Review : EmmaKites 9.5 Stainless steel reel

edited January 2012 in KAP Gear Sources
I've received Emmakites reel about a month ago or so,
I had tested it several times over that time.

Here is my thoughts sorted as PROS and CONS and the bottom line as well.

- Stainless steel (much stronger than a plastic hoop)
- Got center bearings which allow fast in and outs
- Comes with a kevlar rope, pre-installed (1000f @ 150-200lb)
- Cheap + Moderate shipment cost
- Comes with a carry bag (not really important, but it's a PRO)
- Comes with free swivel head already attached (I can't say if it's a real PRO as I don't know the quality of this swivel)

- The handle on the reel is d*mn short, I almost lost a finger when I loose grip on the handle and the reel started to spin like hell letting rope out.
- The handle is not strongly attached to the reel and feels very flimsy.
- The handle got a locking position (it collapse into the reel's body) but it's a soft/weak spring which hold the handle in place and I won't be surprised if the handle would jump off from a strong kite's pull.
- There is no brake system which means that if your reel will start to spin fast, you don't have a way to stop it without risking your fingers,
In addition after a stop, you have 2 options :
A. to loose the grip hand and grasp the wire frame instead of the center unit
B. to keep one hand on the center grip and the second one on the handle which doesn't allow much strong grasp when the kite pulls hard.

- After a brake (holding the wire frame) when you want to get back of the grip and handle holds, it's pretty tricky to prevent the reel from start spinning and letting rope out
you need to be twice careful and use your body improvising a brake while shifting your hands to the right holding points.

- The center grip is not comfort for long runs (at least for my big hands).
- One of the plastic handles on the carry bag already started to fall off (after 4-5 flights, not important as it doesn't concern safety at all and the bag can actually be discarded without second thought)
- Long shipment (this is not a direct CON to the reel, but a CON for Emmakite as it took it about a month to arrive)

On the first hand it's nice as it's all metal and allow you to haul fast
but the handle is just too short and doesn't allow safe grip.

In addition the lack of brake is a very major CON which get me to think twice every time that I go airborne with this reel.

Unless Emma will improve the quality and the features (or that the owner will do some DIY improvements)
I don't recommend it.

Here is a link for the product page :


  • Hi Yaniv,
    Have you used it yet? i have just got mine (they shipped it very quickly i must add, arrived after 48 hrs to a friend
  • Yes I've used it but went back to the plastic hoop
    I trust more the hoop at the moment till I will fix the handle and maybe will add braking.

    I can't build the handle and the brake, I forgot my dremel out in the rain and got it burnt...
    so I need to buy a new one later one :D
  • edited January 2012
    Another review:
    I bought the 11-inch stainless steel version (the one that looks more like a metal version of a Stratospool). Picture is here

    All in, the cost was just over $100 US, including shipping. Took exactly 7 days to arrive in Massachusetts from China. The item arrived without damage.

    Gotta say, I'm pleased with this thing overall. I've had it out now for 3 sessions. Well made. Will hold 1000 feet of 200 lb line. Cost is reasonable, I figured it was worth the risk to give it a shot. Certainly makes single-person KAPing more pleasurable. Comfortable and easy to hold and control. I'd recommend it, but you'll have to deal with the position of the winding handles, see below.

    A couple of issues:
    --the built-in brake is not that effective, I tend to use my (gloved) hand to stop the rotation of the wheel. There is a spring-loaded locking mechanism to keep the reel from rotating when the kite is in the air--this is crucial and allows for hands-free operation if the unit is attached to you or an anchor of some kind.
    --the little shoulder strap is useless. I took a loop of climber's webbing, tied it on to the main shaft and clip that to my belt with a carabiner. Works nicely.
    --main issue, however, is the position and size of the handles for winding the reel part. The handles are positioned too close to the center of the reel to be effective with a strong pull. Should be an easy fix to move one or both of them out more toward the rim with a welder, for better leverage when winding. It's not terrible the way it is, just have to wait for lulls to reel in when the breeze is stiff. This was pointed out very accurately in an earlier thread
  • Emmakites is merely the seller, not the maker, of this reel, which is also available elsewhere. (She does make some kites and retail others.) Delivery can be slow, but is usually due to the Chinese postal delivery system, as despatch is normally very prompt.

    This type of reel is excellent for lighter-pulling kites flown to high altitude, when it makes the job of reeling-in much quicker and easier. I would never use one for hard-pulling kites - much too dangerous if it gets away on you.
  • edited January 2012
    I have 3 kites, a Fled, a ITW 9ft Levitation Delta and a FF16, so do you think this reel is underclassed for the FF and maybe the delta?
  • Probably worth cautioning again on the use of kevlar line (both for your hands and the safety of bicyclists, motorcyclists etc. in your vicinity). Feel free to use but be aware.
  • I thought about Kevlar safety issues but since i mostly fly in remote areas without people around i decided to take the risk
  • Femur,

    From my experience of the FF16 I would be very reluctant to use that reel for it. If the wind gets up, you could be in trouble, I think. The delta might be OK if you are flying within its wind range.
  • Fumer :

    I do not recommend using the above reel with FF16
    The FF16 that I just acquired pulls much more than you can hold with the small side handle on the reel.

    Since the handle is very short, you can only hold it with 2-3 fingers and not a whole hand,
    such a problem can result in grip lose and probably an injury.

    Unless you extend the small handle to a longer one, avoid.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion