Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Which Is Better? (Tested)

We tested cotton wicks vs wooden wicks for our fantasy-inspired candles, including our D&D candles and our book lover's soy candles.

Our tests found wooden wicks are better because they push up to 35% more fragrance into your room, they crackle when burnt for a “fireplace” effect, last much longer, toxin-free, eco-friendly, look more stylish, and they burn cleaner than cotton wicks.

Together, this gave our candles a much safer, more authentic, immersive fantasy experience.

Let’s go deep into each factor we tested.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Fragrance Throw

The biggest request we get from customers are candles with strong, but still subtle scents. In other words, they want to light their favorite candle and have the scent fill the room, but without it being overpowering.

Our scent throw primarily comes from the fragrances and wax our candles use, but after we learned that wooden wicks push up to 35% more fragrance into your room, we had to try it out against cotton wicks.

The result?

We did smell a stronger hot throw from the wooden wicks than we did from the cotton wicks. According to our research, this is because wooden wicks diffuse heat more rapidly into the wax.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Burn Rate

The next biggest issue our customers ask for is burn rate or how many hours our candles actually burn for. Now, the burn rate of our candles is primarily driven by the amount and type of wax we use...

But does choosing between cotton wicks vs wood wicks make a difference?

Our results say yes.

The reason? Simply put, wooden wicks burn slower than cotton wicks.

While it’s a minor reason, it still is a factor behind why our 8.5oz candles burn for 40-50 hours. In fact, we’ve had customers tell us they’re shocked at how long our candles last, including one customer, Whitney, who said, and I quote, “Love that these candles last forever!”.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Ambiance

We want to sell more than just a scented candle, we want to give you an immersive fantasy experience. 

The crackling sound of wooden wicks made it the obvious choice.

While cotton wicks are great, they can’t create that crackling sound. So when you light it, there’s nothing to it. That’s it. But when you light a wooden wick, you can hear a subtle crackling in the background.

We call it the “fireplace effect”, because that’s what it sounds like!

Imagine grabbing our Tavern candle, lighting it, and as you smell the spiced honey, leather, and tonka fill the room, you also hear the crackling of wood like you would hear if you were actually inside a tavern from your favorite fantasy books, movies, and games.

Now that’s special.

It’s not just our Tavern candle though… ALL of our candles use wooden wicks.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Toxins

No one wants to breathe in toxins, even for the best smelling candles.

So we looked into both cotton wicks and wooden wicks to see which leads to a cleaner burn.

Turns out, cotton wicks will “mushroom” or “bloom” into a black ball on top of the wick as it burns, which smokes after you’ve had the candle lit for a while. Obviously, smoke is not something you want to breathe in.

On the other hand, wooden wicks don't do that.

They burn much cleaner due to being made from wood, which doesn’t lead to the carbon build-up you would normally see in cotton wicks. The little ash they produce on top of the wood wick can be easily broken off with your hands or with a trimmer as well.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Eco-Friendliness

Crafting eco-friendly products is important to us, our customers, and you.

After some research, we discovered that some cotton wicks are actually dipped into paraffin, which is an unsustainable, petroleum-based ingredient. That’s a huge no-no in our book!

As for our wooden wicks, they are made from wood. This means no paraffin.

That’s it. Pretty simple!

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Style

Candles aren’t just for burning. They’re also for decoration!

Of course, everyone has their own tastes. But compared to cotton wicks, wooden wicks look much better. They look sleeker and more modern, which adds to your home decor. Heck, even when they’re burned, they still look nice. 

However, cotton wicks just simply don't look good. And if you don’t maintain it after lighting, you’ll end up with an ugly black ball on top of the wick. If you forget, there goes the look you were trying to make.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Which Is Better? They Both Burn, Don’t They?

Through testing cotton wicks vs wooden wicks and supporting our findings with additional research and customer feedback, we’ve concluded that wooden wicks are much better than cotton wicks.

End of the day, you get more.

More fragrance, more burn time, more ambiance, more style, and more peace of mind.

Of course, this doesn’t mean cotton wicks are horrible options. Through our testing, we found excellent cotton wicks. However, due to financial constraints, we had to pick one of the two for all of our candles.

Wooden wicks won, hands down.

Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Wooden Wicks And Cotton Wicks?

Cotton wicks are wicks used for candles. They are made from cotton, which is actually made with multiple strands of cotton fibers that are twisted together into a single wick. These are the wicks you’ll see used by most candles you purchase online or in your favorite department store.

Wood wicks are also wicks used for candles. They are made from wood, which is actually made by multiple slabs of wood that have been finely cut down. These are way less common, but still very popular. 

All The Wicked Warlock candles use wood wicks because they push up to 35% more fragrance into your room, they crackle when burnt for a “fireplace” effect, last much longer, toxin-free, eco-friendly, look more stylish, and they burn cleaner than cotton wicks. 

Do Wood Wicks Burn Faster Than Cotton?

No, they don’t. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Based on our test, we found cotton wicks burn faster than wood wicks. This is primarily because wood wicks are made out of wood, which burns slower than cotton wicks.

Why Are Cotton Wicks Better?

Based on our tests, cotton wicks are not better than wooden wicks.

We found wooden wicks help create a stronger fragrance throw, produce a better ambiance, last much longer, are toxin-free, eco-friendly, more stylish, and burn cleaner than cotton wicks.

This is why all of our candles use wooden wicks rather than cotton wicks.

Which Candle Wick Is Healthiest?

For the cleanest burn possible, you will want a candle using a wooden wick.

After burning for a while, cotton wicks will “bloom” into an ugly black ball at the top, which starts to smoke. However, wooden wicks don’t have that same carbon build-up due to being made from wood.

Do Thicker Wicks Burn Faster?

Yes, thicker wicks do burn faster than thinner wicks.

Do Wooden Wick Candles Burn Better vs Cotton Wicks?

Yes, wooden wick candles burn better. 

More specifically, they burn cleaner, produce a stronger fragrance throw, crackle when burnt, and last longer than your typical cotton wick. 

Are Wood Wicks More Expensive Than Cotton Wicks?

Yes, wooden wicks are more expensive than cotton wicks.

However, we found them to be more than worth the extra cost, especially if you’re looking for an immersive fantasy experience for any sort of tabletop/RPG gaming or even for movies, which is what we’re trying to do with our candles.

Are Wood Wicks Toxic?

Wooden wicks are not toxic.

They are not dipped into paraffin, like some cotton wicks are and neither do they “bloom” into a black ball that gives off smoke. Because wooden wicks are made from wood, you end up with a much cleaner burn.

Do Wood Wicks Burn Hotter Than Cotton Wicks?

Yes, wooden wicks burn hotter than cotton wicks. This is actually one of the reasons it helps produce a stronger fragrance throw than cotton wicks can. However, despite the fact they burn hotter, they actually do burn slower. So your candle lasts longer.

Do Wood Wicks Burn Black?

When lit, wooden wicks will collect ash at the top. So yes, they will burn black. However, you can easily remove the burnt parts with your fingers, a nail clipper, or a trimmer. You will need to do so anyway for the best possible burn.

Pros and Cons of Wooden Wicks?


  • Up to 35% stronger fragrance throw
  • Crackles when burnt
  • Burn for longer
  • Toxin-free
  • Eco-friendly
  • Look more stylish
  • Burn cleaner than cotton wicks


  • A little more expensive
  • Can sometimes be more finicky than cotton wicks

Are Cotton Wicks Eco-Friendly?

For the most part, yes. However, there are some cotton wicks that are actually dipped into paraffin. If you don’t know what that is, it’s an unsustainable, petroleum-based ingredient used in many candles.

You’ll want to avoid these at all costs. With that said, it’s hard to know whether a cotton wick contained paraffin or not. So if you’re really worried, it’s best to stick to a wooden wick.

Do Wooden Wicks Crackle?

Yes, wooden wicks do actually crackle when burnt.

When you light a wooden wick, you’ll hear a subtle crackle that creates a fireplace-like effect. If you want to add an additional layer of ambiance to your experience, then you’ll want to use a wooden wick, like we do with our fantasy-inspired candles.

Are Cotton Wicks Safe?

Cotton wicks are safe to burn, but do give off smoke once they’ve burned a while. This means you will want to keep an eye out for the black ball that appears at the top of the wick and trim it.

With that said, the better and safer option is buying a wooden wick candle, like the ones we sell.