The Most Common Types of Fireworks

If you’re looking for something extra to spice up your celebration, why not use fireworks? Traditionally, one of the most common ways to express joy, fireworks have been around ever since we discovered gunpowder! In today’s article, we’ll be listing down the most popular types of fireworks to see what’s the right choice for you and your occasion!


Rockets are most probably the most common type of fireworks, and they’re also the image that pops into everyone’s heads when someone says the word ‘firework’. 

These pyrotechnic devices are in the shape of a tube, usually made from paper or some other lightweight, flammable material. They use gunpowder to propel themselves in the air, where they explode into a fiery beauty.

There are plenty of different rocket types – some of them fly just a few hundred feet in the air and light the sky up for a second or two. There are also rockets that can achieve massive heights and light the sky up in phenomenal ways (and they’re usually more expensive).

Believe it or not, rockets were also traditionally used in military training, mostly for evading maneuvers for the air force. Interestingly, long-traveling rockets were developed in the eighteenth century, when Colonel Congreve developed rockets that could travel for four miles!

Roman Candles

Another traditional type of fireworks, roman candles are essentially tubes that eject stars or exploding shells. It must be noted that they aren’t entirely legal, as there are places where they’re deemed too dangerous because of their tendency to malfunction.

Candles are ignited from the top and the fuse burns slowly, reaching one pyrotechnic star (or shell) after the other. There’s a time delay between reaching every star. Once the flame actually reaches a star, it is propelled out of the candle while on fire.

There are both long and short roman candles, which usually determines how long they burn for.

They usually burn in different colors, so they give off a very cool effect. Using different chemical compounds within the fuse ensures that, when they catch fire, stars burn in different colors: red, blue, green, purple, etc.

It’s important to point out that the temperatures at which these reactions occur often exceed 4500 degrees Fahrenheit! This is one of the reasons why roman candles are deemed dangerous and you should always handle them with the utmost care.


Another incredibly popular type of fireworks, the cake is actually a multiple tube device, comprising a series of roman candles and aerial fireworks (rockets). They’re usually connected with a high-speed fuse.

Once the fuse is lit, they’ll fire off one right after the other, in quick succession. On the outside, the cake looks like a rectangle, or at least a bit deformed cube.

Because they’re so easy to actually turn on, they’re possibly the most popular type of firework. All you have to do is put them on the ground and light them up. Also, because of the sheer number of fireworks used within a cake, they usually produce astonishing and long-lasting effects.

They’re also possibly the safest type of fireworks – once you light the fuse, you just need to move away and enjoy the show. 

Lastly, they can make a great addition for massive events. There’s literally no end to the combinations you can achieve with a cake, with some extreme examples containing over 1000 tubes!

Catherine Wheel

Catherine wheel is also known as the pinwheel, and it’s possibly the most interesting type of fireworks you’ll find. They look very similar to other fireworks in this article, but they come out of a spiral tube, usually rotating from the center.

The wheel was named after Saint Catherine, a woman martyred on a spinning wheel. Interestingly, the wheel used to hold the fireworks isn’t rotating on its own. It’s actually pushed by the fireworks!

Then, the fireworks start actually going off while simultaneously rotating, which makes for a spectacular effect. Even though miniature Catherine wheels aren’t difficult to get a hold of – the true spectacle comes from seeing the massive ones, usually used for big occasions

Safety in Fireworks Use

Safety is a big concern when it comes to fireworks use. Although they’re already considered an art form by some, fireworks are, at the end of the day, using gunpowder to perform – and that technically makes them explosive.

When used improperly, fireworks can cause dangerous wounds and burns. This is why the use of fireworks is restricted more or less everywhere. They’re also a potential fire hazard, because the temperatures they reach are massive and they could light anything on fire.

Last Updated on May 3, 2022

One thought on “The Most Common Types of Fireworks”

  1. It’s great that you talked about how fireworks are traditionally one of the most common ways to express joy. We are currently organizing a pretty big party and we are thinking of using some fireworks. For that, we should probably call a wholesale fireworks distributor.

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