19 of the best scented candles approved by our expert

Searching for the best scented candle to buy this autumn? Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, our fragrance expert can help. She has tested a load of candles, from the likes of The White Company, Jo Malone and DW Home, and these are her favourites just below.

We love a scented candle just as much as the next person, in fact, we believe that home fragrance is the cherry on top of lovely home decor. A candle can help set the mood and atmosphere of space, plus a delicious-smelling fragrance can put your mind at ease, energise a dull room, or add to seasonal celebrations.

Choosing a candle is all down to personal preference as some of us might prefer a fresh fragrance while others will be a fan of floral scents, or warm or spicy candles might be more of their thing. Whether you’re looking for a subtle, striking, or in-between scent, we’ve rounded up a shortlist of the best candles that are brilliant for lighting at home. We’ve tried, tested and we approve of every single one of the 19 candles listed below. We can’t promise this decision will be easy…

Which is the best scented candle?

Which candle wax is best?

From testing a bunch of candles, and speaking with a few experts, we know our stuff when it comes to candle wax. Our favourite candle wax has to be soy, though it’s not as easy (or as affordable) as you’d hope to come by. If you’re on a budget then paraffin (otherwise known as mineral wax) is your best bet. 

Here’s a quick comparison of the two types of wax from Interiors and Home Expert, Stephanie Goldstone, from The Fragrance Company (opens in new tab).

  • Soy: Eco-friendly, better for your health, melts faster, not easiest to clean but offers a longer burn
  • Paraffin/mineral: Common, holds a lot of fragrance, normally cheapest, easy to clean from a vessel, clean burn but leaves behind soot

19 of the best scented candles


Real Homes review process

Scented candles in Annie's living room on her coffee table

A range of scented candles in Annie’s living room, during testing

(Image credit: Future)

Each and every one of these candles in this guide has been tested by a member of the Real Homes team. We try to test these candles until they’ve burned half way, whilst considering everything from their throw ability to how clean they burn, and of course: their scent and packaging. We’ve had hands-on experience with 30+ candles, so the ones in this guide are the best of the best.

Whilst testing these candles, we are aware of our environmental impact which is why we’ve also written a guide on what to do with leftover candle wax, and how to reuse a candle jar.

For more info on how we test products here at Real Homes, you can visit our about page. Meet our main candle tester below.

Annie Collyer

Annie is our main home fragrance tester, and she has a love for anything that will help her home smell nice — and disguise odours her two pets might muster. She lives in a spacious 2-bedroom flat in South East London and whilst testing these candles, she’s sure to move them around her home. She’s forever on the lookout for new scents and loves anything warm and spicy. In the summer, she prefers fresh fragrances.

Her favourite candles she’s ever tested have to be Nest New York’s Himalayan Salt & Rosewater candle (opens in new tab), for year-round use. And for autumn and winter, she’s obsessed with The White Company’s Fireside fragrance (opens in new tab).

How to know which scented candle I should choose?

“When scenting your home, the most important thing to note is what season it is” explains Interiors and Home Expert, Stephanie Goldstone, from The Fragrance Company (opens in new tab). “You want to create an ambience that either emulates the season, or completely juxtaposes it. For example during the winter seasons you want to create warmth with home fragrances, and for summer you want to create light, and airy freshness like being at the beach” she adds.

Autumn is perhaps the most versatile scents of them all, complementing many different fragrances. It’s at this time where you want to bring in earthy and natural fragrances and add subtle hints of sandalwood and ylang-ylang.” 

Winter is the most scent-worthy time of the year! For winter home fragrance, opt for light pine, cinnamon, vanilla, and Neroli citrus for that warm and cosy feeling that will truly make you feel like you’re living in a winter wonderland.” We’ve rounded up some Christmas candles to tackle this task.

Spring is the time of year when you’re excited to be venturing outside again. Bring that excitement indoors by complementing your home with fresh scents of floral and notes of citrus. Fragrances such as lavender, jasmine and patchouli are great options.”

Summer breeze and beach holidays never cease to put you in a good mood, so bring that same mood into your home with light, fruity, and floral scents. Aromas such as coconut, geranium, gardenia, and a favourite of mine rose are all great staples. “

After this, your next consideration should be where your new candle will live…

For the living area, it’s best to consider your aesthetic or decor. You can pretty much go for any scent in this room, from floral to herbal and even spicy. We would recommend going for a scent to match the season, and avoiding any heavy woody or spicy scents in the spring and summer. However, you do want to go for a strong scent, to fill each corner of this room especially if you spend a lot of time in here.

For kitchens it’s best to reach for something lighter and airier; the last thing you want to do is compete with food aromas, so we suggest a herbal or ozonic aroma.  

For a bedroom you’ll want to opt for an aroma that’s lavender or vanilla-based; you’ll want to calm your senses and create a peaceful oasis. Anything scented with essential oils is also a great option for a bedroom.

3 things to consider when buying a candle

It’s all too easy to be guided by price when it comes to buying a scented candle but the most important things are quality, burn time and fragrance. Think about the scent you want to fill your room with – something soft and subtle, calming and soothing or something that packs a punch? Some lose their smell too quickly so read buyers’ reviews to see what others think of their purchase before you buy. 

1. Consider the wax used
Soy wax candles are better for your health, as they burn cleaner and produce much less soot than paraffin versions. This helps keep your space pollution-free and is kinder on pets, too as well as avoiding stains building up on walls over time.

2. Consider the vessel
Your new candle will, righly so, be on display in your home. With this in mind, you’ll want to choose a candle with a lovely vessel, that won’t be an eyesore in your room. Avoid coloured vessels if your home is neutral and muted. Moreover, if you want to be able to give a candle as a gift, look for a design that comes in an attractive tin, box or jar with a luxe look. Candles are great accessories for room revamps or bathroom makeovers so choose the packaging carefully.

3. Consider the burn time paired with the price
Some large candles only have a short burn time, surprisingly enough. This is all down to the number of wicks, plus the type of wax and even the vessel plays a part in this. Consider the price of your new candle against its size and burn time. If it costs £50 and burns for 10 hours, you’re paying £5 per hour to burn your candle. Just something to bear in mind if you light candles for long periods, or you like to light candles a lot.

Another way to fragrance your home is with a reed diffuser. These are safer to use than a candle, plus they emit a constant fragrance. 

Browse more candles from our favourite brands…

Otherwise, you could always have a crack at learning how to make homemade candles.

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