Helium FAQs

At Party City, we're the balloon experts! We're here to help you learn more about helium balloons, helium tanks, the 2019 helium supply shortage, and ways to keep your balloons decorations afloat!  Check out our answers to common questions below, as well as a quick list of balloon decoration ideas for your next big bash.

Does Party City have helium?

Yes! Our stores have helium and we're ready to inflate balloons for your next celebration. We have several options for filling balloons:

  • You can purchase select Party City balloons in store and have them inflated before you leave.
  • You can purchase uninflated Party City balloons online, then bring them to our store to have them inflated for free. (Just make sure your item says price includes helium and bring your receipt!)
  • You can also order inflated balloons online and pick-up in store or get them delivered straight to your door! Click here to learn more about balloon delivery.
  • You can purchase balloons from other stores and have them filled at Party City for a fee.

How much does it cost to get balloons filled with helium at Party City?

When you buy foil balloons from Party City, we fill them for free at the store. When you buy latex balloons from us, we can fill them in store for a small fee. You can expect the following price ranges to fill balloons with helium:

  • Foil balloons: Free!
  • Latex balloons: $0.99 to $1.29

If you purchase your balloons from another store, your local Party City can fill those with helium, too. Helium prices can vary depending on your location, so it's a good idea to call ahead. You can expect the following price ranges for Party City to fill balloons purchased elsewhere:

  • Foil balloons: $1.99 to $15.99, depending on size.
  • Latex balloons: $0.99 to $1.29

Can I buy helium tanks at Party City?

Yes, you can! If you prefer to fill balloons yourself, we offer both small and large helium tanks that are perfect for parties or events. Our helium tanks are available for purchase online or via in-store pickup.

Where does helium come from?

Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, but you won't find it in the air. That's because this gas is so light that it quickly rises into space. Strangely enough, the helium we find on Earth is actually trapped underground along with natural gas! Helium production is a byproduct of the natural gas industry, but there are relatively few places where helium is concentrated enough to successfully extract it. About 75 percent of the world's supply comes from just three areas – one in Texas, one in Wyoming and one in the country of Qatar.

Why was there a helium shortage in 2019?

The helium shortage was the result of multiple factors. Production plant closures, an embargo in Qatar in 2017 and a gradual sell-off of America's strategic helium reserves have all put pressure on the industry. This, combined with increasing global demand and other factors, led to some of the issues with the helium market.

Is helium running out permanently?

While helium is abundant throughout the universe, it is a finite resource on Earth. The helium shortage of 2019 doesn't mean that we've run out, though. New sources of helium have been discovered in Africa, and companies continue to search for additional places to mine the gas. It takes time to set up a new mining operation, however, so supplies may continue to be a bit tight.

Who else uses helium?

Most people know helium thanks to its use in balloons and blimps, but this gas has a wide range of applications. One of its most important uses is in the medical field – it's used to cool magnets in MRI machines and can be mixed with air to help people with breathing problems. Its use in scientific research includes cryogenics, particle accelerators and even space exploration. Helium is also used in military applications and in the manufacture of semiconductors and fiber optic cables.

Are there alternatives to helium filled balloons?

While there are several types of lighter-than-air gasses, only helium is safe and cost-effective enough to be used for balloons. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to bring festive fun to your party without using helium. In addition to ideas like flags, banners, streamers, pompoms and bunting, you can also use air-filled balloons to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind displays.

8 Air-Filled Balloon Ideas

Looking for even more balloon fun? We can help – check out our balloon tutorials page and discover more ways to create beautiful décor for your next celebration.