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How to choose a Badminton Racket

Posted by Tommy Li on

This guide is intended for beginners who are new to badminton or for anyone that needs some help with choosing a badminton racket.  To begin with, we will talk about the different specifications of the rackets and what they mean.

For people who are new to badminton or do not know much about badminton rackets, they often do the following:

-buy the most expensive racket
-ask for what the pros/their favourite player is using
-asking what the best racket is or which one is better

 

As a result, they will end up unsatisfied with their racket as it may not be suitable for them and may lead to injuries down the road.  They might even buy a new racket and end up spending more money than required.

Before we start talking about the different aspects of a badminton racket, familiarize yourself with the name of the different parts so you can easily find where to look on the racket.

 

 

 

The picture above shows the names of the different parts of a racket.

What you should consider when choosing a badminton racket:

  1. Overall Weight
  2. Balance
  3. Flex
  4. Head shape
  5. Grip Size
  6. Singles or Doubles
  7. Take home message

1. Overall Weight

When comparing the weight of two rackets, the heavier one will give you more power.  I assume we all know this from high school physics that Force = Mass x Acceleration !

The downside is that a heavier badminton racket is harder to maneuver and is more tiring on the arm/shoulder.

  Racket weights can be categorized into several categories:

U: 95-99g
2U
: 90-94g
3U: 85-89g
4U: 80-84g
5U: 75-79g
6U (F): 70-74g

The weight of a racket can be found on the cone and is often seen together with the grip sizing. (eg.3UG5) The most common weight you will find for most rackets are 3U and 4U.  Nowadays, rackets are getting lighter and will come in 5U and 6U as well.  U and 2U are less common and are usually found in training rackets meant to workout the wrist and forearm muscles.  Some training rackets can even weigh over 100g!

 

2. Balance

Badminton rackets have three types of balances.  The balance of a racket can usually be found written somewhere on the shaft.

 

Head Heavy Balance Badminton Rackets:

Head heavy rackets give you the extra edge when hitting a smash as the head weight contributes to the momentum of a players swing and gives them more power in their shots.  The downside is that with a heavier head, your reaction to shots might be a bit sluggish when on the defense.  The added head weight will also be taxing on your wrist when hitting quick drives and defensive blocks. 

View our popular Head Heavy Badminton Rackets!

Head Light Balance Badminton Rackets:

Head light rackets will give you the upper hand when engaging in fast drive exchanges  A lighter head gives players the ability to quickly react to shots, heightening their defensive abilities.  A downside to a lighter head is that you won't have as much power in your smashes but you will have better control and placement of your half smashes with a quick flick of the wrist.

View our popular Head Light Badminton Rackets!

 

Even Balance Badminton Rackets:

Even balanced rackets are in between the other two types.  They are quite versatile in that they can still pack a punch when smashing and be quick enough to react to defensive shots.  They are all-rounded and are suitable for most type of players.

View our popular Even Balanced Badminton Rackets!



You may adjust the balance point of a racket by:

  • Adding lead tape to the head of a racket to make it more head heavy
    OR
  • adding more layers of grip to make it more head light

        3. Shaft Flex

        Badminton Rackets range from flexible, medium flex, stiff, to extra stiff. 

        Flexible Shaft

        ADVANTAGES

        -a flexible shaft will give the player easy access to power without exerting much strength

        -good for beginners as they can use this to practice on their technique since they won't have to focus on generating enough power for their shots

        -can easily defend smashes since you have little time to put strength into your shot

        DISADVANTAGES

         

        -less control of shuttle placement since the shaft is easily bent, leading to uncertainty in the flight direction of the shuttlecock.

        -return of shots are slower since the shuttle stays on the string bed for a longer time due to the flex of the shaft

         

        Stiff Shaft 

        ADVANTAGES

         

        -return of shots are faster since the shuttle does not stay on the string bed as long due to stiff flex of shaft

        -more control of shuttle placement since the shaft is stiff and will give instant rebound of the shuttle 

         

         

        DISADVANTAGES

         

        -a stiff shaft will require a stronger swing and good technique in order to generate power

        -requires good use of wrist action

        -more suited for intermediate to advanced players

         

         

        4. Head Shape

        Badminton rackets can have either an Isometric head shape (Square) or Conventional head shape (Oval)

        The only difference between an isometric and conventional frame is the size of the SWEET SPOT.

        The sweet spot is a specific area on the string bed of the racket (usually the center of the string bed). Hitting the sweet spot will give you maximum power.

        Isometric frames have a larger sweet spot than conventional oval frames.

        Conventional frames are practically non-existant nowadays and are replaced by the isometric frames.

         

        5. Grip Size

        Just like the weight of a racket, grip sizes also vary.  They are usually found on the cone of the racket along with the racket's weight.  The following are grip sizes (circumference in inches) that Yonex and Victor follows:

        G1: 4 in
        G2
        : 3.75 in
        G3: 3.5 in
        G4: 3.25 in
        G5: 3 in
        G6: 2.75 in

        The grip size for every player is different as it is dependent on their personal preference.  Smaller grip sizes will allow for more finger power/wrist action to be used whereas a bigger grip size will utilize more of the arm. 

        Most rackets are available in G5 and G4, with bigger grip sizes G3 and G2 available in European countries.  If you don't know which size to get, it is recommended that you get the smallest grip size available to you as you can always add on an over grip to make it bigger if necessary.  And also because you are limited by how much you can decrease the grip size.

         

        6. Singles or Doubles

        Another aspect you may want to consider is the type of game that you play.  For example, if you are mostly a singles player, you would want to lean towards more head heavy rackets.  Since singles is not as fast paced as doubles, you have more time to react to shots and therefore the extra weight of the head would not be a problem.  

        For those of you who mostly play doubles, an even balanced racket or head light racket would be preferred.  This will allow you to keep up with the fast paced rallies in doubles.

         

        7. Take home message

        This guide was meant to be used as a reference for people who are new to badminton or for those with limited knowledge on the sport.  Keep in mind that the things mentioned in this guide are only guidelines.  You may see people doing completely the opposite of what was mentioned in this guide and that is fine because everyone has their own personal preference.  You can use whichever racket you like as long as you are comfortable and it does not hinder your performance or cause you injury.

         

        If you found this useful, keep reading in the next post to learn How to choose a Badminton String and String Tension.


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        3 comments

        • very helpful and understand alot of things

          jan on
        • Thank you for such an excellent and accurate article. I learned a lot from it even though I grew up in a Badminton-rich environment.

          Azhar

          Azhar on
        • Usually I use a heavier badminton racket and I’ve never tried a lighter one so I didn’t know that the heavier ones were harder to control. Control is something I want to improve on in my game. Maybe it is time to go buy a new superlight racket so that I can control it more. Do you recommend moving up gradually to the lightest one or just getting the 5U automatically?
          http://www.badmintonwarehouse.com/Super-Light-Badminton-Racket-s/248.htm

          Patricia Anderson on

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