The Party Pieces guide to using helium balloons


Helium balloons are the item that we are asked about most by our customers. So, we've put together a handy guide covering everything you need to know: how long balloons float for, which type of balloons are the best to use, how much helium is needed and plenty more. 


According to Winnie-the-Pooh, "Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon", and we agree. There is so much you can do with them: from balloon arches to balloon bunches, we want to help answer some frequently asked questions regarding balloons and helium and, while we're here, share some helpful tips and tricks to make your party planning easier.

Why choose helium balloons?

Helium balloons are a wonderful addition to any party scene. They are well worth the extra effort they take to get them inflated, and you can take your pick from all kinds of balloon depending on what you are celebrating. Whether it’s themed balloons for a kids' birthday party, milestone and number balloons or personalised balloons for that special someone, helium balloons will give your party lift off!  

Do I need to buy helium?

Yes. You will need to remember to buy helium canisters for inflating your balloons. Weights and ribbons also come in handy for tying them down.


How do I inflate helium balloons?

The video above demonstrates how to use our helium canisters. When inflating, ensure the balloon is wrapped around the nozzle tightly to stop any helium from escaping. Once inflated tie with a tight knot or wrap with ribbon to keep the helium in place.

Which balloons should I choose?

It is important to note that latex and foil balloons have different float times. Latex balloons can last between four and five hours in their prime, and need to be inflated fully. Foil balloons will last considerably longer than latex balloons as it's harder for the helium to escape from them. Confetti balloons can last for less time than foil balloons due to the weight of the helium and air combined with the weight of the confetti. For best results in all cases, try inflating the balloons as close to the event as possible.

How long does helium last inside a latex balloon?

Since latex is porous, helium begins to seep out from the surface of the balloon the moment the balloon is filled. How long the helium lasts inside the balloon depends on its size. An 11" latex balloon inflated to 11” will typically float for up to 18 hours, but will only look good for about 12 hours. 

Not all latex balloons are the same. Some latex balloons (especially cheaper brands) do not always hold helium as well as others, which means that they will not float for as long as suggested above.

The most common mistake made when inflating a latex balloon is that people tend to under-inflate them, which will drastically reduce the floating time.

Can I make my helium balloon last longer?

Yes. To make latex balloons float for longer they can be treated with HI-FLOAT, a patented liquid solution that dries inside latex helium-filled balloons to form a coating that helps hold in the helium. A single squirt inside the balloon keeps it floating up to 25 times longer! 

How long does helium last inside a foil balloon?

Unlike latex balloons, foil balloons are not porous and therefore do not require any treatment to make them last longer, however, they do have a limited floating life. An 18” foil balloon will float for an average time of three to five days and often longer, subject to the temperature and altitude that it is being kept at. Larger foil balloons will float for longer as more helium is used to inflate them.



What size helium canister should I get?

Knowing how much helium you will need is a key part of your party planning. There is nothing worse than running out of helium in the middle of decorating. You need to factor in the size of your balloons, the material and the quantity. For example, a foil number balloon will require more helium than a standard latex balloon.

Our smallest helium canister will fill approximately up to 30 Balloons. 

  • 30 9" Balloons OR
  • 12 12" Balloons OR
  • 3 36" Balloons

Our large helium canister will fill approximately 50 balloons. 

  • 50 9" Latex Balloons OR
  • 20 12" Latex Balloons OR
  • 5 36" Foil Balloons

Our helium canister twin pack will fill approximately 60 balloons.

  • 60 9" Latex Balloons OR
  • 24 12" Latex Balloons OR
  • 6 36" Foil Balloons

Our helium canister triple pack will fill approximately 90 balloons. 

  • 90 9" Latex Balloons OR
  • 36 12" Latex Balloons OR
  • 9 36" Foil Balloons

For larger balloon installations please see our large helium canister twin pack (up to 100 balloons) and our large helium canister triple pack (up to 150 balloons). 

Confetti balloon tips 

If you want the confetti to stick to the interior side of the balloon and for the balloons to float, then using only helium to fill them won't work. The confetti will just pile up at the bottom of the balloon. To combat this fill your confetti balloons with a mix of air and helium. For small confetti balloons, we recommend a few pumps of air and the rest helium. Creating static by rubbing the sides of the balloon can also help the confetti stick.

Orb balloon tips 

It can be tricky to know when orb balloons are fully inflated, keep an eye on the seam: if there are any creases the balloon requires more helium. Tread carefully here, over-inflating them could cause them to pop! Orb balloons also require more helium than a standard balloon. Make sure you buy the right size canister for your event.

How to dispose of your helium canister 

Our gas canisters can be disposed of at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. However, there are certain steps you will need to take before your tank can be recycled:

  • You must ensure that your canister is empty before recycling. Fully open the valve by turning it left and bend the black nozzle to release any remaining helium. Hold until you do not feel any pressure or hear any sound from the nozzle.
  • Remove the black nozzle by unscrewing it counter-clockwise
  • Write "EMPTY" in bold text with a permanent marker on the tank near the top, so that it is clearly visible
  • Follow the guidance provided by your local recycler and deposit your recyclable helium cylinder at their facility 

NOTE: Your recycling service may require additional safety measures, please follow the guidance provided by your local recycling centre.

Shop helium balloons

For our full range of balloons, including personalised, confetti and foil balloons, visit our Balloon Shop here.

We hope this blog helps to answer some of your helium related questions. Please let us know if there is anything else you'd like us to answer.

Are you creating some beautiful balloon arrangements of your own? Tag us in social media @partypieces, we'd love to see!


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