This is one of the most common questions that badminton players will ask. Well, after playing badminton for many years and reading badminton rackets feedbacks, I recommend there are several areas you may need to know before buying a racket.
There are many badminton brands available to choose, such as Yonex, Wilson, Victor, Carlton, Head, LiNing etc. Among all the brands, Yonex is the most well established brand among international badminton communities. Yonex badminton rackets are generally more expensive than others. Good quality comes with good price as it is in most cases. Other brands are almost as good as Yonex but with lower price. Recently I have been impressed by good rackets produced by Victor and LiNing.
The power of badminton rackets does not solely depend on the weight. It is not heavier the rackets are, more power they could generate. Don’t forget who is the one swinging the rackets. Use the following formula to understand more of the power generated from a racket.
[Racket head speed x Racket head weight = power]
To obtain the optimum power, you need to be able to generate maximum racket head speed with a given weight of racket. How to generate optimum racket head speed depends on your muscles and correct techniques which are covered in other posts of this website.
Yonex has a very good system in indicating the weights of rackets they manufactured. 2U <90g, 3U 85-90g, 4U<85g. 3U rackets are the most popular ones as they could generate optimum level of power. 2Us are heavier with less racket head speed and 4Us are lighter faster but with less mass.
– Weight distribution of racket
There are three kinds of badminton rackets available, head-light, even-balanced and head-heavy. Generally head-heavy rackets are more powerful than head-light racket. But they are offset by the slower racket head speed. Most players would use head-heavy rackets for singles, and head-light or even-balance rackets for doubles. Even-balance rackets are good for both doubles and singles. My personal preference is ArcSaber 10, which is being used by Taufik and Pete Gade. Fast Smasher Tan Boon Heong has used NanoSpeed 9900 and Ti 10 (purple). His strength and techniques are good enough for him to generate tremedous shuttlecock speed by using even with head-light Ti 10.
Here is a rough guide. Balance point from handle without string or overgrip.
Head-light <285mm, Even-balance 285 – 300mm, Head-heavy >300mm.
Yonex head-light rackets: NanoSpeed and NanoRay series. Head-heavy rackets: Armortec and Voltric Series. Even-balance rackets: ArcSaber series.
Professionals use string tensions stronger than 26lbs as high strings tends to have better control and power and also they don’t need to pay for the rackets and strings. Amateur players should be ok with tensions between 23-26lbs.
Grip size comes in three types, G3 G4 and G5. G3 is larger than G4 and G5. Most rackets sold in Europe have G3 grip size. You have more choices in Asian markets. G4 is ideal as you can increase the grip size by adding your favourite type of grips without taking the orginal grips off.
Finding a suitable racket is really individual. You need to feel it is the right racket for your style, e.g. your physical build and your way of swinging the racket.
Note: since the publish of this post, there are more and more good rackets have been produced. It is difficult to keep track of all of them. This post only acts as a guideline for you when choosing a racket.