If you’ve ever visited a kite festival, you may have come across a variety of kites with interesting shapes, designs, and colors.
Seeing those kites may have sparked your interest in the different types of kites available on the market. Most know about diamond and delta kites since they are some of the most popular types on Earth and have become a household name. However, there are a variety of other kite types you can enjoy to determine which you like best.
If you are interested in learning more about different kite types, keep reading!
Types of Kites
Cellular kites are three-dimensional designs that are available in a variety of shapes, making it impossible to define a typical cellular kite. Box kites are also included in this category and are considered to be the most common type. Most box kites have four parallel struts with ribbons or sails wrapped around the end of the box.
Some cellular kites are highly complicated with elaborate structures and fins, vanes, or wings. One of the most popular cellular variations is the Cody kite, which is a full box kite featuring upturned wings. Another popular version is the Hargrave, which has wings on the side and has a triangular shape.
Other common cellular kite shapes include snowflakes and stars.
Given their design, most cellular kites require strong wings to get moving and remain afloat since there are more frames than other kite types. Therefore, they are a little heavier than usual and fly optimally on windy days. Cellular kites are built from rip-stop nylon, which is a popular material for commercial kites.
To create a DIY cellular kite, you can utilize newspaper, construction paper, or other lightweight material with sticks.
Since these are three-dimensional models, there are some amazing cellular kite designs. Also, they really pop in the sky and are fun to fly once you get them moving.
For those looking for elaborate designs, cellular kites can be incredibly difficult to put together due to their three-dimensional shape. Also, due to the design, this kite type can be challenging to get moving and remain afloat, except on windy days.
Delta kites are one of the most popular types around the world. This is the kite most beginners start with because it’s easy to fly and launch in light weather conditions. Delta kites have a triangle shape with a keel that holds the spine rigid and straight whole the spreader ensures the kite maintains its shape during flight.
Single- and double-line delta kites are available for all skill levels, depending on which option works best for you. Some delta kites also have attached tails located at the wingtips or center to uphold stability during turbulent weather. Delta kites are most commonly made from rip-stop nylon.
However, light wind delta kites utilize a special spinnaker fabric.
Delta kites’ popularity is due to their ability to easily relaunch, which delivers a direct power feel. Also, given their design, this kite type offers quick depowering.
One of the biggest problems is that this kite could invert which limits the safety function if it remains too long on water.
Diamond kites are a very popular variety and probably the most recognizable kite on this list. Per the name, these kites hold a diamond shape and are simple to make at home. Given their reliability, diamond kites are the ideal option for beginners and kids who are learning how to operate kites.
Using the right materials, diamond kites can be robust enough to withstand high winds and turbulence. However, they can be difficult to fly and maneuver at steep line angles. The original diamond kites were constructed from paper, but most are built from rip-stop nylon, which gives them durability.
The best aspect of a diamond kite is that you can make them from almost any material including mylar sheets, freezer bags, and plastic sheets.
Diamond kites are incredibly easy to put together or make at home because of their simple construction and inexpensive materials. Also, this type is eye-catching, allowing artists enough space to decorate and display their masterpieces to the world.
While there is a large decoration area, most diamond kites are on the smaller side, which makes them well-balanced, and easy to fix.
One of the greatest drawbacks is that diamond kites require a tail to ensure the kite’s bottom remains pointing downward to maximize surface area in the wind, which keeps it afloat.
Parafoil, or foil, kites have a single defining characteristic that differentiates them from all other kite types – there isn’t a frame. This lowers the risk of damage on impact, even when they crash into hard surfaces, making them the ideal practice kite for beginners. Parafoil kites feature lower and upper surfaces, which are divided into smaller cells by vertical ribs.
Once air fills these pockets, the kite’s rigidity increases, and starts to fly. Different foil kites require multiple bridle lines to ensure they maintain their shape.
Parafoil kites were the inspiration for paragliders and parachutes. Although single-, double-, and quad-line foil kites are available, the latter two are considered traction kites. Although the name parafoil contains the word foil, they are actually made from durable rip-stop nylon.
Some parafoil kites are constructed from premium polyester which improves durability without surrendering lightness.
One of the greatest advantages of using a parafoil kite is the ability to complete lofty jumps, due to its construction. Also, this kite type has an efficient upwind ability and usually doesn’t contain plastic bladders. Furthermore, parafoil kites are very durable after crashes due to their materials and lack of frame.
One of the biggest cons is the requirement for special handling when launching the kite. Also, parafoil kites struggle with water relaunching and are typically higher priced than most kite types.
Originating in Japan, rokkakus are six-sided fighter kites that are growing in popularity in the west. Shaped like vertically-stretched hexagons, rokkakus also have a four-point bridle. Regarding performance, the rokkakus kite can beat all other kit types.
Also, they are significantly more reliable and stable than delta kites, making them the ideal expert pilots. The sail symmetry also makes this type ideal for art. Historically, these kites were hand-painted with pictures of famous Samurai and often cows, which symbolized wealth and prosperity.
Most modern rokkakus have kept this tradition alive by being colorful and artistic, which are eye-catching as they zip through the air. As the wind becomes stronger, rokkakus become even more noticeable.
The simple design and large surface area of the rokkaku make them ideal to use in kite aerial photography and atmospheric science. Rokkakus were originally constructed from bamboo spars and washi paper, which make them incredibly lightweight.
However, the modern and more westernized version utilizes rip-stop nylon with carbon spars to improve aerodynamics and durability, both of which are critical attributes of fighter kites.
The rokkakus kite is the gold standard of kite performance with superior reliability and stability. Also, the sail symmetry allows for extensive art to be added to the kite.
The only real downside of the rokkakus is that it’s not a good option for beginners and is built for experienced flyers.
Sled kites feature a single surface and side vertical spars to ensure they maintain their shape in flight. While the spears have traditionally been constructed from rigid sticks, most sled kites are made with inflatable spars, which makes them more capable of withstanding major impacts from crashes. The inflatable spars also allow sled kites to be more portable since they can simply be squashed into confined places.
Furthermore, since this kite type is moderate in size, they are ideal for kids to learn how to kite safely. The most popular material for sled kites is lightweight plastic. However, lightweight paper or fabric can be used as an alternative to plastic if you prefer a different material.
Since sled kites have single sides and surface spars, they can maintain their shape. Also, the inflatable spars allow the kite to maintain its structure following impacts from crashes. Furthermore, the sled kite is easy to fold for transport, but also easy to set up.
To keep foil kites afloat, they require a good amount of wind and can pull hard. Also, this kite type is incredibly difficult to hand-make.
Stunt or sport kites are well-known for their impressive maneuver in the sky. With a little experience, you can precisely control their movement, making them an ideal option for conducting kite tricks. Stunt kites are available in various shapes, but the triangular delta kite is the most common configuration.
Most stunt kites feature dual-line controls, which greatly improve how the kite flies and can be controlled compared to single-line options. There are also quad-line stunt kites, which deliver pinpoint accuracy and allow for more professional maneuvers. Since this kite type must perform complicated maneuvers, it’s also prone to crashes.
Therefore, stunt kites must be durable and lightweight, which makes rip-stop polyester and rip-stop nylon the best material choices.
With superior maneuverability, stunt kites are easy to control in the sky due to the dual- and quad-lines.
Unfortunately, this kite is prone to crash because of its complicated maneuvers.
Also known as power kites, traction kits are large kits that are engineered to deliver significant pull, which makes them the ideal option for traction sports that are connected to a board or vehicle. Therefore, you’ll commonly see them with all-terrain roller skates, kiteboards, snowboards, and skis. The quad-line controls are the most popular traction kite form.
Other options suited for power kiting include leading-edge inflatable kites, single skin kites, and rigid-framed kits. Traction kites are constructed from rip-stop nylon because of their high level of durability but lightweight features.
Traction kites offer a direct feel when using it to ride because they are constantly pulling and adding pressure to the rider, thus making them feel more attached. This kite type also offers faster turning and they turn in a pivot, instead of an arc, resulting in safer and easier looping.
One of the greatest downsides of the traction kite is that they don’t generate that much power. Also, they only fly well within a specific wind range.