I have been reading the beginner kite advice threads and noticed that I was looking for much of the same information about selecting kites that a lot of other beginners were asking about.
I thought it would have been nice to have a consolidated page of kite selection advice from experienced flyers available for beginners like me to reference. So I compiled some of the tips and concepts that I have read in posts on various topics here, and although incomplete it might be a starting point to build on. Hope nobody minds that I used and paraphrased some of their comments. I tried to keep it focused on the different aspects involved for selecting a kite. This is a work in progress, and I will edit, delete, and change content as necessary. Input is welcome.
Dual line sport kite selection guide, definitions, and in depth reasoning
This guide might help a person doing research to be aware of the limitations and performance differences between different types and sizes of kites.
The first step when trying to figure out what kite to get, would be to decide what type of flying you want to do. Whether you just want to fly around, or whether you want to do precision flying, or maybe step up to performing freestyle tricks also called stunts.
Outgrow a kite means: Reaching the limits of what you can do with that kite. When your skills progress beyond the capability or trick potential of the kite. This limitation could be caused by the kite size, materials, design, build, or the conditions it is suited to fly in.
Flying means: The kite is moving in a forward or nose first direction. This is the direction that a kite naturally travels when it has enough lift to fly. In general, it is directional flying and turning, without stunt or trick flying.
Precision flying means: The kite is moving in a forward direction, but accurate movements such as turns, or patterns are being performed, and the ability for the kite to respond precisely to line control inputs is required. Consistent stable tracking or the ability to maintain a set course of flight is needed.
Trick or stunt flying means: Performing other movements, or combinations of movements, primarily with the kite in a stalled or non-flying state. Stunt trick ability is generally based on a kites potential to be controlled in a stall.
Stall means: The kite is no longer producing lift sufficient to make forward moving headway. It could be hovering in a controlled stall, or even falling.
A stall is defined as the aerodynamic loss of lift that occurs when an airfoil (such as the wing of an airplane or kite sail) exceeds its critical angle of attack.
For trick flying, select a full-sized kite with a wingspan of at least 7’ tip to tip.
The 7’ foot and larger kites will move a little slower and feel more controllable & predictable, and give you more time to react and learn. It will have a wider wind range than a smaller kite due to their larger sail size. Larger kites can generally fly in a lower wind due to the larger sail size. They are usually easier control and maneuver during a stall, which is where freestyle tricks are normally performed.
For non trick flying, selecting a kite of 6' foot (72”) or less, it will be faster flying than the larger kites, and will require a little more wind to get flying due to the smaller sail size, and require less input on the lines, and can be more difficult or even impossible to properly stall and do tricks.
They will be twitchier (which means it will turn very quickly, with a high probability of over steer). As for it needing higher winds - that depends on the weight of the kite, but as a general rule, smaller wingspan kites (under 70") usually do need a little more wind than say an 80" - 100" wingspan kites, and will also fly through the sky a bit faster as well. Also shorter wingspan kites are a little harder to trick.
For Precision kites: If precision flying is the main goal, do not assume that a dedicated stunt kite will be the best choice as it may or may not have high precision.
If you are on a budget, selecting a cheap kite in the smaller size range (6' and under) may be the only option you have and will at least get you flying. However kites in the $100 or below price range are not usually as stall or stunt capable, and if you are trying to learn tricks this could limit your progress, and as your skills surpass the kites potential for tricks you would "outgrow" the kite.
Consider that kite manufacturers promotional flying videos can be misleading because they usually have a world-class pilot flying in the video, leading consumers to believe that it will fly like that for them, too.
Manufacturers wind speed ratings are not always accurate. It may not be possible for everyone to fly a kite at the lowest wind speed rating.