Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 03-10-2016, 07:46 PM
Loonatic Loonatic is offline
Balloons + Feet
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: US
Posts: 104
Loonatic is on a distinguished road
Default Helium Tanks??
Anybody know if it's more cost efficient to just get a smaller refillable helium tank versus repeatedly purchasing the little one-time-use balloon time tanks from a store? I've been wanting to get a helium tank to use for balloon decorating (and a bit of personal use to be completely forthcoming) but I don't know whether it'd be better to shell out $150ish for a smaller refillable tank or purchasing the small canisters for around $30 each time. Any advice or ideas?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-10-2016, 02:40 AM
OverTheTop OverTheTop is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 653
OverTheTop is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
Do the math, liters of helium per dollar. I'm betting the larger one is more cost efficient.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 19-05-2019, 06:08 PM
nortek nortek is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 5
nortek is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
Originally Posted by Loonatic View Post
Anybody know if it's more cost efficient to just get a smaller refillable helium tank versus repeatedly purchasing the little one-time-use balloon time tanks from a store? I've been wanting to get a helium tank to use for balloon decorating (and a bit of personal use to be completely forthcoming) but I don't know whether it'd be better to shell out $150ish for a smaller refillable tank or purchasing the small canisters for around $30 each time. Any advice or ideas?
Have you finally bought a helium tank?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21-05-2019, 07:09 AM
PBK PBK is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 200
PBK is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
If you're a true helium enthusiast, a commercial tank is the way to go.
Those cute little pink tanks from Walmart may be cheap in price up front, but they're a total rip-off when it comes to quantity and quality. They fill a niche. For someone that wants a few helium balloons around for a graduation party, baby shower or child's birthday party I'm sure they fill the role just fine. For those of us that want serious helium balloon filling capacity they may seem expensive up front, but you will get far more helium balloons out of a commercial cylinder than one of those crappy tanks from Walmart. Invest in some Hi-float to extend the life of your helium balloons, too. Helium is a very small molecule. Pretty much literally exists only in its atomic form. It diffuses through the latex of balloons and renders balloons sunk almost overnight unless you use Hi-float. Hi-Float is available at any Party City and most other party stores and online.
So how do you get a commercial helium tank? Contact your local gas supplier. Praxair and Air Liquide are the 2 main companies in my area. I have accounts with both of them. Welding gas supply shops might be another option. Generally, you rent/lease the tank and buy the helium. A 300 Cu ft tank charged to 2600 PSI will fill hundreds of 17" balloons. You will need to buy your own regulator as well. Of course, certain companies might rent the regulator to you with the tank.
As mentioned above, Hi-Float is an essential product for the helium balloon lover. A 17" Tuf-Tex will float for 2 days without Hi-Float. With Hi-Float I can get them to last 2 months. I have 36" Qualatex rounds that are 7 months floating and going strong.
The cons of a commercial tank:
Heavy.
Usually need to buy a regulator.
Expensive up front. Usually need to set up an account and lease or rent the tank.

I don't regret going the helium route. Be prepared to shell out some dough and definitely invest in Hi-Float gel.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 21-05-2019, 11:45 AM
lincy lincy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Dubai
Posts: 40
lincy is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
You can Choose the best Helium Tank suppliers so that you can easily purchase Helium tanks at a negotiable price.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 21-05-2019, 12:23 PM
BalloonBoyUK's Avatar
BalloonBoyUK BalloonBoyUK is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 428
BalloonBoyUK is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
Originally Posted by Loonatic View Post
Anybody know if it's more cost efficient to just get a smaller refillable helium tank versus repeatedly purchasing the little one-time-use balloon time tanks from a store? I've been wanting to get a helium tank to use for balloon decorating (and a bit of personal use to be completely forthcoming) but I don't know whether it'd be better to shell out $150ish for a smaller refillable tank or purchasing the small canisters for around $30 each time. Any advice or ideas?
PBK has said most things. Here's my comments - some of which overlap, some don't.

Those small tanks, are NEVER cost efficient. In the UK, they retail for about 20. For 20, you'd get more 11" balloons properly done by a balloon decorating or party store, then you will by using one of those small helium tanks and try to get 20 x 11" balloons out of them. Simply put, those small tanks are a waste of time and money, and I would never recommend them, unless you have absolutely no other alternative open to you.

The proper commercial helium tanks, that you hire, are infinitely more cost-effective, but do come with huge financial and physical issues. For UK users, the gas prices generally aren't negotiable either. Unless you are going to be using huge amounts of helium, then you're unlikely to get any kind of discounts or lowering of the prices. So bear this in mind.


The negatives are:
1) The initial financial outlay, can be intimidating. Not only do you need to pay for the gas cylinder itself, there's also the hire charges too. These can be daily, weekly or monthly, and soon mount up. So, you do need to determine what you're going to end-up paying, depending on how long you plan on having the helium. Initially, you're going to be looking at around 200, to hire one large cylinder, for one month. Any longer than that, and you need to consider paying your rental fees in advance, yearly. (See further on in this post.)

2) Transportation: if you've got your own car/vehicle, then this won't be an issue, but (in the UK) some taxi companies won't let you carry the cylinders in their vehicles. So, you do need to take into account moving the cylinders, and returning them too. You'll also need to be able to get them from your car/vehicle into your home, and out again. Consider all the steps, stairs, doorways and other obstacles that might be in your way, before hiring one of them. The cylinders are heavy-as-heck, and unless you're very strong, then this can be a real hassle. Moreso, if you live on your own.

3) Somewhere to store the cylinder. Wherever you have it, it's going to be big and potentially in the way, which can be an issue. If you live on your own, then it won't matter as much. But if you live with family, friends, a significant other/partner/lover, then having it at home may not be conducive. Plus, you need to consider what might happen if there was a fire at your home, and where the cylinder is stored, and what might happen if it exploded/leaked. You won't be able to hide one of these things, and they do need to be kept upright, not laid flat on the ground. And it shouldn't be stored anywhere that gets too warm, or where someone could knock it over or have it fall on them - for obvious reasons!


The postives, are:
1) You can have helium balloons at anytime, day or night, any day of the year. That in itself, is phenomenal! Feeling down? It's 3am on a Sunday morning, and you can't sleep. Imagine being able to hop-out of bed, and blow-up some balloons with your lovely helium cylinder, and then enjoying yourself. Lovely!

2) You can blow-up whatever balloons you like, whenever you want, as big or small as you like.

3) No one will be able to see you doing what you're doing, so if you fancy using the cylinder whilst you blow-up the balloons stark-bollock-naked, then as long as no one can see you doing it, then you are free to do this. At your own risk of course... A popped balloon against exposed intimate parts of the anatomy, is never cool!

4) The number of balloons you can inflate, per cylinder is far cheaper than getting them done at a local party store or balloon decoration business. For example, in a UK-sized Air Products "X10" sized cylinder, I can get 500 x 11" or 12" balloons. These work out at about 30p each, excluding the cost of the balloon. So, when you do the maths, the cylinders are so much more cost-effective.

In my case, I hire out an X30 cylinder (which can fill about 1200 x 11" or 12" balloons), and pay 120 for the gas, and I pay the rental fees, a year in advance, which are 180 - compared to the usual rental fee of about 30 per month. This is the largest size cylinder available, and is about 4.5ft in height. There are two other sizes: the smallest is an X10, the medium sized one is an X20, and the largest is the X30. The smallest, is lightweight, and is about 2.5ft tall, and easily liftable with one hand. The medium one, is about 15kg in weight, about 4ft tall. The largest one, weighs about 25kg.

This means, that although I can only have one cylinder out at a time, I can have as many cylinders out over the course of 12 months, and I will only need to pay for the actual gas. So, for me, this is far more cost-effective, as I don't tend to use more than 2 cylinders per year.

Ultimately, the positives outweigh the negatives, but you do need to consider the hassles involved in hiring them, and how long you keep them for.


Other countries options for hiring helium may vary of course. But for UK forum members, you generally have two companies you can hire helium from: BOC and Air Products. Air Products tends to be cheaper, and you get more gas in each cylinder, compared to BOC. In the largest BOC cylinder, you can do about 1000 x 11" or 12" balloons. Air Products largest, will let you do about 1200 x 11" or 12" balloons. So, it's better for looners, in my view.

BOC also tend to want you to have a business name and address, with a registered VAT address attached, and they will Credit Check/Score you too. Air Products don't require that, nor do they do a Credit Check/Score on you. As long as you pay your bills on time, then an individual can have the account in their own name.

And yes, as PBK says, invest in Hi-Float, if you really plan on blowing up lots of helium balloons. It's an absolute God-send! Easily buyable via Amazon, if used correctly, you can have a 3ft/36" balloon filled with helium stay afloat for 6 months! How can you say no, to that?!

Last edited by BalloonBoyUK; 21-05-2019 at 12:44 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 21-05-2019, 05:37 PM
PBK PBK is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 200
PBK is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helium Tanks??
One other thing I will mention that BalloonBoy touched on:
It might not be as simple as just driving up to your local gas supply company in a car and buying a cylinder of helium.
Transporting the cylinders will require you to have a truck or a van. Or hire one.
I don't know about the UK/Europe, but in my area helium is classed as a Dangerous Goods - Compressed Gas & Oxygen Displacement Gas. In other words in a confined space helium will suffocate you by displacing breathable air. Furthermore, with cylinders charged up to 2500 PSI (17,200 kPa) if the valve was carelessly knocked off the cylinder would become a steel rocket. Therefore any commercial company you hire to deliver/transport the gas has to be TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) certified and the vehicle has to have appropriate placards and follow designated TDG routes and the driver would have to be TDG certified. Not criteria most cab companies follow.
If you use your own vehicle most gas supply companies won't release the cylinder to you unless you demonstrate that your vehicle can safely transport the cylinder secured, outside the cab and in an upright position. Or in a vehicle designed to transport compressed gases. This is due to regulations and liability.
Again, not sure about the UK/Europe or even the US, but in my parts these are all things that have to be considered before buying/leasing a cylinder of helium.
Not trying to scare anybody but do your homework and talk to a salesperson at your gas supply shop before you just go there buying a cylinder of helium.
I have a truck with a headache rack I chain my cylinders to plus ramps and a cart specifically designed for compressed gas cylinders so it's never a problem for me.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 22-05-2019, 12:40 PM
BalloonBoyUK's Avatar
BalloonBoyUK BalloonBoyUK is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 428
BalloonBoyUK is on a distinguished road
Exclamation Re: Helium Tanks??
Originally Posted by PBK View Post
Again, not sure about the UK/Europe or even the US, but in my parts these are all things that have to be considered before buying/leasing a cylinder of helium.

In the UK, it's less problematic. Whilst you can use an ordinary car/vehicle to transport a single cylinder of helium, and most gas suppliers will be okay about that in the UK, as PBK says it's something you MUST be careful about, if you are transporting cylinders of pressurised gas, period! These things are very heavy in weight and the medium and large-sized cylinders are bulky and tall as well! Your car boot/trunk might look big enough, but you should double-check things beforehand. Measure and assess whether the vehicle you are planning to use is going to be safe enough, not only to carry the cylinder, but also to then be driven back to where you live or to the depot to return it. The temperature inside a car can be hotter than the outside air temperature, so if you live somewhere hot or are moving cylinders during the Summer, then this is also something you need to bear in mind!

I have a friend who helps me collect/return my cylinders, and we put one in the back of the car, safely strapped in, so it doesn't roll about. That said, the journey from the cylinder depot to mine, is less than 10 minutes in a car, along one straight road. Your journey may be more cumbersome. Don't forget to consider things like the number of turns the journey may involve, how many speed bumps, bridges or other similar kind of road issues there may be along the route; the speed of your car with the additional weight in it, and how that may affect braking distances too. I know this will all sound very anal, but until you've driven a vehicle carrying a large, heavy helium cylinder in it, then it can be a very eye-opening experience, compared to driving without one.

That said, hiring helium isn't easy, and as PBK rightly says, you do need to think long and hard about all the logistics of doing so. It seems easy to hire, but it's something that needs a lot of attention before you do so. If you aren't prepared, and haven't thought things through, you could end-up with plenty of issues: financial, physical, or other, that you hadn't considered. It's also a pressurised rocket! You need to bear that in mind. If the cylinder exploded, or the nozzle got broken off, you and the car won't survive long! And no, we're not joking! PBK is spot-on when he says that they're like rockets on a spaceship. They are, and as such, you need to be completely aware of this!

If in doubt, I'd start by trying out the smallest cylinder available, which will ususally do about 500 x 11" or 12" balloons, and see how you cope with that first. Don't go renting bigger cylinders, or even multiple ones, until you are happy about how much helium you will use; how often you will use them; the financial costs involved, and the acutal ownership and transportation of the cylinders too.

This isn't like the tiny party helium cylinders you can buy for 20/$30, and then the cylinders just go in the bin. Unless you're super rich, the bills can easily sky-rocket, and if you can't get the cylinders returned in a timely fashion (empty or not), then you will incure fees, and late fees on top of them too, if you aren't careful. (Oh, and that's another thing: bear in mind you pay for a full cylinder, upfront. If you don't use it all, that's money down the drain. Will you be okay with that? Again, it's something you need to consider.)

Hiring helium is a serious thing to do, and it should be approached as such. There's no such things as stupid questions when it comes to hiring or using helium, so don't be afraid to ask anything and everything, before you open an account or hire some out. If you're not sure, ask! The dealers/vendors/suppliers will see you taking this seriously, and that's a good thing.

It's not cheap to do, and you need to know what you are doing! So be safe and sane about it!

Last edited by BalloonBoyUK; 22-05-2019 at 12:52 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
advice, helium, helium tank, question

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.