Wax Melt vs. Candle: All You Need to Know

Wax Melt vs. Candle: All You Need to Know

Candles add a warm, welcoming glow to any space, and they transform a room’s energy with their aroma and beauty. More than just a fragrant decor item, candles can transport you to another place and time with a single whiff. The human olfactory system is incredibly powerful and even impacts stress, mood and work capacity, according to a study published in Scientia Pharmaceutica. This means that fragrances evoke certain feelings and impact various mental states. A candle is a beautiful addition to any room, but they clearly do so much more than look pretty and make a space smell nice. 

Since we no longer rely on candles to light our homes, many people have switched from traditional candles to wax melts and electric candle warmers. There is no denying that the warmers can be quite beautiful and make lovely home decor items. However, as someone who appreciates the lovely fragrances and warmth of traditional candles, you have likely wondered whether electric warmers are all they’re cracked up to be. Here at Homesick, we are, naturally, a bit biased and believe that candles and reed diffusers are the superior choice

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Why do we prefer candles and reed diffusers over wax melts and electric warmers? Keep reading to find out all you need to know. 

What Candles and Wax Melts Are Made Of

What are candles made of? Both candles and wax melts are made of wax. They are not all made from the same type of wax, though. Many inexpensive products are made from paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. Heating this type of wax — whether with a flame or an electric warmer — releases soot and toxins into the air. And while paraffin holds fragrance and dye well, it isn’t natural or biodegradable, making it unappealing to many consumers. Palm wax has also fallen out of favor in recent years due to its environmental impact. 

what are candles made of

High-quality candles and melts are made using natural, environmentally friendly waxes like soy, coconut and beeswax. We use natural soy wax in our candles because it produces less soot and toxins than other types. And because it is naturally off-white in color, it allows us to create beautiful candles without added colors. Soy wax has a low melting point, too, making it ideal for use in cooler environments. 

Benefits of Candles

Scented candles offer several benefits, and they do much more than give your home or office a pleasant aroma. They transform the mood of the entire space, and they even have health benefits. 

Set the Mood

When you’re trying to create some ambiance in the room, there’s nothing better than a scented candle. If you have ever gotten lost in the glow of a flickering candle, you already know how much these illuminated home fragrance products enhance a room. Strategically placing a few candles throughout a space instantly creates a welcoming, intimate atmosphere. Whether you are trying to create a romantic atmosphere for an at-home date night or want to create a cozy space for hanging out with friends, candles are significantly more suitable for the job than electric lights. 

new york candle on night stand

Scented candles are well-known for their healing and soothing properties, too. Massage therapists, reiki practitioners, aromatherapists and other professionals often use them in treatment rooms to create calming atmospheres that instill feelings of peace and tranquility. There are fragrances to boost your mood, mentally take you back to your favorite places and times, relieve stress and more. 

Support Restful Sleep

Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Do you wake feeling no more rested than you felt before going to bed? Do you also unwind by starting at your smartphone (or another screen)? If so, consider putting down the electronics and lighting a candle in the evening instead. 

We may no longer depend on candles for light, but enjoying a candlelit evening is an excellent way to get some much-needed rest in our 21st-century world. The blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and LED and fluorescent lights disrupts the circadian rhythm, which can make falling asleep difficult. 

If you want to get some rest, switch off the lights and electronics and ignite a few candles. In addition to creating a relaxing ambiance, you won’t have to worry about candles disrupting your circadian rhythm. Instead, they will help you unwind before heading to bed. Just make sure to carefully extinguish them before turning in for the evening.

a list of candle benefits

Stimulate Memory

According to The Harvard Gazette, fragrance, memory and emotion are closely linked due to the brain’s anatomy. Located in the front of the brain, the olfactory bulb takes in smells and routes information to other parts of the body. Fragrances head straight to the limbic system, including the hippocampus and amygdala — the regions responsible for memory and emotion. 

Memories candles trigger memories in the brain. Whether it’s an aroma of clean air and fresh linen to reignite the feeling of moving into a new home, a candle with fragrances reminiscent of someone special, one to take you back to Sunday mornings spent in your grandmother’s kitchen or even a state candle filled with fragrances to transport you to your hometown or favorite travel destination, the power of scent is quite remarkable. 

You can also use candles to remember loved ones. A candle with the rich aroma of tobacco and musk may remind you of your grandfather, or you might think of a much-loved aunt every time you smell lilies. Lighting a candle in memory of someone special is a beautiful tradition that celebrates the lives of deceased loved ones while providing comfort to those who are grieving. 

Support Meditation and Prayer

Candles are essential in many spiritual practices. Whether you start your day with prayer, practice meditation at the end of a stressful day or participate in nearly any other spiritual or religious tradition, lighting a candle or two is an excellent way to enhance your practice. You can also light them before rituals and celebrations like weddings, holidays, etc. 

Improve Your Health

You may not realize it, but lighting candles can do wonders for your health. Self-care is a crucial component of taking care of yourself, but it’s something that far too many people overlook. After all, it’s not easy to make time for relaxing and enjoyable activities when you spend your days working, taking care of kids, maintaining a household, etc. 

Believe it or not, though, simply lighting a candle is an act of self-care. Doing so creates a serene atmosphere in which you can unwind and release the stress of the day. Multiple studies have shown that candles ease stress. And since stress impacts both your mental and physical health, finding ways to de-stress is crucial. 

woman lying on bed with candles

Simple rituals, like relaxing in the warm glow of your favorite candle, melt stress away and can help you live a healthier life. Breaking free from the constant cycle of chronic stress could lower your risk of heart attacks and cancer, prevent headaches and help you get a better night’s sleep. And since stress impacts the digestive system, lowering your stress levels can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and more.

The health benefits of stress management are numerous, and basking in the warm glow and fresh aroma of your favorite candle could be exactly what you need. Self-care doesn’t have to be difficult! 

Benefits of Wax Melts

Wax melts have some benefits too. However, while manufacturers often tout them as a safer alternative to traditional candles, that isn’t entirely true. Whether you are melting wax with a small flame, a light bulb or a heated plate, you must take proper precautions to use products safely. A few benefits of wax melts include: 

Enjoy Flame-Free Fragrance

The idea of filling your home with flame-free fragrance is an appealing one, especially when you have pets or small children. As mentioned above, though, wax melts and warmers are not automatically the safest choice. Anything requiring heat can be dangerous when not used appropriately. Since the warmers used to heat wax melts run on electricity, there’s always a chance that one could short out or overheat. And a kid or pet can spill a wax warmer just as easily as they can spill a candle.

Still, if you are looking for flame-free fragrance and are willing to take appropriate precautions just like you would when using a candle, wax melts are a decent alternative. If you are looking for a better flame-free option, though, we recommend reed diffusers. They do not require any heat or electricity, so you can trust them to deliver safe, ‘round-the-clock fragrance. 

Mix Scents with Ease

You can easily mix and match fragrances to create unique scents using wax melts. Simply add pieces of different scents to the warmer, and you can fill your home with one-of-a-kind aromas. Wax melts also allow you to adjust the strength of the aroma. Melt just one or two cubes, for a subtle scent experience, or use several if you prefer stronger fragrances. Wax melts come in different sizes too. Small ones are ideal for those who prefer light aromas or want to mix and match scents. Larger melts are better for delivering strong fragrances that fill an entire room. 

a list of wax melt benefits

Match Your Home Decor

Wax warmers come in endless styles, designs and colors, making it easy to find one to suit any aesthetic. If you choose a style that melts the wax using a lightbulb, the warmer can double as a nightlight too. There are small warmers that plug directly into outlets as well as large tabletop models to place on shelves and tables. 

Because they come in a variety of designs, wax warmers and melts make lovely gifts too. 

Freshen Up Spaces Where Candles Aren’t Permitted

Candles are great, but they aren’t welcome everywhere. Many offices, schools, dormitories, etc. prohibit traditional candles for safety reasons (and to keep walls soot-free). Wax melts are lifesavers in these situations since they deliver candle-like fragrances without flames or soot. Of course, reed diffusers work well for this too! 

Browse All of Our Candle Scents

Keep in mind, though, that some places prohibit candles not because of their flame but because of their fragrance. Allergy sufferers will likely have reactions to wax melts just like they would react to scented candles. 

The Bottom Line: Which Is Better? 

Wax melts have grown in popularity over the last several years, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on candles. Nothing can replicate the warm, flickering glow of a traditional candle, and a wax warmer simply can’t duplicate the experience of basking in natural candlelight. Candles have been around for more than 5,000 years, and they remain a top pick among home fragrance aficionados. In addition to looking and smelling incredible, they offer numerous benefits and can even improve your health. 

Warmers and melts offer certain benefits too. However, those benefits aren’t as clear-cut as many folks believe. They won’t work if there is a power outage and, since they still get very warm, proper supervision is still necessary during use.

spring cleaning new home candles diffuser

Candles are the clear winner here, but if you’re looking for a flame-free alternative, we recommend reed diffusers. They deliver ‘round-the-clock fragrance for several months and make a beautiful addition to any room. And since they deliver delightful fragrances without the need for heat or electricity, reed diffusers are a great option when you want a set-and-forget scent solution. 


High-quality candles are the ideal way to infuse any space with light, warmth and mood-boosting aromas. At Homesick, we offer a wide range of candles carefully formulated to trigger positive memories, invoke happy emotions and take you on a mental journey to all of your favorite places. We pride ourselves on making safe, unique products and welcome you to explore our complete collection to find your new favorite! 


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