While old faithful Diptyque and statusy Boy Smells candles aren’t going anywhere soon, we ask that you consider your favorite candle’s humble relative: the tapered candlestick. Whether your taste skews maximalist (picture the hundreds of white tapers in candelabras in The Favourite) or minimalist (the types of elegant candlesticks oft found on Scandinavian-inspired dining tables) there is a tapered candlestick out there for everyone. To find out which are worth buying, we reached out to interior designers, home-goods store owners, and other candle obsessives to hear about their favorites. Here, their picks for everything from a slightly rustic spiral beeswax candle to a church candle that will last for hours.
Best natural beeswax candlesticks
Several of the home décor experts we talked to raved about candles made from beeswax. “I am a firm believer in natural beeswax candles,” says Sandeep Salter, owner of Salter House. Salter favors beeswax candles both for her home and to stock in her store, in part, she says, because the smell of melting honeybee wax is “divine.” She also notes that one of her favorite beeswax candle companies, Massachusetts-based honey, candle, and skin-care line Beverly Bees, rescues bees from extermination and rehabilitates them in their hives. And while the all-natural candles might not burn as long as some of the paraffin wax candles further down this list, they do have a slightly rustic look that adds to their charm. “I’m very drawn to the natural color of beeswax, and all of Bev’s candles are simple and natural in color,” Salter says. “Plus, I love sculptural candles.”
If you prefer something with some color, interior designer Charles De Lisle says that he finds his preferred beeswax candles at his local “hippie grocer in Marin,” but that these colorful candlesticks — which come in shades including vibrant pumpkin, lilac, and eggplant — are a close approximation. De Lisle is a fan of beeswax for tapers because the candles “drip less and smell great.” 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno is a fan of Big Dipper Wax Works tapers as well (they are his candle of choice for his newly opened inn in the Hudson Valley), and says that part of the draw is Big Dipper’s commitment to sustainability. “Beeswax is a natural renewable resource,” he says. “Plus, the beeswax is biodegradable and they strongly encourage their customers to reuse and recycle any and all packaging just as they do.”
Another colorful beeswax candle recommendation comes to us from Salter, who says that Greentree Candles are her “number one go-to” for their natural beeswax scent and the range of available shades. “Color is important to me when selecting candles — I love naturally dyed beeswax, and I am very into darker colored wax, like black and burgundy,” she says. “I also cannot resist a robin’s egg blue candle. It’s so regal.”
If you’re looking for a slightly taller candle, Jenny Kaplan, owner of creative agency An Aesthetic Pursuit, says that her favorite candlesticks at the moment are these 13-inch tapers from Danica, which are hand-dipped in mid-coast Maine using a traditional Scandinavian dipping technique. “The range of colors in the collection is really beautiful,” says Kaplan. “I love that you can mix and match them to add some dimension to your table setting.” The candles will burn for ten and a half hours, and are completely unscented.
Best paraffin wax candlesticks
While beeswax has the benefit of being all-natural and smelling great, it can burn more quickly than paraffin wax, which is known for being clean-burning (meaning is won’t leave behind soot) and not creating smoke. Two of the interior designers we spoke to recommended the Floral Society’s taper paraffin wax candles, which come in 12-inch and 18-inch heights and burn without dripping. “I’m particularly drawn to tapers that actually taper towards the top, and ones that have been dipped many times giving them an imperfect shape; I love them to look like they were made by hand,” says interior designer Dane Pressner, who chose the Floral Society’s candles as his go-to. “Never one to shy away from drama, I always buy ones that are at least 18 inches in height.” Pressner goes for the candles in darker colors, and says that lately he’s been burning lots of black and dark-blue tapers at his country house. Interior designer Elizabeth Roberts, who also recommended tapers from the brand, prefers the 12-inch height in a lighter shade. “All of the colors are beautiful but greige is a particularly perfect noncolor,” she says of the neutral shade. “The color feels very natural, so that you really see the beautiful shape of the candle and the flame — and they burn slowly and do not drip, to boot.” The fact that the candlestick pairs come together on one elegant braided wick adds to the appeal, too.
Best short candlesticks
De Lisle is also a fan of these hand-dipped tapers from San Francisco store March, which he likes to use for events and special dinner parties. The neutral-shade candles come in handy for daily use, too. “We use one every night during dinner, as our all-wood 1948 house does not have any architectural lighting,” he says. “We put them in vintage ceramic candleholders.” The March candles come in a range of sizes, but are the only ones on this list available in a height as small as six inches, should you want an elegant table candle that’s a bit more compact-looking.
Best very tapered candlesticks
Interior designer Jamie Bush recommended these Royal Design candlesticks, which are made in Denmark “through repeated hand-dippings, upwards of 30 times,” he tells us. Thanks to all of that dipping, the candles have a particularly tapered tip. Plus, they’ll last through even your longer dinners, without making a mess. “The candles burn without any drip and have a slower, cleaner burn with less smoke emitted than other candles,” says Bush.
Best budget candlesticks
“I burn a lot of candles — normally I have ten or more going per night — so I like to buy in bulk,” says real-estate agent and candle obsessive Robert Khederian, who has written about the wax he uses to keep his tapered candles in place for the Strategist. If you, too, want to stock up on candlesticks, Khederian suggests this pack of 11-inch Bolsius tapers, which come in a pack of 50. Khederian says that each candle lasts for about ten hours, and should you invest in the 50-pack, the cost works out to be less than $1 a candle (plus, he notes, they can be ordered on Amazon).
If you’re looking for candlesticks that will burn for hours, take a note from de Lisle: “I have bought church candles through General Wax in L.A. for years,” he says. “Both tapers and the ones in glass jars — the candles made for churches last longest and burn clean.” De Lisle uses the church candles for parties, and says that they last much longer than typical candles. General Wax bills the candles as “a favorite among religious institutions for decades.”