So, you’ve just completed your training and you want to buy a hot air balloon. But, where do you go? Hot air balloons aren’t exactly the easiest thing to purchase. It’s not like you can walk into Walmart and get one.
Your best option when considering a hot air balloon purchase is buying from one of the many well-known balloon companies in the world. Of course, if you are looking to purchase one you can see and inspect in person, the travel makes this a little hard. Buying online is a safe and easy way to get a balloon, and if you want to make sure you are getting the best quality, the makers on this list have a long-standing history of manufacturing the best hot air balloons on the market.
If you are looking to purchase a balloon but you are on a budget, there are some reputable used hot air balloon selling forums that you can use to find a great hot air balloon from some of the top makers on our list for a fraction of the price.
Let’s take a look at some of the top companies in the world and how much it would cost to purchase their top of the line hot air balloons:
Cameron Balloons is a world leading balloon company. They supply balloons such as recreational hot air balloons, marketing balloons, shaped balloons, and commercial balloons. They are true experts when it comes to anything air inflated. They offer 7 standard balloon shapes and they also have some hot air balloons in irregular shapes like Cinderella’s Castle from Disney World, a giant flying Scotsman, a Bald Eagle, a Racecar, and more.
For a new standard Concept Series balloon system complete with balloon, basket gondola, two 15-gallon fuel tanks, burner and instruments you can expect to pay around $35,000.00 USD. For special balloon shapes, the price would be more depending on the shape and the amount of fabric it takes to make. For a custom balloon design, the price would also depend on what you want, if you are advertising a company, if you want a special shape, etc.
Since buying a balloon is much like buying a car, Cameron Balloons does offer financing on all their new products to make it easier for you to afford.
Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons
Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons is another popular Hot Air Balloon manufacturer that is at the top of their game. With balloons known worldwide for their manufacturing perfection, Lindstrand produces balloons for some of the top companies in the world. The company is also known to be one that specializes in custom designs and shapes. They have made balloons that look like a Bulldog, a Goldfish, a Motorcycle, a Soda Can and much more. On top of all of the cool designs, they have 3 standard balloon styles that are able to be customized.
Speaking of customization, Lindstrand has a very cool tool on their website that you can use to design your balloon! This program will allow you to play with many different color combinations. First, when you pull up the design center you can choose from any model of the three types of balloon they offer. Second, you will play with their color options on a grid type design sheet like Microsoft Excel and they will show you what it looks like on your balloon style. To end your desing, you can upload your logo to the balloon and add any text you want if you choose. When you are finished, you can save your design and send it in to Lindstrand for a price quote on your design.
Lindstrand Balloons start at $15,000.00 for a balloon envelope. The price for a basked and all of the operating equipment cost more. Prices range up from there depending on design and shape of the balloon envelope, custom obviously costing more. For a complete Lindstrand system you can plan on spending $35,000.00- $45,000.00 depending on the basket size and balloon size and shape.
Ultramagic Balloons is one of the World leaders in Hot Air Balloon manufacturing. Unlike other companies, Ultramagic is known for offering different fabric types for their balloons and have excelled in manufacturing special shapes. Similar to Lindstrand, Ultramagic Balloons offers an online design platform to fully customize a balloon to your preferences and will offer you a quote on your design.
The different fabric choices that Ultramagic offers all have their own perks and features. They do this to limit the cost on private balloon pilots and ensure commercial pilots that their envelopes will be stronger and last. Their 65-gram polyurethane coated rip-stop Nylon fabric is designed to resist fading and resist fungal attacks, so it maintains its high strength. The second type of fabric they offer is a slightly heavier 90-gram fabric is usually used on the top of the balloon envelope where heat is more concentrated.
The 90-gram fabric is also coated with silicon that will make it strong enough to handle a tough environment. Lastly, they offer a light weight 40-gram fabric coated with silicone that should be used for smaller balloons that won’t be toting a whole lot of weight. The 40-gram option is perfect for private pilots, and it is also available in fun shapes so even if you are flying solo you can have a little fun.
Ultramagic also offers a full line of racing balloons. Hot air balloon races are a thing? Yes! This is one of the only manufacturers that offers racing hot air balloons. You can purchase a whole balloon system made for racing that includes your envelope, basket, propane burner and accessories for $40,000.00.
Regular Ultramagic Balloons envelopes can cost anywhere from $20-$40,000.00 depending on size, shape, and customization. You should plan on paying extra for your basket and propane system.
Kubicek is another one of the top manufacturer’s in the world for hot air balloons. And, if you are looking for a fun shape or color, I think Kubicek will be the best choice for you. Their special shape balloons are so different and cute, you will just have to have one! They have a wide variety of humans, cute aliens, cars and trucks, night light balloons, wildlife balloons, and animal balloons.
Kubicek offers a variety of 5 different standard balloon shapes that all have their own purpose. You are able to customize your balloon and design it on their website as well and get a price quote.
Although Kubicek does not post any prices on their website, we believe you could reasonably expect to be in the range of $30,000.00-$60,000.00 for their systems or even for just the envelope depending on your customization, shape, and other features you include in your design.
Kubicek does offer a cool option called Cash and Fly, where you can buy a whole system with a pre-designed balloon for around $40,000.00 brand new. This takes the stress out of designing your envelope, and makes it easier to just buy the whole system from the same place rather than hunting around for a basket, burner, and accessories.
Lower Cost Option
As you can see, hot air balloon prices really.. soar.. (pun intended). If you are looking for a hot air balloon that you won’t have to finance, or are at a lower and more achievable price, you can look at some of these reputable sights where balloon lovers will sell their top model balloons used at a fraction of their retail value. This is a good way to get a nice balloon at a low price, especially if you are just starting out.
If you are buying used, please be educated about who you are buying from and make sure that you know how to inspect a balloon properly or bring someone along for your purchase that will know what to look for. Never buy from sites like craigslist for your used balloon purchase. Remember, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Always buy from a reputable person and get a lot of background information before you proceed with a purchase.
Global Plane Search
GlobalPlaneSearch.com is a great place to look for secondhand hot air balloons. This site is reputable for hot air balloons sales, and the sellers are known to provide you with plenty of options from great brands. Some of the balloons featured on their front page for sale are made by Firefly, Cameron, Kubicek, and Lindstrand. Used balloons can range drastically because of the cost difference between companies, the year it was bought, special customizations, the price of the basket and burner, etc. For example, there is a Cameron full system listed for $12,000.00, but there is also a Cameron envelope only posted for $47,000.00.
Aerostatz.com is another nice sight for used hot air balloon purchase. The nice feature on this website is that they list the balloons into categories based on price. They also have a category just for racing balloons and for special shapes too! If you know exactly how much you want to pay, this is a good place to look so that you don’t go over budget when you are looking. If you want a fun shape without the hefty price tag, they have some cool used shapes like a turtle, a pirate ship, a pumpkin, a crab, a hatching baby dinosaur and many more!
Ballonbasar is a German website for used hot air balloon sales. Luckily your browser will translate the page for you, (wenn du gut Deutsch sprichst, musst du das nicht!). This site is also great for categorizing their balloon sales so you can look at complete systems, racing types, special shapes, and more. The prices are listed in Euro’s, however they offer some great balloons at low prices. You could get a whole Kubicek system for just 4,900 Euro’s!
Whether you are looking for a new balloon that you are sure of no fault and don’t mind paying top dollar for the best quality or you are looking for a balloon with great quality at a fraction of the cost, there are options for you! While buying new is obvious the most recommended and best way to purchase a balloon, it can be costly. If you are starting a commercial hot air balloon business and plan to give tours, this option is obviously the best to make sure you get a quality balloon that will last you for your career.
If you are flying for personal use or are just starting out, buying used is a good way to not spend a fortune and still get a quality balloon. Whether you are just starting out or you are looking to upgrade to the best of the best, there are plenty of options out there for you.