What Is a Taper Candle? Everything You Need to Know

If you’re new to decorating with candles, tapers are an excellent place to begin, given that they come in various heights and styles, ranging from six to 18 inches tall. Thus, they look lovely displayed anywhere in the home, from the dining table to the mantel top. And no matter whether your aesthetic leans traditional or modern, there’s a taper candle for you. Taper Candles

While classic off-white taper candles may initially come to mind, many retailers now offer this style in twisted or geometric shapes. Taper candles also come in various hues, making it easy to secure a color that coordinates with your tablescape or fits within the theme of a holiday celebration.

Taper candles are excellent because of their longevity, meaning they can be used at one dinner party after another. While the exact burn time depends on the material and length of the candle, generally, a 12-inch candle will have a burn time of 12 hours.

Taper candles are among the world's oldest and most traditional forms of illumination. Though candles in various shapes and conditions as we know them today were invented in the 19th century, tapers have been around since 3000 BC.

Candles come in various colors, from a classic ivory look to seasonal shades. Most candles are made from wax. However, the most significant indicator of candle quality is the kind of wax used to make it.

A taper candle can be scented or unscented. It is a long, slender, cylindrical shape that is wider at the base and tapers into a narrow tip. The taper diameter can range from ½" to 3". The average heights are between 6" and 18". However, some candle companies specialize in taller candles and make tapers as tall as 39".

Taper Candle Holder

Taper candles are wonderful to use year-round, given that they are typically unscented and, therefore, don’t have a fragrance associated with a particular season. The lack of odor is due to taper candles’ inefficiency at scent throw due to their long and thin shape. Still, due to their unique condition and exposed flame, taper candles bring visual depth and dimension to any tablescape.

What makes a good taper candle?

Paraffin and beeswax are the best waxes for a taper candle. These two waxes can hold shape while burning. Beeswax is more expensive than paraffin. You might find some blended tapers containing paraffin and beeswax blend. Soy candles don't perform well for a taper candle since the soy wax isn't stapled enough and has a lower melting point. However, you might come across a soy and paraffin blend.

Are taper candles dripless?

Though high-quality taper candles can only partially avoid dripping altogether, any liquid wax product always has a slight chance of leaking. To prevent candle drip entirely, select the best available candles. Then, could you take some additional precautions, as outlined below?

Candle Drips and Solutions

Unlike votives or pillar candles, the melted wax reservoir of a taper is tiny. The taper is designed so the flame will burn up all the melted wax as quickly as it melts. Drafts can cause the love to dance about the tip of the candle and burn away the outer wall of the candle that typically contains the melted wax until the flame burns it off.

Drips do happen with many tapers. However, a dripless taper has additives to strengthen the outer wall to contain the melted wax. This sturdier outer wall can better resist the heat of a flickering flame. Unfortunately, even dripless candles can overflow due to inconsistent burning from drafts.

You may prefer to use a taper candle guard when burning these candles. The guards are either glass or metal. The glass collar is a bobeche that fits inside the candle stick or chandelier candle socket. This design often allows crystal prisms to hang from the rim, adding sparkle to the candle ambiance. Church taper candles and those used for candle vigils often have a heavy paper candle guard to protect your hands from drips.

Burn Time for Tapers

The burn times for tall tapers can be as much as four hours. However, the determining factors are the candle height, the type of wax, and one of the most critical factors - the kind of wick.

A flat braided wick for a taper candle is the most common type. This wick design provides a reliable, steady burn. This wick will curl as it burns, providing a self-trimming effect. A square braid is often used with beeswax candles. The square shape produces a larger and more robust candle flame.

Are taper candles safe?

By minimizing dripping, you avoid some of the safety hazards of cheap candles. That makes high-quality taper candles some of the safest candles available. Nonetheless, taking precautions when using candles in your home would be best.

Please always stay in the room with a burning candle and extinguish it before you leave. That way, you can be sure the candle does not accidentally fall or spread its fire another way.

Keep burning candles away from flammable objects or liquids. Billowing curtains or the overhanging leaves of your favorite plant should all stay at a distance while the candle burns.

Depending on the dimensions of your room, please keep in mind how tall you want your candles to be. If they are on a mantlepiece in a colonial-style low-ceiling room, height may make a big difference in keeping your room safe while enjoying your candles.

Keeping all of those things in mind, taper candles remain very safe when used correctly.

How tall should taper candles be?

Tapers range widely in length. Though all are thin and slender with a narrow body, some handipt style taper candles have a racking, modern angle. Some are as short as 6 inches, some as long as over 20 inches. The most common length, by far, is the classic 12-inch version.

How long does a 12-inch taper candle burn?

A 12-inch taper has a burn time of approximately ten hours. That number refers to continuous burn time. One 12-inch candle, for instance, could burn for an hour every night for ten days.

Are taper candles in style?

Because of their timeless look and deep history, taper candles can fit the aesthetics of any interior. Whether the refined elegance of a space furnished with antiques or the visionary comforts of a cutting-edge modern space, they can be at home in any context.

The legacy of tradition underlying the taper candle allows it to connect your space to celebration, memory, relaxation, and peace. Whether for a significant occasion, a romantic evening, or just the end of a long day, the presence of a candle can elevate the atmosphere of any moment.

Where do you put taper candles?

Taper candles can fit into any corner of a room. But because of their slender elegance and height, they are best suited for areas of focus.

A mantlepiece or comparable elevated surface allows the candles to reach their light into the dark corners of a room. But there is no better place for them than the center of a dinner table.

How to Lay Out Your Dinner Table

When setting up your dinner table for a special evening, consider placing an odd number of taper candles in the center. Odd numbers allow for a central candle, which creates a pleasant symmetry. It further allows you to play with candle and candle holder height to create a cascading, growing effect.

Let the candles be accents themselves, not just sources of light. You can create a distinct atmosphere by selecting a color to match or offset the rest of your décor. Deep red candles may be more romantic. A classic white taper can underscore a sensation of elegance.

Other Decorating Tips for Taper Candles

Candles colored in various shades are among your most excellent tools for decorative accenting. Even when not setting up for a dinner party, you can use taper candles of multiple colors to change the feeling of a space. A surprising candle color for a new season can transform a room’s atmosphere.

If you’ve been lighting your living room with cozy red candles all winter, for instance, perhaps a bright green or blue can celebrate the arrival of spring.


Tapers cannot stand independently and must be paired with a candle holder. A taper candle holder or candlestick will stabilize and support the candle, preventing it from falling over. Standard taper candles have a diameter of 7/8” at the base, which will fit into most candlestick holders. However, to minimize wax dripping and avoid any safety hazards, ensure that the candle is placed straight in its holder at a 90-degree angle and that the holder is on a level surface.

Taper Candle


If your taper candle is too large in its holder, fear not—everyday household items will come in handy to ensure a proper fit. You can carefully use a knife or scissors to shave small amounts of excess wax from the base until it fits snugly in the holder. For shallower candle holders, you can heat the bottom of the candle until some wax melts, which is another option to ensure the candles are secured in place and remain standing upright. Using the hot wax as an adhesive, place the candle in the holder and ensure it is aligned properly, holding it in place for a few seconds while the wax dries.

If you have the opposite problem and the candle is too large, there are a few solutions. One is to wrap the base of the taper candle with material to make it thicker to fill the remaining space in the holder. Wrap small amounts at the bottom using masking tape or aluminum foil until the taper candle fits snugly inside the holder. Another option is to invest in candle snugglers, pieces of circular foam designed to secure the candle.

With this insider knowledge, you can introduce taper candles into your home quickly and in no time. Displaying this versatile style of candle and all it has to offer will help even weekday dinners at the kitchen table feel like an occasion to be celebrated.



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