Balloons for Helium

What Balloons Are Best for Helium?

Every party, event, special occasion, milestone, or celebration is better with balloons! There’s nothing more eye-catching and celebratory feeling than a bright and fun, floating balloon!

So, you might be wondering – what balloons are best for helium?

Not all balloons are intended for helium use. Foil banners and some letter/number balloons, for example, are not intended for use with helium.

Foil Balloons for Air

There are three main types of balloons that are made for helium: Foil, Bubble, and Latex Balloons.

Balloons for Helium Use

Determining which of these is best for helium can depend on a lot of factors and how they’re going to be used. But, it really comes down to how well they hold the helium.

If we had to choose one type of balloon that was arguably the best for helium, it would be foil balloons.

Different balloons have different advantages and looks to them. But there are a number of reasons why foil balloons excel above the others.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of foil balloons, as well as the pros and cons of each balloon made for helium.

Foil Balloons

Foil Balloon with Helium

Why are foil balloons the best for helium? Simply put, foil balloons hold the helium more efficiently.


1. Foil balloons can be enjoyed for a long time!

The main advantage of a foil balloon is that it lasts for weeks, which is significantly longer than a latex balloon.

Foil (often referred to as Mylar) balloons are made from a synthetic, plastic material that is given a shiny, foil outer coating.

Two pieces of this plastic material are cut to the desired shape of the balloon and are welded together using heat. This creates a tight seam around the edge.

During this process a valve seal is also stamped into one of the pieces at the bottom, which is how the foil balloons self seal and keep the helium inside for longer.

Why is this significant?

Not only does it allow you to enjoy them longer and make them more cost effective, but it allows you to purchase or fill them in advance.

If you’re using the balloons for a party, this could be an incredible time saver.

And, even when foil balloons do start to lose their helium, they stay floating and maintain their shape for weeks. Because they are pre-cut to size, they don’t immediately shrink down like a latex balloon.

2. Foil balloons will not randomly pop.

Have you ever noticed that latex balloons can pop out of nowhere? You’re just minding your own business, nothing disturbed the balloon in any way, and then POP!

As stated before, foil balloons are already stretched and cut to their intended size. By adding a gas like helium to them, it does not alter the structural integrity of the material.

Temperature changes can have an effect on foil balloons. Cold temperatures cause balloons to shrink, and hot temperatures cause balloons to expand.

It is an important practice to keep your balloons in a temperature controlled environment. But, generally, foil balloons are not at risk for popping.

3. Foil balloons offer the largest variety.

And I don’t just mean color. There are so many options!

Foil balloons come in several different shapes and sizes. They can be round, square, spherical, star-shaped, in the shape of numbers or letters, etc.

They can be a mermaid, a construction vehicle, an animal, a donut – just to name a few!

You can find them in almost any theme. And, they can be anywhere from mini to giant sized.

4. Foil balloons are bright, colorful, and pleasing to the eye!

Foil balloons are metallicized, which gives them more of a fun, shiny pop! The good kind of pop you want from a balloon, that is.

This is what makes them great for pretty much any occasion.

5. Foil Balloons are versatile!

They can be used to dress up classy events like weddings and fundraisers or to simply jazz up a birthday party!

Need to cheer someone up because they don’t feel well? Send a “get well” foil balloon!

Need to draw attention to your garage sale sign on the side of the road? Tie on a foil balloon! Most people have multiple day garage sales, which makes foil balloons ideal again!

Need to wish someone a happy anniversary or say thank you? Foil balloons again!

Use them to brighten up your party, grab attention, or use them as table centerpieces. There are so many different ways foil balloons can be used.

6. Foil balloons are latex free.

Foil balloons are not a risk for those who suffer from latex allergies. People who have severe latex allergies can have reactions from just being near a latex source.

Latex balloons are made with natural rubber latex. Foil balloons are made of synthetic plastic materials.

They are an easy way to eliminate a potential risk.

Read more about this here: Are Foil Balloons Latex Free?

7. Foil balloons can be refilled.

If a foil balloon is still in good condition, meaning the seal is still in tact and there are no holes or breaks in the seam, then it can be filled with helium again (or even with air if you are so inclined).

You can continue to get your money’s worth out of a foil balloon for months!

Learn more about this here: Can Helium Balloons Be Refilled?


1. Foil balloons cost more than latex balloons.

Foil balloons are more expensive to purchase than latex balloons. You can get an entire pack of latex balloons for the price of one foil balloon.

Foil balloons also tend to be bigger than the regular latex balloon, which means they require a bit more helium.

However, it isn’t much more, so the fact that they last significantly longer seemingly cancels it out. They actually are more cost efficient in the long run!

2. Foil balloons have a unique risk.

All balloons have risks associated with them. Every balloon has a choking hazard warning label on the packaging.

Most foil balloons have their risks printed directly onto the balloon. See below.

Foil Balloon Risks Printed on Balloon

Unlike latex balloons, foil balloons have a metallic component, which means they can conduct electricity.

Foil balloons should not be exposed to any kind of power source or power line. They can cause fires and/or power outages.

All balloons should be tightly tied down, and properly disposed of when no longer needed.

Bubble Balloons

Bubble Balloon with Helium

Bubble balloons are a great balloon for helium. They are a very close second to foil balloons.

You will see that a lot of their positive aspects are comparable to foil balloons.


1. Bubble balloons last for weeks.

Bubble balloons are similar to foil balloons, because they, too, hold helium for weeks.

They are made from a stretchy, plastic material (not latex) that is pre-cut and sealed together with a seam and valve. This is very similar to how foil balloons are made.

It may not hold its perfectly round, bubble shape the entire time it floats, but it will float for a long time.

When I purchased and filled a bubble balloon, it was still hanging on a month later!

2. Bubble balloons aren’t a pop risk.

Like foil balloons, bubble balloons won’t randomly pop like latex balloons can.

That’s not to say that if exposed to extreme temperatures they could hold up, but the likelihood of that is slim.

3. Bubble balloons are large, fun, and unique.

Bubble balloons are designed to be big and round like a bubble or a beach ball. And, like a bubble, they are see-through.

You can see they are aptly named! Their bubble design gives them a unique edge and makes them really fun.

They come in different designs – birthday, anniversary, get well, etc. And, you can find them in select popular themes, such as Paw Patrol and Disney characters.

They may not be shiny, but their size and design certainly attracts attention and gives bubble balloons their own distinct wow factor.

4. Bubble balloons are latex free.

Bubble balloons are made from plastic and are considered to be non-allergenic.

If you’re worried about allergies, then bubble balloons are a good option!

5. Bubble balloons can be refilled.

Bubble balloons are constructed similarly to foil balloons, so there’s no reason why they can’t be refilled, as well.

The same conditions apply. They must be in good shape and in tact for this to work.


1. Bubble balloons require more helium.

When comparing typically sized balloons with bubble balloons, bubble balloons are larger. They are designed to be “bubble-like,” after all.

I recently used an at-home helium tank to fill some balloons, which included latex, foil, and bubble balloons. And, the bubble balloon took significantly more helium to fill.

In order to fully fill it to its bubble shape, I was worried it was going to drain half of my tank!

However, considering that it lasted a month, I couldn’t complain too much!

2. Bubble balloons can be more expensive to purchase.

Now, this is dependent on what type of bubble balloon you are purchasing and where you are buying it from, but overall, bubble balloons tend to be more expensive.

I can buy a regular foil balloon at the store for around $2.00. I can even go to the dollar store and purchase a foil balloon (already filled with helium) for just over $1.00.

When looking to purchase a bubble balloon, I found that the prices were higher. A bubble balloon ranged from $7.00 to $10.00 a piece.

Since they require more helium and the balloon itself is more costly to purchase, this makes them less cost effective. Bubble balloons and foil balloons both last for weeks, so this puts foil balloons ahead.

3. Bubble balloons do not offer as much variety as foil balloons.

Bubble balloons are not as popular as foil balloons; in the world of balloons, they are still relatively “new.”

If you go into a party store, you’ll be overwhelmed with a hundred foil balloons to choose from. The selection for bubble balloons is not as vast.

This is not to say that it never will be. But for now, foil balloons offer more options.

However, bubble balloons are meant to be round in shape, hence the name. So, they may never compare with the variety foil balloons offer.

If I want a balloon in the shape of a unicorn, for example, I’m going to find that in a foil balloon, not a bubble balloon.

It doesn’t necessarily make them good or bad; they’re just different. It all depends on what you, as the consumer, are looking for in a helium balloon.

Latex Balloons

Latex Balloon Floating with Helium

When you think of balloons, I bet the first picture that comes to your head is a good old fashioned latex balloon. Right?

Latex balloons tend to be a popular balloon choice. There are great things about latex balloons, but they’re not necessarily the best for helium.


1. Latex balloons are cheap!

I can buy a pack of 15 twelve inch balloons or 25 nine inch balloons for $1.25, whereas I only get one foil balloon for that price.

There is no denying that latex balloons are the cheapest type of balloon.

But, if we’re looking at what balloon is best for helium, we have to consider more than cost.

2. Latex balloons come in a wide variety of colors, designs, shapes, and sizes.

Latex balloons come in pretty much every color imaginable. All the colors of the rainbow and everything in between!

They can also be clear, pearlized, metallic satin, filled with confetti, and printed with words, patterns, pictures, characters, and more.

Large Variety of Latex Balloons

Latex balloons also come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be as small as 5 inches and as large as 3-5 feet wide!


1. Latex balloons only last for hours, not days or weeks.

On the side of a helium tank, it will tell you that latex balloons will last 5-7 hours once filled. In my experience, latex balloons will stay floating for around 12-18 hours.

Either way, it is significantly less than a foil or bubble balloon.

Latex balloons are porous, meaning they have tiny holes in the material that lets the helium escape out.

The plastic materials used to make foil and bubble balloons are not porous. This is why they hold helium longer and are more suitable for helium.

2. Latex balloons are more susceptible to popping.

There’s nothing more frustrating then paying to put helium in a balloon and then, in an instant, poof – it’s gone!

Because latex balloons are being stretched, popping is a risk you take when using latex balloons. Actually, there are a few different reasons this could happen.

Read more about this here: Why Do Balloons Pop Randomly?

3. Latex balloons are not latex free.

It is probably no surprise to you that latex balloons are not latex free – it’s right in the name.

Latex rubber contains a protein that can cause mild to severe allergic reactions in some people. People with severe allergies can have reactions just by being near latex balloons.

This is especially true, because during production latex balloons are coated with a powder to prevent them from sticking. This powder can make the latex protein airborne, especially if it’s floating with helium.

This is something to consider when choosing a balloon to fill with helium.

Filling Balloons With Helium

Generally, there are two ways to fill balloons with helium.

  1. Have them filled at your local party, dollar, or grocery store.
  1. Purchase a helium tank kit and fill them yourselves at your home or venue.

This is important, because if you’re trying to decide which balloon is best for helium, you have to consider how it’s being filled. I’ll give you an example.

For my son’s first birthday party, I ordered a dozen or so latex balloons to be filled with helium and picked up the day of the party. I love planning birthday parties, and balloons are always a must-have!

Unfortunately, to my disappointment, the person filling my balloon order did not fill them up properly. They were small, bordering pathetic.

It did not take long for the balloons to start to fall.

This wouldn’t have mattered if I had ordered foil balloons, because foil balloons are filled until they are full. It is easy to determine when a foil balloon is filled properly.

There is a bit of flexibility or creative control, if you will, when inflating a latex balloon. Unless a sizing tool is being used, an inflated 12 inch balloon may look smaller or larger to different people.

The moral of the story is this is why foil balloons are best for helium. There is no wiggle room. You get what you pay for every time!

How to Make Helium Balloons Last Longer

Balloons are relatively inexpensive, but the helium you put in them is a little more costly.

We know that foil balloons last a long time, but what if you want to use latex? Can we make latex balloons last longer and get our money’s worth?

The answer: Yes, with Hi Float.

Hi Float to Make Helium Balloons Last Longer

Hi Float is a product designed specifically to extend a latex balloon’s float time. It is an adhesive-like solution that, when pumped inside of a balloon, forms an inner coating within the balloon.

This stops the helium from leaking out of the balloon. It takes float time from mere hours to days, even a week or two.

I can tell you from experience that using Hi Float really works! Check out What is Hi Float for Balloons? to read all about how Hi Float works.

While it does work, it is an extra step and a bit of extra cost and work if you are filling your balloons yourself.

Foil balloons are still a better choice for helium, but this is a great option if you really want to use latex balloons!

Final Thoughts

When determining which balloon is best for helium, we have to look at which balloon holds the helium for the longest.

Helium is a precious resource. It isn’t cheap, and it is often in short supply.

Over the last five years alone, I’ve seen several helium shortages. Stores have to turn away customers, because they don’t have the helium to fill their balloons.

Therefore, foil and bubble balloons are the best balloons for helium, because they hold the helium the longest.

Foil balloons have a slight edge because of their large variety and cost effectiveness.

If you want to give your balloons a floating look without the helium, check out: How to Hang Balloons on the Wall for some great, alternative options!

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