Sparklers are one of the most beloved items of all time, and they have spread into many different uses. As the universal symbol for celebrations, they are used at events ranging from the 4th of July to weddings and birthday parties. But how could such a small thing become such a huge deal? How could there possibly be so many types of sparklers out there?
Though sparklers have a long and rich history, they’ve only recently gained extreme popularity. Modern manufacturing techniques and worldwide shipping options made a recipe for success. That has presented limitless options for consumers seeking something for a special purpose. However, it has also made the market much more difficult to navigate. So, we have put together this definitive guide to all the different types of sparklers. We cover they’re attributes, various uses, and even where to find them for a great price. By the end of this guide, you’ll know everything there is to know so you can make an informed purchase.
Different Types of Sparklers
With so many manufacturers and companies repackaging, the market is flooded with a barrage of sparkler options. This can lead to purchasing the wrong type based on your needs because there is so much confusion. Here is a simple breakdown of the various types that are available so you can simplify the whole process.
A traditional sparkler is by far one of the most common types of sparklers that you’ll find. This is what you’ll see at every supermarket and fireworks stand around the 4th of July. They are typically found in two versions; either made from wood or metal (we cover that later in this article). They are best used for casual gatherings like backyard barbecues, outdoor events, or while watching a local fireworks show.
What Makes Them Unique?
As the base for all comparisons, traditional sparklers are not special at all. However, they do exactly what you hope for and expect when use one, so that shouldn’t be considered a criticism. For general use and standard celebrations, these are always a classic and excellent choice.
Color sparklers are similar to their traditional brethren, just a little more colorful. They come in a variety of different options; from light tints to full out neon colors. They are a great choice for birthday parties and backyard parties; and they can even be used at outdoor weddings! However, they are not smokeless. This is due to the color pigments added to them. But, if smoke is not a concern, the added color can be a fun change of pace.
What Makes Them Unique?
The ability to add color to a sparkler is a big step in this product’s evolution. The natural color they usually put out is gold. With the addition of color pigments, you can create a sparkling performance in almost any color you desire.
Wedding sparklers are one of the newest takes on this traditional item. They offer the perfect blend of features to make them ideal for use at weddings; both indoor and outdoor. To qualify, they must be made from metal, not have any added color pigments (gold color performance), and come in packaging suitable for a formal affair. There are three types of wedding sparklers that are available, and we will break them down below.
10 inch sparklers for weddings are an affordable option to add to your celebration. They are more of a “novelty” size addition since they won’t perform for very long. However, they work great in centerpieces and can be placed decoratively at each guests’ seat. Their low price and fun sparkling effects make them an easy choice when shopping on a budget.
20 inch sparklers for weddings are the most popular option. First, they last plenty of time to accomplish most activities during your wedding. Additionally, they are available at a very reasonable price. Perfect for photos, send-offs, and many other activities, it’s easy to see why 60% of couples choose this size.
36 inch sparklers for weddings are the biggest and baddest of them all! They last for a whopping 3 ½ minutes for large weddings or longer enjoyment. It can be challenging getting everyone in place and everyone lit in a timely manner. With these, you don’t have to feel rushed to get everyone going. That makes them the most desirable product available, but they are slightly more expensive, too.
What Makes Them Unique?
Every sparkler designed for weddings needs to meet standard criteria, as discussed above. They need to be free of color pigments and made from metal. However, what makes them really special is the quality with which they are made and the beauty of their packaging. Proper packaging is vital because it needs to blend neatly with your wedding theme. However, quality is the most important factor; so they should be at least double, if not triple, dipped. Combining the entire collection of these factors make them perfectly equipped for activities during your wedding.
Cake or Bottle Sparklers
You will see products marketed specifically for use on bottles or specifically for use on cakes; but they are actually identical. This item is shaped to fit onto a bottle with ease, but also features a food-grade “spike” to place it on top of a cake. Most commonly, they are used as birthday cake sparklers. However, they are also frequently used in the nightclub industry to highlight bottle service packages. Other uses include placing them on wedding cakes, anniversary cakes, or even in special desserts.
What Makes Them Unique?
The overall design of them is the first thing that separates them from the pack. They are tubular in design, and create more of a “shower” effect than a regular “sparkle”. Additionally, the tubular shape allows them to attach easily to the neck of a bottle. Lastly, they feature a food-safe plastic spike to be inserted into any cake. All of these features create a unique product that is very purpose-specific.
With modern manufacturing in full effect, you can now choose a sparkler in a variety of different shapes. The most versatile options are ones in the shape of numbers because you can use them to create dates. Some people even place them in cakes for birthdays or anniversaries. However, other creative shapes such as stars or heart shaped sparklers are also a very popular option. With an ever-expanding variety, the future is very bright for “shaped” products.
What Makes Them Unique?
The innovation of creating shapes has completely revolutionized the industry. They can be made into whatever configuration your heart desires. Additionally, they are always made from metal and are usually gold in color. That means they can be used indoors at events such as weddings, and that makes them a special option.
Though they aren’t the same in a “traditional” sense, these can be a great alternative for a variety of purposes. The best part about LED sparklers is that they eliminate the risk of fire or injury. Though they are designed to be used on bottles or cakes primarily, they also make for a great handheld device during other types of events. For instance, they are a safe alternative to the real thing for very young children. Or perhaps you’re concerned about safety at your wedding and these present a perfect compromise. There’s no fiddling with lighters or coordinating people; and they can be reused at future events. Whatever your reasons, choosing an LED version is a great way to include the fun without any of the hassle.
What Makes Them Unique?
The most unique attribute of an LED sparkler is that it is reusable. Typically, you’d expect a one-use item. However, since they are powered by batteries, they can be enjoyed on more than once occasion. Additionally, they don’t create an open flame or sparks. That can be ideal for children or where safety presents a concern. In particular, many nightclubs are not allowed to use the real thing indoors. However, using these as an alternative, they are able to offer a similar experience to their customers within the confines of the law.
Examining the Attributes of the Various Types of Sparklers
The attributes of each type of sparkler varies; which means they are designed for specific purposes. Certain attributes will make a certain type ideal for a particular activity. Conversely, certain attributes might make a particular type a bad fit. Here are a few areas to pay attention to so you can choose the right type for your needs.
Wood vs. Metal
There are two main types of materials that these are constructed from; wood and metal. Most types of sparklers on the market today are made from metal, but there are still a few places that use wood. Metal is widely considered superior because it has so many advantages over wood. First off, they don’t produce extra smoke. Second, they stay cool to the touch. Lastly, they are much less susceptible to decay over time.
On the other hand, wood can be a much less expensive material to use. Since they are often made from Bamboo, it can drastically lower the cost to make them. However, bamboo smolders and breaks apart as they perform. Additionally, it can also stay very hot after the performance is complete. Our advice is to reserve the bamboo ones for parties and outdoor celebrations while the metal style can be used for any application.
What Types of Sparklers are “Smokeless”?
Though often marketed as such, it is impossible to be truly “smoke-free”. However, if designed properly, a sparkler can be virtually smokeless and suitable for a variety of uses. Choosing a smokeless option is ideal if you plan to use them indoors or in photos. It’s also the safest option because they often are made without the use of chlorates or perchlorates; which may be harmful.
So what criteria make something smokeless? First off, they need to be free of all color pigments which create additional smoke. So, they will need to be gold in color. Second, they need to be made from metal; not wood. Those two factors combined create the closest thing you can get to a smoke-free performance.
You can often determine the different types of sparklers by the way they are packaged. If they are made for the 4th of July, they will often come in red, white, and blue boxes. Conversely, if you are looking for sparklers for weddings, they will typically come in much more elegant packaging. Though the item itself is not affected by the packaging, it is still an important attribute. Obviously, having red, white, and blue boxes on your reception tables is not ideal. Similarly, paying extra for fancy packaging isn’t necessary for casual gatherings or parties. Depending on the type of celebration, you’ll want to choose the option that is best-suited for your needs. Determining what to buy is fairly simple; most types of sparklers are clearly labeled on the packaging.
Quality is the final attribute that we will cover. All too often, people shop purely on price alone. Sometimes, that means you get what you pay for. To get the best quality possible, make sure to pay attention to how the different types of sparklers are manufactured. A good quality item will be at least double-dipped, while premium options will be triple-dipped. These extra trips into the slurry create a much more consistent thickness of the pyrotechnic compound; thus a more even performance. Additionally, the added thickness will result in a longer performance with much better special effects. Overall, the quality of manufacturing will determine how well they perform.
One last thing to note is that the types of sparklers a factory produces will generally determine their quality, too. If they specialize in premium sparklers, they will be higher quality. If they focus on volume, the quality is likely to suffer.
Which Type to Use at Specific Events or Holidays
With so many versions and a long list of attributes, knowing which types of sparklers work best for your needs can be difficult. Certain criteria are important for a variety of reasons, and your needs will vary based on how they are to be used. Here is a breakdown of various holidays and special events to make your choice easier.
4th of July and Patriotic Holidays
Most people use sparklers on the 4th of July, but there are also other patriotic holidays when they can be used. About 60% of all sparklers are used on Independence Day, making it by far the most common day to use them. Here are a few more patriotic days when they can be used.
- Memorial Day
- President’s Day
- Veteran’s Day
- Freedom Day (9/11)
Simply use them at your party or backyard barbecue the same way you would in the 4th. The traditional type is usually ideal for these outdoor events because they are inexpensive.
Other Types of Holidays
Though much less common, you can also use sparklers at any other type of holiday. The easiest method is to match the holiday’s colors with what you purchase. For instance, Christmas would be red and green. Similarly, Easter would be pink and yellow. Here are a few fun holidays that can easily be enhanced with some festive sparklers.
- New Year’s
- Valentine’s Day
- Patrick’s Day
- Labor Day
There’s never a wrong day to use them, and this short list of perfect holidays should help you decide what you’d like to do.
Wedding make up another 15%-20% of the market, and that share is growing quite rapidly. They are quickly becoming a new tradition, and many guests have even come to expect them. There are a variety of uses for them at weddings, and here is a short list to give you ideas.
- Grand exit or send-off line.
- Write shapes or words in photos.
- Add them to your centerpieces.
- Distribute them as wedding favors.
- Use them as props or backdrops in photos.
The list of uses is constantly growing, but these are the most common activities. However, with new products emerging all the time, some couples use them to decorate their cake or even include one in their invitations.
Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Graduations
When sparklers are used at birthdays, anniversaries, or graduation parties, they are typically used to decorate the cake. Essentially, you just swap them in for regular candles. However, there are plenty of other great options available. For instance, you could hand out gold birthday sparklers as a party favor if the children are a bit older. Furthermore, they can be used as props for anniversary or graduation photos. Nothing makes the guest (or guests) of honor feel more special than a sparkling display created by their friends and family!
Gender Reveal Parties
In recent years, couples have been finding all sorts of fun and clever ways to reveal the gender of their baby. Everything from the color of their cupcake filling to fake lottery tickets have been used, and now many couples are using gender reveal sparklers. Most people use red (pink) to signify it’s a girl and blue to signify it’s a boy. If you are having twins, you can use the color green for that announcement. The best part is that you can’t tell what color a sparkler is until it’s lit, so it will truly be a surprise once everything gets going. Some couples even assign a person to order the favors secretly so they can enjoy the surprise alongside their guests!
Bars, Restaurants, and Nightclubs
Whether they are offering VIP bottle service or dressing up a special birthday dessert, many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs have started using sparklers to enhance their offerings. For VIP service, a club will typically attach a sparkler to the neck of the bottle before delivering it to the customer’s table. Similarly, a restaurant might place one in a slice of cake or pie for an extra special touch for the guest of honor. If you aren’t allowed to use them indoors, it can be a great place to swap in an LED version instead. As an added bonus, you can reuse the LED one over and over to save on your expenses.
Where to Purchase Sparklers
Now that you know the different types of sparklers and their many uses, finding them is the only remaining challenge. Knowing where to buy sparklers can be challenging because they are available from so many locations. To get the best price, you need to shop online. However, you need to thoroughly check the reputation of the company to ensure you’ll get a quality product. This is why many people choose to shop locally; even though it adds quite a bit to the cost. However, if you buy from a reputable website, you can save money and get the quality you deserve.
No matter what type of event or holiday party you are planning, there is always something that will make it even better. With so many types of sparklers available, you can easily get the perfect add-on to make your event fabulous. By following the information presented in this guide, you can get the best quality at the lowest prices. At the end of the day, that is your best recipe for success. I hope this was a helpful article for you, and enjoy your special day!