What Do Candle Wick Numbers Mean?

Understanding Candle Wick Numbers

This is one of the most common questions we receive. The wick numbers represent the size of the wick. Candles need the right wick size specific to their diameter to burn correctly. Smaller diameter candles require smaller wick sizes and larger diameter candles require larger wick sizes (unless you are using more than one wick).

As a general rule, the larger the wick number, the larger (thicker) the wick size. This is important when determining the right wick size to use for a specific candle diameter. Using too small of a wick will lead to 'tunneling' or will cause the flame to drown out. Using too large of a wick size will lead to excess smoking, soot, and/or mushrooming, as well as cut down on the candle burn time. Understanding the wick size number is essential to ensure you are using the right wick size that will lead to optimal burning characteristics.

Some wicks have 3 different numbers for the wick size. For example, one of our zinc wick sizes is 60-44-18. Below is a description of what the numbers represent:

  • The first number tells you the wick size. The size of the wick is determined by how many spools of yarn were used to make the wick. The higher the number, the larger the wick.  As a general rule, the larger wick sizes will have a bigger melt pool and usually have higher wax consumption.
  • The second number indicates the speed at which the wick was sent through the braiding machine. The higher the number, the faster the speed and the tighter the braid. Wicks with a tighter braid have less fuel (wax) consumption.
  • The third number is a code for the temperature of the wax as the wick is fed through the gears of the braiding machine. This temperature varies according to the two previous numbers.

Note: Many pre-tabbed wicks may appear to be the same thickness even though they are different wick sizes. Smaller wick sizes tend to have a thicker wax coating which creates the illusion of having the same thickness of larger wicks sizes. However, these wicks will burn differently when used in a finished candle.