Though there are many different shapes, sizes, and colors of sparklers available, there are really only two types; wooden handle versions and metal wire sparklers. Since these two materials are distinctly different, they’re at the center of the most common questions I get. Fortunately, I have a whole plethora of knowledge to share about both versions! Here is what you need to know to pick the right ones for your needs.
Metal Wire Sparklers
First, I’ll discuss metal wire sparklers because they are the most popular option. Around 85% of all sparkler products sold in the US are made with a metal wire handle; making them the most popular choice in the country. However, steel has both advantages and drawbacks when compared to their wooden counterparts. Here is what you need to know about sparklers made with a steel wire handle.
There are a few different advantages to choosing metal wire sparklers. First, the steel handle allows for the sparklers to be smokeless. This is crucial if you want to use them indoors or in a situation where there will be a lot of photography; such as a wedding. Steel doesn’t produce any smoke at high temperatures, so that is a huge advantage over the versions made from wood.
Additionally, the metal handle stays much cooler than wood which makes them safer for children. Sadly, it’s a very common misconception that wood handles would stay cooler than metal. However, steel can dissipate heat much faster than organic compounds, so it’s actual the best material in this regard.
Lastly, since steel doesn’t burn, they are much safer in the aftermath of their use. Most organic compounds will create ash and embers; neither of which is created by metal wire sparklers. Overall, steel is the safest choice for constructing combustible products.
Conversely, there are a few aspects of metal wire sparklers that leave much to be desired. First, steel is bendable, so it is easy to deform their shape. Obviously, you can just bend them back to being straight. However, it can be a nuisance to adjust every single handle on their way out of the box.
Additionally, steel sparklers are typically a bit more expensive than their wood counterparts. For a “brick” of 72 sparklers, you can expect to pay at least $1 more versus ones made from bamboo. Since steel costs more than bamboo, the manufacturing is slightly more expensive which leads to the higher price.
Though they can be used at a variety of events, their best use is as sparklers for weddings. The primary benefit here is that they are smokeless so you can take beautiful pictures; both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, their design is very elegant and will bend with your other wedding décor. Lastly, they come in so many shapes and sizes that you can easily find the perfect option for your intended activity. Overall, they are the best choice if you’re planning to use them at a wedding.
Wooden Handle Sparklers
Next, I’ll give you a complete overview of wooden handle sparklers. Though a mere 15% of all sparklers sold are made from wood, they are still a common option that you may see. Typically, they are made from bamboo because it is sturdy, cheap, and plentiful. However, some manufacturers use pine if bamboo doesn’t grow in their region. So, it’s important to understand all of their advantages, drawbacks, and the best times to use them. Here is what you need to know.
There are a few great advantages to choosing wooden handle sparklers. First off, they are by far the most eco-friendly option available. Since they are made from a renewable resource such as bamboo, they don’t require digging holes in the earth to mine ore. With so many couples planning eco-friendly weddings, this can be an appealing feature.
Additionally, they are usually a little less expensive than their steel wire counterparts. Bamboo is very abundant in China and that is where the majority of fireworks are manufactured. Steel is also heavier, so there is more cost to the manufacturer to ship them. Since many couples are planning their wedding on a tight budget, saving some money can be a great comfort.
Lastly, wooden handle sparklers are much more rigid than steel versions. The metal ones can bend in the package, and sometimes even crack the sparkle compound off the stick! If you want to ensure that every single stick stays completely intact, wood handles are the sturdiest.
Conversely, wooden handle sparklers have some strong disadvantages which shouldn’t be ignored. Most importantly, they create a lot of smoke when they burn. Unfortunately, that is very prohibitive if you want to use them at a wedding. Smoke is the enemy if you plan to use them indoors or in your photographs, so this setback shouldn’t be ignored.
Additionally, they can create a lot of ash; and sometimes even drop chunk of hot embers! That can raise some serious safety concerns regarding both injury and property damage. The last thing you want to do is accidentally start a fire at your celebration! Most of the wooden versions are made from bamboo which is less likely to create an issue. However, if they are made from a cheaper wood type, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Lastly, many couples like to print their own sparkler tags or place them in a bucket for display purposes. However, their rough texture can create problems while sliding on your tags; or even give you a nasty splinter! Additionally, they rub together awkwardly in centerpieces or buckets which can make them difficult to fan out or remove. Overall, they just don’t look as elegant as metal wire sparklers.
In theory, you can use wooden handle sparklers for all the same purposes as steel ones. However, they are not ideal for indoor use or in photographs. So, their best use is at backyard parties or people desiring an eco-friendly celebration. As long as you pay attention to the safety concerns and use them outdoors, you can have a very successful event for the lowest possible price.
Which One Should You Choose?
The way I see it, we’re not really comparing metal wire sparklers vs. wooden handle sparklers. Instead, it is a decision between quality and price. Wooden versions will not dent your wallet quite so much, but they will limit the ways that you can use your items. Conversely, metal wire sparklers are incredibly versatile and can be shown proudly in sparkler display buckets as centerpieces on your tables. Best of all, they can be used indoors and won’t create a haze in your photos. My choice will always be the metal version, but wooden ones will work if they’re all you can afford.