Guide to the 5 Best Church Candles

Editor’s Choice

133102: Unbreakable Sanctuary Lights, Box of 24
  • It can last more than the typical days that it would last 
  • Made of excellent-quality beeswax that makes for its dependability
  • Ideal to use for sanctuaries where continuous candle burn is needed

Best Overall

115675: Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles, 480
  • It can accommodate a large church gathering or religious service 
  • The candles also come with drip protectors 
  • It comes with six usher candles and one pastor’s candle

Budget-Friendly

1946X: 50 Congregation Candles with Reusable Plastic Holders
  • The candles light very quickly and can last for an hour or so 
  • The drip guards are easy to put together and reusable 
  • The size of the candles is big enough that they can be used again for another occasion

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best church candles, then I’d recommend the Will & Baumer Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles as the best one.

Have you ever wondered why we light church candles during religious events or occasions? Is there more to the act of lighting them? Is there a meaning to the burning flame of the candle? Let’s look at the significance of church candles and unpack the meaning and importance of their light

Here are the best Church Candles we will be reviewing:

What are Church Candles?

Church candles or altar candles are candles used for religious ceremonies. They are usually set or placed near altars. Different church congregations or denominations use them for various purposes. Usually, certain traditions and meanings are observed when these church candles are lit and put out or extinguished during religious services. 

What are Church Candles for?

Church candles are for different purposes. The most common one would be for the intention of praying for something or someone. Christian congregations usually light church candles for this purpose. The person who lights the candle offers up a prayer for someone or himself, usually at an altar or before a statue of Jesus or a saint (in Catholic churches)

What are Church Candles Made of?

Church candles are made of wax, and they can be of different types. They can either be made of beeswax, soy wax, or paraffin. The melting point and how fast the candle melts or burns depend on how it’s made. Sometimes paraffin is mixed with waxes of other types, such as vegetable wax or beeswax, to obtain the toughness needed for the candle.

What are the Types of Church Candles for Different Occasions?

Different church candles are lit depending on the occasion or religious event. Let’s take a look at how they differ from each other.  

Candle for baptism or baptismal candle

The baptismal candle signifies the light of the world who is Jesus Christ (John 8:12) and is lit from the Easter Candle. It represents Christ, who is the light that guides every person baptized. The baptism candle also signifies the flame or light of faith that should be kept brightly burning. 

The baptism candle is handed over to the godparents or the parents in a Catholic tradition. This symbolizes how they should also accompany the child being baptized in growing in faith. 

Wedding candle

Wedding candles, also known as unity candles, symbolize or signify the union of two people into the bond of marriage. The use of these candles is relatively new to wedding ceremonies, and there is no mention of it in the Bible. Some churches prohibit using this candle. It is advised to check with the pastor before incorporating this in the order of the wedding ceremony. 

Memorial or funeral candles

Memorial or funeral candles are lit for a loved one or loved ones who passed away. Like the Roman Catholic Church, some churches practice lighting memorial candles for the dead. It is usually accompanied by praying for the soul of the departed. However, this tradition, especially with the belief of helping the dead to their journey to heaven, is not biblical. It is why some churches and Christian congregations focus on praying for the grieving family members and loved ones left by the departed to show compassion and care during their time of grief.

Easter candle

The Easter candle has a long and sacred past, more commonly known as the Paschal. It is made of beeswax, which symbolizes Christ’s purity, the wick represents His humanity, and the burning flame signifies Jesus’ divine nature. 

It remains in its unique candle stand in the sanctuary for the entire 50 days of the season of Easter and is lit during all of the season’s liturgical services. 

Tabernacle Candle or Sanctuary Candle

The Tabernacle Candle is more commonly known as the Sanctuary Candle or Lamp. They signify the Blessed Sacrament’s presence in the tabernacle. This holy command goes back to the time of Exodus 27:20-21, where God gave the directive to keep the lamps or lights burning before the Lord from evening until morning. It is to be a lasting command even for future generations. These sanctuary candles are usually designed to last or burn for 7-14 days straight. 

Votive candles

Votive candles are commonly used in Roman Catholic Church. Those who light these candles are said to be offering both prayer and praise to God. Its fire represents genuine love and its ability to burn for a long time signifies that our requests, cares, worship, and prayers last long after leaving the church. The candle’s burning also conveys our value offering to God: our time, resources, praises, heart, etc.

Advent candles

Advent candles represent Jesus, the Light of the world, as they brightly burn amidst the darkness. The most common tradition used is where the candles are put on top or around the advent wreath. The colors of the candles differ, depending on the practice. Each candle is lit on the four Sundays that lead to Christmas. 

Three candles are often purple or red (1st, 2nd, and 4th), and one is rose-colored (the 3rd candle). In other traditions, all of the candles are white or blue. Each of these candles symbolizes different things. 

The first candle is also called the “Prophet’s candle,” symbolizing hope. The second candle is also called the “Bethlehem’s candle,” representing faith. The third one called the “Shepherd’s candle,” signifies joy; and the fourth candle represents peace and is called the “Angel’s candle.” Sometimes, a fifth candle is added to symbolize purity and light, and it is called “Christ’s candle.”

Candlemas candles

These candles are lit during the procession of Candlemas, a Christian festival called the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. It is a remembrance of when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple and met Simeon, the prophet. He then prophesied that Jesus would be a light to the world (Luke 2: 25-35). 

Why are Church Candles Significant?

Church candles are significant because lighting them holds a deeper and more valuable meaning. Lighting up a candle manifests a person’s faith in God. 

What is the meaning of lighting church candles?

The meaning of lighting church candles shows a relationship and devotion of a person to the Lord. There is that silent prayer and conversation with God whenever a person lights up a candle. The candle’s flame also symbolizes the passion of devotion to Christ, burning inside us, Christians. 

The light of the candles also serves as a reminder that God’s light shines through amid darkness. It gives hope that God’s light and presence are with them no matter what situation they face.

When Should the Church Candles be Lit?

Lighting a church candle depends on which candles you will light up. It would depend on the occasion and the purpose. For example, Advent candles are being lighted one at a time. A new one is lit up each Sunday that leads up to Christmas. Church candles often lit up are votive candles since they are for prayer intentions. 

Where are Church Candles Placed?

Most church candles are placed on altars or near them for religious ceremonies. They may sit directly on the altar. Sometimes, they are placed in tall stands behind the altar or to its side. Different church congregations have traditions or regulations concerning how many and which type of candles are used and if they are lit or extinguished during the church services.

What are church candle stands called?

Church candle stands are known or called votive holders. The word “votive” signifies that something is offered or set apart to fulfill a promise or vow. It also symbolizes the prayer that is being lifted for one’s self or someone else. 

What is a votive candle holder?

A votive candle holder or votive stand comes in different forms, shapes, and sizes. They can be standalone, or tabletop stands. 

What does the votive candle station symbolize?

The votive candle station in a church is a space dedicated to people who want to pray privately or with a companion. Lighting a candle, in Christianity, means offering a prayer intention. 

How to Care for and Keep Church Candles

Maintaining light that is unfaltering and keeping the candle flames burning adds to the solemn mood of the worship service. Let’s check out tips on caring for and maintaining the church candles. 

How to prepare the church candles

Ensure that the church candles are placed vertically straight and firmly on the candle holder or candlestick. Uneven burning and dripping can happen if the candle is tilted. You can also use a candle follower for long-lasting and better performance of the candle. 

How to light the church candles

If you use a candle lighter, make sure not to touch the wick or the candle follower to avoid pieces of the wick falling into the candle cup. Try to extend the taper out for at least 1 inch. 

How to put out or extinguish church candles

Using a candle extinguisher or candle snuffer is recommended than blowing out the flame to extinguish the candle’s fire. Just gently place the snuffer over the candle follower without touching the follower or the wick. It is to avoid tilting or compressing the top of the candle. 

How to care while the church candles are burning

Try not to disturb or touch candles that are burning fine, and do not set them near places where the draft comes in. Also, check the wick of the burning candles. The recommended length of the exposed wick is ¾ inch. 

How to properly remove wax out of church candle holders

To properly remove wax from church candle holders or followers, soak it in warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe it clean. Do not use abrasive or rough materials to affect the candle follower’s finish. 

If you’re looking for the best church candles, we’ve collated here five of the best ones you could use for your church or personal purposes. 

Will & Baumer 480 Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles

115675: Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles, 480

The Will & Baumer 480 Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles has everything you need for a big-crowd candlelight occasion or service. Candlelight has been a constant powerful reminder to the Christian community that Jesus is the Light of the World. Its role in many Christian prayer services and celebrations is subtle yet powerful. 

This Will & Baumer Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles kit is perfect for significant church events, Christian holidays, prayer vigils, or honoring a cause. The package contains 480 Congregational candles of 4.25 inches in size, six usher candles of 10.25 inches each, one 15-inch pastor candle, and 480 plain white drip protectors 3 inches in diameter. 

These devotional candles are indeed perfect for Christmas Eve, prayer vigils, Good Friday, and any other events and occasions at your church. 

Pros:

  • It can accommodate a large church gathering or religious service 
  • The candles also come with drip protectors 
  • It comes with six usher candles and one pastor’s candle 
  • Ideal for prayer groups, special church services, and memorial vigils
  • It is made of a natural wax blend

Cons:

  • The size of the candles is short and may not last for extended church services 

Emkay Complete Candlelight Service Set for 425 people

01942: Complete Candlelight Service Set for 250 People

A candlelight service significantly brings a church congregation together, whether baptismal, on Christmas Eve, or Good Friday. Marking a special occasion in the Church year brings the community together. In a Catholic tradition, many churches see candlelight services as the most meaningful and memorable event of the year. 

This Candlelight Service Complete Set by Emkay is perfect for holding such essential gatherings. The kit is suitable for 250 people and includes 250 candles, six medium ones, and one large pastor’s candle. The box also comes with leaflets that explain ceremonies and suggestions on using the set. This set has all the essential candles and accessories needed for a candlelight service.

The candle’s size, which is 1/2 inch wide and 5 inches tall, is excellent for candlelight service. It’s what one would expect from a candle for church events or gatherings. The size of the candles is just enough to feel stable. You can even use them for more than one occasion.

Pros:

  • Made of food-grade paraffin wax
  • Economical
  • Affordable 
  • It takes very little space on the shelf
  • It can last for a full vigil service and fit most altar candleholders 

Cons:

  • The candles tend to be very drippy when used indoors 
  • The set doesn’t come with drip holders or protectors

Will and Baumer Box of 12 Altar Candles

115680: Altar Candles, 1 1/2 x 16, Box of 12

The Altar Candles Box of 12 by Will & Baumer is Polar Brand Stearine® candles. These are made with environmentally-friendly palm oil wax: it’s 85% paraffin wax and 15% palm. These elegant and pure white candles are very economical, and they burn long and clean. The sizes of these candles are suited for large church candelabras and candleholders. They have a diameter and height of 1.5-inch x 16-inch. They have a plain end which means they are flat and of the same width at the bottom of the candle. 

From the bottom of the candle, there is a minor groove or notch of 1.25 inches. It is intended so that the candles fit perfectly and securely in a candle holder or candlestick. This kit of altar candles comes in a box of 12 candles. It is ideal for weddings and other religious events in Protestant and Catholic worship. 

This candle is the economical answer to elegant candle needs. These are a great alternative to the more expensive altar candles made of beeswax.

Pros:

  • The candles fit perfectly on most altar candle holders 
  • The candles are clean-burning and economical to use
  • The components of the candles are environmentally-friendly
  • The wicks are carefully-centered ensuring an even burn 
  • These candles are an ideal choice for wedding services 

Cons:

  • This set is not ideal for large gatherings since it only contains 12 candles per box.

Emkay Box of 24 Unbreakable Sanctuary Lights

133102: Unbreakable Sanctuary Lights, Box of 24

The Unbreakable Sanctuary Lights by Emkay is designed explicitly for sanctuary lamp use. It is recommended for these candles to burn continuously for one week. This 7-day sanctuary candle has a component of excellently refined wax, and its outer layer is made of unbreakable plastic. The high-quality beeswax in its detail makes for dependable performance. This set includes 24 candles that are 2.5 inches x 8 inches in size. 

Pros:

  • It can last more than the typical days that it would last 
  • Made of excellent-quality beeswax that makes for its dependability
  • Ideal to use for sanctuaries where continuous candle burn is needed 
  • Great for long-time use since the pack contains 24 candles 

Cons:

  • It’s only recommended for use on crystal holders
  • It lasts shorter than other sanctuary candles 

Emkay 50 Congregation Candles with Reusable Plastic Holders

1946X: 50 Congregation Candles with Reusable Plastic Holders

Church vigils and ceremonies can even be more beautiful and meaningful with the perfect candle kit for the church’s candlelight services. The congregation candles with reusable plastic holders by Emkay are an ideal addition to Christmas Eve, prayer vigils, prayer processions, Good Friday, and other memorable church and religious celebrations and events. 

The candles are white and are 7.5 inches tall and 0.5 inches in diameter. The individual reusable drip is made of 3-inch diameter stiff reusable plastic and has perforated centers that allow a close or tight fit around the candle. It also has a design of a green star with the words “Candlelight Service” that is written across the top. 

The Long Congregation Candles with reusable plastic holders by Emkay contains 50 white candles made of paraffin wax. 

Pros:

  • The candles light very quickly and can last for an hour or so 
  • The drip guards are easy to put together and reusable 
  • The size of the candles is big enough that they can be used again for another occasion 
  • It’s easy to clean 
  • They work excellently during the Christmas candlelight service 

Cons:

  • The candle wax tends to be drippy while burning 

Conclusion

Lighting a church candle is more than just attending a religious service or going to church. It manifests one’s faith and is a powerful remembrance that Jesus is the Light of the World and the light to someone’s world. It’s a symbol of hope that no matter how dark your situation may seem at the moment, Jesus can shed His light on your life and get you through your difficult season. Let 1 John 1:5 be a reminder for us that the Lord is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.

These are all excellent church candle sets, but the one that we best recommend is Will & Baumer 480 Candlelight Service or Vigil Candles. First, the number of candles in this set is just perfect for a large church gathering or religious service. It can supply up to 480 people, plus it even comes with six more usher candles and one pastor candle. It has everything you would need for the occasion. It even comes with drip protectors for each candle, making it even more convenient for the congregation. 

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.