top of page

INCENSE 101: The Basics

* Caution: Please do not leave incense burning unattended. Keep away from flammable materials. Keep away from pets and children. Use in a well-ventilated area. *

This basic list will aid you in finding the right style of incense to best suit your needs.

Stick Incense – the most familiar form of incense. These can be used almost anywhere! A basic wood burner to use along with your incense can be purchased for only a few dollars or you can choose a more sophisticated burner (these can range anywhere from $20 to around $50). Once you have chosen your preferred incense and decorative burner, placement and lighting is simple! Use a lighter or match to light the end of the stick you will see a flame at the tip just like a candle, then you gently blow it out and let it smolder. Sticks can come in various sizes. Some smaller incense are only three inches and can range all the way to twelve inches – these can burn for up to 4 hours!

Dhoop Cones - another popular incense choice. The burners you buy for the sticks will usually have a little divot for the cone-style incense. Though the fragrances are usually quite strong, as they are concentrated, they don’t burn for nearly as long as traditional stick incense tend to (about 15-20 minutes). Some cones come packaged with a small metal burner. You light these just as you would the stick incense. Light the end, wait for an ember to appear, then blow out the flame.

Backflow Cones – the coolest incense of all. The term 'backflow' refers to how the smoke flows downward rather than upward - this is due to a hole arranged within the center of the cone. This smoke flow makes for an aesthetic display within a backflow incense burner, these are designed in such a way that the smoke can follow a downward path and pool up at the bottom into a fog of fragrant smoke. These are the most interesting to see in action! Light backflow cones just as you would stick or dhoop cone incense. Please make sure you have the correct burner for these – you will not want to place these onto a regular cone burner!

Resin – this is to be used in a fire proof censer along with sand and charcoal. If you have not burned resin incense on top of a coal know this – you only need one little piece. One small piece of resin will smolder on top of a coal for a good 15 minutes. It will give off plenty of aromatic smoke, so just try one piece before you pile a bunch of it on, especially indoors!

There are so many incense styles, burners and fragrances to explore! Visit the Buddha Blog again soon to learn more about the history, use and therapeutic value of incense.

Warning: it is important to use caution wherever you choose to light incense. Make sure to keep away from other flammable items, and use in a well-ventilated area! Keep away from pets and children!


Disclaimer: The thoughts and research contained within this article are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Buddha’s Bazaar.

423 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page