Helium Balloons: How Long do They Last?

How Long do Helium Balloons Last?

I recently received an email reading:

“I have a question for you! You know when you buy a helium balloon it goes down a little after half a day – and then more etc, does that ever happen when it’s in the box?”

As customers often ask how long helium balloons stay inflated, I thought it would be worth publishing my answer. Here’s my reply:

“Hello Paula,

Thanks for your email.

Foil balloons filled with helium gas (like the ones we send) usually only start to go down after 3-4 days. In the right conditions it might last up to 8 days. We prepare the balloons in the afternoon for arrival the very next morning so they arrive fresh and customers can enjoy them for a few days.

Sometimes faulty balloons can deflate quickly after being filled up. To make sure that any faulty balloon is weeded out, we leave all our helium balloons to stand at least an hour before packing them up.

I hope this help! Regards,


Send a helium balloons by post

For those of you who are like me curious by nature here are a few more facts about balloons and helium:

  • Foil balloons last for 3 to 5 days – sometimes longer as the technology as improved in recent years. They can be refilled by taking them to your nearest helium balloon retailer
  • Latex balloons filled with helium typically float for only 8 to 12 hours. The gas escapes through small pores in the latex. Treated with Hi-Float – a glue like gel that makes the latex less porous and helps lock the helium in, they will last for over a week
  • Helium gas is sensitive to extreme temperature changes. This means that:
    • Helium balloons might appear deflated in cold air – to resolve the problem, simply put your balloon somewhere warm and it will expand again
    • You need to remember to keep your balloon away from extreme heat however, as this could cause the helium to expand and the balloon to burst
    • Always keep the weight attached to the balloon to prevent it from floating away (there’s nothing worse than the scream of a small child who has just lost his/her balloon).

Here are a few facts about helium itself:

  • Helium is an inert, lighter-than-air gas (which is why helium filled balloons float)
  • It is a non-toxic, non-flammable, odourless and colourless gas
  • Helium is an asphyxiant and should never be inhaled

Find out more about the chemical properties of helium here or visit our online shop to buy helium balloons, helium gas canisters or party balloons and accessories!

Buy Helium and Party Balloons Online

61 Comments on Helium Balloons: How Long do They Last?

  1. my teacher got her balloon on her bday. in Aug.29th 07 and its still floating in the air and its Nov.7th 07 why is that?

  2. Hi John,

    Thanks for your comment. As new technologies have been launched such as Anagram XtraLife or the Qualatex large Bubble balloons, some helium balloons do now last longer usually around four to five weeks, sometimes beyond this.

    These new generation helium balloons are made of less permeable materials, which means the small helium molecules, stay in the balloon longer, resulting in longer float times.

    That said it sound as if your teacher got a very good balloon as it is still floating over two months after her birthday!

  3. Hi i was wondering if you could answer a question i have. I recieved a little helium get well soon balloon 18years ago after my baby died. This balloon is still solid, is this normal, after such a long time?

  4. Hi Amanda,

    The smaller balloons that are mounted on a stick are usually filled with air rather than helium and last much longer than balloons filled with helium.

    Helium molecules are much smaller than air and “escape” the balloon more easily.

    A few customers have reporter keeping such balloons for a few year – but 18 years is a very long time!

  5. nicole zeppo // 1 April, 2008 at 5:35 am //

    my helium balloon has lasted 23 days and its still goin!

  6. hi i got my boyfiend a helium balloon for my boyfriend on valentines day 2008 and its now april 11, 2008 and the balloon is still floating…how long did the longest helium balloon stay afloat for??

  7. Hi Santana – I have not got any exact information on what the record for the longest floating helium balloon is. However as technology is improving, we have quite a lot of customers reporting that their balloons have lasted over two month. So your Valentine balloon is doing well!

  8. My Valentine Day helium balloon of 2008 is still floating high! Its April 30th, 2008! I am actually very shocked.

  9. I have a huge helium foil balloon my boyfriend has given to me on 2/14/08 and is still floating till this day 8/19/08!

  10. Hi
    I let some helium ballons into the air on sat 6th sept 2008, these were normal ones, the foil ones we kept and are still on the ceiling where we put them.
    Was wondering how long the ones we let go would actually stay in the air assuming they didnt pop, and how far could it travel?
    I know this is prob hard to answer but it fasinated me when i reaslised the others are still up!

  11. Hello Tara,

    Normal latex balloons usually only stay inflated for a few days. Latex is a more porous material and the small particles in helium escape quite easily.

    How far balloons travel really depends on the weather conditions – winds and so on.

    When people organise balloon races – they sometimes receive replies from half way around the world! Anything over a few hundred miles is rather unusual

  12. Ahh so they have got far away, cool!

    We did write Tara and Steve sept 6th…..maybe should put tags on them with email addy lol

    Thank you for ur quick reply

  13. i brought a helium balloon for my godson in april 2008.its now the middle of october and its still floating now! i think it was £5 well spent :)

  14. Another question?? If you MAIL a helium balloon overnight in a box will it pop on the airplane??

  15. Hi Kelly,

    We send plenty of balloons by plane and they arrive in good condition. When they pop in transport it is usually because the package has been squashed or knocked.

    Hope this helps :)

  16. i have had an air foiled ballon on a white stick which it is tied onto by the vendor in my bedroom for 3 years since my grandson was born is this possible?.it is as full as the day it was purchused.regards derek from london..could this be a record even?..im intrigued..

  17. Hi Derek – The small balloons on stick are air filled rather than helium filled they are also sealed with machines in the factory which makes them completely tight. They virtually last forever!

    The helium filled ones deflate because the helium particles are much smaller than air and “escape” the balloon more easily.

    I’ve had someone who has kept a small air filled balloon for 18 years – and still counting!

  18. I have had a balloon since my bday on July 21st 2008…..it is now November 21st and it is still floating. Hasnt shrunk at all? Any explanation?

  19. With the improvements in technology in recent years, some balloons now last longer. Still so your balloon is doing very, very well!

  20. I was just wondering if anyone knew whether or not it was possible to keep helium 100% contained?

    Also would the pressure of the helium have anything to do with its lifting capabilities?

    I notice someone stating that a cold balloon would appear flat. Does it also not float or float less?

    And if so it is reasonable to believe that increasing the heat aka pressure would therefore increase its floating abilities?


  21. I’m not a scientist so I can only guess the lifting capabilities vary as the balloons expand / retract with temperature changes. Helium can be 100% contained (it is in gas bottles for instance) but as far as I am aware not in commercial balloons!

  22. elaine & pete // 23 March, 2009 at 7:12 pm //

    Hi, Im getting married on May 30th 2009. I was thinking of buying a balloon arch and balloon table decorations, the balloons are latex and were planning to inflate them with helium ourselfs as we have found this is the cheapest way to do it. We were hopeing to get them ready the night before the wedding or possible very early in the morning as no one will be avalible to do it the day of the wedding. We will be arriving to the hall about 2pm but were a bit worried they might deflate by then. Can anyone tell us roughly how long the balloons will last.

  23. Hello Elaine,

    Latex balloons usually only last a few hours. So if you inflate them the night before they probably won’t look their best in the morning.

    I would recommend you use a product called Hi-Float to ensure your balloons last. Hi-Float is a life extender for latex balloons. You pump a small quantity of gel inside the balloon, make sure it covers al the surface of the balloon inside and inflate as usual. Your balloons will then last through the night, all day and for at least a week after that!

    Alternatives would be to ask a friend to blow the balloons for you on the day (choose latex balloons that are at least 12″ – they will last longer), or choose foil balloons.

    Best wishes for the wedding and let us know how the balloons do!

  24. i have a balloon that is still floating strong i recieved it feb 15 09 and to this day its still floating why ?

  25. It looks as if you got a good quality helium balloon – although it does not always happen this way, it is not unusual for them to last several weeks!

  26. I have a balloon that is still rock solid with air. I’ve had it since I was 7 (1987). It was given to me by my parents when I was in the hospital getting my tonsils out. It has been 22 years now. I just read that someone else had a balloon for the last 18 years. Thought I would throw my number out there.

  27. Bruno C. L. // 7 May, 2009 at 2:23 am //

    (i’m brazilian so i don’t speak english very well)

    I have two balloons that i got as a gift when I was born in 1993…. one of them is half full and the other one still fresh even past 15 years!!!

    I think i’ll contact Guiness Book….

  28. I got “Happy Birthday” baloon last July (07/10/2008). It is still floating. It is now starting to sag so don’t think it will make the year mark but I am hoping for June 10. This would make it 11 months.

  29. My wife and I were given a small foil balloon, air filled I expect, on our wedding day back in may 1994. As of June 2011 its still solid. Pretty good going or what?

  30. my grandmother and grandad bought me an ‘its a girl’ helium balloon when i was born. its now almost 16 and a half years later and its still 100% hard and up. it just doesnt float :)

  31. My sister got a helium ballon 2 months ago. Still going strong.

  32. Now 3 months.

  33. Hello

    I got my daughter a massive 3 helium balloon today for her birthday, getting from the car to the house, it deflated alot….

    Will be heat from my house inflate it again? its still up just looks 3 + days old…

    her birthday isn’t until tomorrow (13th) so i want to it look good…

    Thank you

  34. Hi Jade, It looks as if your balloon is faulty and leaking gas. It is usually the case if your balloon starts deflating almost strait away as described. I would recommend you take it back to the shop and explain what happened. They should replace it for free.

    Hope your daughter has a great birthday!

  35. Hi, got some shape balloons for my friends birthday and they delivered yesterday saturday but her birthday is not till wednesday its a shape balloon of 22” and its in a big box closed, do you think it would get deflate by then or it would last, because i wouldnt like to give her just a deflating ugly balloon, please if you could help me, thanks

  36. Hello Madeline,

    There is a good chance that the balloon might have started to deflate by then. Whether you open the box or not will make no difference. I would suggest that you check the balloon the day before the birthday. If it has started to go soft, just take it to a florist or card shop for a helium top up, put it back in the box and you will have a fresh balloon again.

    You can refill foil balloons as many times as you want!

    Hope this helps x.

  37. I had a balloon bought for my son the day he was born, 24th may 2006, and it is still fully inflated today

  38. Hi Sophie,

    I’m doing a science project on helium balloons and in order to put you as a resource I need your last name. I understand if you don’t feel comfortable giving it to me.


  39. Hi Jack,

    My name is Sophie Baxter we have more helium facts in our Helium facts for kids and grown ups too that might be of interest to you.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie Baxter

  40. I got a foil balloon when my son was born on January. 30 1999 he passed away on February. 2 1999 I kept. the balloon as a keep sake and it is now April 2012 and the balloon. is still fully. inflated. .hasn’t lost any air. is this even sopost to possible …??

  41. Hi

    We have a through-the-night Cansa Relay. We want to helium inflate balloons through the night and sell them. At a certain time in the early morning, about 6 o’clock we want to let all the balloons with a note, go up in the air. What time should we start inflating balloons, so by 6 they can still go up?


  42. Hello Amanda,

    If you want to release the balloons into the air, you need to use latex balloons. Latex balloons filled with helium usually float for 8 to 12 hours. The larger your latex balloons the longer they would last, so I would recommend you choose 11″ rather than 9″ balloons and start inflating around 11/12.00 for a 6.00 am release. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck!

  43. My alumni association does an “Everybody’s Birthday” at my church every year. The ceilings in the church hall are about 20 feet high as is the pastor’s vestry. One year I gave the balloons to the kids, but one was left, it stayed inflated for a year!!! I was walking past the vestry one Sunday and noticed it just floating on the ceiling. I was too amazed.

  44. My daughter recieved many helium foil balloons when she was born (1997) and two are still as good as new! i wanted to know what the record is. thanks.

  45. I had a helium balloon when my daughter was born..That is now 13 years ago..Is this a record..Thanks

  46. Hi Sophie,

    I’m currently doing a project for school, I’m hoping I can fill a box with tiny balloons and have them float out and up when the lid is removed.

    My question is, How small can a helium balloon be before the weight of the balloon is too much for it to lift?

    I’m hoping for something no more than around 5.5 inches across. less if possible. the more mini balloons floating out of the box the better.

  47. Hello Craig, tiny 5″ balloons will not float if inflated with helium. As latex balloons only float for a few hours when inflated with helium. The smallest size of balloons suitable for helium is 9inch / 23 cm. Hope this helps.

  48. Many thanks for your response Sophie. Thanks for taking the time.
    It’s very much appreciated.


  49. on may 12 2011, i got an anagram xl and it just stopped floating today, over a year

  50. My buddy has a Pink Barbie Christmas Special balloon that is still fully erect at 52 days…No Joke #SeriousFace. If anyone has the balls to go Balloon vs. Balloon, get at me #PrincessParty #YOLO.

  51. Hi there!
    I’m in the same boat as Amanda. I have a tiny little foil balloon my dad got me nearly 18 years ago when I had my tonsils removed as a child, still inflated! They last forever.
    Thanks for the advice on latex helium balloons! I have a few that have begun to deflate that I need nice and inflated for a photo shoot today! I came looking for answers and found them here.

  52. I’ve been reading all about balloons, very interesting stuff. I too have a balloon on a stick that I got for my high school grad… & today I am 38 yrs old so its been about 20 yrs & balloon feels like new.. These balloons do last forever! : )

  53. I have a foil balloon that is mounted on a stick. It was given to me in a bouquet of flowers when my daughter was born, it has never popped or gone down.
    She will be celebrating her 19th birthday on the 22nd July 😊

  54. I got one of those foil balloons on a stick the day I was born and I have just turned 24 and it is still inflated. It has been up on my room wall from I got home from hospital and only time it has been touched is when my room has been decorated.

  55. Hi. I will be celebrating my 64th birthday in a month, and I still have a fully inflated 40th Birthday balloon given to me from my Godson, so like Leah’s comment, 24 years old. It has survived house moves et al.

  56. My foil balloon on a stick will be 24years old in a month. My then 3year old godson gave it to me on my 40th birthday and it is as firm as the day he gave it to me. It has survived house moves and everything! Amazing.

  57. I have a foil birthday balloon lasting 2.5 months before hitting the ground

  58. Today is July 24th. My birthday is May 22 this foil balloon has lasted 64 days, and it still hovers about 2′ off the ground! I’ve never seen anything like it.

  59. It’s amazing how some balloons last such a long time isn’t it?

  60. Hi! My boyfriend got me a heart shaped Minnie &Mickey mouse anagram XL helium balloon for Valentine’s Day around 2/10/15 and it is now 10/19/15 and it’s still floating!!! We are both shocked! We have it in our living room and we stare at it and wonder…is tgis a record???? Unbelievable!!!!

  61. WOW that’s a long lasting one!

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