Incense is made from aromatic plants and essential oils. They are an alternative to scented candles.
There are 4 types of incenses prominently.
The stick incense has been popular in India and China. They have a supporting base of a thin bamboo stick.
They are made from plants, some wood dust and binders, this type of incenses are hand rolled. The charcoal types contain the essential oils and are made by dipping.
The disadvantages of these incense specially buying online can be that due to exposure to moisture or improper handling, the incense stick can get spoilt as the mixture falls off from the bamboo stick or reacts on exposure to air.
Coil or spiral
Coil or spiral incense is similar to stick incense except that will be coiled or will be spiral.
Coil incenses can last longer than sticks and generally have a small support to mount the coil.
Cone incense is made from powdered stuff and with the aid of core is formed into cones. The base can be low quantity synthetic or higher quality wood or resin. These also can be charcoal based which are dipped in fragrance oils or the other masala type where fragrant plants are used.
Cone incenses can last the longest. However once you burn them it will be very difficult to put them off.
Loose incense powders and potpourri
Incense powders made from sandalwood, herbs are available easily. Some of these might come with synthetic materials.
The potpourri incenses are typically the best as they are the purest forms of herbal incenses. They typically are mixed with natural ingredients.
However due to recent crackdown on banned substances sold in guise of herbal potpourri these are difficult to buy.
These incenses are burnt on charcoal or burners.
These type of incenses can be burnt as long as you want since the burning is external.