REVIEWS – LuDela Candles aren’t your typical candles, and you know that because LuDela candles come with a remote control. It might better be called a lantern that looks like a candle, because the waxy pillar you see is merely a covering for the flame device inside. Unlike normal candles, the LuDela shell never melts, because you’re actually burning a liquid fuel. This pillar has electronic ignition, and it can even blow itself out at the end of the timer period or if it tips over. Unlike battery-powered flameless candles, LuDela candles look better because they have a real flame. The LuDela Perfect Pillar sounds like the perfect candle! How does it work?
What’s in the box?
- Perfect Pillar candle device with Ivory shell
- 2 Caring Candle refills
- 2 SunScent Rings
- Charging cable and power supply
You can see all of the contents of the kit in the top photo. This photo shows the contents of my box, minus the candle and remote.
The Thank You note seen here explains a little about their Better Light, Better Lives charity. “LuDela is a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation and pending B-Corp with the mission to deliver Better Light, Better Lives for our customers and the global community. For every innovative candle product sold LuDela donates a book to help bring libraries to underserved communities with their non-profit partner Books for Africa.”
The company was founded by Jamie Bianchini. “He was traveling by bike in Africa, when in Burkina Faso, Jamie spent the night at a rustic guesthouse where he was given a candle as a light source. He accidentally fell asleep with the candle burning and woke up to a room filled with thick smoke from a candle fire. Luckily, he was able to put the fire out with his boxer shorts. As he rode his bike onwards the next day the inspiration for the LuDela Perfect came to him. After helping his new Ugandan friend named Innocent realize his dream for the Good Hope School in Uganda, Jamie was inspired to use the patented LuDela innovation as a vehicle to illuminate the minds of more children around the world by giving the empowering gift of literacy.”
Design and features
Let’s look a little closer at the candle before moving on. I received the Perfect Pillar in ivory. This is the standard color used for all candle starter sets at this time. The metal piece you see extending above the pillar is the top of the device that houses and controls the flame. It normally rests below the level of the pillar, but I had released it for removal for this photo.
You’ll notice that there’s a sun logo embossed near the bottom of the candle. The remote control receiver is behind this logo. You need to have this side facing out to be able to control the candle with the remote. The logo isn’t as cleanly embossed on the candle I received as it is in the stock photo at the top of this review.
Here you’ll see the combustion device beside the wax shell. Those columns inside the shell ensure that the interior device is always oriented correctly for the remote receiver to work properly.
The bottom of the shell just has a label and three little feet. It also seems to have a limited-edition number on the bottom.
The top of the interior device is metal. You can see two wires in the center of the opening. Those wires apparently spark the flame when you turn the candle on with the remote.
The open sunburst design can be left open as you see above, or you can insert a fragrance ring, as seen here. The starter kit comes with two rings of the same color/fragrance. If you want to use fragrance with your candles, you can purchase additional rings in six other color/fragrance combinations for $10 for a set of two, or you can get a complete set of 12 rings (2 of each fragrance) for $40.00.
I won’t be using the fragrance rings because everyone in my family has a lot of allergies. They add a nice color, but I just can’t risk the fragrance around my asthmatic daughter. I wish you could get some unscented color rings.
There’s not a lot involved in setting up the Perfect Pillar candle. The manual is pretty comprehensive, but you’ll also want to watch the video here to learn how to open your Perfect Pillar device, charge it, and insert the fuel before you’re ready to light it. I charged my Perfect Pillar overnight before loading up the fuel cartridge.
You get two Caring Candle refills in the starter kit. Each cartridge burns for about 20 hours. They come sealed inside a plastic bag that has the zipper-opening equivalent of a child-proof bottle cap.
Each cartridge has a double cap on it to be sure there are no leaks. Once you take these caps off, you need to keep the cartridge upright to prevent spills.
The cartridge slides up into the bottom of the interior flame device. I didn’t remove the caps before I took the picture you see here; I didn’t have anyone to hold the device upright at the time. After I got the pictures, I removed both caps, inserted the cartridge in my fully charged combustion device, then inserted it into the candle shell.
You need the remote control to light up and control the Perfect Pillar. (Just a note here: You can actually light the candle with a match or a lighter, but none of the smart functions will be operational. It will not extinguish the flame if the candle tips nor will it blow out the flame automatically unless you have first ignited the candle with the remote.) To prevent children from playing with the candle, you need a security code to use the remote. There’s a label on the back of the remote control with the unlock code. Once you’ve remembered the keypress sequence, remove the label to prevent children from lighting the candle.
The remote control has a mounting plate that can be attached to the wall with either the supplied screws or double-sided mounting tape. Put it beside your room’s light switch so you can quickly make the decision for candles or light bulbs as you enter the room. The same remote can operate all the candles in your room, but you will have to point the remote at each candle or grouping to light them. Also remember that you must have the sun logo on the candle facing into the room to receive the remote signals.
I did the unlock sequence on the remote and chose a time for the candle to burn, and the candle immediate lit up! That was so cool to see, because it means I could put my candle anywhere without having to worry that short me would be able to reach it later when I wanted to use it. After it burned for a while, I decided to try out the tipping function. I just tilted the candle with my hands instead of knocking it over – because I’m overly cautious – and the flame was puffed out before the candle was tiled more than 10 degrees (estimation). I heard a little puff of air before the flame was extinguished. There’s a little fan inside that blows the flame out.
I lit the candle again and set it for a one hour timer. The flame burned steadily for a full hour, then I heard the puff again and the flame was out. The flame never guttered nor flared up during the hour it burned in my first test. It hasn’t done so any other time I’ve used it, either.
The center of the cartridge has the wick you see burning here. After I’ve used it for a while, it is just the slightest bit blackened on the very tip of the wick, but it isn’t being consumed by the fire like the wick in a normal candle. It’s not burned away because it’s simply the substrate for the liquid fuel to burn on. You won’t have to worry about adjusting or trimming wicks with the Perfect Pillar.
What I like
- You can change the appearance of this candle by swapping the flame device into new, colorful, relatively inexpensive Flex Shells (currently $20 each).
- I like the safety of a candle that can put itself out if it tips.
- I like the timers for burn times. I’d still never leave a live flame unattended, but it’s still comforting to know the candle will extinguish itself, if necessary.
- The candle is very attractive.
- It looks like a normal pillar candle unless you are looking down into the combustion device.
- It always looks new, because the waxy shell is never consumed.
What needs to be improved
- Nothing really, but I wish I could get unscented color sunburst rings for the top. (Somebody send me one of those blue fruit cobbler-scented rings after the scent is gone, please! 😉 )
I love the safety features built into the LuDela smart candles. It’s nice to know I won’t set something on fire if I tip over the candle, because it will put itself out. I like the remote lighting function because I’ll be able to set the candle someplace without worrying if I can reach it later – plus it’s just darn cool to light a candle with a remote control! It’s a little expensive to get the starter kit, but you’ll be able to change the color of the wax shell or change the fragrance for a reasonable price. And refill cartridges are reasonably priced at $10/pair , too, especially when you consider how expensive normal wax candles are. The LuDela Perfect Pillar always looks nice and new, because the outside never gets burned away.