If you've not come across or seen LED Candles, they are a charming and clever application of modern technology.  These candles, overall, look very realistic but they are in fact LEDs inside rather than the real wick & flame.  As such they are battery operated.  They also come with a remote control in most cases.  This is a great option if you want to set the mood during a romantic meal or create that candle-light effect either inside or even outside for an evening barbecue!  Or possibly you just want to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests.  Typically, the Candles run on x3 AAA batteries with the remote also requiring a battery but on average these should last for over 100 hours before needing a change. 

BUT, are they any good?

Many LED candles available are made of real wax and have that used-look about them to ensure a sense of realism.  The light blinks rapidly at varying speeds and brightness in an attempt to replicate candle flicker.  Obviously if you are a regular candle user and really take a moment to study the LED version whilst it’s operating you can easily spot the difference.  And I would not try to claim otherwise.  But unless you’ll be closely scrutinising them or using them as a focal point I’d have to say the realism is close enough for most in my opinion.  Perhaps more important is that they open up the possibility for candle use where perhaps previously it wasn’t an option. 


LED Candle 1Credit: S Brook

Just a gimmick?

Traditional flame candles can be dangerous or impractical in some situations such as being located close to furniture items or being unpractical if outside (e.g. windy).  Naturally, if you have any small children or pets, LED candles make a safe and therefore excellent alternative giving complete peace-of-mind.  Of course, there are other benefits too such as not burning your fingers, no spilling of wax or trying to remove wax stains.  And finally say goodbye to stumbling and routing around in drawers for matches – just hit the remote, and as if by magic....voila!

Initially I admit to being a little dismissive and even thought them cheezy.  But I now enjoy using them and have purchased several of these as gifts for friends.  One friend in particular is an elderly lady living in a nursing home where of course regular candles are simply not permitted – and she loves them!  No doubt for the sub $20 gift category they are a great option and potential stocking filler idea for Christmas.  

What to look out for

Here are a few points to look out for if you are thinking of purchasing:

Check what size the candle(s) are that you’re buying.  Sometimes you might be used to a particular size or especially if you need them to fit a particular space.  This can easily be overlooked and you end up returning them or being disappointed.  Often the sizes and dimensions are not always that easy to spot.

Be aware that many of the models available are scented, which gradually goes away in time, but if this will  bother you then try to find an unscented option or be aware you will need to quarantine them for a couple months until it fades away!

Consider the number of LED candles you need.  Often candles are arranged and arguably look better when there are 3 or 4 of them together.  Also bear in mind you do not actually see light directly from a flame like you do with a genuine candle (see picture below) so if you need your LED candles to provide a reasonable level of lighting you will probably need more than just one or two. 

LED Candle 3Credit: S Brook