What kinds of balloons are there in the market? Of course, I talk about party balloons: Round balloons, long balloons (also called modelling balloons), latex balloons, foil balloons, plastic balloon, silicon balloons and so on…

Well, there are many kinds and types of balloons, differ from each other in their shape, size, flexibility and material. Some of them are biodegradable and some are not.

As a balloon artist, I have been asked many times about the kinds of balloons by my students, who learn how to make balloon animals or how to make balloon decorations. In this article I will make a review about kinds and type of balloons.

There are many types of balloons, in a variety of sizes and shapes, made of two main materials: Latex balloons (in various shapes and sizes) and foil balloons in a variety of shapes.

Round Balloons

These are the birthday balloons, which are actually the normal balloons that everyone knows.
Most of these balloons are made of latex (i.e. pure rubber, which is actually the resin of the rubber tree, therefore, it is a biodegradable material). These balloons come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from small sizes: for example, a five-inch balloon (marked as 5” balloon or as 5”R (R stands for Round)) through a 12” round balloons, to huge sizes that can be inflated to the size of a person’s height.

The size of the round balloon (for example, 5 inches) is actually the diameter of the balloon when it is almost fully inflated.
By the way, the most common size of round balloons (with which we often create balloon designs for events with) is 12 or 11 inches. Of course it’s also the name of the balloon: 11-inch balloon or 12-inch balloon.

Why are there 2 common sizes? (11″ or 12″)? because some balloon companies manufacture this balloon as a 12 inches balloon and some produce it as an 11 inches balloon.

Modelling balloons (also called Long balloons or twisting balloons or balloon animals – or in their professional name “260 balloons”)

These are the long balloons that we use to make balloon animals with (balloon dog / balloon sword etc’).

These balloons are also made of latex, which is the resin of the rubber tree and is biodegradable.  Although most of the people know only one size of modelling balloons, actually, there are 4 major sizes of modelling balloons. These sizes differ from each other in their diameter (their thickness). Their length is more or less equal.

Modelling balloons are marked using the following name convention: Width (diameter in inches) & length (in inches).
For example, 260 balloons are 2 inches diameter & 60 inches long.

260 balloons also have two thicker brothers: 350 (or 360) balloons, and 660 (or 646) balloons. They also have one thinner brother (160 balloon). Why are they 2 names for each larger modelling balloon? Because Qualatex manufacture this balloon 50 inches or 46 inches long, while Sempertex or Betallic manufacture this balloon 60 inches long.

Modelling Balloons Sizes

Modelling balloons size chart

Round balloons with two ends (Link-o-Loon Balloons)
Round balloons with two ends – also called double tip balloons (their brand names are link-o-Loons or Quick Links) are round balloons with two ends: One of the ends is the nozzle of the balloon, and on the opposite side of the nozzle there is another closed “nozzle”. We use this other tip to tie more balloons to it. This way we tie a balloon to a balloon to a balloon, creating a chain of round balloons connected to each other without the need of using any string to hold them together. Then, we use these rows of balloons to combine more and more rows into a big balloon sculpture. Link-o-Loon balloons are made of latex.

We often use these balloons to make balloon walls. For example, this balloon castle (designed by Guido Verhoef) is made out of Link-o-Loon balloons (click the picture for more info about this course)

Link-O-Loon balloon

Foil and Mylar balloons

Mylar balloons (also called Foil balloons) – are balloon that are made of foil (aluminum) that is coated with nylon inside (mylar). These balloons comes in all kind of shapes and are usually filled with helium. They often have different prints on them, such as a unicorn balloon or balloons that looks like letters and more and more.

Because these balloons are made of metal and nylon, they stay very long with air (or helium) inside.

foil balloons

a mylar balloon

More latex balloons in a variety of shapes and forms

There are many more kinds of latex balloons, like heart balloons, geo blossom balloons (balloons that has a hole in their center), Mickey Mouse balloons, long spiral balloons and more and more.

Latex balloons in a verity of shapes

transparent Silicone Balloons

Silicone balloons are new balloons in the industry. They are round balloons that has a different look and fill. The great advantage of these balloons is that they don’t get oxidize (they stay shiny and clear, just like a soap bubble). That happens since they are not biodegradable. In addition, their shape is round just like a ball. (there are many balloon artists that uses LED light with these balloons.

Bubble balloon (clear silicone balloon)