Candles are not just a piece of home decor or an accessory. Candles are a lifestyle. And if you’re looking for the best candle brands and scents out there, you’ve come to the right place. I have personally tried hundreds of candles by this point, and pretty much know all their burn times by heart. I have favorite candles for summer, fall, winter, and spring. I have favorite candles for when I’m sad. When I’m sleepy. When I need to focus. Or when I just need a candle to get in the zone and feel cozy.
The only problem is that there are *so* many candle brands out there, and it can be hard to choose. Obviously, it totally depends on your mood, how your candle is serving you, and what scents you enjoy. Candles have all different kinds of price points, but let me just say this: Expensive is not always better. You can find a gorgeously scented candle at Target or on Amazon for under $20 and it’ll last you just as long as something more upscale.
With that said, let’s talk candles.
Best Candle Brands & Scents:
If you know your giftee loves candles but you’re worried gifting candles is too expected (never!), get them a Birthdate candle, a candle that pulls from astrology, numerology, and tarot to create a personalized scent just for the birthday boy/girl. My June 2nd candle has subtle woodsy-floral notes that make me feel calm almost immediately.
My Catskills candle currently hangs out on my coffee table because a) it’s simple sophistication is all my living room needed to look more put together, and b) it smells luxuriously smoky, like a cabin in the woods with a fire going. Its top notes are fir balsam, which basically smells like a Christmas tree, and middle and base notes include pine, juniper, sandalwood, and cedar. It’s especially a great candle for fall, but I keep it out year-round.
P.F. Candle Co. truly sells one-of-a-kind candles that are thoughtfully and lovingly made in California. Golden Coast is a personal favorite, since it evokes the scent and feeling of the West Coast’s great forests and its beaches. This candle’s scent is aptly described as “Big Sur magic, wild sage baking in the sun, the rumble of waves and rocks. Eucalyptus, sea salt, redwood, and palo santo.”
Otherland’s Canopy candle has been described as “summer in a jar” with its main notes of California fig, ivy greens, and summer dew. Otherland is a gifting favorite, as its jars can be reused for decor long after the wax has been burned down. Since the scent is strong (but not too perfume-y or overpowering), candle lovers can’t get enough of just about any of Otherland’s offerings. We’re just currently really into Canopy because it makes us feel like we’re on vacation.
Here For the Burn is known for its customizable candle labels, which are all supremely giftable. Their current scents are Mango Guava, Bergamot, Green Grass & Tonka Bean, and Moroccan Amber. I personally love the Moroccan Amber, as it’s a slightly spicy kind of vanilla that pretty much every human being will love. The best part is that you get to keep the glass forever.
Paddywax has a huge variety of themed candles, and you’ll surely find the perfect one based on your style and needs. If you’re looking for a good every day candle, or one for your office, Paddywax’s Library Collection is wonderful. Featuring classic authors, these candles are inspired by their literary styles and vibes. Jane Austen’s is an elegant flowery mix of gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine.
Harlem Candle Co. is known for its sensuous and complex scents and super elegant design. The “Ellington” candle was named after jazz artist Duke Ellington, and this candle truly does his and his music justice: It fills the room with a gorgeous bergamot, sage, and cinnamon — not too sweet, not too spicy, just perfect. There’s a touch of amber, musk and patchouli to top it off and give it some warmth.
Homesick Candles offer candles that pay homage to your city. While I’m picking LA because that’s where I live, there are tons of cities, states, countries, and even holidays and memories to choose from. And yes, each candle will have its own unique scent. The Los Angeles candle smells like orange, bergamot, roses, lemon, jasmine, and musk. I also gotta give the Minnesota candle a shoutout, because that’s my birth state (holler, all my fellow Midwesterners!). That one smells like apple, maple, clove, peppermint, vanilla, and tonka bean. Mmmm, wintertime.
I buy this candle every year during the holidays. It. Is. Sooooo. Good. Weirdly, I can’t really describe the scent, because it doesn’t smell like plum. It smells sweet and a little bit perfume-y, like candy. It has amber, dark cherry, and sugar notes — like a bowl of fresh fruit dressed in brown sugar. It has a long burn time, so you’ll be able to enjoy this candle for a while.
This classic candle smells like a bowl of lemons waiting to be juiced. It’s the perfect spring scent that adds freshness to every room in the house. I love lighting it during dinnertime, because it makes the evening feel brighter and more magical. Top notes include Sicilian lemon and Caribbean lime, and you also get wafts of jasmine and warm musk.
You can always count on Yankee Candle for variety, longevity, and capturing a feeling in a jar like no other. Summer Storm will remind you of those humid days with dark, clouds rolling in, about to burst. And when they did, it’s like the relief you never knew you needed. Relief from the sunlight, just for a while, as you eat a piece of cherry pie and watch droplets of hot water hit your window pane. Yup, this candle smells and feels like that. Its citrus, rosemary, and eucalyptus notes are earthy and familiar, like grass and wet pavement.
If you’re looking for a classic scent, or are looking for a candle for someone but aren’t sure what they like, lavender is always a safe bet. DW’s lavender chamomile candle is nourishing and designed for total relaxation. Their medium-sized candle burns for 33 hours, but if you’re looking for a longer burn time, we suggest sizing up!
Voluspa’s candles are not only works of art, but they gift you with a huge variety of unique scents. We love persimmon and copal for the spring and summer months since it’s fruity, but not obnoxiously so. Burn time is generous, and then you’re left with a gorgeous glass you can repurpose.
Most recently, a lot of buzz was generated about Literie’s “New York”-scented candle collection. This offered everything from “Bodega Coffee” candles to “The Christmas Tree Guy” candles. Scents that remind you of New York (no, not the hot garbage smell in the summer) in the best possible way. I got to try out the “Afternoon in Central Park” candle, and it really did bring me back to all my work trips to New York and times I’d get to sneak out and take a walk at the park. It’s grassy, fresh, and has classy notes of bergamot. Such a cool concept! Other cities, like Los Angeles and Miami are coming too, and we can’t wait to learn about their accompanying candle scents.
No list would be complete without a Scary Mommy candle! Our shop offers the sassiest, most relatable candles that are supremely giftable for others and ourselves. I love our S.O.S. (Straight Outta Shits) candle, because…same. They come in scents like Go-Ask-Your-Dad-Vanilla, Mimosa & Chill, Sage Against the Machine, and more LOL-worthy smells.
Jo Malone is known for its luxurious perfumes, and if you’re a fan, then you should also get yourself a Jo Malone candle — because they smell just as good. We’re gonna go with the Nectarine Blossom & Honey scent, because it reminds us of biting into a ripe nectarine on a summer day. It’s a refreshing and downright pretty scent, and we can’t get enough of it.