What We Like
Inexpensive price point
Pleasant and inviting smell
Designed to shield flames from wind
What We Don't Like
Scent borders on overwhelming
Candle sides get hot
Multiple candles needed for large areas
Cutter is a leader in insect repellents. The company carries everything from skin sprays to outdoor products, including citronella candles like the Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle. The inexpensive price point (around $7) makes the three-wick candle a handy pick for summer picnics or any last-minute get-togethers that require some protective measures. And unlike yard sprays or even personal repellents, citronella candles may be safer to have around younger kids or animals—when out of reach, of course.
To see if the candle worked in an environment buzzing with bugs and mosquitoes, we recently tested the Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle for ourselves. We sat with the candle for hours on a humid evening and evaluated factors like performance and safety. Should you spend the money to outfit your outdoor area with a few of these candles this summer? Read on to find out.
Setup: Lights in seconds
We started by removing the sticky label on the outside surface to avoid residue. In shipping, the plastic ring at the bottom, which helps protect against rusting, may come dislodged. Snap that back into place before lighting.
Straight out of the box, we noticed the candle could not be left in an indoor setting or else it filled the air with an aggressive citronella odor.
Since it’s best to light the candles at least 20 minutes before you plan to be outside, that’s exactly what we did. We found that this helped shoo away any bugs that were already in our intended air space, and it helped the wafts of citronella establish a protective barrier.
Performance: Effective, but multiple candles necessary
The three-wick construction of this Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle allows for even burning so no wax goes unused. It also produces more light than single-wick candles, which may be a bonus if you’re eating by candlelight or trying to keep artificial lights low to avoid buzzing bugs.
The active ingredient is oil of citronella, which makes up 3 percent of the total candle components. The scent is strong even when not lit. Indeed, it may be overwhelming for people with sensitive noses, and straight out of the box, we noticed the candle could not be left in an indoor setting or else it filled the air with an aggressive citronella odor. However, this candle doesn’t put off a chemical smell when burning, a common problem with many inexpensive citronella products.
The candle is not 100 percent effective—we did still have a few bites—but it was a good deterrent from busy bugs that buzzed nearby.
On a small patio (about 5 x 6 feet), one candle was enough to keep the majority of mosquitoes away or to deter them if they came close. The candle is not 100 percent effective—we did still have a few bites—but it was a good deterrent from busy bugs that buzzed nearby. For a larger space, multiple candles will be needed. Cutter recommends placing the candles within three feet of people and 18 inches apart. We recommend setting up a perimeter with the candles to protect a larger area.
Safety: Sturdy base, steep sides
The round candle tapers to the top, so the large base (measuring 6 inches in diameter) provides a solid anchor. This helps protect against accidental tipping. The high sides also shield the flames from wind or nearby drafts created by movement. However, the flames may still get high enough to shoot above the top of the container, especially when the candle is first lit. (As the wax burns, the flames won’t be as high.)
The wax is slow-melting, which helps stretch the number of nights you can use the candle before it needs to be replaced.
One thing to note is that the candle container gets hot as the wicks burn, so adjusting the metal container after it’s lit is difficult. Small children should be kept away to keep their hands from touching the hot metal. However, the candle’s handle remained cool to the touch so we could easily tote it around if needed.
Price: Excellent for the Quality
For around $7, this 20-ounce candle promises 40 hours of burn time. The wax is slow-melting, which helps stretch the number of nights you can use the candle before it needs to be replaced. The candle is also relatively stylish—something that some equally inexpensive competitors lack. This candle (or multiple candles) would be attractive if needed in an outdoor entertaining environment.
Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle vs. Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle
Repel, another popular insect repellent company, also offers a 20-ounce citronella candle for around $7: the Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle. We tested a smaller version of the Repel candle containing the same formula and found that the Repel candle burned more quickly, even with just a single wick, and had a stronger repellant ability. The Cutter candle burned more slowly, which would get you more burn time, but it seemed to have less impact on the bugs.
A great option for outdoor entertaining
If you’re in the market for outdoor citronella candles that can help keep away mosquitoes while you dine al fresco or entertain guests, the Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle is an inexpensive option with a great burn time and an appealing design.
- Product Name Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle
- Product Brand Cutter
- SKU HG-95784
- Price $7.48
- Weight 20 oz.
- Product Dimensions 6.2 x 6.2 x 4.1 in.
- What’s Included 1 candle with 3 wicks
- Active Ingredients Oil of citronella (3%), other ingredients (97%)
- Material Metal, plastic, wax