There are several different methods of classification of fireworks. They can be categorized according to the intended purpose, according to how much danger they pose during the transport or storage and according to which effect they produce when used. These classifications differ from country to country too.
United Kingdom has four classes, Category 1, 2, 3, and 4. Category 1 fireworks are so called “indoor fireworks” and are the safest. Category 2 fireworks are “garden fireworks” are for use outdoors because spectators must be at least 5 meters away from the ignited fireworks. If the fireworks are labeled with EU compliance they must be at least 8 meters away. Category 3 fireworks are the strongest fireworks available as consumer fireworks (can be bought in shops). They are called “display fireworks”, they are for outdoors use and spectators must be at least 25 meters away from the lit fireworks. Everything else that doesn’t fit into these three categories is Category 4. These are “ professional fireworks” and may only be sold to and used by professionals.
In the United States, there are two classes, regarding the intended users. Fireworks intended for amateur use are “Consumer Fireworks” while professional fireworks of greater power are “Display Fireworks”.
Regarding transport and packaging, both countries use UN classification numbers. For professional fireworks class is 1.3G and for amateur 1.4G. These numbers tell how certain fireworks should be stored in order to avoid explosions.
Here are some types of fireworks by effect:
Catherine Wheel - a garden type firework. It consists of a tube which wound into a flat spiral and nailed to a post which allows it to rotate.
Peony - Explodes in a shape of a sphere and its stars have no tails.
Chrysanthemum - similar to peony but with tailed stars.
Palm - has a tail from the moment it is launched and few larger stars that also have tails. When it fully explodes it looks like a palm.
Diadem - variant of peony or chrysanthemum but has standing stars in the middle when exploded.
Cake - a box of roman candles connected with a same fuse.
Rings - a firework that shoots stars around itself in concentric circles. Some can make shapes like smiley faces, hearts, and clovers.
Dahlia - once more similar to peony but has fewer stars that are larger and fly further.
Multi-break shells or bouquet shells - a shell that has smaller shells inside. When a larger shell breaks it releases smaller shells that scatter and then explode making a “bouquet”.
Bengal fire - generates a blue light. Its main ingredients are combination of potassium nitrate and copper compounds.
Silver Fish - firework that can launch the flaming debris in all different directions.
Snail - a set of stars in a shell formed so it shapes a spiral when it explodes. Similar to rings.
Strobe - firework with fast, flashing effect and stars that change their light from high to low to high again.