Scented candles don’t come cheap – or do they? While we still adore the fragrances of big name brands when budget stretches, we’ve also come across a number of gems that don’t break the bank but still deliver when it comes to fragrance and throw.
From high street hits to scaled-down versions of more expensive jars, here are our top picks, starting from just £3.49.
The best scented candles for £20 or less
Zara x Jo Malone
The whole collection of Jo Malone Zara candles is worthy of your attention, but if we had to pick just one, we’d opt for Amalfi Sunray, which fills the room with a burst of citrus-infused sunshine as soon as you light the wick. Check out Zara’s own-brand candles too – we’ve tried a few and there’s not a bad one in the bunch so far.
Anthropologie’s signature Capri Blue candles pack an impressive fragrance punch for their price. These versions come in highly aesthetically pleasing tins that will look great on any mantlepiece, and carry notes of either tropical fruits and sugared citrus if you pick the blue, or orchids, jasmine and gardenia if you prefer pink.
Yes, the high street really is awash with great, cheap scented candles if you know where to look. H&M’s in-house home line has an amazing offering which rotates year round and starts from just £1.99 – our current fave is this chic mahogany scent, which will leave you with change from a fiver.
Malin + Goetz
You may recognise Malin + Goetz from its cult eucalyptus deodorant, but there’s so much more to its fragrance repertoire than that. Its larger candles can be pretty pricey, but the £16 votives have a 25 hour burn time and come in an array of scents including tobacco, neroli and vetiver.
Another mini version of larger jars that veer into spenny territory, Neom’s candles are legendary for their ability to fill a room in record time. The travel candles come in a choice of four fragrances and last at least 20 hours – try Complete Bliss to lift your mood, or Tranquility if you want to relax and unwind before going to sleep.
Those looking for all natural but still relatively cheap scented candles, AromaWorks is the answer to your prayers. Each of its blends, from Lavender & Petigrain to Mandarin & Vetivert comes with very high praise indeed – one reviewer even says that they’re the best candles they’ve ever smelt in this price range.
No your eyes are not deceiving you – you can stock up on these small but mighty tin candles from Muji for less than £5. We love the creative pairings on offer, from this green tea and water mint scent to the quirky jasmine and olive and cosy green log fire. As an aside, its aroma diffusers are also excellent.
Boots’ range of candles, launched last year, deserves way more fanfare than it received. There are three in the collection – Vanilla & Cedarwood for a sweeter pick and Wild Strawberry and Watermelon if you love fruity fragrance – but our loyalty lies with the Green Fig & Amber. They’d also make a lovely gift.
Marks & Spencer
It’s hard to find a better value to size ratio than M&S – £7.50 for a large jar with up to 75 hours burn time is (pardon the pun) not to be sniffed at. Cotton is the perfect scent if you love your home to smell fresh and clean at all times, but there’s also Vanilla and Rose options.
Just sneaking in at the under £20 mark, Rituals’ candles warrant the investment if you have the cash to splash. There are several different scents to choose from, like Sweet Cardamom and Black Oudh, as well as fragrances from much-loved collections like the Ritual of Jing and Ritual of Ayurveda.
The White Company
Among the most expensive candles in our round-up, but we couldn’t justify leaving it out. Seychelles is a bestseller for The White Company, thanks to its ability to invoke memories (imagined or otherwise) of an Indian Ocean island, with notes of bergamot, orange and amber combined with warming coconut, vanilla and almond. It’s seriously blissful stuff.
Candle aficiandos may already be familiar with True Grace, a brand that’s renowned for producing rich, room filling scents and not charging the big bucks for them. This beachy seaside scent is a John Lewis exclusive, and the store also stocks other hits like Rosemary & Eucalyptus and Moroccan Rose.
With homeware this gorgeous, it makes sense that Oliver Bonas would come up trumps when it comes to scent, too. Its range rotates fairly regularly, but the new core line candles in fragrances like patchouli, cassis, fig and amber, are a joy to look at and to smell.
You’ve probably already encountered these Jo Malone dupes online, but if you’ve not actually purchased one, we’d implore you to give one a go before you dismiss them. At £3.50, they’re one of the cheapest scented candles on the market and the scents are surprisingly subtle, yet armed with staying powder. You can’t go wrong with Pomegranate, but the zestier Lime Basil & Mandarin also has a place in our hearts.