Indoor Fireworks packs made a welcome return a few years ago after a very long absence. Initially they were quite hard to source and in huge demand. Since then a number of different importers have jumped on the bandwagon. As a result there’s a much greater choice with most packs retailing for around £10.
This group test sees three different packs fired and filmed:
Made by: Wizard Fireworks LTD
Bought from: Wizard Fireworks (online), £9.99 + P&P
24 items with 12 different varieties
Made by: Indoor Fireworks LTD (for Hawkin’s Bazaar)
Bought from: Little Imps (online), £9.95 + P&P
25 items with 8 different varieties (9 including other Bengal colour)
Made by: Black Magic Fireworks
Bought from: Fireworks Arcade (online), £7.99 + P&P
30 items with 7 different varieties
I’d like to mention first of all that Wizard Fireworks, Little Imps, Fireworks Arcade and The Glow Company (from whom a spare pack was ordered for photographs) all delivered their packs within two working days when they were mystery shopped, which is excellent service.
All three packs contained a mixture of day and night effects. For those of you over a certain age who have fond memories of lots of naff effects and plenty of smoke, I can confirm nothing has changed! The UKFR test lab (that’ll be my kitchen then) was quite foggy after filming despite having three windows open, but I managed not to set off the smoke alarm by keeping the door closed.
A couple of effects haven’t made it through the current EU regulations I’m afraid – notably the volcano and the snow storm. Both of these, no doubt, are considered too dangerous by Brussels. There was still a wide variety of effects on offer however providing much fun.
One of each variety of effects from every pack was filmed so you can see what they do. In most cases the clips show a short section of each effect and you can get some idea of scale within each clip from the backdrop which was made from part of the packaging from each pack.
Indoor Fireworks – Wizard’s Indoor Firework Selection
This is a beautifully presented box with a cartoon wizard on the front, waving his magic wand. Inside the box (which is 28cm x 21cm) and this was the only pack where the effects are all pre-mounted on card bases. This is a nice touch and made letting them off very easy as it was simply a case of cutting the card with scissors. A small wooden block is also included to insert the sparklers and paper fern effect.
In total there are 24 items in this pack spread across 12 different effects.
It should be pointed out that I had two packs of these, one ordered direct from Wizard Fireworks and one from The Glow Company. Both had the same packaging but contained different shaped effects. In one pack the tablets were angular or triangular, in the other pack they were circular. I didn’t notice this until after filming when the spare pack was opened for photographs – by this time it wasn’t possible to know which box came from which supplier. But for the record, the pack filmed was the one with the angular shaped tablets. It’s possible if you buy this pack and it has circular tablets the effects could be slightly different.
There were two of these in the pack and each one burned with a small flame, then flared up with a bright coloured flame every 15-20 seconds.
Two tablets each producing an eerie green flame which then flared up every 10 seconds or so. Similar to Phoenix Signal but with a different colour.
Two tablets each of which produced a pretty green coloured flame with the occasional crackle.
Sadly, not the volcano effect of old which produced some goo-like lava. The two tablets each produced a small flame with some gold flecks in and the occasional crackle.
These two tablets were almost identical to Volcano but burned slightly more vigorously and with more crackles, a bit like a log fire.
These indoor sparklers – three in total – burned with nice silver/golden sparks for around 12 seconds each.
This is a fanned sheet of paper which was mounted in the supplied wooden block. It smouldered down to leave a fern-like pattern in the ashes.
These two tablets each produced a simple and gentle red flame.
These two tablets were similar to Fire Fly but with a more vigorous burning flame with some crackling.
These two tablets each burned with a gentle coloured flame and flared up into a bright flare with sparks and crackles every ten seconds or so.
This is the ever-popular “dog poo” effect. Both tablets burned to create an expanding black snake which appeared to grow out of the table.
Two strips of paper which smouldered and created puffs of smoke.
You can see all of these in action in the video clip:
Indoor Fireworks Pack
This is another boxed pack virtually the same size as the Wizard box. The front has “Indoor Fireworks” emblazoned in very big and colourful lettering. Although the test pack was bought from a toy retailer (Little Imps) the back of the pack notes it was made for Hawkin’s Bazaar so should also be widely available from that chain of shops. Inside, the fireworks themselves are packaged in a plastic blister pack with a card backing.
In total there are 25 items in this pack spread across 8 effects, or 9 if you include the different coloured bengal match effect.
The dog poo effect in this pack is provided by four tablets in total. Each one burned to produce a nice “turd” – or snake if you want to be grown up about it!
Four bengal matches burned brightly to produce either red or a yellowy green flames.
These two tablets each sizzled away with a continuous flaring of bright green flames.
This is the only pack on test which included ice fountain effects. If you haven’t come across these before they are bright silver fountains. In terms of performance, imagine getting all of the other indoor effects and combining them – that’s how much more vigorous these are. Although the fountains in this pack (two included) were half the normal ice fountain size, they both burned with a pretty big and bright column of sparks – you’ll see on the video how far I had to zoom out to fit them in. This was the biggest and most spectacular effect from all three packs by a long way.
These three tablets each burned with a small flame which then flared up into quite a big green/yellow flame every 5 seconds or so.
These three tablets each sizzled and fizzled away with a near continuous flaring of bright green flames.
Puff The Magic Dragon
Two rolled tubes which when lit, puffed out clouds of smoke – and the occasional smoke ring – every few seconds. These need to be lit with the lights on to see the effect. As politically incorrect as you can get and therefore very amusing.
Five sparklers are included with this pack. Each one burned with bright silver/gold sparks for around 12-15 seconds.
You can see all of these in action in the video clip:
Black Dragon Indoor Fireworks Party Pack
This was the only pack on test which came just as a blister pack with no box. Although in presentation terms it couldn’t touch the other two packs it is worth pointing out this is how all of the indoor fireworks packs were designed up until quite recently.
The pack has the most items of all of those on test, 30 in total, but the least number of varieties at just 7 different effects. This is mostly because of the huge number of dog poo effects – there are 10 of these in total – which will please a lot of people because this is by far the most asked-for effect. I remember when I used to work in retail fireworks customers ringing up to ask if that effect was available just on its own, such is its popularity. It was also the cheapest pack by a few pounds.
The dog poo effect mentioned above. You get no less than ten tablets to play with. I thought too that out of the three packs this was also the best quality poo/snake effect with – how can I put this? – “long and firm stools”.
Torch of Fire
Two bengal matches each of which burned with a bright coloured flame.
Two tablets each of which sizzled away with a coloured flame and bright, hissing flares.
Two tablets each of which burned with a small coloured flame which then flared up every five seconds or so with a large, bright coloured flame.
Two tablets which created a similar effect to Tutan’s Temple, that is constant sizzling and flaring up with a coloured flame.
The puffing smoke effect so put the lights on for this. Two rolled tubes are included in this pack and each one puffed out smoke every few seconds in a hopelessly politically incorrect effect which you can’t help but smile at.
This pack’s indoor sparklers each burned with bright silver/gold sparks for around 15 seconds each. There are 10 sparklers in total – or at least there should be. The pack on test only had 9!
See all of these effects in the video clip
Indoor fireworks – verdict
The best presented pack by a long way was the Wizard box, thanks to the neat mounting of each tablet on the card and the inclusion of a wooden block to insert the sparklers and paper fern. The actual tablets in this pack are however quite a bit smaller than the other two packs as you can see in this photo:
This resulted in much smaller effects and quite long pauses between each flaring up which you’ll see in the video clip. In comparison the flame effects in the Indoor Fireworks box and the Party Pack were considerably bigger and brighter.
The best all round pack was the Indoor Fireworks box. By including ice fountains it also had the honour of creating the most spectacular effect by a country mile – but just make sure you let these off at the end, or everything else will seem small in comparison! A total of four dog poo tablets are included too which is one of the most popular effects.
The Party Pack isn’t as nice to look at and has less varieties but the manufacturers have listened to customers and included loads of the dog poo effects, ten in total. It was also the cheapest pack on test at £7.99 compared to £9.99 for the others.
At such low prices it has to be said that picking an overall winner would be nit-picking. The Wizard box looks amazing when you open it and would be a brilliant gift. The Indoor Fireworks box has a great selection of good effects including ice fountains and dog poo. The Party Pack is the one to go for if you do like that snake/poo effect because it contains 10 tablets – five times as many as the Wizard Box and more than twice as many as the Indoor Fireworks box.
So, I’m pleased to recommend all three packs.
Top tips for using indoor fireworks
These can produce some smoke and soot, so do ensure you use these in a well ventilated area. If you turn smoke alarms off, don’t forget to put them back on afterwards. Just because they’re called “indoor” fireworks doesn’t mean of course you can’t take them out in the garden which is an ideal place to let them off.
Keep these away from children – the tablets look like sweets but these are definitely NOT to be handled by children. Remember, as small as they are, they are still fireworks.
Before lighting, separate them into light and dark effects. Dog poo (snakes), ferns and puffing smokes should be done with the lights on. Everything else should be done in the dark.
These can burn quite hot, so never use these on anything except an old plate or piece of metal that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards.
These packs are so much more fun when you can light the tablets properly, so always use either a good quality lighter (with a turbo flame) or a mini chef’s torch or similar. You’ll find it very hard going trying to use matches.