The Best Candle Is An Air Purifier


I’ve got candles that smell like salt water and sunscreen, candles that are firewood-like with a hint of sweet, candles that smell like fresh cut tomatoes and stems... I own so many that I’ve been forced to smush miscellaneous kitchen items into one tiny kitchen cabinet to make space in my big kitchen cabinet for all those dang candles. I light them to feel good, but mostly to escape the smells of two humans and a dog, cooking and breathing and quarantining in an apartment for one year and counting.

But in terms of indoor air quality, my candles can’t hold a candle to my Coway Mighty Air Purifier, which I bought on Wirecutter’s recommendation like any good millennial. The thing about air purifiers—at least my air purifier—is that they are judgy contraptions. On my Coway there are three LED indicators: blue signifies the air is clean, purple means the air is somewhat polluted, and a red light signifies that you’re breathing in heavy air gunk—smoke, funky smells, and whatnot. My Coway reads the rooms in my apartment for filth. Its top enemy? The kitchen. Not a single meal goes cooked without springing my air purifier into action: blue, purple, RED, in a matter of minutes. But then it does something a little strange from time to time. Without warning, it tells me my room is polluted, and revs up its little purifier engine. Is One has to think. Did the dog fart? Or worse yet: is my home funky without me realizing it?

For all its judgements, at least, it acts like a vacuum cleaner to stuffy air. And after three months of use I think...I think I like it more than candles. The indoor air is crisp and fresh, as if I’m the only apartment for miles and I’ve opened all the windows to usher in a constant breeze. I think I sleep better, too. Do you know how delicious it is to slip into a bed in a room that smells as clean as it looks? And unlike a candle, I can fall asleep to the quiet hum of my Coway in the background. Silently doing its work, and slowly but surely proving that the best fresh scented candle is one that requires no burning at all.

—Ashley Weatherford

Photo via ITG