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Candle Wax Comparison

Candle Wax Comparison
All waxes have advantages and disadvantages.  Deciding whether one candle has more value than another is completely dependent on your priorities and your intended use. Today there are so many blends of waxes that it is impossible to keep track of the changes and variations. For the purposes of this article, the statements made are about the wax in its purest form rather than blends which improve performance.
The difficulty is in knowing the real and complete ingredients of the candle you are purchasing. Not many manufacturers declare fully the ingredients of their candles and current laws do not require this. As you will see, we at Candlelight Solutions attempt to inform you, the customer, what wax you are purchasing and the burn time if it is known. We continue to request information from all our manufacturers and will seek to perform our own tests on those products for which we cannot obtain the information freely.
The information contained in this article comes from years of general knowledge gained from all sorts of places, friends, colleagues, and our manufacturers, the specifics of where and when are mostly forgotten. This is not intended to be a scientific representation but is factual to the best of our knowledge. If you disagree with anything stated in this article and are able to substantiate it we will be happy to change the article for the reading of future customers and will be happy to acknowledge you for your input.

 

Types of Waxes

Natural waxes are those that are made from plants, insects and animals. Plant waxes can be found on the external surfaces of many plants. They protect the plant against the excessive loss or gain of water. Plant waxes include Bayberry Wax, Palm Wax, and Soy Wax Palm Waxes and Soy waxes have become increasingly popular for production of "all natural" candles. Beeswax is a combination of wax components. It is all natural but expensive. Animal Waxes include Tallow wax. Tallow wax made from animal fat was used in the “olden days” for making candles but, due to the terrible odor, messy and complex process, and emergence of better alternatives, it is no longer used.


More Information on Specific Candles Waxes

Beeswax

Beeswax is a substance secreted by the worker honey bee used for the creation of their honeycomb. Beeswax is made from a huge complex mixture of different molecules. Beeswax is an expensive wax but because it lasts a long time it is actually the best value for money. The cost per hour of burn time is less than other waxes. It is often blended with other waxes to increase burn time.   Beeswax burns very slow and hot. It gives off very good light and can be used for heating and slow cooking. A highly functional candle, the beeswax candle is the best choice when you need it to work for you. When burnt, Beeswax gives off a delicious sweet natural scent and negative ions that latch on to bad positive ions of dust, soot, toxins and allergens that exist in the air. Beeswax is a perfect candle wax for asthmatics and those with various allergies. A pleasant all rounder for those who can afford the initial outlay.


Advantages of Beeswax Candles:

  • Very long burn time – They last for ages!
  • Best Value for Money
  • Natural Sweet Aroma
  • Burns with bright white light (as opposed to yellow of other waxes)
  • Produces usable heat
  • Produces negative ions that clean the air
  • Great for allergy sufferers and asthmatics

Disadvantages of Beeswax Candles:
  • Does not take easily to dyeing. If you want a solid color, strong dyes are required (which can take away from the pure negative ion factor)
  • The sweet natural honey scent can interfere with fragrances added to the beeswax
  • Difficult to clean up spills
  • Requires heat resistant containers ( because the wax gets very hot)
  • High initial outlay (cost)

 

Good uses for Beeswax Candles:

 

  • Everyday candles 
  • An alternate light source
  • As an alternate heat source (will reheat food)
  • Great for campers and Backpackers!
  • Christmas candles
  • Great for hand-sculpted candles
  • A pleasant all rounder for those who can afford the initial outlay


Paraffin Wax
Paraffin is made from crude petroleum. Paraffin wax is referred to as "not natural" but it is derived from the decomposition of organic matter and contain 15% hydrogen and 85% carbon. This is why manufacturers of Paraffin wax candles defend their status as natural and argue that the use of this wax is a good use of the by product of petroleum….at least the wax is not being wasted and adds an economic benefit. Some forms of paraffin are highly refined and do not produce as much soot or pollutants into the atmosphere. Paraffin can be fully refined to contain less than 0.5% oil.
Paraffin is manufactured in a number of forms and is available as container wax, pillar wax and taper wax.
Paraffin is a cheap wax and for those whom initial cost is important, it is the most popular choice. It is commonly used in restaurants, community events, vigils and church ceremonies where the candle does not need to last a long time and a fresh candle is preferred for the next event.


Advantages of Paraffin Wax Candles:

  • Cheap
  • A big range of Vivid, Bold and Pastel Colors (it is easy to dye with all types of candle dyes) 
  • A big range of available fragrances ( all candle making fragrance oils work well in it)
  • A big range of available decorative effects


Disadvantages of Paraffin Wax Candles:
  • Paraffin gives off more soot and air pollutants than other candle waxes 
  • Not easy to clean up – the required solvents can be dangerous
  • The least environmentally friendly candle wax
  • It is made from a non-renewable resource
  • Non Biodegradable
  • Becomes oily in hot temperatures
  • Can melt during shipping in Summer

Good Uses for Paraffin Wax Candles:
  • Beautiful decorative candles that won't be burned
  • Community events, Vigils, Carols by Candlelight etc
  • Where you need a huge number of candles that don’t need to last a long time and have a very small budget
  •  

    Gel Wax Candles

    Gel wax is the wax used to make clear candles.  It is basically mineral oils turned to jelly. Candle gel is made of 95% mineral oil, and 5% polymer resin. It burns very hot and can explode if it gets too hot. Gel wax is most often used for decorative candles as the clear wax can have wax or glass embeds placed within the gel wax. If purchasing gel candles choose carefully. Those with wax embeds rather than glass embeds reduce the risk of fires as glass embeds can heat up and increase the overall heat of the candle. There have been many stories of gel wax candles exploding and causing fires.

    Gel wax candles can be very beautiful and fun candles with any theme your imagination can dream up. Gel wax melts slower than paraffin and therefore can be an economical candle. You will find that Gel candles do not have as great a range of fragrances as Soy, Palm or beeswax because many fragrances are not compatible with the chemical make-up of the gel wax.

    This is not an easy candle to make for the novice candle maker. Getting the right balance of ingredients and choosing the best jar requires advice from a professional. Ensuring that the container is very resistant to heat is also important. If glass is used, it needs to be thick and toughened glass that will withstand the high heats produced…any container will not do. Gel wax candles must never be left unattended!!!

    If you are leaving the room, PUT THE FLAME OUT!

    Advantages of Gel Wax Candles:
  • Can be used for very pretty decorative candles
  • Disadvantages of Gel Wax Candles:
  • Can only be used in containers
  • Can explode if the glass container is too thin
  • Limited available fragrances
  • Limited colors
  • Same as paraffin – a non renewable resource
  • Not biodegradable
  • Can be more dangerous around the home than other candle waxes
  • Good uses for Gel Wax Candles:
  • Very decorative
  • Bayberry Wax Candles
    Bayberry is made from the berries of the Bayberry bush (otherwise known as Myrtle or Wild Cinnamon). A fine green fragranced wax coats the berries of the bush. Four to Fifteen pounds of berries yield about one pound of wax which makes it a very expensive wax. As the plant only grows in a limited area the wax is hard to obtain. It is a long process to boil and extract the wax. Bayberry wax gives off a beautiful distinctive aroma when burnt. In some households, Bayberry candles are traditionally burned during Christmas and New Year.
    Bayberry Wax is very hard and brittle. It can be used on it’s own but many candle makers blend it with beeswax to make it less breakable.

    Advantages of Bayberry Wax Candle:
  • Beautiful Aroma
  • Fabulous Tradition Maker
  • Specialized use
  • Cheap (cheapest next to Parrafin)
  • Easy to clean up – warm soapy water
  • Biodegradable
  • Boosts the US Economy - Made from American soybeans and helps our hard-working farmers
  • Eco Friendly 
  • A sustainable resource (one day we'll run out of petroleum)
  • Doesn’t harm the earth or cause habitat Destruction (no mining required)
  • Can be strongly Scented

  • Disadvantages of a Bayberry Candle:
  • Brittle, & easily broken (in its raw form)
  • Expensive
  • Good uses for a Bayberry Wax Candle:

  • Christmas & New Year's candles
  • Mix with other plant waxes as a hardener and to get the bayberry scent naturally
  • Palm Wax
    Palm Wax is made from the palm oil which comes from the fruit berries of the palm tree. Palm Wax is solid and hard. Palm oil is a "virgin" oil, because it is obtained just by steaming and pressing the palm fruit. This makes it more environmentally friendly than Soy candles most of which require solvents/petroleum chemicals and complex processes to extract the ingredients that make up Soy wax. It has a high melting point and so is great for tropical climates.   It melts slowly and gives a longer burn time than paraffin wax or other vegetable waxes. Palm wax candles can burn 2 -3 times longer than paraffin wax candles. It is often added to Soy and other waxes to harden them for extended uses and to extend their burn time. Palm wax has a fabulous ability to absorb and/or mix well with fragrance or essential oil in high concentration and so you get highly scented candles. It keeps its fragrance longer than paraffin wax candles.

    Advantages of the Palm Wax Candle

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Smokeless and Dripless
  • Can be highly scented easily and naturally
  • Palm wax holds twice as much fragrance as paraffin or soy wax.
  • Fragrance can be smelled when candle is hot or cold
  • Great for Tropical and Hot Climates
  • Versatile – many uses - votives, tapers, pillars and container candles.

    Disadvantages of the Palm Wax Candle

  • Can be hard and Brittle
  • More expensive than Soy and Paraffin
  • Good uses
  • Great for all types of candles around home
  • Great choice for the Nature lover and Protector
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    Soy Wax

    Soy wax is made from Soybean oil which is extracted from soy beans. Soy wax can be made thru mechanical pressing or by using petroleum based solvents (most commonly the latter). It is not an easy process and the home candle maker is not likely to achieve it from scratch. About 60 kg of soybeans are required to produce 10 kg of soybean oil.   Soy bean wax on its own is a soft wax and suitable for container candles. When used for pillars Soy wax is usually blended with other waxes to make it more solid. Soy wax blends very well with most (but not all) fragrance oils. It has been stated that Scented Soy Wax can hold up to 10% fragrance oil. Soy wax burns slowly and does not have a very large or bright flame. The wax blends well with fragrance oils and can hold much higher concentration of fragrance than Parrafin or Gel candles. The soy wax candle therefore is a good choice when you wish to fill your house with wonderful aromas. It is not so good as a light source.   Again, if you want to be sure that your soy candles are 100% soy, you need to ask the manufacturer. We continue to request such information from our manufactures so you can make informed decisions about what candle you buy from our store.

     

    The Advantages of Soy Wax Candles:

  • A good choice for when you need a large number of candles on a small budget…..the cheapest of the plant waxes.
  • Holds and emits strength of fragrance
  • Disadvantages of Soy Wax Candles:

  • In its raw state, Soy wax does not hold dyes or fragrance as well as some other waxes. Therefore additives that are often chemically modified are used to enhance fragrance and color (Many natural 100% Soy Wax Candles are pastel colors.) So if you are a purist at heart you will need to be satisfied with pastel candles and a limited range of fragrances. .

  • Soy wax can make great candles, but they are not easy to make. For the beginner, it is recommended to have the assistance of a professional.
  • In its pure form, it has a much shorter burn time….actually similar to paraffin…Sometimes stearic acid  is added to boost the burn time.
  • Is known to contain some allergens that some people are allergic to.
  • Good uses for soy wax:

  • Fragrant candles for the home. Safer around children as it burns cooler
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