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.
Prism Switch Dual Mode Kite
Flying Wings Beetle 2100+ Kite
Prism Stowaway Diamond Kite
Large Easy Flyer Kite - T-Rex Dinosaur
In The Breeze Rainbow Sparkler Fly Hi Delta Kite
Premier Vision Stunt Kite
Prism Nexus Stunt Kite
HQ Kites Bebop Dual Line Fire Stunt Kite
In the Breeze Colorwave Stunt Kite, 48-Inch
Albatross Quad-Line Stunt Kite
Premier Parafoil 2 Kid's Kite
X-Kites 3D Blue Angels Kid's Kite
Kengel Orange Software Octopus Kid's Kite
Skywood Toys Best Easy Flyer Rainbow Delta Kid's Kite
Kites N More Bee Delta Kid's Kite
The Prism Switch is two kites for the price of one, and at around forty bucks, you're getting a lot for your money. It starts out as a single-line diamond-shaped kite that comes with a stabilizing tail so it's super easy to fly. You don't even need to hold onto it; simply anchor it down and just watch it sail overhead. It's so light that little hands can even control it without feeling like they're going to lose it. When those little hands get a little bigger, turn the switch into a dual-line acrobatic kite with the included flight straps. Then, you can perform basic acrobatic sky maneuvers like loops and dives. You can even keep the tail attached to slow the kite down while you perfect those stunts, or remove it when you're confident of your skills.
Flying Wings brings the Beetle 2100+ kite to the list as one of the strongest beginner kites available on the market. It's a delta shaped body made up of seven nylon panels that fit on a frame of carbon rods. This kite requires a little extra effort to assemble, as spars and stand-outs connect in a slightly more complex configuration. But this all seems done in service of fortifying the kite from taking a beating at the hands of a novice flyer. Once you're ready to fly, it's almost effortless to get off the ground, and stays aloft even without much wind, while first-timers won't feel frustrated trying to keep it in the air. This starter kite can also do some basic tricks without much effort, either since imple hand movements are all it takes to make it respond and perform a spin or a fade. Nothing too fancy, but beginners will get a feel for what lies ahead.
This delta shaped kite has 64 inch wingspan and, just like the name says, it's easy to stow for any spontaneous outing of high-flying action. Once you're ready for take off, the Stowaway's lightweight fiberglass rods pop into their connectors through the use of bungee cords. It's one of the most foolproof kites available, so you don't need to follow any assembly instructions. It's also easy to get aloft since the ripstop polyester body doesn't need much of a gust to get going. Whether you're working with a light breeze of around 5 mph or a good 20 mph wind, the Stowaway has an easy wind range for first time flyers to feel the joy of flying a kite. Aesthetically, it's a gorgeous kite as well, featuring a combination of vibrant colors and optional tails you attach at the wingtips and spine. So this one's not only easy to fly, it looks great up in the air as well.
The delta shape of the Easy Flyer provides beginners with a simple and straightforward kite that they can get up in the air without much of a challenge. Measuring 46 inches by 90 inches, this is an ideal choice for young children to get the feel of a kite riding the wind for the first time. Much like the other kites on the list, there's very little assembly required beyond the usual setup requirements where the frame is concerned. Ripstop nylon and fiberglass spars are strong enough to keep it up in the air while resisting much of any damage for when it hits the ground or a tree. It comes attached to 300 feet of 30 lb weight twine so anyone can use it. You don't need much wind to enjoy it either, as this one will fly in as little as a 5 mph breeze. But due to the very nature of its construction, large gusts are not recommended either. The kite comes in a soft nylon pouch and all you need to do is take out, unfold and assemble and get it ready for launch.
This delta shaped kite is a cinch to assemble and it's even easier to launch and keep aloft. Made of ripstop polyester fabric which responds well to small amounts of wind, it measures 46 inches wide by 82 inches high and comes with a pair of 60 inch long streamers. It's certainly on the bigger end of the size spectrum but it's still well manageable for beginners to fly with great success in any amount of wind, from a small 6mph breeze to a good gust of 20 mph wind. They'll also be dazzled by the brilliant rainbow colors which are simple yet eye-catching. The Rainbow Sparkler even comes with a bag for easy storage, as well as twine and a handle for a total package that's ready for the beach, the park, or anywhere with a lot of open space for flying.
This starter kite is a perfect entry into the world of stunt kites. With a wingspan of about five feet, three inches, and a lightweight fiberglass frame, this kite will take off easily. Trennepohl's delta shape design makes it easy to learn simple tricks and before too long, you'll feel your confidence surge as you pull them off with complete success. But every new endeavor has a trial and error period, and you can run this thing into the ground time and again without breaking. The fiberglass frame isn't only lightweight, it's also rugged and can handle every rookie mistake you can dream up. The Vision is rated for wind speeds as low as 5 mph and as high as 20 mph.
The Nexus has a five foot wingspan across so it's going to be easy to get up in the air. Once there, even the most inexperienced flyer will be making this kite do basic tricks with amazing ease. Made with a combination of rip-stop polyester nylon and Mylar laminate, the Nexus is built for quick turns and fast speed. But it also maintains enough resilience to weather all kinds of abuse. The frame is constructed of carbon so it's lightweight enough to fly in even the slightest winds, yet comes equipped with a reinforced Kevlar nose point and shock absorbing spine for those times where a trick goes horribly awry and everything comes crashing down to the ground hard. The bridle settings accommodate all skill levels and can be adjusted accordingly to make the kite react faster and sharper when necessary.
The Bebop is the first dual line kite on our list and for good reason. For starters, it's made of strong ripstop nylon so it's ready to take some rookie punishment for those just getting the hang of it. The frame is resilient 4mm fiberglass which is lightweight and flexible to respond in light winds, yet strong enough to survive those inevitable crashes. The kite offers dual control with a four-point sliding bridle that's easily adjustable for increased lift and better response in low winds. The Bebop takes minutes to assemble and is easy to handle so you'll be performing all kinds of tricks in no time. When you're done, just stick it in the convenient bag for easy storage.
The Colorwave has a wingspan of 48 inches with a height of 26 inches, so you're getting a kite of considerably decent size for around $20 through most online retailers. The sail is constructed of the same ripstop nylon that you'll find on any kite at this price point, as well as a fiberglass frame that will fly easily but remain strong enough to stay intact after more than a few crashes. Getting it up in the air is pretty easy, but you're going to want a consistent wind that doesn't drop much lower than about 6 mph to keep it flying. The dual control is easy to maneuver, with 80 feet of 50 lb gauge twine and easy to use handles. For the price you're paying this isn't surprising but you may want to replace them with a stronger gauge of twine depending upon how much flight time you plan on logging and wind speed.
The Albatross comes with a two wrap professional use, carbon rod frame set and ripstop nylon sail that is lightweight and reacts well to a wide range of wind speeds. The company has made their bridle material rougher than you're likely to find on comparable kites of this configuration and price point, along with stitching that has been made to hold up over time. The kite is packaged with additional end caps and an extra spare rod in the event a crash proves too damaging. There's also 25 meters of 150 lb gauge line with lightweight, padded handles that stay comfortable in your hands for as long as you fly. Speaking of flight, minimal hand work is needed to get the kite moving in either direction as it picks up well in even lower winds of around 10 mph. The Albatross launches and lands smoothly, allowing for kinds of maneuvers like spins and rolls with simplicity. This kite offers fast precision and top performance and the gauze vents are a nice touch here as well.
The top kite on our list comes in at a mere 1-foot-by-1-foot and 9 inches, it's just the right size for the small fingers of even the most inexperienced flyers. Designed to be taken directly out of the bag and tossed into the air, the Parafoil 2 has no spars to set into place nor break if the kite takes a sharp pitch to the ground. It's made of durable nylon for hours of use and can get up to speeds of almost 20 mph with the right head wind. Simply connect the included 500-foot line to the kite and let it rip into the sky. Children will be dazzled by its bright colors and long streamers while learning about the principles of flight.
This imaginative kite is suitable for ages 8 and up, but it's so easy to maneuver that younger children will get a kick out of it as well. It's also a great starter kit for anyone looking to get into stunt kites. It's got a 3 1/4-foot wingspan and is emblazoned with the same insignias as one of the planes in the Blue Angels stunt squadron. Assembly will take a few minutes of time but it's pretty easy to put together. The fiberglass frame is nice and light but rugged as well, so it can withstand more than a few nose-dives with ease and still be ready to go right back up again. The rip-stop nylon holds up well for any sorties that go into the trees and the kite comes accessorized with a quick clip, plenty of line and a handle.
Suitable for all ages (though the younger set will probably appreciate it more) this kite from Kengel measures 28 inches across and extends 13 feet with colorful tentacle streamers. A short assembly time is all that's needed before this thing is ready to take to the air. Even little fingers can manage to get this kite to fly as only a small amount of wind speed is needed, and once it's been let loose this octopus will climb as high as you wish. The kite comes with 120 feet of twine so it won't get too far away from the little one. When you're done, the string winder helps get the twine back in place and the kite conveniently folds back up so you can store it away until the next family excursion to the beach or park.
Measuring 46 inches wide and 76 in length to the end of its multi-colored tail, the Best Easy Flyer Rainbow Delta Kid's Kite more than lives up to its name. Though it performs better in a strong wind, all you need is a good breeze to launch this kite, making it the perfect choice for kids both young and old. Made of durable polyester and relying on strong fiberglass rods to give it some structure, the kite needs little to no assembly so it'll be up in the air fast. You also get string and a winder to keep it all neat and tidy for better handling and control. The price is certainly kid-friendly as well, retailing for less than $20 at most retailers.
Kites N More Bee Delta Kid's Kite
This delightful little bee measures 47 by 33 inches and is made of weather resistant 190T Nylon fabric so it can handle all types of wind and any major obstacles it might encounter in flight. Built for younger children, the delta shape makes it easy to get up into the sky and the fiberglass frame gives it enough structure to maintain height in even the lightest of wind speeds. The Bee comes with a handle and 300 feet of kite line for plenty of altitude on those clear days. There's also a nylon kite bag included for protective storage when it's not airborne. Assembly is a cinch as well; most children can accomplish it without much effort, allowing for the kite to “bee” ready almost right out of the bag.
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.