Helium Tanks: Should You Rent or Buy

Oct 30, 2023

Floating balloons can add an extra touch of charm to your upcoming wedding, party, or special event. But before you start filling up those balloons, you need to decide whether you should rent or buy a helium tank. The truth is that there are pros and cons to both options, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision. If you want to know what we think, keep reading to uncover expert insights and valuable tips.


What to Know About Renting Helium Tanks

So, you have an event coming up, and balloons are on your checklist. Whether you’re thinking of a sea of balloons overhead or just handing them out, you’re going to need helium. Here’s a rundown of what to know about renting helium tanks.

Sizing It Up

The first thing to know is that helium tanks are available in different capacities:

  • Small Tanks: These tanks are good for smaller events, as they can fill about 50 x 12″ latex balloons.
  • Large Tanks: For those bigger occasions, there are tanks that can accommodate over 500 balloons.

It’s all about figuring out how many balloons you’ll need and picking the right tank for the job.

Breaking Down the Costs

As you would expect, smaller tanks cost much less to rent than larger tanks; here’s a good idea of the price:

  • Small tanks: Typically around $80.
  • Large tanks: Closer to $450.

This covers the helium inside. Remember, there’s also a rental fee, which might be daily or monthly, depending on how long you need it.

Deposits and Extras

Expect to put down a deposit, usually between $100 and $200, which you’ll get back when you return the tank. Make sure to ask if equipment like valves or nozzles is included. If you’re thinking about mylar balloons, they need a special nozzle, so check on that, too.

Transportation and Mobility

Moving the tank around? Consider renting a cylinder dolly. It’s an added expense, but it simplifies transporting the tank. Alternatively, some suppliers might deliver, but if you’re picking up, be clear on the return deadline to avoid extra fees.

Buying Helium Tanks

Not keen on the whole rental process? Buying a disposable helium tank might be right up your alley. Here’s what you need to know:

Convenience is Key

Unlike the process of renting, buying a disposable tank is straightforward. No need to find a local supplier, pay hefty deposits, or return tanks. You buy it, you use it, and you recycle or dispose of it appropriately.

Where to Buy?

Amazon has DIY Helium Tanks for inflating balloons.

Popular retail stores like Walmart or Target stock them. Or, for those who prefer the convenience of e-commerce, online orders are an option. Do you want to know the best part? These tanks typically come with a nozzle already attached, so there’s no added expense there.

Complete Kits vs. Stand-Alone Tanks

For those concerned about balloon specifics, some kits provide a complete package: a tank, 30 assorted 9″ balloons, and even some white curling ribbon. Alternatively, you can buy just the tank and source balloons separately, whether they’re latex or foil. A standard 14.9 cubic feet tank will fill about:

  • 50 x 9″ latex balloons
  • 27 x 11″ latex balloons
  • 27 x 18″ mylar balloons

Costs Involved

Depending on the supplier and what’s included, prices can vary. Generally, you can expect to shell out around $70 for the balloon kit or a slightly larger tank that’s sold without balloons. And if you’re shopping online, don’t forget to factor in the costs for shipping!

Longevity and Storage

Ensure the tank’s valve is securely closed to prevent any helium leaks. A well-sealed tank can last months, handy for sporadic balloon needs, like creating an occasional balloon bouquet.

Renting vs. Buying Helium Tanks: The Final Verdict

When it comes to helium tanks, it’s not just about filling balloons; it’s about efficiency, cost, and environmental responsibility. So, before you make the choice, consider these factors:

The Cost

Renting may seem like a more significant investment initially, but it actually provides more helium for a lower price compared to disposable purchases. Hence, if you’re on a budget but need a significant amount of helium, rental might be the way to go.

Assess Your Needs

If your event requires inflating more than 50 x 9″ balloons or over 27 x 12″ latex balloons, renting is the clear winner. Not only does it offer better value, but it’s also more environmentally sustainable, as rental tanks are reused and refilled over time.

Going Disposable

For smaller gatherings or one-time events where you’re inflating fewer balloons, disposable tanks can be a convenient choice. Alternatively, consider having balloons filled at a local party supply store.

Frequently Asked Questions: Rent vs Buy Helium Tanks

Is it cheaper to buy a helium tank or get balloons filled?
The cost-effectiveness between buying a helium tank or having balloons filled at a store largely depends on the quantity you need. For larger events or frequent balloon needs, purchasing a tank may offer better value as it provides the flexibility of filling balloons at your convenience. Conversely, for one-time events or if you’re only inflating a handful of balloons, having them filled at a store might be more budget-friendly. It’s recommended to compare both options based on the current market rates and your specific requirements to make the most economical choice.
How much does a helium tank cost?
The price of helium tanks can vary widely based on size, type, and whether they’re disposable or for rent. Disposable tanks, ideal for one-time events, usually cost around $70. However, if you’re looking at rental tanks, prices begin at approximately $80 for smaller ones and can escalate to $450 for the largest sizes. Remember, renting also often involves additional fees like deposits and potential late return charges. It’s crucial to research various suppliers and consider all associated costs to get a comprehensive understanding of the potential expenses.
Is there a difference in helium tanks?
Absolutely. Helium tanks differ mainly in size, capacity, and intended usage. Rental tanks are typically larger and designed for events requiring a significant amount of helium. They’re also reusable and can be refilled, making them environmentally friendly. On the other hand, disposable tanks, commonly found in retail stores, are smaller and are meant for single-use, making them convenient for sporadic needs or smaller gatherings. Additionally, the helium purity might vary between tanks, which can influence the balloon’s float time.
How many balloons will a store bought helium tank fill?
A standard disposable helium tank, which you can find in most retail stores, is designed to fill approximately 50 x 9″ latex balloons, 27 x 11″ latex balloons, or 27 x 18″ mylar balloons. However, these figures are averages, and the actual number might differ slightly based on the tank’s brand and specific capacity. For best results, always consult the label or packaging of the helium tank you’re purchasing.