Aug 25th 2022

A Guide to the Best Mortar Fireworks

A Guide to the Best Mortar Fireworks

Everyone knows mortar shells. They're a staple feature in fireworks displays from the Fourth of July to your neighborhood block party. We love mortar shells so much — we love you guys too, of course — that we wanted to create a post all about them. Read on to learn everything you need to know about mortar shell fireworks and how you can use them in your next big show.

What Even Are Mortar Shell Fireworks?

Mortar shell fireworks go by many names. You might have heard someone refer to them as mortar kits, festival balls, canisters, artillery shells, reloadable shell canisters or even onion balls! Don't worry, though — these won't give you bad breath.

Canister fireworks include the shell, which is what blows up, and the mortar, which is the tube you use to launch the shell. Reloadable mortars come with strong tubes made from steel, fiberglass or high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which are great for longer shows or big, multishell kits.

Okay, But How Do They Work?

Mortar fireworks are easier to use than you may think. Here's what you'll need:

  • A flat surface and some bricks to stabilize the mortar tube
  • An extended lighter or punk to light the fuse
  • Safety glasses and gloves to protect your skin

Once you've got everything set, all you have to do is place the shell in the mortar, light the fuse and run! The shell will explode and send dozens of glittering stars into the sky.

To properly explain how this process works, we have to get a little anatomical. The shell consists of five parts:

  1. Container: The container is the exterior of the shell. True to its very descriptive name, it contains all the good stuff — namely, the stars, gunpowder and bursting charge. Containers are usually cylindrical and made from paper and string.
  2. Stars: The stars are little blobs of explosive material that give the firework its color. Fireworks developers carefully arrange the stars within the container to create aerial patterns like spinners and willows — when the firework goes off, the stars spread out and explode, creating glittering shapes in the air.
  3. Bursting charge: The bursting charge sits in the center of the container, surrounded by gunpowder and stars. When you light the shell's fuse, you trigger the bursting charge to explode, which sets the whole rest of the firework off.
  4. Fuse: The fuse is your friend. It gives you time to put space between you and the firework before the explosion goes off. You light the fuse connected to the lifting charge, which triggers the shell fuse and starts the explosion.
  5. Lifting charge: Under the shell is the lifting charge, which launches the shell into the air upon explosion. This explosion lights the shell's fuse, which sets off the bursting charge and starts the show.

Remember, safety comes first — always read the manufacturer's instructions before getting lit!

Choosing the Best Fireworks for Your Next Display

If you need thrilling, vibrant fireworks for your next display, we've got you covered. Whichever set you choose, adding mortar kits into your repertoire will bring your boom to the next level.

Here are some tips you can use to blow your audience away:

  • Sequence: The key to any great show is great choreography, and we think mortars are beautiful dancers. You can light mortars one by one or string them together to create intricate sequences that will wow your audience.
  • Variety: Fireworks are like potato chips — you can't have just one! Mix and match mortar shells with other types of fireworks like Roman candles, aerial cakes and sky spinners to shake things up and make your show more exciting.
  • Effects: Mortar shells are super versatile, meaning they can create all sorts of effects like falling leaves and willows, classics like crackling and brocade crowns and, of course, the iconic Red Apple Blossom.
  • Colors: Pair mortars of similar colors together to create a fiery bouquet, or pick one that combines a whole host of colors into one gorgeous package.

Check Out Our Mortar Kits Today!

We don't want to brag, but at Red Apple Fireworks, we've got the best mortar fireworks around. Why do we say that? Simple — we do what most fireworks companies won't. We get our hands dirty. We send our expert pyrotechnicians around the world to source the best manufacturers and develop the best formulas so you get the best booms. That sounds pretty brag-worthy.

Check out our online selection of reloadable shells to see what's in stock, or take a look at our product spotlight to view our personal favorites.

We want to make sure you have a blast — pun 100% intended — so don't hesitate to reach out today with any explosive-related questions!

Check Out Our Mortar Kits Today!