How to Choose a Badminton Racket (Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide)

Written by Amir Bashir | 02 July 2022

A yellow racket sitting on top of a red badminton racket

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Choosing a badminton racket can be a daunting experience. You have to take into account your playing style, the flexibility of the racket’s shaft, the tension of its strings, and many other factors to make a fruitful decision.

In this guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to consider when buying a badminton racket.

Weight of the Racket

The weight of a badminton racket is denoted by “U”; the higher the number, the lighter the weight of your racket. Most rackets used these days weigh between 80 and 100 grams, as this table highlights.

 1U2U3U4U
Weight of the Badminton
Racket (in grams)
95-100 g90-94 g85-89 g80-84 g

Is a Lighter or Heavier Badminton Racket Better for You?

Whether a lighter or heavier badminton racket is better for you depends on your expertise. For instance:

  • If you are a beginner/newbie, a lightweight badminton racket (3U) might be a better choice. Lightweight rackets are easier on the wrist and the arms, reducing the risk of injuries.
  • If you are a professional badminton player, a slightly heavy badminton racket (2U) might be better. Heavy rackets allow you to impart greater power to your shots. They are also much more stable.

Balance Point

The balance point is where you can balance the racket on your finger. It is the point where the maximum weight lies in the racket. Badminton rackets have one of three balances:

Head-Light Balance

As their name implies, head-light badminton rackets have more weight concentrated towards the base/handle of the racket.

Head-light rackets offer excellent maneuverability, allowing the player holding the racket to hit shots with more accuracy and precision.

Beginners usually prefer these rackets because they are lightweight and provide a comfortable in-hand feel.

Head-Heavy Balance

Heavy-heavy badminton rackets have more weight concentrated towards the head/throat area.

This makes them more suitable for players with an aggressive or an attacking playing style, as the extra mass in the head/throat area helps the players transfer more power to their shots.

All in all, if you are a badminton player who likes playing clears from the back of the court, or you want to add more power to your smashes, a head-heavy badminton racket can take your game to the next level.

Even Balanced

In even balanced rackets, the maximum weight (balance point) is concentrated at a distance of 280-300mm from the racket’s base.

These rackets combine the maneuverability of their head-light counterparts with the hitting power of head-heavy rackets.

As it is with head-light rackets, the even-balanced ones are also preferred by beginners who are still learning the ropes of the game.

Grip Types

Badminton rackets are available in two grips — towel and synthetic.

Towel grips are excellent for absorbing sweat. They are also softer and much easier on the hand. However, these grips are also prone to the accumulation of germs and bacteria. Plus, they require more frequent replacement.

Synthetic grips might not be as comfortable as towel grips. Yet they are less messy and slicker. More importantly, these grips last a long time (between 20 and 50 games) before needing replacement.

Size of Racket Grips

The size of racket grips is denoted by “G”; the lower the number, the wider the grip. Check out this table to know more.

Grip SizeSize in mmBest for
G1 (X-Large)95mmChild/Teenager
G2 (Large)92mmTeenager
G3 (Medium)89mmAverage Size Player
G4 (Small)86mmLarge Player
G5 (X-Small)83mmVery Big Hands

How to Find the Right Grip Size for You?

Here’s how you can find the right grip size:

  1. Hold your racket as you do on the court
  2. Insert your index finger in the gap between the fingers and the heel of your hand.
  3. If the index finger fits perfectly, the grip size is right for you. However, if it is too tight or there is a lot of space on the sides, then chances are that the grip is too small or too large for you.

Shaft Flexibility (Flex)

To check the shaft flexibility of your racket, place one end on both ends and bend it slightly (please be gentle, or else you may end up breaking the racket).

If you feel that the racket could be easily bent, that means it has a flexible shaft. Otherwise, it has a stiff/non-flexible shaft.

Flexible Shaft

A flexible shaft is better for power hitters — it offers good shuttlecock repulsion, letting you transfer added power to your smashes and clears with relatively little effort.

Here’s why that is the case.

As the shaft bends, it stores energy imparted to it by your swing movement. Then, as the racket comes into contact with the shuttlecock, all that stored energy is released and transferred to the shuttlecock.

Is a Flexible Shaft Good for You?

A flexible shaft is ideal for badminton players with a defensive playing style. The larger bending movement of the shaft gives you more time to return the shuttlecock, increasing your chances of a successful return.

Stiff Shaft

A stiff shaft generates little to no repulsion, forcing the shuttlecock to bounce off immediately upon coming into contact with the racket’s string bed. As a result, shorts are less powerful.

This makes it ideal for badminton players with an attacking playing style — since the shuttle will bounce off immediately, it will be returned fast, giving the opponent little to no time to react.

Is a Stiff Shaft Good for You?

A stiff shaft is suitable for intermediate or advanced-level badminton players. That is because you need strong arms to compensate for the lack of repulsion generated by the string bed.

String Tension

Much of the power in your shots will come from the string. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how string tension may affect your game.

By increasing or decreasing the string tension, you could add more power to your shots or give you more control over where the shuttlecock will eventually land.

Low String Tension (16 – 22lbs)

Low string tension is ideal for beginners.

Just like the flexible shaft, the lower tension strings stretch more at the moment of the impact, storing energy which they eventually transfer to the shuttlecock.

As a result, when the shuttlecock rebounds from lower tension strings, it does so with a higher speed, giving the opponent little time to react.

Medium String Tension (23 – 26lbs)

Medium tension strings are usually preferred by intermediate players.

Everything about these strings is the middle of the road, whether it is the speed of the rebound, the control they give you over shots, or durability.

High String Tension (27lbs+)

Professional players usually prefer high-tension strings. High tension strings help make your shot more consistent, give you more control over where the shuttlecock will land, and make it easier to hit topspin shots. Bear in mind, though, that you’d have to restring them regularly to reduce the effects of undesirable string motion. 

Best Badminton Racket to Choose

The following badminton rackets have been carefully selected based on the above factors (weight; balance point; grip, shaft, string tension).

Conclusion

Now that you have selected the right badminton racket for you, why not check our guide on how to build an indoor badminton court?

Don’t have much space to build a badminton court indoors? Then our guide on how to make an outdoor badminton court might come in handy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Amir Bashir

Amir picked up his first badminton racket at the age of 4 and fell in love with the sport. He joined Healthy Principles to help his fellow badminton enthusiasts get better at the game. In his spare time, you'll find him watching long rallies on YouTube. Learn more about Amir Bashir.