Credit: The Candle Issue, Willow and Sage. Dec 2022.
Types of Wicks
A cored wick is used when a candle requires a self-supporting wick. Votives, pillars, and container candles are a few examples of candles that use these braided or knitted wicks as a means to keep the wick straight upright while burning. The use of different core materials provides a range of stiffness. The most common core material for wicks are cotton, paper, zinc, and tin.
Since the discontinuation of lead-core wicks, zinc-core wicks are the most commonly used for many different types of candles. According to the National Candle Association, “Scientific studies have repeatedly shown both zinc- and tin-core wicks to be safe.” Paper-core wicks burn extra hot, yielding a large melt pool. They usually can be found in large containers.
Coreless, flat, and color-braided, these wicks are woven with a special paper filament throughout to provide rigidity. This type of wick works well with soy and vegetable-based waxes.
An ECO candlewick uses paper threads inside its braided cotton wick exterior, giving the wick a rigid structure without the need for a cored wick. These wicks minimize mushrooming (the shape a wick forms as a result of carbon buildup when the flame draws more wax to the wick than can be burned), soot, and smoke, and they work best in soy wax candles.
HTP Wicks are another coreless option woven with paper fibers for enhanced rigidity, like a paper core wick. Other benefits of this wick include self-trimming, improved wax pool symmetry, and less mushrooming. This wick works well with soy wax and votives, pillars, or container candles.
This type of wick is a flat-braided cotton wick that contains stabilizing threads which help control the flame. While a good choice for containers, pillars, or votives, this wick is chemically treated. The chemical treatment aims to reduce afterglow, smoke, soot, tunneling and mushrooming.
There are generally two types of wooden wicks: hardwood wicks and softwood wicks. These wicks are used in container candles and are ideal for use with natural waxes, such as soy. Wood wicks are known for the natural cracking sounds they emit while a candle is burning. The sound is affected by the wax blend, color, container size, and especially the level of fragrance oil. For more crackle, it is important not to use too much fragrance oil.