How Long Can A Candle Burn?

how long can a candle burn

Trying to figure out how many hours of burn time that new and expensive scented candle will last you? You’ve come to the right place. Burn time is dependent on a variety of factors. Let’s break down how long a candle can burn and why. How long can a candle burn?

Candles burn between 5 and 9 hours per ounce of wax, depending on the type of candle. Large 24oz candles can burn 150 hours or more and smaller 8oz candles can burn for 40 hours. This depends on how large the candle wick is and how many candle wicks are in the candle.

A lot of the problems that arise when using candles come from the fact that people let them burn too long. If you want a candle that can burn several hours, then you have to choose a specific candle to do that.

The burn time listed when you buy a candle is not how long you can consecutively let the candle burn, that is the amount of time the candle will burn if you add up every use.

Consider a few things when asking how long can a candle burn. Are we asking how long should you burn a candle? How long will a candle burn before going out? How long is my specific candle designed to burn?

We will go through all of this below!

Total burn time per candle type

Burn time for each type of candle

Type of CandleBurn Time in Hours
Tea Light4
3oz Votive12
3oz Tin25
8oz Jar40
16oz Jar70
10 oz Tumbler60
16 oz Apothecary 90
26 oz Apothecary 160
Burn Time In Hours Based On Manufacturer Averages

As you can see the larger the candle is, generally the longer it can burn. However, the type of candle also has an impact on how long it can burn. A candle tin and a votive of the same size do not have the same burn time, the candle tin will burn longer.

What causes these specific burn times?

The first few obvious reasons a candle burns as long as it does are the container, the wick, and the type of wax used in the candle.

Some less obvious reasons are how often do you use it? How many hours at a time do you use it?

Container Type

Based on my research, candles with similar amounts of wax still vary based on the type of container.

Candle Containers That Burn Longest

  • Tin
  • Tumbler
  • Apothecary
  • Jar

The shape of the candle impacts how quickly the wax heats and how quickly it starts to evaporate.


Candles also come in a variety of waxes, and blends of wax. Each one of these has its own burn time. Some of the types of wax you may see are beeswax, soy wax, and paraffin.

Candle Wax That Burns The Longest

  • Bees Wax
  • Soy Wax
  • Paraffin

Beeswax is the most expensive, soy wax is in the middle, and paraffin is the cheapest, but the chances are you are getting a soy blend when you buy candles.

However, some expensive name-brand candle makers still use paraffin because it has a better scent throw.

Candle Wicks

Most candles have your typical cotton wick, but wood wicks are also an option. Wood wicks typically burn longer, as well as provide a nice crackling sound as they burn.

Candle Size

The burn time of a candle also comes down to how big the candle. Naturally, a larger candle can burn longer. So if you want a candle that can last you for several days of burn time then you will need to buy a much more expensive candle.

Stick to single wick candles

Multi-wick candles produce more heat, use more fuel, and will burn up faster. If your goal is to have a candle that will burn as long as possible, please avoid the multi-wick candles.

However, some extremely large candles, candles that are 10 ounces or more should probably have multiple wicks. Large candles with a single large wick tend to smoke more, produce more heat and the candle wicks mushroom more.

Candles designed for long use

Some candles are designed to be used for several days in a row, such as the devotional candles you see in many churches.

These candles have specifically been designed to burn for long periods of time without experiencing the problems candles normally do. Problems such as extended wick, wax evaporation, and candle soot.

If you are looking for something you can burn days at a time I would bypass Walmart or local Walgreens and look for religious or devotional candles online. Those types of candles are usually made with beeswax which is one of the slowest burning types of wax.

They are not scented, however, many people say that a normal beeswax candle can sometimes produce a sweet scent on its own.

How long should I burn a candle?

Follow the manufacturer suggested burn times. These times are usually a minimum of one hour of burn time per use and no more than four hours of burn time per use. This is to ensure the candle does not overheat and that the candle wick can regularly be trimmed and not become too long or mushroomed.

Most manufacturers suggest that you burn a candle for a minimum of one hour and no longer than four hours.

This is so that the candle burns long enough to melt the wax across the top to prevent wax tunneling, but not so long that you get an extended wick and the wax becomes so hot that it starts to evaporate.

This is part of the reason why you should not sleep with a candle lit or light one when you know you will be leaving soon. Blowing a candle out after just a few minutes can ruin its wax memory.

You can see what happens when you burn a candle too long in our other article titled What Happens If You Burn A Candle Too Long.

Trim the wick for longer burn time

As your candle burns, you will notice the wick appears to be larger and often disfigured. People often call this mushrooming of the wick.

This makes a larger flame, that heats the wax more quickly and drastically decreases your burn time.

You should trim the wick for a total length of 1/4 of an inch, and you want your flame to be no taller than one inch.

Keeping up with your wick maintenance will extend the life of your candle to its maximum potential. Giving you the most bang for your buck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you not burn a candle for more than 4 hours?

You should not burn a candle for more than 4 hours because the wick can become too long and start to mushroom. When this happens the candle will produce a larger flame and produce more heat. This heat can stress the container and even break it causing a fire hazard.

Will a jar candle burn itself out?

Candles in a jar or a container will burn themselves out when they reach the bottom of the container. However, you should not let a candle burn itself out on its own. It is important to leave some wax in the bottom of your candle container as a heat barrier between the flame and the surface the candle is on.

When should you stop using a candle?

You should stop using a candle when the flame is approximately 1/2″ from the bottom of the container. This layer of wax helps distribute the heat of the candle evenly through the container and acts as a buffer between the flame and the surface the candle is on.


In summary, if you want to get a candle that will burn as long as possible you need to find the largest possible candle you can, single wick only.

Burn the candle for lengths between one hour and four hours.

Keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 of an inch and make sure the flame is no higher than 1 inch.

If I was buying a candle with the intent of having one that will last me for many hours of burn time I would look for a beeswax candle in a large tin or apothecary jar. However, that would take a hot burning wick so soy wax or soy wax blends are also a great way to go in containers.

How Long Can A Candle Burn?

Carl Adamson

Hi, I'm Carl Adamson, one of the founders here at Candleers. A few years ago I got really into the art and craft of candle making, initially with soy wax container candles. My friends started asking me to make candles for them and pretty soon it turned into a nice side-business. I started this website as a way to document what I've learned over the past few years and hopefully help others in the process. I still love candle making but I'm learning that what I enjoy even more is the business side of things - and for this reason I've started consulting others on how to start and grow their own candle-making businesses and side-hustles.

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