What We Like
Each candle burns slowly
Smell is strong but pleasant
Appearance is simple and attractive
What We Don't Like
Several needed to protect a larger area
Must provide your own holders
Citronella candles are popular products for outdoor protection against flying bugs like mosquitoes and gnats. Many insect-repellent candles are large with multiple wicks to protect a larger space. Light in the Dark makes votives that cover a smaller area but can be used as both decoration and mosquito protection, especially if you’re looking to combine form and fashion.
To see if the company’s citronella votives worked as well as larger options, we recently tested the Light in the Dark Citronella Votive Candles in a humid and bug-filled backyard for several hours. We evaluated the candles for performance, safety, and setup. We then compared the votives against another citronella candle to decide which wins out in what circumstances. Do we think these small votives are powerful enough for the purchase price? Read on to find out.
Setup: Provide your own votive holder
These votives come in a batch of 72, but they do not include any holders. We didn’t want melted wax to tumble onto our table, so we found our own. Most standard votives, jars, and petite containers are plenty large enough for these candles.
Each candle is highly scented. The citrusy aroma wafts around the cardboard box containing the candles—and it can be overwhelming.
Other than that, setup is the same as any other candle: Simply light the lead-free wick with a match or lighter. Note that if you have a large area to protect, you should set these candles out and light them at least 20 minutes before guests arrive. Each paraffin wax candle should burn eight to ten hours, which is plenty for an event. The wick will disappear as it burns and much of the wax will, too. When the candle is complete, you may only have a small metal disk remaining.
Performance: Strong but small protection zone
Many citronella candles are several times larger than these votives, but they still manage to pack a powerful punch when keeping bugs away. At first, we lit just one candle for a small outdoor table. Sitting next to the candle, we noticed a significant decrease in the number of mosquitoes. When we added a few more in the direct vicinity, even the brave bugs flew away.
Each votive is small—just 1.5 x 1.25 inches—and we found we needed several to cover a large area like a patio or porch. However, they’re ideal for decorating because of their warm, butter yellow color that glows beautifully when lit. And they last as long as promised: We were able to burn one candle consecutively for four hours, and it was only about half melted at the end of it. We were surprised to see something this small last so long.
Sitting next to the candle, we noticed a significant decrease in the number of mosquitoes.
Each candle is highly scented. The citrusy aroma wafts around the cardboard box containing the candles—and it can be overwhelming—so you may need to store them in a garage or shed instead of a hall closet or kitchen. Once each candle is separated and lit, the smell is milder and more natural. We didn’t notice any chemical odor coming from these candles, which is a common problem with many citronella products.
Safety: Easily tipped, but holders help
Lightweight and petite, these votive candles are easily tipped on their own. A votive holder or jar helps provide a sturdy base. The candles have no protection against wind unless they’re in a votive holder. We found that they blow out easily, and wax can blow, too. The wicks, which are lead-free, stay short. This helps prevent flame flares, making them safe for use around crowds.
We were able to burn one candle consecutively for four hours, and it was only about half melted at the end of it.
Price: A bigger price lasts a long time
These candles cost about $25. That may seem like a lot for votives, but remember that the set includes 72. With a combined 720 hours of burn time, this could be a bargain depending on how you plan to burn these votives. For a large space or important event, these candles are worth the price tag to keep guests comfortable and protected against bites and bothersome flies while still looking stylish.
Light in the Dark Citronella Votive Candles vs. Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle
The Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle looks more like your standard citronella candle. This large, three-wick candle burns up to 40 hours and covers a larger area than the Light in the Dark votives. But you will still need several of these candles to cover a bigger area.
We tested both candles and found them to be effective, but each would be better for different situations: The Cutter candle is ideal when you need to cover a smaller area, such as a table.) The votives alone cover a small space, but setting out several expands your protection zone greatly.
A good buy in the right circumstances
Votives may not be useful for sitting in your backyard to watch the stars or eating a late-night dinner outside, but when entertaining or protecting a large area, the Light in the Dark Citronella Votive Candles are a smart purchase. They can be sprinkled around a yard or patio to help keep guests comfortable and provide a warm and glowing aesthetic.
- Product Name Citronella Votive Candles
- Product Brand Light in the Dark
- SKU LITD-VCY1072
- Price $25.5
- Product Dimensions 1.5 x 1.25 in.
- Material: Paraffin wax
- What’s Included 72 votive candles