Wood Wick Vs Cotton Wick For Candle Making - Which One is Better? – VedaOils

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Wood Wick Vs Cotton Wick For Candle Making - Which One is Better?

Wood Wick Vs Cotton Wick For Candle Making

To make high-quality candles, you would need wicks of exceptional quality. Wood wicks and cotton wicks are the two most popular varieties of candle wicks available in the market. However, each of these wick types has its advantages and shortcomings. Therefore, it becomes necessary for you to go through their key differences before using them to make candles.

Difference Between Wood Wick and Cotton Wick

Wood wicks and cotton wicks can be differentiated based on several factors. These factors are their ability to hold shape, maintenance, durability, lighting, and relighting ability.

In addition, their ability to sustain weather forces like wind can also be a key factor in deciding which of them is a better choice for your candles. Here are some factors that we would like to discuss to explain their key differences:

Wooden Candle Wicks

Wooden Wicks

Wooden Candle Wicks gives a nice horizontal flame that looks classy. Moreover, they are known to be sustainable and are produced without the use of toxins and chemicals. Here are some factors that make it different from cotton wicks:

1. Lighting and Re-lighting

Wood wicks light easily for the first time. However, they might be a little slow after a few subsequent lightings. Therefore, you might need multiple attempts to light the wood wicks after using them a few times.

2. Matches v/s Stick Lighters

The wood wicks might need some time to light, so it would be quite difficult to light them up with matches. It is because a match stick does not carry that kind of flame and neither does it provide that kind of time to hold. Therefore, it is recommended that you use stick lighters if you are planning to use wood wicks for your candles.

3. Wind and Drafts

The corridors that experience strong drafts or wind gusts are not ideal for wood wicks. They will give away the light or consume too much of the candle to maintain the light. Also, smoke and soot might blacken your corridors in the process.

4. Outdoor v/s Indoor Usage

We suggest using wood wicks only in indoor settings where the flame will not be troubled by occasional winds. It is because their flames get easily distorted and may go away even with gentle winds.

5. Container’s Size and Diameter

Wood Wicks are available as per the container's size, diameter, and length. However, you might have to use double wood wicks for large diameter candles as wood wicks tend to weaken with time.

6. Scent Throw

Wood wicks tend to throw scent strongly as they quickly induce heat in the wax. Also, wood wicks have a wider scent throw than cotton wicks.

7. Burning Rate

Wood wicks burn slowly, and they don’t release as much soot as cotton wicks do. Also, they burn cleanly as compared to cotton wicks.

Cotton Candle Wicks

Pre waxed Cotton Wick For Candle Making

Cotton Wicks or Pre-waxed cotton wicks gives a tall flame and tend to burn more rapidly than wood wicks. Here are some key factors that need to be studied while comparing cotton wicks and wood wicks:

1. Matches v/s Stick Lighters

Cotton wicks can be easily lighted with matches. However, they catch up with the flame quickly even after subsequent relighting and have to be trimmed occasionally.

2. Winds and Drafts

If we compare both the wicks, cotton wicks perform much better than wood wicks, especially on outdoor premises. However, even cotton wicks burn erratically, consume too much wax while burning, and might even release too much smoke and soot.

3. Outdoor v/s Indoor Usage

As discussed, cotton wicks are better for outdoor settings as they hold flame even during wind gusts.

4. Lighting and Re-lighting

Cotton wicks are easy for lighting purposes as they catch flame easily. In addition, a cotton wick can be trimmed to enhance its ability to relight.

5. Container’s Size and Diameter

Cotton wicks of variable lengths are easily available in the market, and they suit most containers. The cotton wicks that suit candles of different diameters are also available easily. If you want a big flame, it would be better to use a cotton wick.

6. Scent Throw

Cotton wicks do throw scent, but their ability to sustain the scent is questionable. They also don’t push the fragrance as much as wood wicks do.

7. Burning Rate

Cotton wicks burn quickly and have to be trimmed often as a black ball appears on the top of the flame due to burning. Also, they don’t burn as cleanly if compared to wood wicks.

Are Wood Wicks Better Than Cotton Wicks?

It really depends on the way you look at things. Cotton wicks must be your first choice if you are looking to make candles that remain lit in outdoor conditions. However, wooden wicks are suitable for making luxury scented candles as they also produce a cracking noise when you light them.

Sustainability of Wooden Wicks: Wooden wicks soaked with accelerants increase their capacity to retain flame. Also, different manufacturers offer different types of wooden wicks. However, you must also note that the wood required for making them comes from the trees.

There is a company that uses untreated wicks made from wood. Apart from being FSC certified, they plant trees for each $100 spent on procuring the wood. Therefore, it is recommended that you purchase the wicks from those who follow sustainable approaches while making wicks.

Sustainability of Cotton Wicks: Finding cotton wicks made by following sustainable practices is next to impossible. Many makers use lead or zinc to make braided self-trimming wicks. Moreover, some of them also dip the cotton wicks in paraffin wax to make them last longer.


Now that you know the advantages and drawbacks of wooden and cotton wicks, it would be easier for you to make a choice between them. However, irrespective of the type of wicks you use, stay away from the chemical-dipped. It is because they aren’t ideal for your health and might create breathing issues when you light the candles.

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