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How To Burn Incense Using An Incense Stove

Step-by-Step Instructions

Use An Incense Stove To Gently Heat Incense


Incense Stoves offer perhaps the most sublime method of heating natural incense.

An incense stove gently heats rather than burns the incense.

This allows for a slower release of the fragrances and reveals all the many layers of fragrance within an ingredient or mixture.

The common method of placing incense directly on top of a hot charcoal quickly burns the incense and then chars it at the end, leaving the space filled with an unpleasant burnt aroma.

An Incense Stove puts distance between the heat source and the incense.

It’s this distance that allows for lower heat and therefore the slow, gentle heating of the incense materials instead of burning them.

A well designed Incense Stove will achieve a heat that does not produce any smoke from your incense.

Some advanced devices allow for the adjustment of the heat either through adjusting the distance away from a candle flame or if electric, through electronically controlled heat intensity via a switch or dial.

Because the incense is gently heated without burning, all of the layers and aromatic notes of a single ingredient are slowly revealed, permitting each to be studied, identified, classified, and noted.

For those who wish to study incense ingredients, the incense stove is virtually a requirement.

It offers an excellent opportunity for the careful examination of the many subtle aromas within each single ingredient.

An incense stove also enables you to heat and enjoy natural aromatics with people visiting without concern that the smoke may bother some people.

In fact, since we all love spaces that are filled with wonderful fragrances, you’re sure to find your visitors asking where those delicious aromas are coming from.

This is by far, our favorite way to heat natural incense mixtures and single ingredients.


Incense Stove Examples


A candle-powered incense stove from Japan.

I special ordered this one through Nippon Kodo many years ago.

incense stove diagram

A candle is placed in the bottom base on its holder and lit.

Incense, usually sandalwood or aloeswood, is placed in the small ceramic “incense bowl.”

The cover is set in place… ahhh.

You can use this diagram to help create your own inexpensive makeshift incense stove.

ZYFA Electric Incense Burner - Porcelain Ceramic Incense Censer

This is a Porcelain Ceramic Electric Incense Stove from ZYFA.

It allows for temperature control from 80-240 Degrees C; a distinct advantage over a candle stove.

The small pan provided allows for heating woods, powders, or resins.

See it on

How To Make A Homemade Incense Stove

Materials Needed:

  • Coat Hangar
  • Wire cutter
  • Tea-light candle
  • Aluminum foil
  • Fireproof stone or ceramic base (4″ square or larger)
homemade incense stove

1- cut off and retain only the hangar bottom with the wire cutter.

2- bend a 2″ loop at one end.

3- measure 3″ away, then bend a second 2″ loop at that end.

4- cut off any excess hangar.

5- cut out a 3″ to 4″ square piece of aluminum foil.

6- use your thumb to form a bowl inside the aluminum foil.

7- stand hangar up on one loop. Flatten as need to make it stand up securely.

8- place foil bowl in top loop.

9- place and light the candle in bottom loop.

10- sprinkle incense in bowl.



Alternative: Using Charcoal as a Makeshift Stove

You can achieve gentle stove-like heating results by employing the Japanese Kodo style of heating your incense.


Incense burning can cause severe burns.

Always keep fire, incense, and incense burners away from children.

Never leave burning candles or incense unattended.

Before handling, it’s best to wait overnight to make sure the incense stove and base are completely cooled.

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