Fireworks Guide: Novelty Items & Ground Spinners

Small-scale fireworks for restricted space or just for fun.

Key information

  • Placed on the ground and lit.
  • Safety distances typically just a metre or so.
  • Usually produces crackles and sparks, some varieties also spin.
  • Quite new to the UK market so expect to see a wider variety of novelty products in the coming years.
  • Guides to other types of fireworks can be found in the Firework Guides main menu.

Crackling Balls & Spinning Saucers

This type of novelty product is somewhat new to the UK market as manufacturers and importers continue to explore what’s possible under the current CE regulations.

Availability is still somewhat limited, with Trafalgar Group’s Crackling Balls and Spinning Saucers shown below as an example (RRP around £5 per pack). A firework brand called Klasek also produces similar items which are for sale from UK retailers.

Trafalgar Fireworks' Crackling Balls Of Fire with UKFR's firework Lego man for scale.

In all cases these items are designed to be placed on the ground (not thrown!) and lit. They produce a small explosion of crackles or sparks and some variants also spin first.

These are a fun item to play with and I hope a wider variety of novelty effects become available in the coming years.

Useful information: Novelty items and the UK law

As mad as it sounds, most novelty items on sale in the EU are actually illegal in the UK. This is despite the fact you can walk into a supermarket at Guy Fawkes and buy huge cakes, some with several kilos of gunpowder.

This is because in the UK we have additional laws which ban items deemed to have an “erratic flight” or which move too much on the ground. UK firework importers struggle as a result of this to get such items passed for sale, so we are missing out on a huge selection of products which firework users in Europe can enjoy and pose minimal risk. So far we’ve seen crackling and spinning effects (as shown on this page) approved for sale plus a small number of bees, mini-fountains and similar.

I hope common sense prevails and more small-scale items become available in the UK.

Also from Trafalgar Fireworks, Spinning Crackling Saucers.

Novelty fireworks FAQ

UK law bans items deemed to have an "erratic flight" (which seems to be very subjective) or which move too much on the ground.

Despite conforming to CE regulations and despite the UK currently using CE regulations, additional laws make many EU novelty items illegal here due to their "erratic flight".

Bringing EU fireworks back to the UK means transporting them via sea or air which is almost certainly illegal and a very bad idea. Buying fireworks online from EU websites is another bad idea. For example, shipping is often done illegally and once the item is in the UK you have a potentially illegal firework in your possession with all the consequences that entails. Regardless of what you read on EU websites - or watch on YouTube or TikTok - please don't buy fireworks from abroad and have them delivered to the UK. A number of EU websites doing this have been raided and shut down by the police, which is an indication of how seriously it is taken.

Unless the item is designed to be used indoors (and clearly labelled as such), it should only be used outside, no matter how small it is. I've seen video and photos of crackling balls and spinning saucers used indoors by mistake and the results were carnage; it's incredibly dangerous. For cakes, use ice fountains which are designed for exactly that scenario.

Most have a nominal safety distance of 1m so are safe for use in smaller areas (but always outdoors).

No. Regardless of how small they are, never hold a firework in the hand even if it's a novelty item. Even the spinners and balls erupt in enough sparks to seriously burn if held.

Never use outdoor fireworks in public places such as the street or a park. Whilst many are classed as low hazard F1 items they would still be considered as outdoor fireworks by the authorities.

Further information and next steps

If you are following the Beginner’s Guides then you can click here to return to that page. Alternatively you can click here to see the main menu of each firework type in this section if you want to read more (or click on the menu at the top of this page to access all of my guides).

If you’re ready to buy fireworks for your display then the Buying Fireworks section will guide you further.