Oil Warmer vs Wax Warmer

In this article we compare an oil warmer to a wax warmer. An oil warmer can also be referred to as an oil burner. This is because they consists of a small dish that holds the oil and underneath that the user would place a tea light candle. Wax warmer can refer to and item that warms wax for hair removal.

In this article we are going to discuss scented wax warmers which are designed to diffuse pleasant aromas into the space they are used in.

Since oil warmers use tea light candles they offer distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to wax warmers. Because they use a candle there is an increased risk for fire especially if you have pets or children in your home. However, since they do not need to be plugged in you, have a wide range of options when placing your oil warmer.

Oil warmers use essential oils to diffuse their scent. You can customize the scent by using different types of essential oils in different amounts. This is not something that you can easily do with scented wax.

How to use an Oil Warmer

When using essential oils in an oil warmer you will need to add some water. You would dilute the essential oils in the same way when using an ultrasonic diffuser. The main difference here is that it doesn’t require as much water as an ultrasonic diffuser would.

An ultrasonic diffuser can act as a humidifier and actually put measurable amounts of moisture into the air. The most important consideration when purchasing an oil warmer is going to be how well it matches the décor of the room. Unlike scented wax warmers, there are not especially well known brands.

Scented Wax Warmers

There are two main types of  scented wax warmers. Scented wax warmers generally consist of a base that melts the wax above it, allowing a pleasant scent to fill the room.

The first type of scented wax warmer is known as a tart warmer. The other is a candle warmer. The section below outlines the differences between them.

Tart vs Candle Warmer Differences

A tart warmer uses a light bulb, candle or alternate heat source to melt wax that comes in small cube shapes known as tarts. Tart warmers that are plugged into the wall and use an electric heat source, be it a light bulb or heating coil, are generally safer than those using candles to melt the wax.

There are also appliances known as candle warmers, which are basically a hot plate specially designed to warm a jar of candle wax. These are a great way to enjoy the scents of a candle you already own without the use of a flame.

Make sure to measure the base of the candle you intend to use with a candle warmer. They are designed with a small plastic lip for safety purposes around the edge of the heating plate. Your candle must be able to fit inside this lip so it can soak up the heat provided by the warmer.

The links below will take you to the product listing on Amazon.

The first link is a candle warmer with a 4.25 inch base. This product requires a candle already in a glass jar to diffuse scents.

The middle link is a Scentsy warmer which uses a light bulb to warm the wax.

The last one is a tea light oil burner which uses a tea light candle to heat the essential oils held in the dish above.

Darice Large Candle Warmer

Scentsy Deluxe Warmer

Ivenf Ceramic Tea Light Essential Oil Burner

Wax Warmers vs Oil Diffusers

Wax warmers have a very distinct advantage over oil warmers. Once you turn off the wax warmer, the wax will harden and become solid again. There’s really nothing to clean up or worry about if you want to move the wax warmer to put it away.

Oil warmers use essential oils diluted in either a carrier oil or water. Water and carrier oils remain liquid at room temperature. This makes relocating an oil warmer a little more difficult. You would definitely need to clean the dish before putting it away. There is a workaround to this that we will go into more detail in the ‘Oil Warmers’ section of this article.

The Best Wax Warmer Brands

Scentsy is one of the most well known producers of wax warmers. They also have one of the strongest lineups of scented wax on the market today. If you decide to purchase a wax warmer, we recommend looking at Scentsy for generally appealing designs.

The links below are all Scentsy products selected for a variety of styles. They all have the same functionality but some will match the décor of your room better than others.

Scentsy Deluxe Warmer, Classic Black Satin

Scentsy Warmer with Edison Bulb

Scentsy Stargaze Warmer

Another brand of wax warmers, Scentsationals, has some interesting takes on what a wax warmer should look like. Unlike Scentsy, their lineup of wax warmers is continuously changing.

This can make it tough to rely on getting one of their wax warmers as a gift. Here is a clickable link that will take you to their general product lineup, not a specific product – Scentsationals Scented Wax Warmers.

Oil Warmers

Since oil warmers and wax warmers operate in very similar manners you may be tempted to use one in the other. It is important to thoroughly read the manufacturer’s literature because that warmer may not be designed for other uses. Oil warmers generally have a much smaller reservoir. A wax cube may initially fit in the reservoir but soon overflow as it melts into a liquid.

Most oil warmers use tea light candles as their heat source. Since you do not need to plug it in, you have a few more options for where you can place the oil warmer. However, the open flame does pose a small risk especially if you have pets or children in your home.

Another significant difference between wax warmers and oil warmers is their price. Oil warmers are almost universally less expensive than wax warmers.

The links below will take you to their respective product listings on Amazon. All the featured oil warmers use tealights as their heat source.

Hanging Tear Drop Oil Warmer

Owl Shaped Oil Warmer, made of soapstone

Fragrance Foundry Oil Warmer, three elephant design

Coconut Oil as a Carrier Oil

As promised in the ‘Wax Warmers’ section of the article, here is the workaround to having to clean your oil warmer every single time you want to put it away.

If you use coconut oil as your carrier oil it will harden again at room temperature. However, coconut oil melts at about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible that a summer day could keep your carrier oil from hardening again.

If you only use a few drops of essential and carrier oil at a time, you might be able to avoid losing a lot of oil whenever you do need to clean up. This is also a minor point to consider when making your choice between an oil or wax warmer. The main advantage oil warmers have is the ability to fully customize the scent they diffuse into the room.


Pay close attention to the material your oil or wax warmer is made out of.  If you are looking for something that is durable and will last a long time we recommend ceramic or glass for the dish.  If the dish is made of glass, the base will generally be made of metal. This is a great match.

Ceramic dishes are almost universally paired with ceramic vases. Ceramic is a very durable and strong material.  The only thing to note here is that both glass and ceramic are very breakable if they are dropped.

Oil Warmer vs Wax Warmer

In this article we compared wax warmers and oil warmers. If you are looking for the ability to customize the scent we recommend oil warmers because you can mix the essential oils yourself. If you are looking for a familiar scent that you are accustomed to, you may be just fine with a wax warmer. Both are great products that will fill your space with pleasant aromas.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Edison Scout Electric Scented Candle Wax Warmer
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2 Replies to “Oil Warmer vs Wax Warmer”

  1. I currently use a ceramic electric tart warmer. I was given a litre bottle of scented oil and I would like to know if I can use it in the electric tart warmer.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Anita, you should be fine using scented oil in a ceramic tart warmer. The surface most likely has a pretty strong glaze that can stand up to almost anything. If the scented oil is undiluted you might want to use a carrier oil along with it. I would check out something like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil.

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