There's no doubt about it, unless you are prepared to invest a fortune and hours of preparation into a back-garden fireworks night, it's impossible to compete with the sheer scale (and safety) of an organised display (see pages 14 and 15). But for die-hard traditionalists, we asked Hamleys to recommend fireworks that could end your party with a bang. These are the results of our tests, conducted at a safe 25m viewing distance. All fireworks are by Standard

A big boy, the British Blaze (pounds 35, top right), about 2ft tall and 8 inches across. A slow starter, it burps out gold sparks before summoning the serious stuff from the pit of its stomach and belching out patriotic, burning globules of red, white and blue about 20ft into the air. Be careful on a dry night: it showers the garden with stubborn burning embers. Ooh/ah factor: 7/10.

A bit confusing, the Six Point Star Fountain (pounds 11, above): should it spin (you nail it to a post), or should it stay put and spew jets of fire. You expect the first, get the second: it whooshes, but frankly the earth doesn't move. Ooh/ah: 4/10

The Duplex Bomber (pounds 18, far right) was the smaller of the two big rockets we tested, but big enough to warrant a bit more staying power than the wham-bam-whoosh that splattered the sky all-too briefly with red and gold. The Palm Tree rocket (near right) gives you more burst for your money (as well it might at pounds 27), filling the sky with red and green starburst. Ooh/ah: 6/10 and 8/10

You've got a lot to live up to when you're a Catherine Wheel masquerading as a Turbo-jet Rotating with Dynamic Force (pounds 11, above). Shoots out powerful showers of red and gold while its central disc picks up speed and burns white then gold and appears to turn into a circular saw cutting madly though the air. Not at all bad. Ooh/ah: 6/10.

The Astroburst (pounds 15, right) is deceptively small, a short squat tube, but when it says "bury two thirds into the ground" you know it packs a punch. It lulls you with some tame whooshing and sparking before delivering a heart-stopping haymaker with a thunderclap of an explosion. Ooh/ah: 8/10