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Our interns ranked the best Fourth of July fireworks so you don't have to

Wondering which fireworks will make for the perfect Fourth of July Show? Don't worry — our interns are here to help.

This year, The Bee's cohort of interns trekked down to the Sacramento Metro Fire Department Headquarters to watch 12 different fireworks whiz to life in the department’s parking lot. The fireworks – certified "Safe and Sane" by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal – were provided by TNT and Phantom, two companies that are allowed to sell fireworks in Sacramento County.

To prove they take investigative journalism seriously, the interns rated the fireworks on both their "ooh" factor and their "boom" factor, and provided detailed comments on the pros and cons of each firework. The result? A comprehensive guide you can use to buy the ideal fireworks for your Independence Day celebration.

Among the standouts were Phantom's new Illuminati Triangle, which clocked in as the longest show and featured a surprise finale. TNT's Electrolytes offers plenty of bang for your buck at two for $29.99. And while Phantom's There She Glows didn't have much "boom," it was one of the prettiest shows on display.

All "Safe and Sane" fireworks go on sale on June 28. They are the only fireworks that are legal to set off within the boundaries of Sacramento County.

Rated No. 1

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The Allegiance package by TNT ($79.99) was the top pick this year. If you are looking for noise, this is the firework for you. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Allegiance

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $79.99

Length of Show: 1:42

"Ooh" Factor: 4.64

"Boom" Factor: 5

The Interns' Take: This show-stealing box of wonders opened with a geyser of glittery golden sparks. Then comes the next act: frantic, frenetic, faster and louder. If you are looking for noise, this is the firework for you. A fiery whistle introduces the finale: a spectacular display of star bursts that reach maybe 20 feet across. "This one feels like it has distinct scenes," one intern said. “She yells, she screams, and then – a giant ending.”

Rated No. 2

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The Opening Show package by TNT ($69.99) is a classic firework show, building towards a symphony of energetic lights and sound Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Opening Show

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $69.99

Length of Show: 1:39

“Ooh” Factor: 4.45

“Boom” Factor: 5.07

The Interns' Take: The name really set the expectations high – and "Opening Show" delivered – one intern rated it 5.5 out of 5 on the Boom scale. This is a classic firework show, building towards a symphony of energetic lights and sound. "Opening Show" stood out for its spectacular ending. “If you’re looking for big and loud, this is it," an intern said.

Rated No. 3

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Illuminati Triangle by Phantom ($39.99) is punctuated by suspense with soaring, colorful sparks. Every time you think it’s over, this firework comes back for more. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Illuminati Triangle

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $39.99

Length of Show: 2:57

“Ooh” Factor: 4.71

“Boom” Factor: 4.34

The Interns' Take: This firework is all about suspense – the whole show is punctuated by pauses that are followed by soaring, colorful sparks. Every time you think it’s over, this firework comes back for more. "Was disappointed at lack of surprise ending," one intern wrote before the show had finished. When the ending arrived, she added: "Surprise ending really had us all fooled!"

Rated No. 4

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Wildside by TNT ($24.99) opens with a bang, and while it’s only a minute long, it keeps your attention for the entire time. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Wild Side

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $24.99

Length of Show: 1:00

“Ooh” Factor: 3.83

“Boom” Factor: 4.86

The Interns' Take: This one opens with a bang, and while it’s only a minute long, it keeps your attention for the entire time with tall, explosive sparks that cover a lot of ground. "Different than all the others," noted an intern. "Big, loud and proud!"

Rated No. 5

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Radioactive Spark by Radioactive Spark by Phantom ($42.99) has a fiery red spinning base – "It spins! That's all that needs to be said," said one intern. Daniel Kim

Radioactive Spark

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $42.99

Length of Show: 1:14

“Ooh” Factor: 4.57

“Boom” Factor: 2.93

The Interns' Take: The highlight of this firework is it’s fiery red spinning base – what it lacks in “boom” it more than makes up for in “ooh.” "It spins!" an intern commented. "That's all that needs to be said."

Rated No. 6

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Electrolytes by TNT ($29.99) has plenty of golden sparklers, this firework is understated but striking, and it "builds momentum poetically" throughout the show. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Electrolytes

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $29.99

Length of Show: 1:21

“Ooh” Factor: 3.86

"Boom” Factor: 2.61

The Interns' Take: With plenty of golden sparklers, this firework is understated but striking, and it "builds momentum poetically" throughout the show, according to one intern. It's sure to impress – and with a low "boom" factor, it won't bother the neighbors.

Rated No. 7

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Funky Monkey by Phantom ($29.99) doesn’t skimp on color and has more to offer than your average sparkler show. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Funky Monkey

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $29.99

Length of Show: 1:12

"Ooh" Factor: 3.4

"Boom" Factor: 3.04

The Interns' Take: This one doesn’t skimp on color and has more to offer than your average sparkler show. A volcano of red, green and pink balls of fire erupts, followed by spectacular explosions. It isn’t your typical July Fourth display. As one intern put it: “it's off the beaten path, but very cool.”

Rated No. 8

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Tazmanian Cyclone by TNT ($39.99). "Everything you can hope for in a firework," said one intern. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Tazmanian Cyclone

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $39.99

Length of Show: 1:52

“Ooh” Factor: 3.25

“Boom” Factor: 2.12

The Interns' Take: With white, green, yellow and blue sparks and lots of smoke, this firework is one of the most colorful in the bunch. "Everything you can hope for in a firework," said an intern. Bonus: It earned six "yays" from the toddlers sitting next to us.

Rated No. 9

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Dragon's Tears by Phantom ($39.99) spits out red, blue and orange bursts and ends with a satisfying bang. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Dragon's Tears

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $39.99

Length of Show: 1:39

"Ooh" Factor: 3.47

"Boom" Factor: 2.14

The Interns' Take: True to its name, this firework spits out red, blue and orange bursts of "fire" just like a dragon would – and while it starts a little slow, it ends with a satisfying bang. "This firework exploded like I fall asleep," one intern said. "Slowly, and then all at once."

Rated No. 10

Fireworks-Miss-Liberty.jpg
Miss Liberty by TNT ($39.99) provides high levels of visual interest and is a classic firework. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Miss Liberty

Manufacturer: TNT

Price: $39.99

Length of Show: 1:42

“Ooh” Factor: 2.5

“Boom” Factor: 3.1

The Interns' Take: With green and gold sparks that fly at every height and angle, this firework provides levels of visual interest. It doesn’t come with a lot of surprises, or loud bangs, but if you’re looking for a classic firework, this is the one for you. "Soft and sweet," an intern wrote.

Rated No. 11

Fireworks-She-Glows.jpg
There She Glows by Phantom ($59.99) builds more slowly than some of the louder products but shows its personality and sticks to showcasing its dramatic colors. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

There She Glows

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $59.99

Length of Show: 1:40

"Ooh" Factor: 2.78

"Boom" Factor: 1.35

The Interns' Take: "There She Glows" has a nice vibrant color scheme beginning with red fizzing effects that lead into red and blue, then pink, orange and green sparks. It builds more slowly than some of the louder products but shows its personality and sticks to showcasing its dramatic colors. One intern called this presentation “understated but beautiful.”

Rated No. 12

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Red White and Blue Jubilee by Phantom ($25.99) starts slow and doesn’t achieve a lot of height, but is true to its name and puts on a nice, patriotic explosion of lights. Daniel Kim dkim@sacbee.com

Red White and Blue Jubilee

Manufacturer: Phantom

Price: $25.99

Length of Show: 1:58

"Ooh" Factor: 2.5

"Boom" Factor: 1.21

The Interns' Take: This one starts slow and doesn’t achieve a lot of height, but is true to its name and puts on a nice, patriotic explosion of lights. The interns all loved the blue lava-like light works that came in the middle of the show. There were no surprises with this one, but its low “boom” might appeal to your neighbors or young kids. “A gentle celebration," one intern said.

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