Oil Lamps are Freaking Awesome

Awesome Oil Lamp burning

Candle nerds unite!  Well for this post it’s more like Oil Lamp nerds unite.  The title of this blog might indicate that this a “candles only” kinda blog, but I very much want it to touch on the fringes of all things atmosphere enhancing.  And that’s precisely what an oil lamp is to me.  An awesome atmosphere enhancing contraption.  Let’s dive in and take a look at why oil lamps kick major butt.


Antique Brass Oil Lamp

Antique Brass Table decorative oil lamp with glass chimney. Holds enough oil for a 20 hour burn time. Click for price.

The first ever use of oil lamps is thought to be from 10,000-8,000 BC.  Rather than the elegant design choices we have today these first oil lamps made use of sea shells, egg shells, and coconuts with animal fats used as the oil and moss thought be used for the wicks.   Lamps evolved over time into hollowed out stones, then to saucers, then incorporating a nozzle to hold the wick, and then to a closed bowl that had a spout that held the wick (the genie lamp!).  Eventually they evolved to include a cover for the flame, known as a chimney or flute, resembling some of the oil lamps of today.  Before we harnessed the powers of electricity oil lamps were the primary source of light for many, many centuries.


Modern Scented Oil Lamp

A modern aromatherapy glass oil lamp with a burn time of up to 48 hours and can use regular oil as well. Click for price.

Oil Lamp’s Adjustable and Steady Flame

One of my favorite aspects of my oil lamp is that I’m able to control flame.  There’s a nob built into most oil lamps today that you can turn which allows you to increase or decrease the wick exposure.  This allows you to control the size of the flame and therefore the amount of light output from the lamp, essentially giving you control to adjust the brightness or dimness which allows you to optimize the rooms ambiance. This is truly an outstanding feature that just isn’t available to you with candles.  If you’re in the market for an oil lamp you should consider getting one with this capability.

Additionally, unlike a candle’s flame which tends to dance and flicker on occasion (much less so when you properly trim your wicks!), a fluted oil lamp’s flame is as steady and still as a rabbit who’s trying not to be seen.  It’s like a really bad neighbor that just won’t move (sorry about that one… that was terrible lol).  But seriously, if you’ve never owned an oil lamp you wouldn’t believe how motionless the flame is.  This allows it to give off an even light at all times and since they burn so efficiently without flickering there is virtually no sooting that occurs while burning.

Handy Tool if the Power Goes Out


Hurricane lamp powered by oil OR kerosene for use indoors or outdoors. Great for power outages as well as everyday use. Click for price.

Oil lamps are ideal for when the power goes out. They are capable of giving off a much brighter light than candles alone which is ideal during power outages.  The oil for lamps is inexpensive and takes up little storage space so you can keep it handy in case the power is out for a long period of time.  They even make special hurricane lanterns which are capable of burning oil or kerosene.

I’d love to know your thoughts.  Do  you think oil lamps are super sweet?  Do you prefer candles over oil lamps?  Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!  Happy burning, oil lamp champs!


  1. Elaina D'Agostino

    I agree that oil lamps are helpful during power outages. As you said, they give off a much brighter light than candles. Our area is prone to outages whenever there’s a storm. And since my dad plans on getting barrels of kerosene for his trucks, we might as well have an oil lamp readily available.

  2. Kyle

    The last time I saw my brother alive, we were packing up some oil lamps from my grandparents’ house when they were moving out. Beyond all the utility of the lamps, which I have since inherited, every time I light them I think of him and of my grandparents. Oil lamps are indeed awesome.

  3. Jeffinsocal

    I have a cheap walmart hurricane oil lantern.(10.00)
    I filled the 8oz reservoir with florasense lamp oil, lit it and turned the flame down to 1/2 inch.
    The lamp burned 20 hours before it went out.
    I now test it at different flame heights, and I regularly get 18 hours on 8 ozs of oil. Im officially a believer.

    1. sue

      Can You Please Tell Me How Long A Wick Burns ? And can I use the Kerosene wicks ? Thank You For your time and Help

  4. Tommy

    We have emergency (power outage) candles, kerosene lamps and lanterns, rechargeable LED lights, wind-up radios with LED lights. Some work better inside and some are better outside. I have found Dollar Tree birthday candles that burn for a measured 30 minutes! Enough time to get our other lights going and the power outage reported. Nothing beats my Champion kerosene lantern to carry when walking our dogs. We can run a LOT of LED bulbs on our 500 watt pure sine wave inverter and an old car battery. Only as a last resort do we bring our generator into service.

  5. Sou

    Hey you Charles I want to kill you

  6. Charles Harris

    I just bought 4 oil lamps. Surprised how much I’m enjoying them. I do not think I’ll be using candles much anymore.

    1. Sou

      I apologize for my rude comment

    2. Oinc

      Interesting wick trim.

      Trim straight across with very sharp scissors.
      In the center, where you see the red stitching, cut a very tiny V out

      You will get two bright flames that lean slightly outwards. You can raise it rather high.

      This is for a cotton wick. Make sure you keep the flames lowm first 10 minutes as oil heats up.

  7. Anonymous

    I am fascina By oil over

  8. Charles

    I managed to get a lovely tulip shaped etched shade. I’ve found out how much oil a double wicke lamp burns though. I’m beginning to think that there’s not that much difference between one and two wicks of light. It also occurred to me that leaving a wall mounted oil lamp on all night might not be wise and the oil wouldn’t last long enough anyway. So, for the hall, I’ve decided to get one that has been converted to electricity and use a low wattage warm white bulb in it. Now every time I see a victorian drama on tv, I spend the time looking for oil lamps on it lol. My love for oil lamps started not long ago when I got all the episodes of a children’s adventure story I loved way back when I was 12, called Tom Grattan’s War. Then a power failure gave me the excuse to buy an oil lamp for such an occasion.
    I found this place because I was looking for a forum about oil lamps but there seems to be very little out there which surprises me.

  9. Joyce Meerbeek

    I love oil lamps for their ambiance, and I have decided to use them to have atmosphere in winter times as well as to save electricity. I still have to decide which ones to buy though,

  10. Charles

    I just bought my first oil lamp too. It’s a Hinks about 20” tall. It has one of those gallery raising keys. I’ve still to find a shade for it but so far It’s a wee bit difficult finding one with a 4” fitter that isn’t too expensive. I wish I bought one years ago. I fancy getting a little wall mounted one for the hall as a night light to guide us to the bog in the early hours.

  11. Nick

    I love both the light and heat from my Rayo oil lamp. Essential for a power outage but also pleasant ambiance throughout the winter months. It cleanly burns Kerosene, paraffin, Kleen Heat, or even diesel fuel with very little odor. Other lamps struggle with diesel but the Rayo burns it with ease and consider the price of 1K Kerosene in the Pacific Northwest is $10+ a gallon, this makes the Rayo economical as well.

  12. Lloyd Bronson

    I’m glad that your article mentions that oil lanterns are able to be controlled far more easily than its alternatives. My spouse and I are interested in giving our kitchen more of a unique, natural light. We’ll look into getting some candle lanterns, as we want our home to be truly unique.

  13. Jordan

    I just got my first oil lamp I love it.


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