Fireworks Guide: Screech, Bottle & Mini-Rockets

Small rockets but now banned in the UK.

Key information

  • Tiny rockets usually sold in packets of 5 or 10.
  • Many also screech in flight.
  • Banned in the UK as part of legislation to remove items “of erratic flight”.
  • Commonly called bottle rockets as often launched from milk bottles or similar in the old days.
  • Larger rockets with stable flights still perfectly legal in the UK.

Why where these banned?

On the face of it, mini-rockets like these didn’t do a lot of harm. In fact they were great fun, especially the ones that screeched and then banged. However, the powers that be decided that small rockets, like bangers and airbombs, were too much of a nuisance firework and also in the pocket money price range, so too appealing to youth! Thus they were banned with legislation targeting their apparent “erratic flight”.

Screech rockets
A selection of screech rockets from the noughties.

These tiny rockets were often launched from milk bottles or similar, giving them the informal description of “bottle rockets”.

Note that larger rockets – deemed to be stable in flight – are still fully legal in the UK. And although it has become a rare effect in rockets, some are available that screech too, just a bit bigger than mini-rockets! You can read more in my Rockets section.

The images shown above were posted in my Forum by member Air Bomb King.

Readers over a certain age who remember bottle rockets should be advised that modern rockets on sale to consumers in the UK should never be fired from a bottle. They are simply too big and you risk the bottle tipping over before the rocket takes off. Use the supplied launch tube.

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 have any questions then please feel free to join my Fireworks Forum and ask away. Members are always here to help beginners and no question is too silly.

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