People have been using incense sticks since ancient times, for various reasons. While some might identify the first uses of this kind of item as slightly pagan – as they were used in rituals and whatnot – nowadays they are used mostly and mainly for atmospheric purposes.
In short, the three common uses of these sticks are to create a pleasant, dreamy atmosphere that helps people who practice meditation, to improve the odour of a home/room, and to repel insects, especially nasty mosquitoes.
Since such products are now commonly used throughout households, it is important to know which incense stick brand/product is better. Not all sticks are made the same and, furthermore, not all of them burn the same. This is why, in the following lines, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the best incense sticks!
Best Incense Sticks
The first entry on our list is a pack of 120 premium incense sticks, ideal for meditation, aromatherapy, and relaxation. The set comes accompanied by a ceramic incense holder burner, to avoid making a mess and give a plus of style to your home.
There are six boxes in the pack, each with a different smell: wild cherry, sandalwood, African violet, patchouli, strawberry, and jasmine. You will not get tired soon of it.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that this is one of Amazon’s Choice, which means its one of the best incense sticks sets, so you will buy a quality product that will help improve your various good health and well-being, spa, bathroom, meditation, aromatherapy, and even reiki sessions.
Next up, we have another premium option coming from a reputable brand as well. The Om Shanti incense sticks are quite known on the market as being of superior quality.
This pack, compared to the previous one, comes with 12 differently scented boxes of 15 grams each. You will be able to enjoy the aroma of vanilla, opium, oodh, meditation, rose, Buddhas blessing, white sage, Patchouli, Spiritual Healing, Om Shanti, Superhit, and Nag Champa.
The sticks have been made with the help of Indian Arts and using high-quality Masala and Satya mix (two reputable brands). This range is designed with many benefits in mind, including better health, improved yoga and meditation practice and so much more.
Even though it comes with two packs only, this set still contains as many as 96 sticks to make your days spent at home better. One of the sets is ideal for aromatherapy while the other is designed for mood lifting!
It is made in India, using high-quality materials from premium brands. Reportedly, a single burns for around 40 minutes, which is more than enough to brighten up the atmosphere in your living room.
With a high number of positive reviews, this makes for one of the best incense sticks pack that you’ll find on the market.
Our next entry is a classic pack from a classic, if we may say so, manufacturer. Satya brings to your home the authentic scent and looks of incense sticks.
The fragrance used for this is Nag Champa, which is based on the plumeria flower, which is often referred to as champa. Both the smell and the sticks are reportedly world-famous!
For a touch of relaxation, the fragrance of plumeria is mixed with sandalwood – this also makes for a smoother scent. As with most sticks, these burn for around 40 minutes each as well.
This pack comes with more than just a fancy look – and with a total of 120 incense sticks as well! SCENTORINI is another well-known brand in the world of sticks, with this particular option amassing almost 2,000 positive reviews.
It comes in six boxes with different fragrances – Coconut Grove, Amber Musk, Rainforest, Opium, Vanilla, and Lavender. Each individual pack has 40g. On top of that, each is designed to last a bit longer – 45-minute average burn time while indoors.
The pack comes with an incense stick holder as well, which is ideal for those that want an extra bit of style. Incense sticks kept in a holder are less likely to cause a mess.
Next up, we have a premium that is one of the best incense packs that contains around 135 sticks. They come in just a single scent, that of sandalwood mixed with a nice base note.
The interesting part about this is that the incense sticks are hand-rolled on a bamboo core, in the authentic ancient Vedic way. On top of that, the pack comes with an incense burner as well, which is hand-crafted in India – for more than just a plus of style.
These sticks are ideal for yoga, meditation and relaxation. However, keep in mind that the manufacturer has other fragrances available as well.
The next set of incense sticks comes equipped with six different scents, ideal for a variety of activities. Being a premium brand, the sticks are hand-rolled in India and made using the highest quality ingredients and materials. They feature 100% natural ingredients for a natural incense and are free from any chemicals.
Each lasts for around 30-45 minutes and is 8 inches long. The pack also includes a sampler pack so that you can find your favourite scent without having to burn all different types of sticks first.
The fragrances of each pack are unique and handmade, with hints of herbal products, wood powder, essential fragrance oil, and honey.
If you want to improve your relaxation sessions and escape stress, then this pack might be designed just for you. The next set, which comes from Stamford, contains 6 packs with different scents, based around a different essential oil, namely Relaxing, Refreshing, Stress Relief, Energising, Sensuality, and Meditation.
Each individual pack contains 20 sticks, so you get 120 sticks in total. The only downside would be the average burn time, which is around 20 to 30 minutes. The sticks are made of Indian perfumery incense.
This particular set comes from a reputable brand, well-known in the industry for its high-quality products and marvellous scents. The manufacturer recommends people to buy mixed varieties so that they can find their favourite fragrances easier.
Towards the end of our top list, we have another classic pack from a reputed brand. The incense sticks from this Raajsee pack are 100% natural and come with a sandalwood scent. They are made from scratch, using authentic techniques that combine resins, spices, and herbs with charred coconut powder, wood powders, and honey.
Naturally, the sticks are hand-rolled in India and each of them burns for around 45 minutes. The pack comes with about 75 inside.
Obviously, the best part about this is the fact that it is 100% chemical-free and natural, handmade in India using the best essential oil. You don’t come across this type every single day!
The last entry on our list is a simple option with a simple package but with good quality. The manufacturer has available three different fragrances from which you can choose. Each ordered pack contains 50 – they can be of identical of mixed scent.
According to the reviews, the scents are gorgeous and similar to other best products of this kind on the market. The smell is also reportedly long-lasting, as well as the average burn time – over an hour.
The only downside might be the fact that they let out a bit too much smoke, but this shouldn’t be a problem if they’re not placed in small rooms.
Best Incense Sticks – Buying Guide
Now that you know which particular products are the best on the market, it’s time to move on to the buying guide. Why such a guide? Because you might want different scents than the ones we’ve showcased above.
If that’s the case, then you’ll need to know how to find and buy the best sticks – and there’s more to them than just burn time and smell. Let’s take a look at the characteristics that make for the best incense sticks.
Incense sticks can burn either directly or indirectly. This is something you may not see or notice written on any products and also affects how they are manufactured. Let’s see how each method works.
To achieve direct burning, the sticks must be made using a combustible material as part of their scent/incense. This allows it to burn until their incense depletes without the need for an external heating source. You just have to light them up once and that’s it.
This type of burning, on the other hand, is achieved via external heating sources, such as a hot metal plate, charcoal, or burning embers. The latter burns the incense, causing them to emanate their scent. Naturally, this type requires a bit more maintenance.
With direct burning, it will almost always have the advertised scent. Indirect burning, however, uses charcoals or embers that might let off smoke and affect the main scent.
Incense Processing Method
Depending on what processing method is used, the stick resulted can be of various categories – 5, to be more precise.
This processing method is often used by those that want to make their own incense sticks. They use wood, covered in unscented combustible powder, and dip it into scented liquid.
This process is used by many incense manufacturers. Basically, the incense itself is made via hand moulding – or with the help of a machine press – to form the shape of the incense. With this processing method, you can make dhoop, coil, and solid incense sticks.
For this particular method, the incense is applied onto the sticks via rolling. The wooden sticks – often made of bamboo stick with a bamboo core – are thrown in with the incense paste and rolled until the paste attaches to it.
For this method, plain sticks are covered with a mixture that resembles glue, after which they are spread with incense in the form of a powder. This is the most common method of making incense sticks.
Last but not least, compression implies the use of a machine to mould incense powder around a core. These Incense sticks are quite popular, but more expensive compared to powder-coated products.
Naturally, each processing method creates incense sticks of different fragrances – in terms of intensity – and prices, of course. This is why the processing method has to be taken into account when buying incense sticks.
Types of Direct Burning Incenses
According to the way they burn and the processing method used, direct burning incense sticks can be of the following types:
Cored Stick Incense
This is the most common type for incense. Their core is often sandalwood or bamboo. Pay particular attention when buying such incense sticks, as the core may very well be plain wood, which is not recommended when you buy high-end or authentic incense sticks.
Solid Stick Incense
On the other hand, you may also find incense sticks that actually don’t contain any wood at all. This type has no core. Instead, the incense is mixed with various plant material and then shaped into a similar form. Naturally, such incenses need a holder to burn into.
This type of incense comes, once again, with no core. This time, however, it can be shaped either into a cone, short rod, coil, or long rod. The takeaway is that they’re coreless and are often used on holders.
As the name implies, this type implies that the incense has been rolled into ropes, with a thicker and a thinner end. These work pretty much like candles – the thicker end has to be placed somewhere, originally in sand/stones, while the thinner one is burned.
When buying just incense sticks, you may not consider some of the above, as they don’t contain a wood. However, it is good to keep them in mind just in case you determine incense sticks are not ideal for you or your household.
Types of Indirect Burning Incenses
In case you don’t like incense sticks, as mentioned above, you can also choose between powders, resins, and pastes. Given they are indirect burning types, they are placed on heating pads or sources to release aromas.
Remember that these products are usually much more potent than any other type of incense and incense sticks and might not be ideal for indoor use.
Things to Look For when Buying Incense Sticks
Now, as you might have noticed, the part above was covering pretty much everything you need to know about incense – because you can’t have incense sticks without incense, right?!
However, now we move on to the main characteristics of incense sticks; characteristics that you have to take into account right before clicking the order now button.
Obviously, the length of the products determines how long they will burn. 8-inch-long options reportedly burn for around 20 minutes while 12-inch options can burn for roughly an hour. The rule of thumb here would be – if you’re accustomed to a scent, then buy longer products, but if you’re new to it, go with short options first.
Sticks in a Package
As seen above, packs can have as little as 10 or beyond 100. On top of that, there are also sets that come with multiple packs of different fragrances. The same rule as above applies – take advantage of more in a package if you know the scents and like them and rely on smaller packages for trying new fragrances.
Some people like to have more options when it comes to fragrances, which is why most of the products on our top list are sets of multiple packs with different scents. Single-scented packs are good for those that know their scent, while variety packs are for beginners that want to experiment or for gifts, naturally.
Of course, every scent has its own purpose. While every person may consider it useful or not, it’s important to choose a scent that will help you. For example, vanilla and jasmine are for relaxation, eucalyptus and sage for spirituality, while strawberry and coconut are the best when it comes to freshening up a room. Incense stick benefits vary from scent to scent and there are to choose from out there!
Natural or Synthetic
Our overall recommendation would be to rely on natural incense sticks only. Synthetic ones might come with horrendous scents and with some allergic reactions as well, depending on the chemical used. Synthetic incense sticks are also known to mask their lesser quality with very strong, unnatural fragrances.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need an incense burner for my incense sticks?
Some people prefer holding their incense sticks in a cup, while others prefer dedicated stick holders. This is because holders are said to optimize the burn time and, in some cases, make it last longer thanks to the inclined medium. They also can offer a lot more style. Incense holders can take pride of place on a mantlepiece, shelf or table.
However, incense burners are only optional as they don’t affect the scent.
Q: What should I choose between natural and synthetic incense sticks?
We would say to choose what fits you best, however, synthetic incense sticks are not recommended for people that have trouble breathing or suffer from asthma. As mentioned, they come with strong scents that might be too much for some people and it’s better to avoid them.
Naturally, the best smelling incense sticksare those that use natural ingredients to produce a natural incense – people often complain that synthetic sandalwood cannot compare with the natural incense aroma.
Q: What should I choose for my first incense pack?
If this is your first-time trying incense sticks, then we recommend a pack of shorter options with multiple scents. For example, a product in our list comes with a scent sampler as well so that you avoid burning a stick with a fragrance you may not like.
On the other hand, if you like funky scents, then feel free to go wild. If you prefer more natural or classic scents, we recommend sandalwood, vanilla, and lemongrass scents.
Incense sticks are simple household items that most of us might not pay attention to. However, their scent influences the atmosphere in the house and, in many cases, can even change it. This is the main reason why we should pay more attention when buying this type of product.
A hint of burnt wood of a bad aroma overall can build-up negativity and negative feelings. Naturally, our favourite scents make us happier, relieve stress and make us stop, breathe in, and enjoy the moment as well!