What’s the most simple way of beating the darkness during an emergency blackout?
I am talking about the reliable, old-school way of lighting a candle.
Imagine an unprecedented event like an EMP attack resulting in a no-end-in-sight blackout. You need a passive power source like emergency survival candles to pass the long dark nights.
This is the review of the 8 best emergency candles on the market. To top it off, we will also add a buyer’s guide to help you understand what’s important, so you make the best choice.
The Advantage of the Best Emergency Candles
Power outage candles aren’t as powerful as liquid fuels or wood when it comes to delivering heat and light. When it comes to emergency preparedness, having ample light during a SHTF scenario could mean life or death.
The average light intensity of a candle can be between 10 to 15 Lumen. On the other hand, an LED bulb in flashlights can deliver more than 100 Lumens per watt. However, you can use a mirror or a reflective surface to get more out of a plain candle.
Even so, candles can last forever when stored safely, are easy to use, and generate less toxic chemicals while burning. What’s more, they are one of the cheapest options in the market for emergency lighting.
The truth is, during an SHTF survival scenario, every drop of fuel can be precious for preppers. In such situations, candles can be a reliable source of light and heat to help keep you safe. They will not only save fuel but also help you preserve the fire tinder.
In addition to that, the best emergency candles are a good source of steady heat. Lighting up a few candles can help you overcome hypothermia on a freezing night. The steady heat can also be used for warming up food.
Overall, candles are great emergency essentials that offer good burn time and excellent value.
A word of caution: make sure that you light the candle in a well-ventilated space. Keep them away from pets, children, and anything that might burn. Lastly, extinguish the candle before leaving the room or going to bed.
Points to Consider While Choosing Emergency Candles
There are a few aspects that you need to keep in mind while picking survival candles for your emergency kit. A survival candle will be your last hope if you don’t have an emergency generator or other way to generate power.
Types of Candle
As you will quickly realize, many different types of candles are available. Let’s dive into which ones are best for survival situations and which ones you shouldn’t waste your money on.
Container candles: These are the candles in a glass jar or tin container. They’re meant to be burnt in the container. Candles in glass jars are not the best emergency candles, but the candles in a tin container are because the tin won’t shatter like glass.
Pillar candles: These are thick candles capable of standing without the need for a container or holder. They aren’t terrible for surviving, but you will need a tray to catch the wax that runs down the side, and they take up a lot of space while in storage.
Taper candles: Thin long candles that taper at the top. They cannot stand independently and require support from a candlestick or holder. They’re not the best emergency candles because they need an extra holder. However, you can store many of them in a small space, so having them as a backup plan is good.
Tea light candles: These small candles are most often contained in a metal or plastic container. They don’t exude a large amount of light, but they are often used to keep food warm. They’re another good backup candle for preppers because they’re small, which also means they burn quickly.
Votive Candles: They look like a mini version of a pillar candle, but they are intended to be placed in a container so they don’t drip wax everywhere. Votive candles are not the best emergency candles because they make a mess, don’t burn as long as pillar candles, and take up a lot of storage space.
The Type of Wax
The wax is the primary fuel of a candle. There are quite a few wax types, and each one has a different set of pros and cons.
This is the most common choice for survivor candles. Paraffin is derived from petroleum, and it does give out fumes depending on the oil content. Also, it doesn’t last as long as the other wax types.
Bolsius Straight Unscented White Candles
Bolsius is a brand that has been making premium-quality candles since 1870. So, you can depend on their products without a second thought.
These unscented white candles come in a pack of 45. That makes them one of the cheapest options in the market.
The first thing you notice is the lengthy profile and an even thickness. That allows the candles to generate a smooth flame and burn for longer hours.
Note, each candle is 6.5 inches long, and the burning time is 7 hours. So two of these packs can easily last through a long period of emergency. These candles are also smoke-free and don’t drip. That makes them safe for use in small and enclosed spaces in a bug out location.
The high-quality paraffin wax and a pure cotton wick also ensure a clean and bright flame. This also ensures that you can store them for long periods without any chance of degradation.
What Needs Improvement
Honestly, there isn’t much to dislike here. Still, the burning time could have been more.
They don’t come with a stand either. So make sure that you use a stand to keep them standing safely.
These candles come with a traditional look. So besides handling emergencies, they work great as Christmas or dinner candles.
Overall, these simple but effective survival candles offer the perfect balance between price and performance.
Stonebriar Unscented Pillar Candles
Stonebriar specializes in stylish home decor pieces. But make no mistake about it. Their candles are a great choice for tackling those dark nights.
Now, one of the best things about these candles is the good burning time. The 3×4 pillar candles burn for 35 hours.
Other than that, there are the 3×6 and 3×8 sizes. They burn for 65 and 80 hours, respectively. You get two choices of colors- white and ivory.
The use of high-quality paraffin and lead-free cotton wick ensures a clean and smoke-free flame. So you won’t be breathing smoke in a confined space. They are unscented as well.
One more thing…
These long-burning emergency candles also come in a sturdy cardboard box. So storing them isn’t an issue.
What Needs Improvement
In our tests, they burnt slightly less than the specified 35 hours, especially when the ambient temperature is high. Stonebriar could have done a better job here.
Also, they need to be used with a candle holder or a tray to prevent wax spillage.
Considering the price, we feel that a set of these candles offer the right bang for your buck. This is a great option if you’re looking for emergency backup lights.
It has more purity and better stability and doesn’t emit fumes. It also lasts longer and burns better than solid paraffin.
Candlelife Emergency Survival Candle
This product from Candlelife is one of the best survival candles in terms of safety. High-quality liquid paraffin is packed inside a container, resulting in a safe candle that burns for a long time.
Each candle will burn for around 115 hours. You can buy 3, 4, or 6 packs that will see you through the longest of emergencies.
Besides, the design ensures that there isn’t an issue with storing half-burnt candles. Nor do you need a stand or a tray to use them safely.
The flame is smoke-free and odorless. There isn’t any soot formation either. You can also increase the brightness by pulling out the wick as needed.
Good news: the product comes with a 30-day return period. If you aren’t satisfied, you get your money back. The plastic container is well built and is light enough to pack along with your emergency gear.
What Needs Improvement
Some users prefer a glass container with candles. Honesty, we liked the portability of the plastic can and the fact that it won’t shatter if dropped.
That said, oil-based liquid wax candles can leak when overturned. So make sure to store them properly.
If you don’t mind the non-traditional design, these are one of the best emergency candles on the market.
Soy wax burns longer than paraffin and is more environmentally friendly. They are usually mixed with other waxes while making candles. However, soy is softer and melts easily.
SE Survivor Series Emergency Candle
These emergency candles from SE have a special feature. It uses a combination of soy wax and palm wax.
Is it much different than paraffin wax?
Yes, it is. Soy wax is made from soybeans, and hence it’s biodegradable. It produces less soot, fewer toxins, and burns longer.
Moreover, a lower melting point makes this candle easy to use during cold winters.
Now, this candle comes with three wicks. Each wick provides a burning time of 12 hours. You can burn all three to get maximum light and heat. The candle is enclosed in a waterproof aluminum can. So storing and using it is super easy. There isn’t any spillage either. The flame is odorless and burns consistently—another advantage of soy and palm wax.
What Needs Improvement
On the downside, soy wax tends to get softer when stored in very hot temperatures for long. So keep them out of hot zones.
In our tests, the candle burned for around 30 hours. That was less than what we expected.
The weight of a unit is 3.6 oz. So it isn’t the best option for ultra-light survival packing.
With the flexibility of 3 wicks and a long burning time, these are some of the best survival candles you can pick. Considering the price, they are also great for those on a budget.
This is another completely natural option that produces a clean flame and minimum soot. It’s also more expensive than the other types.
UCO Beeswax Candle
Established in 1971, UCO specializes in preparing candles and candle lanterns for outdoor and emergency use.
These candles are made from natural beeswax and provide a burning time between 12 to 15 hours.
The high-quality cotton wick ensures a smooth flame and clean burning. At the same time, the non-paraffin-based composition makes it friendly for the environment.
That’s not all…
The 100% natural beeswax is obtained from Texas beekeepers who have a family legacy of beekeeping. The bees are kept free from chemicals in spotless facilities. This ensures the high quality of the wax. The high-melt temperature of the wax also minimizes dripping and generates less smoke. Compared to ordinary candles, the overall soot build-up from these is much less.
Moreover, there’s the pleasant aroma of beeswax that we liked. We also noted these candles generate a decent amount of heat. Great for tackling cold nights.
What Needs Improvement
The thing is, these are best used with the UCO candle lanterns. That needs some extra investment.
Otherwise, you’ll need a stand to use them safely. The 1.25-inch diameter isn’t good enough to keep them free-standing.
Next, we felt that they burned longer when the temperatures were on the lower side.
As long burning emergency candles, these are a dependable choice. They are great for use in small spaces, and the 3-pack set is easy to store.
Citronella oil is often mixed into solid paraffin candles. These slow-burning candles are a natural repellent for mosquitoes and other annoying insects. They are often scented candles, so if you sit too close to one, it can be overwhelming, but most of the time, the fragrance is pleasant.
If you have a mosquito problem using a citronella candle will help deter them, and in survival situations, this can be life-saving, considering the diseases that mosquitos carry. However, they’re not the best emergency candles because they often come in a fancy container, and they’re not easy to store in large numbers.
Type of Wick
The burning time and flame quality of the candle also depend on the type of candlewick. The wicks are usually made from cotton and can be a flat braid or square braid type.
Floating wick: This is a wick that’s placed in oil or liquid paraffin.
Flat braid: These curl as they burn which helps burn evenly and reduce smoke. They are most often found in cheap candles.
Square braid: Most common in beeswax candles and survival candles because they are an enhanced flat braided wick.
Zinc-cored wick: A zinc metal wire is placed in the wick that helps it stand during the manufacturing and use processes.
Paper-cored wick: These wicks are not long-lasting wicks because they burn hot and fast, which means they are not ideal for survival situations.
In reality, makers don’t specify the type of wick used for the candle. So this isn’t a factor that you can control when buying the best survival candles. However, survival candles with multiple wicks are a better choice to prevent wastage of wax.
This is one specification that you must check before buying an emergency candle. It will also help you determine the number of candles you need to buy for prepping.
The burn time will also help you to determine the storage space that you may need in your emergency shelter.
The factors that affect burn time include ambient temperature, air movement, and candle size.
For overnight use, you need a candle that will last for at least 12 hours. However, picking 120-hour plus emergency candles is a good choice for handling disasters.
Frankly, any candle that burns less than 6 hours isn’t worth buying for emergency situations.
Ner Mitzvah Yartzeit Candle
Now, these candles are handcrafted in Europe by expert candle makers who have perfected the art for generations.
They burn slowly and produce a consistent flame with a warm glow. The flame doesn’t generate any smoke either.
Keep in mind that these emergency candles use a vegetable oil wax that delivers an exceptionally long burning time. Each candle can burn for nine days or 216 hours!
Also, the self-standing design is pretty effective for emergency use. The plastic holder also keeps the flame protected from winds. Moreover, there isn’t any chance of wax dripping off.
Depending on your needs, you can buy a single candle or packs of 3,6, or 10.
What Needs Improvement
The plastic holder takes some brightness away from the flame. Still, they are suitable for a survival situation where you don’t want to attract attention by a bright light.
Remember, these aren’t compact survival candles. A pack of 10 will need quite a bit of storage space.
Lastly, they come with a higher price tag than the others on this list. So if you’re on a budget, look elsewhere.
Honestly, this isn’t a traditional survivor candle. But they offer solid performance without compromising quality.
If you want a long-burning candle, go for it.
First off, emergency candles should not have any unpleasant odor. This can give some people a headache. But more importantly, this means that the candle emissions contain harmful chemicals. Inhaling them for long hours isn’t safe.
Also, dripless candles are the best choice since they don’t spill melted wax.
Note: Candles made from cheap quality paraffin wax can give out toxic chemicals like acetone, toluene, and benzene. So it’s best not to include such candles in your survival kit.
When the candle doesn’t burn efficiently, soot is produced. Make sure to choose an emergency candle that generates a clean flame.
UCO Original Candle Lantern
This candle lantern from UCO stands out by combining a warm glow with the safety of a collapsible lantern.
The aluminum frame keeps it compact, and the spring-loaded tube keeps the flame at an optimum height. Not to forget, UCO supplies three pieces of candles with the lantern. Each has 9 hours of burn time. With a weight of 6.4 ounces with the candle, the unit is lightweight. A fleece bag is also supplied for storage.
Also, we found the unit sturdy enough to withstand rough handling. Most importantly, unlike other long-burning emergency candles, you can use this inside a tent. The protective glass chimney reduces any chances of fire hazards. We wouldn’t place it near the tent wall, though.
The candle burns with a lovely warm glow and emits no smoke. The chimney also creates a windproof environment for the flame. So you can easily head out in the darkness with this lantern. There’s a carrying handle too.
A hanging hook allows you to hang it from any object. A twist-lock at the base ensures proper storage.
What Needs Improvement
This isn’t a candle that will burn for extra-long hours. If you want 120 hour emergency candles, there are better options.
Besides, the top part of the lantern does get hot after a few hours of use. So handle it with care.
Frankly, if you’re looking for a simple candle, there are other more affordable choices.
Still, the unique windproof design of this lantern adds to the overall convenience and safety. A great choice to improve the versatility of a simple candle, especially for camping trips and other outdoor activities.
No matter where you’re using a candle, you need to make sure that you keep it stable. An overturned candle can not only spill hot wax but can also lead to a fire.
The best emergency candles come with a wide base that allows them to stand on their own. In case you’re using a thin candle, use a candle holder. Keep them away from flammable substances, and don’t leave them unattended.
Coghlan’s Survival Candle
For more than five decades, Coghlan’s has delivered top-class products for outdoor lovers. This survivor candle offers no less in terms of quality and performance.
What stands out is the innovative design. The candle comes with three wicks. Lighting up one will provide 36 hours of burning time.
Need more light?
Then you can light up all the three wicks. However, the burning time will come down to 12 hours.
The other thing is, the candles are set in a durable tin container. So you won’t need a separate stand. So you can use them anywhere you want- even inside your bug-out vehicle.
The compact size also makes it easy to store. A convenient lid and a box of matches are included.
Overall, we liked the attention paid to the details.
What Needs Improvement
The single wick burns for slightly more than 30 hours in real-life use. We expected 36 hours from it.
Other than that, some users also faced issues with the lid of the container.
The light delivered from three wicks is sufficient for beating the darkness in an emergency hideout. Moreover, the flexibility of the candle makes it stand out from the competition.
Considering the price, this long-burning emergency candle is a great choice for survivalists and general outdoor lovers as well.
Make Your Own Prepper Candles
There are several different ways to make your own candles, even with limited resources. Some of them are fun ways to get the family involved in prepping. You can make-
- Tallow candles
- Candles from Crayons
- Crisco candles
- And oil candles
If you have kids, then you know most of the time, they enjoy getting messy, which is why making candles from Crayons can be an excellent way to get the whole family interested in prepping.
Tallow is melted animal fat. Think of the grease that’s leftover from cooking bacon. Making candles from tallow for prepping is an excellent idea because in severe situations, if you need a food source, fat can be a source of calories for a short time. It’s not one of the best emergency candles because it requires a container and can melt if it gets too warm.
However, it has multiple uses, and we all love a tool that can be used for more than one thing.
Crayon wax has a distinct smell that might deter some from making a candle out of the wax. It’s still fun for kids to watch the Crayon melt and then solidify into a candle. The problem with these candles is that they require a container to make and might melt if you store them in an unusually warm room.
Crisco is much like animal fat, so it might not be one of the best emergency candles, but it can help get you through a desperate situation. These candles are relatively easy to make; the main problem is that you need a container to store the candles to prevent a mess.
I’m not talking about motor oil, although, in theory, you could, but burning motor oil releases toxic chemicals, so I strongly discourage it. Placing a floating wick in a jar of liquid paraffin, vegetable oil, olive oil, or corn oil is an easy way to make a candle.
Which Candle Wax Burns The Longest?
- Soy wax burns for the longest duration.
What kind of candle gives off the most light?
- In reality, the light delivered by a candle depends on many factors. You can use a candle with multiple wicks to control the light intensity.
What’s the difference between emergency candles and regular candles?
- The best emergency candles are designed to burn for longer hours than the regular ones. They also produce less smoke and soot.
Is it bad to light candles in your room?
- When burned in a ventilated room, unscented candles made from natural wax don’t have any harmful effects on human health.
So it all adds up to this. Candles are a great emergency light source. Your emergency survival plan should also include tools like survival shovels and survival saws. For preppers, packing a few emergency candles in the bug-out bag is never a bad idea.
Now that you know all about the best survival candles out there, go ahead and pick one.