The Ultimate Balloon Guide

The Ultimate Balloon Guide

Balloons in the sky

If you’re hosting a party, you’re going to need balloons.

These wonderfully floaty features can make all the difference to the atmosphere of the party, providing a burst of colour or an extra air of elegance… but which ones do you choose? To help you decide, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you make your party look fantastic!

If you do have any questions not answered in this guide, feel free to drop us a message in the comments, or speak directly to our team!

Let’s get started!


Don’t have time to read the whole thing? 
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What kind of Balloons are there?

There are 3 main types of party balloon to choose from; latex balloons, foil balloons, and orb balloons. Each one has its own pros and cons, styles, shapes, and inflating instructions.

Latex Balloons

These are the classic balloons everybody thinks of when party balloons are mentioned. They come in practically any colour you can think of, are super affordable, and look wonderful when floating in huge colourful bunches.

They can be filled with helium and generally last about 6-8 hours, or you can fill them with air if you’re looking to create balloon arches or other decorations that don’t need to float.

They’re also biodegradable over time, making them environmentally friendly!

Light Blue Balloons


  • Super affordable!
  • Come in literally any colour you’d want
  • Perfect for balloons bouquets and arches
  • Versatile and easy-to-inflate
  • Great fun for kids to bop around!
  • Can be filled with air and/or helium
  • Biodegradable


  • Only last 6-8 hours with helium*
  • Must be inflated same day as party
  • Can pop easily

*Can be extended by up to x25 using hi-float!

Foil Balloons

Take our word for it, kids ADORE these balloons, and you won’t go wrong with them if you’re hosting a party for your little one.

They can be in the shape of their favourite animals, characters, or just simple round foil balloons that add some glimmer to the event. They last far longer than the other types of party balloons too; floating for around 5-10 days based on the style and size of the balloon.

Many of them are also refillable! Simply refill with helium and it’ll start floating again! Ideal if you’ve got a little bit left over in that helium canister!

Jungle animals foil balloons


  • Kids ADORE them!
  • Fantastic range of shapes and styles
  • Last for 5-10 days!
  • Always look fantastic, even after a few days
  • Can be inflated way before the party
  • Strong and unlikely to pop accidentally


  • Not biodegradable (but can be reused!)
  • More expensive
  • Needs helium

Orb Balloons

Quite simply, these are just beautiful balloons that are spot on for elegant events.

Most of the time you’ll find these balloons packed with fluttery confetti, glitter, feathers, or even other balloons! They’re usually made from super stretchy plastic and stay floating for a few days.

Orb Balloon with feathers


  • They look utterly gorgeous
  • Elegant and eye-catching
  • Filled with glitter, confetti, or feathers
  • No really, they look GLORIOUS!
  • Last for about 5 days
  • Unlikely to pop accidentally


  • Not biodegradable
  • More expensive
  • Needs helium
  • Large orb balloons can be tricky to inflate

How To Fill Your Balloons With Helium

Okay, you’ve got your balloons, the party’s due to start soon, you need to start filling them up and getting them in the air! Except you’ve never used a helium canister before…

Never fear! The handy video below explains the process in under a minute.

Step By Step

  1. Turn the tap to the left to open, right to close (right tighty, lefty loosey!).
  2. Test the helium by pushing the nozzle down. You’ll hear a hiss if it’s working!
  3. Attach your balloon to the nozzle.
  4. Push down on the nozzle to fill the balloon, then tie the balloon.

This process works the same for pretty much every kind of party balloon, but there are a couple of extra steps with confetti balloons.

Confetti balloons will naturally be a little heavier than standard latex balloons, so will need to be bigger and contain more helium, so make sure to add a little more gas than for other balloons.

Also, if you want the confetti to stick to the side of the balloon, rub it against a jumper or scarf to create static, or give it a puff of air first. Bear in mind that the extra puff of air might lower the float time of the balloon!

Useful Tip

Sticking to air-filled latex balloons? We recommend a handy air pump to make the job easier. Sure, you can blow them up yourself, but it’s long, tedious, and leaves you out of breath.

How Much Helium Will I Need?

Balloon TypeHelium Required (Cubic ft.)
9” Latex Balloon0.25
12” Latex Balloon0.50
18” Foil Balloon1.1
30-35” Letter/Number Balloon1.8 – 2.5
Supershape Foil Balloon1-3 balloons per canister
Giant 36” Latex Balloon14
Orb Balloons13

The amount of helium you need will depend on how many balloons you’re filling, and what sort of balloon they are. Larger balloons will need more helium.

Our small helium canisters contain 8.9 cubic ft of helium (0.25 cubic metres) and can fill around 30 9″ balloons.

Our large helium canisters contain 14.9 cubic feet of helium (0.42 cubic metres) and can fill around 50 9″ balloons. Once you know how much helium you have, you can work out how many balloons you can fill!

There are hundreds of shapes and styles of balloons, so if you’re still unsure how much helium you’re going to need, get in touch with our team and we’ll help you work it out.

How Long Will My Balloons Float?

Balloon TypeEst. Float Time
9” Latex Balloon6-8 hours
12” Latex Balloon9-11 hours
18” Foil Balloon3-7 days
Letter/Number Balloon3-5 days
Supershape Foil Balloon5+ days depending on size
Giant 36” Latex Balloon3-5 days
Orb Balloons3-5 days

It depends on the shape and size of the balloon as well as the temperature. Extreme cold or heat will reduce the float life of your balloons, so make sure to keep your party venue at a good room temperature.

The bigger the balloon, the longer it tends to float, but this is also based on the material it’s made from. Small latex balloons may only last a few hours, whereas large foil balloons can float for a week or longer!

Latex Balloons

Latex balloons have the shortest float life as helium gas tends to leak out through the latex. You’ll probably get about 6-8 hours before the balloons start to fall down. You can extend this time using hi-float.

Foil Balloons

Foil balloons have the longest float life of all, due to the material they’re made from. Helium can’t escape through this balloon as quick as it can with latex, meaning it stays afloat for a lot longer.

Orb Balloons

Orb balloons last for days, and last longer the larger they are. Added confetti can reduce the time they stay in the air so bear this in mind when filling them up!

Balloon Accessories

Since helium makes things float, you’ll now need to ensure things aren’t going to float away…

Balloon SizeLift (approx.)
9” Balloon6g
12″ Balloon14g
16″ Balloon35g
24″ Balloon120g
36″ Balloon335g
Foil Balloon3g – 300g+
36″ Balloon330g

Balloon Weights

Balloon weights keep the balloons where you want them, but it’s not as simple as that if you’re putting balloon bunches together. You need to ensure that your balloons won’t have so much lift that the weight will bounce around the venue!

For balloon bunches, multiply the number for a good idea of how much weight you’ll need to keep them from flying away.

For example, 10 x 12” latex balloons will have 140g of lift, so you’ll need a heavier weight!

Of course, once you’ve got the weights, you’ll need to attach the balloons to them using balloon ribbons and tails.

Balloon Ribbons

These are colourful foil-coated ribbons that keep balloons attached to the weights. That’s it! Remember to cut the ribbons the right length for your venue ceiling.

If you want big balloon bunches that cluster together, cut them all the same length.

For “tidier” looking balloon bunches, cut the ribbon at different lengths. You’ll end up with each one standing straight and looking fab! Great for elegant parties.

Balloon Tails

An absolutely and completely awesome touch (and 100% necessary for weddings!). Balloon tails are ideal for those big balloons you want to take front stage.

Simply add these tails to the balloon knot for that extra decorative touch. Bear in mind, they work best on larger helium balloons as they can add a lot of weight.

You can take the balloon up another notch with LED balloon lights. Ideal for some sparkle during dimly lit parties!

Balloon FAQs

No. Helium is an inert gas, meaning it won’t catch alight if exposed to a naked flame. However, the balloon itself can, so it’s always best to keep them away from the candles or other naked flames.

While giving yourself a squeaky voice is funny, helium can be fatal if inhaled, so it’s best not to try. If you do decide to inhale it, definitely do not inhale it directly from the helium canisters!

From us! We’ve got 2 different helium canister sizes. The small canister will fill up the equivalent of 30 of our 9” latex balloons and the large canister will fill up 50 9” balloons! You’ll also find helium party kits which include everything you need in one box!

You can get rid of helium canisters at your local landfill. Alternatively, contact your local council and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. Make sure to empty the helium canister fully, pop open the safety seal, and write “Empty” on the side before dumping.

If your balloon isn’t floating, it’s either because you need to add more helium, or that you’ve added balloon accessories that weigh too much. Also remember, latex balloons only last a few hours, so make sure to treat them with hi-float, or to blow them up just before the party starts!

You need to inflate them more! Most clear balloons look opaque before you inflate them. As they get bigger, the plastic begins to clear. Add more helium or a puff or two of air.

Rub the balloon on something woolly, or add a puff or two of air before tying the balloon. Both with help the confetti inside to stick to the inside. Bear in mind, adding air reduces the float time of a balloon!

It depends on the balloon, but generally speaking, no. You can still make some fantastic balloon decorations by filling them with air and tying them to other decorations.

No. Helium doesn’t expire, so if you’ve got a little bit left over in the canister after the party, save it for the next one!
Just ensure that the canister valve/seal isn’t damaged and that it’s closed tight!

Balloon Decoration Ideas

Whether they’re filled with helium or air, there are hundreds of inventive things you can do with party balloons.
Here are a couple of our favourites!

Balloons & Floristry
Balloons & Floristry with Dazzle and Fizz
Kids with Balloons
Decorate with Helium Balloons
DIY Balloon Animals
DIY Balloon Animals

That’s Everything You Need To Know!

Phew! Congratulations! You’re now a balloon expert! Take a look at our website for a huge range of balloon ideas, styles, colours, and shapes, and create some gorgeous floaty fun for your party today!

Got a question? Leave it in the comments below or contact our team! We’ll respond ASAP and add it to the FAQ section!


  1. I think You are the Balloon Expert. I like your interest in the Balloon.

  2. Very helpful thank you.
    Just one question (maybe a stupid one) how far in advance can I buy a helium canaster before using it please? Or does it not matter? Thank you.

    • Joe Cleverley

      Not a stupid question at all! I’ll add it to the FAQ section actually. 🙂
      In response, helium doesn’t expire while in the canister, so it’ll last as long as you need it to. The only issue is if the seal/valve gets damaged, or if it’s not properly closed after using it.

      In terms of filling balloons, latex balloons may only last a few hours once inflated with helium, so make sure to fill those as close to the party as possible. Foil balloons shouldn’t have this problem.

      Hope that helps!

  3. I have 6 large 36″ confetti balloons. As you can imagine, inflating them with100% helium could get extortionately expensive, the large helium canister wouldn’t even come close. Could I go 50/50 helium/air or even less? 30/70?

    • Joe Cleverley

      Hi Hannah,

      Yes, you can! We’ve found 2/3rds helium, 1/3rd air is fine and also has the added benefit of making the confetti stick better to the inside.
      It won’t stay floating for as long, but should be fine for a party on the same day.

      Hope that helps and thanks for the comment!

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