Who wouldn’t love to warm up the cold winter evenings with a little bit of fire?
We can do so easily by lighting up some fragrant candles in our humble abode. They come in a variety of colors, scents and wicks so that you can make the best choice for yourself.
Wood and cotton wicks are the two most popular options for candle wicks nowadays. Even then, the major differences between them may be unknown to many.
That is why we’re here to highlight and discuss the most important features of both these wicks so that you can make an informed decision.
Now, let the battle of wood wicks vs cotton wicks begin!
What Is Wood Wicks?
Wood wicks are of course the more natural alternative for candles. You can identify them from the distinctive crackling sound they make when the burning candle is exhausted.
These wicks are basically slim slabs made of wood which are specifically built for using in candles. You can use it for candles made out of soy, paraffin and gel wax.
They are easier to work with than most wicks because of their stable position in the container. Besides, the beautiful aroma produced by wood wicks is also something people appreciate after a long day at work.
There are mainly two types of wood wicks – single and dual. The first one is made out of one wooden piece while the second type is built by joining two wooden pieces of the same thickness.
You can find both of these wicks in many sizes and pick the one suitable for your container’s proportions.
Advantages of Wood Wicks
Impressive Scent Throw
Wood wicks provide an impressive scent throw because of their unique natural aroma. The wooden smell is already a favorite for many of us.
It instills a calm and soothing state in us no matter how distressed we have been the whole day. That is why we feel so keen to invest in wooden structures for daily uses and decoration.
These wicks are usually obtained from woods of sustainable forests. So you don’t have to feel guilty of harming the environment by enjoying some well-lit fragrance indoors.
Besides, there is no harmful chemical involved in producing these wicks. They don’t even emit similarly dangerous toxins while burning. So either way, you will be doing a good job as a humble inhabitant of mother earth.
You can rely on this wick to maintain an even burning pattern until its done. Because of this, there is no residual wax ring left in the container.
As a result, it becomes easier for you to clean up the jar once the entire candle is burnt down. You have to deal with a lot smaller mess than usual by relying on wood wicks.
Large Long-lasting Flame
You can enjoy the warmth of a larger flame for a longer time with wood wicks. Their flame is horizontal and has a lower reach to the wax than the alternatives. So it starts to spread the pleasant scent faster.
At the same time, these wicks do manage to burn slower which in turn makes the scent last for a prolonged period.
Disadvantages of Wood Wicks
You will need to spend some time and effort on maintaining the wood wicks. It is a little harder to light up the candle and keep the wick lit for a long enough time.
If the flame is up for a short while, the candle will not have enough time to melt the wax evenly. This can lead to only the center of its container melting which can leave a tunnel in the middle.
As a result, you ultimately don’t get much out of your candle making purchase.
Your first time with wood wicks may not be so bad! It lights up pretty well for the first time. However, from the second use, it may prove to be a bit difficult to light up. You may need to try it twice or more to ignite the flame.
Wood wicks take such a long time to catch fire because their outer layers are harder to penetrate than other materials.
So these wicks may not be your cup of tea if you are in a hurry. Keep at it for a minimum of 20 seconds to light up the wood wicks.
No Match for Matches
If you are used to lighting things up with a match, you may need to switch to a lighter for using on wood wicks.
This is necessary because a match of average length doesn’t last long enough to help the wood wicks ignite. It will burn out before the flame can settle in. Such a situation may also lead to hazards because of the debris left on the wax.
So the more effective alternative would be to invest in a stick lighter. It will make the job much easier, safer and efficient! Your fingertips won’t have to suffer from possible searing constantly either!
What Is Cotton Wicks?
These are the more traditional choices for candle wicks. Here, strands of cotton fibers are braided to form the wick. It helps the fuel to reach the flame which can then ignite properly.
You can make cotton wicks at home by dipping the braided fiber piece into a solution made of borax, water and salt!
The water needs to be hot with a temperature close to its boiling temperature. Leave the fiber there for 24 hours and then let it dry for up to 2 days to finish your DIY project.
If the wick is too fragile, you can make them more stable with home-made or commercial stiffeners. To prepare it at home, you will need a small pot, metal box and water.
There are also many brands providing cotton wicks which are already stiff enough. You will have enough options to choose from since these wicks come in a wide variety of colors.
Go for the vibrant ones like blue, red and green, or settle for the more soothing ones like pink, mint and beige.
Advantages of Cotton Wicks
Lights Up Fast
If you have been looking for a quick solution to make the winter a little more tolerable, cotton wicks can be an easy answer to your quest.
These light up fast enough for you to enjoy some warmth instantly. You won’t need to wait longer than 4 seconds for them to ignite!
Compatible With Matches
Unlike wood wicks, you can use matches comfortably to light up candles with cotton wicks. That is because these don’t take up much time to ignite the flame.
So the match doesn’t have to burn itself all the way to light them up. Even the small matches can do the job perfectly fine if your candle has cotton wicks.
Good For Outdoors
For those of you who love having a warm picturesque aesthetic outdoors, cotton wicks will be the better option. It has proved its capability to withstand wind gusts more effectively than other alternatives.
Remember – this does not guarantee that its flames will not struggle to stay lit in the face of strong wind.
If you have an artistic mind and want to create beautiful pieces of customized candles, cotton wicks will give you a lot to play with. They come in many shades that promote both vibrancy and subtlety.
Besides, you can test a good number of experimental scents, container sizes and more with these wicks.
Disadvantages of Cotton Wicks
Burns Fast And Uneven
Although a cotton wick lights up much faster than most alternatives, the flame doesn’t last very long.
Besides, it can burn unevenly causing one side to exhaust before the other. One way to get rid of these issues is trimming the cotton wicks regularly.
Less Scope For Sustainability
It is hard to manufacture cotton wicks in a sustainable fashion. Most brands include chemicals like lead and zinc in developing these wicks.
These elements enable the wicks to trim themselves reducing the overall workload on your part.
However, this method prevents the wicks from being organic and eco-friendly.
Maintaining safety measures of a cotton wick is not that difficult. But skipping these steps can lead to serious dangers and we all know how consuming a fire hazard can be.
Some cotton wicks are made with paraffin wax which is harmful to our atmosphere.
Difference Between Wood Wicks vs Cotton Wicks
Both wood wicks and cotton wicks are popular options for lighting your candle. As we mentioned before, cotton ones are the better choice for using outdoors. These braided wicks are also used in vaping devices.
On the other hand, for instilling a natural and organic aroma indoors, wood wicks are the best option. If you need a better scent throw for a warm evening or a romantic dinner, go for wood wicks.
They burn longer than cotton wicks which will save you from re-lighting the candle more frequently.
Burning and Fragrance
Cotton wicks help to produce taller flames than wood wicks. However, this is also the reason behind them exhausting faster. The long flames tend to burn up the wick, as well as the associated fragrances too quickly.
Especially after four hours, the aroma almost vanishes from these wicks. On the other hand, the wooden ones can stay lit longer since their horizontal flames are smaller.
The fire is low enough to touch the surrounding wax and melt it all slowly. Besides, its fragrance is faster, more captivating and natural than cotton wicks.
Wood wicks are mainly made of balsa wood which makes the sticks lightweight and long simultaneously. You can find both hard and soft variations of these wicks.
In contrast, cotton wicks are made of braided fibers of the titular material. The self-consuming cotton wicks have flat braids that go back into the flame while burning.
Wood wicks are relatively safer since their flames are already pretty short. As a result, there is not much possibility of any object or person catching fire from it.
The longer flames of cotton wicks can lead to fire hazards more easily. So remember to put them somewhere with enough unoccupied space.
No matter which wicks you choose, you have to spend some time on its maintenance. Comparatively, keeping the wood wicks usable will take more effort since its flame is prone to blowing off easily.
They can cause a tunnel in the candle rendering most of its wax useless. So you will need to level the surface by scraping off excess wax that has not melted.
In the case of construction, cotton wicks pose a bigger threat than wooden ones since some of them use chemicals in production. If these elements include zinc or lead, burning it can emit harmful substances in the atmosphere.
You can check if your cotton wick is safe or not by rubbing white paper on it. Make sure that it has not been burnt – you can either trim it or go for a brand new one.
A gray mark on it will prove the presence of lead in the wicks. So go for cotton wicks with a core made out of cellulose.
Wood wicks offer more sustainability and transparency since many of its providers follow eco-friendly methods in their production.
To make sure you are supporting one of these brands, check if your chosen wick is FSC certified.
Bottom Line – Which One Is For You?
As you can see, both wood wicks and cotton wicks have plenty to offer. It all depends on your personal preferences or the priorities of your project.
Choose wood wicks for a natural aroma, better scent, long-lasting flames and a greater promise of sustainability.
The catch is you will need to find out time for its maintenance more frequently and the fire will take longer to rekindle.
To start your fiery adventure faster, switch to cotton wicks. They can light up fast, works with matches and can withstand outdoor wind gusts. Besides, they come at a cheaper price with more versatile purchase options.
More candle making related posts:
- Soy wax candles vs Beeswax candles – which one is for you?
- Should you use fragrance oils or essential oils in candles? Click here to find out
- Which soy wax performs the best for candle making?
- Our top pick of fragrance oils for your homemade candle
- Which essential oil should I use for my candle?