Incense or Candles: Which Is the Best Option for You?

Whether it’s for spiritual reasons or simply enhancing the scent of the home, people will often turn to two main sources: incense or candles. Deciding whether you should choose incense or candles will come down to your individual reason for burning them, as they are both excellent choices. But there are ways to narrow down what’s right for you.


Incense is widely used for everything from spiritual connections to meditation to simply enjoying the fragrances of them. They come in a wide variety of ways to burn them, such as incense sticks, incense cones, or incense powders.

Incense Pros

Incense are typically meant for spiritual rituals and meditation. These rituals can range from honoring those who have passed on to simply cleansing the area of negative energies you’ve picked up throughout the day.

Incense comes in a wide variety of single and mixed scents. The different incense scents may play a part in helping one relax, study, or increase positive energy.

The cost of incense will range from $5 to $20 for a pack of 84 incense sticks. Incense sticks roughly burn for an hour on average, making them relatively cost-effective for how much burn time you receive.

Incense Cons

Unlike commercially produced candles, individual incense sticks will need an incense holder to keep incense upright and catch the ash within them. Unfamiliarity with incense initially can cause someone to skip out on buying an incense burner, leading to a delay in rituals and cleansing.

Incense are much messier compared to candles. The ashes of incense will fall into the incense burner and need to be cleaned out afterward. Failing to place the incense in the correct position or even simply too much of a draft can lead to the ashes getting onto your furniture or floor.
Incense also produces smoke throughout the entire burning process. While this smoke is a key component of the cleansing and spiritual process, it’s still not recommended to remain close to the smoke for an extended period of time.


Candles, at least commercially produced options, are some of the most widely used ceremonial and fragrance refreshing items throughout the world. You’ll find candles in all shapes and sizes mixed with a wide variety of different scents to create an overarching scent.

Candle Pros

Candles are found everywhere throughout the world, to the point where there are now specific candle shops. You’ll find them in a majority of big box stores or at your local metaphysical shop. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, you can even find a wider selection online through most major retailers.

Unlike incense, which tends to stick to one major scent, candles typically combine a wide variety of scents to achieve an overall aroma. This makes it perfect for creating an atmosphere in the home similar to the beach or a lovely autumn day. Though you’ll also find scentless candles with a focus on simply creating light or having specific colors to convey specific meanings.

The majority of candles often come in their own glass container. Making it easy to place and light without the necessary preparation and clean-up that comes with incense. The glass containers can often be repurposed for a wide variety of other uses, including making your own candles.

Candle Cons

While smoke is much more present in incense, candles maintain a flame throughout the burning process. This increases the risk of fire if the candle is not properly watched. The burn time on candles can easily reach 80 hours, so it’s not like it’ll burn out any time soon if forgotten.

Finding single-scent candles is a much harder task than going with incense. You’re more likely to find scentless or combination scents, making it hard to use a candle to directly strengthen a single area. Whereas you might find a single-scent peppermint incense, you’re more likely to find a peppermint paired with a cookie scent, decreasing the potential energy-increasing benefits in favor of an increased appetite.

Comparatively, candles tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to incense sticks and cones. 80-hour candles will range from $15 to $60 per candle, depending on where you buy them from. The higher the quality of the ingredients, the larger the upfront cost.

Incense or Candles: Which Is Right for You?

Both incense and candles have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. So which one is the best option for you? Ultimately, the choice does come down to you, but you’re more than welcome to take our recommendations and reasonings below.


Incense is generally more affordable than candles.


Candles tend to produce less smoke than incense. It’s important to manage the wick of a candle to ensure there’s less smoke, however.


Candles create less of a mess because they come in their own containers where the wick and wax can continue to melt into. Incense can leave ash and residue on furniture, even when there’s an incense burner present.


For individual scents, incense will come out on top for aromatherapy. For mixed scents and creating specific ambiances, candles will be the better option.


This comes down to the spiritual ritual at hand. Depending on the ritual, incense or candles may be the right option for you. Consult the doctrine you follow for specific guidance or try out both to determine which creates the better spiritual connection.


Incense tends to help with focusing slightly better, as the individual scents can help stimulate the brain to keep you on track.


Candles are better for celebrations than incense because they are meant to be blown out whenever. Unlike incense, which requires you to burn through them all the way.


Candles maintain a flame throughout their burning. While incense maintains a low ember. You should be mindful of both and never leave either unattended.

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