21 Best Incense Stick Holders: Your Ultimate List

If you’re looking for a new incense stick holder then you’re in good company. As humans, we’ve been burning incense for over 5,000 years, back to the ancient Egyptians and beyond. A good incense stick holder keeps your sticks burning evenly and safely as well as protects your surfaces from falling ash.

If you’re looking for sage burners, head on over to the best smudge kits.

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Stick Incense Tip

If your incense stick is too loose in the holder there's an easy solution to get your incense secure. Using a lit candle, carefully fill the slot in the holder with hot wax. When the wax in nearly firm, stick your incense in, creating a perfectly sized hole.

Types of incense

While we can find historical evidence of people burning incense over 5,000 years ago, we've probably been burning some form of incense since we got the hang of fire.

Incense is any botanical substance burned to release a pleasant fragrance so as soon as our ancestors figured out that certain leaves smelled better to burn than others, incense was invented.

Scent affects us deeply. Studies have shown that scents have the power to alter our brainwaves

Beyond throwing leaves at a campfire, there is a huge variety of forms of incense.

Stick incense (also known as joss sticks). These are what we most often think of when we think of incense. These sticks have a thin bamboo core that is covered in a paste of makko powder--made from ground machilus wood. 

On its own, most incense won't burn very well and it's this makko powder that acts as the accelerant that creates that slow smolder.

These sticks are soaked in fragrance oil blends and dried. They're affordable, easy to burn and store. See Satya for examples.

Senko incense. This is a traditional Japanese technique of making incense sticks with no bamboo core--just the makko powder and fragrance which can be in the form of powdered resins, leaves, wood, flowers, or bark as well as liquids or other oils.

I've made a lot of this type of incense myself and it smells amazing though is prone to breaking. See Morning Star Incense from Nippon Kodo for examples.

Cones and blocks. These types often take the same material of senko incense and press them into cones or other shapes. Sometimes the makko powder is mitted and the blocks are just compressed fragrance material like the famous Paine's Log Cabin incense which is made from compressed fir wood.

Loose Incense. This is incense at its roots. Any plant material that is ground up into even a rough powder can be considered loose incense. Because most don't contain makko powder to keep it burning, loose incense needs a heat source like incense charcoal with a special burner.

Rope Incense. This is a very unique design with a Tibetan origin. For rope incense, loose incense is rolled into long strips of rice paper which is then twisted into loops of rope. It has a very different smell to it that I love. See Lumbini Incense from Nepal for examples.

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