Best Emergency Candles – 2019 Buyer’s Guide

Since the invention of electricity, people have been fascinated with and reliant on its existence to provide light once the sun goes down. At one time, humans used to huddle around a central fire for warmth and protection.

Later, we learned to make candles and lived by their light during the nighttime darkness for centuries. But once Thomas Edison popularized indoor electricity, it all went downhill from there.

Now whenever the power goes out, many people are left without any way to light their homes—and even those that have backup lighting usually cannot sustain it for large lengths of time. That is where survival candles come in.

Comparison Chart of the Best Emergency Candles

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Coghlans 36 hour candle

  • Has 3 wicks per candle.
  • Affordable, safe, and lightweight.
  • Best overall which promises brighter light than most.
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Set of 9 Emergency Candles

  • A long burning time of 15 hours.
  • Manufactured from 100% high-grade cotton.
  • Runner up candle which comes in a pack of 9.
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Stonebriar Long Burning Tealight Candles

  • 200 candles in one pack.
  • Burning time is about 6 to 7 hours.
  • Best for the money, so you surely get your money’s worth.
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100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle - Set of 12

  • Makes use of liquid paraffin.
  • Best 100-hour emergency candle.
  • Each pack carries a set of 12 candles.
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Nuwick 120 Hour Candle

  • Provide a bright, even light.
  • Can be reused again and again.
  • Best 120-hour emergency candle, which burns for an impressive time.
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Zombie Candle

  • Made with 100% pure beeswax.
  • Custom solo wick with a ginned cotton included.
  • This candle has a burning time of almost 12 hours.
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SE Survival Candle

  • A long burning time of 36 hours.
  • Each candle has 3 wicks included.
  • Soy wax top layer and palm wax bottom layer.
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Qualities of a Survival Candle

When choosing the best emergency candles, there are a few things you have to take into consideration.

Candle Composition

Basically, what is the candle made out of? The obvious answer is wax, but that is just a “duh.” Everyone is familiar with the fact that candles are made from wax, but even within that broad category, you have to ask “what kind of wax?” This is where things get a bit trickier.

Most of the decorative candles or the ones you might find in people’s homes which don't really burn for all that long are actually made from a paraffin wax blend. These may look and smell nice, but they are garbage for survival situations.

They also produce soot and other potential toxins or allergens, depending on the blend. This can be bad news if you are in a small, enclosed space.

Instead, it is better to find candles made from either beeswax, soy wax, or even palm wax,  if you can. The three of these burn much longer than paraffin and generally do not give off any toxins, allergens, or soot, unless they are impure or blended with some other kind of wax or additive—this is especially a concern for soy wax, which is often sold as a blend. 

Wick Composition

If you have never really paid much attention to your candles, then you probably do not even know there are different kinds of wicks. However, among candle makers, it is relatively well-accepted that the candle’s burn qualities are more generally determined by the wick, not the wax.

The variety of materials used as candle wicks is too long to list, but today most candle wicks you find will be made of cotton. The main reason for this is that cotton more effectively absorbs the wax to provide a much longer burn and prevent the wick from just turning to ash.

Of course, nothing simple is ever good enough, so someone had to try to “improve” on what already works.

For example, wicks that have a zinc center are better at standing upright and will not bend or droop into the candle, but they are often used for waxes that do not burn as cleanly or as well. Paper core wicks burn very bright and hot. This is a wick which will give you an excellent amount of light, but like the zinc core wick, will not last as long.

So, if you want to make a big show of the short time you will survive, these are for you.

But the most effective wick, and the wick that is the favorite for many seasoned candle makers, is a braided wick of cotton and a special paper filament. These wicks provide the longest and most controlled burn. They also trim the wick as it burns, so it will not slip into the wax.  

Wick Construction

As mentioned before, veteran candle makers put more value in the wick as a means of controlling the candle than the wax.

Aside from what the wick is made out of, the way the wick is constructed will also greatly affect how the candle burns. There are generally four types of candle wick constructions.

-Flat Wicks

These are the most common types of wick found in numerous types of candles. They are generally made from three different bundles of cotton fibers and woven together.

They are flat-plaited or knitted together which allow the wick to curl into the flame and trim themselves—though, depending on the wick composition, this can cause them to droop into the wax before they have burned down. This construction is often found in pillar or taper candles.

This is a popular wick for garbage candles that are awful in survival situations. Think twice if you see your “survival” candle with one of these.

-Cored Wicks

These would be like the zinc or paper cored wicks mentioned in the composition section. These wicks will vary more depending on what they are made out of, but are usually braided.

Remember, a paper-cored wick will burn bright and hot, but not for very long. A zinc-cored wick would be preferable to a paper-cored for a long lasting burn. Cored wicks will not bend or droop into the wax, but they also do not necessarily trim themselves either.

This is essentially a bit fancy and serves no real added benefit for survival. If you are Snotty McMoneybags, then you may want your wick to have an unnecessary core.

-Square Wicks 

Square wicks are the best construction for the longest burn. If you are looking to survive, then this is the only choice for you.

These are a braided wick similar to the flat wick, but are thicker, which allows them to absorb more of the wax and burn for longer periods. The square wick design is also rounded a bit and curls into the flame.

These wicks are also a favorite for beeswax candles because they can help prevent the wick from clogging. Unless you are looking to become meat in a disaster, stick with this wick.

-Specialty Wick

This is more of a catch-all term for the other types of wicks that do not fit into any of the other categories mentioned above.

The wicks of oil lamps fit into this category as do the wicks in bug repellent candles.

You do not need to bother yourself with this wick since it will not help you survive, unless you just want to get cute and try to add a bug repellent to your survival candle. But if you are worried about bugs, chances are, you are not going to survive.

Quick Take: 
Our Top 3 Choices

In a hurry? Here's a snapshot of the Best Emergency Candles:

Review of the Best Emergency Candles

Now that you know a quick background, uses, and features of an emergency candle, listed below are the best emergency candles available today. A detailed review of each of their features and other similar information is mentioned for you to make a pick according to your own lighting needs.

Now that we've covered a bit of background info, let's get into the nitty-gritty. Below is our review of the best emergency candles of the year.

Coghlan's 36-Hour Survival Candle, 6-Ounce

Pros

  • Comes in a Metal Canister With a Cover for Protection
  • It Weighs About 6 Ounces, Making it Lightweight and Easy to Carry
  • This Candle Has 3 Wicks Per Candle, Which Means Much Brighter Light
  • Each Wick is Able to Burn up to 12 Hours, Which Means the Candle Can Last for a Total of 36 Hours
  • Comes With its Own Pack of Matches. This Can Potentially Be a Godsend if Your Other Emergency Supplies are Not Up to Snuff. 
  • 3 Wicks Allow a Variety of Options When Deciding How Much Light or Heat is Needed. 

Cons

  • Some People May Not Like This Product 
  • A Few Packets Lack the Additional Matches.
  • Emits Carbon Monoxide and Soot When Burning, Which is a Health Hazard
  • Unfortunately, This Candle Uses a Paraffin Wax
  • The Candle Does Not Provide Much Heat or Light With Only a Single Wick Burning

What Recent Buyers Report 

Multiple users consider this candle to be a great option in case of emergencies, such as a power outage during storms. They are extremely handy and good for carrying along on travels or for keeping in the car due to their fairly small size. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The three wicks on this candle make it shine, literally. As each wick can last up to 12 hours, you can use each wick individually and get total use of 36 hours. With all three wicks burning simultaneously, it is possible to heat up a small bowl of soup in about fifteen minutes. It takes less time to heat up a cup of coffee. Also, all three wicks can provide enough light to read by.This means the candle will last for a long time without having to worry about the dark or cold. And that is what we liked most about these. However, three wicks meansdepending on how you set it up, you may only get 12 hours of burn time.  This means you will have to weigh your option about what is more important. Do you need minimal amounts of heat and/or light available or do you need more heat or light at a given moment?

Coghlans is a company that specializes in outdoor equipment and outdoor accessories. Whether you are going on a camping trip or just out hiking for the day, they produce a wide range of products which may be of use to you.

Since Mother Nature generally does not come with electricity, except during a rainstorm—and you do not want any of that—they also provide candles that can be used for different purposes.This survival candle is a solid entry for a bugout bag.

It comes in an aluminum tin, which makes setting it up and keeping the candle’s flame under control easy. Also, when you want or need to snuff the flame, all you have to do is put the lid on top of the candle.

It states that it weighs six ounces, but with the tin added, it is over seven. One nice little bonus is that this candle comes with its own pack of matches that fit nicely between the three wicks located at the edge of the tin. However, it should be noted that apparently, sometimes the matches are not found in all purchases, but that is likely more a processing or packaging issue and should not be considered a major risk.

This candle uses paraffin wax. That means a few things. First, the candle will not burn as cleanly as one would generally like. Moreover, as the paraffin burns, it may release fumes that can cause discomfort or affect someone with allergies. This is especially important if you are in a small space that is not well-ventilated.

Who Will Use This Most 

This candle is a great emergency tool and one can take it anywhere they like. These candles are particularly good for outdoors and can be used for light, heat, or even heating up meals when you’re out camping, fishing, on an RV trip, or stranded in your car. 

Bottom Line

In all, this three-wick candle by Coghlans is a good option when it comes to survival candles. It is compact, efficient, and easy to use. Moreover, it does not even cost a lot and hence, can even be bought in bulk. 

Set of 9 Emergency Utility Candles in Rustic Design and Taper Pillar Shape 7'x1' Unscented Household Candlesticks

Pros

  • Scentless and Dripless to Prevent Mess
  • They Are Available in Many Different Colors
  • Set of Nine 7” Candles That Will Last a Long Time
  • Each Candle Has a Long Burning Time of 15 Hours
  • The Wicks are Coated With Wax for Smokeless Burning

Cons

  • The Wicks Tend to Put Themselves Out Quickly
  • The Color of the Candles Appears to be Different Than in Pictures

What Recent Buyers Report

Numerous buyers enjoy using this product. They like the fact that these candles are scentless, which is often an issue in crowds and gatherings. Moreover, dripless candles also save users from the extra effort of cleaning, which is always great. A lot of users liked how they had a smooth texture and burned beautifully.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us, the most liked feature of this item is that it comes in multiple gorgeous colors. With such a large variety, everyone is bound to find a color that goes with their room décor or looks good at their party. This way, almost everyone is able to find a set of candles they will like.

Who Will Use This Most

These candles are suitable for a number of purposes. These look great for decorating a room, on party tables, in restaurants, or even as emergency candles. They are easy, quick to light up, and burn evenly for hours, providing light for long periods of time.

Bottom Line 

These candles are another good, yet cheap, option amongst the many different kinds of emergency candles available today. Not only do they carry out their function well but also look good, which is an added benefit.

Stonebriar Tea Light Candles, 200 pack, White

Pros

  • The Tin Holder is Recyclable
  • This is a 100% Cotton, Lead-Free Wick Candle
  • Each Candle Has a Long Burn Time of 6-7 Hours
  • There are 200 Candles in Each Packet
  • Tealight Candles Come Safely Packed in Protective Boxes

Cons

  • They Are Too Small 
  • The Candles Tend to Be Damaged During Delivery
  • Due to Damaged Candles, the Burning Time Tends to Vary

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers liked that these are clean-burning tealight candles that can be used anywhere and everywhere. There are also 200 candles in each packet, which makes it a good bargain for the price you pay. However, a few people do seem to complain about how they tend to get smashed during shipping.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a clean-burning candle set, which means it produces no harmful byproducts that can be of potential danger to health. As a result, this is a product that is largely preferred over other similar products that usually produce harmful byproducts.

Who Will Use This Most

This item can be used by almost everyone in a variety of different situations. Not only do they make for great emergency candles for power outages but also are good as decorations. They can also be used as room warmers, as they produce enough heat to warm small spaces.

Bottom Line

These are a good, environmentally-friendly option for people to use. They are also quite cheap, which makes them affordable for almost everyone. In addition, you get about 200 units on buying one packet, which is a good deal.

Best 100-Hour Emergency Candle: 
100-Hour Plus Emergency Candle – Set of 12

100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle, Clear Mist - Set of 12 Survival Candles

Pros

  • There are 12 Candles in Each Pack
  • A Compact and Lightweight Set of Candles
  • Storage Caps Included Prevent Messy Spills
  • Each One is Able to Last for About 100 Hours
  • They Contain Liquid Paraffin for Clean, Odorless Burning

Cons

  • The Wick is Small and Requires You to Pull Out
  • Not Everyone May Like the Design of This Product

What Recent Buyers Report 

These 100-Hours Plus Emergency Candles are really liked by people due to being a cheaper option for longer power outages. Not only are such candles cheap but they also help users save money on batteries for flashlights. Moreover, they also burn cleanly and are therefore, not hazardous. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The unique feature of this item is that it can last for over 100 hours. This means you can rely on a single stick alone when you’re stuck in an emergency and even use them again and again. Moreover, they also burn evenly and brightly, providing you with enough light and warmth. 

Who Will Use This Most 

People who need an option for their stash of emergency lighting should definitely choose these. All they need to do is keep a book of matches close to the candle in case of an emergency. 

Bottom Line 

The 100-Hour Plus Candles are an overall great option as a survival candle. They last for a long time, burn without smoke or unpleasant odor, as well as being a much cheaper alternative. All of these qualities make for a worthy product. 

Best 120-Hour Emergency Candle: 
Nuwick 120-Hour Candle

Nuwick 120 Hour Candle

Pros

  • They Have a Clean, Odorless Burning
  • The Candles Burn Brightly and Evenly for a Long Time
  • This Candle Can Last for a Long Time, Over 120 Hours
  • The Packet Contains Tweezers, as Well as a Book of Matches
  • They Come With Multiple Wicks That You Can Add as Needed

Cons

  • They Are Difficult to Use and Have Additional Steps
  • The Candles Require the Wicks to Be Attached to the Wax Before Being Lit, Which Can Take Some Time in an Emergency

What Recent Buyers Report

Plenty of buyers like using this product because of its long burning time. Moreover, it also burns cleanly and doesn’t have a strong smell that is often an issue to certain users. These candles make for a great survival candle and many users consider it a must-have option for an emergency bag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The long burning time of 120 hours is the best part of this product. This means you can go on and on using it for a long time before it runs out and you need to light a new one. It makes for a great survival candle in times of need, as it burns for bright and for long.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a safe, clean-burning product, which makes it easy to use for everyone. Almost everyone who needs an emergency candle in times of blackouts can go with this as their option. It is a reliable unit that will last for a long time without causing any issues.

Bottom Line

In short, this 120-hour candle by Nuwick is a great option for people looking for long-lasting units. This option is not only cheap and safe but also saves the users from frequent trips to the supermarket to get survival candles that tend to run out quickly.

Zombie Tinder Extreme Survival Candle - Over 12 Hours of Total Burn Time - Easy Light Wick - Spark Light

Pros

  • It is Able to Burn for a Long Time of 12 Hours
  • It is Cheap and Compact, Making it Easy to Carry
  • It is Composed of 100% Pure Beeswax to Ensure Clean Burning
  • A Custom Solo Wick is Enough to Give Off Maximum Light and Heat
  • The Item Comes in a Tin Container With a Screw-On Lid to Prevent Spills

Cons

  • The Design of This Product May Not Be Liked by Everyone
  • The Lid of the Container Often Does Not Screw Tightly in Place

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users like the idea of this product and consider it as an item that needs to be added to their bushcraft kits. It burns for a quite long time and has clean, aromatic burning. The pack is also small and compact, making it easy to store and carry around.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Zombie Candle is slightly different from other similar products because, instead of lighting it with a match, it comes with a ginned cotton that does the trick. All it requires is to be placed on the wick and sparked and the candle will burn in no time.

Who Will Use This Most

The Zombie Tinder Survival Candle is an ideal choice for bushcrafters and emergency preppers. It comes in handy when you are in need of light, as it burns with a beautiful bright flame. Due to the flame transferring to the wick during burning, it also makes for sustainable combustion.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Zombie Tinder Survival Candle is another good option to consider. Although it doesn’t last as long and only stays lit for 12 hours, it can surely be good for short periods of blackouts. It is also a safe and clean alternative, which is always good.

SE Survivor Series 3-Wick 36-Hour Emergency Candle

Pros

  • Lightweight and Compact for Easy Handling.
  • A Bottom Palm Wax Layer Makes for Long Burning 
  • Each Candle Has 3 Wicks With Each Lasting for 12 Hours
  • Comes in a Water-Resistant, Reusable Aluminum Tin
  • A Top Soy Wax Layer Ensures Cleaner Burning With Less Soot 
  • Also, if You Can Make Your Own Wicks, You Can Get Some Extra Life Out of the Naturally Slow-Burning Palm and Soy Wax Blend
  • The 3 Wicks Allow a Good Variety of Options for Light or Heat 
  • Made of Palm and Soy

Cons

  • The Burning Time is Not Consistent With Each Product
  • Does Not Come in a Very Presentable Package
  • The Wax Liquefies and Causes the Wick to Drown and Cease Burning
  • Tin is Smaller in Diameter Which Means You Will Not Be Able to Stow Matchers in Your Tin
  • Does Not Come With Something to Aid in Lghting it, Like Most Other Options

What Recent Buyers Report

Although there are buyers that really liked this item, there are also a few users who are not fully satisfied. The biggest complaint regarding this product is its inconsistency to stay lit for the promised 36 hours and the candle burning out in a much shorter time. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This product contains two kinds of waxes. The top layer is a soy wax, which makes sure the candle burns cleanly and produces little to no pollutants. It also has a bottom layer of palm wax that is renowned for being the longest burning vegetable wax. Some soy blends carry pollutants, toxins, or allergens. However, both palm and soy wax burn cleanly. This means these candles can be used in confined areas that do not necessarily have the best ventilation. Moreover, people who are sensitive to soot or are allergic to paraffin do need to worry about this candle causing them problems.

SE is not a company like Coghlans that specializes in outdoor equipment, though they do offer a wide variety of those products as well. Of course, just like the Coghlans' candle, using the three wicks comes at a cost of total burn time. This means you will have to decide whether you need more or less light and heat.

Of course, SE also offers a survival candle. This candle has some of the same benefits as the Coghlans'. It comes in an aluminum tin which makes controlling the flame easier. The tin also prevents the wax from spilling and even adds a built-in flame snuffer with the lid. However, the SE candle does not come with matches, so you will need to start the flame some other way.The Coghlans' comes with matches and, as previously mentioned, is even designed to accommodate their storage. As you will see, the Zombie Tinder also comes with a lighting aid. This is a distinct disadvantage for the SE Survival Candle.

Also similar to the Coghlans', the SE comes with three wicks which allows you to determine how much light or heat you get at any given time with a maximum of 36 hours or a minimum of 12. This gives you the ability to customize the amount of heat or light you want at any given time. If you are looking to do some light cooking or need the candle’s light to guide you by or perhaps even ight for a bit of reading, the three wicks will allow you to do so. Also, the SE candle’s tin is taller and has a smaller diameter than the Coghlans, but both weigh about seven ounces. .

Who Will Use This Most 

This is perfect for emergencies when you need light quickly to prevent stumbling around the dark. It is an item that should be included for disaster preparedness, survival uses, etc. It is also good for campers, hunters, backpackers, and all those who often find themselves outdoors in the dark

Bottom Line

Although it is a clean and affordable option, it is not fully reliable in terms of its burning time. Therefore, if you need something that works for long periods of time, this may not be the best choice out there. 

Zombie Tinder Extreme Survival Candle - Over 12 Hours of Total Burn Time - Easy Light Wick - Spark Light

Pros

  • The Beeswax Provides a Solid Burn
  • The Ginned Cotton Swab is Pretty Cool 

Cons

  • The 12-Hour Burn Time is Almost Unacceptable.

What Recent Buyers Report

You would think with a name like Zombie Tinder, this would be a bad product made by silly people. However, this candle is serious business. Zombie Tinder also offers a number of products for starting or maintaining fires including flint and steel strikers for those of you who are looking to go at it old-school style.

However, for a company that seems focused on providing outdoor-oriented fire products, it is a bit surprising that the Zombie Tinder Survival Candle only provide a maximum of 12 hours of flame. That is not even a full day. There is one potential saving grace in that the Zombie Tinder is much smaller than the other two candles. However, this is still a con since it means you would actually have to buy two of these candles to account for the size of the other two, and then you would still be 12 hours shy of maximum light.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

First, it comes in a tin like the others, but the top screws to maintain a tight grip even under duress. Also, while it does not boast the palm wax of the SE candle, it does do better than the Coghlans' paraffin by using 100-percent beeswax. It will not last quite as long as the SE candle, but will burn just as cleanly. Again, you will have no problem using this in a confined space with little to no ventilation. Moreover, people with allergies to paraffin or who are sensitive to toxins found in other types of wax need not worry.

Who Will Use This Most 

This is perfect for people with allergies who need emergency lighting in case of an emergency. If finding matches or a lighter is an issue, the ginned wick is extremely convenient.

Bottom Line

Finally, it does not come with matches, but the Zombie Tinder candle does come with a ginned cotton swab to make lighting it easier. Simply mold the cotton swab around the wick and any reasonable spark will light the candle.The matches of the Coghlans' candle are nice, but they do not necessarily guarantee the matches will work when needed. If you are in an incredibly windy area or they get wet, they are little more than useless. With the ginned cotton swab, any spark producing strike will light the candle right up.

Pros and Cons of Emergency Candles

Emergency candles come in handy in times of major or minor emergencies. They also have a lot more uses, which makes them a great deal for the consumer. At the same time, there are also a few cons that one should be aware of before making use of these. 

Pros

  • Most survival candles, just like in this review, are inexpensive and can be easily purchased from any store.
  • They help save money as you no longer need to spend yours on batteries and flashlights
  • Do not rely on any kind of power source such as electricity and can function for a long time. 
  • Become really helpful in case of an EMP event. 

Cons

  • Constant potential fire hazard and need to be handled with care. 
  • Light produced by an individual candle may not be very bright and may require multiple units to light up a room properly.
  • They blow out easily with a strong gust of wind and would require lighting again. 

Conclusion

Each of these candles has its benefits and disadvantages. Being able to get the candle started easily is a big advantage. The matches of the Coghlans' and the ginned cotton swab of the Zombie Tinder do that each in their own way.

However, any survivalist worth his weight in gear will already have something to start the fire. In this case, it is almost impossible to discount the 36-hour burn time provided by both the Coghlans' and the SE. Of course, if you are looking for a good, clean burn that will not aggravate someone with allergies or a sensitivity to paraffin, The Zombie Tinder and SE Candle stand out.

Still, when all things are considered, the superior wax of the SE Survival Candle, with its potential to provide more burn time than either of the others has to ultimately take the prize for the best emergency candles. Because when it is do or die, every extra second of light or heat can be the difference between going home or going into the ground.

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