How we pick our products
Badminton, although for many it may seem strange, is the sixth most practiced sport in the world. It quickly spread from India, it’s country of origin, throughout different parts of Asia. At the end of the 19th century, when India came under British rule, the recreational sport was discovered and taken back to England, where the game quickly became a popular pastime. From there, it spread to the rest of the western world.
It wasn’t until the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 that it was considered an Olympic sport. The interesting sport of badminton is played with a heavy wheel or ball attached to a feather, hit by a racquet. As time has passed and new technology has emerged, dozens of different racquets have come out in the sports market, making the selection process a bit more challenging than it was in the past.
- The quality of racquet can heavily affect the performance of any given player, whether that be recreational or professional.
- Each model of badminton racquet can have it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on its quality and individual characteristics.
- The main purchase criteria when searching for your own racquet includes comparing weight, materials, support and string.
Our Selection: The Best Badminton Rackets
With its increasing popularity, badminton racquets have increased in diversity and quality of design. There are models suitable for competition, for recreation, for adults, for kids, those with varying weights and more.
We’ve searched the online market and created a ranking of the best badminton racquets. By picking a diverse selection of racquets, this should give you an idea of what to look for and what characteristics in a racquet will be best for you.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Badminton Rackets
At first glance, it may seem like all badminton rackets are the same, however, this is far from true. Weight distribution, size, material and other aspects of the construction of each racquet can change the performance of a badminton player entirely. If you don’t need a high-end racquet, it will suffice to find a mid-range option that is affordable.
If you’re a player desiring to improve or play at a competitive level, investing in a higher quality racket will prove to be a good investment. Learning the most you can about each racquet will allow you to compare and contrast and select the one that will suit your needs.
What is a badminton racket?
A badminton racket is very similar to a tennis racquet. It is a circular (more specifically oval) shaped frame with a wire “netting” that covers the whole, enabling a player to hit the surface of a ball over the net. Originally, badminton rackets were made of wood. These days rackets are made of steel, aluminum or a carbon fiber material.
Badminton rackets are much lighter than racquets used to play tennis. There is a wide variety of models, although the shape and size ranges are limited by regulations. The traditional oval head shape is still used, although the use of isometric heads is increasing more and more.
Why is balance important in badminton racquets?
Balance is one of the most important factors to consider before purchasing a racquet. This refers to the distribution of weight along the frame of the blade. This is established by finding the point along with the racquet where it can balance on the tip of a finger, the handle equalling out the weight of the circular frame. If the balance point is closer to the head, it is head heavy. If the balance point is closer to the handle it is considered headlight.
The balance in the head provides more power and is suitable for offensive play, but requires more effort. The neutral balance is more versatile, combining power and maneuverability and is suitable for any type of game. Headlight models offer more control and are recommended for defensive players.
Which badminton racquet is more suitable for which styles of play?
Badminton rackets have different characteristics depending on the materials, the weight, it’s shape and more. These seemingly minute distinctions make them more suitable for one type of game or another. Here’s the best model design for each style of play:
- Defensive game: Playing defensively is practiced by tactical players who aim to play out and tire their opponents to provoke mistakes. This requires a lightweight, flexible racquet with a neutral balance that offers a good combination of power, speed, and precision.
- Attack game: This style needs a stiffer racket that can provide maximum precision and power. This kind of racquet is made to act quickly and aggressively to score points on offense.
- Counterattack game: Playing as a counter-attack requires a racquet excels in combining both styles, able to quickly alternate from defending to attacking. You need a racquet that favors quick movements and a semi-rigid structure with a neutral balance.
- Versatile game: A style within reach of high level players. This requires great technical and tactical ability, which allows them to vary their movements according to the varying moments of the game. The racquet should be semi-rigid and neutral balanced, with characteristics that favor hitting, power, speed, and precision.
How to know which racket is most appropriate for my level?
High-end racquets are not only more expensive but often a bit harder to manipulate for players who do not yet have hitting technique or properly developed hand and arm muscles. Generally speaking, lightweight models tend to be better choices for beginners until one learns the movements of the game better.
Professional and high-grade racquets will have slight differences in handle design, the thickness of the frame and many other aspects of the building that may, to the average eye, be unnoticeable, but a profound difference in avid badminton players. It is usually not worth the money for recreational players to invest in high-quality racquets when the difference, for the most part, is unnoticeable.
How many parts do badminton rackets have?
There are three types of badminton rackets according to their respective parts. We’ve got one-piece, two-piece and three-piece shovels. Each of them has a series of characteristics that are preferred and recommended by each kind of player or style of play. Below are the three designs:
- Three parts: It consists of a head, rod and handle. These racquets are unsuitable for competition. They are quite heavy, more rigid, less stable and it’s necessary to exert a lot of force when hitting for the ball to reach high speeds with accuracy.
- Two pieces: In this model, a rod runs through the head and the trunk. The two pieces join together to form the handle. It has medium flexibility and is good for players who play frequently.
- One piece: These racquets are the ones most commonly used by professional players. It is a single rod that goes from the head to the handle. They are very flexible, with better grip and low vibrations. This design reduces deformity and possible damage to the racquet.
How do you maintain a badminton racquet?
Badminton racquets do not need much care if used correctly. However, the minimal maintenance needed should be done at every use. One of the biggest elements is keeping the racquet free of moisture. This means always towel drying it, covering it and keeping it out of humid areas or rooms as much as possible.
This biggest issue is usually wearing or breaking of the strings. The finer the string, the more often they usually need to be replaced. High-level players tend to use this type of string due to its high-performance capabilities but tend to change or replace them every month. Beginners and recreational players usually use thicker strings, which usually last much longer.
What are the most recognized brands of badminton rackets?
There are a number of different popular sports companies that are known for putting out quality badminton racquets. Most of these companies manufacture and distribute various sports equipment and accessories, though most with specialties related to any sort of racquet games. Below is a list of the top companies with badminton racquets:
- Yonex:A Japanese firm that manufactures a number of products related to a wide range of sports, including badminton.
- Li-Ning Company: A Chinese brand that manufactures high-end badminton racquets; their products are for players at an advanced level.
- Oliver: Australian manufacturer that is known for using innovative materials. Their rackets are very light and flexible.
- Victor: Originating in Taiwan, although in the last decades it has landed with great success in Europe. They sponsor major sporting events worldwide and sponsors national teams from various countries.
- Hudora: German company founded 100 years ago. It produces all kinds of sports clothes, leisure, and outdoor items. Their products include badminton rackets.
When going to purchase a badminton racquet, there are a number of aspects and features one can consider to help narrow down the options to the racquet that will best suit the needs of whatever individual. In the next sections, we’ve listed and detailed out our list of purchase criteria that cover all the varying characteristics and differences one racquet can have to another:
Badminton racquets can weigh anywhere from 70 to 120 grams. Weight will differ mainly according to level of skill and style of play. For most people, lighter is better. This allows for easier movement and manipulation of the racquet however usually at the sacrifice of power. However too light of models, depending on the quality of build, can have the potential of warping when used with excessive force.
Heavier racquets are mainly used by professionals or those who play competitively, although professionals still tend not to exceed racquet weights of about 90 grams. Heavier racquets can be used for training and enhancing different areas of one’s skillset. The presence or absence of weight will play a major role in the performance of the player.
As detailed in the previous section, well-built, lightweight racquets are often very beneficial when looking to improve performance in a game. Choosing a material that provides a lightweight racquet with strength and durability will be crucial. Graphite and carbon fiber racquets are both materials that allow the racquet to withstand wear and tear but are still easy to manage.
Both materials offer air resistance similar to steel and aluminum, but these materials have the disadvantage of being susceptible to corrosion. Carbon fiber stands out for its durability, as does graphite, since both materials are very similar, and the former is more resistant.
The head of the badminton racquet can be oval, also called classic or isometric. More experienced players tend to use classic designs which also has an oval shape, but with a flat top. By increasing the size of the impact zone, even if you hit with less precision, you can get a good hit.
The flexibility of badminton rackets conditions our game. If it is rigid, it will offer good control and will allow high power strokes, which benefits aggressive or attacking play. Flexible racquets make movement easier, but the strokes are slower and less precise. They are suitable for defensive play.
Having a good quality handle is directly related to drip. Having a good grip will allow a player to take full advantage of their movement and translate them to the racquet, allowing for precise hits and good shots. The size of the hand will determine the need for different thicknesses. Thickness ratings are numbered from 1 to 3.
Racquets with 3 grip ratings are mostly used by men, while 1 and 2 are usually used by women and children. This being said, number 2 handled racquets are most widely used across players of all genders, ages and skill levels. Before buying your own, it’s best to go into a store, or simply test out other racquets with different handle sizes to test out which size is best for you.
The mesh of badminton rackets is made of synthetic material. The thinner the string, the more precise the hit can be. Each player will have their preference of string thickness and string tension.
Professionals usually use racquets built with higher constructed tension of the string, which can be anywhere between 6 and 8 pounds. In recreational players, 3 pounds is recommended to get started. Intermediate players can eventually move up to 6 pounds when appropriate or desired.
High-level players already know the characteristics that a badminton racquet must have in order to get the best performance on the court. With experience, they’ve discovered the different effects that one aspect of a racquet can have on their whole game. While general recommendations can give guidance, each player must select a racquet appropriate for their style and level of play.
For those just entering the badminton world, following a set of criteria can help to narrow down the wide range of choices on the market to select the racquet with all the right characteristics. This takes analyzing things like weight, size, shape, material, brand and more. Taking the time to do research, look at the reviews and get consumer feedback will prove to be worthwhile.
(Featured Image Source: Unslpsh: U5epRU6sY_A/ Unsplash.com)