Top Tips for Buying the Best Scented Candles - a Short Guide

Top Tips for Buying the Best Scented Candles - a Short Guide

If it’s your first time buying a scented candle you’ll probably find out it’s a rather crowded market. If you’re a candle veteran you’ll know that there’s certainly no shortage of choice. There’s a lot more to consider than just smell however. Here’s some top tips for buying the best scented candles.

If your candle vendor knows their wicks form their wax and is proud about their product, they should be keen to let you know the following information – we’ll leave our info as we go along.

Burn Time

Now, there’s no point buying a beautifully scented candle if the fun is going to be short lived – burn time is important. The longer your candle burns for the more bang for your buck you’ll get. All good things must come to an end, but you want to make sure you get value!

Burn time can be affected by the composition of wax, the wick, the quantity of other additives such as fragrance, scent holders, dyes and pigments, and the candle’s shape and size.

A poorly chosen, wonkily placed wick can give you an uneven burn and leave wax left over, while too many additives can clog the wick and leave you with a dim light that’ll fizzle out. Too many combustible additives will swiftly end your candle in a blaze of glory and can be dangerous.

Ideally you want a candle that will have a strong (but not too dangerous), enduring flame, with little soot and great smell, that burns evenly.

  • Happy Piranha’s large candles are 62mm High and 78mm in diameter and 175g in weight with a 35 hour average burn time. If you have a similar sized candle that burns for less time, something’s fishy.

Scent Throw and Capture

Scent is one of those things that’s relative to the individual. We all have smells we prefer and some people are more sensitive than others. That said, a candles scent throw (how far it disperses its smell) and its ability to maintain its scent over time, are important.

If you want to know a little bit more about how your sense of smell works – we’ve written a guide.

  • Happy Piranha’s candles maintain their scent for the duration of their burn and smell great even if you haven’t lit them. They also come in a cosy tin to help preserve the scent for multiple uses!


Wax is a hotly debated topic in candle making and they all have their own pro’s and cons. The main waxes are made from palm oil, vegetable oil, mineral oil (paraffin) ,coconut oil, soy and beeswax.

What's worth noting is that a study from the national candle makers association of America showed that in terms of burn quality, no one wax is superior. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to a candles materials.

Soy wax is on trend right now as a ‘sustainable natural resource’ though try not to be mislead by simple environmental buzzwords. As with all materials there's a lot more to think about than simply what they're made of.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the base material of the wax that matters. It’s where it comes from, how it’s got to where it is, how refined it is and the other ingredients that have to be added to it to improve its performance.

We don't use soy wax, you can read more about why here. As with lots of things, it's all relative, our main advise would be to make sure the producer has done their research.

If a someone is boasting of the amazing natural and sustainable qualities of their product and don't provide any quantifiable, scientific evidence to back it up, it's a good idea to be a little suspicious. 

What’s important is to keep questioning things to find the best current option for you. If you really care, don’t just jump on the bandwagon.

At the end of the day it depends on what you’re wanting from a candle. Do you want good price, high performance, or ethics?

  • We think we’ve found our best current mix of all three at Happy Piranha with our blend of highly refined vegetable and mineral oil. It re-uses waste to give high performance at a competitive price with a long lasting, low soot burn. Our candles are hand poured to ensure an even top, reduce air bubbles and add that extra care.


Good candle makers will have their candles tested to measure their emissions, performance and quality. Not all candles burn equally and it’s those that put the effort into testing that have the evidence to be able to burn the best.

  • Happy Piranha's candle makers are members of the British Candle Making Federation and have had our candles tested to ensure their emission and burn times are at a high standard.


Candles can vary greatly in price which is funny considering that on a basic level, the constituent ingredients are pretty similar. Have you ever seen one of those £300 ‘designer’ candles? All you’re paying for is the brand.

At the same time, don’t be beguiled by a bargain basement candle – you don’t want a dwindling, sooty burn.

  • Happy Piranha’s large scented candles are £8.50 or three for £22. We challenge you to find a hand poured, hand labelled candle of the same quality for a similar price that also has original design, hand drawn artwork and similar burn quality, made at home in the UK.


Though smell is a central focus of a scented candle, why not buy one which looks great too? That way it’s an awesome item whether you’ve lit it or not. If our candle’s going to be sitting on your shelf for its 35 hour burn time, it should look great while doing so!

There’s a million different scented candles on the market, all promoting the same thing, so why not pick something different?

All of our labels at Happy Piranha are original designs, drawn by hand and then individually computer animated. Our designs are inspired by the things we love, so they mean a lot to us. We’re not satisfied just sticking a name or a stock image on a tin. We want to make them something you’ll love, even after the wax is gone.

Already bought a candle that you're happy with?

Happy Piranha scented candles, inspired quirky and cute!

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