Can Candles Produce Enough Heat to Keep a Room Warm?

When it comes to surviving the dropping winter temperatures, people are always looking for different ways to heat their rooms. While heaters already exist, there are multiple alternatives available. One of them is candles.

Whether or not heating with candles is enough is a common question. Therefore, in this article, we talk about candles in terms of their heating power.

How Much Heat Does a Candle Give Off?

To understand if or not candles suffice the requirement of a room, one should know how much energy they give off.

So how many BTUs of heat does a candle produce?

A single candle produces amounts to 75-85 BTUs.

Heat capacity is the term used to gauge the heat anything can produce. For candles, the figure is extremely low. Particularly in comparison with other alternatives like a space heater. In terms of heat, candles give off much less.

This figure can slightly vary for different samples. However, the average energy you can obtain from any candle is approximately the same, i.e. 80 watts.

Before we move on, it is paramount to know the meanings of different terms here. Heat is not the same as light. Even though both are forms of energy, light is the luminous part.

Although both can give off warmth, it is mainly the heat that you refer to when speaking of it.

One more aspect that we need to talk about here is efficiency. It is sort of a measure of energy output. Candles have an efficiency of 90%.

It implies that heat comprises 90% of the candle’s energy, whereas only 10% of it is light. This efficiency is similar to that of a space heater.

The efficiency factor explains that even though the light intensity of candles is low, they can be a good source of heat and warmth.

How Many Candles Do You Need to Heat a Room?

So when using candles to heat a room, how many would you need in a day? There is no single answer to this. Given that the heating capacity of all candles on average is the same, it is the size of the room that determines the number of candles you need.

Here’s the thing – if you are trying to find an equivalent to your space heaters, you would need to place 20 candles in place of one heater.

Not just that, but the size of your candles also matters. For example, a small candle cannot work for more than three to four hours. On the other hand, table candles of a standard size can last for seven hours.

Replacing 20 candles every few hours sounds a tad bit impractical. Keeping in mind that this figure is for a single room only, you need to adequately consider if candles will be economical for you.

Are Candles More Efficient Than a Space Heater?

As we mentioned earlier, candles and space heaters are not different in terms of efficiency. Space heaters convert 90% of the input energy, i.e., electricity, into heat. Therefore, candles and heaters are at par.

However, let’s explore efficiency in regard to cost now. So are candles cheaper than heaters? The simple answer is “not so much”.

One could think how space heaters are expensive as a product and then add up to the cost of electricity. But candles are not much cheaper either.

In general, the retail price of a candle ranges from about $1.99 for a votive to $35 for a large pillar candle (source). Considering you need to place 20 at a time and replace them every four hours, you would need at least 120 a day. Also, you would have to be wary of the fire hazard.

Heaters can last for years. So you need to analyze the cost and benefit with respect to the number of rooms to see which one is a better option.

Read Also: Portable Space Heaters That Are Non-Electric

Is It Safe to Heat a Room With Candles?

People who consider replacing their heaters with candles often ask if it is safe. To answer the question, understand that for the heat, you need 20 candles in a room at once.

This is practically a serious fire hazard. Even more people these days are inclined towards creating a candle flowerpot, thinking it somehow increases the warmth. The truth is that these pots are even more dangerous.

These DIY candle heaters are set up using a pot and candles. Candles are put on the floor covered under the upside-down pot. The hole at the bottom (now top) of the pot creates a suction when the heat reaches it.

This suction force increases the burning rate and heating capacity of candles. For this reason, people assume that the flowerpot somehow improves the efficiency and heat capacity of the candles and is a better option than space heaters.

What they don’t get is that even though candles produce heat a little more than usual in the flowerpot, they’ll melt away quickly too. This means that you need more candles in a day.

In addition, the pots can catch fire, and with all the candles burning together in one place, the risk rises. Especially if you have kids or pets at home, heating a room with candles is probably not safe. However, with adequate measures in place, you can prevent and tackle emergency situations.

Best Candles for Warmth

Following are some of the best candles you can get your hands on:

Stonebriar Unscented Pillar Candles

Stonebriar Unscented Pillar Candles

We have established till now that one downside of using candles is that the wax melts in a few hours. Therefore, you have to then replace them often. However, this is not the case with Stonebriar candles.

They have a burning time of 35 hours which means that a single candle can last for more than a day. This clearly saves you from the hassle of buying 120 candles for a single room in one day.

Another amazing feature of this candle is that they are made of 100% cotton wicks. This means that you won’t have to deal with the awful choking smoke. Since a lot of people deal with respiratory issues in winter, this candle is a perfect fit.

CandleNScent Tealight Candles

CandleNScent Tealight Candles

CandleNScent is a popular brand for candles. Particularly for small rooms or places where you don’t need a full-time heater, these candles are a good choice.

The burn time is 4 hours which is great for a tealight candle. It is smokeless too. Since a lot of people are allergic to smoke, you can definitely consider CandleNScent candles if you are looking for one in its size.

These candles also serve an aesthetic purpose. The flickering flame, thanks to the cotton wick, is a beautiful sight.

We would definitely recommend considering this as an option if you are looking for top-quality, cost-effective candles.

UCO Emergency Candles

UCO Emergency Candles

Next up on the list, we have UCO emergency candles. This one is particularly useful if you have children at home. To counter the fire hazard posed by usual candles, they have a high melting temperature. 

This minimizes the wax and soot, eventually reducing the danger.

In addition to the safety factor, UCO candles have a burn time of 9 hours. This is way more than the average and makes it a good prospect.

The size is 3.5 inches, which means they don’t take up a lot of space. Furthermore, the materials and design help to keep the flame height within a safe range, making them a great choice.


Candles are in trend these days. Even though there is a lot of discussion about them in the context of gifts or decorative pieces, if or not they can replace your space heaters is often not discussed. In this article, we exclusively elaborated on candles and their heating power. 

In comparison with space heaters, candles are slightly unsafe. Therefore, the people who go for it should take good care of the fire safety measures. It is better to do a cost-benefit analysis of candles and heaters to see which option is more economical in the long term.

With a lifelong fascination with HVAC mechanics and a mechanical engineering degree from Berkeley, Thomas Johnson boasts years of industry expertise. He founded to fill the void of understandable and useful online information about complex HVAC systems. As the chief editor, Thomas strives to provide accurate and engaging content to help readers make informed HVAC decisions.

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