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As the weather warms, the outdoors become an instant extension of our homes. We invest in comfortable furniture, splurge on a few potted plants, and bring it all together with a cozy rug and string lights. As idyllic as that may sound in theory, the reality is that there are always a handful of pesky bugs that can get in the way of enjoying the great outdoors.
Luckily, arming ourselves with the right tools to ward them off can be the difference between an endless night of entertaining and an evening cut short. Cue citronella candles— with their repellent characteristics, they're a summer staple of any outdoor space.
Here, the best citronella candles.
Best Overall: Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle
For a citronella candle that can withstand even the most annoying of insects, consider Cutter's Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle. The triple-wick style is made with real citronella oil and offers up to 40 hours of protection against mosquitos and other flying insects.
The 20-ounce candle is stored in a copper-colored vessel and is ideal for any outdoor setting—patios, porches, decks, and campsites included. And, since the candle is budget-friendly, you can purchase more than one for various areas of your outdoor space.
Best Budget: Charlton Home Citronella Scented Pillar Candle
Made from hand-poured paraffin wax, this citronella pillar candle might just become your next outdoor dinner party staple. Available in a range of sizes and two colorways—white and yellow— you can snag these candles individually or in a set of 12 or 24 without having to break the bank.
You can line the minimal candles down the center of a tablescape for a design-forward accent that doesn't sacrifice functionality. Plus, the design's smokeless feature and no-drip composition mean that you can burn them without the worry of stains or unpleasant fumes.
Best Splurge: Pottery Barn Wood Citronella Candle With Lid
With its natural wood container and matching lidded top, none would be the wiser when spotting this citronella candle resting on your outdoor coffee table. Its beautiful packaging aside, however, this Pottery Barn find delivers on effectiveness and smell, to boot.
Made from a hand-poured wax and soy blend, this essential oil candle is crafted with a fragrant mix of various herbs and scents that are too good to pass on. Light this one up and you will instantly feel wrapped in an air of verbena leaves, pomelo, thyme, lemon balm, lavender, and splashes of rosemary fragrances.
Best Burn Time: Terrain Painted Botanicals Candle, Blossom Citronella
Citronella candles make spending time outdoors easier, so it's understandable you'd want one with a longer burn time. While many candles on the market have a burn time of around 40-80 hours, more or less, Terrain's Painted Botanicals Candle offers a generous 120 hours.
In addition to an extensive burn time, the candle comes in a decorative vessel that features a botanical design. The candle is offered in four patterns—blue green meadow, green fern, indigo leaf, and pink floral—and is made with a soy wax blend. Plus, once the candle burns through you can repurpose the holder as décor.
Best Tealights: The Party Aisle™ Stonebriar Citronella Scented Tealight Candle Set
If you prefer a more subtle style, tealights are a great solution. Take The Party Aisle's Stonebriar Citronella Scented Tealight Candle Set, for example, which includes 20 candles that are small yet functional and can complement a tablescape with ease.
Each candle features a lead-free, 100 percent cotton wick and has a four-hour burn time that'll last through any outdoor gathering you host. Housed in minimal aluminum holders, each white candle is infused with citronella so any pesky bugs will stay away all night.
Best Hanging: Terrain Large Hanging Glass Candle, Eucalyptus Citronella
Consider these beautifully packaged citronella candles from Terrain your summer must-have. Available in an array of six chic and vibrant colorways—white, green, blue, pink, yellow, and coral—the candles are as stylish as they are practical.
Made from a soy and wax blend, each one is poured into a display-ready glass vessel and is infused with hints of citrus and eucalyptus. The candles also have 120 hours of burn time, so you'll be able to enjoy the outdoors all season long.
Best Decorative: World Market Blue Frosted Glass 5 Wick Citronella Candle
Form meets function with this blue frosted glass citronella candle from World Market. Geared to withstand even the longest of dinner parties, the candle has a stylish composition that you can easily integrate into any tablescape.
Featuring five wicks, the hand-poured citronella wax candle can burn for up to 36 hours, and look good while doing it. Plus, the organic form of the vessel and creative coloring makes for a piece of décor you'll want in your home even when the candle burns through.
Best Scented: Skeem Design Citronella Blossom Candle
Skeem Design’s approach to citronella candles includes a medley of fragrant floral scents, a departure from traditional options on the market. Here, jasmine combines with hibiscus and subtle hints of peach, to offset the intensity of the all-natural citronella oils.
Made from a blend of soy and wax, the candles are beautifully packaged in a silk-screened glass jar that comes topped with a maple wood lid. Inside, a cotton wick leads to over 80 hours of burn time, offering a respite from mosquitos and any other unwanted critters.
Overall, we recommend the Cutter Citro Guard Triple Wick Candle (view at Lowe's) because it's made with real citronella oil, has three wicks, and offers a 40 hour burn time. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Charlton Home Citronella Scented Pillar Candle (view at Wayfair) because it's offered in a variety of colors and sizes at an affordable price point, so you can get multiple for your outdoor space.
What to Look For in a Citronella Candle
A candle's burn time, which reflects how many hours you'll be able to light it, is determined by several key factors—a candle's size, wick, and weight to name a few. Since citronella candles are designed to make your outdoor experience more enjoyable, you'll want a candle that has a longer burn time that'll last you through the season. Most citronella candles have an average burn time of anywhere from 40-80 hours, more or less, while some have 120 hours.
Number of Wicks
Most candles have one wick but when it comes to citronella candles, the more wicks the better. With multiple wicks, you can either light one at a time or light them all for increased protection. It's worth noting, however, that candles with multiple wicks tend to be larger so be sure you have space for it.
Citronella candles serve a practical purpose but that doesn't mean they can't offer a touch of style as well. From hanging styles to tealights to botanical vessels, there are tons of options out there to suit your space. It's worth noting if the candle will complement your indoor design style as well—after all, you might want to use it as décor between seasons.
Why Trust MyDomaine
Anna Kocharian is a freelance design and lifestyle writer. An avid entertainer, she rarely goes without a selection of citronella candles when spending time outdoors. Her go-to? Lining the center of a table with the pillar candles and filtering in fresh greens and leaves for a statement-worthy display.