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Ashaway Superlight 79SQ - Badminton Racket View

Ashaway Superlight 79SQ - Badminton Racket

Best suited to intermediate level players, the Ashaway Superlight 79SQ badminton racket offers a great blend of power and head speed. This super-lightweight racket weighs only 76g (2.7oz) and has an isometric head shape for a bigger sweet spot and more accuracy on off-centre hits. The racket is head heavy balanced for added power and ensures quick acceleration through the shuttle. It is perfect for hard-hitting, aggressive players seeking fast swing speed and guarantees increased stiffness and strength thanks to graphite layers reinforced with carbon nanotubes. Plus, the Ashaway Superlight 79SQ comes strung with ZyMax 70 string for maximum durability and tension maintenance.

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Yonex Astrox 99 Badminton Racket View

Yonex Astrox 99 Badminton Racket

Endorsed by a star player from Malaysia, Lee Chong Wei, the Yonex Astrox 99 badminton racket offers excellent power potential with a head heavy balanced frame and Isometric head which provides an expanded sweet-spot to ensure better consistency and easy shot alignment. The racket takes advantage of numerous designs and frame technologies to ensure the best badminton performance with incredible ease. This includes the Nanometric which improves the carbon binding in the frame and subsequently makes the racket much thinner without losing the stiffness. Furthermore, there is the AERO+BOX design providing unparalleled speed and shot sensation, whilst the Namd incorporated throughout the whole racquet frame to create explosive force on each shuttle impact. The Astrox 99 is shipped pre-strung with 65 Ti string, as well as full-length cover to ensure necessary precautions when stored between use.

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Carlton Kinesis XT Lite Badminton Racket View

Carlton Kinesis XT Lite Badminton Racket

The Carlton Kinesis XT Lite badminton racket provides superior striking speed and impressive accuracy with being capable of creating incredibly powerful shot. The racquet boasts Aeroflex channels to improve shaft stability, as well as comfort, whilst the Vortex Geometry vastly improves head speed, and maintains excellent manoeuvrability. This head heavy, isometric head frame can definitely deliver devastating steep shots, plus with Torsional Control System, the racquet offers exceptionally reduces torsional twisting in order to improve control and shot precision. The frame of the racquet is constructed for increased strength and light weight feel, thanks to the Japanese high modulus graphite. The Kinesis XT Lite is shipped pre strung with nylon string for excellent playability, and arrives with included full-length cover to ensure essential protection from minor damage.

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Yonex Nanoflare 170 Light Badminton Racket View

Yonex Nanoflare 170 Light Badminton Racket

Providing a cunningly easy handling and fast striking motion, the Yonex Nanoflare 170 light badminton racket combines excellent control capabilities with consistency and easily generated power due to an isometric head style. It’s a light weight, head light racquet that moves incredibly fast with the help of Aero Frame technology, and with a flexible shaft it gains a superior shot sensation and feel. Furthermore, the racquet incorporates into its design Sonic Flare system for incredible shot power improvement and maximised shuttle acceleration, where as the Control Support cap integrates into play style sharper manoeuvrability and grippier feel on shuttlecock impact. The racquet is shipped strung with D637-A7 string, and arrives with a full cover to ensure necessary safety for the frame between use.

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Yonex Astrox FB Badminton Racket View

Yonex Astrox FB Badminton Racket

A fine county player choice with medium flex, the Yonex Astrox FB badminton racket offers more power on each stroke and easy shot power generation thanks to an expanded sweet spot established by an isometric head. Although it’s specifically made for aggressive style of badminton, with evened balance point of the frame and light weight, the racquet ensures a decent level of manoeuvrability and control. It’s additionally improved with the Rotational Generator System which distributes the weight equally in the frame using the counterbalance theory, thus providing super smooth shot transition and superior control. Furthermore, the racquet is lightning fast thanks to the AERO+BOX frame technology ensuring minimal air resistance. The racquet arrives pre-strung with BG65 Ti string, and it’s shipped with a protective full-length cover for proper storing between games.

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Karakal Black Zone Pro FF Badminton Racket View

Karakal Black Zone Pro FF Badminton Racket

The Karakal Black Zone Pro FF is a flexible badminton racket featuring an isometric head and Muscle Tec technology for a bigger sweet spot. Thanks to the addition of FF Graphite to the construction, the frame returns to its shape 10% quicker after a shuttle strike and the racket comes strung with ultra-responsive Hot Zone 68 string providing added power. Plus, for easier finger location, there is 'Thumb Print’ Top Cap and the racket has been designed for club players wanting to improve their all-round game. It is supplied with a full-length cover for protection when not in use.

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Wilson Recon PX7600 Badminton Racket View

Wilson Recon PX7600 Badminton Racket

The Wilson Recon PX7600 badminton racket is the ultimate aggressive power source and offers Power Frame Geometry technology to generate high head speed. This evenly balanced racket ensures crushing power thanks to Power Rod and Power Skin technologies and comes strung with Fierce CX string to deliver increased control over shots and great playability. To minimize player fatigue and reduce unwanted vibrations, there is Soft Grommet technology and Ultra High Modulus Carbon Fiber frame construction makes the racket stronger and suitable for faster play. Plus, the use of Stable Wrap Design with Braided Carbon technology results in reduced frame twisting and more accurate strokes. A full cover is included for racket’s protection.

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Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow Badminton Racket View

Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow Badminton Racket

Excellent for defending and offensive tackles, the Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow badminton racket is a head heavy, mid flex choice that offers incredible power without compromising the control over shuttle and playing comfort. The racquet generates power easily and maintains smooth handling, and also the lateral strength of the frame has been reinforced with the Viper Weave technology. The frame is incredibly durable whilst remaining very light thanks to the Nano Carbon technology. Furthermore, the racket is supplied strung with ZyMax 69 Fire white string to complement heavy-hitting players who enjoy aggressive approach to the game. Finally, it’s shipped with a durable full-cover to ensure necessary protection and storage.

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About Badminton Rackets

The Birth of Badminton

The evolution of badminton as a sport it long and varied.  Shuttlecocks were first used recreationally in Ancient Egypt, Ancient China and Ancient Greece.  Back then they were kicked from player to player.  In the 1860s in colonial India the shuttlecock was hit over a net using a wooden paddle.  This game was called Poona and the aim of the game was to sustain the longest rally.

The game was introduced to Great Britain by returning officers and soon became popular.  It was given its name in 1863 when it was played at Badminton House at a party hosted by the eight Duke of Beaufort.

Around this time rackets as we recognise them today were first used and the popularity of the sport grew. The rules were introduced in 1877 by the Bath Badminton Club and regulations concerning courts and equipment became established.  And since then badminton rackets have evolved their shape and composition to speed up the sport.

The custodian of the modern game is the Badminton World Federation, (formerly the International Badminton Federation) established in 1934.  Amongst other things it determines the allowed shape size and composition of competition rackets.

The anatomy of a badminton racket

The key components of a badminton racket are the head, the string bed, the shaft, the throat and the handle. 

The head

Badminton racket heads come in a variety shapes and sizes.  Larger heads offer bigger sweet spots - the point on a head where you get maximum power.

An oval head is more traditional and more typical of lower-end rackets.  The head on these is smaller in relative terms and so the sweet spot is smaller too, requiring a more skilled player to get the best from this head shape.

An isometric head, which is squarer in shape and larger too offers a bigger sweet spot and so a greater chance of a better serve and return.  Typically isometric heads are the preferred choice.

The string bed

The string bed is flat and the stringing pattern a uniform one.  On all rackets it covers the head area.  On some it continues down to the throat, this is allowed when the throat is 35mm or less in width and the length of the stringed area is 330mm or less.

Badminton racket strings typically fall within gauges of 20G (0.85-1mm) to 22G (0.7– 0.85mm).  Thinner strings usually offer greater power and natural product strings typically outperform synthetic ones.  The tension with which they are strung also affects play; generally speaking the tighter the tension the lower the power. 

The throat

The throat (AKA the T-head) is where the head and shaft connect.  There are two types: externally attached and carbon fibre shafts.

Externally attached throats are most often found on rackets where the head and the shaft are made of different materials.  It is the job of the throat to connect the two.  The throat is proud of the rest of the racket.

Carbon fibre covered throats are a more recent development.  As well as being lighter they are also stronger and most rackets now feature this type of throat.

The shaft

The shaft connects the handle to the head.  Shafts are available in varying degrees of flexibility. 

Stiff shafts rebound quickly.  Badminton shots are best played at the point of rebound, so if your reflexes and hits are fast a stiff shaft is best for you.  Fast players using more flexible shafts will compromise their game, if they try to smash the shuttlecock before the racket has rebounded they’ll end up playing a clear.

A slower player benefits from using a more flexible shaft.  Flexible shafts complement players who use slowly accelerating strokes. The downside of a more flexible shaft is that accurate shot placement is compromised.

The handle

The handle is where you grip your racket and is the part of the racket that usually fatigues the quickest. 

It’s wider than the shaft for comfort and there are a variety of grips that come with each racket at point of purchase and many more which can be added once you’re playing regularly. 

Obviously you need a handle that’s comfortable for you but you also need to consider the weight of the handle since this is key to you getting the most from your racket.

Most grips are made of synthetic materials like polyurethane.  They’re textured like towelling and easy to replace.

Badminton racket frame composition

Early racket frames were wooden and as they evolved new, lighter and more durable materials were introduced like aluminium and more recently graphite, titanium, carbon and keylar. 

Each material offers something different in terms of weight and flexibility. Rackets can vary from 80 to 100g in weight, and those at the heavier end offer the greater power.

On some models the head, the throat and the shaft are all different materials giving an incredible choice of strength, flexibility, weight and balance points.

Racket balance point

Every badminton racket has a balance point where you can balance it on the finger of one hand. If that point is closer to the racket handle it has a lower balance point and offers more control to the player. If that point is closer to the head the racket has a higher balance point and offers more power to the player.

In the middle there is the balanced racket which offers equal power and control. Doubles players like a balanced racket as the game is typically faster-paced and features more power shots.

Once you’ve committed to a racket you can adjust its balance point by simply making the handle heavier and the strings lighter for more control or the handle lighter and the strings heavier for more power.

So, which racket is right for you?

Given all the variables above answer is far from simple.

A weaker, slower player will do best with an isometric head, thin strings, a flexible throat and a head-heavy racket; while a faster, stronger player should consider the opposite.

A newcomer might go for a balanced racket and experiment with different strings and handles to see which works best for them.

The best thing is to try a few before you commit. Ask your fellow players to borrow theirs, see which feels best and then research rackets with similar properties to find the closest match.

Then continue to try others as you improve your game, because when you do it will improve your performance even more if you continue to use a well-suited racket.

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