How Long Do Candles Burn For And How To Make Them Last Longer.

If you love candles and want to make the most out of yours, you might be interested in knowing more about candle burn time. 

So, how long do candles burn for? Dependant upon size candles can burn between 8 to 40 hours. There are many different factors that effect this though such as candle diameter, candle hight, wick size and even the type of wax that was used to produce the candle. Adding fragrance to make scented candles is another factor to the length of time it takes to burn.

As you can see, it really does depend on many factors!

These soy wax candles that I made will burn for 40 hours
These soy wax candles that me and my wife made last for around 40 hours each.

Factors that determine a candle’s burn time

The wick size, type of wick and type of candle wax all have a role to play in a candle’s burn time. The most popular wicks in today’s candles are either cotton or wood wicks.

Another factor is where the candle is placed – if there is a draft or the candle is outdoors, it will burn for a shorter amount of time.

Finally, any fragrance oils or colours added to the wax will also affect a candle’s burn time.

Common tea lights have a typical size, which means you can usually get between four and six hours out of one. A votive is another candle with a typical, standard size.

Votives usually give you between ten and fifteen hours of burn time.

What is the longest-lasting candle wax?

If you’re wanting to get the most out of a single candle, you can make your choices carefully based on factors that lengthen a candle’s life. 

Beeswax and soy wax (made from hydrogenated soybean oil) are both considered to be the longest-lasting of waxes. This means they’re ideal for making long-lasting candles. 

Typically, beeswax is the most longer-lasting of the two because of its high melting point. However, it is this high melting point that makes it more difficult to work with. 

Soy wax is easier to work with, and it’s also cheaper to come by.

Check out these soy wax candles on Amazon which come with a very long burn time.

Whether you choose soy wax or beeswax, you’re also being environmentally conscious as these two waxes are derived from naturally occurring substances. Paraffin, on the other hand, is not eco-friendly and is derived from petroleum.

For more information about which type of wax is the best for candles check out my guide.

Ways to make candles last longer

If you choose a soy wax or beeswax candle and still want to make it last longer, there are a few things you can do.

Freeze your candle to make it last longer

One trick to make your candles burn slower and last longer is to freeze them. While this does work, it can be tricky to light the wick after it has been frozen.

One way to protect the wick during this process is to wrap it in aluminium foil. Once the wick is protected, you should then wrap the candle carefully in plastic wrap before you put them in the freezer.

Freezing a candle for even just one hour can help it to burn more slowly.

Add salt to your candle to make it last longer

Another trick is to use table salt. Adding salt can make a candle last almost twice as long in some cases.

How to add salt to a candle

First of all, you should light the candle and wait until there is a melted wax pool surrounding the wick.

Then, you should blow this out but have the salt to hand so that you can prepare the candle before the wax solidifies again. 

With the wax melted and the flame extinguished, sprinkle some table salt into the molten wax. You should ensure the salt mixes in with the wax rather than sitting on the wax surface.

When the salt has been added, it slows down the wax’s melting process. If you repeat this process whenever you burn your candle, you will have a candle that lasts much longer.

Keep the wick trimmed to make your candle last longer

One final way to keep your candle burning longer is to make sure you trim the wick regularly.

If the wick is too long it can cause the flame to be too high which melts the wax much faster.

If a candle burns unevenly, it will burn quicker. If you keep the wick trimmed down to a quarter-inch, you will be helping the candle to burn evenly and, therefore, for long.

In addition, make sure you place your candle away from drafts, as this will cause it to burn unevenly. 

You will know if there is a draft as your candle flame will appear to flicker.

Why does salt make candles burn longer? 

Salt has the same effect as freezing a candle. Essentially, its presence slows down how quickly the wax melts. The longer it is solid, the longer it will stay alight. With the wax melting more slowly, you will have a candle that burns longer and has a better economical burn.

If you use salt as well as freezing your candles, you know that you’re doing all you can to get as much time as possible out of your candles.

How much salt should you add to candle wax?

A pinch of salt in the wax pool is usually enough to slow down its burning time. First, however, you need to make sure it doesn’t sit on the wax’s surface. Rather, it should be mixed in. 

This isn’t a one-time process. For salt to work, you have to add salt to it each time you have burnt your candle. 

It would help if you also chose finer grains of salt. If you use rock salt or other salt in big grains, it won’t dissolve well enough into the molten wax.

Does the type of container affect a candle’s burn time?

It seems that candles with similar amounts of wax burn at different rates depending on the container used. 

Containers that are known to be more efficient include tin, apothecary, tumbler, and jar.

Other tips for making a candle burn longer

The first time you burn a candle that is in a jar or container, you should be careful how long you burn it for. The very first burning needs to be long enough for the container to have a pool of melted wax that goes from rim to rim across the entire container.

This is important because wax has memory. If you only create a small pool the first time you light it, a candle will struggle to go beyond this initial circumference the next time you burn it. Instead, your candle will tunnel downwards, and the wick will be forced deeper, with the wax on the sides never burning. Ultimately, this will shorten your candle’s burning time.

Final thoughts 

It’s really tricky to put a set time on how long a candle burns for when there are so many variables. Things like candle height, diameter, wick, and wax type all affect a candle’s burn time.

There are things you can do to make the most out of your candles. Firstly, choose a long-lasting wax like beeswax or soy wax. Secondly, freeze your candle before use, as this ensures a slower burn time. Finally, add salt to the melt pool at the base of the wick.

If you’re looking for a candle that will last a while, you should choose a large candle with a single wick. Ideally, this should be a beeswax candle inside an apothecary jar or large tin. 

Andrew Scents and Aroma