Helium vs. Air-Filled Balloons

Although helium and air balloons are often used for the same purpose (parties and events), whether a balloon is filled with helium or air has a significant impact on how it can be used. 

The biggest difference between the two is that helium is lighter and less dense than air, which means helium balloons float, whereas air balloons do not. This is because air-filled balloons are heavier than the surrounding air, making them not buoyant and unable to float; they will remain in the location where they are placed, whereas helium balloons will rise. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the other pros and cons of helium vs. air-filled balloons, to help you better understand the difference between the two and make an informed choice about which one is best for your needs.

1. Lifespan

Helium is lighter-than-air, so helium balloons stay afloat for longer than air-filled balloons. Air-filled balloons, on the other hand, have a much shorter lifespan and will require reinflation if longer-term decorations are needed.

Keep in mind that helium balloons’ float time can be affected by temperature variations, such as extreme heat or being stored in a cold environment.

2. Ability to Float

Due to their ability to float, helium balloons can be used to create impressive floating decorations and centrepieces. On the other hand, air-filled balloons can’t float and therefore don’t have the same visual effect. However, they can still be used as a cost-effective option for decorations, such as part of a grounded balloon bouquet or arch.

3. Reusability

Helium balloons are not typically intended to be reused. Once you inflate a helium balloon and it begins to deflate, it’s difficult to reseal it. If the balloon is still in good shape, you can refill it with more helium gas to make it float again, but this tends to only be possible with mylar balloons, rather than latex balloons.

Air-filled balloons, on the other hand, can be deflated and reused, especially if they are made from a durable material.

Keep in mind that the helium itself can come in both refillable and disposable tanks, depending on you or your customers needs. 

4. Design

Both helium and air-filled balloons can be enhanced with written messages and custom images.

However, helium balloons come in a wide range of shapes, size, colours and textures, allowing for more creative possibilities depending on the occasion. These tend to be made from foil, and might include shapes, numbers, letters, animals, characters, food, drink, and themed or everyday objects, such as footballs or pumpkins.

If you’re supplying the helium, custom branding can also be added to the helium cylinders themselves, to make them uniquely yours. 

5. Event

On a similar note, you should consider what you need the balloons for. If you want to create eye-catching ceiling or floating table decorations, helium would be best to create the desired effect. You can also tether helium balloons using decorative ribbons and weights, for a professional design with an effortless float.

That said, for a grounded or wall decoration, air-filled balloons will do the job. 

6. Ease of Use

Filling balloons with air is generally more accessible as air is available everywhere. However, filling balloons with helium offers several advantages – the main one being that helium-filled balloons float, which helps to create more unique and eye-catching decorations and displays.

Helium is also available to rent or buy in canisters, cylinders and tanks in a range of sizes to cater to your needs. Whether you need balloons for a small or larger-scale event then, there will be a convenient helium solution that makes it easy for you – or your customers – to fill balloons. 

7. Cost

Helium-filled balloons are typically more expensive than air-filled ones. However, helium balloons tend to be a more worthwhile investment depending on what you need the balloons for, and how long you need them to last.

For example, if you want to decorate an event with floating balloons that last, you will need helium balloons. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option for a grounded decoration, air-filled balloons will suffice.

If you’re an event planner, party shop owner or other retailer, selecting the right type of  balloon can impact your success. Consider the factors mentioned above when deciding between helium-filled and air-filled balloons, and make your choice based on the specific requirements of your event or business.


At Worldwide Gas, we are the largest manufacturer of wholesale helium and nitrous oxide gas cylinders, tanks and accessories in the world. Better yet, our distributors have access to our design team, with pre- and post-delivery marketing support. Choose your branding, logos, colours and packaging, and work with our experts to bring your custom helium or nitrous oxide products to life.

Want to work with us, or have another question? Contact our friendly team via email, WhatsApp, or video cha

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