There are around nine general types of incense burners, with additional and combination burners also available on the market. Incense burners are fairly specific to the type of incense you want to burn, be it coils, cones, sticks, or another incense option. Before selecting your incense burner, begin by determining what type of incense you want to burn. This will help you narrow down your hunt and avoid purchasing a burner you can’t use.
You’ll also want to be careful that you are buying a burner meant for incense. Since you are burning something you don’t want a burner made from a material that can’t withstand the heat. Many incense burners are made of brass, ceramic, wood, or aluminum.
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What Are Incense Burners Called?
Incense burners may be referred to as incense holders. Often they are referred to by more specific names indicative of the specific type of burner they are. This means they may be called boat burners, incense boxes, and incense bowls.
Are Incense Burners the Same as Censers and Thuribles?
Incense burners, censers, and thuribles are similar in nature but have very different uses surrounding them. While all are made to safely burn incense, an incense burner is often used within the home for personal rituals, cleansing, and everyday use. Both censers and thuribles are most frequently used during religious ceremonies both in present times and throughout history.
Types of Incense Burners
From the standard and easily recognizable to the unusual, incense burners come in all varieties. These are the major types of incense burners you’ll find easily available to purchase. There are also many unique and unusual styles if you’re looking for something unique.
Incense bowls are just as they sound: bowls to hold a cone or stick. Incense bowls are ideal for those who want to burn loose incense. You can find these loose incense blends prepackaged and available online for sale. While a bit less common than the typical stick, loose incense can be a fun change-up and often gives you a more unique experience.
Incense bowls can be bought for around $10 to $15 on average, although higher quality and more esthetically pleasing options are available at a higher price.
Also called ash catchers, boat burners are one of the most easily recognizable incense burners available. These are the types you’ll most likely find in your local wellness or metaphysical shop. They are often made of wood and include simple designs and engravings. Other common materials include ceramic and aluminum.
You can usually find a boat burner in the price range of $10 to $20 and they often come with incense sticks. Some incense boat burners are able to hold two incense sticks at once if you want to mix or strengthen scents.
Box burners for incense, sometimes referred to as coffin burners, are wooden boxes with cutouts at the top created specifically for burning incense. These burners are available with a variety of designs and patterns and can add a nice aesthetic touch to your room.
Box burners for incense sit at around $8 to $15 each.
Backflow Incense Burner
Backflow incense burners are designed specifically for backflow incense cones. These cones send the smoke out of the base instead of up into the air. These are an ideal choice for those who want an aesthetic piece in their home that is also functional. Backflow incense burners come in a wide array of styles and are all beautiful pieces to add to your home.
Backflow incense burners will be more pricey than other options. You can expect to pay $15 for a low-end option and into the $100s for a higher-end backflow incense burner.
Hanging Spiral Burners
Hanging spiral burners are specifically designed for burning spiral incense. These are probably the most difficult incense burners to find. These stay in the range of $10 to $20 on average.
Vertical burners for incense keep the incense stick vertical—pretty self-explanatory there. These are available in the range of $5 to $20 on average.
Smudge bowls are used for smudging during ceremonies for smudging sticks. This is different from a typical incense burner based on the usage. Generally, these are soapstone bowls although abalone shells can be used as well. Smudge bowls can also be used for burning sage.
Smudge bowls are available starting at $12.
Brass Incense Cone Burner
Brass incense cone burners are small containers made up of a base and a lid that are gold in color. These are simple to use and funnel the smoke up through the top of the burner.
These are relatively inexpensive. I picked one up from my local metaphysical shop for a few dollars. You can find them online from $6 on up.
How To Pick the Right Types of Incense Burners
Much of selecting an incense burner comes down to what you want to use the burner for. Realistically, if you buy a burner meant for an incense cone you’re going to have quite a bad experience trying to burn your incense coil. Before you buy your burner, decide which incense type you’d like to burn. From there you’ll have a much clearer idea of the different types of incense burners that are right for you.
Learn about different incense scents and their meanings in our related guide.