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What are Electric Candles?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are two main types of electric candles. Actual electric candles or candelabras are United Laboratories (UL) tested, plug into an electrical outlet, and resemble a candle with the bulb representing the flame. The second type are not actually candles, but rather electric warmers that house real wax candles.

Actual electric candles are very popular, especially during the holidays, when they can be seen illuminating many windows in homes and shops. Some are powered by electricity, and others are battery powered. The most popular have built-in sensors that turn the light on in the dark and off during the day, saving power. Some use standard night-light bulbs, and others use specialty bulbs that resemble the flickering of flame from a distance.

Though traditional electric candles have been used for years, miniature versions have more recently appeared in Holiday decor retail. Some people traditionally place candles on their tree at Christmas, but the practice has been the cause of numerous house fires. Many stores now carry small strands that can be used to create the look of candles on a Christmas tree without the hazard of open flame.

Candle warmers are not actually electric candles, but many people use this name for them. They are simply decorative containers for wax tarts or candles, powered by electricity to melt the wax and release the aroma of scented candles. As with an actual electric candle, these warmers are safer alternatives to traditional flame-bearing candles.

Though electric candles are safer, they are not without risks. People who use them should always check the packaging for UL testing before buying them or any other electric device. They should also periodically check the wires for damage and throw out any with questionable cords. For safety reasons, electric candels should be kept away from small children, because the bulbs can easily break. Candle warmers can also cause injury if they are tipped over and the melted wax gets on the skin.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By julies — On Jun 24, 2011

If you are looking for a safe way to light up a room, using electric votive candles can be a way to go. You get the effect of the candle but don't have the worry of the flame.

These have become quite popular as they are much safer to use. I have some decorative metal churches that are sitting on an old buffet table. I like to put these electric candles inside the church to give the effect without hurting the decoration or worry about them burning down the house.

By bagley79 — On Jun 22, 2011

@anon60316 - I'm not sure if leaving an electric candle on all night is the same as leaving your computer on or not. During the holidays you see many homes where they have candles in the windows that stay lit all night long.

These could either be electric candles or battery operated ones. Either way, I don't think there would be a problem leaving an electric candle plugged in overnight.

I don't think I would feel comfortable doing this with a candle warmer though. There is something much different with the melting wax than an electric candle that is plugged in.

By anon60316 — On Jan 13, 2010

Candle warmers are definitely safer than burning candles. Safely speaking, is leaving them on all night long the same as leaving on a computer?

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