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The Dilemma: When should you use tealight candles vs. votive candles?

Tealight candles and votive candles are both very versatile and inexpensive options for event decor or home decor.  Here is a handy guide on choosing the one that is best suited for your needs based on four characteristics.

  1. Burn Time

  2. Ease of Cleanup

  3. Cost

  4. Appearance

Tealight Candles vs. Votive Candles

Burn Time

Richland Votive CandlesBurn time is major consideration when choosing between a votive, pictured to the left, or tealight candle.  If used for an event, the length of the event will dictate which is the best option.  No one wants to replace and relight candles during a wedding or party, so take burn time into consideration.  While similar in diameter, a votive is taller, and contains more wax than a tealight.  A typical votive will burn for 10 hours while tealight will burn 3-5 hours.  A votive candle must be burned in a votive holder to achieve the full burn time so don’t forget to use a holder with a votive.  If your event is short, a tealight may be your best option. However, if your event will last longer than four hours, opting for a votive is a better choice.   Winner: Votive Candle

 

Ease Of Cleanup

Your event is over!  It was spectacular and your guests loved the touch of candlelight.  Now it’s time to clean up.  What’s easier to clean up?  A tealight is the big winner here.  Tealight candles have a built in holder made from a metal or plastic cup but they are considered disposable.  This means they can go right into the trash.   Votives are burned in a glass holder so most people will choose to collect them and store them for a later use.  A great tip on getting the old wax out of votive holder is to put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, remove it, then the wax will pop right out, leaving you with a clean holder ready to be used again.  So while the votive offers an opportunity for a second use, the tealight candle is the easiest to cleanup. Winner: Tealight Candle

Cost

Tealight CandlesAny decision between two products usually involves a cost comparison.  Remember that a votive requires a votive holder so we need to include the cost of both items.  Tea lights, pictured to the right, come in metal or plastic cups which can differ significantly in cost.   Many retailers offer votive candles and holders together in a convenient set.  Quick Candles sells 72 Clear Votive Holders and 72 White Votive Candles for $39.99.  This is less than $0.56 per unit.  Quick Candles offers 5 hour tealights in metal cups for $0.08 each and plastic cups for $0.25 each.  Clearly the tealight offers a better value but even votives are inexpensive when purchased in bulk. Winner: Tealight Candle

Appearance

Candles are all about appearance.  There is something magical about the way you feel when in the presence of candlelight.  I was always taught that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but in this case I feel comfortable rendering a decision.   A votive candle burning in a glass holder has a classic and timeless appearance.  They will make any event or home look better.  Tealights just don’t have the same quality to their appearance.  They don’t take away from a event or home but just don’t add the same class of beauty.   Winner: Votive Candle

The Decision:

So who wins the contest of votive candle vs. tealight candle?  It’s a tie!  The actual decision is usually easy to make because the four different qualities of these candles will differ for each person.  Usually when planning an event such as a wedding, one of these qualities will dictate your choice so the decision should be easy.  Once that decision is made, make sure you purchase from a reputable retailer, and you are on your way to an AMAZING event.