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Cotton Wick vs. Wooden Wick Candles

This candle gift set may be your solution.

You might only think about scent when you think of candles. But did you know that a candle can have more character beyond its fragrance?

A wooden wick candle can also have a gentle, naturally-occurring sound. Mini campfire, anyone? 🏕️

That’s the power of a wooden wick candle.

How do candle wicks work?

The wick is the lifeline of any candle.

It draws the melted wax to the candle flame, and the flame, in turn, vaporizes the fragrance and essential oils in the candle wax. This is how a scented candle exudes aroma.

Unlike a cotton wick candle, a wooden wick candle can add another dimension to your experience.

Spoken Flames exclusively makes wooden wick candles. So let us tell you more about the allure of and the difference between a cotton wick versus a wooden wick candle.


Here’s 5 reasons why a candle gift set makes the perfect gift:

The Tale of Two Candle Wicks: Cotton Wicks vs. Wooden Wicks

Cotton wicks and wooden wicks are the two most common types of candle wicks. Cotton wicks are processed wicks, if you will. They are made from braided cotton or synthetic fibers.

Because cotton wicks are otherwise limp, a core stiffener or a wax coating is typically added to a cotton wick to help bond the fibers and enforce the cotton wick structure.

Lead used to be added in the center of cotton wicks to help them stand up straighter and burn better.1 The problem was that the lead vaporized into the air where it was inhaled.

In the early 2000s, the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) had to effectively ban the use of lead in cotton wicks after some candles sold on the market were found to still contain lead-core wicks, despite a voluntary, self-regulating industry agreement set 30 years prior.2 Other cotton wick core stiffeners, such as paper and synthetic fibers, are still used today.3

Wooden wicks are all-natural, untreated, and come directly from trees. The natural composition of each wooden wick means its structure is rigid and does not require additives or coatings for straightening.

Some candlemakers may soak wooden wicks in oil or wax, but Spoken Flames simply uses wooden wicks in their pure form: 100% natural and not processed in any way. They are non-toxic, clean-burning, and are sourced and manufactured in the USA from FSC-certified Mills.

The FSC, short for Forest Stewardship Council, is an independent, non-profit organization that protects forests for future generations. It’s considered the gold standard in certification for responsible use of forest products.


Spoken Flames candles augmented reality feature

Wooden Wicks are Complex & All-Natural

The majority of candle brands have cotton wicks. From a manufacturing perspective, it’s easier and less expensive to make candles with cotton wicks.

It takes more time to test wooden wicks across various fragrance combinations; there are more variables to consider. Some profit-hungry companies prefer scale and want quantity over quality, so it’s not in their best interest to offer wooden wick candles.

Spoken Flames handcrafts each wooden wick candle in-house at our Brooklyn studio. We use a custom wick width that works perfectly for our wax blend and re-test the wick when introducing new fragrances.

But here’s the thing: it took us 18 months to nail the perfect wooden wick width and thickness for our all-natural coconut wax blend.

Wooden wick candles can be intricate. We’re dealing with an organically formed component cut straight from the natural wood. Wooden wicks can also burn too hot, particularly in wax blends with soft waxes like coconut wax. So, it takes relentless testing to ensure the wax blend and the fragrance loads work with the respective wooden wick.

It’s a lot of work, but at Spoken Flames we value the quality of your experience and the beauty of a softly crackling wooden wick. The extra TLC is worth it.

Wooden Wick Candles Have More Character

Traditional cotton wick candles can be, quite frankly, boring. The flame on a cotton wick unlocks the scent. That’s all. But with wooden wick candles, not only is fragrance unlocked by the flame, but the flame interacts with the molecules of the wood.

A natural (and safe) wood combustion occurs which ultimately creates the soft crackling sound that the wooden wick is known for! Sometimes it’s a gentle hiss or tapping sound, and sometimes the “beat” and volume of the wood crackle varies.

The natural makeup of the wood and its pores creates a truly unique experience, all of which adds to the allure of lighting a wooden wick candle.

Fun fact: a wooden wick creates a unique, horizontal, teardrop-shaped flame, too!


Lighting a wooden wick candle is like having a mini campfire or fireplace in your space. This natural ambiance is unmatched by a cotton wick candle. It adds character, and the sound is an added sensory bonus.

Never heard a wooden wick crackle? Get a sneak peek of this ambient sound.

The Best Candles Have Wooden Wicks

New York Magazine’s The Strategist recently published an exclusive list of 14 Best In Class candles. And guess which was the only wooden wick candle brand that made this list: Spoken Flames! 

What Makes a Great Candle Gift?

To choose the best candle gift, you should consider the quality and complexity of its fragrance, the blend of candle wax used, burn time, and production quality (where and how it was made).

Conscious shopping is in. No more mystery ingredient, low-cost candles mass-produced at mystery factories.

The less-expensive candles you may see at mass merchandise stores are made with lower-cost materials, which may contain toxic ingredients and are mass-produced by machine. From our own research and speaking with our equally passionate manufacturers, using cotton wicks also helps drive down their costs.

So, if you’re looking for a high-quality candle gift, consider a candle from a brand that doesn’t skimp on the quality of materials or production (including the wicks!) and is transparent about where their products are made. And, most importantly, consider a wooden wick candle!


Go Beyond The Scent

The ambiance, the soft crackle, that unique teardrop-shaped flame — a wooden wick candle allows you to go beyond the scent.

Are you ready for the experience of a wooden wick candle?

Spoken Flames candle gift sets

6. Candles can help increase focus in a work from home environment

The rise in WFH and remote work means our workspaces are full of comforts—and distractions. But why would anyone light a candle at their work desk? To keep those distractions at bay. From chatty co-workers (albeit via Slack) to social media, candles are a thoughtful corporate gift that can help us focus and create space for us to do our best work.

Consider it a productivity hack. 💡

The presence of a candle flame can set a calming mood. Wooden wick candles in particular have a unique soft-crackling sound, which can serve as natural and relaxing ambient sound in one’s space. Plus, select scent profiles, like citrus, woody or a floral scent of a scented candle can influence physiological responses that help keep the mind on track.

7. Candles can be an environmentally responsible gift choice

First, it‘s a candle, next it’s their favorite whiskey glass. 🥃

Depending on the candle’s vessel, most candle jars can be upcycled after the burn cycle of the candle. It can be used as storage, glassware and more, so you can feel good knowing that your gift will keep on giving! And your candle gift (once upcycled) can be a pleasant reminder, if not a conversation piece in their home, of your thoughtfulness.

A candle gift set solves my gifting needs—but wait! I don’t know what candle scent they may like 😟

Bonus tip: How to pick a candle scent for a gift

So a candle gift set meets your needs, but you’re not sure what scents they like 😟 Pro tip: consider an unscented candle or a gift set that offers a variety of scents.

The unique thing about Spoken Flames’ Trio Sets is that each candle gift set has a variety of scents with great range—from woody, citrus and floral in our F, Yes Collection, for example.

Your gift recipient would never get bored, and it increases your chances for satisfaction with a broad range of scents in their hands.

Because Spoken Flames candles are message-driven, our motivating candle statements (even without scent) mean that you’ll still win big with this meaningful gifting choice!

Spoken Flames candle gift set with green ribbon
Spoken Flames candle gift set with green ribbon

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