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Candle Wicks are an Important Choice


Why Do You Need to Pick The Right Candle Wicks?

The final choice to be made in the candle making process always seems to be the candle wicks. Those that have gone through this experience know well that if the proper wick isn't selected, it doesn't matter if you picked the best fragrance, wax or even container because the candle will not burn properly. And if the candle doesn't burn properly, the consumer won't come back.

When choosing candle wicks, there are some important criteria to follow. You should strive to achieve:

  • Consistent flame size
  • Moderate container temperature
  • Minimal or no blooming (carbon deposits)
  • Well-formed wax pool with no dripping
  • Minimal glow after the candle has been extinguished

Where do I start?

The issue any candle maker has is where to start when choosing the proper wick. In today's marketplace the possibilities are endless and that can be overwhelming at times. The frustration for many is that there is not a magic formula to determine what wick is right for the given application. There are over 300 different wicks! The best one for your application will vary depending on the wax you are using, the fragrance load, candle diameter and even the color.

So the question is, where do you start? Below are some highlights of the most frequently used wicks:

  • RRD--is a round directional wick with a cotton core and tension threads. It has been designed for optimal burn in solid-colored, scented votives and containers. This series may be one of the more popular due to its versatility in working with both paraffin and soy waxes.
  • HTP--Are otherwise known as high-tension paper wicks. These wicks have a paper core wound into the wick to offer rigidity. These wicks are specially designed for use in votives and containers.
  • CD--Also have a paper core wound into the wick and are very well suited for votives and containers.
  • LX--is a flat braided wick with stabilized threads that help the wick "curl" during the burning process. These wicks will work in votives, containers and pillars. This wick is also an excellent choice for pillars made of the ECO-Soya PB and the Pillar Palm waxes.
  • Zinc--This core has always offered rigidity in the "hot pour" process. The down side is that zinc is prone to mushrooming and carbon deposits. This series is very popular with paraffin waxes in containers.

Candlewic Wick Choice Resources:

It is important that you spend time selecting the proper wick so you can really showcase the fragrances you have selected. The staff at Candlewic can help you with this process and we encourage you to take advantage of their expertise.


Candle Wick Recommendations

Selection of your wick is going to be one of your most difficult challenges in candle making. We suggest starting with Candlewic’s wick recommendations below. The wick selection will be sensitive to the candle’s shape, size, wax, color, and fragrance. We recommend using pre-cut and tabbed wicks for making votive and container candles. These wicks can be cut to your specification to the exact size of your container or votive using ourCustom Wick Builder. In producing pillar and novelty candles it is suggested that you use the spooled raw wicking.

Candlewic has put together the following recommendations through rigid
test burning to help with your wick selection. These recommendations are
a good starting point but test burning is a must to guarantee that it will
work in your particular application. The wick size is sensitive to the
amount of fragrance, color, type of wax and additives.

Tea-Lights (Paraffin, Veggie Waxes and Versagel)
Candle SizeWick TypeTabType of WaxWick
1-1/8"S33015mmParaffinHigh melt point
1-1/8"28-24 Zinc15mmParaffinHigh melt point
1-1/8"TL 18/S-30 nst 215mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point
1-1/8"TL 25/S-30 nst 215 x 6mmVersaGel210 degrees

Votive Candles 15 hour (Paraffin and Veggie Waxes)
Candle SizeWick TypeTabType of WaxWick
2.5"36-24-24 Zinc33mmParaffinHigh melt point
2.5"LX-1020mmParaffinHigh melt point
2.5"RRD-34 nst220mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point

Container Candles (Paraffin, Veggie Waxes, and Versagel)
Candle SizeWick TypeTabType of WaxWick
Small 1-2"34-40 Zinc20mmParaffinHigh melt point
Small 1-2"RRD-29 nst 220mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point
Small 1-2"CD-320 x 9mmVersaGel210 degrees
Medium 2-3"LX-1420mmParaffinHigh melt point
Medium 2-3"RRD-40 nst 220mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point
Medium 2-3"HZL 38 C20 x 9mmVersaGel210 degrees
Large 3-4"CD-1620mmParaffinHigh melt point
Large 3-4"RRD-47 nst 220mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point
Large 3-4"HTP-10520 x 9mmVersaGel210 degrees
X-Large 4+ "60-44-18 Cotton20mmParaffinHigh melt point
X-Large 4+ "(2) RRD-37 nst 220mmVeggie WaxesHigh melt point

Please note if you are using a one-pour, paraffin-based wax you may need to go up 1 or 2 sizes above the recommended wick sizes on the chart above.

Pillar Candles (Paraffin and Veggie Waxes)
Candle SizeWick TypeType of Wax
Small 2-3"LX-14 RRD-37 nst 2Paraffin & Veggie Waxes
Medium 3"LX-16 RRD-40 nst 2Paraffin & Veggie Waxes
Large 4"LX-20 RRD-47 nst 2Paraffin & Veggie Waxes
6 x 6" (3 wicks)15 ply vRRD-29 nst 2Paraffin & Veggie Waxes


The Science of the Candle Wick

How does a candle wick burn?
The candle’s wick is the pipeline that feeds the melted wax vapor to the flame by capillary action. Initially the heat of the flame melts the wax at the top of the candle, once the melt pool is formed the molten wax is then drawn to the flame by the capillary action of the wick. Once the wax reaches the wick a chemical reaction occurs between the vaporized hydrocarbons and the oxygen in the air.

When you take a look at the candle’s flame you will notice that the flame is nearly invisible near the wick and a yellow luminous zone surrounds it. It is near the wick that the wax vapors are breaking down releasing hydrogen and as a result, long unsaturated carbon chains are formed. These carbon chains are actually tiny particles of soot. It is these tiny soot particles that burn and release the yellow light of the candles’ flames. If there is enough oxygen and not too much wax vapor being created at the wick, the soot particles are completely burned up in the flame and the candle releases only heat, light, water and carbon dioxide. If there isn’t enough oxygen and too much vapor the flame is going to release the soot and not fully combust causing the wick to bloom (mushroom).

2 Responses to "Candle Wicks are an Important Choice"

Andrew Carter

6:36 PM on July 22, 2017
Having problems with three wick candle....wick selection. Using 14 oz jar, soy 125 wax and RRD-55 (PC0063) wicks....blooming, soot, seems too hot (deep pool), jar needs cleaning after each burn. Need help.

The Candlewic Company

8:33 AM on July 27, 2017
Hi Andrew,

Wick sizing is always the biggest challenge to making candles. The type and melt point of the wax you are using, the diameter of the finished candle and even the color/fragrance can be a variable in determining the proper wick. Using the proper wick will reduce the smoking, sooting and other negative properties of the candle burning. It is highly recommended that you try to exhaust all options of a single wick before going to 3 wicks. Using 3 creates challenges because a wick needs oxygen to perform properly and the 3 wicks consume too much oxygen in a small area. Also if you want to try smaller wicks, you can try RRD-29.
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