Sparklers are used at all sorts of celebrations. From 4th of July parties to weddings, they are synonymous with exciting events. But how long do sparklers last? What can you expect from their performance, and do they ever go bad? Many people wonder about this, so I’ve written the following guide to answer as many questions as possible.
How Long Do Sparklers Last after They’re Lit?
Most commonly, people are interested in the length of a sparkler’s performance. There are a lot of factors at play, because there are many different types of sparklers available. Each type has its own unique attributes and performance duration, so I will break it down into size groups to give you a better understanding.
There are several styles that would be considered “short”, and this covers the 8 inch to 14 inch varieties. Additionally, “specialty” items such number or heart shaped sparklers would also fall into this category. Whether they are gold or vibrant colors, the length directly correlates to their duration. So, how long do sparklers last in the “medium” category? Here’s a breakdown of their size, construction material, and duration.
- 8 Inch – Made from Wood: 15-20 seconds
- 8 Inch – Made from Steel: 20-25 seconds
- 10 Inch – Made from Wood: 25-30 seconds
- 10 Inch – Made from Steel: 30-35 seconds
- 14 Inch – Made from Steel: 50-60 seconds
As you can see, the length and construction material directly affect how long a sparkler lasts. Steel lasts a little longer because the compound lies on the stick more evenly. However, wooden ones are typically much less expensive, so there are trade-offs between duration and overall value. Furthermore, sizes over 10 inches are rarely constructed from materials other than steel because they need rigidity. It would take too thick of a stick for 14 inch versions to perform evenly and not snap as it is executed.
There are several styles that would be considered “medium”, and this covers the 18 inch to 24 inch varieties. There are many varieties of gold and color options, but most are made from steel wire at this length. Additionally, the diameter of the sparklers is much larger than seen on shorter versions. This accommodates the added weight, and also results in a longer, more even, performance. So, how long do sparklers last in the “medium” category? Here’s a breakdown of their size, construction material, and duration.
- 18 Inch – Made from Steel: 65-75 seconds
- 20 Inch – Made from Steel: 85-95 seconds
- 24 Inch – Made from Steel: 115-125 seconds
As you can see, the length directly correlates with duration. All “medium” sized sparklers are made from steel, with very few exceptions. Additionally, they have added girth which contributes to their longer duration.
There are several styles that would be considered “long”, and this covers the 36 inch to 52 inch varieties. Nearly all of these options are gold in color, and they are all made from steel. Additionally, very few manufactures make them longer than 36 inches because they become too flimsy. So, how long do sparklers last in the “long” category? Here’s a breakdown of their size, construction material, and duration.
- 36 Inch – Made from Steel: 3-3.5 minutes
- 42 Inch – Made from Steel: 4-5 minutes
- 52 Inch – Made from Steel: 6.5-7.5 minutes
As before, length and duration go hand-in-hand. However, quality is of paramount importance at this length. The sparklers that Amazon sells are very low quality, so they sparkle unevenly. Moreover, 42 and 52 inch versions are more for novelty purpose rather than functionality. It’s very difficult to get a consistent performance over 36 inches, so that is where most manufacturers end production.
How Long Do Sparklers Last in Storage?
Another take on this question pertains to how long they last in storage. For that matter, how old are the sparklers you buy in stores? Often times, the packaging for the sparklers you buy is damaged, dirty, or even discolored from sunlight. Additionally, many people like to buy during discount sales or in bulk to get the best price. Here’s what you need to know about storage and the shelf life of sparklers.
In most cases, you are going to be buying a product that is 2 to 3 years old. The manufacturers typically ship out product that has been waiting in the warehouse for a while. Once it gets to the suppliers, it usually sits for even longer. On top of that, they are considered a “seasonal” product. So, the unsold product is sent back to the warehouse for another year. So, by the time you light them, they have quite a bit of age on them.
What is the Shelf Life of a Sparkler?
In theory, sparklers should last almost indefinitely. They are essentially just gunpowder, so as long as they stay dry, they should perform properly. However, even humid conditions can introduce too much moisture over an extended period of time. So, the recommended shelf life for them is 5 to 7 years. When you factor the age before purchase into the equation, 3 to 5 years is the longest you should plan to purchase for.
Storage Procedures to Maximize Shelf Life
There are a few things you can do to properly store your sparklers so they last as long as possible. First, place them in something moisture resistant such as a re-sealable bag or a plastic container. Also, try to keep them out of sunlight. Lastly, try to store them in an area that is cool and dry. By following these instructions, you can maximize the lifespan of your investment.