Best Incense Sticks

Best Incense Sticks

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Why use incense?

Incense can help create an aura of serenity and peace. It has a long history in religious ceremonies. Spiritual tradition uses incense as an aid for meditation and contemplation. Frankincense, Myrrh, and Sandalwood are classic scents used for meditation.

Incense can be used to freshen the air and mask unpleasant odors. Sage, Pine, and Lavender are great to help clear the air and leave a clean, crisp fragrance.

Some help to repel mosquitoes. This specialty incense is made with citronella to naturally deter mosquitoes from sticking around.

Of course, you can enjoy incense for the pure aesthetic fragrances. Allow the subtle long lasting scents to give your home a signature fragrance.

What makes a High Quality Incense Stick

A great incense stick starts with high quality materials. Botanicals bound with ingredients that burn clean and don’t blunt the aromas are found in the finest incense sticks.

Traditional incense uses all natural ingredients. Newer modern fragrances can be a blend of natural and man made, or entirely synthetic.

Incense spreads its fragrance through the atmosphere through smoke. It does not need to let off a large amount of smoke to be effective. Higher quality sticks burn with less smoky residue and give off more pure fragrance. The brands we look at make some of the best quality incense sticks available.

Incense sticks in a cut crystal holder.
Fragrance your home with incense.

Long lasting fragrance

A good incense will leave a fragrance that lingers in the air for a long time. This scent is a subtle, not overpowering remnant of the original fragrance.

Precautions

All stick incense has a burning ember. Never leave burning incense unattended. Only use appropriate heat proof holders to burn incense. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for more specific usage tips.

All of the incense we look at are by high quality incense brands, they all produce high quality incense sticks with a few differences between them.

We look at the following incense sticks:

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Sticks – Sandalwood

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Collection

Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa

Gonesh Incense Extra Rich Collection

SHOYEIDO Plum Blossoms Incense

SHOYEIDO Moss Garden Incense

Hem Frankincense & Myrrh

3 Incense sticks in a quartz crystal holder with an amethyst crystal.
Incense in a quartz crystal holder with an amethyst

Our Top Choice

We’ve tested and reviewed several incense stick brands. While they are all good, high quality incense brands, our favorite is the Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense. The clean, long lasting aromas of this Japanese incense really impressed us. The included ceramic holder and beautiful packaging makes this suitable for giving. The Collection allows you to keep some for yourself, and give some to friends and family.

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Sticks – Sandalwood

Nippon Kodo has been making high quality incense in Japan for over 400 years, and it shows. This is a coreless incense, meaning there is no wooden stick that the incense is built on. These are smaller than average, and have a shorter burn time – approximately 25 minutes. They are all natural and have some of the purest fragrances we’ve tried. These burn clean, and the scent lingers for a long time. We love the sandalwood, and they are available in a variety of fragrances. The Collection pack offers a sampler of some of their most popular fragrances. These also come with a small ceramic holder. The packaging is also top quality. The Kayuragi incense is packaged in a beautiful box, with a lid based on kimono fabric. Ideal for gift giving.

Pros:

  • All natural
  • Coreless, nothing but pure incense
  • Clean burning
  • Long lasting scent
  • Comes with an incense holder
  • Great packaging, suitable for gifting

Cons:

  • Brief burn time

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Sticks
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For a comprehensive assortment we recommend the Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Collection as another option.

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Collection
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Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa

When asked to imagine what incense smells like, chances are you think of Nag Champa without perhaps knowing what Nag Champa smells like. A blend of flowers and sandalwood, Nag Champa is a classic. Every manufacturer has their own formula. We like Satya Sai Baba’s Nag Champa. An all natural incense that is rolled around a bamboo core. This has a burn time of 45 minutes to an hour. The scent is moderately strong, and burns with average smokiness.

Pros:

  • All natural
  • Very fragrant
  • Long burn time
  • Available in classic scents

Cons:

  • Holder not included
  • More ash and smoke than other brands

Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa Incense
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Gonesh Incense Extra Rich Collection

Gonesh has an incredible range of fragrances. They have all the classics, and a truly impressive collection of modern scents. They even have an outdoors collection made with citronella to deter mosquitoes. Gonesh burns cleanly and slowly. Each stick of incense burns about 45 minutes. The scent is long lasting and very true to its description. We are very impressed with the variety of available scents. They make some very sophisticated blends, like ‘Cryptic Woods’ that has a clear but subtle scent of violets in the mixture. Gonesh does use man made fragrances blended with natural fragrances. I love the range of modern fragrances Gonesh makes, and feel they are among the best incense sticks for clean modern fragrances. They do have an all natural selection also.

Pros:

  • Long burn time
  • Very fragrant
  • Long lasting scent
  • Large variety of scents
  • Burns cleanly

Cons:

  • Holder not included
  • Blended natural and man made fragrances

Gonesh Incense Extra Rich Incense
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SHOYEIDO Plum Blossoms Incense

Shoyeido incense has been made in Kyoto Japan for over 300 years. This is another coreless incense with no wooden core. Shoyeido is an all natural product that burns cleanly. This is an elegant, subtle incense. The fragrance isn’t overpowering but does last. These are shorter incense sticks, about 5 inches, and they burn for about 30 minutes. We love the Plum Blossoms fragrance, and the more forward and beguiling Moss Garden scent.

Pros:

  • All natural
  • Coreless, nothing but pure incense
  • Clean burning
  • Long lasting scent

Cons:

  • Brief burn time
  • Holder not included

Shoyeido Plum Blossoms Incense
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SHOYEIDO Moss Garden Incense

Shoyeidos Moss Garden Incense
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Hem Frankincense & Myrrh

Hem has been making all natural incense in India for over 30 years. This incense burns cleanly. This incense stick is a lighter fragrance than traditional resin burner frankincense & myrrh. We would use this incense again. They have a burn time of about 45 minutes. The fragrance lingers, but not quite as long as others.

Pros:

  • All natural
  • Long burn time
  • Distinct but more subtle fragrance

Cons:

  • Holder not included
  • Fragrance not as long lasting as others

HEM Frankincense and Myrrh Incense
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Conclusion

Our top pick is the Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense Collection. The clean, long lasting aromas of this Japanese incense really impressed us. We also like the all natural materials. The included ceramic holder and beautiful packaging makes this suitable for giving.

The Collection includes Sandalwood, Cypress, Aloeswood, Cherry Blossom, and Green Tea. Enough to keep some, and give some to friends and family.

All of the incense we look at are from high quality incense brands, they are among the best incense brands.  They each produce some of the best incense sticks available.

Looking for an incense holder? Browse Amazon for a wide variety of Incense Holders.

 

Please be sure to read our post Best Incense for Meditation for our recommendations specifically for meditation.

We also run down our favorite Sandalwood Incense, one of our favorite scents.

For more ideas on how to scent your home, see our post How to Fragrance your Home.

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