Kites are often considered a simple child's toy, but the reality is they can be highly advanced performance aircraft built for power and speed. They come in many different sizes and shapes for all skill levels. Choosing the kite that is right for you is actually pretty simple in comparison.
The first thing to decide is what kind of kite you're looking for. Is this something you're going to use on a casual Sunday afternoon? Maybe it's more for the kids and you're just along to make sure no one loses their kite. Perhaps you want to do some crazy tricks with it. Once you know what you want it for, then you can determine the skill level you're working with. If you've never even seen a kite before or if it is intended for the little ones, then you really want to start with a single line kite. These are easy to put together and get in the air and are a perfect introduction to kite flying.
Most beginner kites come in delta, diamond and box shapes and are attached to one sturdy line that lets you control the kite with only the slightest of a breeze. Those who have more experience in flying a kite can start to branch out to more complex configurations, including dual lines and multiple sails made of faster and lighter materials. These kites are usually built for specific uses. If you want to perform elaborate stunts...there's a kite for that. There are also kites designed for high winds and for people who don't want to merely fly a kite...but "pilot" it through the air.
Ready to enter the fun world of kites? Our helpful buyer's guide below covers all the basic information you need to select the right one.
Best Stunt Kite:
Stunt kites come in four different shapes which include delta, diamond, parafoil and quad. These type of kites are controlled by two or four lines, used to pull the kite in any direction in order to make it do tricks. Since these are designed and manufactured primarily for stunts, these best stunt kites were chosen for their strong materials and built to withstand impacts at high speeds because the very nature of their purpose involves risky maneuvers that, more often than not, result in the kite crashing down. They’re made out of rip-stop nylon or polyester that does just what the name implies, preventing tears.
These kites were also chosen for their frames which are sturdy enough to survive dramatic plunges to the ground since they’re constructed from carbon, fiberglass or a mixture of both. Some also come reinforced with Kevlar so that you can take the kite back to the air again without having to make any repairs. We also examined the way the kite reacted in different wind conditions and some of the pickson our list can get up to speeds of 30 mph. Keep in mind, if you're a novice at this sort of thing, the tricks can be challenging to learn at first. Don't worry, there are kites below that are good for those of you who want to try this sort of thing out and kites designed especially for the experts.
If you're ready for a shot of adrenaline, take a look at the five following best Stunt Kites we were able to find.
The Quantum may be too much kite for some beginners, so the Premier Vision is the one for you. Designed by famed kite designer Jon Trennepohl, this kite is nearly indestructible and responds well without much twitchiness. The delta shape also makes it easy to grasp simple tricks. Read Full Review
Prism makes our list with the Nexus. This stunt kite is ideal for beginners who are looking to pick up the fundamentals of the sport and more experienced stunters who have grasped the basics and are honing their abilities further. Boasting strong pull in a variety of wind speeds and a frame that's been designed to take considerable punishment, this is a kite that is suitable for just about anyone. Read Full Review
Easy to launch, great to look at and suitable for ages 8 years and up; the Bebop from HQ takes a slightly different approach to flying. This stunt kite employs two lines for flight and is great for any beginner; as it comes with an instructional CD that will walk you through all the basics from set-up to take off. Read Full Review
In the Breeze offers a dual control stunt kite that is sturdy and responds well on windy days. The delta shape has a wide wingspan, it's got great aesthetics (which is why they call this one the Colorwave), and the kite comes with everything you need to get out to the beach or park and start showing off immediately.
Read Full Review
So far, all of the kites on our list have been delta shaped. But not the Albatross, this is a quad line (which means it requires four lines to fly properly), better-suited for the intermediate to expert flyers. The kite is fully adjustable for wind current, comes with Dyneema line and handles for pulling off the harder tricks that the advanced fliers love to show off.
Read Full Review
Best Beginner Kite:
We've all tried to fly a kite at some point in our lives, many of us likely in our early years. It can be a challenging and satisfying hobby for both the young and old, you just need to know where to start. To the uninitiated, kite flying can seem like a simple pastime in which you need only a shaped bolt of nylon and some string. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There is a vast collection of kite shapes and kite sizes developed for a wide variety of purposes. Like any type of sports gear, skill level of the user must be considered when choosing the right kite.
Beginner kites are much simpler, lighter, and easier to fly than some designed for elaborate stunts or contain multiple lines and sails. Simply put, a beginner kite is an entry-level product best suited for someone just learning how to fly one. Children are the primary users of beginner kites, as parents introduce them to an activity that is both educational and exciting. Adults who want to pursue a passion for the sport will often begin with a beginner kite so they may learn the fundamentals to better prepare them for the more complex flyers used in competitions and showcases. So how does one go about choosing their starter kite?
We chose these picks for best beginner kite by adhering to specific selection criteria, beginning with making sure each one was a single-line kite which are easy to control once they're in the air. These kites are also flat with a simple shape such as a diamond or a delta as well as one single sail that can be easily grabbed by any wind. These kites are also very durable, made of materials such as ripstop nylon or plastic with a frame made of lightweight PVC, graphite, or fiberglass; this ensures they're built to endure some punishment over those early rough patches of inexperience. This will certainly help extend the life of your beginner kite so you can get the most out of it.
Now, get rid of that busted three dollar kite you bought at the Rite-Aid and check out our five picks for best beginner kite below.
Most beginners don't stay beginners for long, and as their skills improve, they're going to want to upgrade their kite for something more advanced and challenging. Then, what do you do with your starter kite but stick it in the closet, never to be seen again? The Premier Switch won't get buried by coats and old tennis racquets, because this kite can switch from a simple single-line starter kite to a dual-line acrobatic kite with just a slide of the brindle. Read Full Review
Now we get to the pricier end of the spectrum. You're going to pay a little more for the Beetle 2100+, and no, it doesn't turn into another one when you get better at flying kites. But what you will get is a kite that is seemingly indestructible no matter what kind of damage you inflict. Newbies can bang on this thing like crazy and it'll be ready for more. Read Full Review
This kite practically assembles itself right out of the package. You literally can't screw up when you're putting it together, with bungees inside the frame spars for quick setup. It's also made of strong ripstop polyester, so you can rough it up pretty good and it'll still take to the air for hours and hours of kite flying fun.
Read Full Review
The younger flyers are going to love the T-Rex design on this kite from Premier's Easy Flyer line. The name says it all, this Easy Flyer makes it super simple to fly in just about any wind condition, and with quick assembly, resilient materials, and the 300 feet of twine come included with it, this T-Rex is going to tower overhead for hours of fun. Read Full Review
Another entry on the list that represents the lower end of the pricing spectrum, this kite from In the Breeze is an easy-flying delta shaped kite that comes with a nice long colorful tail and a pair of 60 inch streamers at the wingtips. It's a great choice for the first-timers who just want a nice lazy day outdoors with a kite. Read Full Review
Best Kid's Kite:
Buying a kid's kite shouldn't be a long ordeal. It's pretty simple actually as children like to be dazzled by bright colors and fun imaginative shapes. But they also want simplicity, especially when it's something that they’re in charge of doing. Kites are supposed to fly and if theirs doesn't quickly take to the air, then the frustration sets in and the tears begin to roll. Nothing ruins a day at the beach like a pouting six year old. So to make sure everything is smooth sailing this weekend, here are five kid's kites that will make the whole family smile.
These five kites offer resilience, because let's be honest, kids are hard on their toys and these airborne products are ready to stand up to the challenge. They each require little to no assembly and those that do are easy to put together, even without an adult's assistance in some cases. Each kite is easy to launch and keeping it up in the air is also a cinch as these picks don't require a lot of wind to remain in flight. The controls are also designed for little fingers, parents should be there to supervise but the children can feel proud that they're making their kite fly all by themselves.
No assembly required and easy to fly, the Parafoil 2 is perfect for young children. It's also a recipient of the Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award for excellence in promoting creativity and learning. Read Full Review
For the budding young jet pilot comes this re-creation of the U.S. Navy's aerobatic F/A 18 Hornet in kite form. Effortless to lift off and keep high in the air, it's the perfect kite for children because it doesn't require much assembly and anyone can fly it, big or small. Read Full Review
Kengel may not be the household name that some of these other brands may claim, but they do make a darn good line of kites. This Octopus is bright, colorful, doesn't weigh a lot and is easy to prep and launch. Coming in at around 13 feet, the kite itself is rather small but the streamers make up most of that length. Read Full Review
Skywood Toys makes the list with this bright rainbow color kite that children of all ages will enjoy flying for hours. It's among the easiest of our picks to assemble and you won't need much wind to keep this kite up in the air because its lightweight. When you're done, just fold it back up for easy storage inside any bag. Read Full Review
This fun, bee-themed delta kite boasts many of the same great features as the others on our list including fun aesthetics, simple assembly, sturdy materials and it doesn't take much wind or skill to launch. The manageable size and weight are ideal for children of all ages, but this one is definitely geared toward the younger set. It even comes with string and a storage bag to stow and store after use. Read Full Review
Kite Buyer's Guide
Though some believe kites originated with military use during the Han Dynasty in 200 B.C. China, the kite has had a long and storied history over the centuries. Kites were a popular pastime in Japan during the Edo period and a tool utilized for scientific and technological research in the 18th and 19th centuries by men like Ben Franklin and the Wright Brothers. They’ve gone on to fulfill important roles for the US Navy and the US Weather Service as well as simply being an enjoyable recreational pursuits by people of all ages. Most consider kites as just for children but there are a variety of kites out there that are enjoyed by adults as well, with complex flight systems and sail configurations. No matter what age you are, there's a kite that's right for you!
Types of Kites
Like their name implies, these basic kites are flown with one line. They’re suitable for all ages and a great way for beginners to get an introduction to flying. Single-line kites come in all kinds of shapes though the two most common and easy to launch/fly are delta and diamond shapes. These kites are relatively inexpensive, but the price will increase depending upon the quality of the materials used in the manufacture of the kite.
Stunt kites are a good for users at the intermediate level and available in four shapes including delta, diamond, parafoil, and quad frames; delta is by far the most popular among them. Whichever you choose is a matter of personal preference of course, but keep in mind that some shapes are tougher to fly than others.
Skill level plays a role in the selection of a stunt kite. If you haven't guessed already, these kites are designed for tricks and stunts and can be piloted by either a single or multi-line system (you can find up to four lines on some stunt kites). People enjoy these kites because they offer a more interactive experience when flying them.
Kites come in a whole range of sizes and wingspans so choosing the right one relies on a person's skill level as well as the wind conditions. Common sense dictates a larger kite is easier to launch, keep in the air, and remain airborne even in low wind, while a smaller kite is going to need more wind to remain in flight. Larger kites may be unwieldy for younger children as the amount of material involved and the speeds they can reach, might prove challenging for smaller hands to keep a hold on.
Kites have advanced over the years with most now made from materials designed to withstand the type of hardcore abuse that comes with launching and sailing. High winds, vertical crashes, trees, all of these things can do some real damage to a kite. Manufacturer's now use durable Ripstop nylon and polyester sails with frames built from fiberglass or carbon fiber. Cheaper kites will give you wood and plastic sails but these are really designed for first-timers who just want to spend an hour or two at the beach. You'll find some more expensive versions which incorporate silk, nylon, and even Kevlar in their builds.
Another matter of personal preference here, some kites come with tails. These are streamers located at the back or sides of the kite and they offer both an additional aesthetic value and stability during flight. While they don't necessarily provide an overall advantage, some consumers prefer them while others don't. Ultimately the presence of tails on a kite is a matter of personal preference.
The most basic line you can use is simple cotton twine. For the better quality kites, single and dual line versions use materials such as nylon, polyester, silk, Dyneema, Dacon, linen. Really strong varieties of line will have some element of Kevlar. Lines can use any combination of these materials and the best type to select is dependent upon the wind rating of the kite.
Single-line kites use just one, while dual or quad line kites require two hands to fly properly. The lines are attached to two types of controls, either a traditional spool that lets you wind the line back easily or a flight ring that works much like a typical fishing reel.