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What are Flameless Candles?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Although there are many types of electric candles, flameless candles typically refer to battery-powered candles that do not have any type of wick or plastic appearing flame. Instead these candles produce a beautiful, luminescent glow, very similar to that produced by standard votives, tea lights, or tapers. Flameless candles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including those just mentioned, and in many round oblong shapes of varying heights.

Many people love to light candles, but fire safety when using candles in the home remains a concern. This is especially true when you place candles in areas that are not under constant supervision, like the bathroom, or a seldom-used hallway. Even as decoration on a table, true candles knocked over, or grabbed by younger children can create problems. The invention of flameless candles helps solve this problem, since you get the pretty look of candles with none of the risk.

The look of flameless candles tends to be most convincing when you purchase votives, tea lights or round oblong candles in different sizes. With regular candles of these types, the flame and wick usually sink below the top of the candle, and the candles emit a glow when they are lit. Tapers are a little less effective in “fooling” people into thinking you’ve lit real candles, since the wick and flame of tapers are much more visible. They can still be very pretty, however, and are definitely safer.

You can purchase flameless candles from a variety of different stores. Candle stores are now selling them with greater and greater frequency, and they’re available online from numerous sources in a wide price range. A couple of tapers or oblongs could cost about $25 US Dollars (USD), while tea lights and votives tend to be less expensive.

Many people wonder how to best use flameless candles, and there are many suggestions. For instance, wall hung candelabras can wink and glow with these candles in different sizes. They are, as mentioned, just perfect for places you’re not going to be able to keep an eye on. Some flameless versions also emit a scent, which can be nice for freshening up the smells of various rooms.

There are plenty of other uses for flameless candles. Use votives in place of standard votives in pretty glass shades, or put them in pumpkins for Halloween. One interesting decorating tip for those who want to be environmentally friendly is to place these candles in fireplaces that are unused. You can get the warm glow of a fire in this manner, with none of the pollution from wood smoke. Best yet, if you forget to turn these candles off, the worst thing likely to occur is that you’ll have to buy new batteries.

WiseGeek 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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon179645 — On May 24, 2011

This a great article! I agree, flameless candles can have many uses and they are great! Great job!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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