The Players Guide to Selecting the Best Badminton Racket

Badminton Rackets

We make our case for the 5 criteria you should keep in mind when selecting the best badminton racket for you. We also did a little research and included specific badminton rackets reviews for beginners, intermediate players and the best sets out there.

PictureRacketLevelAvailable
Yonex Nanoray 20 Badminton Racket 2016 NR20 Racquet 3U5GYonex Nanoray 20 Badminton RacketBeginnerBuy from Amazon button
Victor Thruster K8000 3u Badminton Racquet RacketVictor Thruster K8000 3u Badminton RacketIntermediateBuy from Amazon button
Senston - 2 Player Graphite Badminton Racket SetSenston – 2 Player Graphite Badminton Racket SetFor FamilyBuy from Amazon button

Badminton is a national pastime in some parts of the world, an Olympic sport, a game of skill and agility and a great workout. It’s no wonder that this sport has so many passionate followers.

Whether you are just getting started with this game, or have been at it for a while, you may be asking- “What are the best quality badminton rackets out there?”

That’s a great question, but before we can answer that we need to define what makes a great racket, and why.

Many factors come into play when selecting a racket and the reason behind these factors is information you need to know before choosing the right racket for you.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the 5 criteria to keep in mind, as well as a few other bits and pieces so you can decide which racket is right for you.

Badminton Rackets

Our 5 Criteria for Selecting the Best Badminton Rackets

Head Balance

Head balance is arguably the most important consideration when selecting a badminton racket. To get started here let’s first define the three balance styles.

Head-Heavy

This racket carries its weight in the head portion of the racket. They feel heavier in the hand because your hand takes the brunt of the work maneuvering the weight of a head-heavy racket.

Very generally, these rackets give more power, but are more challenging to maneuver and less agile which can be a factor with beginners who may not have the wrist strength to handle them.

Head-Light

These rackets tend to feel lighter because the weight is balanced toward the shaft. These rackets are easier to move quickly, but provide less power behind the shot.

Balanced

These rackets provide some of the power of the head heavy racket with some of the agility of the head-light rackets and are good for mid-court shots and offer good control of the shuttlecock.

A head-light racket might be best for beginners because there are fewer burdens to the hand and wrist, which allow the beginner to adjust to the sport and gain the necessary strength while still learning proper techniques.

The head-light racket is speedier and reduces your reaction time and missed shots.

The head-heavy racket is for intermediate to experienced players, as this racket gives the power needed for back-court shots, smashes and drops.

The intermediate player will have the strength in the wrist and hand to manage the front end weight, so they will be able to take advantage of the added power this weight offers.

The balanced racket can be good for beginners who tend to rely more on power hits, because these have more power than light rackets. Or they can be used by intermediate to advanced players as they offer the most overall control by preserving the ability to defend more easily, often found with the light-head, and they give the best overall control of the shuttle.

Your Style of Play

Your style of play is an important factor to consider when choosing a racket. Again, the best badminton racket for a beginner might be a head-light racket, and a more advanced player with a head-heavy racket.

But this is not always the case when you also take style into account.

If you mostly play singles you may consider a head-heavy racket because their power makes them good for defensive moves, increasing the distance you can shoot. A balanced racket is also good for singles play because you will be moving a lot and need both the agility for fine maneuvers and the power for longer shots.

If you predominantly play doubles, you need a racket that is light and stiff, because you will need to be able to move rapidly and smash well. A doubles game will move faster than a singles game so you must also move faster, which is why a head light racket is recommended.

There are some players who feel they need more power so they might chose a balanced racket, but if you choose this option, realize your wrists will need to be up to the task.

Badminton Racket

Flexibility

There is a range of flexibility found among the best badminton rackets, from supple flexibility to very stiff. Generally at each end of the spectrum we have different properties.

The Case for a Flexible Racket

The more flexible the racket the better it is at holding the shuttles energy and releasing that energy on impact. Since the shuttle is in contact with the strings for a fraction of a second longer, more energy is conveyed to the shuttle.

The flexing of the racket gives the player more power. For a beginner whose swing may not be as fast as an advanced player, this offers an advantage.

The Case for a Stiff Racket

An intermediate or advanced player may find a flexible racket gives too much power causing the shuttle to miss the intended target. A stiff racket gives the badminton player more control.

Presumably, a more advanced player has more power due to greater wrist strength and technique. Therefore, they may want to choose a racket that will allow them to be more accurate over a racket that gives more power.

Material

Metals

Aluminum and steel are appropriate for recreational or family sets because these materials withstand a good amount of abuse. However, for individual rackets for the athlete looking to advance his or her skills these materials will not work.

Carbons

For anyone who wants to play badminton seriously, not just as a summer pastime or once in a while recreational play, carbon graphite, carbon fiber or resin racket is necessary.

An aluminum frame is far more durable than these materials, but the tradeoff is that aluminum will bend and warp under the strain of even beginners play, eventually.

Even a lower end carbon racket will not be terribly expensive and will serve the player well for several years if they take care not to drop it or clash with other players.

Lower end carbon rackets are usually more flexible, which is better for beginners. The lower end models also usually have some non-carbon material incorporated into the shaft and frame and are more durable than advance level rackets.

Shape

There are several shapes a badminton racket may have. Ranging from Isometric to Oval.

Oval

The oval style is not often seen in individual high quality rackets these days. This style was more popular in the past, as it has a smaller more focused sweet spot. The oval style can be more powerful and accurate, but harder to hit with.

These days the classic oval style is usually seen in recreational sets and hobby type kits meant for occasional play, but there are a few high quality rackets that sport this shape that exist in the marketplace today.

Isometric

Isometric rackets have a more square shape than their oval counterparts. This gives them more overall square centimeters of hitting space and they have a larger sweet spot than the classic oval. This is the most popular shape in the market today.

Semi-Isometric

A few rackets walk the line between true isometric and true oval shape and predictably they have, to a lesser degree, the benefits of each shape.

Other Considerations: String Tension

Although strings will not likely be a deciding factor when choosing your racket, they are indeed something you will need. Some rackets come pre-strung while others you must have strung.

Some racket vendors will string your racket to your specifications so you want to know what those are before you buy.

  • Lower string tension= larger sweet spot, less control.
  • Higher string tension = smaller sweet spot, more control.

Beginners usually have lower string tension at about 20 to 22 lbs of tension.

Intermediate to advanced players can have anywhere from 22 to 27 lbs of tension.

Higher tension means the strings become more fragile and prone to breaking, but higher tension gives a player more control.

Better to buy a set or individual rackets?

The Individual Racket

An individual racket is usually the best choice for a player who wants to take the game to the next level, plans to play frequently and plays for sport and competency, not only for recreation.

The Family Kit

A badminton kit is a good choice for families who want to play recreationally, with children or in groups. The rackets in these kits usually do not have the same quality standards as individual rackets, but they have the benefit of being far more durable and less expensive.

Badminton kits are good for backyard or summer picnic play, where a family might set up the net so people can play a game or two during a barbeque. These sets can be a good way to introduce children to the sport.

Two Player Kit

There is one other type of kit, a two racket kit. This type of kit is good for couples who want to play together recreationally, or for an avid player who might take a set while traveling to see if they might find a partner to play with while away from home.

They are great for a spontaneous game of badminton.

Best Badminton Racket Brands

There are several manufacturers of high quality badminton rackets that might be considered the badminton racket best brands. Among the top brands are Yonex, Li-Ning, Victor, Black Knight, Babolat, Minzuno, and Ashaway to name a few.

Whichever brand you choose remember this, the racket does not make the player better.

The player makes the player better!

TOP 9 Best Badminton Rackets and Set Reviews

TOP 3 Best Badminton Rackets Reviews for Beginners

While choosing the best badminton rackets for beginners we focus on rackets that are head-light or balanced, with ample flexibility and a racket with a budget price that is not quality compromised. Here are our top three picks:

Yonex Nanoray 20 Badminton Racket

Yonex Nanoray 20 Badminton Racket 2016 NR20 Racquet 3U5G

  • Balance: Head-light
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: Flexible
  • Material: Graphite frame with graphite shaft made from nanomesh and carbon nanotube technology
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: Incorporates nanomesh and carbon nanotube into the frame structure to dramatically increase repulsion power and impact strength. The carbon nanotube and resin molecules mix creating a mesh like structure that gives this racket its superior strength and agility.
PROS
  • Head-light
  • Great for beginners
  • This is a budget racket with high quality
CONS
  • Not enough power for advanced players
  • Very light
  • Tend to be fragile and will break if not careful

Yonex Arcsaber 002 Badminton Racket

Yonex Arcsaber 002 Badminton Racket

  • Balance: Even- balance
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: Medium Flex
  • Material: Head- High Modulus Graphite, NanoAir Spring. Shaft- Carbon Graphite
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: As a balanced racket it offers both offense and defense, but it is slower than the lighter head-light models. NanoAir Spring helps shaft return from bent position to original position quickly.
PROS
  • Comes pre-strung
  • Good value for the price
  • A great choice for a beginner
CONS
  • Small grip
  • May need to purchase grips

Black Knight Airstream XL Jet Badminton Racket

 Roll over image to zoom in Black Knight Airstream Xl Jet Badmnton Racquet

  • Balance: Head-Light
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: Medium Flex
  • Material: Extra long High Modulus Graphite shaft. Enhanced Carbon Graphite frame
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: This is a popular Canadian racket maker which sells rackets worldwide. The longer length of this XL shaft gives more power to beginners without adding weight. This model includes pro level grip string.
PROS
  • Lightweight, especially considering the power it delivers
  • High quality beginner’s racket
CONS
  • Tend to be more pricy than other rackets in this range

TOP 3 Best Badminton Rackets for Intermediate Players and Professionals

When choosing our top three recommendations for intermediate to advanced players we focused on those with stiffer flexibility with head-heavy frames.

Here are the top three recommendations:

Victor Thruster K8000 3u Badminton Racquet Racket

Victor Thruster K8000 3u Badminton Racquet Racket

  • Balance: Head-Heavy
  • Level: Intermediate to advance
  • Flex: Medium
  • Material: Frame Material-Multi-Layer Graphene and Nano Resin. Shaft Material-Ultra High Modulus Graphite and Nano Resin.
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: Very strong frame. Great for back court shots. Speedy racket for a head-heavy model. A bit slower than the Victor Bravesword. Player must focus to keep the racket from sagging in their hand and stay in the ready position as this is a head-heavy racket.
PROS
  • Strong Frame can accommodate high tension strings
  • High Power racket
CONS
  • Comes with a linen cover as opposed to a standard cover

Yonix VOLTRIC 80 Badminton

VOLTRIC 80 YONEX Badminton

  • Balance: Head-heavy
  • Level: Intermediate to Advance
  • Flex: Stiff
  • Material: Frame is H.M. Graphite, Tungsten and Nanometric. Shaft is H.M. Graphite and Nanopreme.
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: Special sound filter to cut high pitch and low sounds to produce a stronger sound when the shuttle hits the racket to un-nerve the opponent.
PROS
  • This model places the weight at the top and at the joint for good control
CONS
  • Paint may chip
  • The packaging for shipping is not as protected as it could be

Yonex Voltric Z Force II 2 Badminton Racket

Yonex Voltric Z Force II 2 Badminton Racket

  • Balance: Head-heavy
  • Level: Advanced
  • Flex: Extra Stiff
  • Material: Frame Composition- H.M. Graphite and Tungsten. Shaft Composition-H.M. Graphite.
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: This racket is used by top player Lee Chong Wei. Extremely thin shaft- the thinnest Yonex makes.
PROS
  • Very aerodynamic
  • Carries a bit more weight at the top than the original Z force
  • Better frame and higher sweet sport than the original Z force
  • One piece frame for durability
  • Sound filter and top/joint balance, like the voltrix 80
CONS
  • Understated appearance, not a flashy racket, not much decoration

TOP 3 Best Badminton Sets

Sets are great for family or recreational play. Finding the best badminton set for your family should be a breeze.

We made our recommendations based on those sets that had the features and quality and durability hobby players need.

Senston - 2 Player Graphite Badminton Racket Set

Senston - 2 Player Graphite Badminton Racket Set

  • Balance: Head-light
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: unknown
  • Material: Graphite and aluminum
  • Shape: Isometric
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: The rackets are very light and good quality considering the price. They are intended for casual use. The set includes two rackets, two shuttles, a case, and two grips.
PROS
  • Slim aerodynamic shafts
  • Includes extra grip tape
CONS
  • The case is too small for both rackets

Salaun Badminton Advanced Family Game Kit

Salaun Badminton Advanced Family Game Kit

  • Balance: Head-Light
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: Flexible
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Shape: Oval
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: 4 regulation size and two junior size rackets. Includes net, nylon shuttles and travel bag.
PROS
  • Higher quality than the Carlton set
  • The net frames are sturdy and durable
  • Great for kids, includes jr. rackets for little ones
CONS
  • The net is tricky to install properly
  • Hard to take down and set up quickly
  • Shuttles are low quality

Baden Champions Series Badminton Set

Baden Champions Series Badminton Set

  • Balance: Head-light
  • Level: Beginner
  • Flex: Flexible
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Shape: Oval
  • Review- Special features and General Comments: High quality waterproof mesh net with high visibility yellow color. Black powder coated poles for nets.
PROS
  • Overall good quality
  • Easy set-up
CONS
  • Rackets grip tape is poorly wrapped
  • Rackets are not the best quality

Summary

Remember, there is no one racket that is right for everyone. Choosing a racket is a personal decision and the best way to find the right one is to try one out. There is a saying among badminton players. “You don’t find the best Racket, it finds you.”

So if you’re just starting out, don’t lose heart, the world best racket badminton for beginners is also out there, waiting to find you if you give it the chance.