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Candles, Diffusers, or Incense: Which One is Best for You?

Filling your home with lovely scents has never been easier. Light a scented candle, burn incense, or place a reed diffuser in your home — there are numerous ways to add scent to your living spaces.

But which one is best for you?

Before you head to the nearest candle shop, incense stall or reed diffuser store, make sure to read our handy guide to help you decide which type of home fragrance is best for you.

Clearly, it’s a pleasure to live in a fragrant home.

woman with aroma reed diffuser and cotton at home
Photo by Syda Productions

But there are challenges to maintaining the pleasant smell we all crave. Whether you're fighting the odour of a much-loved but stinky dog, a pile of dirty laundry, or some kitchen waste, there’s more than one way to go about it.

There are many options for adding fragrances to rooms — from perfume diffusers to incense, candles to sprays. If you're particular about it, you can even look at natural ways to make your home smell good.

That said, a variety of factors go into determining which is the ideal one for you. Let's look at some of your options:

Option 1: Incense

incense stick
Photo by nambitomo from Getty Images

Incense sticks and cones are comprised of a variety of flammable materials that provide a pleasing aroma when burned. The word "incense" comes from a Latin word that means "to burn."

Resins, bark, seeds, roots, and flowers are among the plant-based ingredients used in the production of incense.

Aromatic elements such as frankincense, cinnamon, patchouli, and sandalwood are frequently added, though the materials used in each incense stick differ depending on the manufacturer.

Incense provides a quick burst of fragrance, making it an excellent choice when you don't have much time. Incense sticks typically burn for less than an hour and have a strong fragrance and scent throw.

Lighting some incense sticks in the morning while doing yoga is a great way to bring balance to your body and mind, allowing you to be ready for the day ahead.

Why you should choose incense:

  • A boost of fragrance for a brief period of time.
  • Filling a space with scents quickly.
  • You enjoy strong fragrances.

Why you should NOT choose incense:

  • Falling ash is a situation you don't want to deal with.
  • You don't want to keep an eye on it. Burning incense should never be left unattended.

Option 2: Reed Diffusers

Balance Diffuser

Reed Diffusers are made up of three major components: the fragrance oil, the vessel, and the reeds or sticks.

The reed sticks, which are made of porous varieties of wood, absorb the fragrance oil and gradually spread it into the surrounding air, emitting a continuous stream of scents until the oil has dissipated.

Using reed diffusers in your home is a fantastic way to keep your rooms smelling great all of the time.

Reed diffusers are the simplest method to make even the stinkiest corners of your home wonderfully perfumed, thanks to their continuous, flameless fragrance throw. To keep your office smelling fresh, place them on bookshelves, tabletops, and in bathrooms.

Unlike scented wax candles and incense, which must be burned to release their scent, reed diffusers emit their scent all day, every day. They'll keep doing that for weeks or even months at a time!

Why you should choose reed diffusers:

  • Constant fragrance
  • No need to light a flame
  • You can place it almost anywhere in the home or office

Why you should NOT choose reed diffusers:

  • You prefer a quick burst of fragrance.
  • You enjoy changing the fragrance of a room on a regular basis.

Option 3: Candles

Message in a Candle

Scented candles are a blend of wax and fragrance oil that, when lit, release aromas into the air.

Candles are made from a variety of ingredients and come in different designs so you may find that candle shops also have their own unique personalities.

In addition, there are many other benefits of scented candles, so lighting a scented candle is more than just about adding fragrant aromas to a room. It can also create a relaxing ambience as the candlelight casts a warm glow throughout your room, courtesy of its flickering flame.

Without a doubt, candles are ideal for creating a cosy atmosphere and provide a valid excuse to unwind for the evening.

Romantic Candlelight Dinner for Two Lovers, dark background
Photo by Robert Popa's Images

To get the most out of your candles, make sure to keep them lit for at least an hour. Short burns significantly reduce the life of a candle, and it's critical to allow enough time for the pool of molten wax to reach the jar's edge.

How long this process takes is highly variable and is determined by the diameter of the candle, the number of wicks, and the type of wax used. In our other article, we’ve listed our best practices for scented candles.

Why you should choose candles:

  • You want to create a relaxing atmosphere through the combination of soft flickering light and beautiful fragrance
  • You would like to diffuse a steady amount of scent to a room over a few hours.
  • You prefer more complex scents.

Why you should NOT choose candles:

  • You don't have time to wait for the wax pool to reach the candle jar's edge.
  • You don't want to keep an eye on it or worry about removing candle wax from surfaces. Never leave a candle burning unattended.
  • You want either an instant fragrance boost or a scent that lasts for months.

Candles, Diffusers, or Incense: Which One is Best?

Whether you should light up or diffuse depends on your aroma control strategy, so before you head on over to an incense, diffuser, or candle shop, let’s compare your options:

Reed Diffusers vs. Incense

Reed Diffusers are an excellent way to add a lovely background scent to your home that will last for months. However, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes all you want is a quick change!

Meanwhile, lighting fragrant incense allows you to quickly change the ambience of a room. Because of the gentle tendrils of smoke enveloping the room in a deeper fragrance, it can make a space feel sensual and warm.

Incense vs. Scented Candles

Because both candles and incense provide a quick fragrance boost to the room in which they are burned, deciding which is best for you boils down to a matter of time.

Scented candles should be burned for at least an hour to allow the fragrance oils to warm up and begin diffusing into the air. Incense, on the other hand, can provide scent in as little as 10 minutes.

Bathtub with candles and towels
Photo by Jupiterimages from Photo Images

A scented candle is ideal if you want to enjoy an entire evening of scent alongside the cosy glow of candlelight. Lighting a candle can easily become the ritual that allows you to unwind, giving you the perfect excuse to relax for a few hours.

Scented Candles vs Reed Diffusers

Lighting a scented candle is a wonderful way to introduce scents into your home, but you must be present whenever they are lit. This means no distractions and no abandoning them.

Reed Diffusers, on the other hand, are self-contained – once placed in an ideal location, they will provide you with scent 24 hours a day. You won’t have to do much about coming home to a beautifully fragranced home.

Make Your Selection or Choose Them All

Empower Reed Diffuser Empower Scented Candle
Empower Reed Diffuser and Candle

Giving your home a signature scent is a great way to make any space feel like yours – even if you're currently living in a rented flat, you can use fragrances to make the place feel like home.

As a tip, you can add reed diffusers to spaces you pass through on a regular basis, such as the bathroom and hallway.

Use scented candles in the rooms where you spend the most time relaxing, such as the living room and bedroom.

And if you need a quick fragrance boost, light some incense. They can be instrumental in keeping your home smelling fresh all of the time.

 Wabi-sabi reed diffuser wabi-sabi candle
Wabi-Sabi Reed Diffuser and Candle

Ultimately, there's no reason why you shouldn't mix and match different candles, incense, and diffusers if you have a good nose for fragrances and understand which scent notes complement each other.

However, if you aren't quite so sure or just want one fragrance, that’s all good too.


Candle Shop Singapore

I AM BEAUTIFUL Affirmation Candle

As a candle shop in Singapore, we’ve got a good selection of Aromatherapy Candles and Affirmation Crystal Candles.

Innerfyre Co candles are made from a luxurious wax blend that contains coconut wax and rice bran wax. This unique combination allows us to infuse each candle with 10-12% essential oils, compared to the typical 4-8% fragrance oil you will find in regular soy and paraffin candles.

Visit our online candle shop for your choices of Scented Candles in Singapore today.

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