• Sarah S.

Wooden Wicks vs Cotton Wicks

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

We make both wooden and cotton wick candles, so this question is often asked by our customers, “What’s the difference between the different wicks?” We love carrying both types of candles; it opens up so many new conversations and helps us have something for everyone. Wooden Wicks vs. Cotton Wicks is becoming a booming topic at our craft shows and market events and we’d like to share our findings with you! There are quite a few differences that we’ll go over below.

Wooden wicks are thin slabs or tubes of wood crafted precisely for candle making. They create a beautiful crackling sound, but need a bit more attention and maintenance. Cotton wicks are braided cotton strands, dipped in wax and compressed to hold their shape. Cotton wicks often create lower cost and easier to maintain candles.

Burning Wooden Wick and Cotton Wick Candles

There are indeed right and wrong ways to burn each type of candle, but the number one way to get the best results with either wick is to always burn your candles until the wax has completely melted to each side of the candle glass.

We’ve dedicated an entire post as a resource for proper burning techniques of wooden wick candles here.

Lighting and Relighting

Both wooden wicks and cotton wicks ignite and take flame easily upon the first lighting. However, upon the second and subsequent burnings, the wooden variety will need a bit more care and time. Cotton wicks are more of a grab and go kind of candle, trim the wick and they’ll light in 3 seconds, while wooden wicks may take up to 20 seconds to catch fire.

In fact, it may take 2 or 3 tries to relight a wooden wick candle, as they require more time for the fire to penetrate the outer, more charred layers of wood.

Matches vs. Stick Lighters

I’ve found that this is actually one of the most important differences between using a candle with Cotton versus one with wooden wicks.

Wooden wick candles are almost entirely impossible to light with a match. We’ve found that there just isn’t enough flame or enough time given to you by the length of a match to properly provide fire to a wooden wick. Even fireplace matches are somewhat ineffective. For the amount of time that you’ll need to hold to flame on the wooden wick, there will be so much burnt match debris inside your candle wax that it will become a fire hazard.

We always recommend purchasing a stick lighter if you’re thinking about purchasing a wooden wick candle. Also, your poor singed fingertips will thank you!

Cotton wicks are much easier to light with matches. Even tiny matches have enough length on them to properly light a cotton wick candle.

We always recommend a hurricane glass be used in an outdoor setting to increase the life of your candle if you wish to bring the ambiance outdoors. Photo Credit: T2 Photography