Over the past five years or so I have found myself increasingly featuring local companies here on the blog. I suppose this has been a conscious decision as I really do love living in Devon and like to champion local companies and designers where possible. When I first started my blog back in 2009 it was a very different situation. I hardly ever came across suitable local companies and everyone I wrote about was either based in London or abroad. Even when I started writing for Devon Home magazine I really struggled to find high quality design-led brands locally.
But over the last five years or so I have really noticed a change and I’m constantly coming across amazing Devon-based businesses. Either there has been a rise in creativity in this area or I’ve only just started to notice it more. Perhaps the fact that I became a mum five years ago so have not been travelling to design events around the world has made me more aware of what’s happening on my doorstep? Whatever the reason, I’m happy to see such a variety of design-led businesses here in Devon.
The latest one I would like to showcase is Candled, a company that produces luxury realistic LED candles. I first came across them this Summer as I started my search to find realistic LED candles. For the past few years I’ve found it a little disappointing as autumn starts and everyone talks about hygge and lighting candles. Obviously since we’ve had the kids real candles haven’t featured in our home AT ALL. It would be an accident waiting to happen with two mischievous kids running around like loons, desperate to touch everything and anything, especially when told not to.
I’m not saying I used to light loads of candles come winter but it was a lovely part of the season to be able to snuggle up of an evening by candle light. I’ve never really been a big fan of scented candles as I’m quite particular when it comes to scents and smells and I’ve always struggled to find scented candles that I love enough to use regularly. Also, as an asthmatic I’ve found burning scented candles can affect my breathing, especially if I burn them for a prolonged period.
But I particularly love the soft glow and flickering light that candles produce. It creates such a cosy atmosphere and it’s that’s what I have been missing since having kids. So over Summer I decided to do a bit of research and look for some realistic LED candles that we could use this winter. As soon as I started my search I knew straight away that it wouldn’t be easy. There are loads of LED candles on the market, but they look awful! They are so obviously fake and look really cheap and tacky. Not at all the look I wanted obviously. I called the search off, but I was convinced there must be someone out there that makes high quality, realistic LED candles, surely?
And that’s when I finally happened upon Candled. Based in rural Tavistock, Candled is run by Justin Carey who spent two years experimenting in order to develop these realistic LED candles and he was determined to develop the most realistic LED candle available on the market. It was actually Saltram House, a National Trust property in Plympton, that prompted Justin to embark on this journey. The issues that they faced with the current market offering of LED candles convinced him that there was definitely a gap in the market and he could fill it. So he set out to create the most realistic artificial candle in colour, texture, flicker and flame that would sit comfortably in a Grade I listed building and convince visitors that they were real candles.
According to Justin, Saltram House were sold as soon as they saw his candles and ordered 70 of them on the spot in and that is when Candled was born. Since that fateful day in 2016, Justin, not one to rest on his laurels, continued to develop his product range and invented realistic LED candles that are remote controlled. They can therefore be operated at a distance and allow users to control the brightness and flicker as well as scheduling when they come on an go off.
As you can imagine this is a massive advantage to those who use candles to light up National Trust properties, stately homes or large event spaces, especially where candles are used up high out of arm’s reach. It’s just such a clever idea and it’s no wonder that Candled’s products have gone on to be so successful.
I was already convinced but I knew I had to see them myself in order to make a proper judgement as to how realistic these LED candles are. It’s one thing using them 20 ft up in a vaulted ceiling, but what about us normal consumers who want to use them on a coffee table for example. Will they still look as realistic up close? I decided to get in touch with Justin and ask if he could send me a few examples so that I could test them out and hopefully share my views with you guys. He kindly obliged and the candles arrived mid October. I’ve been using them for a month now so I feel like I’ve had sufficient time to form an opinion.
To be honest though, that opinion hasn’t changed since the first day I got them out of their boxes. I was seriously impressed with how they were packaged, the branding is lovely and I particularly liked the way it mentions on the box that they are made in Devon. When I first unboxed them I noticed that there was a remote control for each of the three candles that I had received. I immediately thought that this would be a little annoying having to try to remember which remote worked which candle. However, as soon as they were switched on we realised that we could actually control all three candles with the same remote. This made things much simpler and also means that we now have two spare remotes should we need them in the future. The remote works up to a distance of 10 metres.
The next thing that surprised me was that they were not made of plastic. I had just assumed that the body of the candle would be plastic and I was really impressed when I realised that actually they are made of wax just like real candles. This means that the body of the candle is indistinguishable from a real candle which is a big plus in my book. Often, the problem with LED candles is that the body of the candle glows from within, which doesn’t happen with normal candles and luckily doesn’t happen with these either. Interestingly, I read on the website that should you drop your candle the wax may dent or chip just like a regular candle but Candled offer a re-waxing service for a small charge so you can get your LED candle repaired.
One of the most impressive things for me though was the crystal clear reflective molten pool around the wick. I think this is where most LED candles come unstuck. Anyone who looks at the candle from above can see that there is no melted wax and can therefore clearly tell the flame is neither hot nor real. Justin has really gone the extra mile here as it’s actually really convincing and almost impossible to tell that it’s not real.
The patented life-like flame has been designed to look extremely elegant. It has four unique brightness settings and two flame effect flicker rates, all controlled by the remote,which is extremely easy to use. Because it is an LED flame, it does not get hot, and is completely cold to the touch. This makes them perfectly safe for use in any environment from tents to wedding marquees, thatched cottages and stately homes. You can use them on high shelves, window sills and in enclosed spaces without the worry that they will cause black marks on the ceiling, or catch fire to the curtains or blinds or any other materials. The fact that there’s no naked flames, no heat, and no dripping wax or fire risks makes them completely safe.
In fact, you can also use them outside, even when there’s a rain shower making them perfect for those British BBQs. I’ll definitely be taking mine out in the garden come summer. It’s worth bearing in mind though that the candles are not fully IP66 rated, which means they should be kept upright and shouldn’t be immersed in water. Not because it’s not safe but because the electronics may become damaged.
My only concern really was the cost as they aren’t exactly cheap retailing from £41.45 – £47.45 for a taper LED candle and from £46.45 – £61.45 for a pillar LED candle. This cost is considerably more than buying a real candle. However, when you look into it properly it’s actually really easy to see why buying these faux LED candles is actually really cost effective. Candled LED technology will typically last in excess of 50,000 hours. That means that the taper candles with a single set of rechargeable batteries would be the equivalent of buying 7000 traditional taper candles That’s insane! What normal consumer would ever buy 7000 taper candles? (Ok the Danes might, as according to research they are Europe’s biggest consumers of candles, burning through about six kg per person every year.)
Also, the fact that they can rechargable batteries is another money saving advantage. Apparently, if you use either the 12” or the 6” pillar candle with rechargeable batteries, then you can have them on for 100 hours on the full brightness setting before having to recharge them or 300 hours on the lowest brightness setting. So that means that if you put the candles on for three hours a day, every day, that’s 33 to 100 days of continuous use depending on your brightness setting. Then there is the fact that the rechargeable batteries can typically be recharged 1,000 times. Are you convinced yet?
One of the nicest things about this story is that Candled now keeps the whole Carey family busy with development, marketing, packaging and design and allows them to enjoy life in Devon surrounded by the countryside of the Tamar Valley. It really is a family affair and every candle is carefully created and approved by all members of the team.
So all in all I am really happy to endorse these luxuriously beautiful, highly realistic LED candles from Candled. They are well worth the money, extremely well-designed with a meticulous attention to detail. And I am really looking forward to putting mine to good use this winter. Now that the clocks have changed and it’s darker earlier, it’s so nice to be able relax of an evening in the cosy, calming atmosphere created by the authentic flickering of candlelight, even if it’s not real.
So what do you guys think of this safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to real candles? Are you convinced of the benefits to investing in realistic LED candles? Or perhaps you’re already using some in your own home? Let me know your thoughts below.