Holidays

The best of the boom: The Bee’s annual fireworks recommendations

For The Bee, testing fireworks is serious business.

To accurately test the pyrotechnics available for sale in Sacramento County, our test team’s first order of business was simulating ideal fireworks-watching conditions.

This was achieved by consuming 1.5 hotdogs, 3 ounces of baked beans and one large chocolate chip cookie, thanks to our hosts at Sacramento Metro Fire Department Station 105.

Another key ingredient to our coverage consisted of assembling the team of interns needed to observe and score the offerings of the two companies allowed to sell fireworks in Sacramento County, Phantom and TNT. (Age 22 is ideal age for fireworks testing). To complete the team, we also brought in veteran audio engineer Luke Saxelby, who doubled as the official timer.

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Our team carefully viewed the new offerings and holdovers – 10 in total. The season’s best bargains are Phantom’s Twilight Magic (two for $12.99) and TNT’s Neon Force ($6.99). But … if you’re looking for the best overall fireworks, use our list below as your guide (in alphabetical order).

Fireworks were slated to go on sale at noon Tuesday, June 28, in Sacramento County.

CORAL REEF

Price: $49.99

Manufacturer: Phantom

What the company says: “Beautiful panoramic finale fountain with brilliant, red, green, blue, purple, and white colors.”

What we say: When the smoke cleared, we were mighty impressed with the show.

Length of show: 81 seconds

Peak volume: 97 decibels

“Oooh” factor (out of 5): 4.5

“Boom” factor (out of 5): 3.8

DRAGON’S TEARS

Price: $29.99

Manufacturer: Phantom

What the company says: “Spectacular liquid burn effects with colorful flying pearls and loud crackling finale.”

What we say: With the size of the red gobs of “dragon tears” that rain down, Daenerys Targaryen can’t be far away.

Length of show: 92 seconds

Peak volume: 97 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.4

“Boom” factor: 3.8

FUNKY MONKEY

Price: $24.99

Manufacturer: Phantom

What the company says: “A unique display with chrysanthemum, pearls, fish, flowers and crackle with green, red and titanium finale.”

What we say: Unique display of streaking embers makes it pretty funky. Didn’t see any monkeys.

Length of show: 78 seconds

Peak volume: 99 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.5

“Boom” factor: 4.4

MAGNETIC HEAT

(new)

Price: $39.99

Manufacturer: TNT

What the company says: “Colorful sparks, silver rains, snow pines, flowers and crackles.”

What we say: Impressive display of heat and force in this long-lasting and colorful show.

Length of show: 92 seconds

Peak volume: 96 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.6

“Boom” factor: 4.3

NEON GALAXY

Price: $21.99

Manufacturer: TNT

What the company says: “Gold and silver crackle sparks, colorful glitter sparks, titanium crackles and flowers. The Neon Galaxy transports you to another world!”

What we say: During one stage sparks change direction to cool effect. Great variation in size, color and spark type.

Length of show: 76 seconds

Peak volume: 97 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.7

“Boom” factor: 4.1

OPENING SHOW

Price: $69.99

Manufacturer: TNT

What the company says: “Red rain with red and golden crackles, green rain with golden crackles, yellow, purple and blue snow pine.”

What we say: Big, beautiful show might be better closer than starter.

Length of show: 122 seconds

Peak volume: 104 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.9

“Boom” factor: 4.9

RAISE YOUR FLAG

(new)

Price: $17.76

Manufacturer: TNT

What the company says: “Colorful fish sparks, crackles and color flowers.”

What we say: Patriotic display of red, white and blue sparks and priced to please an Independence Day audience.

Length of show: 62 seconds

Peak volume: 104 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 3.9

“Boom” factor: 4.5

WICKED STRONG

(new)

Price: $59.99

Manufacturer: TNT

What the company says: “Color dancing fishes, sparks with pine, flowers and crackles.”

What we say: You don’t have to be from Boston to appreciate the strong finish from this new fountain.

Length of show: 80 seconds

Peak volume: 103 decibels

“Oooh” factor: 4.5

“Boom” factor: 4.4

Special thanks to Sacramento Metro Fire Department Station 105. The testers were: Nashelly Chavez, Ed Fletcher, Robert Kuo, Joshua Mandell, Taelor Michehl, Thomas Oide and Amber Saxelby.

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch

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