I've bought three of these as I'm organising a surprise 50th do for my better half!
Upon reading the reviews (thankyou folks!) It appears a few say their bottles were empty upon delivery!
Okay. . .Upon delivery of my three Helium bottles, they arrived very well packaged in their own sturdy boxes, each came with 50x9 inch balloons plus ribbon. I took each one out and for the size of the gas bottle they appear very light in weight, almost empty! (see my pic uploads) So, being a crank I weighed each one and found that-
Bottle 1= 3.959 kg
Bottle 2 = 3.951 kg
Bottle 3 = 3.976 kg
Pretty tight I think you'd agree!
So they all weigh the same and if empty or full they all will be! There's 0.42 cubic metres of compressed Helium in there so they will be very light and appear empty even if you shake them as the Helium inside isn't in liquid form like Propane or Butane would be!
Anyway. . .the bottles come with a screw on valve adapter. This is a black flexi tube about 2 inches long that screws clockwise onto the outlet valve. The tap to let the gas out is green and is turned anti clockwise to release the gas.
Make sure the valve adapter is securely screwed on. Then open the green tap fully. The gas will not (shouldn't) come out at this point. Put the end of your balloon well over the valve and make a good seal with the neck of the balloon around the valve to stop any Helium escaping during filling.
Now with the black adapter in the balloon neck (facing away from you) squeeze it and pull it back (like milking a cow action! Mad I know!) This will release the Helium into your balloon! When its the right size ( I'll come to that in a min) stop pulling back on the valve to stop the flow and quickly tie your balloon off! "Hey Presto!" One Helium balloon done! Then tie your ribbon to it or whatever you're doing with it.
Sizing. . .Printed ontop of the box is a balloon sizing guide for 9,10 and 11 inch balloons (see my pic upload). The idea being to cut the one you need out, like a ring and you fill your balloon to match that size! Like a ring sizer for your finger. But, here's a better way (so I'm told by some balloon-y type person!) Say you want 12 inch balloons. You get two chairs and place them back to back. Now drag them apart so the backs are just 12 inches apart (measure it!) and place the gas bottle between them and fill your balloons right there. You know when your balloons are the right size as they'll just touch the backs of either chair! This is good if filling at a venue/hall.
I've done some testers and found this. . .buy good quality latex balloons. If you pay cheap you'll get cheap! It's best to tie the neck off. It lasts well longer (12 hours inflated) than using a Helium balloon valve! (3 hours) Don't buy the pre treatment gel that you squirt inside the balloon to make it last longer, it's a pain in the ar :)
Err that's about it folks! Don't forget to read all the disposal and safety instructions.