Candles are very interesting sources of indoor illumination. Their earliest known versions were invented thousands of years ago yet, candles are still relevant today. Not only that but despite their waned popularity, in light of the discovery of electricity and the invention of the light bulb, current trends indicate that the use of candles is pretty much on the rise. Indeed, it would appear that the world cannot get enough of candles as they have never gone extinct despite how old they are as an invention. Notwithstanding, many people have noticed that cheap candles tend to burn faster.



Cheap candles are candles which are made from inexpensive and easily accessible materials, the most common of which is paraffin wax. In order to completely understand how this phenomenon of cheap candles came to be, one must first examine the evolution of the candle industry. Thousands of years ago, when candles were first invented, they were initially made from materials such as boiled-down fat or tallow from the carcass of cows and other livestock, most especially cattle. At about the same point in time, in ancient history from thousands of years ago, some parts of the world were making candles out of fat gotten from aquatic animals such as whales. In other areas, candles were made from the bodies of insects and beeswax. However, it wasn’t until about two centuries ago that candles made from paraffin wax became popular in global markets. The invention and subsequent popularity of paraffin wax candles came at a time when candle-makers – also known as chandlers – were in substantial demand. Back then, chandlers would often move from household to household, in order to make candles for the residents, by using fat from the kitchens; which had been set aside for the purpose of candle-making. Such candles, which were made from fat or tallow from slaughtered cattle, were usually of high quality and they were also considerably expensive. Additionally, because they were made from animal fat, they were also perfectly edible and were often consumed by people of those times during hard times such as times of famine.

However, the invention of paraffin wax candles came as a brain child of industrialization and using factories and paraffin wax, candle-makers were able to make large amounts of candles at the same time, using far cheaper materials. A lot of money was made from candles during this time.



Many people claim that cheap candles burn faster. Others say that that is not true, and over time, many people have carried out experiments on various kinds of candles of various qualities, types and prices in order to discover if indeed it is true that cheap candles burn faster. Their conclusions vary however; there are some commonalities in their findings. Basically, a candle’s ability to burn fast – or faster than others – does not necessarily depend on its price. Instead, it majorly depends on the type and quality of materials used in making it. The kind of wax used for the candle, the type, size and length of the wick, as well as the presence or absence of any other additional ingredients included in the candle – during the candle-making process – goes a long way in determining whether a candle will burn fast (or faster) or not.

In terms of the kind of materials used in making the candle wax, certain materials burn faster than others. For instance, soft waxes tend to burn at a much faster rate compared to hard waxes and so, a lot of candles made of paraffin wax (hard wax) burn faster than some more expensive candles which may be made of soft wax. At the same time, candles made out of beeswax tend to burn much slower compared to other candles.

On the basis of wicks, some types of wicks burn hotter and may melt candles at a much faster rate than others. But generally, the size, length and diameter of the wick play a similarly significant role. Wicks of large sizes, lengths and diameters tend to make a candle burn faster. Other materials in the candles, such as dyes can also affect the rate of burning as some dyes can cause the candle-wax to melt faster.


Candles are important sources of indoor illumination. However, they also have other purpose; they are often used in setting the mood, especially in preparation for romantic atmospheres. Candles are also important in aromatherapy, through the existence of scented candles. For these reasons, it is very important to discover or learn how to make them burn at a slower rate and last for longer; particularly as many brands are expensive and – based on people’s claims – it would appear that cheaper versions burn at a much faster rate (as compared to their expensive counterparts). Some of the methods that can be employed in order to make a cheap candle burn at a slower rate include the following:

  • Choose candles made from paraffin wax

Cheap candles made from paraffin wax tend to burn at a much slower rate than other cheap candles which are not made from paraffin wax. This is because paraffin wax is often described as a “hard wax”, because it does not melt as easily as some other kinds of waxes known as “soft waxes”. Also, candles made from paraffin wax require a little more heat to melt, and they retain their initial shape for much longer, during burning.

  • Choose candles with small-sized wicks

The size, shape and diameter of wicks used in making candles matter, and they contribute largely to how fast a candle – particularly a cheap one – burns after being lit. Candles with wicks of smaller diameters tend to burn much slower than those of wider diameters. Also, when wicks of candles are made of materials that burn very hotly, the entire candle tends to melt at a much faster rate; so, wicks should be made of materials that do not burn at very high temperatures compared to others.

  • Keep candles away from drafts

Candles – particularly many cheap ones – should be kept away from open windows, fans, air conditioners and other sources of draft as moving air may cause a candle to burn faster and unevenly and this may encourage tunneling which will exhaust the candle more quickly and lead to wastage of candle wax.

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