How Long Does Helium Last in Balloons?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 20th, 2022

Every year, people around the world celebrate birthdays with balloons. In some cultures, it’s traditional to give a balloon filled with helium as a present to the birthday boy or girl.

However, when is the best time to fill a balloon? Helium tends to escape from any opening in the balloon and will eventually deflate. This means that you should never wait until your event starts to inflate your balloons.

selective focus photography of assorted-color balloons

Many factors contribute to how long helium lasts in a balloon, so we hope these tips help you!

What Is the Lifespan of Helium Balloons?

Smaller 9-12″ latex helium balloons typically last 8 to 12 hours (2-4x longer with hi-float), but bigger ones can last up to 2-3 days. Foil balloons typically endure 3 to 5 days but can persist for several weeks.

The best advice for latex balloons is to buy high-quality balloons and inflate them a few hours before an occasion to be safe.

The float time is affected by both size and form. The longer the balloon lasts, the more helium it contains and the “rounder” it is.

Floating Times on Average:

BalloonInflated DiameterCapacity (Cubic Ft)Float-Time
9″ Latex9″0.38-10 hrs
11″ Latex11″0.510-12 hrs
18″ Foil14″ x 13″0.53-5 days
20″ Foil (Str)18″ x 18″0.63-5 days
Giant Letter & NumberVarious1.53-5 days
Foil SupershapesVarious1.5 – 2.53-5 days
3ft Latex (346″)36″8 cubic feet if filled to 2.5 feet
15 cubic feet if filled to 3ft
3-5 days
Foil Orb Balloon 16″15″ – 16″1.053-5 days

Some better-grade manufacturers, such as Qualatex, may have differing float periods, as shown below. However, it is typical for most helium-filled balloons.

Let’s look at the specific figures and see what we can do to make helium-filled balloons survive far longer than usual.

But first…

What exactly is helium?

Helium is a chemical element represented by the symbol He. The gas used to fly a foil or latex balloon must be significantly lighter than air. Helium is seven times heavier than air. As a result, it is perfect for these uses. This gas is created by combining crude oil and natural gas. Filling balloons is only one way to use helium, and it’s perhaps the most pleasurable and straightforward.

Helium is in great demand and has several scientific and medicinal applications.

It is inert, non-toxic, non-flammable, and contains no known chemical interactions. It has no odor and is colorless; it rises to the high atmosphere and dissolves there. Therefore, if a helium balloon explodes, it presents no danger to individuals nearby lives or health.

Does helium degrade?

Helium does not “expire” or “go bad,” nor deteriorate. The helium in the balloon cylinder will not escape as long as the valve on the helium cylinder creates an airtight seal. However, when helium is inserted inside a balloon, helium molecules escape.

How long can a helium balloon stay aloft?

Latex-filled helium balloons float for around 8–12 hours, whereas helium-filled balloons float for 2–5 days. If you want your latex balloons to float longer, you may purchase the Helium Hi-Float Treatment Kit, which allows the balloons to float up to 25 times longer!

Will Helium Balloons Survive the Night?

Yes, your helium balloons will generally last overnight, but they may not stay long enough to hold an event the next day.

This is true for latex balloons. However, foil balloons will endure for several days. So, if we’re talking about foil helium balloons, the answer is “absolutely” they will survive overnight. On the other hand, they may not survive overnight if they are latex helium balloons, especially if they are little and stored outside.

The last thing you want is to have your glitz and style ready, only to find your balloon decoration in shambles.

The following factors determine the lifespan of a helium balloon:

  • dimensions of the balloon (larger ones last longer)
  • the balloon’s substance (latex vs. foil)
  • if the balloon has been subjected to Hi-Float temperatures (indoors vs. outdoors)
  • the balloon’s design (round ones last longer)
  • how thoroughly it has been sealed (quality)
  • helium balloons soaring across the sky

Hi-float is a liquid used to prolong helium balloons’ life. Treat your balloons with hi-float will last overnight and look wonderful the next day.

In an air-conditioned room, balloons last longer. If you left a little latex helium balloon outside in the heat, it would only survive a few hours (up to 10 hours for larger ones) and may even explode during the first hour.

Larger balloons have a substantially longer lifespan. If your helium balloons are latex, of excellent quality, and spent the night indoors, they will most likely last overnight.

How Long Do Helium Balloons Last Depending on the Type?

The lifetime of helium-filled balloons varies greatly depending on the composition of the balloon, whether it has been treated with hi-float, and who made it.

What is the lifespan of latex helium balloons?

Latex balloons look fantastic when filled with helium. However, when inflating latex balloons with helium, there are a few things to remember.

Latex is a porous substance.

As a result, helium begins to leak out as soon as the balloon is inflated. Therefore, for latex balloons to look their best during the event, we recommend filling them with helium as near to the event as feasible.

If your latex balloons are filled to their full size with high-quality helium, they should float for 8-12 hours. Please remember that temperature, accessories, and decorations will all affect everything.

How Long Do Helium Foil Balloons Last?

Foil (mylar) balloons of roughly 18″ usually survive 3 to 5 days, whereas bigger ones last longer, ranging from 1 week to several weeks.

Foil balloons are often 18″ and bigger, and because they endure at least three days, they may be securely inflated the day before the event.

However, if you want your foil balloons to be fashioned like numbers or alphabet characters, ensure they are 24′′ or bigger; otherwise, they may not float. Also, some 16″ Number or Alphabet foil balloons, for example, may not fly with helium because of their form and weight. For these, use a bigger size.

Other sorts, such as cartoon and movie figures or baby shower characters, will fly at 25″ inches.

How long do Balloons with Confetti last?

When inflated with air or helium, confetti balloons look stunning. Whether you choose to have the confetti pool at the bottom of the balloon or stick to the balloon’s wall, the ultimate result is equally spectacular.

Adding confetti to a balloon, on the other hand, increases the weight of the balloon and so lowers the float times. Confetti balloons may float for 6 to 10 hours. Therefore, we recommend that our clients inflate their balloons at least 1-2 hours before the event.

Weather and Helium Balloons

The temperature has a significant impact on the lifetime of helium-filled balloons.

The shorter the life of the helium balloon, the hotter it gets outside. So keep your balloons indoors, in an air-conditioned environment, for the greatest results.

Let’s observe how the environment impacts the lifespan of the balloons.

How Long Do Helium Ballons Last in Extreme Heat?

Under a hot sun, latex helium balloons typically survive only 4 to 6 hours.

This is because helium expands in the heat, causing it to escape from the balloon faster. As a result, if you leave these balloons in an extremely hot spot, such as your car, on a hot summer day or even in the sun, they may explode.

Mylar/Foil balloons will stay far longer in the sun than latex balloons, up to 24 hours, and occasionally longer. The disadvantage is that they may alter the color or shine.

When inflating balloons in hot weather, keep the following tips in mind:

  • First, choose the highest quality latex balloons from Qualatex.
  • Instead of latex, try using foil.
  • Always under-inflate your balloons to allow for thermal expansion.
  • Inflating balloons with the same air temperature as the outside air will help them keep their form better.
  • Never leave your balloons out overnight. They will diminish overnight and then reappear the next day.
  • Finally, make as many uses of white balloons as feasible.
  • Larger balloons will last considerably longer.

How Long Do Helium Balloons Last in Cold Weather?

Helium-filled balloons will survive roughly the same time in cold and AC-chilled room temperatures, which is 8-12 hours for an 11″ latex balloon.

The only difference is that they will diminish and become insignificant.

Helium gas begins to contract at 45-50 degrees (or 7-10 degrees Celsius), causing the balloon to shrink. It appears to be deflated, but it has not — it has just shrunk. Move it to a warmer location so the helium molecules can get energy and expand. Then, the balloon will return to its original form.

SizeNon-AC RoomAC RoomOutdoors
18 to 25 inches12 hours to 24 hours12 hours to 48 hoursUp to 10 hours
26 to 39 inches12 hours to 48 hours12 hours to 5 days10 – 24 hours
More than 39 inches12 hours to 3 days1 to 7 days10 – 24 hours

How to Extend the Life of Helium Balloons

Here are some tips for extending the life of your helium balloons:

Use a high-floating solution (2-4x up to 25 times longer float time)
Keep balloons indoors with the air conditioner turned on; choose round shapes since they last the longest; use reputable latex manufacturers, such as Qualatex; and don’t add too many extras (such as confetti) to weigh them down.

Hi-Float is a liquid-like coating, a solution of a plastic compound dissolved in water, that is applied to the interior of a balloon. It spreads on the inside, making it more difficult for helium to escape.

This is unquestionably the most effective method for extending the life of latex helium balloons. The hi-float coating is non-toxic and must be applied using a dispenser pump. This adhesive is applied to the interior of the balloon and prevents the helium from escaping as quickly.

If you mean how long it can sit in the tank unused, the answer is as long as you need it to. Helium may stay for a long time in a tank; it does not expire or decay.

If you mean how many balloons you can fill before it runs out, the standard tank can fill up to (30) 9″ latex balloons, (16) 11″ latex balloons, or (16) 18″ mylar/foil balloons.

Balloon Care Tips

  • Always keep balloons weighted, do not release them outdoors.
  • Keep balloons at an ideal temperature between 72° and 78°F. 
  • Balloons should not be stored in a bag for more than 30 minutes. 
  • Balloons kept outdoors will have a shorter float time. 

Helium balloons should be stored in a safe place.

If the balloons will be used several times, it is best to keep them in plastic bags, covers, or specifically designed balloon bags. These bags keep the balloons safe for future gatherings, allowing you to embellish the occasion effortlessly.

How much helium are balloons have to have?

The size of the balloon determines it. When the balloon size is modest, less helium is required, but giant balloons require more helium.

Here’s a table to help you understand.

Size of the BalloonHelium Needed for Each Balloon (in cubic feet)
7-inch latex balloon0.15
9-inch latex balloon0.27
10-inch latex balloon0.30
11-inch latex balloon0.50
12-inch latex balloon0.52
14-inch latex balloon1
16-inch latex balloon1.25
20-inch latex balloon2.42
36-inch latex balloon14.10
18-inch foil balloon0.44

Is it possible to fill helium balloons the night before?

Is it possible to fill helium balloons the night before? Yes, latex balloons can be inflated with air the night before the event. To keep the inflated balloons from oxidizing, place them in a plastic bag that wraps securely around them. Large garbage bags or mattress bags would suffice.

When Should I Fill My Helium Balloons and How Do I Blow Up Balloons with Helium?

It is not difficult to fill balloons with helium.

It’s merely a matter of adjusting the balloon opening to the tank nozzle, and you’re done.

Just make sure you put the correct quantity of gas in there.

The best time to fill up on helium is shortly before the event, in a calm area.

Balloons filled with helium How long do they last, and how long do party city helium balloons endure?

Helium foil balloons have the greatest lifespan compared to the saggiest helium balloons.

The foil balloon can be left for up to a week.

Latex balloons, on the other hand, may last for several hours.

You can have a fantastic time with these balloons, but it will all be for naught.


Editorial Staff

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