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 works with your skill level. Choosing a racket (or racquet) that is beyond your skill level (ie. you’re a beginner and you choose an intermediate racket) won’t do any harm, and in fact if you have the money, I’d suggest you do just that. Having a better racket means you’ll enjoy the experience more than having a junky piece of equipment, and as you get better you won’t have to upgrade (unless you REALLY want to – there are always better rackets than yours available online).
We’ve done our best to categorize 9 different rackets. The first 3 are rated for beginners, the next 3 for intermediate and the final 3 for advanced players. You can see all the details as you scroll down the article to our assessments and reviews. Good luck in your research and any questions or feedback is appreciated!
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 at 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 are players that have just begun playing the game, or they are very recreational players. These players need rackets that have as much forgiveness as possible built into them. Some beginners may also need to have a racket that is powerful since they do not have the proper technique to give them proper power!
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 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.
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 at 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.
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 of the diamond or teardrop shapes are 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 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 rackets are good for the exact opposite as head heavy racquets. Head light racquets 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 racquet, 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 for an intermediate and above player.
Even balance racquets 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.
The overall weight that the racquet is labeled at can also be a factor in your decision. The weight of badminton racquets is 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.
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 stiffer 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
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- Great Price for a Yonex
- Good sweet spot
- Tight for a beginner racket
- Owners say this racket has that “Yonex” feel (that’s a good thing in case you’re wondering)
- Not great for smashing
- According to some users, the strings could be tighter, but that’s true with every starter racket
Yonex is, for those of you who don’t already know, the world’s leading name is badminton accessories on the high-end. It’s kind of like what the name “KRAFT” is to macaroni and cheese. There are other companies that make mac & cheese, but no one really holds them on the same proverbial pedestal. That being said, this set is NOT one of Yonex’s high-end offerings. Yonex also offers a lower-quality entry-level badminton racket for those who just want to get an introductory feel for the game. These are definitely not meant for serious competition. For that, I’d take it up at least to the intermediate level.
But, for what they are being used for, I would totally go for a Yonex instead of a lesser brand.
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- 2-piece construction with flared aluminum tubing
- Oversized head
- VERY good price
- Heavier than intermediate or advanced models
This is another budget entry but for what it is (and what you pay) it’s a very good value. The Wilson Match Point has a frame made of two-piece aluminum tubing and inside grommets that are flared for maximum durability. It has an over-sized sweet spot in the center and with lots of play, you can expect this racket to last a minimum of half a year, but I’d bet it’ll last way longer than you’ll want it before upgrading!
It’s 26 inches long and weighs 120 grams
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- Tough, Durable String
- Light Head
- Nanomesh & Carbon Technologies
- Nothing horribly wrong with a Yonex at this price!
The Yonex Nanoray 10F is for those of you beginners who are a bit more ambitious and are perhaps looking for a racket that can stay with you longer than just a few months or a year before you want to upgrade to an intermediate racket. The Nanoray takes the starter model and kicks it up a notch without going intermediate or high-end. It’s made for you if you want to hit powerful shots over the net. It features a technology (Yonex calls TFA Cap) that are intended to decrease vibrations.
The head is strung with a BG3 string for a greater level of durability and a solid feel. The head itself is quite light so you won’t put unnecessary stress on your wrists and arms. It also uses something called Nonomesh + Carbon Nanotube technology and that results in increased tensile strength, and the aerodynamic frame offers a better wind resistance profile. A polyurethane wrapped handle ensures top-notch gripping qualities.
It does come with a cover for protection during storage and transport.
Best Badminton Rackets for Intermediate Players
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- Costs less than 1/3 the price of its direct competitor
- All carbon construction
- Super light
- Increases swing speed by 10%
- Not a well-known brand
Dynamic Shuttle Sports is a company founded with one over-riding purpose that was conceived in response to badminton equipment that was either lousy quality or too expensive. So, as you can guess, their mission is to provide the absolute best quality possible but without the sticker shock of the “high-end” companies.
The Ares Red 68 is Dynamics lightest racket weighing in at a mere 68 grams which is near 15 grams lighter than any other of their models. It’s meant to compete with the Yonex ArcSaber FB which costs a whopping $245!! It’s fabricated with high modulus Japanese Toray carbon fiber. I’m not totally sure what that is, but anything made of carbon fiber usually looks like this: $$$$$$$$$$
The head comes strung with a 24-pound string tension, but it can handle up to 30 pounds! Theoretically, the carbon construction and other tidbits offered in this premium racket will increase your swing speed by at least 10% and that’s huge in this sport! By the way, it also comes with a cover and 2 extra grips!
In my opinion, I’d grab this over the ArcSaber FB and in fact, I’d use it as an advanced player, never mind “intermediate”, but it sure is an “intermediate” price!
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- Lots of cool tech
- Graphite construction
- Super light
- Iconic name brand
- May be over-engineered
- May be better rackets available for the same price
Priced at under $100 Yonex is giving us a VERY good racket, but not injected with ultra-high-end technologies. We’ll get to those later. On a personal level, I don’t think I’d ever need a racket better than this one in my world, but if I was a pro, I’d go for the best money can buy.
The Duora 33 is made from Graphite and the frame is considered Hi-Flex. It’s strung to 24 pounds with Yonex BG65 nylon string and it features a really unique (though I’m not sure it’s super practical) asymmetrical head profile design called Dual Optimum System. That means that the frame profile is different on each side of the head presumably for better movement, control or power on the backhand as well as the forehand, but we’re not really sure – it’s just cool engineering (can you say “over-engineered”?). The head is very stable (which is what you want for control).
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- Made from Graphite
- No T-Connector connecting shaft to head
- Quality name brand (in the far East)
- If you care about branding in North America, it’s not a common name
Yang-Yang is not a name that I was terribly familiar with even though I competed for several years at state-level high school competitions in the late 1980s. However, I’ve come to realize it’s not just a no-name Chinese “brand” that some factory advertising rep in Beijing came up with. No, in fact, Yang-Yang is a well-respected company with lots of advertising and endorsements throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. They’re a company based in Malaysia and they make very high-quality rackets.
The High Modulus Graphic racket is made of one piece so there’s no T-connector that can eventually (potentially) come loose or break. The fact that it’s graphite, can make any intermediate (or even beginner) appreciate the game all the more given the cumbersome nature of a lower quality racket. Graphite also has shock absorption characteristics which reduce the chance of injury. This head is so strong that it can handle up to 35 pounds of tension which is insane!
If I were you, I’d click the orange Amazon button just above to read way more about this gem, and you can even visit the Yang-Yang website HERE.
Best Badminton Rackets for Advanced Players
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- Made with Nano Carbon Technology
- Diamond-Shaped head profile
- Big name brand
- Huge sweet spot
- Priced well above $100
- Nothing else comes to mind!
If you’re at least a semi-serious player anywhere in the world (including Minot, North Dakota), you’ll know that Li-Ning is as big a name (almost) as Yonex throughout the world of badminton. They make rackets in the price range of a decent road racing bicycle, though this is not one of them. It is, however, a racket that any advanced player (I don’t care what you might say!) would love to handle.
The G-Force 8900 Plus is equipped with nano carbon technology (the shaft) which is used to make the ultra-thin and ultra-tough aerodynamic shaft. It’s engineered to increase the speed of the shuttlecock during a smash. The Dynamic Optimum Frame has a diamond cross-section profile which increases swing speed by reducing air resistance. It features a large sweet spot which we all could use a bit more than a tiny sweet spot!
The other cool thing is that when you order this racket, you get a custom (free) stringing service included and you can tell them what string tension you’d like. If you don’t specify, then you’ll get 23 pounds.
Overall, it’s a great racket for a player that wants ultimate agility, but this quality comes with a price tag that’s well over $100. For those in the know, you’ll understand that’s not actually very expensive when you consider some rackets sell for over $1000!
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- Excels in backhand to forehand transition
- Super light (of course most pro level rackets are)
- made for defensive digs
- As always – it’s pricey
- COMES UNSTRUNG
The Yonex NanoFlare 800 is one of the many high-end Yonex offerings and once you get into this category of pro-level rackets, you have a tool that needs to be experienced to be really understood. The lightness and speed with which it moves is not something that is appreciated through wordy explanations. That said, words are all I have here right? I’ll do my best.
While it’s not the only racket with these qualities, the NanoFlare 800 possesses exceptional qualities for defensive players looking to dig drop shots and play a finesse game. It also happens to serve the player well who smashes with an extra hard swing because the stiff shaft puts an extra level of forward acceleration on the shuttlecock. It certainly delivers big from everywhere on the court and in whatever strategic move you’re accomplishing offensively or defensively since it’s head (and overall weight) is so light.
The head shape is isometric, it 675 mm long and around 86 grams (for the 3U size) and around 82 grams (for the 4U size). The flex on the shaft is considered stiff and the overall balance is “head light”. The construction is all graphite.
Please note that the racket comes UNSTRUNG. That’s how most pro rackets are sold because most players operating at this level want to have the choice of what type of string they have and at what tension. If you’re not willing to head down to your local sports shop to get it re-strung (or maybe there’s no one in your area that can do it), then please choose any of our other options with strings. It’s much easier 🙂
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- Option of getting it strung or unstrung
- Super light (even lighter than others on this list)
- Nanometric Graphite technology allows for thinner shaft
- Made for steep attack angle
- As always – it’s pricey
- Medium Flex shaft (not the ideal choice if you want stiff or flexible)
The Astrox 77 is most assuredly a high-end advanced or pro racket that offers the highest performance available. The shaft and head are made of Nanometric graphite, which is just another way of explaining that the graphite fibers are bound together in a certain way that allows the shaft to be exceptionally thinner than it would otherwise be (by as much as 60% which is insane!)
While all pro rackets give a high level of performance, tiny details make all the difference at this level. The Astrox 77 is specifically made to offer a player the steepest and most angled “smash” with slightly-harder-than-normal shuttlecock velocity.
It is a medium flex shaft (which is still very stiff) and it comes with a few choices you’ll have. You can choose the 4U size which weighs 83 grams on average, and the 3U size which weighs 88 grams. You can choose to have the head unstrung, or Yonex can string it for you for FREE (if you choose 24 lbs) or for an extra ten bucks you can have it strung to 26 lbs.
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 standing above the competition (at least figuratively if not literally) in no time!