How To Perform Candle Wick Testing
Candle Wick Testing Method
While each candle maker may have their own preferred way of testing, one method we recommend is by pouring 3 to 5 candles that are all the same except for wick size. You can do this by choosing the wick size you think you may need and then also choosing the next size(s) up and down, which should give you an idea of what wick size works best after testing. For example, if you think you may need an ECO-8 for a particular candle recipe, you may also want to test an ECO-6 and an ECO-10. Once they have cured, you can then burn them next to each other to see which wick size burns the best compared to the others.
You can also use this method on multiple types of wicks to determine what wick type works best for a particular candle recipe. For example, you may pour 3 to 5 candles each for ECO, HTP, and Premier wicks and then test burn them next to each other to see which wick type and size works best. You can also place the different wick types in different rooms of comparable size and ventilation and test to see if one particular wick type provides a better scent throw than the others.
When testing, we recommend doing at least 3 test burns before making a final decision on which wick size or type to use. Each test burn should be around 2 to 3 hours (possibly shorter or longer depending on the candle diameter) to allow time for a full melt pool to form. For container candles, it is not uncommon to have ‘hang-up,’ or wax remaining on the side of the container, after the first or second burn, which ‘catches up’ on the third burn and beyond. This is why it is important to do at least 3 test burns before making a final decision on which wick size to go with.
If you sell or will be selling container candles to others, we strongly recommend test burning candles all the way down before deciding on a wick size. A candle’s burning characteristics can change as the candle burns further down into the container (especially for odd shaped containers).
Tips for choosing the right wick size:
The candle should achieve a full melt pool that is ¼” to ½” deep within 1 hour for each inch of diameter. For example, a 2” diameter candle should achieve a full melt pool within 2 hours.
The flame should be approximately ½” to 2” in height, with smaller candles being closer to ½” and larger candles going to as high as 2”.
The flame should not be producing excess smoke, soot, or mushrooming. The flame should also not flicker or dance around, but should be a still, steady flame.
Lower melt point paraffin waxes (such as single-pour waxes), vegetable/soy waxes, and beeswax are more viscous in nature and generally require a larger wick size than standard paraffin wax.