New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year for awe-inspiring fireworks displays. Dazzling bursts of colour and thunderous crescendos create unforgettable final moments before the clock strikes midnight.
But buying fireworks that live up to expectations is challenging. With hundreds of products on the market, how do you buy the right fireworks for your celebration? Are you celebrating a gender reveal? Or a garden party – whatever the celebration, we have you covered!
This definitive guide reveals insider tips on what you need to know before buying fireworks for the first time and how to select the perfect fireworks that will light up the neighbourhood and make your New Year's Eve truly sparkle.
Fireworks originated in ancient China over 2,000 years ago. Fireworks were invented by accident when Chinese cooks mixed together charcoal, sulphur, and potassium nitrate to create explosions and loud bangs. This discovery led to fireworks being used in Chinese New Year and other festivals for celebrations and rituals.
Chinese communities viewed these early firecrackers and fireworks as having the power to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. They would light them outside their homes during celebrations as a symbolic ritual. Over many centuries, the formulas and techniques for making fireworks improved, allowing the Chinese to create more elaborate displays with colours and patterns.
Marco Polo introduced fireworks to Europe in the 13th century after witnessing their use in China. Europeans were fascinated by the loud, bright displays and fireworks quickly became popular at key events.
Italians developed elaborate firework designs and across Europe, they were used for royal celebrations, public festivities, military victories, or to simply wow the crowds. The use of fireworks spread rapidly as an exciting addition to annual celebrations and traditions.
Guy Fawkes Night in the UK commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Setting off fireworks and bonfires became a key part of marking November 5th and this unique British tradition continues today.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, significant innovations allowed for more complex pyrotechnics and aerial firework effects. The introduction of metal shells enabled the lifting power of gunpowder to be used for launching projectiles into the sky.
New chemical mixtures also produced a wider range of dramatic colours and effects. This allowed fireworks makers to choreograph mesmerising displays set to music that told a story across the night sky.
Today, computer programming and digital firing systems provide a new level of sophistication, scale, and precision for incredible fireworks shows around the world. The journey of fireworks has come full circle, with China still setting the benchmark for the largest and most technologically advanced displays each new year.
When selecting fireworks for New Year's Eve celebrations, the key choice is between ground or aerial displays. Ground fireworks like fountains, Catherine wheels, and roman candles are designed to stay lower to the ground. They create dramatic lighting effects and are safer for consumer backyard displays.
Aerial fireworks are launched into the sky from tubes or mortars. Types like rockets, mines, shells, and cakes create incredible effects high in the air such as falling leaves, chrysanthemums, and smiling faces. Aerial fireworks pack the most wow factor so are extremely popular for New Year's Eve.
With amazing innovations in aerial shells, it's possible to create professional-level displays even with consumer fireworks. Products from reputable brands like Black Cat provide all the colours, crackles, and effects needed for an unforgettable New Year's Eve night sky. Find out more about the different types of fireworks.
The vibrant colours that fill the night sky come from chemical compounds in firework star compositions. Strontium and lithium salts produce red hues, while barium creates green and copper produces blue. Bright yellow comes from sodium and pure white from magnesium or aluminium.
By carefully combining and packing these chemicals, pyrotechnic engineers can create precise effects like crackling sparks, flashing strobe lights, and colour changes in shells. New chemical mixes are constantly being developed to produce fireworks with even more drama, intensity, and originality.
Consumer fireworks available to the public provide spectacular effects while meeting stringent safety regulations. They include pre-packed cakes and smaller shells designed to be lit directly by hand. Supported products give amateurs the ability to safely create professional-looking displays.
In contrast, professional fireworks contain more explosive material and are wired to complex electronic firing systems. They launch enormous shells, sometimes over 600mm in diameter, for massive aerial bursts. Professionals also choreograph displays perfectly synchronised to music.
While consumer fireworks capture the excitement and colour of major events, it takes professional expertise to truly fill the sky. For a seamless show with no gaps that is fully safe and insured, events often hire professional pyrotechnic companies.
If you are a beginner to buying fireworks, it's important you understand the main categories and effects, for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Fountains produce dramatic ground displays with brilliant colours. Wheels spin on stands with swirling sparks and whistling rockets shoot up with trail effects. Mine shells burst at height with crackling mini-effects.
Multi-shot cakes offer rapid sequences of assorted aerial effects. These provide exciting escalating finales perfect for New Year's Eve at midnight. Shell kits allow you to safely reload mortar tubes for sustained barrages. Combination packs provide pre-matched selections for a complete show.
Roman candles are a classic fail-safe option, shooting colourful star-bursts in quick succession. Their simplicity makes them ideal for getting younger family members involved. Overall, it’s best to choose a variety of fireworks to create an enthralling display.
Fireworks range from budget-friendly picks under £50 to premium packs over £150. More money means you can buy better quality fireworks, which includes large-calibre shells, extra shots, diverse effects and showstopper finales. However, it's possible to get excellent variety in the mid-range from £75-100.
Tips for buying fireworks on a budget include taking advantage of pre-packed cylinders and cake barrages which offer great value. Buying well in advance also allows you to snap up early bird deals and promotions. Club together with neighbours and buy your fireworks in bulk to get discounted rates for an amazing shared display.
When selecting fireworks, it helps to pick crowd-pleasers that appeal to a wide audience. Products that create smiling faces, hearts, crackling Chrysanthemum breaks and coloured peonies in the sky always go down well. If you want to plan a spectacular fireworks display, opt for the New Year's Eve Rocket to provide an amazing mix of colour and effects.
Other safe options include multi-effect barrages with cracking cassettes and brightly coloured waterfall shells. Kids and adults alike will be captivated by glittering golden brocades, screaming dragons, and flashing strobes. The key is variety and picking shells and cakes that build atmosphere, emotion and suspense into your New Year’s Eve night sky.
Buying fireworks online provides convenience, the widest selections, and great deals. Top online retailers like Chorlton Fireworks offer next-day delivery right to your door. This eliminates the effort of travelling to stores and transporting fireworks. Online suppliers also let you browse all products in one place and compare options.
That said, visiting physical shops allows you to see products first-hand. In-store experts can provide tailored advice to meet your specific needs. Direct contact builds trust and local retailers may offer flexible pick-up and payment options. Ultimately the best approach is researching potential purchases online, then finalising with a supplier who provides great service.
When selecting fireworks, trusted brands provide reassurance of safety and quality. The UK's stringent regulations mean all approved fireworks meet high standards. However certain brands have outstanding reputations.
Britain's Black Cat Fireworks has over 100 years of heritage. Their innovative award-winning products are favoured by pyrotechnic professionals and the public alike. Other leading UK brands include Celtic Fireworks, Pyroworx, and Prestigious Pyrotechnics.
Imported products from Spain's Ricco and Italy's Colombo Fireworks also offer exceptional performance and value. Checking your supplier stocks trusted brands is a good baseline for quality.
The fireworks market offers an enormous array of products so customer reviews are invaluable when choosing a supplier and specific fireworks. Verified buyer ratings and detailed reviews on sites like Chorlton Fireworks provide transparent guidance.
Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends are helpful as they can provide insider tips on buying the best fireworks. Suppliers with outstanding service and products will be frequently referenced. In contrast, businesses with quality issues quickly gain negative feedback. Checking credible reviews ensures your supplier satisfaction.
Using fireworks in the UK requires adhering to laws governed by the Fireworks Regulations 2004 and other legislation. It is critical to check your local council rules as specific permits or notifications may be needed for New Year’s Eve displays.
There are restrictions on timing with fireworks banned between 11 pm and 7 am except on Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. There are also legal limits on decibel levels and the sale of fireworks to those under 18s is prohibited.
Firework Safety 101 means understanding and complying with all relevant regulations. Venues planning public firework displays must also have specialist insurance. Failing to acquire required permits can result in hefty fines or prosecution.
Taking appropriate safety precautions is essential when handling fireworks. It’s mandatory for organisers of displays to wear eye protection and gloves. Ear defenders are also recommended for launchers and spectators.
Other key tips include keeping naked flames away from fireworks, avoiding alcohol before use, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and having water or an extinguisher on hand. Fireworks should only be lit at arm’s length using a taper or a firework lighter.
After displays, duds should be soaked in water overnight before disposal. Debris also needs to be carefully cleared, with searches made in daylight for any unexploded devices. Taking simple precautions ensures your New Year’s Eve celebrations stay safe as well as spectacular.
In the unlikely event of a firework accident, rapid response is critical. Any injuries should immediately be rinsed with plenty of cold water. Clothing should be gently removed unless stuck to burns, which require urgent hospital treatment. Eyes splashed with debris must be irrigated with saline solution.
If burns cover a wide area or are on the face, hands or genitals, emergency services should be called without delay. For clothing fires, affected persons must stop, drop and roll on the ground to extinguish flames. Unextinguished fireworks should not be approached for at least 30 minutes after misfires.
Prompt, level-headed action will mitigate harm and get help on the way. However, following all the earlier safety advice is key to avoiding accidents and enjoying an incident-free New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration.
From their origins in ancient China, fireworks have evolved into a centrepiece of New Year's Eve celebrations around the world. With knowledge of the different types of fireworks available and planning considerations, it's easy to buy fireworks tailored for an unforgettable midnight display.
Focus on crowd-pleasing barrages and cakes that deliver maximum colours, effects and spectacle. Work within your budget by knowing what to expect at different price points. Top-rated consumer fireworks provide everything needed for a professional-level backyard extravaganza.
By combining online research with local retailer advice, you can conveniently source the best fireworks for your celebration. Most importantly, take all essential safety precautions and follow legal guidelines so the night goes smoothly. Our tips will help you ring in the New Year right with fireworks that fill the sky with joy.
350 Barlow Moor Rd
Manchester, M21 8AZ
0161 881 3990