How to Choose the Right Candle Wick

Picking out a wick for your candle is an important step that will ultimately determine how well your candle burns.

And with so many wick options, it can be an overwhelming process.

So let’s get you up to speed on what you should look for in a wick and put you on the right path to making a quality candle.

Finding the Right Wick for Your Candle

We’re going to cover a lot of information about wicks below, but if I were to boil it down to 4 steps, it would be the following:

  1. Find which wick series and form works best for the type of candle you’re making.
  2. Know if the wick works well with the candle wax you use.
  3. Determine the appropriate wick for the size and shape of your candle.
  4. Always be testing. Experiment with different wicks(sizes, series) to see what works best for your project.

The wick you choose will depend on the type of candle, wax, fragrance, and any additives you may add.

Types of Candle Wicks

There are four forms of candle wicks which are cored, flat, square, and specialty.

Cored Wicks

These wicks are braided with a core of material that is made of zinc, cotton, paper, or tin.

This core build keeps the wick sturdy and durable, making them great for candles with longer burn times.

Cotton core wicks work well with highly viscous wax.

Paper core wicks work well with large containers.

Zinc core wicks have a very rigid structure which helps keep a centered burn pool. Zinc core wicks do not work as well with highly viscous wax.

Flat Wicks

Flat wicks are made of three knitted strands interwoven in a pattern to give an even thickness. This pattern provides support and a consistent burn.

Flat wicks work well with taper, pillar, and container candles.

Easy to use and a good option for beginners.

Known for its self-trimming effect (curl), the wick curls back into the flame and extinguishes itself as it burns.

Cheap and widely available.

Square Wicks

Square wicks work well with beeswax, soy, and palm wax.

Square wicks are braided and offer more stability than flat wicks.

The square wick can achieve a more full flame compared to others.

Square wicks are good to use with pillar candles since the wick is thicker and offers more surface area to burn.

Great for high viscous wax.

Specialty Wicks

These are typically used in oil lamps. They are designed to meet the requirements for specific candle types, shapes, or patterns.

There are also specialty wooden wicks that produce a pop-and-crackle effect.

Candle Wick Series

To get that quality burn you want for your candle, you’ll want to choose a wick that compliments the type of candle you’re trying to make.

Now that we know the forms of wicks, let’s cover the series of wicks available to us.

CD (Stabilo) & CDN Series

Works well with soy and paraffin wax.

Great for votive, pillars, and container candles.

CD wicks are coreless flat braided cotton wicks with woven paper threads.

The rigidity of the wick is good for candles with longer cure times. They will hold their form and remain straight while providing contact with the base of the container.

The wick will curl while burning, giving your candle a consistent burn.

The difference between CD and CDN is that the CDN wick has a chemical treatment to protect against the acidic properties of natural candle waxes. The CDN wick also doesn’t curl as much as the CD wick.

LX Series

Works well with soy, beeswax, paraffin, gel, and palm wax.

Great for pillar, votive, and container candles.

These wicks are flat braided and made from 100% cotton.

LX series wicks have a thin profile and will give you a controlled burn for candles while limiting a mushrooming effect.

LX series wicks are a candle-making staple and great to keep in stock for pillar candles.

ECO Series

Works well with soy and palm wax.

Great for votive, pillar, and container candles.

ECO series wicks are flat coreless wicks with cotton and paper filaments interwoven for stability.

This braiding pattern gives the ECO wick a rigid structure providing it with a controlled curl.

These wicks minimize mushrooming and soot.

HTP Series

Works well with soy, gel, and palm wax.

Great for pillar, votive, gel, and container candles.

HTP series is a flat braid wick with high-tension paper threads giving it a more durable structure.

The HTP series is great for long-burning waxes. This wick will help prevent the wax from collapsing and improve burn quality.

This wick has consistent curling leading to minimized mushrooming and less soot.

A great wick to always have in your stock.

RRD Series

Works well with paraffin and vegetable based waxes.

Great for container, votive or pillar candles.

The RRD series is a wick with a cotton core and tension threads.

These wicks achieve a clean burn with less soot.

Suitable for high viscous waxes.

Premier 700 Series

Works well with soy and paraffin waxes.

Great for container, pillar, tealight, or votive candles.

The Premier 700 Series are a flat braid cotton core wick.

These wicks are designed to reduce carbon buildup, minimize mushrooming, and provide a clean burn.

With a wider selection of sizes than most other wicks, you’ll have an opportunity to dial in wick sizing with more precision allowing you to reach a more optimal burn.

Premium Craft

Works well with beeswax.

Great for container or pillar candles.

Premium craft is a square braid cotton wick.

The premium craft square braid wick is designed for the high viscosity of beeswax.

These thick wicks are meant for high viscous waxes, but they now offer a thinner profile wick for less viscous waxes like paraffin.

Should You Choose Pre-Waxed or Unwaxed Wicks?

What’s the difference between waxed and unwaxed wicks?

Pre-waxed wicks are great for beginners because there are no additional steps for you to take for preparation.

Since the wick has been waxed for you, you won’t have to worry about potentially impacting the wick’s burn, temperature, or stability.

These wicks are coated in natural or synthetic wax and have a firm texture.

People will choose unwaxed wicks for the control in creating a wick to your likability or for handling a specific project where pre-waxed wicks aren’t getting the job done.

There are many more steps involved in preparing unwaxed wicks, and how you wax your wick will significantly influence how your candle burns and the wick’s stability.

As you get more experience with candle making, developing a customized wick system can lead to a higher quality wick for your custom candles.

What Size Wick Should You Choose?

Choosing the correct wick size will give your candle an even consistent burn with a quality burn time and potential for a strong fragrance throw.

Wicks that are too small or too large can result in uneven burning, wick flooding, and a flame that doesn’t cut it for the quality you want in your candles.

So how do we find the right size?

First, find the inside diameter of your candle container. The wick supplier will give you the recommended sized wick based on the diameter of your candle.

But never make assumptions…

Just because it’s recommended doesn’t mean it will be the best wick for you, but it’s a great starting point.

You’ll want to test multiple wick sizes using the manufacturer’s recommended size as the baseline and then test a size smaller and a size larger and make adjustments from there.

Note that each wick series has its own sizing. They are not interchangeable.

It may turn out that the recommended wick for your candle size didn’t produce the results you were looking for with your specific candle project. That’s why you always want to test with multiple wick sizes.