Unitasker Wednesday: Wick Trimmer and Waxi Taxi

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I like candles, especially the ones that smell nice. My favorite is Votivo’s prairie sage scented candle. My friend Susan bought me one about 12 years ago and it has been my favorite ever since (I think I’m on my ninth one, I’m a creature of habit).

Maintaining candles is super easy. You light them, let them burn, blow them out, let them cool, and then put them into storage until the next time you want to use them. It’s the way people have been using candles since someone came up with the idea of putting a wick into wax. There is nothing difficult about candles. Heck, even making candles is easy.

So when reader Rita emailed me a link to suggest this unitasker, I was a wee-bit confused as to why candles should be made more difficult. See, in my experience, the wick burns when you light it on fire. It takes care of itself. There is no need for a Wick Trimmer because the flame will destroy the wick all on its own:

Sure, sometimes you might want to turn the candle over when it’s cool and dust off a few, stray charred wick remains, just to get them out of the way. I guess if you really didn’t like the look of any charred wick bits that are left behind you could cut them off with your multifunctional nail trimmers. But, if you’re like me, neither of these things are all that pressing of tasks since they’re only candles and eventually the wick bits will go away on their own.

My confusion over trying to make candles more difficult than they need to be doesn’t stop with the wick trimmer. While I was on the page for the wick trimmer, I noticed the “customers who bought this item also bought” section and came across another peculiar candle device. This one is the Waxi Taxi:

With this device, you can move votive candles around your home while they’re lit! Because carrying fire is REALLY smart. (No, it’s actually not smart. I was using sarcasm. How are there people who are unaware transporting lit candles is a bad idea?) Since long matches exist, there is never a need to light a candle before putting it somewhere. And, since it’s incredibly easy to blow out a candle and then move it, this one really takes the cake for pointlessness.

Who knew that candle accoutrements was a thing?! Think I’ll just stick with my method of not maintaining them with any special tools and enjoying them all the same.

16 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Wick Trimmer and Waxi Taxi”

  1. posted by Kristen on

    I have agreed with each unitasker’s uselessness, but I find myself (reluctantly) noting that there’s a point to the Wick Trimmer.

    If you leave wicks very long, the candle produces a lot of darker smoke and burns hotter. Normally this is easily fixable with multifunctional nail trimmers, as you note. However, there’s one circumstance in which I’ve actually wished for a product like the Wick Trimmer: jar candles. Sometimes the wick gets long, and my hand + nail trimmers doesn’t fit easily into the mouth of the jar, and due to the angle, scissors don’t work either. I’ve had to let the wicks smoke, which I’ve hated.

  2. posted by CanadianKate on

    Since I love playing with fire, I also use my wick trimmer to trim a *lit* wick, which allows me to take off just a tiny bit at a time until the wick is trimmed for optimal light vs. smoking.

    It is quite possible that those who buy high quality candles don’t have the issue of wicks getting too long, but it is an ongoing issue I have with tapers I buy. I picked this up years ago and is not a high-use item but during holidays where there are multiple meals using the same candles, it does come in handy. If pressed for space, I may not buy it again, but it certainly fits a need I have so I don’t regret the purchase at all.

    I don’t like playing with fire enough to use a waxi taxi. Then again, I also don’t use votive candles so really don’t have a need (if there ever is a need) for it.

  3. posted by ChrisD on

    I know trimming a wick was something people did in the olden days. I wonder if modern candles are better in some way (re wick trimming)? Maybe parrafin wax burns hotter than bees wax??
    From Northanger Abbey
    The dimness of the light her candle emitted made her turn to it with alarm; but there was no danger of its sudden extinction; it had yet some hours to burn; and that she might not have any greater difficulty in distinguishing the writing than what its ancient date might occasion, she hastily snuffed it. Alas! It was snuffed and extinguished in one.

    Snuffed: To cut off the charred portion of (a candlewick)

    So might be useful if the electricity is cut off for a year or two.

  4. posted by Anne Boyd on

    It’s true that candles used to require frequent trimming. Especially tallow candles, which might need to be trimmed every ten minutes or so. The reason this isn’t true any more is partly because we don’t use such soft materials to make candles – tallow used to be substantially cheaper than wax, so it’s what most people used – but the main reason is that wicks are now fashioned differently. In the nineteenth century somebody invented a way of tightly braiding the wick fiber so that it would curl in on itself as it burned and thus consume itself. Formerly wicks had been just twisted fibers so they’d just kind of flop around as they burned.

    With that said, I can see a collector of antiques owning a nice antique candle trimmer (or combination trimmer/snuffer) and maybe using it now and again. But the modern version pictured here is just plain and ugly. If you don’t really need it it should at least be beautiful, per William Morris.

    Carrying lit candles with a pair of metal tongs is just the height of insanity. They haven’t even put a non-slip surface on the business end, not that it would make the item that much safer or any more useful.

  5. posted by Kate on

    I buy a lot of candles, from very high end to dollar store, and most of them need to have their wicks trimmed, either before lighting because they’re too long or after extinguishing because the wick has “mushroomed.” I used to use a regular pair of scissors, but they got sooty and the wick trimmer has the nice angle that makes it easy. Does one absolutely need one of these? No, but they’re nice if you’re into candles.

  6. posted by Dede on

    This is a unitasker I understand,but that doesn’t mean I need to own one. We’ve had explanations for the trimmer, so here’s my take on the Waxi Taxi: I use alot of tea lights and some of the holders I put them in are rather deep and reaching in to light them can be difficult. Or if I use a long lighter or match, that match flame can leave black soot on the side of the holder. To avoid that, I would use the Waxi Taxi to place an already lit tea light safely and cleanly in a holder.

  7. posted by Elizabeth on

    Wick trimming goes all the way back to the Bible – in the parable about the wise and prepared virgins at the wedding feast seven of the virgins were trimming their candle wicks.

    On a similarly religious note, having been brought up a Catholic and accustomed to seeing multiple rows of tealights lit by members of the congregation in memory of someone/something, is it not possible that somebody at home might have some sort of miniature shrine set up and need to move a candle while lit? Only moving a few inches but still difficult. Also moving tealights when they’ve just gone out is painful because they’re hot. Otherwise I’m with Dede on the usefulness when retrieving candles from inside jars and tall holding receptacles.

  8. posted by Anna on

    Further to the comments from Dede and Elizabeth, the Waxi Taxi is specifically for tea lights, not votive candles as in the writeup above. Tea lights are much smaller than votive candles, and sometimes they do need to be moved. Doing so by hand is guaranteed to burn the fingers.

  9. posted by Reenie on

    I have a similar wick trimmer. I used to think 1/4″ was the right wick length, but new info suggests 1/8″ is optimum. Candles now burn a lot cleaner, less soot in candle, less smoke. I don’t think of this as a wasteful unitasker. To me it’s a useful one.

  10. posted by Alice F. on

    I have a similar wick trimmer too, and love it. It’s pretty rare for me to have a candle where the wick burns down cleanly & to a good length for relighting. Plus I find the wick trimmer much easier with jar candles as others have noted – scissors are awkward.

  11. posted by Rachelskirts on

    I actually would’ve loved that stupid taxi thing when helping my cousin set up her wedding. She decorated the reception area with mason jars strung from trees with tea lights inside, and there was no way to reach inside the jar to start a flame (even with a long match or lighter). Plus, it was a huge pain to pull out the still hot tea light containers (when they burned up) to replace them.

    I can’t think of any use for it in my everyday life, but in that one situation, it would’ve been great, haha. :)

  12. posted by G. on

    The wick trimmer may be a unitasker, but is definitely not a useless one for those of us who burn jar candles.

    As far as that tea light lifter, my guess is it’s to remove the candles from deep containers, not carry lit candles. Although why tipping the container upside down after the candle cools off wouldn’t work, I have no clue.

  13. posted by Sheila on

    I usually find myself rolling my eyes and laughing at your unitasker suggestions, however, I have to differ with you on this one. While a wick trimmer may be a unitasker, it is indeed irreplaceable for it’s unitask. Candle wicks are meant to be burned at 1/8″. Otherwise they will burn too hot, thereby allowing the candle to burn unevenly and too quickly and creating smoke. Trimming the wick on tapers is easily accomplished with scissors, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to get scissors deep in a jar candle. As for as the lifter, it is likewise difficult to get a lit tea light or one with wax still liquid out of a deep jar.

  14. posted by melt on

    Surely the waxi taxi puts the flame right underneath one’s hand? Heat tends to rise. And burn. Holding one’s hand over a lit flame for the length of time required to move a candle could, I don’t know, perhaps result in burniness?

  15. posted by Laura on

    The day finally came when a unitasker is something I actually wanted for many years. I finally received a wick trimmer as a Christmas gift, along with a nice jar candle. I wanted a wick trimmer because it has the necessary angle that scissors don’t. I hadn’t thought of using a nail clipper for wick trimming, but once a jar candle burns down far enough, the clipper wouldn’t reach anyway.

    Not sure about the waxi taxi, but I can see how it would be helpful from Rachelskirts’ comment.

    I do have a candle snuffer, and it too can be considered a unitasker, but no useless. It prevents wax from being spattered (a result from carelessly blowing out a candle) and I think it helps reduce the amount of smoke in extinguishing the candle flame.

  16. posted by RM on

    I make all-natural pure soy candles… we use cotton/hemp wicks for our candles and they do require a candle trimmer.

    And if you have man-hands and you’re trying to clip a wick in a jar with ‘nail trimmers’… Uh yeah… not gonna happen.

    If you’re wondering why we use these wicks… is because standard wicks contain a zinc core which has been a questionable concern for people since it replaced the former(industry standard) lead core wick.

    Pure soy candles burn soot free… there is no soot or carbon residue left on the glass jar from a natural candle that is made correctly, and burn 5 times longer than paraffin wax candles without the carcinogens, soot and synthetic fragrances.

    And if you see a ‘Soy’ candle at your big box store… yeah look again. They don’t exist, because if you look at the label it says: Soy Blend. Which is Soy wax mixed into Paraffin wax… which depletes the reason for a natural Soy Candle.

    Find a candle maker that makes Pure Soy Candles, and you’ll never buy another toxic paraffin type again.

    Oh… and YES… you’ll need a candle trimmer for that ;)

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