By Dynamic Fireworks,
Your complete guide to fireworks

Your complete guide to fireworks

An eye-popping number of firework types are available to buy these days – although not all are for sale to the general public. Find our more with your complete guide to fireworks and the incredible variety on offer means those organising fireworks displays can realise the most ambitious of shows. Just as well, since crowds have come to expect incredible fireworks, whether for New Year’s Eve, Bonfire Night or one of the many other cultural events such as Diwali and Chinese New Year that may be further enhanced by fireworks.

Here we begin our series of articles on the various types of firework. Not all are available to buy in the UK, or directly to the public.

Aerial Shell

This firework is used by professional firms or fireworks specialists. It is a category 4 firework, which means it is not available to the general public. The aerial visual is enclosed in a card or paper shell, fired from a mortar tube by a lifting charge (which is also found in the shell). Commonly used in professional displays.

Aqua Shell

This is an aerial shell designed to be launched over tracts of water, creating an effect that appears to rise from the surface.

Ball Rocket

This popular rocket generally delivers a louder, bigger effect than standard plastic head rockets. It mimics an aerial shell but is fired from a stick.


This small tubular firework simply banged, mimicking an air bomb but on the ground. Now banned, the banger was once responsible for numerous injuries. There are other fireworks that ‘bang’ and are still available to the public – but these are incorrectly called bangers by the media and the public in general.


As the name suggests, a barrage is a sustained release of firework effects from a battery, cake or roman candle.


Another military-sounding firework type, a battery is several fireworks- such as shot tubes or roman candles – stuck together for increased visual impact. Lit by a single fuse.

Bengal Flare – or Strobe

This firework produces an impressive bright light or strobing effect, often for a sustained period. These ground-based fireworks generate an intense flame, rather than a ‘fountain’ of sparks.


A cake is another term for an item such as a battery where a series of tubes which fire in sequence, ignited from a single point.


Housed in a card tube, this firework consists of an effect or shot, propelled into the air by a lifting charge. Also known as a ‘roman candle’.

Chinese Crackers

A series of small bangers tied together and connected to a fuse which burns rapidly, setting off a chain reaction of bangs. Due to their erratic nature, Chinese crackers are somewhat dangerous and are no longer available in their original form to the public in the United Kingdom.

Chinese Lanterns

Probably responsible for many UFO sightings, Chinese lanterns are large, retardant-paper balloons, fired by a wick on the base. Once lit, hot air fills the balloon and it begins to lift off. Silent and rather majestic.

Fan Cake

This cake is assembled with tubes at various angles, and fires shots right and left of the display zone in a fan effect. It can be fired in a left-to-right zigzag effect, or in volleys.


Another aptly named firework, a fountain shoots a vertical column of sparks into the air. While they are usually placed at ground level, a more impressive visual impact can be achieved if they are situated higher up, such as on a post or a plank. Some examples feature loud crackling effects.


Continuing our series of blogs looking into the various fireworks available, here we bring you our guide to fireworks G to Z.