We all love candles. They give off soft light and flicker with warmth and scent and are perfect for almost any occasion. An important component of candles is the wax. There are many types of waxes available, from coconut wax candles to beeswax candles. They come with different scents that will influence the atmosphere.
While the wax is the candle’s fuel, the wick is the engine. It is needed to deliver liquid wax to feed the flame and continue burning. Without it, all you have is a scented paperweight.
If you are interested in candles, pick a wick. Here are the eleven different types of candle wicks:
What are candle wicks?
There are two main types of wicks. Braided wicks have fibres that are braided, knitted or platted. They are high-quality and give a slow, steady burn. Twisted wicks have a looser structure and tend to burn the fuel faster as it reaches the flame and is of lower quality.
Choosing a wick is harder than you think because you have options depending on several factors and choices for your candles. These include:
- Candle size
- Candle shape
- Wax type
- Candle type
- Melting point
Matching the right wick to the candle means having a consistent flame size, temperature glow and wax pool. The wrong match can lead to flaring and soot from too much wax and flame or too little fuel, where the flame will sputter out.
Types of candle wicks
Almost all candles fall into one of these categories:
Type #1: Corded Wicks
Corded wicks use a round interior core made of tin, zinc, paper or cotton and are encased by braid or knitted fibres.
Type #2: Paper Cores
Paper cores have braided cotton around them and burn the wax cooler. Soy, paraffin or a blend of both wax is ideal for these cored wicks, and you will see these in popular candles like tea lights, votives, gels and moulded candles.
Type #3: Zinc Cores
These have a cotton braid with a zinc core inside for a strong design that keeps the wick very rigid as it burns. Because it also has a cooler burn temperature, it works well for soy wax and paraffin wax. Popular zinc core candles are votives, tea lights, gel, and mould.
Type #4: Flat Wicks
Flat wicks use three layers of knitted or braided fibre to form the self-trimming wick, providing a consistent burn.
Type #5: HTP Wicks
These rigid, self-trimming wicks are made of woven paper or cotton and work well in various types of candles like paraffin, gel and vegetable waxes and those with additives that make them harder to burn.
Type #6: LX Wicks
LX candle wicks are another flat braided wick that controls the flame better, making a less messy candle as it melts. They work very well in container candles and moulded candles as well as votive candles where you need to pour them.
Type #7: CD Wicks
These CD/Stabio wicks are created using a cotton braid blended with paper and cordless, making them ideal for a highly fragrant candle. They perform best in vegetable-based waxes, along with soy and paraffin wax.
Type #8: Eco Candle Wicks
Eco wicks are cordless, flat, and made from a cotton/paper blend. They are made for waxes like soy and paraffin and work great in container candles, tea lights and votives. They are designed to be self-trimming to avoid soot and smoke.
Type #9: Square Wicks
Square wicks are self-trimming and either braided or knitted. They work well with poured candles and tapered candles like beeswax. They are designed to curl at the top while burning and are better at resisting clogging.
Type #10: Wooden Wicks
Wooden wicks are natural products and take on their unique burn. They come in two varieties: Softwoods like pine Hardwoods like birch, rosewood, maple and oak Wood wicks are better at diffusing scents, so they are used in scented candles, giving off the sound of burning firewood as they crackle and pop.
Type #11: Hemp Wicks
Hemp is the fibre of a cannabis plant and works well as a candle wick. They are braided like a cotton wick but are sturdy and provide a hotter burn without much smoke. Hemp wicks work on almost any candle wax and are typical in votives, tea lights and container candles.
Candle wick issues
There can be issues with burning candles, and the wick is usually the problem. Here are some things to look out for:
- Mushrooming: A wick that is too big doesn’t allow the candle to burn fast enough, and carbon builds up on it.
- Tunnelling: When a wick tunnels, it burns and leaves wax around the wick because only a small portion of the wax melts.
- Drowning: A drowning wick is too short, and a melted wax pool surrounds it. It is hard to keep lit.
- Smoking: A smoking wick happens when it is too large and too much wax is pulled up to the flame, causing a chemical reaction with smoke and soot.
- Flickering: With a flickering flame, the wick is too long and has a flame that is too hot.
I bet you didn’t think there was so much information on candle wicks! Use this as a guide to picking the right wick for your candles and enjoy the wonder and illumination of a great candle.