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Which Badminton Racket Should I Choose? - Our Buying Guide

 

Badminton Rackets, there's so many?! .....so how do you possibly know which one to choose? There's a million options and like myself writing this article, I found the choice pretty daunting at first, so I'm going to try and break this down in the simplest possible way.

Badminton Rackets Closeup

The first question you'll want to ask is what style of player are you, or what type of player do you want to become?

  • Power Attacking
  • All round
  • Fast Reactions to Rallies
  • Control and Touch, by moving players around the court to create space

Most players will say they want to play a fast, attacking game, but to win you need more than just a powerful smash.

To help you decide, consider the reasons you lose rallies sometimes: Is it because your reactions are too slow? Are your attacks effective? Is your all round game consistent enough?

Based upon the answers to the above questions you can then work out what type of racket to choose.

Badminton Racket Breakdown

Technically there's 3 important aspects you want to look for when choosing a racket:

  • Balance
  • Shaft Stiffness / Flexibility
  • Weight

Lesser important aspects to consider when purchasing (as they can both be modified) are:

  • Grip Size
  • Strings Racket Tension & Strings Used

Each aspect makes a big difference to the style of play you have.

Balance:

Badminton Racket Balance


There's general 3 categories – Head Heavy, Even Balance and Head Light. To make it simple this means, where the weight has been shifted on the racket.

You can simply find out what a racket balance is by balancing the racket shaft on your finger in the middle, depending upon how it falls will show you it's weighting.

See the chart below to help guide you as a player:

Balance

Weighted Area of Racket

Balance Point on Racket

Player Style

Head Heavy

Head of the Racket

Over 300mm

Power Attacking, back of the court style players, increased clear and smash power. Most suited to the singles or mixed doubles game.

Even Balance

Weight evenly distributed

280-300mm

All Round, versatile style for all types of game. Giving you power at the back and speed at the front of the court. Helps you to react to any style of game.

Head Light

Weigh in the handle

Less than 288mm

Fast Reactions to Rallies. Great for defensive shots requiring fast reactions or for the fast, flat style of game often seen in doubles.

 

Shaft Stiffness / Flexibility

There's general 3 categories – Stiff or Medium and Flexible. This relates to the flex in the racket shaft.

See the chart below to help guide you:

Racket Flexibility

How it affects shots

Player Style

Stiff

High level of accuracy and control, but power can be harder to access without good technique and timing

Physically strong attacking player who can generate very quick racket head speeds. A stiff shaft will provide stability on the shot allowing the power to be wielded in a controllable fashion. 

Medium

Medium Accuracy, and some extra whip power from racket

All round style. More forgiving than a stiff racket, but there is enough rigidity to control power shots. 

Flexible

Poor Accuracy, but extra flex allows extra whip action shot power

Perfect for players struggling for power in their shots, however due to the extra whip action this can affect accuracy of shots

 

Differences in personal technique can also be a factor in which flex is most suitable. Some players  will use more a slower arm motion, whilst others will use more a more explosive wrist action in their shots. This can make a difference in racket choice.

Why you ask?

This is based principally on the fact that when the shaft of a racket is bent in the middle of a shot and then released, the stiffer the shaft, the faster it unbends and unloads the power.

Therefore how fast you band the shaft and how fast your forward stroke is will affect what flexibility you need.
In simple terms:
Player with short, explosive swings = Stiffer shaft needed as it'll unload faster for more power
Player with slower, more fluid hitting = More flexible shaft needed so that it'll flex all the way until impact.

If you're still unsure what to choose for yourself, we'd recommend going for a medium flex badminton racket.

Weight:
Weight can make a real difference to reaction speeds and power: Too light and the racket may not be powerful enough; too heavy and quick movements needed for defensive or flat exchange can become difficult. 

The way the badminton brands list the racket weights can be confusing so we'll make it as simple as possible for you via the grid below:

Weight Grade

Other Brand Listings

Weight Range (grams)

1U

 

94g or above

2U

 

90-94g

3U

W3 (Li Ning)

85-89g

4U

W2 (Li Ning)

80-84g

5U

W1 (lLi Ning)

75-79g

6U

F (Yonex)
W1 (Li Ning)

70-75g

7U

 

60g-69g

8U

 

59.9g and below

 

Most rackets are weighted around 3U (85-89g) or 4U (80-84g), this is because it's a good weight balance for players to hit hard without compromising on speed.

Typically singles players will use heavier rackets 3U (85-89g). This weight provides a little more power in instances when the shuttle has gone behind the player into the deep corners. Quick racket head speed isn't needed as much in the singles game.

Doubles players however will usually want lighter rackets, the most popular weight for this being 4U (80-84g). This is because the badminton racket will offer more speed for front court play and smash defence.

Training Rackets are always 1U as they're deliberately above 100g to force the players muscles to strengthen.

Badminton Racket Play

Other Less Important Aspects when Choosing a Badminton Racket:

Grip Size:
Firstly it's really important to remember the racket grip size can be adjusted up and down depending upon the amount and type of grip you may choose to fit the racket with.

Generally UK and European Badminton Players are preferring to go for smaller grip sizes these days.

Grip Sizes are measured by “G + Number”, the smaller the number, the larger the handle (I know very confusing!). For example almost all Yonex Rackets come in a G4 standard, whilst Victor Rackets are typically G5 in size.

 

Grip Size

Racket Grip Size

Size in mm

X-Small Grip

G5

83mm

Small Grip

G4

86mm

Medium Grip

G3

89mm

Large Grip

G2

92mm

X-Large Grip

G1

95mm

 

In order to know what the correct grip size is for you wrap your hand around the handle, and make sure there's a fingers width of space between you thumb and fingers once they've wrapped around the grip

Racket Strings Used & Tension

Again like the grip, this is customisable on any racket. However do look out for racket tension ranges on the product as this could potentially limit your ability to have the racket strung at a desired tension.

For a full breakdown on strings and tensions, see our buying guide specifically on this.

To put it simply however, if you're unsure what to choose when buying a racket you like, either go for the “Original Strings” option or “Stringers Professional Decision” for which we'll choose the string that best suits getting the maximum performance out of the racket for you.