Rechargeable tea lights may be grouped into many different categories, based on the charging method and other factors. Most rechargeable tea lights use a base station and alternating current (AC) power to charge, and in some cases several base stations may be linked together. Solar rechargeable tea lights typically have one charger per candle, and that is often reflected in the price. Another differentiating characteristic that some battery powered tea lights have is an artificial flicker, which causes the light emitting diode (LED) to simulate candlelight by turning off and on rapidly. Some of these artificial candles are also scented, or can be activated by a remote control.
Tea lights are small, cylindrical candles that are typically wider than they are tall. Traditional tea lights are white and scentless, though many different varieties are also available. Tea lights are commonly used with a variety of different holders, though they are often set into tall, frosted, glass containers. These containers are particularly well suited to electronic substitution, since flames typically cannot be seen clearly through that type of glass. That can allow an artificial candle to provide a more realistic illusion.
There are two main categories of rechargeable tea lights, which can be divided based on the charging method. Most tea lights use some type of base station and are charged by AC power. These base stations can sometimes be linked, which may allow four or more sets of candles to be charged from a single outlet at once. The base stations sometimes have physical contacts that the candles must be clicked into, though non-contact recharging methods are often used as well.
The other type of rechargeable tea lights use solar power instead of electricity from the power grid. These units sometimes also have base stations, though a more common configuration is to have a separate solar charger for each tea light. Unlike traditional rechargeable tea lights that can be put into any candle holder, solar tea light are often built into a holder that has an attached solar charger.
Within those two categories, there are also a number of other defining characteristics that battery powered tea lights can have. Some battery powered tea lights shine continuously, while others include built-in electronics that cause a momentary flicker from time to time. Steady tea lights are well suited to some circumstances, though units that have a flicker can create a better sense of realism. Most battery powered tea lights have cone-shaped artificial flames, though units with teardrop-shaped flames are typically also available. Some of these artificial candles are also scented, and the LEDs may be amber, white, or a variety of other colors.