If you're looking to buy balloons then here's your essential guide to buying balloons online. There are a wide variety of balloons you can buy, from colored balloons to those intended for special occasions. There are also a few different ways to fill your balloons with gas.

Number Balloons

If you're planning a party for an anniversary or birthday then it's nice to buy some numbered balloons. These are available in a wide range of numbers so that you can customise your balloon display to your specific requirements. Numbered balloons either have the numbers printed on them or are shaped like numbers. The shaped balloons are usually made of foil and are designed to be inflated with helium gas.

Special number balloons you can buy include:

  • Patterned number 1 or 2 balloons that are intended for a baby's first and second birthdays. They are usually made from printed foil with a teddy bear or balloon pattern on them.
  • Special balloons for important 18th and 21st birthday parties are available that have the digits printed on the same balloon.
  • A range of balloons are available for significant wedding anniversaries. These balloons are normally made of silver or gold foil.

Helium or Air?

If you want your balloons to float, then you have to fill them with Helium gas. Helium is a gas that is lighter than air, so balloons filled with helium float. Helium is non-toxic and non-flammable, but it's a good idea to make sure people don't inhale it, especially directly from a gas canister.

If you want to fill your balloons with helium then you can either rent or buy a helium canister. If you're just wanting to inflate 20-30 balloons then it might be easier to just buy a helium canister - you can order these online and they'll be delivered to your door. Don't forget that larger balloons take more helium to inflate them!

For an event that will require dozens of balloons it may be more economical to rent a helium canister. Helium bottles are available in a wide range of sizes, so make sure you have some idea of how many balloons you want to inflate on the day. Remember that bigger balloons use up more gas.

There are a number of health and safety regulations regarding the, transportation, storage and use of compressed gas canisters. Although helium is inert, highly compressed gases can be hazardous. Always follow the specialist advice regarding the use of the helium gas. A canister that will be used to inflate balloons will always need to be fitted with a regulator specifically designed to inflate balloons, so if you're renting a canister then check that the rental company will supply the appropriate regulator.

Helium balloons will only float for a couple of days, especially if they're made of latex. If you want them to last longer then you can buy a substance that you can spray inside the balloon to stop the helium escaping so quickly. Alternatively foil balloons keep inflated for longer, although they tend to be more expensive to buy.

If you don't want your balloons to float then you can just inflate them with air. Either blow them up by hand or buy a small air pump to help inflate them. Obviously balloons filled with air won't float. You can however get the impression of them floating by attaching them to a balloon stick or balloon wand. You can also buy balloon sticks online. They normally come in packs of the same color, or in a range of color. If you're handing out your balloons to small children then consider buying the one piece balloon sticks as there are no small parts to come detached.