Which wick to choose when making or buying natural candles? Wood vs. Cotton

Which wick to choose when making or buying natural candles? Wood vs. Cotton
Wooden or cotton? That's what's going on here! What kind of wick to choose, whether it's ready-made candles bought or home-made?More information
Ingredients for this recipeSingle layer flat wickCross wickSpiral tube wick
You can buy the individual ingredients right below the procedure

This is what Evička, an experienced "candle maker" and owner of the candle e-shop Vontree, will tell you, who will share tips, troubles and reasons for choosing wicks in natural candles.

Wooden wick

The use of wooden wicks has grown in popularity significantly in the last five years. Wooden wicks can be made of, for example, cherry, oak, birch, maple, rose or balsam wood. Or a combination of them. What types of wooden wicks are there, what advantages do they have over cotton and where to buy them? You can read all this in our article.

Cotton vs. wooden wick

Wooden wicks work similarly to cotton, except that wooden wicks have a larger diameter, which allows more passage of wax to the fire, resulting in a more intense scent. With wooden wicks, you don't have to deal with the type of wood, you only deal with the width and shape. Whereas there are many cotton wicks (with paper, metal, CD, ECO, HTP, etc.), so you have many more options when choosing a cotton wick. But it depends on the point of view whether it is an advantage or not.

Wooden wicks can create an irresistible atmosphere. When burning, they make a crackling sound of red-hot wood. And it is for this reason that wooden wicks are often preferred over cotton. However, few people know that another great advantage of wooden wicks is the horizontal burning of the flame (the flame is wider than higher). Thanks to this feature , the scent from the candles is released more intensively, faster and is cleaner and fuller.

Now you may be wondering why manufacturers still use cotton wicks? But all that glitters is not gold. Wooden wicks also have a few disadvantages.

- Due to the material used and the production method, wooden wicks are more expensive than cotton wicks.

- They are more demanding to maintain.

- Longer ignition time . It takes approx. 20 seconds to light a wooden wick, often the candle can only be lit on the second or third attempt. Lighted wooden wicks are not very durable and the slightest gust of wind can easily extinguish them. Therefore, candles with a wooden wick are intended exclusively for interior use.

- Cotton and wooden wicks also differ in the way they are attached to the bottom of the container. The cotton wicks only have a tiny bit that allows the candle to burn almost to the bottom (it is recommended to extinguish the candle when the height of the wax is 5 mm). Wooden wicks are wider and must be adequately attached. Metal stands are used for attachment. Wooden wicks have a higher stand, so the height of residual wax can range up to around 10 mm.

- The big disadvantage of wooden wicks is their diversity. They differ in the thickness and density of the wood. Some wicks make an intense crackling sound, others are quieter. Even though all candles are always (should be) properly tested by the manufacturer, some wicks may burn differently for the end user. And precisely because of this variability, the seller cannot estimate how a particular wooden wick will burn. Which can subsequently lead to customer dissatisfaction.

What about VonTree Candles, do all the wooden wicks burn like a sample? As much as I'd like to, I can't do miracles either, so every now and then there's a candle where the wooden wick doesn't burn as it should. Which always makes me very sad, but even though I test wooden wicks regularly, I can't test every candle I make. That would be burnt candles coming to customers. :) However, my customers are great and have an understanding of wooden wicks. :)

And which wick is the best?

Both wood and cotton have their advantages and disadvantages, so it depends purely on your preferences. Are you not very patient and don't want to bother with candle maintenance? Then choose cotton wicks, which you only shorten to 3-5 mm before each lighting. Is the intense experience, smell and sound of cracking wood winning for you, despite the prospect of more demanding maintenance or the possibility that the candle will not burn completely? Wood is the right choice.

What about candle makers? Personally, I prefer to work with wooden wicks, they hold beautifully in the glass and do not have to stick in any way when the wax hardens. However, when packing each candle with a wooden wick, I get a little chills in my spine, whether this particular candle will burn at the customer's place the way it burned during my testing or if it will not burn completely and the customer will be disappointed. That's why most VonTree Candles are made with cotton wicks.

Whether wood or cotton, every candle needs a certain amount of attention. With proper maintenance, you will extend the life of the candle, increase the intensity of the aroma and eliminate the formation of smoke and soot. However, a well-made candle is only 50% success, the other 50% is influenced by the end user. Don't forget to let the candle burn to the edges the first time you light it (and ideally every other time).


Unlike a cotton wick, a wooden wick shortens only slightly before each burn. You only need your fingertips to shorten it. When you grasp the charred part of the wick between the bellies of your fingers and gently break it off. Do not use force, you could break off too much of the candle and the candle could not be lit (the solution is to remove the wax around the wick). If it seems to you that the wick is not burning enough, do not shorten it unnecessarily and leave everything on the burning flame.

There are also cross wooden wicks, which must be shortened with scissors or nails due to their strength. I shorten the cross wicks more because they burn really intensely.

Advice for you!

If your wooden wick goes out during burning and melts in melted wax, let the candle harden, and then remove (for example with a popsicle stick, a toothpick) part of the solidified wax around the wick so that space is created and the wick can burn freely again.

Types of wooden wicks

If you have already come across candles with a wooden wick in the store, you will certainly remember its shape. It is a thin slice of wood that can have a different color depending on the type of wood it is made of. There are, but also other types of wooden wicks, and we will now look at them together.

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Single-ply flat wick (single-ply)

- The basic variant of the wick, which is certainly well known to candle lovers

- They can be of different widths, lengths and thicknesses (0.5 - 1 mm)

- Due to the wood used, some may crack louder, others are quieter (so-called whisper type)

Cross wick

- Two slices of wood that are inserted into each other and form the shape of a cross

- Quieter crackling

- More intense burning

Spiral tube wicks (spiral)

- A slice of wood twisted into a spiral

- They are hollow (tube)

- Suitable for larger candles (strong flame)

- Each wick burns differently (problematic testing during candle production) - greater variability than with classic wooden wicks

Reinforced wicks (booster original)

- They are similar to classic wooden wicks, they also have an additional layer of wood

- They also differ in width, thickness and length

- Stronger flame

Where to buy wooden wicks?

You've decided to try a wooden wick yourself and make a self-help candle, but you don't know where to get such a wick? You can find wooden wicks in the Ekokoza online store. You'll find classic wicks made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fruit tree wood, cross wicks made from tropical Cocobolo wood, and even spiral wicks with a small type for even better use.

But if you don't dare to make your own candle yet, take a look at the wooden wick in the VonTree Candle menu.

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