Part two of three.
Here here the second most popular question asked by new balloon entertainers.
Question: Which balloons are better Betallatex or Qualatex?
Answer: There are two major balloon manufacturers, Pioneer Balloon Company and Betalic LLC. Both manufacturers produce mylar and latex balloons. For the purpose of this article, I will be talking about latex balloons.
Each manufacturer makes a series of balloon sizes and their numbering denotes size and length, i.e. 260 balloon is the standard twisting balloon. It is 2-inches in diameter and 60-inches long. The balloon industry shorthand denotes the manufacturer by placing a B or Q after the number. B is Betallatex, while Q represents Qualatex.
Betalic LLC produces a line of balloons called Betallatex® which comes in various sizes; 160, 260, 360, 660 Latex balloons. They have 44 colors to choose from and most, if not all, the colors are in the entire product line.
Pioneer Balloon Company produces Qualatex®, 60 colors, but not all colors are produced in 160, 260, 350, or 646 format.
Qualatex®, (Q) at present is the most popular and most used in the balloon industry, but over the years, Betallatex® (B) has been cutting into Pioneer Balloon Company’s market share.
I have used the Q balloons for 20-years and when I was first introduced to them, I found them wonderful, bright, and had a great feel. I would describe this experience like a child having ice cream for the very first time.
Q has been working hard over the past twenty year to produce new colors, sizes, and now shapes. Yet, I have seen the quality slip with the increase in production. To the nonprofessionals this is not big deal, a case of balloons that slip past quality control really does not affect anybody, except for an entertainer. A defective bag reflects directly on their skills, entertainment level, and reputation.
Consistent problems I have seen over the past 20 years include weak balloons, to the point that you can feel the difference not only in color but also in visibility. Pinholes, caused by a dirty or defective mold, causes the balloon to either explode or slowly deflate on inflation. Conjoined twins are an industry term for when two balloons are bonded together. During the manufacturing of the product, two latex balloons have adhered to each other, forming one balloon with two nozzles and two tails.
Length is consistent, color never varies, and over all durability is excellent. Many entertainers have described Q balloons as being oily or shiny latex. After extensive balloon twisting, the colors do wear off on the hands, and it is common to have greenish hands after twisting a couple of hundred emerald green balloons.
When Betalic first introduced their 260 balloons to the industry, I was not a fan. For me it was cholocate ice cream; nice, but not my favorite flavor.
In the early years, product quality was a big issue. It was not strange to open a bag of balloons and find different lengths, or balloons with no nozzles. But I am reminiscing, let us jump to the present.
The B balloons have multiplied in my balloon apron and now consume 95% of all the balloons I twist. The length issues are gone. Balloons with no nozzles are gone; all that remains is a very consistent latex balloon.
Like the Q balloons, the durability, strength, and color retention are the same. Twist 100 B red balloons, and you have a reddish film over your hands.
The B does have the issue with the occasional exploding on inflation. I blame this on the drying process when the balloon is manufactured. If the balloon is dry too quickly, the balloon become brittle and latex does not expand fast enough, thus the balloon explodes.
As an entertainer, I can reduce the occasional exploding balloon by giving the balloon a quick stretch prior to inflation, but this does not guarantee it will not explode.
The overall texture of a B balloon is on the dry side and entertainers accustomed to Q balloons instantly complain about the texture of the balloon. I would describe it like switching from whole milk to 2% milk. Instantly you notice the difference in texture. However, once you have been drinking the 2% milk for a month, it is just milk.
- Q balloons have a rounded tip, undeflated, while B has a pointed tip
- Both have multiple shades of color, to the point that you only need one shade, not both
- Q solid balloon colors are sold in packs of 100, B are sold in packs of 50
- B has a 360 balloon, while Q produces a 350
- B blush is peach until inflated, and then it looks very close to a Q blush
- Q has pinholes and conjoined twins, while B has the occasional exploding balloon
I personally prefer the Batallic’s Betallatex balloon to Q, just because I hate having a faulty balloon in my apron. In my experience, B’s consistency for quality has out produced Q consistency, and since my entertainment career is so closely intertwined with the quality of the product, I choose Betallatex.
We all have loyalties to manufacturers and have our own personal reasons why we prefer one over the other. I hope that what I have outlined above will allow you to try each manufacturer for yourself and choose the balloon which is best for your career as a balloon entertainer.
Orland Hills, IL