The Best Scented Candles to Create a Relaxing Ambiance

The winner is the NEST Fragrances Grapefruit Candle

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Scented candles enhance the ambiance of any room, giving off pleasant aromas, tranquil light, and luxurious vibes. We researched dozens of candles from the top home and fragrance brands, evaluating scent, quality, longevity, and value. 

Our top pick is the NEST Fragrances Grapefruit Candle, which has a refreshing scent and offers up to 120 hours of burn time. 

Here are the best scented candles.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nest Fragrances New York Grapefruit Candle

4.5
Grapefruit Candle

Courtesy of Ulta

What we like
  • Four different sizes

  • Fresh citrus fragrance

  • Extensive burn time (100-120 hours)


  • Scent lingers even after extinguished

What we don't like
  • Some tunneling when burning

  • High price considering size

Who else recommends it? Allure and BestReviews also picked the NEST Fragrances Grapefruit Candle.

What do buyers say? 90% of 8,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Nest is a top-selling scented candle brand with many loyal customers—you might even say it has a cult following. While there are a wide variety of fragrances to choose from, the Nest New York Grapefruit Candle stands out among the rest. The uplifting scent combines pink pomelo grapefruit with botanical nuances and notes of coriander blossom and lily of the valley. If you appreciate citrus scents, you'll love the refreshing aroma.

This candle comes in three sizes. The 22-ounce size provides up to 100 hours of burn time, the 8-ounce size burns for 50 to 60 hours, and the 2-ounce size burns for 20 hours. Like all Nest candles, it's poured with premium wax formulated to melt evenly while infusing your space with an exhilarating scent.

Best Budget: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Scented Soy Aromatherapy Candle

Mrs. Meyer's Candle

Courtesy of Amazon

What we like
  • Clean fresh scent

  • Low price

  • Doesn’t leave soot residue on jar

What we don't like
  • Limited burn time (25 hours)

  • Doesn’t burn all the way to the bottom

Mrs. Meyer’s is extremely popular and for good reason: It sells a well-scented products made with natural ingredients. If you’re looking for the perfect candle to place next to your sink or stove, Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candle is a great option. This 7.2-ounce candle burns for about 35 hours and comes in a cute, reusable jelly-style jar. The geranium scent is subtle but fresh, and it won’t overpower when you’re eating dinner or having a glass of wine.

Best Splurge: Diptyque Baies Candle

Diptyque Baies Candle
What we like
  • Can reuse glass container

  • Burns evenly and slowly

What we don't like
  • Scent is really subtle

  • Some black residue

If you're willing to splurge on the perfect candle, you should definitely check out the Diptyque Baies Candle. This best-seller has a seriously scrumptious fragrance formulated to make your home feel comfy and inviting. The fruity scent is similar to Diptyque's L'Ombre Dans l'Eau perfume, which smells like fresh roses and blackcurrant.

This white candle comes in a clear glass jar with a simple label printed with French lettering. It's available in two sizes, 2.4 ounces and 6.5 ounces. The first time you light the Baies Candle, you're supposed to let it burn for at least two hours. When the entire top liquifies on the first burn, it'll melt more evenly each time you light it. Diptyque also recommends trimming the wick down to 0.25 inches before lighting it and recentering it every time you blow it out.

Best Gift: Homesick Candles

Homesick Candles

Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

What we like
  • Highly personalized

  • Simple and sophisticated design

  • Thoughtful and fragrant scents

  • Long lasting burn time

What we don't like
  • Scents aren’t strong enough to fill a room

  • Some black residue on glass after burning

Scent and memory are closely connected, and Homesick Candles are created with this in mind. As the name suggests, Homesick Candles make a perfect gift for anyone living away far away from home.

These 13.75-ounce candles are hand-poured with soy wax and fragrance oils. There are 50 scents to choose from, as they correspond to the 50 U.S. states. With input from locals on how they experience the aromatic outdoors, each fragrance is modeled after the unique scent profile of its state. From peachy-floral Georgia and sandy-citrus Arizona to nutty-pine Oregon and honey-bourbon Kentucky, these candles hit all the right notes.

What Editors Say

"I received the Florida homesick candle as a gift, and the subtle citrus smell and hint of vanilla is so soothing and familiar." - Madison Yauger, Assistant Editor

Best for Kitchen: Voluspa Goji Tarocco Orange Large Embossed Glass Jar Candle

Voluspa Goji Tarocco Orange

Courtesy of Amazon

What we like
  • Several color & scent options

  • Uses coconut wax for a cleaner burn

  • Sustainably produced

What we don't like
  • Somewhat weak fragrance

When you burn a candle in your kitchen, it's best to opt for a scent that meshes well with the things you eat. In other words, go for something that smells delicious, like the Voluspa Glass Jar Candle in Goji and Tarocco Orange. This particular candle has a mouth-watering aroma of goji berries, fresh mango, and blood oranges. It's fruity, fresh, and totally addicting.

Also, Voluspa's proprietary coconut wax boasts a 90 percent cleaner burn than soy wax candles, which is ideal for the kitchen. This notably large candle contains 18 ounces of hand-poured wax for a burn time of 100 hours. It comes in a gorgeously embossed red glass jar with a floral tin lid. When the candle is gone, you can remove the remaining wax and use the jar to hold flowers, jewelry, pens, or even kitchen utensils.

Best Black-Owned Business: Harlem Candle Co. Josephine Luxury Candle

Harlem Candle Co. Josephine Luxury Candle
What we like
  • Two wicks for evenly distributed burning

  • Long burn time (80 hours)

  • Celebrates the history of the Harlem Renaissance

What we don't like
  • Price for size of candle

If you’re a history buff with a love for beautiful candles, the Harlem Candle Company should be on your radar. This black-owned business celebrates the Harlem Renaissance with candles as rich as the music and culture of that era, commemorating artists like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and—in this case—Josephine Baker. The candles can burn for approximately 80 hours, and have two wicks to keep the wax even and avoid tunneling (when the outer rim of wax doesn’t burn). 

Each candle sits in a 12 ounce glass with vibrant jewel tones and other patterns reflective of storied entertainment venues across Harlem. Having a penchant for fine fragrance, founder Teri Johnson also made sure these soy wax candles have luxurious scents designed by a team of world-renowned perfume specialists.

Best for Fall: Bath & Body Works Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla Single Wick Candle

Bath & Body Works Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla Candle

Bath & Body Works

What we like
  • Warm spiced scent

  • Decent burn time for a small candle (25-45 hours)

  • Burns evenly without tunneling

What we don't like
  • Not fragrant enough to throw scent into a larger space

Bath & Body Works is known for its seasonal candles, and their Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla single wick option is the embodiment of fall. The warm cinnamon fragrance balances with vanilla for a spiced yet sweet scent reminiscent of campfires, warm drinks, and crisp fall days.

As a compact candle, this item is perfect for a smaller space like a bathroom or study so the concentrated scent can really shine through, and linger even once extinguished. Meant to last about 25-45 hours, this candle will burn longer if you trim the wick about ¼ inch before burning it, and only use it for around four hours at a time.

Best Small Business: Frères Branchiaux This Women's Work Candle

Frères Branchiaux This Woman's Work Candle

Frères Branchiaux

What we like
  • Small Business

  • Eco-friendly

  • Rich and inviting scent

  • Thoughtfully designed container

What we don't like
  • Shipping can take up to two weeks

Founded by three brothers, this black-owned candle company has a vast collection of high quality scents, sets, sprays, and diffusers. Each candle has thoughtfully crafted labels and imagery, uses only vegan soy wax blends, and burns for between 15 and 40 hours depending on the size you purchase (4 or 8 ounces). And once you’ve burned through your signature candle, you can reuse the decorative jar.

Best Aromatherapy: Otherland Canopy Candle

Canopy Candle

Courtesy of Otherland

What we like
  • Reusable candle jar

  • Soy + coconut wax blend

  • Light but fragrant smell

  • Animal-cruelty free

What we don't like
  • Some black residue when burning if you don’t trim the wick

If you appreciate the aromatherapy of scented candles, you'll love the Otherland Canopy Candle. Developed with master perfumers, the fragrance presents a calming blend of California figs, green ivy, and summertime dew. It's fresh and clean—and meant to remind you of a fluffy canopy bed. 

The candle itself is hand-poured into premium glassware with a soy-coconut wax blend. While it's only 8 ounces and 3.25 inches tall, it has an impressive 55-hour burn time. With a mission to help homes be toxin-free zones, the scented candles from Otherland never contain any sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.

Final Verdict

High-quality wax allows for long, even burns.
For a subtle and refreshing scent, the Nest New York Grapefruit Candle (available at Sephora) is our go-to. Its bright, citrusy scent adds a refreshing boost to any room. If you’re able to spend a bit more, the Diptyque Baies Candle (available at Nordstrom) is a great splurge option with an elegant scent that's reminiscent of roses and blackcurrant leaves.

What to Look for in Scented Candles

Fragrance

Fragrances inside scented candles are either natural or synthetic. Natural fragrances are naturally derived and come from their environmental counterpart. Synthetic fragrances are man-made and often made to match, deepen or add complexity to natural fragrances. Many candle companies use both types in their candles.

Ingredients

Scented candles are typically made of either paraffin or soy wax, with paraffin wax being the most popular. This wax is cheaper than soy and is made from petroleum oil. However, this also means that it burns 'dirty,' releasing soot and other harmful byproducts when melted. Soy wax is paraffin wax's alternative and is quickly growing in popularity. It's made from soybeans, and burns longer and cleaner than paraffin wax.

Burn time

Different candles burn for different amounts of time, depending on the size and type of wax in the candle. A candle with a shorter burn time is perfect for a guest bedroom or bathroom, or another space that isn't used as often. A candle with a long burn time is ideal for larger common spaces, like the living room or kitchen.

FAQ
  • How are scented candles made?

    Scented candles are made by first melting the wax and adding in fragrance. Then, a wick is attached to the bottom of a prepared jar, and the wax is poured in. Finally, the wax is left to harden, and the wick is trimmed.

  • Where should you place scented candles?

    Scented candles can work perfectly in any space. But a few guidelines: make sure the size of the candle is appropriate to the room size (i.e. don't burn a massive candle in your half-bath—the scent will be too overpowering), if you have pets or young kids, keep the candles out of reach for them and, for fire safety, place scented candles in your sightline.

  • How long do scented candles last?

    Scented candles can last anywhere from 6 to 150 hours, depending on the type of wax, wick and its size. Soy candles last longer than paraffin ones, and larger candles last longer than smaller ones. Many candles include the estimated burn time on the jar.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, cleaning, and home hacks. Her writing has appeared in Elite Daily, The Financial Diet, Thought Catalog, Film Daily, and other online publications. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine and American Farmhouse Style.

Updated by
Rabekah Henderson
Rabekah Henderson headshot
Rabekah Henderson is an NC-based contributing writer for The Spruce covering design, decor, and all things home.
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  1. The 13 Best Scented Candles That'll Make Any Room Smell Amazing. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-smelling-scented-candles

  2. BEST SCENTED CANDLES. BestReviews. https://bestreviews.com/home/candles/best-scented-candles