It's important to at least do some research before you decide to buy incense. Using incense can actually be really simple, but if you don't look up some basic things, you could end up being disappointed or even in danger! There are different types on incense to pick from, including oils and cones. You can also buy an incense burner, instead of just burning the incense how you normally would, for maximum safety.
An incense burner can be really useful not just for incense sticks, but for cones too. It can catch the ash, and help you prevent an accidental fire. Incense burners can come in many different kinds of materials. For incense sticks you can buy a really simple wooden holder that's curved in the spot where the stick is held in the air, so the ash drops onto the other side without spilling over. Then there are also ceramic incense burners that are usually bowls that you can use for holding incense cones. There are also box burners that usually have another box underneath that you can use to store your incense.
Cone incense is made to burn completely away, so it can be dangerous to just leave it on unprotected surfaces or in a burner that doesn't have some depth to it, that can surround the entire cone. There are also burners specifically made for cone incense, so if you buy one make sure that the lid is tall enough to not snuff the incense out and that it has high walls. If you decide to use the really common brass cone incense burner, you should know to never let it burn incense while sitting on top of wood, since the burner is metal it can conduct heat and spread it around really well. So set your burner on a safe surface, like ceramic or some other non flammable one. And also, it's recommended to put sand in the bottom of the burner, to protect it from heat and damage. Cone incense burners also come in all kinds of materials, so if you want one that can be used more conveniently, then shop around!
Then there are also incense burners called combination burners. they can burn multiple types of incense, and you can use them to burn incense one right after the other, without any major mess. And you can even use them to burn multiple incense at the same time! They come in lots of different materials just like how the more standard burners do.
One warning is that if you're using a smudge bowl like for loose herbs and incense, make sure it's fireproof! And, you should never burn any kind of incense that doesn't have a wooden core (there are even incense sticks that don't have wooden cores so be careful), on a wooden burner. If your incense gives off thick or even black smoke, that means it's low quality, so if you burn a lot of it it can actually stain the walls in your home!