10 Best Citronella Candles for Keeping Bugs At Bay

Published May 25, 2022
We hope you enjoy the products we have selected for you. Our editorial team has independently curated this list, and you can find out more about our review process here. LoveToKnow may collect a commission on purchases made through the links below.
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Summer is almost here, and that means the return of all our favorite things: beach parties. Family picnics. Summer cocktails. What's not to love?

Okay, we can think of at least one thing: the bugs. The return of summertime also means the return of mosquito season-and nothing is sure to ruin a summer night like a swarm of insects (not to mention the resulting bites).

But don't worry; thanks to citronella candles, you can still have plenty of summer fun. Not sure where to start? We've got you. We've rounded up the ten best citronella candles for keeping bugs away. From a basic candle with more than 5,000 five-star reviews to a hand-poured tropical option that smells more like a spa than a bug repellent, you're sure to find something on the list for you. So go on-stay outside a while (and pour yourself another drink).

Things to consider

Burn time: Burn time and effectiveness go hand-in-hand-after all, a candle that burns out after a few hours won't be too helpful for keeping bugs at bay-so be sure to check the manufacturer's estimated burn time before you buy. A few factors go into determining a candle's burn time, including the candle's size and the number of wicks, but as a general rule, larger candles will burn longer than smaller ones. That's not to say that bigger is better; you'll also want to consider your space and how you plan to use the candle. For apartment patios or one-off outdoor gatherings, small candles should do the trick. For extended outdoor activities, like camping, or bigger spaces, look for a longer burn time.

Citronella percentage: Citronella oil, which is distilled from a type of lemongrass, is the main factor in a candle's ability to repel insects and mosquitos (a feat it achieves by masking the carbon monoxide and lactic acid scents that attract mosquitoes to humans). So you might be wondering-exactly how much citronella oil do you need to keep bugs away? The most effective citronella candles contain 5% of citronella oil. This is considered on the high end of oil concentration; many citronella candles contain less. Keep an eye out for tricky manufacturers who don't list a percentage.

Scent: Citronella candles have a distinct, grassy scent that repels some humans along with the bugs. If you don't care for the citronella scent, opt for candles that blend the oil with other fragrances, such as rosemary, lavender, lime, or pine. All-natural, DEET-free citronella candles are more likely to have a subdued, pleasant scent compared to their chemical counterparts.

Our Top Picks


Best Basic:
Cutter Citronella Candle

More Than 5,000 Reviewers Say This $10 Candle Does the Job
Read more.

Best Budget:
Mainstays 30-Ounce Bucket Citronella Candle (2-pack)

This Pack of Two, 30-Ounce Candles Comes in at Only $5
Read more.

Best Natural:
Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle

A Citrusy Blend of Essential Oils Gives This DEET-Free Candle Its Repellent Properties
Read more.

Most Stylish:
Winbattle Natural Soy Wax Citronella Candle

A Handmade Pottery Container Houses This Elegant Option
Read more.

Best Torches:
Deco Home Garden Torch Set

Durability and Weather-Proofing Are Hallmarks of These Torches
Read more.

Most Fun:
Coleman Color-Changing LED Citronella Candle

Color-Changing LED Lights Give This Option a Festive Flair
Read more.

Best Scent:
Citronella and Lime Candle

A Combination of Fine Fragrances Gives This Candle a Citrusy, Tropical Aroma
Read more.

Best Tealights:
Mosquito Guard Tealight Citronella Candles

These Natural, DEET-Free Tealights Are Compact and Versatile
Read more.

Best Heavy-Duty:
Coleman 70+ Hour Outdoor Lantern

This Durable, Classic Lantern Candle Is Perfect for Outdoor Activities
Read more.

Best Incense:
Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

These All-Natural Incense Sticks Protect Up to 12 Feet
Read more.
Cutter 95784 Citronella Candle

Cutter 95784 Citronella Candle

At just under $10, Cutter's 20-ounce citronella candle is a solid staple. The triple-wick candle features a wide, stable base that keeps it from tipping over, and it provides up to 40 hours of burn time, so you never have to cut your summer nights short. With over 5,000 five-star reviews and an Amazon's Choice badge, it's no wonder this one wins our "best basic" pick. As one reviewer put it, it "gets the job done."

At just under $10, Cutter's 20-ounce citronella candle is a solid staple. The triple-wick candle features a wide, stable base that keeps it from tipping over, and it provides up to 40 hours of burn time, so you never have to cut your summer nights short. With over 5,000 five-star reviews and an Amazon's Choice badge, it's no wonder this one wins our "best basic" pick. As one reviewer put it, it "gets the job done."

What We Like
Burns for up to 40 hours
Three wicks for even burning
What We Don't
3% citronella oil
Difficult to transport due to metal handle
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Ringing up at only $5.00 for two 30-ounce candles, it's no wonder that Mainstays' citronella bucket candle takes home the title for best budget candle. Poured into sturdy metal buckets with three wicks for even burning and optimal illumination, these durable candles can handle whatever summer throws your way. Unlike many on the list, though, Mainstays' option isn't made with natural ingredients and contains a relatively low percentage of citronella oil, so remember: you get what you pay for.

Ringing up at only $5.00 for two 30-ounce candles, it's no wonder that Mainstays' citronella bucket candle takes home the title for best budget candle. Poured into sturdy metal buckets with three wicks for even burning and optimal illumination, these durable candles can handle whatever summer throws your way. Unlike many on the list, though, Mainstays' option isn't made with natural ingredients and contains a relatively low percentage of citronella oil, so remember: you get what you pay for.

What We Like
Burns up to 50 hours
Three wicks for even burning
What We Don't
3% citronella oil
Not natural; risk of exposure to carbon monoxide and soot
Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle

Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle

Murphy's Naturals' mission is to create products from responsibly sourced, plant-based ingredients, and their citronella candle is no different. This DEET-free candle is crafted with rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, and cedarwood oils and made from 100% soy and beeswax that provides a clean, citrusy burn. Beyond being free of petroleum, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, the natural candle contains 5% citronella oil, making it the perfect addition to your outdoor space.

Murphy's Naturals' mission is to create products from responsibly sourced, plant-based ingredients, and their citronella candle is no different. This DEET-free candle is crafted with rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, and cedarwood oils and made from 100% soy and beeswax that provides a clean, citrusy burn. Beyond being free of petroleum, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, the natural candle contains 5% citronella oil, making it the perfect addition to your outdoor space.

What We Like
Plant-based, clean-burning
5% citronella oil
What We Don't
Reviewers say the candle's radius isn't large
Expensive at approximately $21 for two 9-ounce candles
Citronella Candles in Coarse Pottery Container

Citronella Candles in Coarse Pottery Container

Want a citronella candle that doesn't look like a citronella candle? Winbattle's soy wax indoor/outdoor candle is for you. Featuring environmentally friendly soybean wax poured into coarse, handmade pottery, this candle will keep the bugs away without repelling your stylish friends. Unlike most candles on this list, Winbattle's addition pulls double duty-you can use it indoors and outdoors, giving you extra incentive to buy. And it doesn't just look good; with 6% citronella oil, it contains the highest percentage of citronella oil out of all our picks and can burn for up to 75 hours.

Want a citronella candle that doesn't look like a citronella candle? Winbattle's soy wax indoor/outdoor candle is for you. Featuring environmentally friendly soybean wax poured into coarse, handmade pottery, this candle will keep the bugs away without repelling your stylish friends. Unlike most candles on this list, Winbattle's addition pulls double duty-you can use it indoors and outdoors, giving you extra incentive to buy. And it doesn't just look good; with 6% citronella oil, it contains the highest percentage of citronella oil out of all our picks and can burn for up to 75 hours.

What We Like
6% citronella oil
Burns for up to 75 hours
What We Don't
Reviewers say it can burn unevenly
Reviewers mixed on product quality
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Garden Torch - Deco Home Garden Torch

Garden Torch - Deco Home Garden Torch

If you're looking for a bug repellent with a wider radius than a traditional candle, Deco Home's 4-piece garden torch set might just do the job. Each 5-foot torch features a long-lasting, fiberglass wick that provides four to seven hours of burn time. Place them around the edge of your outdoor space for a sleek, elevated take on the traditional Tiki torch. It's worth noting, though, that the citronella oil you'll need to keep the bugs at bay is sold separately.

If you're looking for a bug repellent with a wider radius than a traditional candle, Deco Home's 4-piece garden torch set might just do the job. Each 5-foot torch features a long-lasting, fiberglass wick that provides four to seven hours of burn time. Place them around the edge of your outdoor space for a sleek, elevated take on the traditional Tiki torch. It's worth noting, though, that the citronella oil you'll need to keep the bugs at bay is sold separately.

What We Like
Water-resistant, weather-proof
Fiberglass, long-lasting wick
What We Don't
Citronella oil sold separately
Relatively short burn time
Coleman Color Changing LED Candle

Coleman Color Changing LED Candle

Want to add a little bit of flair to your backyard? Check out Coleman's LED citronella candle. Much like traditional citronella candles, this 8-oz option burns for up to 25 hours and features an embossed glass candle holder that makes it perfect for the outdoors. But it has one major difference: it features a color-changing LED light that illuminates the entire candle when lit. Reviewers call the rotating colors "magic" and "so cool." While a great option for those with kids, Coleman's candle is a hit with adults as well. Backyard LED light party? Count us in.

Want to add a little bit of flair to your backyard? Check out Coleman's LED citronella candle. Much like traditional citronella candles, this 8-oz option burns for up to 25 hours and features an embossed glass candle holder that makes it perfect for the outdoors. But it has one major difference: it features a color-changing LED light that illuminates the entire candle when lit. Reviewers call the rotating colors "magic" and "so cool." While a great option for those with kids, Coleman's candle is a hit with adults as well. Backyard LED light party? Count us in.

What We Like
Changing lights add a fun flair
Burns up to 25 hours
What We Don't
Doesn't come with a lid, leaving it exposed to elements if adventuring outdoors
Small for the price
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Want to keep the bugs away this summer but not into the distinct grassy scent that accompanies traditional citronella candles? This citronella and lime option is your answer. Handmade from pure soy and featuring a lemon fragrance with earthy undertones, this candle is perfect for nature lovers looking to add a little aromatherapy to their outdoor time. Another bonus? It's poured into a decorative, reusable acacia bowl. Simply pour hot water into the bowl once your candle has burned down to remove the wax.

Want to keep the bugs away this summer but not into the distinct grassy scent that accompanies traditional citronella candles? This citronella and lime option is your answer. Handmade from pure soy and featuring a lemon fragrance with earthy undertones, this candle is perfect for nature lovers looking to add a little aromatherapy to their outdoor time. Another bonus? It's poured into a decorative, reusable acacia bowl. Simply pour hot water into the bowl once your candle has burned down to remove the wax.

What We Like
Handmade
Refreshing, tropical scent
What We Don't
Seller doesn't list citronella percentage
On the smaller side at 5 ounces
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Mosquito Guard Tealight Citronella Candles

Mosquito Guard Tealight Citronella Candles

For a versatile option, check out these citronella tealights from Mosquito Guard. DEET-free and made from plant-based ingredients, including peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood, and lemongrass oil, reviewers say the candle has a pleasant scent and keeps mosquitos away. Since these are tealights rather than traditional candles, they also offer versatility when it comes to use and placement-scatter them around tables for quick protection, or add them to votives or mason jars for outdoor decor that's fashionable and functional.

For a versatile option, check out these citronella tealights from Mosquito Guard. DEET-free and made from plant-based ingredients, including peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood, and lemongrass oil, reviewers say the candle has a pleasant scent and keeps mosquitos away. Since these are tealights rather than traditional candles, they also offer versatility when it comes to use and placement-scatter them around tables for quick protection, or add them to votives or mason jars for outdoor decor that's fashionable and functional.

What We Like
Made from plant-based essential oils
DEET-free
What We Don't
0.75% citronella oil
Each tea light burns for approximately one hour
coleman-citronella-candle-outdoor-lantern.jpeg

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If you want a heavy-duty, long-lasting citronella candle, look no further than Coleman's outdoor lantern. This 6.7-ounce candle burns and repels for up to 70 hours, making it the second-longest burning candle on our list. While it works for any sort of outdoor activity, the classic lantern shape and easy-grip handle make it the perfect addition for your next camping trip. The reusable cap also protects the candle from summer rainstorms and other debris.

If you want a heavy-duty, long-lasting citronella candle, look no further than Coleman's outdoor lantern. This 6.7-ounce candle burns and repels for up to 70 hours, making it the second-longest burning candle on our list. While it works for any sort of outdoor activity, the classic lantern shape and easy-grip handle make it the perfect addition for your next camping trip. The reusable cap also protects the candle from summer rainstorms and other debris.

What We Like
70+ hours of burn time
Handle for portability
What We Don't
3% citronella oil
Not natural; contains paraffin wax
Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

Looking for a mess-free way to repel bugs this summer? Let us introduce you to Murphy's Naturals citronella incense sticks. DEET-free and made from plant-based repellent oils, including rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood oil, these repellent sticks offer all the benefits of Murphy's traditional candle without any of the inconvenience that comes with wax candles. Simply allow one end of the stick to burn for 15-20 seconds for up to 2.5 hours of protection.

Looking for a mess-free way to repel bugs this summer? Let us introduce you to Murphy's Naturals citronella incense sticks. DEET-free and made from plant-based repellent oils, including rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood oil, these repellent sticks offer all the benefits of Murphy's traditional candle without any of the inconvenience that comes with wax candles. Simply allow one end of the stick to burn for 15-20 seconds for up to 2.5 hours of protection.

What We Like
DEET-free, plant-based
Made without petroleum or harsh chemicals
What We Don't
Scent is too strong for smaller areas
Thick sticks; only fit in Murphy's incense holders
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Didn't grab a citronella candle quickly enough? Check out our article on nautral remedies for mosquito bites and then read more about summer activities perfect for kids.

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10 Best Citronella Candles for Keeping Bugs At Bay