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Wick Testing - So How Do You Choose?

So Many Wicks!

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Pillar Wick

Pillar Wick

David Fisher
Like I said, a proper burning candle is a balance of wick, wax, additives (including fragrance) and size. It’s a system where each of the components balances with another. Change one component, and the equation can be thrown off. Think of the equation like this:

PERFECT CANDLE = (Wax + additives and fragrance) x Size x Wick

The biggest factor with choosing and testing a wick is the diameter of the candle. Other wick factors, like what it’s made of, how stiff it is or if it’s self-trimming come into play, but they are secondary to the size. Basically, the thicker the wick, the bigger a candle it can burn properly.

Types of Wicks
Wicks come in just a few basic types:

  1. Zinc-core - Used mostly in container candles, votives and tea lights, where the deeper melt pools require a little help to stand up.
  2. Flat and Square Braided – Used mostly for taper and pillar candles. The wick burns hotter than zinc-core wicks and bends slightly at the tip effectively "trimming" itself. Because it burns hotter, it is less prone to mushrooming.
  3. Paper Core – used mostly for container candles and candles that need an extra-hot flame.
  4. Cotton and Paper Braid - Used mostly for natural waxes like Soy
  5. Specialty wicks - Hemp wicks, citronella candle wicks and a few others
Each manufacturer or retailer of wicks should give you general guidelines for what wick to use with what kind of wax in what size candle. These are a great place to start. But there are so many different factors affecting your unique candle that you must TEST TEST TEST!

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