Best Badminton Rackets 2017: For Beginners, Intermediate, Doubles, and Smashing

Best Badminton Racket Reviews

Choosing a badminton racquet can be a difficult and challenging thing to do.  The most crucial part of choosing a badminton racket is making sure that you select a racket that corresponds to your skill level.  Selecting a option that requires more skill, or too much skill for you, will almost certainly leave you dissatisfied with your experience.  With so many brands out on the market, it can be tough to find yourself selecting the right racket for your use. 

Top Badminton Racket Comparison Chart

There are a number of things to look at, and in our buying guide we will break down all of those factors for you to easily understand.  We will then make recommendations to you based on the types of racket that you need.  Before we move on to the guide, it is important to note that no matter how nice the racket may be, it will never replace skill and hard work!  This is something that many people have a hard time grasping.  Despite the high dollar amounts that come with some rackets, it will not replace poor form or make up for a lack of work ethic.  Badminton takes a lot of time and effort to master, and a racket will not just magically fix all of your woes.

Badminton Racket Buying Guide

The Four Categories of Our Guide

Our guide today is going to focus on four main categories of badminton players.  Each category of play is different and it requires unique features for the racket to have.  Without these features, you will have a much more difficult time on the court.  The categories that we are going to look and make recommendations for are: beginners, intermediate players, rackets for smashing, and rackets for doubles.  We will rank the top rackets in each category to give you an easier time wading through the choices later on!

Beginners

Beginners are players that have just began playing the game, or they are very recreational players.  These players need rackets that have as much forgiveness as possible built in to them.  Some beginners may also need to have a racket that is powerful as they do not have the proper technique to give them proper power!

Intermediates

Intermediate players are players that have been playing badminton for some time, and they are typically pretty good at it.  These would be people that are members of clubs or just people that play frequently.  These people often are pretty good with their technique, but they still need a little bit of help.  Depending on the player, they may need some help with power or their accuracy.

Smashing

Smashing is more of a technique rather than it is a kind of player.  But oftentimes, the better players are much better at it.  Smashing is essentially what “spiking” is in volleyball.  It is someone coming toward the net who fires a shot downward and across the net toward the sometimes hapless opponent.  If done right, this can win you points very quickly and simply through just sheer power.  The type of racket needed, thus, will be a more powerful style of racket if you seek to play in this manner.

Doubles

Playing the doubles format of badminton is a completely different prospect than playing singles.  Like in tennis, there are just so many differences that you have to pick up on.  One of them is the speed of the game.  In doubles, the speed is increased significantly because the shuttlecock can go to either player in a moment’s notice.  It is much less likely to find its way to the floor since there are two players on each side, so it is vital to have a racket that allows you to be speedy!

These are just the basics of each, but we will go into some more details on each later on.

Racket Head

A badminton racquet’s head can come in various shapes and sizes.  But they are usually much smaller in size than a tennis racket, for example.  However, they are larger than one used for racquetball.  Badminton racket heads can be in an ovular shape, a diamond, a teardrop, you name it it can probably come in that shape if its close to being rounded.  The advantages to the diamond or teardrop shapes is that the main string is longer.  This makes it more bouncy.  The standard looking head will have a tighter feel to it.  For those that have a “wide body,” meaning there is more room laterally, those racquets will add power to your shot.  Those could be a potential weapon for those that are looking to smash better, or for those that are just a little low on the power end of the spectrum.

Balance and Weight Distribution

A big factor for any person that plays racket sports at all is the balance of the racket.  This determines how the racket’s weight is distributed.  This can greatly impact the way you play.  The balance that you ultimately choose should be one that fits your style.  You should not be molding your style of play or skill level to the racket.  As you improve, you can change rackets, but not vice versa.

Head Heavy

Head heavy rackets are great for those are looking to be much more powerful in their game.  This is great for anyone that finds herself or himself a little low on power and in need of help.  Head heavy basically is referring to the fact that the majority of the racket’s weight is loaded in its head.  This makes it easier to play from the back of the court because you are able to more easily hit the shuttlecock over the net.  The extra mass in the head of this type allows you to be a better smasher as well as being better at clearing the shuttlecock.  For anyone a little short on their distances, this may be your answer.  Because of this, it is very much a good idea for a beginner player or a young player to use this type of racket in most cases.

Head Light

Head light rackets are good for the exact opposite as head heavy rackets.  Head light rackets are much easier to swing and maneuver.  As such, this type is preferred by those that belong to clubs and almost all doubles players.  The head, conversely to head heavy rackets, is lighter so that you can swing it faster and easier.  This makes doubles play much easier as you can move quickly to answer back your opponent’s strikes.  These are best when playing at the net as you can finish off the play much quicker and shouldn’t have to worry about trying to hit the shuttlecock far enough for it to reach the other side.  A singles player could also use this type of racket, but he or she would need to make sure and be a player that has good, solid technique first.  It is definitely much more suitable to an intermediate and above player.

Even Balance

Even balance rackets do exactly what the name sounds like: they try to take the best of both worlds and allow you to go forward from there.  By doing this, you also are only going to get half the benefits of each.  So a player will have just enough power to play from the back of the court and just enough speed to play from the front as well.  If you are unsure of how you want to play strategically, this is a good middle ground route to go.  This means this is a great tool for beginners as it will help you in all facets of the game.  If you are a little more advanced and just want a racket that will be good for multiple functions, then this would also be a good way to go as well.

Weight

The overall weight that the racket is labeled at can also be a factor in your decision.  The weight of badminton rackets are measured in grams.  There are two main designations for weight: 3U and 4U.  3U is the weight that is most commonly used by singles players.  This is typically a weight between 85 and 89 grams, so badminton racquets are quite light in comparison to almost any other type of racket.  3U racquets are best for giving you that little bit of extra power, but it doesn’t necessarily take away all of your speed, either.  4U rackets are actually less heavy than their 3U counterparts.  4U rackets have a weight of between 80 and 84 grams, and they are great for speed.  As a result, this means they are preferred by most doubles players as speed is such a crucial part of playing the doubles format.

Shaft Flexibility

This will be the final category that we look at before we get to the reviews.  The flexibility of the shaft is just as important as the balance of the head, and it is dependent upon the speed or your arm and wrist movements.  There three main ways that they categorize the flexibility: “flexible,” “medium,” and “stiff.”  Sometimes, you can see “medium stiff,” or “extra stiff,” but the point is that there a variety of options there.

The general rule of thumb here is that the quicker your arm and/or wrist moves, the more stiff you are going to want your racket to be.  So if you are a very quick player, you will likely want something very stiff in order to help you with your game.  This is all optional, but it’s smartest to find something that fits your game, after all!

If you are smooth and slow with your movements, you will want something a little more flexible.  It will increase speed a little bit, and it would go hand-in-hand well with someone that is using a little bit more powerful racket.  If you are in the middle of this spectrum as well, then you will just be smart to select the “medium” choice.

If you select the wrong one, you are doing yourself a huge disservice here.  A player that is stronger and thus a little slower will see no benefits from using a stiff shaft because will not bend our unbend enough as you need it to do.  The opposite can be said of quicker players using a flexible shaft.  A flexible shaft in conjunction with a quicker swing is very likely to make you swing at and contact the shuttlecock too early on, thus making you lose both power and control.

There are other factors in badminton rackets as well, but the biggest ones in selecting them have been gone over above.  If there is anything additional to know, we will point them out specifically below in our reviews!

Let’s Review the Top 3 for Each Type!

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners

 

Wilson BLX Blade Racket

The Wilson BLX model is a moderately priced racket that will be great for beginners because of its isometric head and large sweet spot.  It is a little light at 83 grams, but is head shape leads to more power and forgiveness.  It only comes in one color, unfortunately, but it is prestrung and comes with a cover.  It will definitely give you increased power while still allowing you to move.

Pros

    • Good price
    • Large sweet spot
    • Light but powerful

Cons

    • It may be too light for some beginners even
    • Not great for smashing

Yonex Nanoray 20 Racket

The second beginner’s racket on the list is a head light racket that will leave you with a much easier time maneuvering it.  This is clearly for beginners that are very athletic and already have a knack for it, but still very good for beginners.  It comes in a variety of colors, and it is also at a moderate price.  It has weight of 88 grams, which puts in the 3U category, so it is trying to balance out all the issues you may have.

Pros

    • Light, but not too light
    • Great price
    • Good for singles play

Cons

    • Not great for doubles play
    • Can break easily if it falls

Yonex Arcsaber 002 Racket

Coming in at a more expensive price is the Yonex Arcsaber which is geared toward players that want all-around play.  This will help you with any power issues as well as giving you the ability to move around freely.  It is at 83 grams, which makes it a 4U, so you could get away with it for doubles as well as singles.  It has medium flexibility, so it is a right down the center kind of racket for you to use.

Pros

    • Great generic racket for beginners
    • Good for doubles play
    • Helps all facets of your game

Cons

    • A little bit pricey
    • It is a little slow for faster players

Best Badminton Rackets for Intermediate Players

Senston N80 Graphite Racket

if you’re an intermediate player, and you’re looking for something that is very friendly to your budget, then look no further.  The Senston N80 comes in a small array of colors, and is very light at only 80 grams (not counting the string) and is head light.  This is clearly for a quick player that can provide herself or himself’s own power.  This is certainly meant for intermediates.  It is prestrung as well, so no worries there!

Pros

    • Really awesome price
    • Meant for quicker players
    • Good color choices

Cons

    • Rubber grip has some tearing issues
    • Some have issues with the stringing

Yonex Nanoray 10F Racket

Coming in at just a slightly higher price than #1 is the Nanoray for the intermediate player.  This racket has two colors: white and pink.  It only weights 83g, which puts it in the 4U category and would allow you to do doubles.  It is prestrung as well, like the rest of the items so far, and it also comes with a complimentary full cover as well.  The strings have just the right amount of tension as well for the intermediate player.

Pros

    • Good price
    • Very light weight and maneuverable
    • Comes with cover and is prestrung

Cons

    • String is a little soft for some
    • It is not an evenly-balance racket

Yonex Muscle Power 3 Racket

This is yet another racket that will be very friendly to your budget. The Muscle Power 3 is Yonex’s power racket for the intermediate player.  It has medium flex, can be restrung when you have used the prestrung strings out, and it is very lightweight.  However, it still allows you to smash very well and is just not made near as cheaply as many of the rackets you find at stores.

Pros

    • Very low price
    • Good power
    • Strings are easily replaceable

Cons

    • A little shorter than most
    • Susceptible to breaking if hit

Top Badminton Rackets for Smashing

Li-Ning Woods N90-II Racket

if you are looking to smash like a pro, then look no further. One of the best players in the world, Fu Haifeng has his name on this racket, and it’s meant to help you smash birdies down on your opponent mercilessly.  It’s 3U and is head heavy, so it is totally built for power. This will help dominate your opponents, but it does come at a very hefty price!

Pros

    • Used by the king of the smash
    • Heady heavy to help dispatch opposition
    • Also has a stiff shaft

Cons

    • Very high price
    • Not great for people who want maneuverability

Yonex Nanoray Z-Speed Racket

don’t let the name fool you.  This is a very powerful racket if it’s in the hands of someone that knows how to use it.  The world’s longest recorded smash was set with this very racket, by a professional, but if you are very good, you can smash very well with this one, too. Unlike the Li-Ning, this one is head light and has an isometric frame to it. You can get to the same end via different paths, and this racket proves just that, but it is also at quite a price.

Pros

    • Set the record for longest smash
    • Is head light and quick to move
    • Has a full cover included as well

Cons

    • Very high price
    • Frame is smaller; harder to use for defensive players

2 Badminton Rackets for Doubles

Yonex Nanoray 750 Racket

this is a top of the line racket that can be used in either doubles or singles play, but is best for doubles.  It has a weight of 4U, which means it is very easy to maneuver and ideal for doubles.  It has a medium flexibility shaft as well to help give you if you are a mid-level wrist movement type of player.  It does come at a hefty price, however.

Pros

    • 4U makes it ideal
    • Provides a balance between power and speed
    • Can also be used in singles if needed

Cons

    • Very hefty price
    • Comes unstrung

Li Ning N7 Racket

this is by far the most expensive racket on our list, but it is a great doubles racket.  It is very durable and can take clashes with partners very well, if they are to occur.  It’s best for doubles players that play at the net as its both shifty enough to move and great for smashing.  It is a little heavier at 3U for whatever reason, but many professionals have chosen to use it!

Pros

    • Great for smashing
    • Good for play at the net
    • Can take a hit

Cons

    • Extremely high price
    • Is a little heavy

Conclusion & Recommendations

As you can see, it would be very easy to get stuck looking for a badminton racket as there are so many choices available.  By narrowing down your purpose, you have a much easier time deciding which you need.  All of the information you need is above, and with any of these rackets and lots of practice, you’ll be showing out in no time!

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