Your essential guide to fireworks categories and classifications

When shopping online for fireworks, you’re likely to have come across information about which category a particular pyrotechnic product is classed in. This info is important, as it tells you all about how and where a firework should be used, and who is allowed to buy and use it.

Up until the middle of 2017, you may have seen fireworks marked with the British Standard (BS) certification. However, this has now been phased out in favour of the following fireworks categories:

  • Category F1. This category is for fireworks that present a minimal risk, so it is usually used for products that are designed for use indoors. One of the most popular types of Cat F1 fireworks is the ice fountain, which are both safe and impressive for use on birthday cakes and for parties.
  • Category F2. These are fireworks that are on sale to the general public, and differ from Cat F3 fireworks only in the explosive power of the product – which affects the safety distance required. Cat F2 fireworks require an 8-15 metre distance between the spectators and the firing zone, depending on the product.
  • Category F3. Just like Cat F2 fireworks, these products can be bought and used by members of the general public. However, they usually require a safety distance of at least 25 metres.
  • Category F4. This category is for fireworks that are only to be used by professional fireworks display organisers. Members of the public cannot buy and use them, as they are more powerful than other products and can be dangerous if used by someone without the right knowledge, experience and training.

On the subject of safety distances, most products now recommend leaving at least 25 metres between spectators and the firing zone just to be on the safe side. However, this doesn’t mean that most F2 and F3 products aren’t suitable for use in the garden provided there is enough space available.

Where to find important category and safety information

When you buy fireworks online, you’ll usually find info about the category of the product in its description. Retailers such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks will only sell Category F1, F2 and F3 fireworks, and will not sell F4 fireworks to members of the public.

Information about the firework will also be displayed on the product itself. You will usually be able to see the category of the firework, along with a warning about age restrictions if applicable. Each product will also come with detailed safety information for storing and using the firework safely. If you are planning a display, it’s crucial to read all of these instructions carefully before the big day.

Finally, fireworks packaging will often tell you what to expect in terms of the performance. The label or leaflet will provide details on the effects, including how many shots and what kind of colours and finished to expect.

Have a question about fireworks categories or safety when using fireworks? Please feel free to contact the experts here at 1st Galaxy Fireworks.