Let’s be honest: the scented candle market is a pretty saturated one. In fact, it can be easy to reach “nose fatigue” these days, with options spanning far and wide.
Whether you fancy a fruity, floral, woody, earthy, or musky home fragrance, there are dozens of choices out there to pick from. And while choice is undeniably a good thing, it can become overwhelming.
Today, veteran candle brands like Diptyque, Jo Malone London and Byredo are joined by new kids on the block Boy Smells and Overose (to name but a few), who’ve captured their audiences’ attention through Instagram and other social media platforms.
Smaller independents including Interlude Candles and Liha Beauty also have plenty to offer and are great brands to support during this tough time.
We’ve combined the best classics with the most exciting newbies to form the ultimate scented candle hall of fame, with options for all tastes, budgets, and interior styles.
We took the time to test each and every candle in the round up, so that as well as the initial scent, other things like burn time and prolonged fragrance levels were fully trialled.
Every candle was burned both for an initial period, and then a second burn that lasted until the wax was nearly half gone. This allowed us to fully experience the candle to see how they smelled as time went on, and what the quality of the wax was like, as we wanted to ensure they were worth the price point.
So whether you’d like a vibrant, zesty floral to fill your kitchen, or a deeper, more mysterious woody option for your living room in Autumn, we have you covered. Keep reading to discover the best-scented candles of all time.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Boy Smells kush candle
Want a quirky candle that smells unique? Boy Smells has your back. The brand was first created at the kitchen table of founders Matthew Herman and David Kien and has grown into a candle superpower, known for its delightful smells, vibrant packaging, and gender-fluid ethos. Kush is their biggest success story to date, and one sniff will show you why. It has hints of suede, musk, tulip, and amber, and is just utterly irresistible. You can also now buy it in several different iterations, from cowboy kush to cashmere kush, depending on your taste.
Buy now £36.00, Space NK
Jo Malone London peony and blush suede home candle
No candle list is complete without a Jo Malone London offering. Available in travel, regular, and extra-large sizes, the brand’s home fragrance offerings are rather extravagant, and you’re guaranteed to find a size and scent that suits your desires.
Our tester’s favourite is peony and blush suede, which perfectly complements any home. It’s warm and comforting, with a floral hint and a sophisticated feel. It also emits a strong hit of fragrance throughout even a short burn, meaning you can really fill a space with the smell quickly. Other beloved bestsellers we recommend include pomegranate noir, blackberry and bay, and wood, sage, and sea salt.
Buy now £49.00, Jomalone.co.uk
Overose nudesse candle
Overose has quickly become known for its quirky croissant candle in past months; the eternally sold-out home fragrance that promises to fill your home with a delectable buttery aroma. But the brand has plenty more to offer if you’re fed up of signing up to their waiting list to no avail and watching for Instagram announcements like a hawk.
Case in point: Overose’s bestselling nudesse candle, which is the ultimate buy for rose fans. It’s divinely sweet, strong, and long-lasting, and promises to smell like rose bushes in the rain; a glorious image in itself. Plus, the packaging is completely to die for, which is an added bonus.
Buy now £46.00, Cult Beauty
Rituals the ritual of jing candle
Rituals has some of the best affordable candles on the market, and ones you’ll struggle to differentiate between when looking at pricier options. Our reviewer’s favourite scent is the ritual of jing, which is warming and homely, while also relaxing and calming. As it burns, you can smell the sacred lotus and jujube (which make up the fragrance), but the overall effect isn’t too overpowering.
Buy now £19.90, Rituals
Beauty Pie leather, violet leaves and labdanum candle, subscription
Along with reams of makeup and skincare, a Beauty Pie membership will also buy you luxury candles for the price of something from the high street. The scents are all lovely, but this leather, violet leaves and labdanum candle is our favourite, with its rich grown-up feel and intoxicating mix of sweet and musky flavours. The lovely glass jar also makes this buy appear much pricier than it is, and will look sharp on a stack of coffee table books in a smart living room.
Buy now £16.93, beautypie.com
Bella Freud 1970 rainbow candle
The style set goes wild for a Bella Freud number, and it’s easy to see why. The brand has slowly but surely built up its candle offerings, meaning there’s something in there for every nose out there.
While loving and night music are both lovely, nothing will beat a classic 1970 candle, which features notes of frankincense, myrrh and patchouli at its heart. The traditional 1970 candle comes in a plain black jar but we recommend grabbing this rainbow edition, which we think is really rather fantastic.
Buy now £48.00, Osmology.co
Byredo tree house candle
While Byredo candles may perhaps be best known because of the brand’s burning rose scent, it’s treehouse that has become a firm favourite in the home of our reviewer. The perfect antidote to overly sweet, fruity and floral candles, treehouse brings the outside in with its earthy, woody aroma. It features top notes of bamboo and pimento, along with leather at its base, and labdanum and myrrh at the heart. The ideal find for the colder autumn/winter months, and one that burns slowly while still filling the room with scent extremely effectively and quickly.
Buy now £59.00, Selfridges.com
Aesop ptolemy aromatique candle
Aesop’s candles may be pricey, but they really are the epitome of luxury and millennial coolness. There are three options in the range, with Ptolemy being our favourite thanks to its woody, earthy feel. Ptolemy boasts notes of cedar, cypress and vetiver, making it the perfect green candle for outdoorsy enthusiasts. The quality jar will add a touch of elegance to your living room or bedroom, too. Worth the investment.
Buy now £80.00, Mrporter.com
Maison Margiela replica lazy sunday morning candle
Maison Margiela’s replica scents evoke memories you may not even know you had; from warm dusty libraries to cosy weekends spent in fresh linen, you can count on the range to make you feel all the feels. The lazy sunday morning candle is reminiscent of silky pillowcases, soft skin, and lie-ins, and we guarantee you’ll feel all nostalgic for the weekend just gone at just one sniff. Our only slight issue with their candles are they tend to burn down fairly quickly in comparison to others. But for these divine scents, we can slightly forgive this little misgiving.
Buy now £48.00, Selfridges.com
Diptyque geranium rosa candle
We couldn’t talk about candles without a mention of Diptyque. The veteran candle brand is still a go-to for home fragrances, and its Baies and Figuier jars are often the most popular around. While the bestselling scents are traditional favourites, we also love the geranium rosa scent, which is a must for fans of geranium. The gorgeous hit of rose is complemented by zesty green citrus that makes for an under-the-radar Diptyque must-have you’ve probably never even heard of.
Buy now £49.00, Harrods.com
August & Piers socialite candle
We’re not sure what we love more about August & Piers candles: their smell, or the incredibly chic ceramic vessels that house the wax. Weighty and luxurious, the packaging is certainly worth the product’s price tag and would look divine in any space at your home. Scent-wise, we recommend giving socialite a whirl, especially if you prefer sweeter scents that’ll perk you up and right out of a bad mood.
Buy now £59.00, Augustpiers.com
Liha beauty queen idia candle
Not only does this candle look great, it’s also inspired by the famous Yoruba Queen Idia, who was a symbol of female empowerment. The candle itself uses base notes of geranium and frankincense, along with top notes of lavender and hibiscus to form a light yet powerful fragrance that’ll float around your house like a dream. It’s great to support smaller businesses – especially at the moment – so it’s sometimes nicer to buy your candle from an indie brand rather than one of the market leaders.
Buy now £32.00, Lihabeauty.com
Interlude Candles velvet peony and oud soy wax candle
Another offering from a smaller brand, Interlude’s Etsy shop first blew up thanks to its female form candles, but the simple soy wax jar offerings are just as lovely. Our favourite smell is the velvet peony and oud, which is like a more mysterious remix of Jo Malone London’s classic floral scent. It’s creamy and smooth, and its fragrance can be detected even when the candle isn’t lit. They may be fairly fast-burning, but considering they are slightly more affordable than others in the edit, we really don’t mind as much!
Buy now £25.00, Etsy.com
Still London moss candle
Starting as a nail salon and quickly expanding into a lifestyle hub with its own branded products, Still London has become an East London institution. Still launched three candles in 2020, all with a super earthy, natural vibe, which chimes well with the overall ethos of the non-toxic salon. Moss is the star of the show in our opinion and features an intoxicating blend of black pepper, lovage leaf, vetiver, pine, patchouli, and oakmoss.
Buy now £38.00, Still-london.com
The verdict: Scented candles
When it comes to candles that are fun to look at and interesting to smell, you can’t go wrong with a home scent from Boy Smells, of which kush is our favourite. And with a price tag of £36, this is an in-between option for those with an average budget.
Saying this, you really can’t go wrong with the Diptyque geranium rosa candle or Jo Malone London peony and blush suede home candle. It’s also worth checking out Overose nudesse candle for its trending jars that’ll make your home look more Instagrammable than ever.
For the latest discounts on candles and other homeware offers, try the links below:
For more home fragrances check out our round-up of the best reed diffusers that fill your home with fragrance all day long