How to Choose the Right Candle Wick for Your Wax

Whether you’re just starting your candle making journey or you’re an experienced candle maker, you’ve probably spent a lot of time researching what candle wicks to use. There are so many candle making supplies to choose from that the simple question of “what wick should I use?” is never an easy one to answer.

As you probably know, the correct candle wick for your situation will depend on numerous factors. When choosing the best candle wick, you will always need to consider variables like these:

  • The type of wax you’re using.
  • The size of your container – not just its volume, but the width, depth and thickness of the walls.
  • The material and finish (and sometimes even the color or opacity!) of your container.
  • The type of fragrance you are using.
  • Any colorants (candle dye) or other additives you are using.
  • The fragrance load you are using (percent of fragrance).

If you’ve done any wick testing, chances are you’ve already noticed how these factors can affect the performance of your candle. For example, you might get perfect results with one burn, only to find that you need a different wick when you change the fragrance you’re using – despite keeping all the other factors the same.

We understand how difficult and time consuming it can be to find a wick that will perform perfectly. And we know it’s frustrating when there isn’t a tried-and-true method for cutting down the time and expense involved in testing. However, we hope this guide can help point you in the right direction for choosing the right wick for your candles.

Want to stay more organized as you test candles? Download our free printable candle testing note sheet! This handy sheet has all the information you need to keep track of every test candle you make. 

how to tell if a candle is properly wicked

How do I tell if a candle is properly wicked?

Before getting any farther, it’s important to understand what it means to have a properly wicked candle. A candle is wicked correctly if all of these conditions are met:

  • The flame is approximately 1” tall. The ideal flame height can depend on the type and size of the wick. For example, smaller wicks may naturally produce smaller flames. And some wicks are specifically designed to have a shorter flame. In any case, flames should never exceed 3” tall.
  • The flame burns smoothly without excessive flickering. Air drafts can cause flickering, but the flame should not flicker excessively on its own.
  • The wax is able to melt across the entire surface of the container. The melt pool should extend from one edge to the other (*see note below).
  • When fully melted, the melt pool is between ¼” and ¾” deep. A melt pool that’s too deep indicates the wick may be burning too hot.
  • The temperature of your container is not excessively hot. The temperature should be no greater than 175°F for glass or 150°F for tins.
  • The flame does not produce soot or smoke. Under ideal conditions, wax is vaporized cleanly as the flame consumes it. Soot occurs when too much wax is drawn into the wick at once. Because the flame can only consume so much fuel at once, any excess wax is expelled in the form of smoke or soot instead.
  • As the candle burns, it does not leave excess wax clinging to the sides of the container. Wax hang-ups occur when your candle is unable to achieve a full melt pool (*see note below). If your wick doesn’t burn hot enough, it will only be able to melt the wax immediately surrounding it. Eventually this leads to wax tunneling.

* The ideal amount of time required for a full melt pool to develop will depend on your wax. For coconut-heavy wax blends such as EC-26, CB2 or Ceda Serica, you actually do NOT want to have a full melt pool on your first few burns. Having a full melt pool on your first few burns is an indication that the wick will likely burn too hot as the candle burns farther down. It is wise to check the temperature of your glass/tin throughout the life of your candle to ensure it does not get too hot at any stage in your testing.

soy wax flakes

Choosing Candle Wicks and Wax

Now that you know what to look for when wicking candles, you can start testing to find the best candle wick for your wax and container. This section covers the basics of choosing a wick and a compatible wax.

For more information on testing, read our guide to testing candles here.

Choosing a Compatible Candle Wax

Before choosing a wick series, you will want to decide what type of wax you’re going to use. We currently carry the following types of candle wax:

  • CB2 (Para-Soy): A blend composed of natural soy and a small amount of paraffin. This is the same wax sold as “Soy Bliss.”
  • Ceda Serica (Coco-Apricot): A blend of coconut, apricot and paraffin wax.
  • EC-26 (Coconut Soy): A blend of coconut, soy and paraffin wax
  • Soy Wax Flakes: 100% soy wax made with natural, U.S. grown soy.
  • Beeswax: Pure beeswax that can be used to make 100% beeswax candles. Candlemakers also use beeswax as an additive when making their own custom wax blends.

Note that we also carry C55 Wax, which is a tart wax. It is not meant for making candles.

Each type of wax has its own characteristics, so you may wish to try more than one type until you find the one you like best. Our CB2, Ceda Serica, EC-26 and Soy Flakes are excellent for container candles. They are not suitable for pillar candles due to their soft consistency. If making pillar candles, you will need to choose a suitable wax.

candle wicks

Choosing the Correct Type of Wick

Candle wicks are somewhat versatile. Many of them can be used successfully in just about any kind of wax. However, some candle wicks are designed to work especially well in certain types of wax. Once you know what kind of wax you’re using, you can start with these wick recommendations:

Soy Wax

  • Eco Wicks
  • CD (Stabilo) Wicks
  • CDN Wicks
  • Ultra Core Wicks
  • Rigid Curl
  • Wooden Wicks

CB2 (Para-Soy)

  • CD Wicks
  • CDN Wicks
  • Ultra Core Wicks
  • Rigid Curl
  • Wooden Wicks

Ceda Serica (Coco-Apricot)

  • Eco Wicks
  • LX Wicks
  • HPSP Wicks
  • Ultra Core Wicks
  • Rigid Curl
  • Wooden Wicks

EC-26 (Coconut Soy)

  • Eco Wicks
  • CD Wicks
  • HPSP Wicks
  • Rigid Curl
  • Ultra Core Wicks

Beeswax

  • Eco Wicks
  • Ultra Core

Shop all our candle wicks here.

Note if a wick is not listed under a particular type of wax, that does not mean it’s incompatible. You may find success with any wax and wick combination, but these recommendations should help you get started.  

Here are some general notes about candle wicks:

  • Ultra Core Wicks work well in essentially any wax.
  • Eco Wicks work best in soy, but can also be used successfully in paraffin waxes that have a lower melt point.
  • CD Wicks are ideal for high-viscosity waxes such as paraffin or soy blends.
  • Zinc wicks generally burn the coolest of all wicks.

A Note About Beeswax

Beeswax can be very difficult to wick. When, where, and how it was obtained all play a factor in how it will perform in candles. With so many variations it's hard to give accurate wick recommendations for Beeswax. For this reason, it will take a bit more testing to find the best one for your candle. We recommend the Eco wick series for your testing.

Choosing the Correct Wick Size

Once you have an idea of what wick series you want to use, you can begin choosing a wick size.

The diameter of your container is a major factor to consider when choosing a wick size. As a general rule, narrower wicks are suited to jars with a smaller diameter, while thicker wicks are more suited to jars with a large diameter.

However, the same rule does not necessarily apply if you are doing a double or triple-wicked candle. For multi-wick candles, you may find that using smaller wicks is the key.

Wick Sizing Charts

Each wick series comes with a sizing chart that will help you choose the appropriate size of wick. Once you have picked the wick series you want to use, refer to the size chart on the product page. Most wick charts indicate the recommended container diameter for each size of wick.

In most cases, the chart will give a range of compatible jar diameters. For example, an Eco 6 wick is recommended for jars that are 1.5 to 2.5” in diameter. These sizing charts are the best tool to utilize when picking what size to start with.

If you’ve ever looked at a size chart for candle wicks, you’ve probably noticed that the sizing system is not the same from one type of wick to the next. Most types of wicks are assigned a number to indicate the size. However, the numbering system is not the same across all brands of wicks. This can make things confusing. For example, some wick manufacturers base the number on the thickness of the wick itself. Others base the wick number on the diameter of the melt pool produced by the wick.

Wicking Up or Down

Because each wax has different properties, you can’t always rely on the size chart provided with your wicks. For waxes with high melting points, you may need to “wick up,” which means choosing a larger wick size than suggested in a size chart. And for waxes with a low melting point, you may need to “wick down,” which means choosing a smaller wick than the chart says to use.

Here are some general notes on wax:

  • Palm wax and low melt point paraffin waxes burn very easy – wick down accordingly.
  • Beeswax is very hard and dense. You’ll almost always have to wick up for beeswax candles.
  • Single-pour paraffin or soy waxes tend to have a higher viscosity. These may require you wick up several sizes.

Wick Sample Packs

If you still aren’t sure where to begin, picking up a wick sample pack is a good idea. Sample packs are available for each wick series, and include five wicks of each size.

If you already have some idea of the wick size you might need, 10-packs are also available for every type and size of wick. These are great for testing purposes as well.

Ready to start testing? Read our blog on making test candles to learn everything you need to know!

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