Wood Wick vs Hemp Wick: The Startling Differences Revealed

Wood Wick vs Hemp Wick The Startling Differences Revealed Featured Image

In the realm of natural wicks, the debate of ‘wood wick vs hemp wick’ continues to spark discussions among candle makers and hobbyists alike. Both these types have their unique attributes, strengths, and drawbacks, offering diverse experiences for users. This blog post aims to shed light on the differences, similarities, advantages, and ideal usage scenarios of both wood and hemp wicks. It is designed to guide you towards an informed decision for your specific needs.

What is Wood Wick and What is Hemp Wick?

A Wood Wick is a type of candle wick that, as the name suggests, is made from natural wood instead of the more traditionally used cotton. The wood used in these wicks is usually sourced from trees like maple or fruit trees. These wicks are often used in candles for their unique features: they produce a distinct, gentle crackling sound reminiscent of a wood-burning fireplace when lit, and they create a larger flame that can offer a more even heat distribution, resulting in a more efficient melt pool for the candle wax.

A Hemp Wick, on the other hand, is a type of wick made from hemp fibers. Hemp wicks are often coated with beeswax to enhance their burn rate and stability. They are commonly used for lighting things like candles, cigars, or pipes, and are a preferred choice for those who want to avoid the potentially harmful effects of inhaling butane from lighters. These wicks burn at a lower temperature than lighters, which can result in a smoother and better-tasting smoking experience.

Key Differences Between Wood Wick and Hemp Wick

  1. Material: Wood wicks are made from wood while hemp wicks are made from hemp fibers.
  2. Use: Wood wicks are primarily used in candles, while hemp wicks are often used as a natural lighter for smoking purposes.
  3. Sound: Wood wicks produce a unique crackling sound that is not present with hemp wicks.
  4. Flame: Wood wicks create a larger flame compared to hemp wicks, leading to a more even heat distribution when used in candles.
  5. Temperature: Hemp wicks burn at a lower temperature than wood wicks, which can affect the flavor and experience of smoking.
  6. Coating: Hemp wicks are often coated with beeswax, while wood wicks are not.
  7. Smoke: Wood wicks produce more smoke than hemp wicks.
  8. Burn rate: Hemp wicks tend to have a slower burn rate than wood wicks.

Key Similarities Between Wood Wick and Hemp Wick

  1. Natural Origin: Both wood and hemp wicks are made from natural materials and are thus considered more environmentally friendly than synthetic wicks.
  2. Alternative to Traditional Wicks: Both serve as alternatives to traditional cotton wicks, offering different features and advantages.
  3. Burn Control: Both types of wicks provide a high degree of burn control, though this is achieved through different mechanisms.
  4. Fragrance: Both wood and hemp wicks can add a subtle scent to the burning process, enhancing the overall experience.
  5. Health Considerations: Both wood and hemp wicks are often preferred over synthetic options due to health considerations related to the inhalation of synthetic materials.
  6. Variety: Both wood and hemp wicks come in a variety of sizes and types, allowing users to select the best option for their specific needs.

Pros of Wood Wick Over Hemp Wick

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Wood wicks provide a rustic, aesthetic appeal to candles that isn’t typically found with hemp wicks. They make the candles look more elegant and high-end.
  2. Crackling Sound: Wood wicks create a unique, soothing crackling sound when they burn, similar to a wood-burning fireplace. This is an effect that hemp wicks cannot produce.
  3. Flame Size: Wood wicks produce a larger flame compared to hemp wicks. This not only enhances the ambiance but also helps to melt the candle wax more evenly.
  4. Longer Burning: Wood wicks tend to burn slower than hemp wicks, which can result in a longer-lasting candle.
  5. Less Soot: Compared to hemp wicks, wood wicks produce less soot, leading to a cleaner burning process.
  6. Scent Distribution: Due to their wider flame, wood wicks are excellent for distributing the candle’s scent, making them a great choice for scented candles.

Cons of Wood Wick Compared to Hemp Wick

  1. Harder to Light: Wood wicks can be more challenging to light compared to hemp wicks. They often require a longer time to catch the flame.
  2. Maintenance: Wood wicks require more maintenance than hemp wicks. They need to be trimmed before each burn to ensure they burn properly.
  3. Price: Due to their unique benefits, candles with wood wicks can often be more expensive than those with hemp wicks.
  4. Inconsistent Burn: While wood wicks can offer a more even heat distribution, they can also burn inconsistently if not properly maintained.
  5. Smoke Production: Wood wicks may produce more smoke compared to hemp wicks, which might be a concern for some users.
  6. Not Ideal for Smoking: Unlike hemp wicks, wood wicks are not suitable for lighting cigars or pipes due to their larger flame and higher burning temperature.

Pros of Hemp Wick Over Wood Wick

  1. Ease of Use: Hemp wicks are generally easier to light compared to wood wicks, which can sometimes take longer to catch a flame.
  2. Lower Burn Temperature: Hemp wicks burn at a lower temperature than wood wicks, which can make for a smoother and more enjoyable smoking experience.
  3. Health Benefits: When used as a lighter for smoking, hemp wicks release fewer toxins compared to butane lighters. This is not a factor when using wood wicks, as they’re not typically used for this purpose.
  4. Slow Burning: Hemp wicks tend to burn slower than wood wicks, making them last longer.
  5. Less Smoke: Hemp wicks produce less smoke than wood wicks, which can be a benefit for those who are sensitive to smoke.
  6. Cost-Effective: Hemp wicks can often be more cost-effective than wood wicks, which are typically used in higher-end candles.

Cons of Hemp Wick Compared to Wood Wick

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Hemp wicks lack the rustic charm and visual appeal that wood wicks bring to candles.
  2. Lack of Crackling Sound: Hemp wicks do not produce the distinctive crackling sound that wood wicks do.
  3. Smaller Flame: Hemp wicks produce a smaller flame compared to wood wicks. This means they might not be as effective in melting candle wax evenly.
  4. Scent Distribution: When used in candles, hemp wicks might not distribute scent as effectively as wood wicks due to their smaller flame.
  5. Beeswax Coating: Some users may not prefer the beeswax coating on hemp wicks, as it can influence the smell and taste when used for lighting cigars or pipes.
  6. Maintenance: While easier to light, hemp wicks can go out more easily than wood wicks, requiring frequent relighting.

Situations When Wood Wick is Better Than Hemp Wick

  1. Candle Making: If you’re making candles, especially those meant for ambiance and aesthetic appeal, wood wicks are the better choice. They create a large, captivating flame and a pleasant crackling sound.
  2. Even Wax Melting: In situations where you need to ensure an even melting of candle wax, wood wicks, with their wider flame, are superior.
  3. Creating Atmosphere: If you’re looking to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere with the soothing sound of a crackling fireplace, wood wicks are the ideal choice.
  4. Scented Candles: For scented candles, wood wicks offer better scent distribution compared to hemp wicks.
  5. Long Burning Events: For events that require long-burning candles, like dinner parties or ceremonies, wood wicks, which often burn slower, are a good choice.
  6. Premium Product Creation: If you’re a candle maker looking to create a high-end, premium product, wood wicks lend an upscale, elegant aesthetic to candles.

Situations When Hemp Wick is Better Than Wood Wick

  1. Smoking: When lighting pipes, cigars, or similar items, hemp wick is the better option due to its lower burning temperature and less harmful smoke.
  2. Health Conscious Choices: If you’re conscious about inhaling potentially harmful substances, hemp wicks are a better choice as they emit fewer toxins compared to butane lighters.
  3. Budget Considerations: If cost is a factor, hemp wicks are typically more budget-friendly than wood wicks.
  4. DIY Candle Making: For those starting with DIY candle-making, hemp wicks are easier to handle and less maintenance-intensive than wood wicks.
  5. Reduced Smoke Emissions: In situations where smoke sensitivity is a concern, hemp wicks, which emit less smoke than wood wicks, are a better choice.
  6. Smaller Candles: For smaller candles where a large flame is not necessary or desirable, hemp wicks are an optimal choice.
Wood WickHemp Wick
MaterialsMade from woodMade from hemp fibers coated with beeswax
UsePrimarily used in candlesUsed as a natural lighter for smoking purposes
SoundProduces a unique, crackling soundDoes not produce a crackling sound
Flame SizeCreates a larger flameCreates a smaller flame
Burn TemperatureBurns at a higher temperatureBurns at a lower temperature
SmokeProduces more smokeProduces less smoke
Burn RateTends to burn slowerTends to burn slower
CoatingNot typically coatedOften coated with beeswax
ProsAesthetic appeal, crackling sound, larger flame, longer burning, less soot, good scent distributionEasier to light, lower burn temperature, fewer toxins, slower burning, less smoke, more cost-effective
ConsHarder to light, requires more maintenance, can be more expensive, can burn inconsistently, produces more smokeLacks aesthetic appeal of wood wicks, smaller flame, beeswax coating may influence taste, can go out more easily
Better WhenMaking candles, ensuring even wax melting, creating ambiance, making scented candles, burning for long durationsLighting pipes/cigars, health-conscious decisions, budget considerations, DIY candle making, smoke sensitivity, smaller candles
Wood Wick vs Hemp Wick Summary

Wood Wick vs Hemp Wick Summary

In the ongoing ‘wood wick vs hemp wick’ debate, there is no definitive winner. Each has its distinctive qualities and advantages, and the choice between the two often comes down to the specific requirements, be it aesthetic appeal, sound effects, burning rate, health consciousness, or cost-effectiveness. Understanding the pros and cons of each can aid you in making an informed decision tailored to your needs. Whether you’re an experienced candle-maker, a novice DIY enthusiast, or a discerning consumer, the information provided should shed light on which type of wick is better suited to your particular situation.


Can I replace a wood wick with a hemp wick in a candle and vice versa?

Yes, technically you can replace a wood wick with a hemp wick or vice versa in a candle. However, it’s important to note that each wick type will offer a different burning experience. Wood wicks, for instance, create a larger flame and a crackling sound, while hemp wicks produce a smaller flame and no crackling noise. Additionally, wood wicks might require more maintenance like trimming before each use.

Is one type of wick more sustainable or environmentally friendly than the other?

Both wood wicks and hemp wicks can be considered environmentally friendly as they are both natural products. Hemp is a renewable resource that grows quickly, making it a sustainable choice. Wood wicks are typically made from trees grown in forests managed in a sustainable way. However, the overall environmental impact can also depend on factors like the manufacturing process and the source of the materials.

How do I decide the best wick size for my candle?

The best wick size depends on several factors, including the diameter of the candle, the type of wax used, and the fragrance or dye load. For both wood and hemp wicks, it’s usually recommended to start with a wick size that’s appropriate for the diameter of the candle. For instance, a candle with a diameter of up to 3 inches may require a small wood wick or a 1mm hemp wick. Larger candles will need larger wicks. However, the best way to find the optimal wick size is often through testing.

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