The Best Paper Airplane
People always ask us, "What is the Best Paper Airplane"? Well.... it depends on your goal. In this article, we'll explain each goal and show the winning paper airplane design that is our top pick.
If you are looking for the greatest paper airplanes, we have you covered. This article will show you how to fold the best paper airplane for every situation. There are different goals that require different designs. For example, if your goal is to fly the longest distance, this requires a different design than if your goal is to do the most acrobatic flips.
We have identified 5 goals and tested every one of our paper airplane designs to determine the winner for each category. Use the table of contents to skip to the category that you are most interested in, or scroll down to begin.
Best Paper Airplane for Distance
Furthest Flying Paper Airplane
If you are looking for the furthest flying paper airplane that can really go the distance, we recommend The Bird. This design is relatively easy to fold, and if it is adjusted carefully it can glide for a very long distance.
To optimize your throw for distance, try tossing this paper airplane at a 45° upward angle. Throw as hard as you can without causing the paper to deform in the wind. If the airplane doesn't go in a straight line, you can make small bends to the backs of the wings. To learn more about making adjustments to your paper planes, please read our article on steering your paper airplanes. If you are outdoors, put the wind at your back to get a little boost.
In our tests, a 10 year old child regularly threw this paper airplane more than 50 feet. If you throw it harder, it could go even further. If we find a better design we'll let you know, but for now this is our pick for the best paper plane for distance.
If you don't mind using a rubber band to add a little extra oomph, then try the Lift Off paper plane. It goes a bit further, but requires a good rubber band and a solid launch.
Best Paper Airplane for Time Aloft
Longest Flying Paper Airplane
The paper airplane that stays up in the air the longest is the Stealth Glider. This design is fairly easy to fold, but a little tricky to adjust for long flights. Be patient and make tiny wing adjustments to get this design to glide very slowly through the air.
To optimize your throw for time aloft, throw this paper airplane straight up as high as you can. Gravity is your enemy in this contest, so the higher you can throw it, the longer it will stay up. The goal is for it to go straight up and then level off and glide around in circles for as long as possible.
In our tests, a 10 year old child got this design to stay up for over 6 seconds. This may not seem like much, but the average paper airplane flight is less than 2 seconds, so this is more than triple that. This is currently our pick for the best paper plane for time in the air.
If you can find a balcony or other safe place where you can throw the paper airplane from higher up, you will be able to get much more hang time.
Best Paper Airplane for Speed
Fastest Paper Airplane
The fastest paper airplane in our collection is the Sonic Jet. This has some tricky folds, but the sleek design helps this paper plane cut through the air very quickly.
Use some tape to keep the body of this aircraft tightly together and throw it as hard as you can at a slightly upwards angle. In our tests, a 10 year old child was able to throw this airplane at nearly 20 miles per hour! This makes it our fastest paper airplane design for hand throwing.
If using a rubber band launcher is permitted, then check out the Lift Off Paper Plane. It goes slightly faster, but requires a strong rubber band and a good flick.
Best Easy Paper Airplane for Teaching
Easiest Paper Airplane
For teaching young children how to fold their first paper airplane we recommend the Basic Dart. This design only requires 5 folds and it flies well even if those folds are not made accurately.
Young children often lack the dexterity to make perfect symmetrical folds. You can help them practice the first fold by showing them how to line up the corners when folding the paper in half. Kids often use their whole hand to smash the paper when folding. This can cause wrinkles and unwanted creases. Show them how to carefully use their finger to press the paper flat in a smooth line. After a few tries, they will get the hang of it.
To make it easier, download and print our folding templates. These have lines printed on the paper so children can easily fold on the lines. If your child is having difficulty, you might fold and then unfold some of the lines so the paper already has a crease in it and will more easily go where the child wants it to go.
Best Paper Airplane for Acrobatics
Most Acrobatic Paper Airplane
Our favorite design for acrobatics is the Light Spinner. What makes this one special is that it flies in a big corkscrew spiral through the air, which is pretty unique. You can adjust the angle of the wings to make the spirals wider or narrower.
If you read our article on steering paper airplanes you can learn how to make adjustments to this or any paper airplane to get it to fly in turns, loops, spins or spirals. However you want!
Looking for a paper airplane that can fly in a big vertical loop? Check out the aptly named Loop Plane. This design was specifically made to fly in a Loop-the-Loop. These are our picks for the best paper planes for acrobatics.
Best Paper Airplane for Decoration
This category is highly subjective since it is judged based on aesthetics. If you are looking for a paper plane that looks like a bird, check out the White Dove, or Eagle Eye. If you want a paper airplane that looks like a real airplane, try the Navy Plane or Fast Glider. If you are looking for a design that just looks cool and unique, take a look at the Fast Swallow or King Bee. You can customize any paper airplane design for your own personal likes and dislikes, so experiment and find what pleases you the most.
As you can see, there is no single design that we can call the "best paper airplane design" or "greatest paper airplane". It really depends on your goals and personal preferences. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas and taught you a few new paper airplane designs.
Now that you know the best paper airplane design for your specific goal, don't forget to use the optimal size of paper to fold your paper airplane. You may need to experiment to determine if a small or large paper airplane works best. Once you have some practice with your winning paper airplane, here are some paper airplane games that you can use to challenge your friends. Have fun!