Candle Sizes: A Comprehensive Guide

  • By: Carole Brooks
  • Date: 23.05.2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.
Candle Sizes: A Comprehensive Guide

Hello, candle lovers and enthusiasts! If you’ve ever found yourself strolling through a candle store or browsing an online shop, you may have wondered why candles come in so many shapes and sizes. What’s the difference, you might ask, between a small tealight and a large jar candle, aside from the apparent size? How does the size influence the burning time and fragrance of the candle? And, when faced with an array of options, how do you choose the right candle size for your needs?

Don’t fret! We’re about to embark on a journey to demystify the world of candles, focusing specifically on sizes. This comprehensive guide will walk you through understanding candle sizes, their implications, and how to choose the perfect candle for any occasion.

So whether you’re a candle veteran or a novice, stick around! This light-hearted exploration into the realm of candles will certainly illuminate your knowledge. Let’s get started!

Understanding Candle Sizes

What Candle Sizes Mean

Candle sizes generally refer to the dimensions – diameter and height, and the weight of the candle. The size of a candle can significantly impact its burn time, scent throw, and the ambiance it creates.

Common Units of Measurement for Candles

Candle sizes are usually measured in inches for dimensions and ounces for weight, especially in the US. However, you may also find sizes in centimeters and grams in some regions or candle brands.

Common Types and Size

Candle TypeTypical Diameter (inches)Typical Height (inches)
Tealights1.50.5 – 1
Pillar3 (can vary)6 (can vary)
Taper16 – 18
Jar2.5 – 4 (can vary)3.5 – 5 (can vary)



 Tealights are small, typically about 1.5 inches in diameter and 0.5-1 inch high. They’re perfect for a subtle touch of ambiance and often come in multipacks.


Votive candles

Votive candles are slightly larger than tealights, typically 2 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches high. They provide a warm, cozy light and are great for short-term use.

Pillar Candles

Pillar Candles

Pillar candles are larger and come in various sizes, but a common size is 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches high. They’re stand-alone candles (don’t require a holder) and are excellent for creating a focal point.

Taper Candles

Taper Candles

Taper or dinner candles are tall and slim, typically around 1 inch in diameter and 6-18 inches high. They are usually placed in a candlestick and offer a classic, elegant look.

Jar Candles

Jar Candles

Jar candles can vary significantly in size, with small ones being around 2.5 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches high, and large ones going up to 4 inches in diameter and 5 inches high. They’re convenient, safe, and come in a myriad of scents.

What Size Candles For Candle Holders

The size of the candle for a candle holder depends on the specific type and size of the holder. Here are general recommendations:

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  1. Taper Candle Holders: Taper holders are usually designed for taper candles which typically have a base diameter of about 7/8 of an inch (around 2.2 cm).
  2. Pillar Candle Holders: Pillar candle holders come in a variety of sizes, commonly ranging from 3 to 6 inches in diameter (around 7.6 to 15.2 cm). Ensure that your pillar candle is smaller than the holder’s diameter and sits stably on the holder.
  3. Votive Candle Holders: Votive holders are designed for votive candles, which are typically around 2 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches high (5 cm x 6.4 cm).
  4. Tealight Candle Holders: Tealight holders are made for tealights, which are typically about 1.5 inches in diameter and 0.5 to 1 inch high (3.8 cm x 1.3 to 2.5 cm).
  5. Hurricane Candle Holders: Hurricane holders are usually used with pillar candles. They are typically larger and should completely encase the candle, so the diameter of the holder should be larger than the candle, and the height should be equal to or taller than the candle.

In all cases, make sure that the candle fits securely and safely within the holder. The candle should not wobble or risk tipping over, as this can be a fire hazard. When in doubt, measure the holder and compare it to the size of the candle.

Choosing the Right Candle Size

Choosing the right candle size can seem like a daunting task with all the options available, but here are some factors to consider that can make the process easier:

1. Purpose of the Candle: Are you lighting the candle for a romantic dinner or to fill your living room with a delightful scent? A smaller candle, like a votive or a taper, would be perfect for a dining table. On the other hand, larger candles, such as pillars or large jar candles, would be more suitable for larger spaces because of their longer burn time and stronger scent throw.

2. Size of the Space: The size of the room or space where you plan to use the candle is also an important factor. Smaller spaces like bathrooms or small offices can be sufficiently scented by a smaller candle, while larger spaces like living rooms or open-plan areas might require larger candles or multiple smaller ones.

3. Duration of Burn Time: If you want a candle that will last for several hours for, say, a long dinner party or a whole day of relaxation at home, you’d want to opt for a larger candle. Conversely, if you’re looking for a candle to use for a shorter duration, such as during a bath or a brief meditation session, a smaller candle would be sufficient.

4. Décor and Aesthetics: Candles are not just for their functional purposes – they are often used as décor too! A large, ornate candle can serve as a centerpiece in a room, while smaller candles can add subtle touches of coziness and charm. Consider the aesthetics of the space and how the size of the candle fits in.

5. Safety Considerations: Larger candles, while often having a longer burn time and greater scent throw, also have a larger flame. This means they should be placed in an area where they’re less likely to be knocked over, and far from flammable items. Smaller candles can be safer in this regard, but all candles should be used with care.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to candles, and the “right” size largely depends on your individual needs and preferences. So consider these factors, trust your instincts, and you’ll find the perfect candle size for you!

Influence of Size on Burning Time

The size of a candle directly impacts its burning time – the amount of time it can burn before it’s completely used up. Generally, larger candles burn for longer periods than smaller ones. This is simply because larger candles have more wax, and the longer it takes for all the wax to melt and vaporize, the longer the candle lasts. For instance, a large pillar candle can burn for up to 90 hours, while a small tealight may only last 4 to 6 hours.

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The thickness (or diameter) of the candle also affects the burning time. Candles with a larger diameter have multiple wicks, which means more wax is burned at a time, potentially shortening the burn time compared to a single-wick candle of the same size.

Influence of Size on Scent Throw

“Scent throw” is a term used to describe how the fragrance of a scented candle disperses in a space. There are two types of scent throw: “cold throw” and “hot throw.” Cold throw refers to the scent of the candle when it’s not lit, while hot throw refers to the scent when the candle is burning.

The size of a candle can affect both the cold and hot scent throw. Larger candles often have a stronger cold throw because they have a larger wax surface area, which means more fragrance oils can evaporate into the air even when the candle isn’t burning.

As for the hot throw, larger candles usually have a wider scent throw because they have more wax to heat, which allows more fragrance oils to vaporize and disperse into the air. Moreover, larger candles often have multiple wicks, which can generate more heat and thus disperse the scent more efficiently.

However, it’s also important to note that other factors such as the type and amount of fragrance oils used, the type of wax, and the design of the candle (including wick type and placement) can also significantly influence the scent throw.

That said, if you want a candle to fill a larger space with its fragrance, it’s generally a good idea to go for a larger size. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a subtle scent or want a candle for a smaller space, a smaller candle may be sufficient.

Care and Maintenance Based on Candle Sizes

Larger candles will need their wicks trimmed more often, usually every 4 hours of burn time, to prevent smoking and ensure a clean burn. On the other hand, smaller candles like tealights and votives may not require wick trimming at all.

Customizing Candle Sizes: A DIY Guide

If you’re into DIY and want to try making your own candles, you can customize the size to your liking! All you need are some basic candle-making supplies like wax, wicks, and a mold or container of your chosen size.


Understanding candle sizes is key to getting the most out of your candles. Whether you’re buying or making your own candles, a grasp of candle sizes can enhance your candle usage experience. Remember, the right candle size can transform the ambiance of your space and even influence your mood!


Why do candles come in different sizes?

Candles come in different sizes to cater to different uses, environments, and burn times.

Does the size of a candle affect its burn time?

Yes, larger candles typically have a longer burn time because there’s more wax to burn.

How do I choose the right candle size?

Consider the size of the space, the occasion, and how long you plan to burn the candle.

Do larger candles produce more scent?

Generally, yes. Larger candles usually have a broader scent throw and can fill larger spaces with fragrance.

Can I make my own candles in custom sizes?

Absolutely! With some basic candle-making supplies, you can create candles in any size you desire.

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