April 16, 2021 4 min read

Candles are beautiful products to have in your home whether for the look, for the scent, or both. But what is the difference between handmade candles and mass-produced candles? There's more to it than just the price point or the way they are made, so read on to learn some of the main differences between hand-poured candles and factory-made ones.

 

The difference between handmade candles and mass-produced candles

One of the things consumers often pick up when you are comparing these two different manufacturing styles is the price of the end product. Many will assume that handmade candles are always more expensive than their factory-made cousins but this isn't always the case. By the same token, you'll find that those mass-produced ones that are vastly cheaper may contain some unexpected surprises; they could be bad for your health, home or environment.

 

Manufacture

The most obvious difference between handmade and mass-produced candles is the manufacturing process. Handmade candles are hand mixed, hand poured and individually tested. Factory candles, on the other hand, are mixed and poured primarily by machines and tested by selecting just a small number of candles within the full production. There is nothing wrong with factory-made products specifically but here are some of the reasons we believe hand-poured options are a better process;

  • Quality Assurance - Hand poured candles are individually created and checked by a real person. Whereas factories rely on machinery to produce consistency, the craft of candle making allows for a more focused eye on the product being made.
  • Safer - When a human is handling materials, you can guarantee they won't be using toxic chemicals to make the products. Factories that are less reliant on having a human hand in production can use materials that may be toxic in an unrefined format. With hand-poured candles, makers will know exactly what is going into the candle.
  • Less Waste - As production is usually on a smaller scale for handmade candles, any losses from a mistake will be kept to a minimum. If that same mistake happens on a production line, there will be a lot more waste. Not only will this result in lost revenue for a company, but there is also a waste of energy, water and material resources from the planet.

 

Materials

One of the biggest differences between mass-produced vs handmade candles is the different materials used.

Wax

Wax is the vital ingredient of candle making, but not all are made equally. The majority of mass-produced candles are created using petroleum-based paraffin wax. As oil is used to make paraffin, its production releases stored carbon into the atmosphere, furthering the greenhouse effect. Not only is it a toxic producing process, but they also release toxic chemicals into your home when you burn them. Studies have found these chemicals can be harmful to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma and can cause cancer. Although some handmade candle producers will use paraffin, the majority use alternative toxic-free options. Beeswax, coconut oil, vegetable oil and soy wax are all used by handmade producers. We choose to make our candles from soy wax, as we think it's the best vegan, eco-friendly candle out there.

Wicks

Although less of an issue these days, many large candle companies used toxic wicks in their products for decades. While it's safe to say that most, if not all, UK candle companies no longer use wicks made with a lead core (the main wick pollutant culprit), this can't be guaranteed if you buy candles abroad. Hand-poured candles, on the other hand, primarily use natural wicks which release minimal pollution into your home. They can be made from wood, cotton, linen, hemp and even nettle fibres. The wicks of our candles are made from 100% natural fibres and do not contain lead, so are 100% safe to use

 

Packaging

Something you may not have considered when looking at the differences between factory and handmade candles is the packaging of the candles.

Candle Containers

If you opt for a filled candle, you may want to consider what the container is made from. While the material used for containers can vary widely from company to company, many hand-crafted candle companies choose glass containers for their filled candles. Mass-produced filled candles may utilise glass but many also come in hardened plastic. It's best to check with the manufacturer, especially if you are trying to avoid or reduce plastic use.

Extra Packaging

Whether you are buying online or in-store, handmade candles tend to put more focus on the environmental side of production. Because of this, packaging tends to be minimal, simple and made from easily recyclable materials. Paper and cardboard are primarily used for packaging up orders, while mass production often uses plastic packaging. Small-batch producers will want to keep costs low and so they don't feel the need to add extra packaging when it is not necessary. Mass producers, on the flip side, are able to buy plastic packaging in bulk which makes it cheaper for them, but costly for the environment.

 

Shop handmade candles

If you prefer a more eco-friendly, vegan alternative to mass-produced candles, we hope you choose Candles by Luma. We have a wonderful range of signature scents to choose from in our soy wax candles and melts range. Our hand-poured candles are individually checked and we never use toxic chemicals in our products. If you have any questions about our products, check out our FAQs page or get in touch to talk to one of the team.

Written by Lorna Middleton



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