How Long Does the Average Candle Last?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Candles of different sizes, colors and scents may all have different burn times.
Image Credit: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

The amount of time a candle will burn varies based on the type of wax used, the size of the wick, the type of wick and more. Location is also a factor, as candles burned in the path of a draft will have significantly shorter burn times. Materials used to scent or color the wax will also affect burn time. However, knowing the average burn time of different types of candles allows you to estimate about how long one will last. When a more accurate time is needed, you can calculate the burn time of a specific candle using a mathematical formula or an online burn time calculator.

Pillars and Tapers

A 10-inch Yankee Candle Company taper candle will burn for nine hours. The burn time of its pillar candles will vary based on both the diameter and the height of the candle. Assuming a 3-inch diameter, pillar candles of 3, 4 and 6 inches in height will burn for 45, 60 and 75 hours, respectively. Three-inch PartyLite pillar candles will burn 30-35 hours; 5-inch, 65 to 70 hours; and 7-inch, 90 to 95 hours. The three-wick 6-by-5-inch candles burn for more than 100 hours.

Votives and Tea Lights

Votive candles and tea lights have relatively standard sizes, with votives measuring 2 to 2 1/2 inches high and 1 1/2 inches in diameter and tea lights being 1 7/16 inch in diameter and 5/8 to 7/8 inch high. Votives burn for 10 to 15 hours and tea lights burn for four to six hours, depending on manufacturer and conditions.

Jar Candles

How long jar candles burn depends largely on the size of the jar. Small Yankee Candle Company jars holding 3.7 ounces of wax will burn for 25 to 40 hours, medium jars holding 14.5 ounces of wax will burn for 65 to 90 hours and large jars holding 22 ounces of wax will burn for 110 to 150 hours. PartyLite 3-inch-diameter candles that are 3.5 inches high burn 40 to 60 hours. Check how many ounces of wax a jar holds, as different candle companies have different definitions of small, medium and large.

Calculating Your Candle Time

Small candles with small wicks usually burn for seven to nine hours per 1 ounce of wax while those with large wicks burn five to seven hours per 1 ounce of wax. If you need to know more precisely how long a candle will burn, weigh it when it is new and then burn it for an hour per 1 inch of diameter. For example, burn a 3-inch candle for three hours. After burning, weigh the candle again. Subtract the burned weight from the original weight to figure out how many ounces of wax were burned. Divide that number by the diameter, and you'll know how many ounces of wax your candle burns per hour. Divide the candle's original weight by the amount of wax burned per hour to calculate total burn time. If all this math leaves your head spinning, simply plug your numbers into an online burn time calculator.

references & resources

Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.

View Work