Sunday, February 23, 2014

guest article


Candle Depot vs Dollar Store

Everyone should have some form of backup lighting.
Several choices are available.
Solar powered LED lights are one choice. The price is right, only a dollar.
The old reliable Coleman lantern is my favorite. I remember our family using it when we went camping. It really can't be beat for the massive amount of lighting provided. The down side, you need fuel and mantles to keep it going.
Flashlights are another option. Wind up ones and solar powered are good choices.
Candles. These have a track record of more than 5,000 years. Hard to beat that. They produce light and a small amount of heat. Everyone should have a few (or more for barter). The price is very reasonable for this basic need. One downside is the danger from an open flame. Another is the small quantity of light produced.
Until recently, the best deal I was able to find for candles was at The Candle Depot (here). 2400 hours for almost $86 counting shipping handling etc. That didn't seem too bad to me.
But then..... I got to wondering if maybe just maybe the dollar store candles could compete against that deal.
So I did a test. I bought one and burned it for 25 hours. You see it above. (and another new one)
At 25 hours it was not even half burned. Let's figure it has 50 hours of light in it.
If we buy eighty of them, we'll have 4000 hours of light from them compared to the 2400 hours of Candle Depot.
This comparison was only for determining what was the longest amount of light provided for the money spent. The dollar store candle is a solid candle while the Candle Depot's is liquid.

The Dollar Store candle is the clear winner.


  1. Interesting, I have a stock pile of candles but really need to get some of the solar lights as well. I will check out the dollar store in our area to see what they have. Thanks.

  2. Chad - father of nine from WisconsinFebruary 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Since I got into prepping majorly back in 98... I have picked up every cheap candle I could at yard sales.. People selling candles that are barely used for 25 cents.. One yard sale I got close to 40 pounds of candles for $3. When we go to city-wide yard sales I carry a pccket of quarters just for purchasing little things like that..

    Over the course of 15 years... I now have 6 or 7 plastic totes (18 gallon) full of candles and that isnt counting the brand new in the package ones I find and the smelly ones that my wife likes. People can be so wasteful. Good for us.

  3. And you may be able to beat that by a bunch if you visit your local thrift stores run by charities. They often get candles as 'contributions' when estates are sold off. I've bought two pound 'candle art' for a buck.

    If you don't want to deal with them in the shape you buy them, you can substitute cheap cotton twine for official candle wicking and melt and pour your own.


  4. Seems to me that I also recall seeing the "candle lanterns" before? The main difference was that they contained a way to reflect the light. I think that placing the candles in front of mirrors would help quite a bit. If you had a large mirror on both sides of the room, you could reflect the light pretty well. Lighter coloured walls would also add to the effectiveness.

    I recall reading that the 3"x9" pillar candles have a burn time of around 90 hours. Pillar candles will have a longer burn time because they use a stiffer wax than the container candles which usually use a softer wax.

  5. My local $ only sells scented candles. Wanna shoot yourself - smell that crap in a tight room long enough!

  6. I was at a dollar store buying candles to heat my tent (yes I know but have had years of practice) and was told the darker candles burn hotter and longer, if that helps anyone.

    1. I don't see why a tent candle is all that dangerous with adequate precautions. Unless you LIKE to hold the flame up to the fabric ( Woooo, dude, look at those knarely colors )