Emergency candles are one of the most overlooked prepping/survival supplies out there. So many people rush out and buy other essentials, but forget about this tried and true lighting option.
The reason survival candles are so great is their simplicity. They’re an effective hands-off method of providing sustained light in your home if you don’t have power.
Being prepared to deal with a power outage is something that every household must be able to do. While some don’t last very long, in serious situations they can last much longer.
Even though we’re a big fan of crank or solar-powered light sources, emergency candles should be included in your stash as well. They have multiple uses and can be far more discrete in situations where you want to avoid attention.
In this guide, you’ll learn our picks for the best emergency candles as well as some tips on how to use them the right way (there’s more to it than you might think).
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Our List Of The Best Emergency Candles
- How Many Should You Get?
- Tips For Using Them Efficiently
- Traits Of A Good Emergency Candle
- Safety Precautions To Take
- Final Thoughts
Our List Of The Best Emergency Candles
Picking the best emergency candles is trickier than it seems. The quality of each product can vary wildly, even if they might all look the same.
We came up with this list through a combination of research and hands-on testing. While some of them we’ve been using for years, others were a mystery to us before this process.
We wanted to start off our list of the best emergency candles with a fantastic option from BOLSIUS. These candles are not only very well made, but they come from a trustworthy company that’s been specializing in candles for years.
- Dripless candles which means no mess to clean up
- Burning these candles doesn’t produce smoke
- Even burn with minimal flicker due to high-quality wax and wick
- Slow burn lasts up to 7 hours
This candle pack gives you 45 individual candles (each with a 7 hour burn time). This is a solid ratio and one or two sets of these should be all you need to get through an extended period of time without power in your home.
What really stands out about these candles is just how well made they are. These candles are non-drip with not only helps keep things tidy but affords you the flexibility of being able to utilize these in different parts of your home.
In an emergency, you might not always have the perfect setup available to catch any wax. These candles make sure that isn’t an issue so you can focus on more important things.
They also don’t produce smoke. This means you can put them in semi-confined spaces (like a minimal structure at your bug out location) without breathing smoke, which is great.
These survival candles also burn very evenly. The lack of flicker makes it easier to see what you’re doing, but also keeps things a bit more discrete if that happens to be a concern. A low steady flame is always better than one that attracts attention.
- Well-made and won’t degrade in storage
- Don’t produce smoke
- Even burn without constant flicker
- Would love to see an extra hour or two on the burn time
This is another solid emergency candle option that we’ve been a fan of for a while. Stonebriar doesn’t advertise these as a survival option, but they’re exactly what you’re looking for.
- Steady burn time of six to seven hours
- 100% cotton lead-free wick maintains air quality
- Smokeless burn from start to finish
- Easy to place in any location due to tea light design
You get a massive batch of candles in this pack (200) and at a 6-7 hour burn time that should be enough to last you for quite a while. It’s a great choice for people who want to start prepping on a budget.
When you consider that these candles are tea lights and relatively small, that amount of burn time is actually quite impressive.
That also makes them very easy to store as well. You don’t even need to take them out of the box them come in. Just order a box or two and you’re all set.
These candles are also smokeless which allows you the flexibility of using them in smaller rooms or structures without any issues. Even if you want to double up the illumination and use a few in one room, you’ll never have to worry about breathing in anything you don’t want.
That’s one of the main reasons why we like getting high-quality emergency candles like this. A smokey candle that’s full of garbage and toxins will light your place too. However, why add poor air quality to the mix if you’re in a survival situation where your immune system might not be operating at 100%.
- Fantastic burn time for the size
- Lead and smoke-free
- Not drip-free
These candles are made specifically for emergency and survival situations in mind. UCO makes a bunch of great products in the outdoor and survival space, and these candles are no different.
- Long 9 hour burn time
- High-melt temperature minimizes dripping and soot
- Cotton wick produces even flame and consistent height
- Can be used in lanterns or by themselves
One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that they have a very solid burn time. With 9 hours per candle, you should be able to get two or three days of use out of each one depending on the seasons (and your lighting needs).
They’re made from high-quality white wax which is great for a number of reasons. It’s easy to store and won’t fall apart on you, it doesn’t drip, and there’s minimal smoke.
While they advertise these as candles to fit the lanterns they sell, that’s unnecessary for your purposes. Simply get a couple of boxes of these and throw them in your attic (or wherever you keep your supplies).
The trade-off you’re making with these is that they’re a bit pricier per-candle than some of the other options on our list. It all comes down to your preference since these are definitely a high-quality buy. If you want to stock up for the long haul, another product is probably better. If you’re looking for something nice to get you through a week, you’ll be happy with these.
- 9 hour burn time
- High-quality cotton wick
- Minimal dripping
- The cost per candle is high
If you’re looking for a more natural option with a very long burn time, these are the candles for you. The advantage of these is that you can get a lot of illumination from each candle, which means one or two of them go a long way.
- Each candle burns for 12-15 hours
- Burns smoke-free from beginning to end
- Cotton wick is sized to maintain ideal flame height and optimize burn time
- Safe and natural ingredients
Simply throw a couple in your car or shelter cache and you’re good to go. No need to bring a million emergency candles all over the place!
It’s also nice to know that the candles and natural and about as safe as it gets. They’re made with a natural beeswax formula that smells nice (without being too much) and doesn’t leave any residue.
They also barely drip at all. You can basically place these survival candles on any surface by themselves and trust that they won’t be a danger.
We found that they’re great when it comes to the amount of light they produce. They just seem brighter. This could simply be due to the reflection from the yellow wax (we didn’t run a lumen test for a candle obviously), but it’s worth mentioning.
- Longest burn time
- Safe and natural ingredients
These are a well-rounded set of candles that work great in a survival or emergency situation. Each candle is rather small yet still boasts a 10 hour burn time.
- Burn time of up to 10 hours
- Made from high-quality ingredients for a safe burn
- Easily reusable so you can be as efficient with your supplies as possible
- Smoke-free wick
Their build is very stable and easy to place just about anywhere. You don’t need any holder or stand to prevent them from falling. This is great because in most emergency situations you won’t have every little thing available to you.
These candles are unscented and made from safe ingredients that you can burn without worrying about what you’re breathing in.
You also get a solid number of candles per pack, and when you combine that with the burn time it makes for quite the deal.
The one downside of these candles is that they’re not a pure non-drip option. They’re not super messy as far as emergency candles go, but you will need to place them on top of something to prevent them from making a mess.
- Long burn time
- High-quality ingredients
- Easy to store
- Not non-drip
How Many Should You Get?
This is one of the most common questions that people ask when it comes to emergency candles.
And as always, the answer really depends.
If you’re looking for enough to get you through a two-day power outage, then you don’t need very many at all. A couple of boxes from any of the candles on our list will be enough to cover you.
However, if you want to be prepared for an extended period of time without power you’ll want to load up. This could be for a prolonged power outage in a SHTF scenario, or to be a complimentary light source in your long term survival shelter.
If that’s what you’re looking for, then we recommend at least a few boxes from our list above. When you get into serious prepping and survival territory you’ll want to make sure you have other more sustainable light sources (like a crank or solar-powered lantern) at your disposal, so it’s not worth buying 10,000 candles or something insane like that.
The way we calculate this is by using the estimate that you’ll only need help with lighting for 4-5 hours each day. Obviously one candle won’t be enough to light your place (unless you’re in a small shelter), so you’ll probably be burning 3-5 during this time window.
As always, this is a general recommendation that doesn’t apply to everyone. If you live in a 5,000 square-foot house and want to illuminate the whole thing using survival candles, you’re gonna be buying a lot of wax.
Tips For Using Them Efficiently
This is where some people make mistakes when it comes to emergency candles. While it might not seem like a very big deal (they’re just candles after all), we believe that everything is important.
The reason it matters is it will allow you to get more value out of each candle. This means you can make your current stash last longer, or get away with storing less of them in the first place.
Here are the two principles to remember when it comes to efficiently using emergency candles:
- Take advantage of mirrors
- Placing them in optimal areas
Mirrors do a great job of increasing the amount of light each candle puts out. Ever burn a candle in the bathroom? It’s crazy just how much it magnifies the output.
This ties in with the mirror usage, but placing your candles in the right places will help you get more use out of them as well. There are rooms in your home that don’t need to be well-lit since they’re rarely used.
Other areas like the kitchen should almost always be illuminated when in use. Cutting yourself since you can’t see what you’re doing is a silly way to get hurt.
If you really want to make them last, only burn a couple and carry them around your home with you. If you’re in the living room for a while, bring the candle from the study over instead of lighting a new one.
It’s all common sense but it adds up over time.
Traits Of A Good Emergency Candle
This section is for those of you who are curious about what we look for when choosing an emergency candle. This can help you pick from our list above too.
None of these factors are rocket science, but it’s good to understand in case you need to buy some later on.
Overall Burn Time
A survival candle isn’t very useful if it can only burn for an hour. Even if you can find a ton of fast-burning candles for cheap, they’re never a good idea.
You want candles that can comfortably last through an extended period of darkness. This will reduce the chance of you getting caught in the dark and is just another thing you don’t need to worry about.
This means anything with a burn time of under 5-6 hours isn’t worth your money (no matter how cheap it is). Remember, you’re not buying candles, you’re buying burn time. If a pack of 100 gets you 100 hours of burn time and a pack of 10 gets you 200, it should be obvious which one you should get.
As funny as it sounds, candles have features. The two main ones we think about when it comes to survival candles are the drip factor and smoke emissions.
As you probably noticed, most of the candles on our list don’t drip and don’t emit any smoke. This is for a reason.
Candles that drop a lot are a pain to clean up and will leave residue everywhere. This is not something you want to deal with in a survival situation. This also means they’re more prone to melting and tipping over which comes with its own series of potential problems.
Finding some that are smoke-free is also something that matters. This means there’s less garbage you’ll have to breathe in, and you won’t need to worry about them setting off any smoke detectors. They’re also a lot nicer to burn in a confined area.
Type Of Wax
This ties in with general safety a bit. If you’re someone who wants to eliminate the potential of breathing in any harmful toxins then getting a safe candle is a necessity.
Fortunately, all of the best emergency candles on our list are made from high-quality wax.
In a survival situation, your immune system might not be functioning optimally. This is due to stress and potential nutritional deficiencies. Breathing in toxic fumes from your cheapo candles doesn’t seem like a great combo.
Safety Precautions To Take
While a lot of this is common sense, you’d be surprised how often they’re ignored. Normally smart people make mistakes with candles all the time!
There are two reasons for this:
The first is that using a bunch of candles is not something we do in modern society. While they’re obviously easy to use, it’s easy to get rusty when it comes to some of the little safety precautions.
The second reason is the added stress of a survival situation can occupy the mind. People are thinking about food and safety and forget that they left a low candle burning in another room.
So here are the quick guidelines when it comes to emergency candle safety:
- Don’t place them near flammable objects (duh)
- Place something underneath your candle for when it melts
- Keep them out of reach of any pets you have
- Make it a habit to do a candle check before bed. Burning less at a time makes this easier.
Emergency candles are an old-school and reliable way to provide illumination to your home or shelter. While there are plenty of awesome gadgets and tools that will light up your space, having a few candles around is never a bad thing.
If you don’t have any yet, pick your favorite from our list and get a few boxes. You never know when you might need them…