THE best scented candles can conjure a mood, help you relax and elevate a night in.
They feel especially necessary in winter, and help create a cosy atmosphere in your home, whether you're reading in bed, taking a bath or relaxing in front of the TV.
However, with so many brands available, it's hard to pick the best scented candle for you, and if you don't love the smell then it's easy to feel like you're quite literally burning money.
Luckily, we've taken it upon ourselves to undertake the noble task of testing out the best-scented candles on the market.
Liberty London Hera Candle
- Hera Candle, £44.20 (saving £7.80) from Liberty London – buy here
We were expecting a lot from this candle — after all, it's not cheap, and it's also been voted the Best Interior Fragrance of the Year by the prestigious Fragrance Foundation.
It's inspired by famous Liberty fan Oscar Wilde, who once reportedly said that the Carnaby store was "the chosen resort of the artistic shopper”. We'll let you make your own mind up on that, but we can confirm it's a delicious, sophisticated, expensive-smelling fragrance with the clean scent of Rose, Amber and Moss.
Size 300g Burn time 65-70 hours Vegan? Yes
Yankee Candle: Autumn Nature Walk
- Yankee Candle: Autumn Nature Walk, £22.99 – buy here
With a burn time of 65-75 hours, this candle will be keeping your home glowing with a fresh autumn scent all winter.
It's among the longest-lasting premium candles you can buy, which is great because we've never tired of its handsome apothecary jar and muted green tone.
Size 411g Burn time 65-75 hours Vegan? Yes
Denby Halo Candle
- Denby Halo Candle, £40 from John Lewis – buy here
If how a scented candle looks is as important to you as how it smells, then you'll love this Halo candle from Denby.
It comes in a beautiful ceramic vessel featuring Denby's two-tone glaze, and once the candle is burned there's no chance you'll be throwing it away.
It also happens to smell amazing, with notes of jasmine and patchouli.
Size: 540g Burn time: 40 hours Vegan? N/A
NEOM Organics Real Luxury 3 Wick Scented Candle
- NEOM Organics Real Luxury 3 Wick Scented Candle, £48 from NEOM – buy here
Another award-winning candle from a well-known brand, this NEOM candle attempts to conjure an atmosphere of "Real Luxury" using the fragrances of lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood.
It's a perfect living room candle — it has a strong throw thanks to its three wicks, and looks great on a coffee table. It also contains a blend of 24 essential oils, so if you're into aromatherapy you'll feel right at home.
Size 420g Burn time up to 50 hours Vegan? No
WXY Studio 2 Rhubarb and Anise Candle
- WXY Studio 2 Rhubarb and Anise Candle, £19.85 (saving £2.15) from Fragrance Direct – buy here
Every time writers discuss anything fragrance-related they seem to mention the fact that smell is the sense most closely linked with memory, but it does feel worth noting it when talking about this candle.
With a beautiful, jammy rhubarb scent accompanied by a spicy anise edge, it smells just like a rhubarb crumble cooking in a kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It's also fairly well-priced, its smell fills an entire room and you can smell it for hours after it's been extinguished.
It also comes in an absolutely beautiful marbled concrete vessel, which is dyed to give each candle a unique pattern. It certainly isn't something you'll be throwing away in a hurry.
Size 170g Burn time 30-35 hours Vegan? Yes
This Works Black Spice and Cedar Candle
- Black Spice & Cedar Candle, £18.20 (saving £7.80) from This Works – buy here
We've always been fan of This Works thanks to its incredibly effective Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, which reportedly helps 89% of people who try it to fall asleep faster.
That means we had high hopes for the somnolent qualities of this candle, and we weren't disappointed.
This Works recommends using this while having a long soak in the bath, and we can attest that the lavender and camomile odours in combo with the hot water got us prepped for an amazing night's sleep.
Size 200g Burn time 40 hours Vegan? Yes
Blomus Sea Salt and Sage Scented Candle
- Blomus Sea Salt and Sage Candle, £15.63 (saving £7.71) at Amazon – buy here
This is one of the best value scented candles on this list, with a 4oz version costing just £8.41, and a mighty 10z version coming in at £15.63 thanks to a discount at Amazon.
Like the WXY candle, it comes in a lovely industrial-chic concrete vessel, meaning it looks amazing on whichever surface it's burning — we think it would make a great Christmas gift.
The sea salt and sage scent is one of the most sophisticated we came across; light and airy from the salt, earthy and herbal from the sage, and while noticeable, not at all overbearing.
We'd recommend getting the 10oz model and keeping it burning in your bedroom; you'll soon be addicted.
Size 760g Burn time 55 hours Vegan? Yes
Aldi Lime, Basil and Mandarin Glass Candle
- Lime, Basil and Mandarin Glass Candle, £3.49 from Aldi – buy here
There are few feelings as satisfying as finding cut-price luxury that feels expensive, and that absolutely applies to this candle from Aldi, which costs just £3.49.
One of the drawbacks of scented candles for many people is the anxiety of watching the money they've spent burn away, and this is a great candle for people who want their house to smell divine without feeling guilty about spending money (especially in the current climate).
With 335g of wax and two wicks, this is a big candle, and the scent is citrusy and refreshing.
Size 335g Burn time 40 hours Vegan? Yes
Noble Isle The Greenhouse Luxury Scented Candle
- The Greenhouse Luxury Scented Candle, £42 from Noble Isle – buy here
On the more luxurious end of the scale is "The Greenhouse" from Noble Isle, which is made using real perfume and designed with the input of a "nose" (basically a perfume sommelier).
That input is made evident by the extremely complex scent, which includes notes of Bergamot, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mint, Melon and Tomato Leaf, which come together to form the scent of an English Greenhouse in summer.
Despite the long list of notes, this is a very subtle scent; it's the sort of fragrance you only notice once you've walked out of the room then back in again.
Size 200g Burn time 35-45 hours Vegan? Yes
Wonderwick Velvet Musk and Oud
- Wonderwick Velvet Musk and Oud Noir Glass Scented Candle, £18.74 from Amazon – buy here
This is probably the sexiest candle we tested, thanks to the sultry Musk and Oud scent, the black and gold design and Wonderwick's trademark crackling wick, which makes you feel like you're in an intimate setting, somewhere near a fireplace.
At less than £20 for 45 hours of burn time, this also falls on the more affordable end of the spectrum.
Size 586g Burn time up to 45 hours Vegan? Yes
Skandinavisk Hav Scented Candle
- Skandinavisk Hav Scented Candle with Lid, £28 (saving £7) from Sephora UK – buy here
Everyone knows that Scandinavians are the best at chic but cosy nights in, and that's no more evident than in this candle by Scandinavisk.
"Hav" means "sea" in Swedish, and this candle has notes of sea spray, seaweed and beach rose, which translates into a fresh, subtle and outdoorsy scent that's great for burning in the daytime.
Size 200g Burn time 50 hours Vegan? Yes
- Skandinavisk Skog Scented Candle with Lid, £31.50 from Amazon – buy here
Another scent from Skandinavisk, Skog has an extremely calming forest scent, with a heavy dose of pine; and don't worry, this is as far away from that nauseating new-car pine smell as you can get.
It'd be a great one to have to burn in your house over the festive period; it'll make your whole house smell like a Christmas tree.
Size 200g Burn time 50 hours Vegan? Yes
ESPA Positivity Scented Candle
- Positivity Aromatherapy Candle, £29.60 (saving £7.40) from ESPA – buy here
Distilling the concept of positivity into a scent isn't an easy task, but ESPA has had a good stab at it with this aromatherapy candle.
It harnesses scents of jasmine, gardenia and rose geranium to provide a "burst of joy", while bergamot and sweet orange are included in order to boost confidence.
The result is a sweet, floral sense that has the positivity of springtime; we found we liked it best in the morning while getting ready for work.
Size 500g Burn time 40 hours Vegan? No
Diptyque Odour Removing Candle with Basil
- Diptyque Odour Removing Candle with Basil, £54 from Diptyque – buy here
Diptyque is one of the most luxurious names in candlemaking, and having one of its iconic white labels in your home is something of a status symbol.
This particular candle is from the new La Drogurie collection, which is made with ingredients that are almost entirely natural or of natural origin, and also has a bit more of a utilitarian purpose than the brand's main-brand candles; this is an odour-removing candle, which makes it ideal for popping in your bathroom.
It has a beautiful, fresh scent of basil, mint and tomato leaf, and despite being small, it has a burn time of 60 hours, meaning there's plenty of time for a long bath as it burns.
Size 190g Burn time 60 hours Vegan? No
Miller Harris Tabac
- Miller Harris Tabac Candle, £40 (saving £10) – buy here
Another option from the more luxurious end of the scale, this candle from London perfumery Miller Harris has a unique tobacco scent, which is wonderfully mood-evoking; it can really add an air of sophistication to a room thanks to perfect throw and a stylish sage green vessel.
It's quite masculine, without relying too much on traditional "manly" scents, so we think this would be a great gift for the metrosexual man in your life.
Size 220g Burn time 50 hours Vegan? Yes
Jo Loves A Home Candle Pomelo
- Jo Loves A Home Candle Pomelo, £55 from Space NK – buy here
Started by Jo Malone, Jo Loves built its reputation on this signature scent, Pomelo. Strong, fruity and fragrant, the brand has used it in body washes, fragrances and candles like this one.
Something we admire about Jo Loves is the punchiness of its scents, and this candle is no different.
With an impressive burn time of 37.5 hours, this candle can transform the scent of a room in no time and even after it's been extinguished, the scent lingers.
It's a little pricier at £55, but for the amount of use this candle will give you, we would highly recommend it.
Size 185g Burn time 37.5 hours Vegan? Yes
Molton Brown Merry Berries & Mimosa
- Molton Brown Merry Berries & Mimosa Scented Candle, £31.50 (saving £10.50) from John Lewis – buy here
Brand new this autumn, this limited edition candle from Molton Brown will get you in the mood to snuggle up by the fire with a warm drink in hand.
The wintry citrus flavours of the red berries and mandarin pair beautifully with the musky, woody notes of sandalwood and cedarwood to create a fresh but hearty winter fragrance.
It comes in stunning red and gold packaging and sits in a glass jar which is both chic and safe.
Size 190g Burn time N/A Vegan? N/A
BYREDO Bibliotheque Candle
- BYREDO Bibliotheque Candle, £60 from Liberty – buy here
This would be no scented candle edit without the Swedish homeware brand Byredo.
With a number of famous scents like Gypsy Water and Mojave Ghost among its credits, this is one of its slightly lesser-known fragrances.
Bibliotheque combines the fruitiness of peaches and plums with the sweetness of vanilla and floral tones of peony and violet. Sound a little too light and floaty for you? Don't worry, it's all offset by a grittier scent of leather.
Every scented candle lover needs the sleek, no-fuss packaging of Byredo as part of their collection, and although not cheap at £60, it's certainly worth the cash, with 60 hours of burn time.
Size 240g Burn time 60 hours Vegan? No
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Candle
- Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Home Candle, £55 from FeelUnique – buy here
Splurging on an expensive candle is one way to guarantee that the aroma permeates the room and lingers even after it's been blown out.
Jo Malone's divine blends are favourites as gifts because of the beautiful packaging with bow included, and can completely change the mood of a room. Pomegranate Noir is a lovely scent that comprises pomegranate, raspberry, frankincense and patchouli for a rich, lasting aroma.
Bring this one out when you have people over you're looking to impress.
Size 200g Burn time 45 hours Vegan? N/A
Tom Ford Rose Prick Candle
- Tom Ford Rose Prick Candle, £98 from Space NK – buy here
Okay, we know this one is very expensive, but hear us out.
As the name suggests, the scent is inspired by a rose garden, drawing on Turkish and Bulgarian roses to create the heart of the fragrance and tonka beans and patchouli for a warm base. For a zingier note, see if you can smell spicy pepper and turmeric.
Tom Ford has not held back when it comes to the strength of this candle to the point that you can still smell it even when it's not burning.
It comes in a super chic pink case that elevates any living space and because of its strong scent, you don't need to burn it for ages to reap the aromatic rewards.
Size 200g Burn time 40 hours Vegan? Yes
UpCircle Chai Latte Soy Candle
- UpCircle Chai Latte Soy Candle, £19.99 from UpCircle – buy here
This might be the best candle for winter that we tested: thanks to the fact that UpCircle uses repurposed Chai spices that have previously been used to make syrup for Chai Lattes, it smells exactly like our favourite winter beverage, and at just £15.90 on Beauty Bay, it's one of the more affordable on this list.
Upon removing it from the box, you will be hit by a spicy punch — this was easily the candle with the strongest scent before it was lit.
That meant that we were a bit worried that it would be overpowering once lit, but it has the perfect strength and throw for a cosy night in front of the telly.
Size 180g Burn time 20-25 hours Vegan? Yes
Urban Apothecary Wild Berry
- Urban Apothecary Wild Berry Kilner Jar Candle, £30 from LookFantastic – buy here
If you want to bring the scent of summer into your home as the weather gets colder, you'll struggle to find anything better than this Wild Berry candle from Urban Apothecary.
Its scent leans heavily into the sweetness of the berries, meaning that if you don't have a sweet tooth, this one might not be for you; it is quite a strong candle, and the scent easily fills a big room. If the sweetness is for you, you'll be in heaven.
Size 250g Burn time 50 hours Vegan? Yes
VOYA Luxury Scented Candle Cedarwood and Bergamot
- VOYA Luxury Scented Candle Cedarwood and Bergamot, £32 from Lookfantastic – buy here
Whenever we light this candle we really feel like we're stepping into our very own spa. At the moment, we've been struggling to wake up in the morning, so we've been lighting this candle just before we do our morning skincare so we can feel like we're starting off the day with some indulgent self-care.
Although the candle is small it packs a punch and fills the room with scent quicker than you may think.
The blend of eucalyptus, exotic citrus and forest wood scents makes for the perfect mix of earth and citrus scents for something that's light and fresh but with a masculine undertone.
How to make scented candles
Making your own scented candles is a cheap and relatively easy hobby, and if you're someone who needs a candle burning at all times, it's likely to save you money in the long run.
However, there are a few things you'll need to buy, including candle containers, wax and essential oils to make the final product smell amazing.
There are plenty of helpful guides to take you through the process, like this one from Food52.
Are scented candles toxic?
In recent years there has been plenty of worry that candles made from paraffin wax could be harmful to your health.
It's true that paraffin wax contains carcinogens, but research indicates that even in small rooms, the level of harmful substances released by scented candles is not high enough to pose a threat.
If you want to be sure that you're not inhaling anything dangerous, it's best to opt for a candle made of natural ingredients such as soy wax.
Are scented candles bad for dogs?
No, scented candles do not pose any significant danger to dogs, although it's best to buy soy wax ones if you're worried about any potentially adverse consequences.
It's also best to keep candles out of reach of dogs, as the pleasant smell can often cause them to try and eat the wax, and some of the essential oils could make your pup ill.
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