Badminton buying guide

Within our Badminton Buying Guide section, you will find everything you need to help you to find the perfect badminton racket and shuttlecocks for you. Simply choose from the options below for in-depth information that will help you to make the right choices.

The Millet Sports guide to buying a badminton racket and shuttlecocks

It goes without saying that finding the right badminton racket is probably the most critical choice that any professional or amateur badminton player will ever have to make.

The dizzying array of badminton rackets that are available to badminton players can make buying a new racket an incredibly difficult decision, especially when there is minimal aesthetic difference between them to help differentiate.

Irrespective of whether you are a novice or expert badminton player, by using the Millet Sports Badminton Buying Guide, we will hopefully be able to provide you with the requisite knowledge to enable you to choose the perfect badminton racket for your technique and your game.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a new badminton racket is your individual badminton standard and playing style, as this will help to ascertain which style of racket is best for you and your game.

The following sections can be expanded to provide more information.

 
  • How does weight differ between rackets, and what is suitable for me?
  • Generally speaking, all badminton rackets are predominantly made to the same size specifications (680mm long and 230mm wide), but weight can vary greatly from racket to racket; this is primarily due to the individual properties of the materials that rackets are constructed from.

    Weight is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new racket (as is weight balance - covered in the next section).

    The majority of modern rackets are incredibly lightweight, weighing anywhere from 80 to 100g; they are classified using 3 basic weight ranges - 2U, 3U & 4U. These weight classifications are explained in the following table.

    Weight code Racket weight range
     
    2U 90g and over
    3U 85-89.9g
    4U 80-84.9g

    As a rule of thumb, the higher the specification and price of the racket, then it is more likely that the racket itself will be lighter.

    The main reason for this is that all top of the range frames are constructed using more expensive and more sophisticated materials, which enable you to hit the shuttlecock easier and swing the racket faster. However, there are anomalies; certain racket models that are manufactured to high specifications can also be weighted in the frame.

    Both heavier and lighter rackets have their respective advantages and disadvantages; as previously mentioned, a player’s own individual technique and playing style will heavily dictate whether they would be more suited to a heavy or lightweight badminton racket.

    When it comes to heavier rackets, these are generally favoured by stronger players with a refined technique and rapid swing speed, as they can harness the extra weight to yield increased momentum and power as well as greater stability.

    However, heavier rackets are not ideally suited to beginners; if they have yet to master their speed and technique of their swing, it may lead them to rely heavily on arm movements as opposed to wrist movements, which can lead to inferior technique and a decline in performance.

    In recent years, rackets that are of a lighter weight have become a highly popular choice for amateur and professional players alike; this is because their lightweight construction allows players to swing faster and manoeuvre around the court quicker. One of the key variables that dictates the power of a players shot is swing speed, meaning that the majority of players find lighter rackets more powerful, as they facilitate a faster swing speed.

    In summary, when deciding which racket weight is most suited to you, you must first consider your own technique, swing speed, experience and strength level.

    Generally, most players of an intermediate or advanced playing level will use a racket somewhere between the 3U and 4U weight levels. Whereas most entry rackets fall into the 2U range due to their utilisation of heavier materials (aluminium & steel) and lower price point.

     

  • What is racket balance, and what difference does it make?
  • In a similar vein to racket weight, racket balance (or weight distribution) can heavily influence how a particular racket plays and feels.

    Generally speaking, the weight of a racket is not always evenly distributed across the frame; playing with a racket that has increased or decreased weight in the racket head can drastically enhance their playing performance and style.

    Racket balance levels are generally classified into three distinct balance groups, which are as follows:

    Head Light Rackets - concentrate a larger proportion of the racket’s weight in the handle area, which gives the racket a lighter head.

    Head light rackets also utilise Nano technology, which helps to transfer weight to the handle without compromising the lightweight nature of the racquet.

    When using a head light rackets, it is immediately apparent that the frame feels lighter, which will facilitate faster swing speed, which yields greater manoeuvrability & power; this makes them particularly beneficial to players that like to play at the net.

    Evenly Balanced Rackets - also referred to as mid balance rackets; these are frames which have an evenly distributed weight balance across the entire frame. Rackets that are evenly balanced will afford players more flexibility and speed when they are playing, making them a perfect choice for players that demand greater control and feel of the shuttlecock, and also all-round court play.

    Head Heavy Rackets tend to be much lighter rackets, but they have much of the weight distributed in the head area of the racket. As a result, head heavy rackets facilitate excellent swing manoeuvrability without the need to sacrifice power. It is commonly accepted that head heavy rackets are ideal for the developing player seeking power in a lightweight design, as they give more momentum to the swing; this is ideal for power players that like to muscle the shuttlecock over the net.

     

  • Are badminton rackets made in different grip sizes?
  • UK badminton rackets are only made in one grip size.

    Rackets are designed to be suitable for all badminton players, but some players do like to alter the size of their badminton racket grip by applying a thin towelling overgrip, or less regularly a full sponge grip.

     

  • Which head shape suits me best?
  • The two racket head shapes available in a badminton racket are oval and isometric.

    Oval shaped heads are perfect for any intermediate to advanced players, as they provide a smaller sweet spot, which offers greater touch, control and feel for the shuttlecock.

    An oval shaped head also facilitates greater shot power when the shuttlecock is hit well, but it can pose a risk to shot consistency for off-centre hits.

    Isometric shaped heads rackets are now the most coveted amongst players; this is mainly due to their revolutionary shape, which can increase the sweet spot of a racket by up to 30%, meaning players can still get plenty of power and control on off centre hits.

    Frame Shape

    As a general rule, there are two distinct frame shapes - box shaped frames are preferred by players that have a refined technique and faster arm speed, which aids in shot control. Alternatively, a curve shaped frame is much more aerodynamic as it provides much less drag, and therefore gives a faster head speed and pace on the shuttlecock.

     

     

  • Why is shaft flexibility important?
  • The flexibility of a shaft is commonly referred to as a racket’s stiffness; as is the case with other racket differences, the choice of racket stiffness depends largely on a player’s standard and strength levels.

    As a rule of thumb, a stiffer shaft will be more suited to a player with a faster arm speed and refined technique, as they offer a greater degree of control. In contrast, a racket with a medium flex shaft will be better suited to a player with a slower arm speed and developing technique, as flexible shaft rackets offer more power and head speed.

     

    Power/Control Shaft Suitable for
     
    More Power Flexible Beginners or players with a slower arm speed - provides more control
             ↑ Medium For players with mid arm speed - ideal for those developing their technique
             ↓ Stiff For good players with a faster arm speed and sound technique
    More Control Extra Stiff Players with an even faster arm speed and good technique

     

  • What materials are rackets made from?
  • Traditionally speaking, most rackets tended to be made from wood, but the use of this material has now been totally eradicated from rackets.

    Today, the majority of racket frames are manufactured from light-weight graphite or graphite composites, which are constructed from materials such as Titanium, Kevlar, Carbon, Steel, Aluminium and Fibreglass. These offer greater frame flexibility, durability and performance without compromising on cost effectiveness.

    As with all sports equipment, the cost of a racket is often a function of the cost of the materials and manufacturing processes used to construct the finished product.

    This means that rackets made from aluminium and steel will always be cheaper than graphite, carbon and other composite rackets. More expensive rackets (which are often made of Titanium, Kevlar, Carbon and other composites) will have more technology behind their design and thus be more suited to any player who wishes to play often and improve their game.

     

  • String tension explained
  • Generally nowadays, all new rackets come pre-strung at the manufacturer’s recommended tension level, which is normally suitable for most types of player.

    However, badminton rackets can be restrung to a specific requirement to suit an individual’s technique. Rackets are generally strung at a tension between 18lb and 30lb. More advanced players will tend to select a higher tension. To enquire about our stringing service, please call our experienced staff on 08452 702 011. Occasionally racket strings will break, and by selecting the string tension at which your racket is strung, further provides a way to customise your racket and potentially enhance your game.

    When choosing to restring your racket you are presented with a choice of racket strings, each with their relative benefits. Natural Gut is the string used by most professionals, providing a superior feel to any other string. It also tends to be the most expensive. Multifilament strings - sometimes called synthetic gut is the game’s most popular string, playing well and in a similar way to natural gut. It is however less durable than natural gut and this is reflected in its price. Monofilament strings - are more of a specialist choice for players who break strings regularly and are looking for a tougher string to stand up to their rigorous demands, providing greater durability but at the cost of feel and comfort.

    Selecting your racket tension can be a bit of a balancing act. Low tension causes the shuttle to spring off the racket off the racket at a greater speed (a sling shot effect is created as the shuttlecock sinks into the strings and is then repelled of the string bed), therefore providing greater power. Rackets strung at higher tension on the other hand do not create the sling-shot, but give greater control enabling greater emphasis on direction.

    When considering a restring it is useful to note/record previous strings and tensions your racquet has been strung at so that changes can be considered with guided information

     

  • What the Pro’s are using?
  • Click on the players/racket below to view their rackets.

    Men's rankings

     

    1

    Lee, Chong Wei (MAS)

    Yonex Armortec 900 Power

       

    2

    Kuncoro, Sony Dwi (INA)

    Yonex Armortec 700

       

    3

    Wong, Wing Ki (HKG)

    Yonex Armortec 900 Power

       

    4

    Hu, Yun (HKG)

    Yonex Armortec 900 Power 

       

    5

    Jan O Jorgensen (DEN)

    Yonex Arcsaber 10 

       

    6

    Du, Pengyu (CHN)

    Babolat 

       

    7

    Tago, Kenichi (JPN)

    Yonex Arcsaber 10 

       

    8

    Chong, Wei Feng (MAS)

    Babolat 

       

    9

    Vladimir Ivanov (RUS)

    Yones Armortec 900 Technique 

       

    10

    Takuma Ueda (JPN)

    Yonex Armortec 900 Power

       

    Women's rankings

     

    1

    Sung Ji, Hyun (KOR)

     FORZA

       

    2

    Tai, Tzu Ying (TPE)

     Unknown

       

    3

    Minatsu Mitani (JPN)

     Yonex Armortec 900 Technique

       

    4

    Saina Nehwal (IND)

     Yones Nanospeed 9000

       

    5

    Bae, Yeon Ju (KOR)

     Yonex Armortec 900 Technique

       

    6

    Tine Baun (DEN)

     Yonex Arcsaber 7

       

    7

    Wang, Shixian (CHN)

     Babolat

       

    8

    Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA)

     Yonex Armortec 900 Technique

       

    9

    Chan, Tsz Ka (HKG)

     Unknown

       

    10

    Yao, Xue (CHN)

     Unknown

       

     

    Badminton World Federation rankings as at 26th February 2013.

    We strive to provide you with the most useful and accurate information in aiding you to buy a badminton racket and shuttlecocks, however we are always looking to improve our offering and services to our customers. If you have any recommendations on how we could improve our guide please send an email to enquiries@milletsports.co.uk. We always welcome your feedback.