Bringing the indoors out and creating more living space in our gardens has become a serious trend over the last few years.
There are different types of outdoor candles (because of course there are). Choose from battery-operated designs offering a soft, subtle glow, something scented, or those that claim to repel insects. And there are also huge weather-proof candles, too – ideal for battling the temperamental British climes.
How we tested
We spent a lovely few weeks in our garden testing these candles. We had so many burning that you could probably see our patio from space, and our neighbours definitely think we are pyromaniacs now.
During testing, we considered whether the scents worked in a garden setting and if it lingered. On the battery- operated numbers, we wanted to see if they made our garden look prettier and provide a nice ambience, or whether they were just a gimmick. And did the bug-repelling ones do their job? Here are the candles that set our hearts alight.
The best outdoor candles for 2022 are:
Best overall – Lights4Fun TruGlow waterproof outdoor candle bundle: £79.99, Lights4fun.co.uk
Best fresh scent – Earl of East greenhouse soy wax candle: £50, Made.com
Best tea lights – St Eval citronella scented tealights: £9.05, Amazon.com
Best for gifting – St Eval nature’s garden collection gift box: £29.99, St-eval.com
Best budget buy – Christow flickery flameless candles (set of three): £11.99, Amazon.com
Best for big impact – Majo kami luxury outdoor candle: £145, Majocandles.com
Best unscented candle – Sarah Raven rustic pillar candles: £12.95, Sarahraven.com
Best indoor candle for outdoor use – Soul Shropshire recover candle: £19, Soulcandles.co.uk
Best insect-repellent candle – Neptune citronella, rosemary & watermint candle: £60, Neptune.com
Lights4Fun TruGlow waterproof outdoor candle bundle
If you want a gorgeous little cluster of candles to arrange artfully, this bundle is brilliant. The six battery-operated candles come in all different sizes, from 10cm to 30cm high. We used them to create cute little spots in our garden and it made our space look noticeably more inviting. We also liked the timer option, which means the candles come on automatically at the same time of day every day and stay on for six hours. These gave our garden an immediate lift during the evenings and we love that they can stay outdoors all year round.
Buy now £79.99, Lights4fun.co.uk
Earl of East greenhouse soy wax candle
Best: Fresh scent
Okay, so this is our new favourite scent for indoors or out. It’s super trendy, comes in an amber-glass vessel, gives off a lovely subtle glow and the scent is gorgeously green. It’s inspired by the creator’s childhood summers spent playing in their grandparents’ greenhouse in Greece. I mean, if that doesn’t sound idyllic, we don’t know what does. The top note is vine tomatoes – rich and heady – and then you’re hit with fresh, clean basil. It’s perfectly balanced, and every time we walk past this candle we can’t help but pick it up and sniff it. It burns beautifully evenly and this larger size has a burn time of up to 100 hours.
Buy now £50.00, Made.com
St Eval Citronella scented tealights
Best: Tea lights
You get nine tealights in this pack, which we think works out as a pretty good deal. They looked incredibly cute dotted around our garden inside upcycled jam jars. And thanks to the citronella scent, they did a good job of warding away little beasties. They’re hand-poured on a Cornish working farm using sustainable practices. And they should have a burn time of six hours, which is pretty decent for their modest size.
Buy now £9.48, Amazon.co.uk
St Eval nature’s garden gift box
Best: For gifting
Sure you could gift these, but we suspect you might just want to keep them for yourself – we did. St Eval’s candles are some of the best in the business – they’re sustainably made on a Cornish working farm where there’s an emphasis on looking after the world using renewable energy.
Aside from that, the candles smell absolutely divine. This trio was inspired by a wildflower meadow, and are quite happy being burnt outside. The scents are garden greens, sweet pea and geranium. The latter is vibrant and fresh – a floral top note gives way to a fresh, green and grassy scent. Garden greens smell of vine tomatoes with a subtle floral scent underneath, while sweet pea is full-on yet has delicate florals.
We think these cover all bases. The candles come in little terracotta pots, subtly decorated with insects. They burn perfectly evenly and release a powerful scent. We thought this would make a great gift for garden parties or, as we say, just keep them and enjoy yourself.
Buy now £29.99, St-eval.com
Christow flickering flameless candles, set of three
Best: Budget buy
We found this trio quite hypnotic. Slot in three batteries into each candle and they light up inside, but somehow the plastic “flame” dances about and, from a distance, looks like real fire. They’re remote-operated, so you can control them from inside while they’re outside, and set timers too. This is pretty handy, but we probably wouldn’t leave them outside for too long as they don’t feel robust enough to survive the brutal British summer weather. We did like the texture on the side of the candles, which makes them more realistic, and the staggered height creates a pretty effect too.
Buy now £16.99, Amazon.co.uk
Majo kami luxury outdoor candle
Best: For big impact
There are candles and then there are Majo candles. This one is 30cm high but also 28cm in diameter. Let that sink in for a moment. The extra-wide wick is designed to burn in all weathers – wind, rain, you name it – and the whole candle can be left out all year long. Because of the extra-wide wick, it requires a lighter to light it and a proper candle snuffer to blow it out – which adds to the excitement, if you ask us. And these candles make an impact. They all come with a ceramic plate to sit in, and looked gorgeous in our garden. They’re pretty spenny, we know – but if you’re looking for something seriously wow, look no further.
Buy now £145.00, Majocandles.com
Sarah Raven rustic pillar candles
Best: Unscented candle
These candles come in three sizes (7cm, 10cm or 13cm) and various different chic colours. We went for a medium in dusty pink, and were not disappointed. The hand-poured candle has a rough, hewn texture on the sides, which adds some interest. And it burns really nicely, without smoke or dripping onto our precious dining table. Ours should last for about 65 hours of burning – we didn’t test it that long, but it certainly had staying power. As this doesn’t come in a pot, and has a standard wick, it’s best used in low-wind conditions or a sheltered area of your garden.
Buy now £12.95, Sarahraven.com
Soul Shropshire recover candle
Best: For indoor and outdoor use
This candle has a blend of scents to create a spa-like aroma at home. But as luck would have it, those scents include rosemary, thyme and citronella, which are all insect repellents. We loved that this candle smelled dreamy while keeping the worst of the British insect-based wildlife away. It comes in a sophisticated-looking navy pot and burns well – but it can’t withstand too much wind, so pop it somewhere a bit sheltered.
Buy now £19.00, Soulcandles.co.uk
Neptune Citronella, Rosemary & Watermint candle
Best: Insect-repellent candle
This three-wick candle has been made especially for burning outdoors. It comes in a wide amber-coloured glass jar with screw-on lid and looks on-trend on our patio. The lid means you can also leave it outside in all weathers and just crack it open when you want to enjoy it. The scent is a heady mix of herbs, eucalyptus and citronella, with a woody base note. It’s a grown-up and sophisticated scent for sure, and gloriously one that insects hate, so it’s perfect to have lit on balmy summer evenings.
Buy now £60.00, Neptune.com
The verdict: outdoor candles
We loved the Lights4Fun battery-operated candles. They make an immediate impact, and work well as clusters and dotted around. If you want a candle that actually burns, the Majo is a really nice splurge and we can’t get enough of that Earl of East greenhouse scent.
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Refresh the inside of your home with the best scented candles to help you relax