What We Like
Excels at keeping bugs away
Burns slowly for long life
Scent is pleasant if not strong
Comes with a lid for transport
What We Don't Like
Wick burns high at first
Tin is not attractive
Protects only a small area
Repel is an insect repellent manufacturing company that makes products for personal use (mosquito sprays and wipes), as well as area repellents (foggers and citronella candles). Many of their products, including candles, are designed to be transported for use at campsites or deep woods hiking.
To see if the company’s single-wick Insect Repellent Citronella Candle was effective, we burned the candle for several hours in a humid, mosquito-ridden backyard. We evaluated the candle for performance, safety, and setup, as well as a few other categories. Is this inexpensive candle (under $7 per tin) worth your money if you’re trying to keep bugs away from your yard or campsite? Read on to find out what we thought.
This candle is ready to use right from the box. We simply popped off the small lid and struck a match. The tin is highly decorated with the brand’s logo and product information. If you wanted to use this candle but keep the aesthetic cleaner, you could look for a candle holder that fits the 4.25-inch tin. As is, we found this product fine for personal use but not particularly handsome for use while entertaining.
The candle is highly scented and easily fills up a small area with citronella odor.
If you have a large area to protect, you should set the candles out and light them about 20 minutes before you plan to be exposed to the elements. The candles need time to burn and scare away the flying critters in order to make the area as pest-free as possible.
Performance: Strong flame, small radius
This candle has a strong odor and presence when burned, and the medium size (4.25 inches in diameter) did a fairly good job at keeping flying bugs out of our air space when we were within 3 feet of the flame. In two hours, we had no bites. Outside that zone, however, the candle doesn’t provide much protection.
That’s why Repel suggests you use multiple candles. In a small space like the one we tested (a 5 x 6-foot patio), you should use several, spaced 18 inches apart and within 3 feet of people. Using multiple candles sets up the strongest perimeter of protection. If you’re just protecting one person—say, yourself while you sit outside and read at night—one may be enough. Otherwise, invest in several to keep your immediate area well guarded.
This candle has a strong odor and presence when burned, and the medium size did a fairly good job at keeping flying bugs out of our air space.
The candle is highly scented and easily fills up a small area with citronella odor. However, the scent is not offensive, as the main ingredient—citronella oil—lacks a hint of chemical that comes with some citronella products.
Safety: Small but sturdy
We found that the low base of this candle (just 2.5 inches tall) keeps it from tipping over in a gust of wind. However, the flame might blow out as the sides are not very high, and until the candle burns down for several hours, the wick is exposed.
The candle comes with a small lid that fits perfectly on the tin. The lid helped us extinguish the flame quickly and also protected against billowing smoke after we extinguished the candle. Lastly, the lid helped us transport the candle quickly when we needed to move it before it had time to cool and harden again.
The price point for the Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle is very affordable—around $6 or $7 for a 10-ounce candle that promises 20 hours of burn time. We can confirm that the candle burns pretty slowly, giving you more bang for your buck.
It’s worth noting, though, that a larger, 20-ounce model containing the same formula can be found on sale for around the same price. It boasts three wicks and offers double the burn time, but the container is much less portable.
Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle vs. Light in Dark Citronella Votive Candles
Light in the Dark makes small, versatile votive citronella candles that can be better suited to cover a large area, such as a backyard barbecue or swim party. We tested both options, and like the larger Repel Candle, the votive versions are highly scented with citronella oil, which helps set up a perimeter of bug protection around the flame.
The competitor candles cost more than $25 for a box of 72, or nearly $3 per votive (usually around 3 ounces). That comes out to about $1 per ounce, versus the Repel’s less than $.70 per ounce. The price difference might be a deterrent, but the votives are especially helpful when you’re entertaining or needing to cover a large area.
The Repel candle, unlike the votives, is portable and can be carried with you between campsites or moved across the yard if needed. The votives, which will need a votive holder to prevent wax from dripping all over a surface, are more stationary.
A good buy when bugs swarm
The Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle candle is very effective at deterring flying bugs like mosquitoes, so it can be used in any outdoor space to keep the pests from biting. However, the candle only covers a small radius (about 3 feet), so several will be needed for a larger area.
- Product Name Insect Repellent Citronella Candle
- Product Brand Repel
- SKU 011423940903
- Price $6
- Weight 10 oz.
- Product Dimensions 4.25 x 2.5 x null in.
- Material Metal, wax
- Active Ingredients Oil of citronella (3%), other ingredients (97%)
- What’s Included 1 candle with lid