How to Calculate the Burn Time for a Candle

Candles have been a source of light, warmth, and ambiance for centuries. Whether you’re using them for relaxation, decoration, or even emergencies, knowing how long a candle will burn is essential. The burn time of a candle depends on various factors, including the type of wax, the size of the candle, and the environmental conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art and science of calculating the burn time for a candle.

Understanding the Basics – Before we dive into the calculations, let’s start with the basics.

Types of Candle Wax

Different types of wax have distinct burn characteristics:

  1. Paraffin Wax: Paraffin candles are widely available and tend to burn faster than other types of candles. They are a common choice for everyday use.
  2. Soy Wax: Soy candles burn longer and cleaner than paraffin candles. They are often preferred for their eco-friendly nature.
  3. Beeswax: Beeswax candles are known for their slow burn and natural scent. They are the go-to choice for those looking for a longer-lasting candle.

Candle Size Matters

The size of a candle greatly impacts its burn time:

  1. Diameter: Thicker candles burn longer than thinner ones. A larger surface area allows for a more even burn.
  2. Height: Taller candles generally burn longer. However, the shape can also influence burn time.

Environmental Factors

  1. Room Temperature: Candles tend to burn faster in warmer environments.
  2. Drafts and Wind: Avoid placing candles in drafty areas or where they might be exposed to wind, as this can accelerate burn time.

Calculating Burn Time

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of calculating the burn time for a candle.

Step 1: Candle Wax Density

  1. Determine the Wax Density: Different waxes have different densities. You’ll need to know the density of the wax you’re using. This information is usually available from the manufacturer.

Step 2: Candle Size

  1. Measure the Candle: Determine the diameter and height of your candle. Make sure to use accurate measurements.

Step 3: Burn Rate

  1. Test Burn: Light the candle and let it burn for an hour. Measure how much wax has melted. This will give you the burn rate per hour.

Step 4: Burn Time Calculation

  1. Use the Formula: To calculate the burn time, use the formula: Burn Time = Wax Weight (in grams) / Burn Rate (grams per hour).

Step 5: Factors to Consider

  1. Account for Environmental Factors: Adjust your calculated burn time based on the room temperature and draft conditions where the candle will be used.

Making It Practical

Now that you have the formula, here are some practical tips:

  1. Always Read Labels: Candle labels often provide estimated burn times based on the manufacturer’s tests. Use these as a reference.
  2. Trim the Wick: Keeping the wick trimmed to around ¼ inch can help regulate the burn rate and extend the candle’s life.
  3. Safety First: Never leave a burning candle unattended, and always place it on a heat-resistant surface away from flammable materials.


Calculating the burn time for a candle is a valuable skill for anyone who enjoys the warm glow and soothing ambiance they provide. By understanding the type of wax, the size of the candle, and accounting for environmental factors, you can estimate how long your candles will last.

So, the next time you light a candle, you’ll have a better idea of when it will flicker out, allowing you to enjoy its light and fragrance to the fullest.


1. Can I use the same formula for all types of candles?

The formula provided is a general guideline. Different types of wax and candle sizes may require slight adjustments, but it’s a good starting point for most candles.

2. Why do some candles burn unevenly?

Uneven burning can be caused by factors like drafts, uneven wick trimming, or candle shape. To avoid this, follow our tips for a more even burn.

3. What’s the average burn time for a typical scented candle?

Scented candles often have a burn time of 20-40 hours, but this can vary depending on factors like size and the amount of fragrance oil used.

4. Can I reuse leftover candle wax?

Yes, you can! Collect leftover wax from burned-out candles, melt it, and pour it into a new container or mold to create a new candle.

5. Is there a way to make my candles burn longer?

Trimming the wick, using the right-sized wick, and keeping the candle away from drafts can all help extend the burn time.

Sharron Gimik
Sharron Gimik

Sharron is the founder and creator of Homestead Sparkle, Down Home Wicks, Bundt Cake Admiration, and Timbers Cove. She loves crafts of all kinds and started as a candle maker. She loves to bake and collect decorative cake pans too.

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