Types Of Consumer Fireworks HEADING_TITLE

On this page you'll find descriptions and images of all the different types of fireworks that are available at Powder Keg Fireworks, what they do and the typical prices. Please be aware that the prices listed are what the different items sell for at Powder Keg Fireworks and may differ if you shop elsewhere for fireworks.


Fireworks assortments are packages of fireworks that come in all sizes, prices, and types.  They can range from $10 to $300 in price.  Because all the fireworks come together in one box, they are much cheaper - for example, a $50 assortment might contain fireworks that would cost $80 if bought separately.  If you're new to consumer fireworks and not quite sure what to get, or you're planning to do your own display, an assortment will provide you with a nice variety of items that will save you time and money that you'd otherwise spend getting individual fireworks.

Fireworks assortments can always be selected according to your specific tastes - if you're doing a small backyard show for children and don't want much noise, you can buy a small family assortment which contains items such as fountains, sparklers, poppers, and smokes (which usually costs about $10-$30).  

Even if you're experienced with consumer fireworks and plan to do a full-scale neighborhood fireworks display, you can't go wrong with an assortment - larger ones contain a nice variety of shells, repeating aerial displays, rockets, and more. Powder Keg even has wide variety of assortments to choose from, including some offered at buy-1 get-1 free.


Aerial repeaters, also known as "cakes", are one of the most popular types of fireworks next to aerial shells.  They are basically a little firework show all in one piece, so all you have to do is light the fuse, then sit back and enjoy the show. Their long duration and variety of effects make them great crowd pleasers. Repeaters usually consist of many tubes attached together, ranging anywhere from half a dozen to over 200. Repeaters can be distinguished from fountains because a repeater always has a fuse on the lower side, rather than on the top like a fountain.  Each tube of a repeater is a tiny aerial shell-type device. A single fuse burns between the tubes.  When it reaches one, the lifting powder inside ignites and shoots the effects high into the air.  

Small, 7 shot repeaters usually cost around $8, while devices like the one pictured usually sell for around $15.  In the last few years a new type of repeater has been produced, which contains 500 grams of pyrotechnic content (the legal limit).  Such devices are often over a cubic foot in volume, and cost around $40 and up. Powder Keg Fireworks offers one of the widest selections of aerial repeaters and 500 Gram maximum powder cakes. In addition, many of the aerial repeaters offered at Powder Keg are sold as buy-1 get-1. You can even mix and match buy-1 get-1 items of similar price so that you can have a variety of fireworks in your show.


Reloadable shell kits have become one of the most popular types of consumer fireworks available today.  When ignited, the shell is propelled high into the air, where it bursts into a beautiful pattern of colors, much like the fireworks seen at professional displays.  These assortments contain one or two tubes (mortars) and anywhere from 6 to nearly 100 shells.  The mortar can be made out of either High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass or heavy cardboard.  Small kits, like the one pictured on the left, typically contain a single 12" long cardboard mortar and 6-18 standard single-break shells.  The price for such assortments typically ranges from $8-$15, depending on the quality of the shells.  "Artillery Shells", which come in different color boxes, are always a good choice because they have fairly decent bursts and are reasonably priced.  Powder Keg even offers some of the artillery shell selection for buy-1 get-1.

Larger shell assortments usually contain one or more 18" long HDPE mortars and 24+ shells that may have multiple breaks and effects.  These kits can range from $30 to nearly $200 in price, depending on the type of shells in the assortment.  Pictured on the right is a triple-break shell assortment.  Each "shell" is actually three shells attached to each other that burst in quick succession in the sky.  Double, quadruple, and quintuple shells also exist.

Almost all consumer firework shells are 1.75" in diameter.  If you have the money, I recommend you buy the kits with HDPE mortars - they're safer, stronger and can withstand much more shots than cardboard ones.  If you plan on launching a lot of shells, you may want to consider buying mortar tubes which are available in Powder Keg Fireworks locations.



Aerial display tubes come in two types - single and multiple tubes.  Single tubes are pretty much a pre-loaded aerial shell with some beautiful, exotic effect not found in most shells - for example, a purple comet, and green palm tree, a thick gold comet, or a giant red chrysanthemum burst.  They cost about $10-15.  The multiple-tube types contain several tubes with a single shell each, and are fused to fire a few seconds apart.  They can cost upwards of $50 to $200. 

Most display tubes contain a number in their name (such as "#200 Giant" Comet or "#900 Mad Dog"), but no one seems to know exactly what the number indicates.


Firecrackers are the earliest form of fireworks; invented by the Chinese and believed to drive away evil spirits.  They come in various sized packages from strings of as little as 12 to gigantic celebration rolls of up to 20,000 firecrackers.  Firecrackers are packaged in different sized cases that indicate the total number of crackers by a special code printed on the label, such as 6/80/16.  This means that the case contains 6 units of 80 packs of crackers each, and each pack contains 16 crackers fused together on one string.  Thus, the total number of crackers can be determined by multiplying the number.  Sometimes the packaging gives a number of "tau", which is not the total number of firecrackers.  Prices can range from $.25 for a string of a dozen to around $2 for a string of 200, and at the extreme end, $100 for a celebration roll of anywhere from 15,000-20,000. All brick firecrackers at Powder Keg fireworks are sold as buy-1 get-1 free fireworks.


Flying spinners are basically ground spinners with slanted wings.  As the device spins, the wings direct the air flow downward and lift it into the air, much like a helicopter.  At the end of its flight, a small burst charge ignites and ejects the colored stars inside.  Sometimes the whole thing explodes.  Helicopters can range in price from about $.50 for small ones and around $1-$2 for the device pictured at the right.


Fountains are devices that sit on the ground and emit showers of colored sparks upwards.  Unlike repeaters, they don't shoot effects high into the air - only about ten feet.  They provide wide displays of beautiful colors, and can greatly enhance and complement aerial displays (like repeaters and shells).  Nowadays, many fountains come in packs of 4 or more, but single fountains can usually be bought for $2-$10.

Larger fountains consist of multiple tubes fused to go off in sequence.  As mentioned before, they can easily be confused with repeaters by their shape, but your clue that they are fountains is that the fuse is on the top, not the side.  Like smaller fountains, they never shoot their effects over 10 feet in the air, but they provide much longer lasting displays (from 2-3 minutes!)  and can greatly enhance your show, especially when used in combination with shells or other aerial items.  Such fountains can cost up to $20.


Ground spinners spin around randomly at ground level, shooting out colored sparks and flames.  The most common type are "Ground Bloom Flowers", which spin furiously all over the place.  The flame changes color several times, and the unbalanced spin makes the device looks like a bright flower as it rotates.  Packs of 4 sell for about $.50.  

Another type of spinner is the circular type, where a tube of composition (or small drivers) burns to make the device spin around in a circle.



Not to be confused with the military device of the same name, firework mines produce upward, fan-shaped blasts of color and effects (look at the side of the box in the picture to get an idea).  They come in kits containing a tube and several mines (just like reloadable shells).  There are very few mine kits on the consumer market, but more and more have begun to emerge as the "mine" effect gains popularity.  A popular and excellent mine kit is the "Critical Acclaim".


Novelties are small fireworks that usually look like some "real life" object (tanks, ships, cars, or animals) and often scoot across the ground.  They generally don't do much and aren't that impressive, but children always get a big kick out of them.  Kids also like these because they can use what's left over as a toy (or something to stomp on).  Novelties are fairly cheap: they cost about $.75 for a simple tank but can cost more for a more "elaborate" device such as ships and monster trucks.


Parachutes come in two different types - day and night.  Each type can be further broken down into single or multiple shots.  "Single" daytime parachutes launch a canister high into the air, where it bursts into one or two parachutes.  Sometimes the "paratrooper" is actually a little colored smoke canister which ignites on the way down and makes it easier to track.  These cost about $.50 to $2.00 each.  Multiple shot daytime parachutes look more like a tall, thin repeater consisting of many tubes just like those pictured on the left.  These devices can fill the air with nearly 100 different colored parachutes, which rain down everywhere.  They cost around $15-20.

Night parachutes are the same as daytime ones, except that the paratrooper has a strobe or colored star composition on it, which burns brightly as it slowly falls down. They cost about the same as daytime parachutes.


These devices aren't actually considered to be fireworks by most states and are sold year round in many toy shops. They are relatively safe and fun for children to use, so they are often sold along with fireworks.

Impact-ignited snappers go by about a thousand different names and come in small boxes of 50 for about $.50. Powder Keg offers a selection of different poppers to choose from. There are also bottle shaped, pull string "party poppers" that shoot confetti and cost about $.50 for half a dozen. These can be found at local party stores.

There is also a new type of snapper out that are adult snap pops. These poppers are much louder than conventional snaps. They work great as a joke to frighten someone, but be warned these snappers pack quite a punch. You certainly do not want to try to pop these in your hand or on someone. Be sure to throw them at a safe distance because they are surprisingly powerful. You can find adult snap pops at Powder Keg Fireworks.


These devices blast up into the sky and eject some kind of effect; such as a report, crackle or stars. Rockets are stabilized by a long stick and can be broken down into two subcategories: bottle rockets and skyrockets. Bottle rockets are small, 1 foot long rockets that whistle/explode, and obviously can be launched from a bottle. They come in packs of a dozen, which usually sells for less than $1.  Powder Keg Fireworks usually sell bottle rockets in bricks and are sold as buy-1 get-1 free fireworks. Skyrockets are rockets that are greater than 1 foot in length (too big to be launched from a bottle) and contain more impressive effects such as stars, crackles, strobes, and even parachutes. Huge skyrockets, which can be anywhere from 3-5 feet long (including stick), have large payload sections that actually contain aerial shells such as a ring shell rocket. They usually come in packages and assortments and range in price depending on the size.


Roman candles are a single tubes that fire many shots, unlike repeaters and shells that only fire one shot per tube.  The shots fire one at a time out of a tube.  The type of shots can range from a simple color star to more complex stars that flash, explode, whistle, and crackle.  Larger bore (diameter) roman candles even have shots the shoot out and burst like miniature aerial shells.  

Standard, star-shooting roman candles cost about $.75-$1; those with more elaborate effects cost $1.50-$2, and the thicker "shell" type candles cost about $5. Powder Keg offers a large line of roman candles at store locations. Every roman candle package at Powder Keg is sold as a buy-1 get-1 free item.


Smoke items are a good daytime item that is fun to play around with.  They most commonly come in the form of smoke balls, which cost about $1.00 for a 6-pack.  The smoke comes in orange, blue, yellow, green, blue, and purple - though the purple ones almost always make white smoke. Regardless, they are always fun especially for the kids.

Cylindrical "smoke grenades" are also available, which create thick clouds of smoke for up to 2 minutes.  They cost about $1-$2.  The smoke grenades are available as a pull string firework so that you don’t even have to use a lighter or match to light. The pull-string smoke grenades can usually be found at the counter at Powder Keg locations.


Most strobe devices (pictured at left) come in boxes of a half dozen, and they emit bright, disorienting flashing of light. A box of strobes typically costs about $1.00. Snakes come in the form of small black pellets.  When they burn, they emit a long, brittle carbon ash, which looks like a snake coming out of the ground. A box of 6 snake pellets costs about $.25-$.50. Both are entertaining fireworks that can be found at Powder Keg. 


Sparklers are tiny hand held fountains that give off colored sparks from the burning tip. They are the only firework meant to be held.  There are two types - metal rod (pictured at left), and "Morning Glory".  Metal rod sparklers are typically single-color (usually gold or silver), but can come in other colors as well. They are fairly easy to ignite and cost around $.75 for a box of 6.  Morning Glories are attached to wooden rods and have 3 distinct burning phases - usually a red flame for about 20 seconds, then a crackle/snapping phase for 20 seconds, and finishing off with 20 seconds of a green/white flame.  They cost a bit extra ($1 per pack of 6), but are much safer than metal sparklers because they don't leave a hot wire behind.  Some companies manufacture very large sparklers known as "California Candles", which are basically a roman-candle sized fountain. Powder Keg Fireworks has both sparklers and Morning Glories available.


Wheels are fireworks that are designed to be attached to some sort of vertical support, usually by a nail.  When lit, they spin around their center emitting showers of sparks, crackle, and whistles.  They spin at incredible speeds, looking like a circle of blazing fire floating in midair.  Most wheels are powered by several engines (called drivers) which fire in sequence.