Back Flow Incense Burners vs Traditional Incense Burners

We are asked these questions often. 

"What incense burner would you suggest?"

"Are back flow incense cones or burners like the other cones I have?"

Well, I hope this blog will help answer some of those questions.  To begin with, Back Flow burners and the incense cones that you use for them are very different from traditional incense cones.

Firstly, traditional incense cones allow the smoke to rise and fragrant your home with the scent that you have chosen.  They tend to last between 20 or 40 minutes depending on the brand and quality that you purchase.  You would usually use a traditional incense burner, be it a long or round wooden, ceramic or soapstone incense burner, that would catch the ash left behind (always be aware that the cone will be red hot, so let it cool down before disposing of the ash).

The Back flow incense cone is totally different to the normal traditional incense cone.  You will see, below, on the right that the traditional incense cone is slimmer and has a more cone, pyramid, look, whilst the back flow incense cone has a much stockier, rounded look.  If you look at the second photo below you will see why - the back flow has a hole in the base which allows the heavier incense smoke to drift downward giving you those amazing displays on a back flow incense burner.  Depending on the quality and brand of the back flow incense cone you purchase, the manufacturers are now making the back flow issue a much more fragrant scent but it will not compare to a traditional incense cone as its primary design is to flow downward and not fragrance your home.  If you want your incense to fragrance your home the traditional one is the best.

As with both incense cones lighting them is the same, the only difference with a back flow is when you make it flame at the tip and blow to make the end red you must allow it to burn down at least a third before placing on to your back flow burner to make it work, where as the traditional can be placed on your burner as soon as you see the red tip and it begins to smoke.

Once the cone is placed on the top of your back flow incense burner you will see the smoke start to drift downward in a thick fog, depending on the design of your burner this will be out of a dragons mouth or as a waterfall.

Both burners will be effected by a draught, so always think where you want to place your burner, insuring that it is always out of reach of children and pets.  For a traditional burner the draught will just push the fragrance around the room but for a back flow burner this will have a much wider impact.  The air movement will disperse and move the downward mist away from the burner stopping any effect it has, even walking past a back flow burner will effect the way it works so always think about where you want to place it.

Not only do you want to think about where you place your burners but also what the incense will do to your furniture. The traditional burner will collect the ash from the cone quite simply on to its base but it is always prudent to place a heat resistant mat or plate under your burner just in case, also check your walls as the oils used in incense can leave a mark against them.

The back flow burner does leave a residue as shown in the photo's below.  It will coat the burner itself but more importantly will leave a stain on your furniture so if the burner does not have a big enough catch at the bottom and you see it drift over your furniture place something underneath to insure no stains.


Always check the instructions with your burner on to how to clean them but we usually find especially for soapstone and ceramic warm soapy water is best to clean your item after use.  For the soapstone you can do this less than the back flow burners.

The thing to remember about both types of burners and cones is what exactly do you want from them.  If you would just like an effect driven burner with a slight fragrance then the Back Flow burner is a good choice, how ever if you wish to fragrance your home with a pleasant fragrance a traditional cone and ash catcher is the better option - or use both depending on your mood. (just not at the same time).

I hope you have found this piece interesting if you would like to ask us any further questions do not hesitate to email me on we are always happy to help.

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