Sealed vs Constant Air Inflatables: What's the Difference?

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Sealed vs Constant Air Inflatables: What's the Difference?

Our philosophy is to treat each customer and inflatable as a bespoke creation. 

This allows us to adjust and select the precise options for your requirements. One of the most important considerations when designing a custom inflatable is air source. 

Here are a few things you need to know about sealed vs. constant air inflatables.  

Sealed Air Inflatables

A sealed air inflatable, also called an ‘inflate and go’ inflatable. It is inflated with a pump that is then disconnected and the inflatable sealed. Think of a beach ball or pool toy. They are made of a variety of materials, but typically vinyl that is able to maintain pressure.

Outdoor Event Inflatable Chocolate Bars

Usability

Sealed air inflatables are disconnected from the pump. As such, they are ideal for inflatables that are going to be carried around. An example of this use would be a sign used to advertise on a street corner or carried out onto a football field. 

Valves On Sealed Air Inflatable

A sealed air inflatable will be affected by temperature changes. Pressure changes with temperature. On a hot day the increase in temperature will result in an increase in pressure on the walls of the inflatable. 

On larger units, the valve will release some air to lower the pressure. Then as the sun sets and the temperature goes down, the pressure inside the inflatable will decrease. 

With no constant air source, the inflatable will fall or sag. Be prepared to have to add air to a large sized sealed air inflatable throughout the day.

Durability

We intend our inflatables to be used multiple times and have a lifespan of several years. 

Over the course of that lifetime, an inflatable may develop a tear or puncture. Holes have to be repaired before the inflatable can be used again. 

The wall material of sealed air inflatables may require our professional service to repair it. This is an important consideration if you plan to reuse your inflatable at multiple events.  

Size and Design Considerations

For larger sealed units that require a heavier grade PVC, that thicker material makes it difficult to create detailed shapes. 

It also means that larger constant air inflatables are typically much heavier than their constant air equivalents. 

Large sealed air inflatables may require several people to inflate, deflate and transport. 

Ease of Setup

Small sealed air inflatables are easy to inflate with a pump. 

Larger sealed air inflatables can be tricky and require some knowledge to inflate to the right pressure. Too little pressure and the inflatable will not look as desired - or have a good structural strength. Too much pressure can damage the inflatable. 

Blower For Sealed Air Inflatable

In order to deflate a sealed unit, you have to use the pump in reverse. The pump becomes a vacuum and removes the air from the inflatable. 

The larger the inflatable the longer it will take to inflate and deflate as the blowers used for sealed air inflatables (high pressure), don’t flow very much air compared to the low pressure blowers. 

Power Source

One of the major advantages of sealed air inflatables is that you do not need a power source after initial inflation. 

This makes them more energy efficient and useful in areas where your access to power is limited. 

In addition, they are silent once inflated and there are no power cords running to the inflatable. This is ideal when the public will be interacting with your inflatable in order to reduce tripping hazards. 

Constant Air Inflatables

A constant air inflatable uses a blower attached to a power source to provide a constant flow of air to the inflatable. 

Blowers can be external or internal. Internal blowers are built into the inflatable and provide a clean appearance, but are only practical on smaller inflatables. 

Outdoor Inflatable Arch Being Used At An Event

With constant air inflatables the blower runs the entire time the inflatable is in use. A constant air source is commonly used for larger inflatables like race day arches.

Usability

Constant air inflatables have an air source that is able to adjust constantly to environmental factors.

You will not need to worry about changes in temperature with constant air inflatables. The inflatable will look as good at the end of the event as it did at the beginning. They are very “plug and play”.

Constant air inflatables do require a power source and to be connected to one or more blowers. This means they are not ideal for inflatables that will be moved after inflation as in the example of an inflatable toy.  

Durability

Constant air inflatables are just as susceptible to small tears and punctures as their sealed equivalents. 

However, it is easy to hand sew and patch any holes. This can even be done “in the field” so to say at an event, and there is no drying or waiting time once the patch is applied.

Constant air inflatables will have less down time over their lifespan and are the right choice if durability is a high concern.

Size and Design Considerations

Constant air inflatables can create more intricate and detailed designs as the way they can be assembled has a lot more flexibility.

In other words, constant air inflatables can be used to create inflatables of all sizes with a high level of detail in their shape. You can even create letters using a constant air inflatable. 

Complex Constant Air Inflatable

There are no realistic size limitations to constant air units. There are however practical limits as they do become difficult to manage once they weigh several hundred kilograms.

Ease of Setup

Constant air inflatables are very easy to set up. Just unfold the inflatable, connect the blower and turn it on. 

No need to worry about inflating to the correct pressure, this type of inflatable will self regulate. Multiple blowers can be used for a single inflatable. This means that even very large inflatables can inflate and be ready to use in just minutes. 

Zipper In Constant Air Inflatable

Likewise deflating a constant air inflatable is quick and easy. Constant air inflatables feature zippers for quick deflation. Within minutes you will be ready to pack up and transport your inflatable to the next event.

Power Source

The major disadvantage for constant air inflatables is the need for a 240V power source during use. This can be a challenge if the inflatable is being used for an outdoor event. It is possible to use a generator to run the blower if other power sources are not available. 

Blower For Constant Air Inflatable

The blower fan will create noise and you will need to have power cables running to the blower. Power cables can be an issue if you have a highly interactive inflatable.

Final Thoughts

Sealed and constant source inflatables both have pros and cons. 

In summary, sealed air inflatables are best for smaller inflatables like signs or toys and constant source inflatables are best for authentically recreating products or mascots due to the ability to create highly detailed results. 

They are also ideal for very large inflatables like arches or tunnels because of their greater durability and ease of use. 

Still have questions? That’s okay. We understand that a custom inflatable can be an investment and that the options can be overwhelming. We’re here to help and always excited to talk to customers about inflatables. Call us!

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