Man, nico types fast.
For a decent candle effect you could use the standard lamp with shadows turned on and set the intensity to 25% of the total brightness you’re aiming for. Then, clone the lamps, ALT-D, 3 times and offset the lamps just a little. This will give you a quasi soft shadow.
The area light uses the same technique; that is it merely adds more lights to the calculation.
The more lights you add the higher the quality of the shadows. And also the higher the amount of time it will take to calculate and render the scene.
Spotlights are also slow if they are raytraced, and they are raytraced if raytracing is turned on in the scene, because they have soft shadows. But they are directional. For a candle a point of light is desireable. There are tradeoffs for everything.