12 Types of Candle Holders

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

Combining practicality and charm, candle holders come in a wide selection of shapes, sizes, styles, and finishes, serving both an illumination and decorative function. Whether you’re looking for something to spice up your Valentine’s Day, provide a warm glow over your holiday meal, or simply infuse some extra ambient lighting into your living space, there are many different types of candle holders available.

When it comes to choosing the right type of candle holder, you must consider the décor and furnishings of the space you intend to use it in as well as the purpose of the specific type of candle. Whether it’s for aesthetics, energy conservation efforts, or religious or ceremonial purposes, your reason for burning a candle will also dictate the right holder to choose. Some of the most popular options include taper candle holders, hurricane lamps, candelabras, lanterns, sconces, and votive candle holders.

12 Types of Candle Holders

You have numerous options to choose from, depending on your lighting needs, personal preferences, and decorative desires – from simple, elegant pieces to more extravagant and elaborate sets. Whatever your reason may be for seeking out the different types of candle holders, we’re here to help! Continue reading for our comprehensive guide on 12 types of candle holders that will certainly shed some light on your options.

1. Taper Candle Holders

One of the most common types of candle holders used today, the taper candle holder is often found in restaurants or in the home in a dining setting. These simple candle holders are the go-to choice for providing soft, ambient light and promoting great conversation while enjoying a nice meal. Tapered candle holders are designed to fit tapered candles, which are tall, skinny candles that can be found at most retailers.

These candles will fit perfectly in a taper candle handle, without any wiggling. This makes both tapered candles and tapered candle holders ideal for dining and should you need to pick up the holder and move it, there’s no risk of the candle falling out. As you might expect, taper candle holders come in a wide variety of styles, heights, and materials. With so many options, you should have no difficulty finding a design that complements your décor.

When considering materials for taper candle holders, the heftier the better. Classic silver, glass, brass, and even crystal are great options. For best results, you want to make sure that your candle fits the holder. The thin tapered candles should not wobble when placed into the candlestick, and if they do, you likely have a candle that’s not suited for a taper holder.

2. Chamberstick Candle Holders

Chambersticks are a very unique type of candle holder because they are designed to be carried. It was meant to light the way or provide some light for late-night reading in the days before electricity was invented. While we no longer need candles to light up our homes, chambersticks are still an appealing candle holder that can add some rustic, vintage charm to your room. They are both appealing and practical, often seen perched on a side table or by the entryway of a home.

In the 18th century, chambersticks were kept in an accessible location in the home. That way, when any family member wanted to retire to bed for the evening, they could grab the chamberstick to guide the way. In the morning, chambermaids would collect the chambersticks, clean them, and return them to their designated location. Wealthy families during this time period would have a full-time candle man whose sole purpose was to look after the candlesticks in the house.

When compared to other types of candle holders, chambersticks are shorter and feature a flat, round base that is meant to catch dripping wax. In some cases, the base is ornamentally shaped or intricately designed. It helps to keep wax from falling onto the floor or coming into contact with the skin or clothing. The chamberstick is also characterized by a central socket for holding the candle, a sconce (which may be removable), and a handle on one side.

Some variations of the chamberstick feature a built-in snuffer, or extinguisher, for putting out the candle when it is no longer needed.

3. Candelabras

Like chambersticks, candelabras also have a very long history. The practical reason why candelabras were invented as a variation on the candlestick was that often more than one candle was needed to write or read by before the invention of electricity. Coming from the Latin word ‘candelabrum’ that means candle-tree, these candle holders feature many branches or arms that spread out in all directions – loosely resembling a tree.

While electricity has rendered candelabras virtually useless from a practical standpoint, they are now relegated to decorative use. In fact, interior designers model lighting accessories and fixtures after candelabras. If you’re looking for a visually appealing type of candle holder that will certainly attract the eye, a candelabra may be the choice for you.

Although candelabras tend to be very magnificent and may be challenging to incorporate into your living spaces, they are often seen atop a dining table for decoration. To add some charm and appeal to your dining room table, consider placing a candelabra in the center. Candelabras are ideal for enhancing the décor on holidays and other special occasions. Light the candles and you’ll have instant mood lighting while entertaining your guests.

Like all other candle holders on this list, there are many different candelabras to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an intricate, antique piece or something more modern and contemporary, you have many options to choose from.


The Menorah is a special kind of candelabra, designed after the seven-lamp (six branches) ancient Hebrew lampstand mentioned in the Bible. A part of Jewish tradition, the Hanukkah (Chanukah) Menorah is a festive candelabrum with nine branches that are typically placed near a window or in a doorway during the eight-day Jewish holiday.

This Menorah is characterized by all eight Hanukkah lights being lined up at the same level, with the ninth light (the Shamash) positioned slightly above the others. The additional light is used to light the eight candles, which are lit left to right immediately after nightfall.

4. Votive Candle Holders

As their name indicates, votive candle holders are designed to hold votive candles. When compared to the other options listed above, votive candle holders tend to be a bit shorter, smaller, and also less expensive. In order to maximize the burn time with votive candles, you must have a votive candle holder. These candle holders help to pool the wax inside, which allows for a full burn time.

Votive candles are taller than tea light candles and are designed with a distinctive bell-top to allow the wax to melt evenly and completely. Their design creates an even, yet mild distribution of the fragrance. Votive candles fully liquefy and since they don’t already come in a contained cup, you need a specially designed votive candle holder.

After the wax has melted, swapping it out for a new candle is as easy as letting the wax solidify, popping the holder into the refrigerator for about an hour, and then gently removing the wax with a wick clip.

These types of candle holders are typically purchased in pairs and placed together as décor on a table or shelf. Though, there are nearly endless possibilities for votive candle holders. You can find votive candle holders for as little as 25 cents at retailers like IKEA and most votive candles will have a burn time of about 10 hours. These holders may be small, but they can create beautiful and charming points of light throughout your home!

5. Tea Light Candle Holders

Tea light candle holders are commonly used in homes all throughout North America. To understand what tea light candle holders are, you must know what a tea light is. Tea lights are small candles (roughly half an inch high) inside of a thin plastic or metal cup, which allows it to completely liquefy when lit. They get their name from their use in tea light warmers, and are also used in many types of food warmers – like fondue.

Tea lights are an excellent choice for accenting lighting in the home and for heating scented oils. The major advantage that they have over taper candles is that, like votive candles, they do not drip. They are also even less expensive than votives, typically costing around 10 cents each. Tea lights can be placed afloat on water for a dramatic effect, or simply put into a designated tea light candle holder and used in a variety of situations.

Like tea lights themselves, tea light candle holders are very inexpensive. They are one of the most affordable candle holders available and offer a range of styles, colors, and designs to choose from. In fact, tea light candle holders have the most variety, as many of them will look completely different when compared to one another. While some appear like small mason jars, others are simple cups made out of wood, glass, metal, or stone. They can be highly decorative or very basic and functional – the options are endless!

6. Hurricane Candle Holders

Hurricane candle holders got their name from the glass shade’s ability to keep the candle flame shielded from sudden drafts. While they can still be used to prevent a candle from being blown out, they are now primarily used for decoration around the home. Hurricane candle holders are characterized by their tall, cylindrical shape, which typically consists of a glass shade atop a candle holder. More than just your typical rustic or modern, hurricane candle holders come in a wide variety of styles.

You’ll be able to find hurricane holders that mount on the wall, are freestanding, are tall, and even some that are short. Your options are virtually limitless when you want to decorate with this type of candle holder. The combination of a thick shade and a lit candle inside creates a lovely warm glow. A hurricane candle holder will fit both indoors and outdoors, appearing perfectly natural on a patio or inside on a table or bookshelf.

Oftentimes, hurricane candle holders are used for holding much more than candles. They offer endless customization opportunities by filling the inside to match the time of year or your personal style. These holders perform double-duty, allowing you to light a room and also create a lovely scene that suits the season. You can put shells and sand around the candle for a beach theme or fill it up with pine cones, candy canes, cranberries or even ornaments for a unique holiday display.

7. Lanterns

Lanterns have been used for holding candles for almost as long as they’ve been in existence. You may be familiar with oil or kerosene lamps that are used like chambersticks to light the way at night. Lanterns, on the other hand, function very similar to these except candles are placed inside to serve as the main light source. They are very visually appealing and many choose to hang them on hooks or stands to be used as decorative elements.

Candle lanterns can be used both indoors and outdoors and come in many different styles. While some feature a rustic wood design, others are made out of metal – such as wrought iron, brass, or nickel. Depending on your décor style and the size of your space, you’ll want to choose lanterns that complement your furnishings, decorative accessories, and even the layout of the room.

Since lanterns burn real candles (though you can find some that use LED candles) and cannot be left unattended while the flame is burning, choose a design that suits your lifestyle best.

Using lanterns is as easy as lighting the candle and closing the doors. As such, they make the perfect accessory for mantels, entryways, and tabletops. Candle lanterns can also be an appealing accessory for floor areas like beside your sofa, next to an entertainment center, or in front of your fireplace mantel. Whereas, use lanterns outside and they’ll provide a soft flicker of light for your patio area.

8. Candle Chandeliers

Before electricity was invented, homeowners hung chandeliers with candles to provide light in their living spaces. While this may seem somewhat outdated and even dangerous nowadays, it is a design trick that can still be used to bring some dimension to a room. Candlelight provides some of the warmest, softest, and most appealing forms of light. Therefore, opting for a hanging candle chandelier will create a very welcoming and cozy feel in your home.

However, if you plan to install a candle chandelier in your home you must practice extraordinary care. It should be hung low enough from your ceiling so that there is no risk of a fire hazard. You also don’t want to leave the candles unattended while they are lit. So long as you keep an eye on things and take all the necessary precautions, a candle chandelier can make a lovely addition to any home.

Like all other candle holders on our list, candle chandeliers can be found in many different styles, designs, and materials. One popular variation is wrought iron candle chandeliers, which can give your home gothic, Viking, and even Medieval castle vibes. Designed to display virility and built to last centuries, wrought iron candle chandeliers can take your home to a whole new level with respect to home décor.

9. Driftwood Candle Holder

A driftwood candle holder will create a statement in your home and make a wonderful centerpiece on a buffet, table, or in any sort of festive setting. This particular candle holder is designed to hold tea lights, though you can find others that will hold everything from votives to tapers and even hurricane candles. Driftwood candle holders can be purchased from a variety of online sellers or you can make one yourself. All you need is a piece of driftwood – ideally, one that’s flat – a drill with an orbital or spade bit, a pen, a tape measure, and a flat head screwdriver.

Simple layout the piece of driftwood on the side that you prefer to place the candles. Then, use your tape measure and pen to mark where you want the holes. Take your bit, center it over your first mark, apply pressure, and start drilling. Make sure that you make the holes such that the candles rest just at or slightly about the wood line. That way, you decrease the risk of the driftwood piece setting ablaze. The holes must also be flat, otherwise, the candles will tilt sideways and wax will spill everywhere.

10. Candle Wall Sconces

Sconces are a type of candle holder that are designed to be mounted on a wall. They may feature simple or elaborate designs, with many styles including mirrors and/or hanging elements for added visual interest. While modern inventions make our lives easier, past lifestyles have some sort of appeal to them. With that said, candles are timeless.

Although they are typically used for emergency lighting when the power goes out and our flashlights have died, candles can create a very intimate and calming environment that cannot be duplicated with any other light source. To enjoy the candlelit moments in our modern-day and age, candle wall sconces are a wonderful home solution. They are a lovely and versatile way to provide lighting to your living spaces, especially since they can be found in a wide range of designs from contemporary to rustic.

While some models are suited for indoor applications, some are intended for use outdoors, others give you the flexibility to use candle wall sconces wherever you like. However, it’s important that you consider the structural features in your home and whether or not they can safely and effectively accommodate these candle holders.

11. Tea Light Wax Warmer

An alternative to candles, wax melts require either a wax warmer or melter in or to use them. Wax warmers are filled with these fragrant wax melts that are similar in scent and structure to conventional candles, except for the lack of wick and flame. As the wax melts inside of the warmer, the fragrance is released into the air. How a wax warmer operates depends on the type and also the heat source.

While there are many different types of electric wax warmers, tea light wax warmers use tea light candles to produce the heat for wax melts. For best results and to avoid competing fragrances, opt for unscented tea lights.

12. Electric Candle Warmers

Candle warmers, on the other hand, are often confused with wax warmers. However, they are two different devices. Instead of warming small pieces of wax, candle warmers are used to warm a larger, more traditional candle without burning a wick or releasing soot into the air. They are a safer alternative to burning candles and can even be used for warming up hot beverages to a comfortable temperature, like hot cocoa, tea, or coffee.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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