The best candles don’t merely smell delightful; they can encourage someone to slow down, set an intention, and maybe even relax and refocus—something we could all use a little (or a lot) of help with. Aside from looking great, the candles you purchase should be somewhat heavy so you know they won’t burn up in one sitting and good enough quality so that you aren’t concerned about the chemicals they send into the air. Soy wax, coconut wax, and beeswax candles are some of the cleanest burning options out there, and candles scented with essential oils tend to be free of synthetic fragrances, so be sure to seek those nontoxic options out if that’s important to you or your recipient.
And when it comes to scent, there’s a world of options. Whether you pick one cute candle to gift your votive-loving best friend or buy a set to bring some love to multiple corners of your own house, you can’t go wrong. Some of our favorite candles even come in their own little gift boxes or patterned tins—and who isn’t a sucker for adorable packaging? The classic option is something scented, but you could even opt for a lovely taper candle that’ll add refinement to a space.
Our Top Picks:
Below are the 44 best candles from a variety of retailers to create a relaxing ambiance at home or to give as a housewarming present—because the best gifts also smell really, really good.
We love P.F. Candle Co. for its rich, long-lasting scents, and the brand’s newest scent of 2023 is no exception. The scent is herby, as the name suggests, but in a way that is less kitchen and more dewy morning walk through the garden. While earthy, there are some refreshing kicks of lemon and orange rind, which will keep you guessing (in a good way).
Made in the United States and housed in a reusable glass jar, this scent is intimate and smoky. Notes of hashish, nag champa and mesquite will fit right in any room, but we suggest keeping this one as your bedroom candle. Plus, it’s got a 40-hour burn time.
If you love classic scents and wish you were into edgier fragrances, look into Malin+Goetz’s take on a traditional floral. Touches of clove, black pepper, and cardamom open up into rose, peony, and geranium. With up to 60 hours of burn time, this natural wax candle packs major spring vibes you can bust out to pull you right out of the dreariest of days.
From first look, this bold blue vessel is one step ahead of the rest thanks to a lid that immediately transforms this candle into a beautiful piece of home decor once the wax is gone. Fans of patchouli, iris, and suede will love this rain-inspired scent.
This three-wick candle is a shot of aromatherapy straight to the head, thanks to its cheery grapefruit scent. Not entirely unlike sunshine in the form of a candle, this one is strong—perfect for a kitchen in between meals or a corner that needs a bit of shine.
Inspired by Tom Ford’s private garden, this candle is a little bit woodsy and a little bit spicy. Rose is at the heart of the scent, but it’s also hugged by patchouli and Sichuan pepper. It’s sharp and warm at the same time, and it makes the perfect gift for your BFF who loves to host.
Don’t let the paint-splattered jar fool you—this candle is all about hygge-inspired nights by the fireplace watching the snow fall outside. This unisex scent was inspired by fireplace mornings in Chamonix in the 1970s. Groovy.
The name of this candle doesn’t speak to packed bars and half-price drinks—no, we’re talking about a different kind of happy hour. A calming mix of citrus and cedar will fill the room, and a deep breath will reveal touches of rosemary and eucalyptus as a beautiful afterthought.
Light this candle and you’ll practically smell the sea salt spray hitting your face off of the ocean. If you’re on the market for a budget-friendly candle that packs a ton of punch, your money would be well spent here.
The cheeky LA candlemakers at Boy Smells have teamed up with pop star (and AD cover girl) Kacey Musgraves to make this candle that conveys a harmonious mix of incense, black pepper, ginger zest, raspberry, and cedarwood. Just this week, the brand also launched an intoxicating candle with the legendary Grace Jones.
With their tassels and toile-covered pagoda packaging, Seda France’s candles are a gift before you’ve even unwrapped them. This one smells like spring, featuring a blend of Japanese quince, rhubarb, white peach, passion fruit, and white jasmine.
We’d be remiss not to include this ever-popular pick from Diptyque. Baies is a blissful mix of black currant leaves and fresh roses. Don’t let its petite size fool you, this baby will burn for hours.
Homesick makes candles inspired by each state, and even a few cities. Their take on New York plays on spring days spent in Central Park and the overall buzz found in every borough, translated through notes of bergamot, jasmine, lemon, grapefruit, water lilies, oak moss, sandalwood, musk, and—we kid you not—concrete.
From Instagram-famous candle brand Otherland come plenty of one-of-a-kind and kitschy options. Take Chandelier, a coconut and soy wax blend of champagne, saffron, and leather that you’ll hope never burns out. Fortunately, it promises 55 hours of burn time.
All of Spoken Flames’ candles emit a soft crackling noise when burned for a relaxing and distinct experience every time. The Fearless candle fuses a bright mix of orange, clove, and cedarwood to bring a bold energy to your space.
With notes of clover, island moss, and sea pinks (which is possibly the cutest plant name we’ve ever heard), this refreshing D.S. & Durga candle will conjure up good vibes wherever it fits in with the rest of your home decor.
This designer candle is crisp, delicate, and fruity, with notes of lily, jasmine, and pear to bring the sensation of springtime strolls alongside budding greenery right to your own home.
Young Victorian women were apparently forbidden from inhaling the scent of tuberose lest they have a spontaneous orgasm (!), so gift this ultra-sultry candle very wisely.
You know the fresh smell of a new leather bag or pair of shoes? This is that but with no animals harmed in the making. These sleek candles by Marie Hunter Beauty are made of soy and coconut wax and burn for up to 90 hours.
This sweet blend of citrus, berry, and lemon smells exactly like Fruit Loops. It’s a pleasant and invigorating scent that immediately transports you to childhood mornings with a spoon in hand and cartoons blasting in the background. Not only do we love this candle, but we also love Mala—it’s an eco-friendly brand that’s partnered with Trees for the Future to have a tree planted for every purchase made. Mala is responsible for more than 56,000 new trees around the globe.
For a decidedly grown-up vibe, the Speakeasy candle is meant to evoke illicit nights out and the pleasure of breaking the rules with its tobacco, bourbon, and palo santo notes.
Cope, a homewares line by the Calico Wallpaper founders, has a few refreshing candles inspired by the seascapes of New England, where they grew up. Each candle is packed in a box of its signature splatter wallpaper.
AD editor in chief Amy Astley highly recommends this very luxe, very splurge-worthy candle from Loewe: “I love the chunkiness, the heft, [and] the jumbo size,” she says. Bonus: When the candle has burned down, “you can keep the vessel for anything you want—and it’s nice that this one isn’t delicate and teeny.”
Know someone who loves the smell of old or new books? This best-selling candle from Byredo is for them. It fuses notes of peach, plum, peony, violet, leather, patchouli, and vanilla to create an overall woody and aromatic scent that’ll transport you to the medieval library of your dreams.
Designed to mimic the smell of a vintage Hermès suede jacket, this candle from Nette exudes notes of cardamom, violet leaf, sandalwood, and amber. Pick it out to enhance your home fragrance scheme.
Keap is a New York–based and zero-waste brand that even offers subscription options to have fresh candles delivered to your doorstep every month. Though there are tons of responsibly made options to choose from, we’d go with this Wood Cabin candle, which has notes of juniper, nutmeg, cedarwood, and pine.
Bring the sunny Italian coast into your living room with this candle from Catbird. The notes of orange blossom and honey are designed to transport you to days of long naps in the sun, walks through olive groves, and the occasional dip in the ocean. Plus, each candle comes with a suggested reading list on the lid for those on the hunt for a new book to become engrossed in.
This seasonal scent is perfect to pull out during the holidays. It has top notes of balsam fir, bayberry, and rock rose, with an undertone of woody sage. Light it up, and you’ll feel like you’re in a majestic forest or sitting by a freshly cut Christmas tree.
The ultimate cozy night in wouldn’t be complete without Nomad Noé’s Dreamer in London candle, whose soothing notes of firewood, tobacco, and hint of vanilla give any room a warm and sophisticated feel.
Lime, eucalyptus, and violet leaves come together to create a peaceful scent that’s reminiscent of a herbal tea. Surely you have a loved one who loves Le Labo. Give them something to sniff other than Santal 33.
Another one of the best candles we want for winter is this earthy blend from Grant Street Candle Co. The jar candle will make your home smell like warm spice thanks to the sandalwood, patchouli, amber, and musk—all topped with sage, tangerine, and mango. The hand-poured candle has an ample 60-hour burn time.
Gibson & Dehn’s Mood candle line, made of a signature coconut wax blend, smells good and helps inspire the best vibes. The Good Times candle features a scent full of eucalyptus, jasmine, mint, and thyme notes that are especially balmy and soothing—optimal for warmer months.
This gorgeous candle smells as good as it looks. The scent is a romantic mix of pink grapefruit, orange, and black pepper. The sprinkle of rose cinnamon on top of the soy candle is an added bonus.
Ever experience nostalgia with movies that you wish you could bottle and keep forever? Like that one horror movie you watch every Halloween, or the rom-com that’s a familiar friend to you on a rainy day. That wish comes true with the A24 and Brooklyn-based Joya collaboration of movie genre candles. Now you can pick a candle inspired by your favorite movie genre.
One of the best duos for maximum comfort in life is a freshly brewed cup of tea and a freshly lit candle permeating the air. You can pick up both from Alexandra Winbush. Pair her refreshing pomegranate ginger Window Seat candle with some matching pomegranate ginger tea.
One of Le Labo’s classic products, the Santal 26 candle is known for its refined musky scent. This makes it the optimal wick to light when you’re relaxing in your blanket nest reading a book or watching a movie.
Topped with dried eucalyptus, this candle emulates the smell and sensation of summer rain through top notes of lime and ozone, middle notes of coconut, and bottom notes of vanilla.
If you want a Sunday morning candle to go with your Sunday morning coffee, Sunday morning breakfast, and Sunday morning book, then look no further. Brooklyn Candle Studio has created the perfect candle to perfume your early bird routine with smells of pear, bergamot, jasmine, gardenia, and amber woods.
A staple scent from Boy Smells, Cashmere Kush brings a musky aroma to any room, with notes of pot flower, geranium leaf, tulip, cashmere wood, rhubarb, vetiver, white amber, and powdery musk. They also have a magnum 27-ounce size if you just can’t get enough of the smell.
For aspiring sommeliers, Uncommon Goods offers candles scented after some of your favorite wines and houses them in upcycled bottles. There are six options to choose from—Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Champagne, Cabernet, Rosé, and Pinot Grigio—each with their own distinct scent profile.
Most of this list features scented candles to scatter throughout your home and light for a cozy day or night in. But what about a taper candle to spruce up your tablescape or a fireplace mantel? This handmade candle from the home decor brand Chefaine features a bouquet of paraffin wax roses on the stem. It’s truly unlike any other taper candle you’ll find.
Still trying to emulate that Mediterranean vibe in your home? A Prose candle can help get you there. The Corsica candle—which features notes of Anjou pear, peony, and white woods—is reminiscent of warm ocean winds, cliff-clinging wildflowers, and Mediterranean sunsets.
The way a candle smells is obviously the most important factor—but that doesn’t mean you should shirk on picking an option with an especially lovely vessel. This scent from La DoubleJ has the looks and the stellar smell. The candle captures the iconically serene lake it was named after, with notes of rose, black currant, and white musk—all housed in a vibrant gold-plated porcelain vessel in a floral pattern.
If you’ve ever walked into an Anthropologie store, you’re likely deeply familiar with the oversized Capri Blue Volcano candle and its cloyingly sweet scent. Made by the Mississippi-based Capri Blue label, this hand poured candle with a cotton wick is loved by thousands and features notes of tropical fruits, oranges, lemons, limes, and mountain greens. It’ll make a great holiday gift for your favorite Anthro girl.