Which fireworks should you buy this Fourth of July?

2016 is the first full summer under Georgia’s new fireworks laws
Fireworks
Photograph by iStockphoto.com

Want to shoot a bottle rocket during an alfresco brunch? Sounds ill-advised, sure, but technically it’s legal if you’re an adult—thanks to Georgia lawmakers, who in July of last year made it A-OK to buy and set off fireworks in the state. This is the first full summer when you can legally light Roman candles anytime between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. (on July 3 and 4, as well as New Year’s Eve and Day, that extends to 11:59 p.m.). Just stay 100 yards away from a gas station, a prison, or a power plant.

Expert Dan Peart from Phantom Fireworks has some advice on making it through the Fourth intact.

Hasta La Vista Baby
Price
$19.99
Where to buy
Phantom Fireworks, multiple locations
What does it do? Fountains, which emit dozens of different colors, spray sparks 10 feet high. Light this one with a grill lighter and listen to it crackle.
Should you try this at home? Go for it. “They were already legal in Georgia before last year.” Shoot these off in your front yard or your driveway.

Red Rhino
Price
$9.99 for a 144-pack
Where to buy
Extreme Fireworks, Alpharetta
What does it do? Point these lightweight fireworks up, light the fuse, and watch them fly, whistle, and pop.
Should you try this at home? No harm, no foul. “Bottle rockets get a bad rap, but they’re pretty benign.” Stick them in a bottle. Don’t point them at your friends.

Flashing Thunder
Price
$13.99 for six Roman candles
Where to buy Sky King Fireworks, Smyrna
What does it do? These half-inch Roman candles shoot 10 flaming balls about 50 feet into the air. Light the fuse, stick it in the ground, and step back.
Should you try this at home? While you can hold some smaller Roman candles, most will burn your hand. “Holding and shooting these is not the intended use.”

Old Glory
Price
$54.99
Where to buy
Sky King Fireworks, Smyrna
What does it do? After loading the mortar, keep your distance and cover your ears, as these colorful aerial shells burst apart with a bang. Load and repeat.
Should you try this at home? Among the more potentially dangerous options. “You’re flirting with the mentality that, ‘Hey, I’m conducting a professional show.’”

Komodo 3000
$249.99
Where to buy
Phantom Fireworks, multiple locations
What does it do? You’ll only light a single fuse, but stand back, because this “show in a box” will rapidly fire off 119 “shots” in just over a minute, include red crackling comets and a starburst.
Should you try this at home? “Shoot it on a hard, flat surface. Brace it with a brick on either side. Make sure you have clearance. Keep your audience as far away as possible.”

Professional-grade fireworks
Price N/A
Where to buy N/A
What does it do? Welcome to the big show. This is what you’ll see at the city’s Independence Day events. Yes, an FBI background check is required. No, you can’t buy them without a license.
Should you try this at home? Grab your lawn chair. “Definitely not safe for consumers. It’s a different world.”

This article originally appeared in our June 2016 issue.