Badminton is one of the most electrifying racket sports out there and is continuing to grow in popularity. Finding the perfect badminton racket is incredibly helpful for both professional and recreational players alike. This guide is designed to showcase the many different types of badminton racket available, and to help you to decide which racket suits your needs and style of play.
Types of Badminton Rackets
There are two main ways to sort badminton rackets, that is via balance and head shape. In this section, we will look at the three different balance options there are, and how each one can suit a certain style of play. We will also look at the two head shapes available and help you to decide which head shape will suit you as a player.
Badminton Racket Balance
The balance point of a badminton racket can really influence how it performs and who it suits. You can find the balance point by trying to balance the racket on your finger.
Most rackets have a balance point of between 28.5cm and 29.5cm from the base. If the balance is higher than that, then the racket is designated as a head heavy racket. If the balance is below that, then you have a head light racket. Anything else is an even racket.
Head Heavy Badminton Rackets
Rackets with a balance point that is above 30cm from the base are known as head heavy, these rackets are designed to hit the shuttlecock harder and with more power. If your game is based around overhead clears and smashes, then this type of racket is a great option. It is more suited to experienced players, as inexperienced players may not have the power or technique to get the best out of it.
Head Light Badminton Rackets
Rackets with a balance point that is below 28cm are known as head light, these rackets are designed to be faster and more agile through the air. Perfect for players who enjoy playing high-speed rallies and relying on technique and positioning. As with head heavy rackets, head light rackets are best used by more experienced players, as inexperienced players may find them a little underpowered.
Balanced Badminton Rackets
Most badminton rackets are balanced, and this style of racket suits the majority of players. It’s a good compromise between power and technique and will give you a good all-round game. Balanced rackets are perfect for inexperienced players but are also used by many professional badminton players.
Badminton Head Shape
There are two head shapes available for badminton rackets, classic (or oval) and isometric. The latter is almost universally used these days, but you can still find classic head shapes on sale. Isometric heads have a flattened top which gives it a squarer shape.
Classic Head Shape
The classic head shape for a badminton racket is an oval, they are designed to perform more powerful shots, but have a smaller sweet spot. This means that it is harder to hit your shots perfectly, but when you do, they will be more powerful and cleaner.
Because of this, many pro players still use the classic head shape, but new players and most amateurs should stick to isometric rackets instead.
Isometric Head Shape
The isometric head shape has become the go-to head shape for the majority of badminton players these days. Isometric head shaped rackets have a larger sweet spot, making them more forgiving, and increasing the likelihood of you hitting the shuttlecock cleanly.
The rackets are less powerful than classic head shaped rackets, but not massively so. These rackets will suit players who prefer fast-paced rallies and quick reactions to powerful shots. But they are also perfect for newer players.
Other Things to Consider
When purchasing your badminton racket, there are several considerations you should make to find the ideal fit. Here are a list of the most important ones:
Frame Weight – Compared to other racket sports, the badminton racket is incredibly light. A heavy racket is considered to be any racket that weighs over 85 grams. Heavy rackets are better for power but are less agile in the air. Light rackets (85 grams and below) are less powerful, but faster and better suited to skilful players or new players.
String Bed – this is a measure of how tight the strings are on your racket. The looser your string bed is, the more powerfully you can hit the shuttlecock. This is because there is more bounce when the shuttlecock hits the strings. Players who are just starting out will suit a looser string bed. Tightening the string bed suits placement players and many professional players prefer this.
The Throat – The throat provides support for the racket head; some rackets can have the throat removed, and some rackets don’t have a throat at all.
Shaft Flexibility – There are four types of rackets when it comes to shaft flexibility: Flexible, medium flexibility, stiff, and extra stiff. If you are a beginner start with a flexible shaft, and then as you get better progress your way to extra stiff.
Handle – The type of grip you use will affect how you play. Players who prefer powerful shots will benefit from a thicker grip. You can purchase a towel grip, which is very thick and perfect for power, but can be very hard to use. Players starting out will suit much thinner grips, as this gives you much better control.
Material – There are three main types of material used for badminton rackets: steel, aluminium, and graphite. To be honest, the best rackets to choose are graphite, though they tend to also be the most expensive. Aluminium rackets are a good compromise, as they are lighter than steel. A steel racket will be very durable, and low priced, but are also very heavy.
Ability – How good are you? How often do you plan on using your racket? If you plan on playing to a good level regularly then a more expensive racket is a smart idea. If you only want to play once or twice a year with your friends, then a cheaper racket may be a wiser investment.
Your Budget – Similar to ability (above), how much you are prepared to invest on a new badminton racket should be a huge consideration. Base this on how often you plan on playing at what level, and what you can realistically afford.
Badminton Racket Maintenance
Treat your racket with respect while playing, don’t drop it, smash it on the floor, scrape it under the shuttlecock, and try not to hit your doubles partner’s racket with it! Keep it dry and secure when not in use, avoid storing it in areas with extreme heat or cold as this can affect the strings and frame. Get your racket re-stringed 2-3 times per year if you use it regularly.