Candles vs. Incense: How To Find The Perfect Scent For Any Space

Written by: Greg Chain



Time to read 6 min

Candles and incense offer incredible ways to create a fantastic and relaxing atmosphere in your living space. 

In addition, they offer numerous unique benefits and can instantly transform your living environment. 

However, choosing the perfect scent solution for your room between incense and candles can be complicated. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide valuable insights into the world of incense and candles, where you can discover their characteristics and help you make the right choice for your needs and preferences.

Understanding Candles VS Incense Sticks

Since ancient times and for many centuries, the art of scenting our living spaces has been practiced. 

This offers many benefits, including creating a serene atmosphere and enhancing the mood. 

However, choosing between candles and incense might be challenging. 

How do you determine the right one? 

Read on to discover more.

Candles: Wax and Wicks

Candles are made up of candle wax and fragrance oil, with a candle wick that burns to release a pleasant scent. 

Scented candles, such as those from Innerfyre Co., are created with a luxurious wax pool infused with essential scented oil to produce a soothing aroma. 

In addition, candles offer a gradual scent release and a warm ambiance. Making them a popular choice for many people.

However, not all candles share the same quality. Natural wax candles like soy, beeswax, or coconut wax tend to have longer burn times. 

They also release fragrances more effectively than paraffin candles. 

Additionally, cotton wicks are appreciated for their ability to slowly release fragrance.

Incense: Aromatic Sticks and Cones

Furthermore, incense consists of various natural elements, such as:

  • Resins
  • Wood
  • Bark
  • Seeds
  • Spices
  • Herbs
  • Roots
  • Flowers
  • Gums

When you light incense, these ingredients give off a sweet-smelling aroma that fills up your room. 

Moreover, the Latin word 'incendere,' which means 'to burn,' shows that incense has been used for spiritual veneration, rituals, contemplation, aromatherapy, and aesthetic purposes.

Moreover, incense sticks and cones can infuse your space with a strong aroma in no time. 

However, you'll need to exercise caution when burning incense. 

They produce ash that accumulates on surfaces. 

Therefore, it is important that you put it out before leaving your room.

Comparing Scents: Strength and Duration

Although both the candle and incense provide delightful scents, their strength and duration vary significantly. 

Hence, it is essential to know these differences to help you choose the ideal option for your space.

Candles: Gradual and Long-lasting Fragrances

Furthermore, candles offer a subtle, sustained scent that can help create a warm and enticing atmosphere in your living area. 

Moreover, the wax type and the candle's size can influence the scent's duration. 

Natural wax candles generally offer longer-lasting fragrances.

So, if you want a cozy ambiance with a continuous scent for several hours, you might prefer scented candles. 

You can also burn them for a few hours to improve your mood.

Incense: Instant and Intense Aroma

In contrast, when you burn incense, it emits a potent and rapid aroma. 

This is ideal for those seeking an instant fragrance boost. 

The intense scent can fill your room quickly. Making it a perfect option for short-term use or swift ambiance changes.

Remember, incense can result in smoke and ash, similar to cigarette smoke. So, it’s advisable to ensure proper ventilation and use a proper incense holder to collect any fallout. 

Health and Environmental Impacts

Although both candles and incense can add to your living space, take notice of their potential health and environmental impacts. 

Prolonged exposure to their emissions can pose risks, especially for asthma patients and people with other respiratory issues.

Candles: Soot, Toxins, and Clean Alternatives

Candles, particularly those made of paraffin wax, can release harmful byproducts and greenhouse gases into the air. 

Additionally, by using soy candles, you can lessen the amount of soot, a dark smoke produced when burning scented candles.

Trimming the wick and ensuring adequate ventilation in your room is also important.

Alternatively, you can choose cleaner substitutes such as soy and beeswax candles. 

They can help reduce the emissions of harmful and hazardous chemicals.

Incense: Smoke, Ash, and Ventilation

Additionally, burning incense can affect your indoor air quality. 

They release smoke, soot, and particulate matter, which may have adverse health effects from long-term exposure. 

You should burn incense in a well-ventilated area to minimize potential air quality issues. 

Safety Considerations: Fire Hazards and Precautions

Safety takes precedence when using both candles and incense. 

Both involve open flames, carbon dioxide, and heat, presenting potential fire hazards if not carefully managed. 

They may constitute a fire risk if left unattended or burned carelessly beside flammable objects.

Candle Safety: Proper Supervision and Placement

When using scented candles, always remember to:

  • Place them away from flammable materials.
  • Keep candles in an upright position to avoid excessive wax dripping and the cracking of glass holders.
  • Place them in an area that is inaccessible to children and pets.
  • Ensure that the candle's wick isn't made with lead or harmful chemicals.

If you adhere to these safety concerns when lighting candles, you can savor the ambiance and fragrance. This will also help mitigate fire risks and home fires.

Incense Safety: Burners, Holders, and Extinguishing

To ensure safety with incense, follow these guidelines:

  • Use suitable burners and holders to place and disperse it securely. This helps prevent the risk of accidents.
  • Properly extinguish the incense stick by pressing the lit tip against a heat-resistant surface or using a snuffer.
  • Avoid incomplete combustion, and never leave burning incense unattended.

Most importantly, you should never leave incense or candles unattended to avoid fire hazards.

Choosing the Right Scent Solution for Your Needs

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the option that best aligns with your preferences and needs:

Relaxation and Ambiance: Incense vs Candles

When it comes to relaxation and ambiance, incense sticks and scented candles offer unique advantages. 

Candles create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, which encourages a feeling of calm and self-awareness. 

Similarly, incense can create a calming and serene environment, promoting relaxation, focus, and motivation. 

Whether you choose candles or incense will hinge on your personal preferences and the ambiance you wish to create.

Aroma Control Strategies: Mixing and Matching

You can just experiment with combining candles, lighting incense, and other scent solutions for the best aroma control. 

Layering different scents on each other can help form a distinctive, soothing, and personalized fragrance combination that perfectly suits your living space. 

Also, you should consider fragrance intensity, duration, and compatibility factors when blending scents to achieve the desired result.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is healthier than burning candles?

Incense is a healthier option than burning paraffin candles. It does not release the same kind of pollution into the air. However, the smoke, soot, and falling ash may be an issue for some people. For this reason, it's ultimately a personal preference.

Are candles or diffusers healthier?

Essential scented oil diffusers are healthier than candles. They offer natural and therapeutic benefits, such as improved air quality and added safety. They are also more convenient to use. Consider using a diffuser filled with essential oils in your home and experiencing the numerous benefits!

Can I mix and match different scents from candles and incense?

Yes, you can mix and match different scents from candles and incense to create a unique fragrance combination when you light them up. However, make sure that the candle wick is zinc and lead-free.

How long does the scent of candles and incense last?

Candles can release their scent for hours or days. Conversely, incense can last up to 24 hours. Hence, if you choose incense and candles, the scent of both can remain in a room for a considerable amount of time.

In conclusion, both incense and candles offer delightful ways to enhance your living space with captivating scents and ambiance. 

Understanding their characteristics, health and environmental impacts, safety considerations, and aroma control strategies will help you make a well-informed choice regarding the one that best fits your needs.

Whether you prefer the gradual, long-lasting fragrance of a scented candle or the instant, intense aroma of incense, always remember to prioritize safety and enjoy the transformative power of scent. 

Choose the ones dipped in natural oils and follow proper safety precautions when using them. Also, avoid complex scents, harmful chemicals, and heavy smoke.