Everything You Need To Know About Inflating Balloons Early And Still Have Them Look Professional

Candy Birthday Balloons

Ribbon, check. Party decorations, check. Balloons, check. Everything is ready to go but what about inflating balloons early for your event and still having them look amazing? In this post, I’m going to show you everything you need to know about inflating your balloons early and still having them look professional and how long blown up balloons last with air.

Inflating your balloons early can be a helpful time-saver for the day of an event and it is considered common practice among balloon professionals worldwide. So now that we have decided inflating your balloons early is a good idea, how early can you inflate your balloons? The answer to this is going to be a personal choice based on experience, quality of balloons, time available, and space (both storage and transporting).

Considerations For Inflating Balloons Early

There are several considerations you need to think about when determining the details of how, when, and where you will inflate balloons early for your event. In this section, we are going to discuss some of these considerations you may want to think about as you make your decision.

Quality Of Balloons

The most important thing to think about when figuring out how early you can inflate your balloons is going to be the quality of your balloons. When it comes to quality balloons several brands stand out in the balloon industry as quality balloons such as Qualatex, Betallatex (a.k.a. Betallic or Sempertex), Tuftex, and Gemar. There are several other balloon brands that many balloon professionals use but these are the brands that I consider the most well-known high-quality balloon brands. Check out my post Balloon Brands Put To The Test – An Immersive Look here (coming soon).

So you might be asking yourself, what is the difference between a high quality balloon versus a non-quality balloon. High quality balloons are made from natural rubber or natural latex which naturally makes them biodegradable. A non-quality balloon might have preservatives, other additives, or synthetic rubbers added to them which can make them cheaper for production but it also affects the quality of the balloon.

In general, quality balloons are going to last much longer than non-quality balloons. I have used cheap or no-name brands of balloons in a pinch or for practice, and I have even had them last longer than I would have expected. However, I would not trust my balloon business or my balloon reputation with a cheap or no-name brand of balloons.

Time And Space Available

The next two things to think about when figuring out how early you can inflate your balloons is going to be the time available for setup and the space available. This will include the amount of space you have available to store the inflated balloons as well as the amount of space you have available for transport if you will be inflating the balloons at a different location than their final setup location. These two considerations go hand and hand with each other.

Let’s say you are only making a single balloon column for an event and you can inflate the balloons and place them in the exact spot you want them for the event. They are protected from the elements and other sharp objects. This would be an example of a perfect situation to inflate your balloons early, however, this is rarely the case.

Usually, it is something more like you have several balloon columns, a balloon drop, 32 balloon centerpieces, and a balloon arch to inflate and assemble. Oh yeah, and the customer says you only have an hour to set up for the event.

Generally speaking, the only time I allow for only an hour is if I am only required to do delivery and no setup of any kind is required. For anything beyond a simple delivery, I state that a minimum of two hours is required and as the difficulty increases so does the required time for setup. In any case, you will need to have sufficient time to inflate, assemble, and set up any balloon decorations you might have.

So how much time do you need to inflate the balloons you need?

On average, you will need 12 mins for every 50 11″ air-filled balloons and 20 mins for every 50 11″ helium filled balloons with string. The newer you are to balloons the longer you will need to inflate the same amount of balloons. But on the other hand, the more you work with balloons the faster you will get and this time will decrease.

This time will also increase or decrease depending on if you are using a hand pump, an electric balloon pump, or helium or if you are sizing the balloons, and even what size you are inflating the balloons to. Your inflation time will also vary depending on if you use helium, add a string, tie a string while tying the balloon, or treat the balloon with Hi-Float. Check out some of my other posts you might find helpful, How To Size A Balloon Using A Hand Pump here, Electric Balloon Pumps / Inflators here, and How To Tie A Ribbon And Balloon At The Same Time here.

Average Time Needed To Inflate Balloons

Number Of Balloons*Average Time (Air-Filled)**Average Time (Helium Filled)
5010 mins20 mins
10020 mins40 mins
15030 mins1 hour
20040 mins1 hour 20 mins
25050 mins1 hour 40 mins
3001 hour2 hours
3501 hour 10 mins2 hours 20 mins
4001 hour 20 mins2 hours 40 mins
4501 hour 30 mins3 hours
5001 hour 40 mins3 hours 20 mins
10003 hours 20 mins6 hours 40 mins
*Based on balloons inflated to 9″ using a hand pump **Based on balloons inflated to approximately 11″ with helium

So how much space do you need to transport inflated balloons? Check out my post The Best Way To Transport Inflated Balloons here.

In general, you will need 25 cu. ft. of space to transport 50 11″ balloons. The more balloons you have the more cu. ft. of cargo space you will need and the fewer balloons you have the less cu. ft. of cargo space you will need.

VehicleEstimated Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)Estimated 11″ Balloons
Mini Van140280
9′ Cargo Van230460
Chart For Estimated Cargo Space

Inflating Air-Filled Balloons Early

Inflating air-filled ballons early is a perfect way to prepare for an event. Air-filled balloons can last for several days without losing their shape, color, or luster (so long as you are using a high quality balloon). If you haven’t done so already, check out my post The Best Way To Transport Inflated Balloons here.

I highly recommend testing the brand of balloons you intend to use by inflating balloons before your event and keeping notes of how long they look good. I have done this on several occasions and I am working on an article with all of that information. I will link it when I finish it.

Inflating Helium Filled Balloons Early

Inflating helium filled balloons is a completely different ballgame than air-filled balloons. Helium filled balloons only last for a few hours up to 24 hours from inflation without being treated. All hope is not lost when it comes to helium filled balloons. The Hi-Float company makes a product to treat helium filled balloons which helps extend their life. You can pick some up for yourself here on Amazon.

Again, I highly recommend testing the brand of balloons you intend to use by inflating balloons before your event and keeping notes of how long they look good.

Will Air-Filled Balloons Last Overnight?

This is one of the most asked questions I get asked about inflating balloons is can I inflate my air-filled balloons the night before. The short answer is, that you can inflate your air-filled balloons the night before and they will still look good, as long as you have taken the above considerations.

Please note that this is NOT a guarantee that every balloon will last overnight (or longer) but in general, the time saved from inflating balloons early has been a huge benefit to my balloon business, as well as every other balloon decorator I have ever talked to. That is not to say that there won’t be some balloons that won’t survive the early inflation. This is normal and to be expected, please plan accordingly.

How Long Do Balloons Stay Inflate?

Latex Air-Filled4 days – 4 weeks
Latex Helium Filled12 hours – 24 hours
Latex Helium Filled Treated1 week – 4 weeks
Foil Air-Filled3 months – 1 year
Foil Helium Filled4 weeks – 8 weeks

I hope this post brought value to your day. If it did, please consider sharing it with a friend or on your favorite social media. Thanks For Reading Fun With Balloons!

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