Part two of three.
Here is the second most popular question asked by new balloon entertainers.
Editors Notes: This article was originally posted on Nov 13, 2013, revamped and updated for accuracy.
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 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 balloons are the standard twisting balloon. It is 2-inches in diameter and 60-inches long. The balloon industry shorthand means 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 75 colors to choose from, and most, if not all, of the colors, are in the entire product line.
- New are Betallatex Reflex balloons come in 7 vibrant colors Pink, Key Lime, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Violet, and Blue.
Pioneer Balloon Company produces Qualatex®, 60 colors, but not all colors are made in 160, 260, 350, or 646 formats.
- New Qualatex Chrome balloons Green, Blue, Silver, Gold, Purple, Rose Gold, Copper, and Mauve.
I have used the Q balloons for 20-years, and when I was first introduced to them, I found them fantastic, bright and had a great feel. I would describe this experience as a child having ice cream for the very first time.
Q has been working hard over the past thirty years to produce new colors, sizes, and new shapes. Yet, I have seen the quality slip with the increase in production. To the nonprofessionals, this is no big deal. A case of balloons that slip past quality control 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 invisibility. Pinholes caused by a dirty or defective mold cause the balloon to explode or slowly deflate on inflation. Conjoined twins are an industry term for when two balloons are bonded together. During the product’s manufacturing, two latex balloons have adhered to each other, forming one balloon with two nozzles and two tails.
Length is consistent, color never varies, and overall 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 chocolate 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.
In the early years, B had the reputation of exploding on inflation. This is no longer a big issue. I feel B has solved this problem, which I initially blamed on the drying process when the balloon is manufactured. If the balloon is dry too quickly, the balloon becomes 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 before 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 as switching from whole milk to 2% milk. Immediately 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
- Both are sold in packs of 50 Nozzel up
- 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 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 outproduced 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 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.