Candle Warmer vs Burning: The Differences That Matter

Until sometime ago, burning a candle by lighting the pre-installed wick was the only way to enjoy the fragrance of a candle. However, that has changed now with the ever-increasing popularity of candle warmers. These are electrical devices that warm the candle into melting instead of burning them and generate no smoke or soot.

Nobody can deny that candles add a touch of elegance and feel-good vibes to any setting. But which is the better way to enjoy candles- candle warmers or candle burning? Let us find out.

Difference Between Candle Warmer & Burning Candle

Candle Warmer vs Burning

Between a burning candle and a candle warmer, the most important point of distinction is the fact that one uses an open flame while the other does not. There are few other things that sets the two apart from each other.



















The comparison made here may be considered too definitive by some because there are many factors that have to be considered before determining which one is better. A more detailed and head-to-head comparison has been made below for a more detailed understanding.

Candle Warmer

Candle Warmer

A candle warmer is an electrical device that uses an external heat supply from a power socket to warm a candle instead of burning it. It is like any other device that has a cord and a plug that draws power from a socket.

There are different types of candle warmers depending on the direction of heat flow occurring. The hot plate candle warmers use a conduction method to transfer heat from the bottom of a candle until it reaches the top.

A candle warmer lamp on the other hand uses the heat from a warming bulb to warm a candle from the top down. In this design, a bulb is suspended over the candle and there is no direct contact between the candle container and the heat source. Some candle warmers apply the same technology but are powered by batteries instead of electricity.

Pros and Cons

There hardly exists anything that is completely perfect without flaws. The same can be said of a candle warmer which is a pretty popular method of scenting up a room but has its own set of positive and negative features.


  • Candle warmers do not use any open flame and since no burning is involved, the chances of any smoke or soot are removed.
  • Is safer to use than a burning candle which has the possibility of a fire hazard if left unmanned for too long.
  • Increases the lifespan of a candle.
  • Safer to use around pets and children.


  • Runs on electricity or battery and adds to the energy bill, no matter how insignificantly.
  • Has chances of overheating if left unmanned for too long.
  • The candles used for candle warmers are usually more costly than regular traditional candles.
  • Candle warmers that use containers to warm candles or wax chips need regular cleaning and removal of leftover solidified wax.

Candle warmers are primarily preferred for home scenting purposes and to that end scented candles stored in glass jars are used. The better the quality of the candle, the more will be its fragrance and aroma.

Surrounding ourselves with good aromas has been proven to have a positive effect on our minds and mental well-being and that is why candle warmers are such an innovative way to enjoy the scent of candles without having to tolerate any smoke or soot.

Burning Candles

Burning Candles

A lighting candle or a burning candle is the most traditional method of generating heat and light since hundreds of years ago. The practice of mixing wax with various scents and molding them into scented candles was started much later.

A traditional candle has an ignitable wick and is made of wax. It needs an open flame to melt. The wick is the one that holds the flame and the heat generated with the flame melts the candle. The burning of the wick gives out smoke and soot.

Pros and Cons

Like a candle warmer, a traditional candle too has some positive and negative features that have been listed below.


  • Easy source of heat and light and can serve well during emergencies when electrical devices such as torches and mobile lights are unavailable.
  • Does not cost a lot of money to be bought.
  • Does not consume electricity, thus adding to the energy bill.


  • Is not eco-friendly as it generates moderate amounts of smoke and soot.
  • Poses a fire hazard as it uses an open flame and has to be used carefully around flammable objects.
  • Is not safe to be used around children and pets.
  • Although it is cheap, burning a candle reduces its lifespan and thus it has to be bought more frequently.

The utility of a candle cannot be denied even if it has some negative aspects. The reason behind this is simple, if a candle warmer is a finished and updated method then a burning candle is the prototype.

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Candle Warmer vs Burning Candle: Head-To-Head Comparison


If we are to compare the initial cost of buying a candle warmer as opposed to buying a traditional candle then the candle warmer is going to cost more. The average price of an electric candle warmer is between 18$ and to 30$ depending on what type and brand you buy from.

Scented candles on the other hand cost between 3$ to 11$ and plain unscented ones cost even less. Thus it is not a debate as to which is the pricier option. But there’s a catch regarding this because candles when burnt using the traditional method, exhaust quickly but a candle warmer lengthens the lifespan of a candle.

Therefore, although you will be paying more for a candle warmer at the very outset, eventually you will be saving up on having to make multiple candle purchases. That said, do keep in mind that a candle warmer costs your electricity and so for using the device for a set number of hours every day, you will be paying a certain amount as the energy bill.


There is no contesting the fact that using a candle with a candle warmer significantly increases its lifespan. This is because of two reasons. The traditional method of burning generates a large amount of heat in a short time which makes the candle melt and evaporate very fast.

However, in a candle warmer, the heat can be controlled and increased or decreased according to preferences. So, the candle is not being used up so fast in a candle warmer as compared to the traditional method of burning.

One of the main reasons why people prefer candle warmers over burning a candle is this. That they can use a candle for longer durations, is more cost-effective than using it all up after a short period. Quality scented candles are often quite pricey depending on the type of wax used and the rarity of the fragrance infused within, thus being able to use these candles for a long time is a major selling point.

Scent Throw

The first thing that you need to know about scent throw is that the stronger the heat source, the faster the wax will melt and release the fragrances stored inside.

Therefore, when it comes to spreading the scent in the air, lit candles have an upper hand as the heat is always more and it melts the wax more quickly. However, this is necessarily not a perk as the flame is uncontrolled so there is no predictability in how the scent will hit you. In simple words, you cannot control the scent.

However, with controlled heat in candle warmers, the amount of fragrance you allow can also be regulated easily by adjusting the heat level. The purpose of candle warming is essentially to use up all the scent inside the candles and then you can either dump the left-over wax or mix some other essential oil inside it to mold it into a candle for more fragrance.


In regards to safety, a candle warmer takes the upper hand as compared to using a burning candle. This is because a lit candle uses an open flame and leaving it unmanned can easily cause a fire. This is of course true if only you are leaving the candle near flammable objects such as paper, wood, or cloth.

A candle warmer has no such hazards associated with its usage but you should still be cautious while using it because it is after all an electrical device that generates significant amounts of heat. If you leave it unattended for too long at a high heat setting then the device will overheat. Repeatedly doing this may lead to the coil being burnt and a short circuit inside your home.


At the very beginning of this article, it has been mentioned that using a candle warmer generates no smoke and soot and thus is preferred by many. Imagine trying to relax inside your home and lighting a candle but you feel suffocated by the smoke that is produced, instead.

This is why candle warmers are a much better option when the eco-friendliness factor is concerned. You may wonder that the smoke produced by one or two tiny candles inside your home may not amount to much. Imagine the accumulated smoke from several other candles lit by several other people being released into the air. It is definitely not an ideal scenario.

Which Is Cheaper, Candle Warmer or Traditional Candle?

If we are talking about the first purchase, then a candle warmer is costlier than a traditional candle. There are however many candle warmers available at surprisingly low prices that sometimes even go lower than a standard scented candle. But the quality and longevity of those cheap knock-offs may not be worth it.

If you are looking to buy a candle warmer that will serve you well for several years, it is going to cost an amount that is higher than that of a traditional candle- scented or unscented, But eventually, in the long run, a candle warmer will be a cheaper option because then you will be using one candle for a longer duration. Even if the scent is lost, you can use the left-over candle to act as a light source or you can melt it and mix essential oils to make another scented candle.

Is It Better To Burn A Candle or Use A Warmer?

This is a subjective question and the answer will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the user. If you wish to use a candle for lighting purposes then a candle warmer is practically useless to you.

However, if your objective is to enjoy the fragrance of a candle then a candle warmer will be a buy that will be worth it. You can also double candle warmer lamps to act as a tiny and relaxing light source alongside melting the candle and releasing the aroma.

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Wrapping Up

If you wish to make a traditional candle smell stronger, then you can use a diffuser or just add essential oils to the candle jar before you light it up.

Hopefully, this article will help you in choosing the right option for you and no matter which one you choose, remember to always be cautious and use it safely!

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