How Thick Should Candle Wick Be?

The thickness of a wick can affect the burn rate, flame size, and overall safety of the candle. This is common knowledge, but how thick should a wick be? And how much difference would it make if it’s too thick or too thin? This article discusses the impact of wick thickness on soot production, wax pool, and burn rate.

In general, the diameter of a candle wick shouldn’t be more than 3.5mm, regardless of the candle type. A candle wick that is too thick will burn too quickly, cause overheating, and produce too much soot, while a wick that is too thin will burn too slowly and struggle to stay lit.

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Why Does Wick Thickness Matter?

Wick thickness, also known as wick diameter, is an important factor when using candles. The thickness of the wick can affect the burn rate, flame size, and overall safety of the candle.

Here’re a few aspects of wick thickness and why they matter:

Burn Rate

When it’s too thick:

One of the most important factors to consider regarding wick thickness is the burn rate. A wick that is too thick will burn too quickly, causing the candle to burn out before all of the wax has been used. This can be wasteful and may leave a significant amount of wax in the container. 

When it’s too thin:

On the other hand, a wick that is too thin will burn too slowly, causing the candle to take a long time to burn and may even extinguish itself before it has a chance to consume the wax fully.

The burn rate of a candle is affected by the size of the wick, the wax used, and the ambient temperature of the room in which the candle is burning. The thinner the wick, the slower the burn rate will be.

Soot Production

When it’s too thick:

The thickness of a candle wick also affects the amount of soot that is produced while it’s burning. A wick that is too thick will produce a lot of soot, which can be a nuisance and can also be harmful to your health. Soot can cause respiratory problems and leave black marks on walls and ceilings. For more information on soot and how to prevent and clean it, please see our article “Candle Soot: The Cause, How To Prevent And Clean It.”

When it’s too thin:

On the other hand, a wick that is too thin will not produce enough soot to be a problem, but the candle may not burn properly. A properly selected wick size should have minimal soot production and give a clean burn.

Wax Pool

When it’s too thick:

Wick thickness also plays a crucial role in forming the wax pool around the wick. As the candle burns, the wax is drawn up the wick and melts, forming a pool of molten wax around the wick. The width of this wax pool will depend on the size of the wick.

When it’s too thin:

A wick that is too thick will cause the wax pool to be too large, which can lead to overheating of the candle’s container and also cause the candle to burn too quickly. A wick that is too thin or too small will cause the wax pool to be too small, leading to uneven burning and a shorter candle life. This would also lead to candle tunneling or sinking in the middle

So, as you can clearly see, in candle making, it’s important to consider not just how to make the candle wicks but also the right thickness of the wicks. This is where the article “Candle 4 Easiest Ways To Make Candle Wicks” can provide useful information on wick making methods.

How Thick Should A Candle Wick Be?

When it comes to the thickness of a candle wick, it can vary depending on the type of candle being made and the desired burn characteristics. In general, the diameter of your selected candle wick shouldn’t be more than 3.5mm, regardless of your selected candle type.

Here’s a table that provides some guidelines for wick diameter for various types of candles:

Type of CandleRecommended Wick Diameter (mm)
Pillar2.5 – 3.5
Votive1.5 – 2.5
Container2.0 – 3.0
Taper1.5 – 2.0

It’s worth noting that these are just general guidelines and that the ideal wick diameter can vary depending on the specific wax, fragrance, and color used in the candle, as well as the size and shape of the candle. 

Some experimentation may be necessary to find the best wick diameter for a particular candle. It is always important to be cautious with the burn time of a candle. It’s highly recommended to test the wick size with a small batch before proceeding to mass production to avoid any mistakes.

What Happens If Wick Is Too Thick?

Although we have addressed most of the issues related to the thickness of the candle wick, there are additional negative impacts on the candle’s performance. In the following, we will examine the various problems that can occur when the wick is too thick.

Inadequate Wax Vaporization

One of the main issues with a too thick wick is that it can cause the candle’s wax to vaporize inadequately. When the wick is too thick, it can draw too much liquid wax into the flame at once. This can cause the wax to pool around the wick rather than being fully vaporized and burned. As a result, the candle may produce a lot of soot and smoke, and the flame may flicker or extinguish.

Difficulty In Lighting

Another problem that can arise from a thick wick is difficulty in lighting the candle. A thick wick can be harder to light because it takes more heat to ignite the wick. This can make it more difficult to get the candle to start burning, especially in windy or drafty conditions.


A thick wick can also lead to overheating of the candle. As a thick wick will draw more wax into the flame, it can cause the candle to burn too hot. This can cause the wax to melt and pool around the candle’s base, making it difficult to use the candle. Overheating can also cause the wax to burn too quickly and shorten the candle’s lifespan.

What Happens If Your Wick Is Too Thin?

If your candle wick is too thin, it’s not a good thing, either. In that scenario, you may face several issues as well, such as

Poor Flame Stability.

Poor flame stability is one of the most common problems associated with a thin wick. If the wick is too thin, it may not be able to draw enough liquid wax to the flame to sustain the burning process. 

This can result in a flame that flickers, smokes, or even goes out completely. This instability can also cause the candle to burn unevenly, resulting in an unsightly appearance and reduced burn time. 


Another issue that can arise when using a thin wick is called mushrooming. This occurs when the candle’s flame burns too hot and causes the tip of the wick to puff up or “mushroom” into a black carbon ball. 

The Carbon ball can deposit on the wax and cause a smoky, less bright flame. This can also lead to soot formation on the candle and the surrounding area, which can discolor walls, ceilings, and surfaces. If you find that your candle wick is mushrooming or curling a lot, this article might be of help.

It’s also important to note that it might be because of the type of material you use to make your own candle wick that causes curling or mushrooming. If you wish to know the best materials to make candle wicks, check out the article on what can be used as a candle wick for more information.

Low Burn Rate

When a wick is too thin, it may not be able to draw enough wax to the flame to sustain an optimal burning rate. This can result in a candle that burns much slower than it should. Not only does this reduce the burn time of the candle, but it also makes it less efficient and can affect the overall performance of the candle. 

Safety Concerns

The thin wick can also create safety concerns. For example, if the wick is too thin and the flame is unstable, the candle may be at risk of going out completely. This can result in a buildup of liquid wax in the container, which can cause the candle to re-light itself when the wax cools and solidifies, leading to unexpected fires and burns. 

Additionally, in the case of mushrooming, black carbon deposits on the wax and around the candle can be a fire hazard. A proper size wick will help prevent these safety concerns.

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