Nothing ruins a night on the deck like swarms of bugs! Mosquitoes, gnats, and other pests can turn a relaxing time into a total annoyance.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great options to keep these pests at bay. And one of the best is to use citronella candles. Simple, economical, and most importantly, effective, these are a great choice for any outdoor area. That includes your patio, deck, or poolside. And if you’re straying away from home, they’re even great when camping!
Do Citronella Candles Work?
It’s easy to be suspicious of “natural” fixes to traditional problems. After all, if it was so easy to keep bugs away, why is there such a huge market for products developed in labs?
The latter do have their place, but it’s great to know that citronella does work, too!
Citronella comes from the oil of various species of lemongrass. It works by irritating insects enough that they want to stay away. At the same time, it’s not lethal. You won’t have to deal with piles of dead mosquitoes!
What To Take Into Account With Citronella Candles
There isn’t a whole lot to consider when choosing a citronella candle, and it’s mostly obvious. Citronella will help keep the bugs away. You just have to think about the area, the length of time you want the candle to burn, and whether you’d like any added scents. Of course, you might want to look for a candle that comes in a stylish container, too!
The size of a candle dictates how long the candle will burn.
Citronella candles range in size from small tealights to large ones that come in bucket-shaped containers. The smaller ones may burn for 4 or 5 hours. The largest can last up to 45!
Of course, other factors can affect how long the candle burns. Air movement can make them burn more quickly. Larger candles may also have multiple wicks. That helps them burn more evenly, but also more quickly.
You’ll also want to think about how big an area you need to “protect.” The candle’s size doesn’t have much effect on this. However, a thicker wick does help create a wider circumference.
A simple candle might be good enough if you’re sitting outside alone. But if you’re planning on a larger group, you’ll have to pay attention to the smoke your candle will give off. You might even want to consider placing multiple candles at strategic points.
Most humans aren’t irritated by citronella. On the other hand, it’s not generally regarded as the most pleasant smell, either.
Many citronella candles have other essential oils added to them to create a nicer smell that has further therapeutic effects. That can add other pleasant effects, although it can decrease the effectiveness of the candle since not as much citronella is burning.
It never hurts to look great while getting the job done. It’s common for citronella candles to be plain. But you can find some that come in great-looking ceramic or tins! You’ll pay more for them, of course, but if you’re worried about looking good while being bug-free, it’s worth it!
Our Reviews Of The Best Citronella Candles
It’s always a great idea to buy citronella candles! They come in handy no matter where you live or how much time you plan to spend outdoors. We’ve tried out a few and are sharing our recommendations.
We’ve set up two types of divisions: large vs. small and scented vs. unscented. Of course, there’s overlap, but we wanted to provide you with a lot of great choices!
Candles in our “large” category are all 16 ounces or over. They’re great if you plan to spend long days in the yard or like to have one candle last all summer long! In general, it’s also more economical to buy one large candle than multiple smaller ones.
This 20-ounce candle could cover a full work week! Yes, it’s big enough to burn for 40 hours – not a bad deal for the price. You can get it even cheaper if you buy two – just check the button on the page.
The container is simple and the inward slope is a common design. The vent holes will help shield the flame from the wind. But they also provide suitable ventilation even when it gets close to the end of its life.
The three wicks help you get the most out of the candle by burning all of the wax, including that along the edge of the container.
Repel says the best protection is within three feet of the candle. That’s true; closer is always best. But you’ll still get decent protection a few feet further away.
Overall it does a great job keeping bugs away and has a good, long life!
Cutter offers this nice candle that should burn for over 30 hours. At the time of our publication, they listed 30 hours and 40 hours at different places on Amazon. Our experience shows it should be over 30, but not nearly 40.
When we first saw the picture above, we thought the container was plastic, which seemed odd for a candle. Fortunately, we were mistaken. It’s metal. It’s supposedly available in slate, tan, or gray, but we couldn’t find a way to choose the color.
The bucket is pretty sturdy. The lid is metal, making it simple to reuse.
The biggest drawback is that it has a single wick.
This 16-ounce candle has a different look – it’s actually in a glass container! It looks great and it’s great to be able to watch the three wicks as they burn.
It’s advertised as “scented” and an “aromatherapy” candle, although it only uses citronella essential oil. And oddly, they avoid using the bug-repellant properties as a selling point. However, we’re not hesitant to point them out!
The lid was changed a couple of years ago to a metal one. That’s a useful improvement over the old, paper one!
The design does leave the flame more at the mercy of the wind, but
Our featured small citronella cnadles measures under 12 ounces. You’ll get anywhere from 4 to 20 hours out of them, although most come in multi-packs.
Here’s something unique but effective! These 3.5-inch candles burn for about 9 hours each. But what stands out is – they’re BLUE!
We haven’t seen any explanation for the color. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; however, it does make these candles stand out in the crowd. Perhaps it’s so they stand out if you pack them in camping or hunting supplies.
Your order includes three candles, so you get almost 27 hours out of it.
At 1 ¼ inch wide, the candles stand pretty well on their own. Still, they’re designed for use in UCO’s candle lanterns. If you use them on their own, it’s best to place them in some kind of holder or plate for safety.
Not only are these among our favorite small candles, but they’re also among the top scented candles. They are scented with rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, and lemongrass in addition to citronella. That helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere – and one free of bug bites!
Murphy’s Naturals sells these in packs of 1, 2, 3, or 6 candles. They come in decorative tin containers that look great! The containers measure 3 inches tall and 3.5 inches across.
The candle is 9 ounces. It can get you 25 hours or so of quality use.
Votive candles are another great choice. This box of 72 (yes, you read that right) candles will help keep your area gnat- and mosquito-free for about 8 hours each! With luck, you can sometimes get up to 12, even.
These come in handy for all uses, but especially if you want to create a bigger perimeter surrounded by the candles. We suggest getting a few glass votive candle holders so you can burn them safely, cleanly, and with a bit of style.
The candles measure 1 ⅜ inch across and 1 ¼ inch high. They’re effective at keep bugs away, at least in a range of about a meter.
Coleman is a brand known for its camping products, and so something like this is right up their alley. And they did a great job with it!
We included this product here because it stands out so much for its pleasant, relaxing scent. Actually, three different scents are available: campfire, pine, and S’mores. A variety pack of all three is also available.
Each candle burns for about 18-20 hours; the manufacturer says you can get up to 25 hours out of them, which is believable in optimal conditions.
The tin container is nice and could almost be a collector’s item.
These tiny tea lights shouldn’t be underestimated. They do a fantastic job at scaring off annoying insects. And they offer the great scents of peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood, and rosemary to go along with the citronella.
The box contains 16 candles. Each will burn for up to around 3 ½ hours.
The citronella content is low compared to most other products on our list, at less than 1% (most contain 3% citronella). That’s mainly because of the other essential oils used. That lowers its effectiveness against bugs; you can’t expect perfect protection. But they do seem to cut down on the buzzing in the immediate area. And the aroma is relaxing.
These tea lights come in lightweight metal containers. You can choose 50- or 100-packs. Each candle is 1 ½ inch across and about ⅗-inch high.
As for quality, these are best for enclosed spaces. Their size limits their effectiveness outdoors, and their citronella content is relatively low (about 1.3%). In a sheltered corner of your porch, though, you might get good use out of them.
Choose between a single candle tin or a six-pack with these unscented ones from Repel.
Like the larger Repel candle above, they do a great job at keeping the bugs away. At 10 ounces, these will burn as long as 20 hours (assuming you keep the wick in great shape and wind to a minimum).
Each candle can burn for 3-4 hours. They’re about 4 ¼ inches high by 2 ½ inches deep. The entire can, including the lid, is metal.
You don’t have to let bugs ruin your precious time in the backyard! There are many ways to deal with them, but citronella candles are effective without killing the pests. Many sizes are available, and other essential oils are added to some to create a more relaxing scent. Be sure to stock up for summer!