What are Some Alternatives to Candles?

J. Beam

Candles can be used to create warmth and ambiance in a variety of settings. In fact, candles have become such popular home accessories that entire retail stores are devoted to nothing but candles, with tremendous success. The only downside to candles is the safety hazard they pose when used carelessly, even unintentionally. This concern has prompted retailers to provide safer alternatives to candles.

Some candles may be operated by batteries to reduce risk of fire.
Some candles may be operated by batteries to reduce risk of fire.

Many years ago, electric candles were the only alternative to candles that provided comparable lighting. However, their lack of aromatic appeal is unacceptable to many people today. The popularity and appeal of candles is inseparable from the smells they produce. With every imaginable scent available, from apple pie to crisp linen, people want the choice to burn scented candles that suit their mood.

Some people burn incense as an alternative to aromatherapy candles.
Some people burn incense as an alternative to aromatherapy candles.

Electric candle warmers, which provide a safe candle alternative without eliminating their aromas, hit the scene in very recent years. These decorative containers range in size to accommodate small votive candles to large pillars and are powered by electricity to melt the wax without the need to light the candle. This particular alternative to candles creates the desired aroma, extends the life of the candle, and is considered safer than an open flame. The only drawback is limited placement in the room, since the electric candle warmer must be placed near an electrical outlet.

Another good alternative for the purpose of aromatic pleasure is incense. Many people enjoy the scents produced by incense, even though they tend to be more exotic than many candle scents. Though burning incense does not involve open flame, the same safety precautions should be followed as with traditional candles.

The use of candles varies with the people who buy them. Some people purchase candles merely as decorative accents and never intend to burn them. In this case, an alternative to candles can be as simple as filling a glass jar, vase, or other vessel with colored stones or potpourri. At Halloween, a battery powered light can be used inside of a pumpkin instead of a candle, as can a continuous light and strobe lights.

Even though there is an alternative to candles to suit most people, many still prefer the traditional scented candle. Keep in mind that jar candles create a stronger scent than freestanding pillar candles. Also remember that candles should never be left burning unattended and should not be burned when much less than an inch of wax remains. Use caution when burning candles and keep open flames away from children and flammable objects.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

Incense is nice but, unfortunately, it can be a fire hazard as well because it is burning. So if the incense stick falls onto something flammable, then it may start a fire.

Moreover, I've noticed that incense sticks are very fragrant. I personally find the scent overwhelming sometimes. It's definitely not something that can be left burning for hours, especially indoors. Of course the incense stick would run out by then, but the scent would become too much as well.


For those who use candles just for the scent and who like the scent of lavender, dry lavender is a wonderful alternative. I use it in sacks in cabinets, as well as in bowls in the living and guest rooms. Surprisingly, the scent lasts for a very long time. It's also not messy and not dangerous in any way. A fragrant essential oil would work too.


Some people use candle warmers or oil warmers with a tea light candle underneath. But I guess that's not exactly a candle alternative since it makes use of a candle.

I think the best alternative to a real candle is probably a LED candle. It uses batteries or electricity. Some of the new ones on the market resemble real candles closely. Some even have a slightly burned candle shape and a flickering light. And they have scents as well.

I use a large LED candle in my bedroom which also serves as a night lamp. It smells like vanilla which I love.

Post your comments
Forgot password?