Candle Wax vs. Paraffin Wax

What's the Difference?

Candle wax and paraffin wax are both types of waxes commonly used in various applications. Candle wax is specifically designed for making candles, while paraffin wax is a more general-purpose wax used in a wide range of industries. Candle wax is typically made from a blend of natural waxes, such as beeswax or soy wax, and may contain additives to enhance its burning properties. On the other hand, paraffin wax is derived from petroleum and undergoes a refining process to remove impurities. It is known for its low cost, high melting point, and versatility, making it suitable for applications like cosmetics, food packaging, and even as a lubricant. While both waxes have their unique characteristics and uses, paraffin wax offers a broader range of applications due to its versatility, while candle wax is specifically formulated for candle-making purposes.


AttributeCandle WaxParaffin Wax
CompositionVarious waxes (e.g., beeswax, soy wax, palm wax)A petroleum by-product
SourceNatural sources (plants, animals)Refined from crude oil
ColorVaries depending on the type of wax usedWhite or off-white
ScentCan be scented with essential oils or fragrance oilsTypically unscented
Burning TimeVaries depending on the type and size of the candleLong burning time
FlameProduces a steady flameProduces a bright, steady flame
AvailabilityWidely available in various formsWidely available
PriceVaries depending on the type and quality of the waxRelatively inexpensive

Further Detail


When it comes to candles, the type of wax used plays a significant role in determining their quality, burn time, and overall performance. Two commonly used waxes in candle making are candle wax and paraffin wax. While both serve the purpose of providing fuel for the flame, they differ in various attributes that can impact the candle's appearance, scent, and burn characteristics. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of candle wax and paraffin wax, shedding light on their unique properties and helping you make an informed decision when choosing the right wax for your candles.

1. Composition

Candle wax is a general term used to describe various types of waxes used in candle making, including beeswax, soy wax, and palm wax. These waxes are derived from natural sources and often blended with additives to enhance their performance. On the other hand, paraffin wax is a petroleum-based wax that is derived from crude oil. It undergoes a refining process to remove impurities and create a stable wax suitable for candle making. While both candle wax and paraffin wax can be used to create candles, their composition differs significantly.

2. Scent

One of the key differences between candle wax and paraffin wax is the scent they emit when burned. Candle wax, especially beeswax, has a natural honey-like scent that adds a pleasant aroma to the candle. Soy wax, another type of candle wax, is known for its ability to hold and release fragrance oils effectively, resulting in a stronger and longer-lasting scent throw. On the other hand, paraffin wax is relatively scentless, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer unscented candles or want to add their own fragrance using essential oils or fragrance oils.

3. Burn Time

The burn time of a candle is an essential factor to consider, especially if you want your candles to last longer. In general, paraffin wax tends to have a longer burn time compared to most candle waxes. This is because paraffin wax has a higher melting point, allowing it to burn at a slower rate. However, it's important to note that the burn time can also be influenced by other factors such as the size and shape of the candle, the wick used, and the presence of additives or enhancers. Therefore, while paraffin wax may have an advantage in burn time, it's not the sole determinant of a candle's longevity.

4. Appearance

The appearance of a candle can greatly impact its aesthetic appeal and the ambiance it creates. Candle wax, particularly beeswax, is known for its natural golden hue, which adds a warm and inviting glow when the candle is lit. Beeswax candles also have a unique texture and can develop a beautiful patina over time. On the other hand, paraffin wax is typically white and can be easily dyed to create candles in a wide range of colors. This versatility in color options makes paraffin wax a popular choice for decorative and scented candles where visual appeal is a priority.

5. Environmental Impact

As the world becomes more conscious of environmental issues, the choice of wax used in candles can have an impact on sustainability. Candle wax, such as soy wax and beeswax, is often considered more environmentally friendly compared to paraffin wax. Soy wax is derived from soybean oil, a renewable resource, and beeswax is a natural byproduct of the beekeeping industry. These waxes are biodegradable and produce fewer toxins when burned, making them a greener choice. Paraffin wax, being petroleum-based, is non-renewable and releases more soot and pollutants into the air when burned. However, it's worth noting that the environmental impact can also depend on the sourcing and production practices of the specific wax used.

6. Cost

Cost is often a significant factor when choosing between candle wax and paraffin wax. In general, paraffin wax is more affordable compared to many candle waxes, making it a popular choice for mass-produced candles. The availability and abundance of petroleum contribute to its lower cost. On the other hand, candle waxes like beeswax and soy wax tend to be more expensive due to their natural sourcing and production processes. However, it's important to consider the overall value and quality of the wax when assessing the cost, as higher-priced waxes may offer superior performance and benefits.


When it comes to choosing between candle wax and paraffin wax, there are several factors to consider. The composition, scent, burn time, appearance, environmental impact, and cost all play a role in determining the suitability of each wax for your specific needs. Candle wax, with its natural origins and unique scents, offers a more environmentally friendly and visually appealing option. On the other hand, paraffin wax, with its longer burn time and versatility in color options, is a cost-effective choice for those seeking unscented or customizable candles. Ultimately, the choice between candle wax and paraffin wax depends on your preferences, priorities, and the desired outcome for your candles.

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