Key Differences Between Air-Filled And Helium Balloons

Key Differences Between Air-Filled And Helium Balloons

Many people find themselves boggled by balloon jargon and word stocks. For instance, how are foil and latex balloons different? Are mylar and foil the same? What’s the difference between air-filled and helium balloons?

The last question is a crucial starting point for customers since it sets the tone for their balloon selection. Balloons are either air- or helium-filled. You probably know that one floats and the other doesn’t, but this bite-sized knowledge hardly gets one anywhere.

You might have further questions, such as — if you have a limited budget, which of the two should you get? If you need to prepare the balloons days before the event, which will hold their shape and last longer? Moreover, what if you have some balloon packets and wonder whether to fill them with inert gas or air? Knowing the differences between the two will lend you the answers to these questions and more.


Helium is less dense than air since the latter’s molecules are more tightly packed together. When a balloon is filled with helium, it floats since it is buoyed up by the surrounding (heavier) air. This makes for the main key difference — helium balloons float, and air-filled ones don’t.


You’ve probably come across balloons with “air-fill only” or “not suitable for helium filling” written on the product description. It’s not that helium is unsafe for these materials, but that even if you inflate them with helium, they will most likely still not float.

This applies mainly to small balloons. For a balloon to float, its membrane must be lighter than its volume. However, small balloons can’t fit enough helium inside to overcome the weight of their material.

Air-filled balloons can thus be described as more versatile since they are suitable for all sizes. Still, there are balloon types, like Orbs balloons, designed for helium as it can be tricky to reach the perfect round shape with just air.

Serviceable life

Air-filled balloons generally last longer than helium balloons. They can last several days, even weeks, under the right conditions.

How long a helium balloon lasts depends on its size (larger ones last longer), material (foil lasts longer than latex), and shape (round ones last longer). Standard-size helium latex balloons stay afloat for about 8-20 hours, and foil balloons for about 3-4 days.

Helium molecules are extremely minuscule and easily escape through the “pores” and seams of materials — this is why foil balloons last longer than latex since they are comparatively non-porous.


Helium is naturally pricier than air. After all, air comes free with lungpower (or a pump or inflator). If you’re planning a party that requires many balloons, the price factor might influence your decision. Still, helium balloons have the advantage of being “floaty”, so you might find the extra cost to be worth it.

Creative potential

Helium- and air-filled balloons are both customizable with various design options and messages. However, they can diverge in creative potential. For instance, if you want to design a balloon ceiling or arrange a balloon bouquet, helium balloons are the way to go. If you’re going to fix up a balloon arch or a balloon garland, air-filled balloons are more suitable. And if you’re planning some balloon games, air-filled balloons are perhaps more apt since you wouldn’t want them to float.


Helium and air-filled balloons are both versatile. They each have advantages and disadvantages. Still, they have their own unique place on any special occasion. At BoBoChaCha, we offer an exciting selection of balloons and balloon decorations to match your needs. Whether you’re looking for helium- or air-filled balloons, check out our website and find the party favours you love today.