Whether you’re new to the sport or a badminton veteran, you’ll find your ideal badminton racket in this guide.
A shuttlecock is the fastest-moving object in sport – faster than a tennis serve, a golf ball and even an F1 car. In professional competitions, smashes have been recorded hitting ridiculous speeds in excess of 400km/h.
To achieve that kind of performance, you need a quality badminton racket (along with a certain amount of talent). Here’s all the info you need to pick out the best badminton racket for you, plus our top picks for a range of playing styles and abilities.
How to buy the best badminton racket for you
There are three key areas to consider when choosing a badminton racket: weight, balance and shaft stiffness. Your ideal pick will depend on your experience level and playing style.
The most common weight class is “3U”, which means the racket weighs between 85g and 89g. These rackets are ideal for singles players who want a good balance of control and power. Beginners and doubles players seeking a lighter racket for faster play may prefer a 4U racket, weighing between 80g and 84g.
What sort of balance is best for me?
As well as the weight, a racket’s balance point can make a big difference to your game. Head-heavy rackets are great for players seeking power in their smash, and can help you clear shots from the back of the court. Head-light rackets, with their weight tilted towards the handle, allow for more control and faster reactions, making them good for doubles players and beginners. You can also find even-balance rackets that offer a mix of both benefits – and if need be you can adjust the balance point of a racket after purchase by applying tape to the grip or head.
How stiff should the shaft of my racket be?
Beginners tend to hit the shuttlecock with a slow, smooth swing; if that’s you, a flexible shaft is ideal, as it helps transfer power to the shuttlecock. More advanced players with a faster, more explosive swing will favour a stiff shaft that doesn’t bend as much, offering more control over shot placement and transferring your power into the shuttlecock quickly.
How large should the grip on my racket be?
Grip sizes vary from G1 (largest) to G6 (smallest), and most rackets are available in G2 to G5 sizes. Generally, the best thing to do is just go with whatever feels comfortable in your hand. If you’re not sure, err on the side of a smaller grip – you can always make it bigger by adding tape. Towel-style grip tape degrades faster than synthetic materials, but it’s more comfortable to hold and won’t get slippery with sweat during matches.
How much do I need to spend?
A top-level badminton racket can cost as much as £170 – but there’s no need for most players to spend that much. A beginner will be fine with a racket in the £20 to £50 range, and as you progress, the elite rackets are often available in cheaper variants, at prices ranging down to £50 or so.
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The best badminton rackets you can buy
1. Yonex Nanoray 20: Best badminton racket for under £100
Price: £75 | Buy now from Amazon
The Nanoray 20 is a superbly fast racket. Though weightier than the Wilson Blaze S1600, its head-light balance still lets you play quickly around the net, and it’s another great pick for beginners thanks to a flexible shaft that lends some extra oomph to slow swings. Intermediate and advanced players looking for all-out power might however be better served by a stiffer, head-heavy racket.
Key specs – Weight: 3U; Balance: Head-light; Stiffness: Flexible
2. Perfly Badminton Racket BR160: Best budget badminton racket
Price: £10 | Buy now from Decathlon
If you’re on the hunt for great value sports equipment then it’s always worth checking out what Decathlon has to offer, and when it comes to badminton rackets there are some excellent budget options available. While it’s not something you’re going to want to use for many years of regular play, if you’re just getting started with badminton the Perfly BR160 will serve you well, with a forgiving, flexible frame and an even balance.
It’s a hefty racket, however, thanks to the mostly steel frame and shaft. The positive way to look at that is that it will increase the power behind your shots, and hopefully make the racket more durable. However, if you become obsessed with the sport then a lighter badminton racket will probably be something you’ll want to pick up down the line.
Key specs – Weight: 100g (2U); Balance: Even; Stiffness: Flexible
Buy now from Decathlon
3. Yonex ArcSaber 11: Best badminton racket for control
Price: £132 | Buy now from Direct Badminton
If you like to best your opponent through precision play then Yonex’s ArcSaber series is where it’s at. Even in the heat of rapid rallies, this even-balanced, stiff-framed racket will help you put your shots exactly where you want them. There are five options in the ArcSaber series, ranging down to the ArcSaber Lite, which provides a taste of the control offered by the pricier rackets at a beginner-friendly price.
Key specs – Weight: 3U; Balance: Even; Stiffness: Stiff
Buy now from Direct Badminton
4. Victor Thruster F Falcon: Best badminton racket for power
Price: £170 | Buy now from Amazon
Head-heavy, with a stiff frame and a large sweet spot, this racket is perfect for aggressive players who seek to dominate on the court. Some head-heavy rackets can feel slightly cumbersome when playing quick rallies, but the Thruster F Falcon has a snappy and precise feel, thanks to the weight being distributed throughout the head, rather than concentrated at the top of the frame. There are four rackets in the Thruster line; beginners seeking a power racket may get on better with the Victor Thruster K 330 and its more flexible shaft.
Key specs – Weight: 3U; Balance: Head-heavy; Stiffness: Stiff
5. Ashaway Superlight 10 Hex: Best badminton racket for doubles
Price: £88 | Buy now from Direct Badminton
The Superlight 10 Hex combines an ultra-lightweight frame with high string tension. The result is an incredibly manoeuvrable racket weighing just 75g – perfect for the quick rallies of doubles play. It’s slightly head-heavy, which helps to give a bit of oomph to your smashes and clearing shots, but it’s when the pace of the rally increases that the Superlight 10 Hex really comes into its own, giving you and your partner an edge over heavier rackets.
Key specs – Weight: 5U; Balance: Head-heavy; Stiffness: Medium-stiff
Buy now from Direct Badminton
6. Wilson Blaze 270: Best badminton racket for beginners
Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
The head-light set up on this lightweight racket makes it easy for beginners to get to grips with the sport, allowing for maximum manoeuvrability as you defend against smashes or engage in fast rallies around the net. However, it’s not just for defending; there’s plenty of power to be found in the Blaze 270, so you can start firing down smashes of your own as you become more comfortable on the court. The Blaze 270 doesn’t come with a full racket cover – just a sleeve to cover the head – but you do get six shuttlecocks thrown in to soften that minor blow.
Key specs – Weight: 4U; Balance: Head-light; Stiffness: Medium