Candles are not made in standardized sizes; however, when you are shopping for candles, you will probably notice that the various types of candles available all seem to come in similar dimensions.
Candles are not permanent fixtures in the home because when they have finished burning, they will need replacing, so offering candles in common sizes is helpful to the consumer because we can replace burnt-out candles with new candles from any number of retailers, rather than having to return to a particular store to get a candle that fits in the candle holder we already own.
Here we look at the various types of candles that are available and the sizes they typically come in. Please find below a diagram that illustrates the common sizes of various candle types.
Types of Candles and their Sizes
A tea light is the smallest type of candle, and it usually comes in a lightweight aluminum container. These are among the most popular types of candles because they are inexpensive and incredibly versatile.
They are widely used for Halloween celebrations to light up jack-o-lanterns, and you will often find them included in the table centerpieces at weddings and at restaurants.
These are also very popular for home use. For example, in tea light holders on a window sill, shelf, or lined up along the back wall of a bath. Tea lights typically have a burning time of around three hours, and they can be very effective when a number of them are all lit in the same room at the same time, creating a soothing and romantic glow.
These are very convenient because they can be used with or without a decorative holder, and they don’t create clutter because they can be disposed of right after use. Tea lights have the most standardized size of all candles, at a diameter of one and a half inches.
Whichever store you buy your tea light candles from, you can be sure that they will fit perfectly in your existing tea light holders. The height of tea light candles can vary slightly, with a typical height of between ¾ of an inch and a full inch.
Votive candles are popular for home use because they can burn for a long time, but they don’t take up very much space. They work well for decorative purposes in various places around the home, such as on a nightstand, at the dining table, and on the living room coffee table.
Votive candles can come without a jar encasing them; in that case, you would need to set them on a saucer or place them in an empty jar so that melted wax doesn’t ruin your furniture. You can also buy votive candles that come inside a jar, ready to use.
Votive candles are especially popular when they are scented candle types, as they are able to fill a room with a pleasant aroma while also offering a gentle flicker of light as they burn.
Votive candles are the next size up from a tea light candle, with a diameter of between 1 and 2 inches and a height of between 2 and 3 inches.
A pillar candle is a larger candle with a cylindrical shape. These add a really cozy feel to a home, but they can also be perfect for other uses, such as in wedding decor or to create an atmosphere in a church.
These candles are usually sold freestanding without a jar or holder, but they can be placed onto a candle holder for burning if you don’t have a heat-resistant surface.
Pillar candles can burn for many hours, so they can last for weeks or even months if you don’t light your candles very often.
These candles come in various sizes, with the smaller pillar candles having one wick and the larger pillar candles having as many as four wicks. Pillar candles will usually come in a diameter of 2 inches, 3 inches, or 4 inches, and they can vary in height from 3 inches up to 12 inches.
A tapered candle is the classic candle you might expect to see at a table for two in a romantic restaurant. In fact, their common usage at dinner tables has led to tapered candles also having the name ‘dinner candles.’
These candles are tall and slender, and as you may have guessed from the name, they start with a wider base at the bottom and taper up towards the top of the candle to form a point at the wick.
These types of candles are ideal for dinner parties to create an intimate atmosphere, but they will need to be placed inside a candle holder in order to be used. They cannot balance on their own and so need to be held upright by a holder or a small plate with a central vertical pin on which the candle can grip.
If you don’t have a tapered candle holder available, you can also use an empty wine or champagne bottle as a makeshift holder, which can look quite effective on a dinner table.
Tapered candles come in various sizes, so you will need to match the base diameter of the candle to the size of your existing candle holder. This could be anywhere between ½ inch and 3 inches. In terms of height, tapered candles can range from 6 inches in length right up to 18 inches.
A candelabra candle has the most similarities with the pillar candle in terms of shape, but it is more like the tapered candle in size. Candelabra candles are intended to be used with candelabras, which are like chandeliers that use candles instead of lightbulbs.
These candles are long and slender, but they maintain a consistent cylindrical shape rather than coming to a tapered point at the top. Like tapered candles, candelabra candles will have a diameter measurement of between half an inch and three inches, and their height measurements start at 3 inches and go right up to 12 inches.