The 8 Best Soy Candles of 2021

Discover our favorite plant-based candles

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
Sanari Candles at Amazon
Made in California, these eco-friendly candles combine coconut wax and soy wax for a clean burn.
Thoughtful ingredients like essential oils create relaxing scents like lemon-verbena, lavender, peony, basil, and honeysuckle.
These scents are inspired by literature, and feature bold ingredients like saffron and pepper.
Topped with colorful dried flowers, these candles from Ritual + Fancy are great conversation starters.
Best with Essential Oils:
Slow North Candles at Slownorth.com
Slow North only uses essential oils for its candle fragrance combinations, like eucalyptus and lavender or geranium and rose.
Best for Gift Giving:
Homesick Candles at Uncommon Goods
Give a candle reminding your loved one a reminder of a special time or place.
These candles come in cool reusable and recyclable glass vessels and are scented with essential oils.
Enjoy eco-friendly candles from great artisans across the U.S. with Vellabox.

We all love candles, whether for gift giving, making our own home smell nice, or as lighting for a relaxing bath. But candles can be filled with harsh chemicals, and the soot from candles can contain particles of lead, zinc, and tin. Certain candle ingredients can also be harmful when burned, potentially filling a room with carcinogenic toxins. 

Candles made from paraffin are some of the worst you can buy, containing toxins and bleached and treated with carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene. Paraffin is also a byproduct of petroleum, and a non-renewable resource that litters air with pollutants. Usually, paraffin candles come with a cheaper price tag, but it’s best to avoid them for their harmful effects. Beeswax candles can also be risky, as bees can be mistreated during the process and beeswax is not vegan or plant based. That means the best choice for many people is soy wax candles, which are made from hydrogenated soybean oil and are vegan. Some may also be blended with other plant-based waxes, like coconut. 

There are concerns about pesticide on soybean crops, so consider looking for soy candles made from certified organic or non-GMO options. Also be wary of brands that mix soy wax with paraffin or beeswax. 

Discover our favorite soy candles:

Best Overall: Sanari Candles

Sanari Candle

Made in California, these eco-friendly candles combine coconut wax and soy wax for a clean burn. The coconuts used are organic and sustainable, and the soy is GMO-free and free from harmful pesticides and herbicides. The blend is naturally biodegradable, and ingredients come from organic farms. Pure essential oils create full, rich scents like ylang ylang, tangerine, pink grapefruit, Persian lime, and Douglas fir, and unbleached and untreated cotton wicks mean no harmful chemicals or toxins enter the air as you burn your candle.

The company also gets points for its packaging, which uses tree-free recycled paper and soy ink, and for its glass containers, which are both recycled and 100 percent recyclable. For a woodsy, masculine scent, try the Bosco candle, which combines Douglas fir, pine, mint, and a touch of grapefruit. Or go for the Sanam, bursting with pomegranate, jasmine, and rose petals for a floral aroma reminiscent of summertime.

Best Value: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Scented Soy Aromatherapy Candle

Mrs. Meyer's Candle

You’ve probably seen the brand at your local grocery store or even boutique shops, but Mrs. Meyer’s produces a respectably eco-friendly product at a low price. These candles are made from soy, vegetable, and cottonseed wax, and have lead-free cotton wicks. The smaller candles will burn for around 25 hours, and the larger candles burn for around 35 hours.

The cruelty-free formula means you don’t have to worry about any animal testing, and thoughtful ingredients like essential oils create relaxing scents like lemon-verbena, lavender, peony, basil, and honeysuckle. The recyclable glass candle jars can be re-used after the candle is done burning, or give the candles as an Earth-friendly gift. Recyclable packaging rounds out this sweet value.

Best Splurge: Ellis Brooklyn Candles

Ellis Brooklyn Raven Candle

Hand-poured in recycled, lead-free, and handmade glass containers, Ellis Brooklyn candles are made in upstate New York using a domestic soy wax blend. The candle’s wick is made from hemp, which is more sustainable than cotton, and burn between 50 to 60 hours. The scents are inspired by literature and legends, and feature bold ingredients like saffron and pepper.

The “Pseudonym” candle was inspired by the D.H. Lawrence poem “Figs,” and includes notes of Capri fig plus jasmine, pepper, and sandalwood for a mysterious scent. “Raven,” made from peony and patchouli, is named for the bird’s storied history throughout literature, from Edgar Allen Poe’s dark tales to the way Native Americans interpreted ravens on totem poles.

Best Wood Wick: Ritual + Fancy Glass Tumbler Candle

Ritual + Fancy Vegan Candle

Topped with colorful dried flowers, these candles from Ritual + Fancy are great conversation starters, especially as scents like “Ginger Bouquet” and “Bazaar” (eucalyptus, mint, vetiver, bergamot, clove, patchouli, amber, and cedar) fill the room. The hand-poured candles are made in Portland, Oregon in small batches with 100 percent vegan soy wax, slow-burning wooden wicks, and pure essential oils.

These candles are free from phthalates, lead, dyes, parabens, and other harsh additives, and fragrances are derived from sustainably sourced, therapeutic-grade essential oils and botanicals. They are poured into recyclable glass containers, and the company is POC owned and woman owned.

Best with Essential Oils: Slow North Candles

Slow North Candle

Slow North chooses to strictly use essential oils for their candle fragrances, as essential oils are a natural, renewable resource that doesn’t contain chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution. The candles are made from soy wax, free from artificial dyes, and contain lead-free cotton wicks. They’re also hand-poured in the U.S. and topped with sustainable cork lids.

Scents include eucalyptus and lavender, geranium and rose, grapefruit and spearmint, lavender and cedar, lemongrass and tangerine, orange and clove, patchouli and cedar, and other fun combinations like “Midnight Garden:” lavender, rosemary, geranium, and frankincense. To reuse your glass candle holder after the wax is gone, simply soak in hot water until the remaining wax is melted, throw out the wax and wick, and wipe clean.

Best for Gift Giving: Homesick Candles

Homesick Candles

For those wanting to remember special moments with friends and family, Homesick Candles offers more than 200 different products that represent all of those lifetime memories. Want to send a friend a candle reminding them of home or your loved one a reminder of the night you first met? There’s a candle for it.

Homesick has a candle for all 50 U.S. states, multiple cities and countries, and even scents that invoke special occasions like “Book Club” (orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, sandalwood, vanilla, balsam, and amber) and “Friday Night Football” (grass, leather, lemon, popcorn, cedarwood, musk, dirt, and steel). All candles are made with a soy wax blend with 100 percent organic cotton wicks and contain no lead, plastics, parabens, phthalates, or synthetic dyes.

Best Recyclable: Out-of-Doors Candles Tioga Woods

Out of Doors Candles Tioga Woods

Create a cozy space with scents like “Tioga Woods” and “Log Cabin.” These candles come in cool reusable and recyclable glass vessels and are scented with essential oils. The GMO-free soy wax has no toxins or pollutants and can burn for 40-plus hours. A lead-free cotton wick also means no harsh chemicals enter your sacred space, and candles are all hand-poured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For every product purchased, United by Blue removed one pound of trash from oceans and waterways, and to date, more than 2 million pounds of trash has been removed. The company also notes all products are made in Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified factories from sustainable materials.

Best Subscription: Vellabox Candles

Vellabox subscription

Want to try some eco-friendly candles from great artisans all across the U.S.? Vellabox is a monthly candle subscription that sends you small-batch, natural candles from makers who emphasize clean production. There are three different candle sizes to choose from, and all products sent are made from natural ingredients like soy wax, coconut wax, vegetable wax, cotton wicks, and essential oils.

You’ll never find parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes, or animal byproducts from Vellabox’s candle makers, and each month you’ll get to experience a different candle from a different creator. You can skip a month whenever you please or cancel at any time; There’s no commitment. Vellabox also uses minimalistic packaging without bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or unnecessary waste.

Final Verdict

We love Sanari candles (view at Amazon) for their commitment to clean ingredients, recyclable materials, and eco-friendly packaging in addition to their top-notch scents. The Ritual + Fancy candles (view at Made Trade) are also a favorite because of their beautiful look, satisfying scents, and safe ingredients.

Why Trust Treehugger

Treehugger is committed to help our readers reduce the environmental impact of our day-to-day lives. Author Amanda Ogle is a veteran reporter who loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. She is a candle connoisseur and loves finding candles that not only smell excellent, but are safe for her home.