with paraffin to form a candle is called carnauba wax.

Carnauba wax is the hardest natural wax available, and because it is so hard and in turn requires a higher melting point it is not a good idea to make a candle 100% solely out of this wax.

This wax is often put to use in polishes for automobiles and furniture, and blended with beeswax to make vegan cosmetics.