When many of us think of fireworks, we think of the big bursts of color that light up the sky. While these are the fireworks most people are familiar with, there are multiple types of fireworks defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. These include consumer fireworks, display fireworks, and illegal explosives, and they are all different. It might surprise you to learn that sparklers are technically considered a type of firework. How? Let’s find out.
Sparklers fall under the category of consumer fireworks. ATF states that consumer fireworks are small devices that are purchased and used by the public. This category includes trick or novelty fireworks, such as sparklers, smoke bombs, party snaps, and more. They’re normally much weaker as far as impact or amount of fire produced and more commonly used than display fireworks.
Display fireworks are what many of us think of when we envision fireworks as big, colorful aerial explosions. ATF defines display fireworks as “large devices that are primarily designed to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration or detonation…” This is the biggest distinction between sparklers and aerial fireworks.
Fireworks come in many different designs, sizes, and names. When using any type of fireworks (even sparklers), keep in mind that there are rules for using these products. Local communities may have ordinances in place that define what types of fireworks can be sold and used. To avoid any penalties or confusion, research beforehand what the regulations are in your city and/or state.