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Backflow Incense Burners & Holders

Also known as incense waterfalls or incense fountains, these modern architecturally inspired backflow incense burners are handcrafted in minimal concrete. Uniquely designed to showcase stunning visual displays of backflow incense smoke in the form of fountains, waterfalls and misty fogs.


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Backflow Incense

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What are incense waterfall burners, incense fountains, backflow incense burners? What is the difference between them?

Incense waterfall, incense waterfall burner, incense fountain, incense fountain burners backflow incense burner, and variations to these names (eg, backflow incense holder) all refer to the same thing. They are all names for a type of incense burner or holder made specifically for incense with a hole through the bottom middle center. This type of incense is commonly in a cone shape, and called backflow incense cones or incense waterfall cones. They produce a special effect where the incense smoke flows downwards instead of upwards.  

How do incense waterfall burners or backflow incense burners work?

We were the first website to publish our theory about how waterfall burners work on the internet back in 2019, and we’ve noticed a whole lot of other websites “borrow” our theory since. We’ve never had a physicist verify it, but here it is:

Incense smoke is actually more dense than normal air because it contains tiny hydrocarbons. These are solid particles that should fall downwards because of gravity. However, normal smoke from a fire or typical incense stick actually rises up because warm air is less dense than room-temperature air. This offsets the weight of these tiny particles.

All backflow incense have a hollow center – backflow incense cones have a hole from the bottom through the center, and backflow stick incense are hollow all the way through. So as backflow incense burns, the smoke enters the empty inner tunnel, where it is mixed with normal air and cools down. When this happens, the smoke becomes denser, so when it exits the tunnel at the bottom, it is pulled downwards by gravity. In a normal incense smoke or stick, there is no inner chamber for the smoke to escape to and cool down.

How do you use an incense waterfall burner?

In general, incense cones are more difficult to light than incense sticks due to the bigger surface area that needs to be lit, but the same steps apply. You light the tip of the incense with a flame until it catches fire, allow it to burn for a few seconds, then gently fan out the flame, ensuring that a glowing ember remains. This may need to be repeated several times if the first time doesn’t work. For more details, we have a thorough, step-by-step article to guide you.

Once properly lit, place the incense onto the incense holder. Keep the incense and burner on a surface away from wind or sudden air movements (windows, fans, AC, etc), and you should see the smoke flow and fall after 3-5 minutes. Backflow incense burners are visually quite stunning, as it looks like the smoke magically cascades downward.

Is there a difference between backflow incense and cone incense?

Incense cones are exactly as the name suggests – coned shaped incense made from incense powder blended with a binder and water, then shaped and dried. The smoke from cone incense rises upwards. Backflow incense is different from this. It typically refers to incense cones that have a hole through the bottom middle center, although backflow incense can also be in other shapes. The smoke from backflow incense flows downwards through the bottom hole, and the video in a previous section demonstrates this.

What is backflow incense used for?

Like all different types of incense, backflow incense is great to relieve stress – when you want a break in your day, a moment of relaxation. It is most suitable for when you are in the mood for something more visual, rather than accompanying another activity like yoga or meditation. I light up a backflow incense when I want to watch gentle, calming movements.

Incense waterfalls can also be great conversation pieces due to their unique designs and effects. So another good time is when you have a few friends gathered around the coffee table – together you can enjoy the miniature landscapes created by the backflow incense.

Where do Kin Object’s cool backflow incense burners come from?

Bill (who is half of Kin Objects) is an award-winning architect and designer with over 15 years of experience in running his own design studio. So all of Kin Object’s backflow incense burners are designed from scratch in our studio, and are painstakingly designed, re-designed, prototyped and re-prototyped before we decide on a final design. All our proprietary designs are registered with the UK Design Office.

Once designed, we work closely with small scale manufacturers to make our incense holders. All the concrete used in our incense waterfalls are purchased from a third generation family owned company who we’ve known for many years, and who we respect highly due to their dedication to their products.

Can you use regular incense cones in a backflow incense burner?

We do not recommend the use of regular incense cones in a backflow incense burner because they will not produce the effects intended by the burner. As mentioned in sections above, the smoke from regular incense cones flow upwards, while the smoke from backflow incense cones flow downwards. It is the downward flowing smoke which creates the water or fog-like visual effect in backflow incense holders. So while a regular incense cone will burn on this type of holder, it will not create any visual effects.

Where can I buy natural backflow incense cones?

Kin Objects offers a selection of natural backflow incense cones. In particular, our premium incense selection are all handmade, with each ingredient hand selected because they were the best quality ingredients we could find whilst keeping final prices reasonable. The binding powder used is Indonesian nanmu powder, a wood-based binder that is the binding agent used in all Chinese incense, and where the Japanese makko or tabu no ki powder derives from.

A typical backflow cone incense is 3-4 times the weight of a typical incense stick, so there are a lot more raw ingredients used, and you should not expect low prices for quality backflow incense cones. We would recommend you to be weary of backflow incense cones which are extremely cheap, or come in a variety of bright colors (purple, pink, blue, green…), as we are concerned artificial enhancements have been used.

How long does incense waterfall burn?

Our incense waterfall cones vary in their length of burning. The standard cones burns for 10-15min each on average, and the handmade collection burns for ~25min each on average. We find that in general, handmade incense burns for much longer than machine made incense.

Incense cones tend burn for a shorter period of time compared to incense sticks because at any given time, the burning surface area is much larger. So even though much more incense powder is used in an incense cone compared to an incense stick, the cone burns for a shorter period of time.

Related Articles from the Blog

We often get questions aboutincense waterfalls, waterfall incense burners, or incense fountains– these are in fact common alternative names forbackflow incense burners or holders. As backflow incense is not widely used, in this article we will be sharing a step-by-step guide for lighting backflow incense cones...



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Most backflow incense cones available on the market today are made from low-grade materials mixed with artificial ingredients. This is because making a high quality, all natural incense cone is much more expensive than incense sticks. Here we show you the step-by-step process of making incense cones from natural woods, herbs, flowers, resins, and essential oils...


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An unavoidable part of burning incense cones is the oil residue the cone leaves behind. In this article we'll show you a simple and effective method which is not only gentle on the incense burner, but can leave it looking even better than it came out of the box...



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