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Every sportsman or woman knows that they can only get the best out of the game if they have the right equipment. With racquet sports, this is particularly important, and there has been plenty of development in terms of materials used and manufacturing methods in many of these sports over the years.
Badminton is an interesting sport in many ways: hugely competitive, yet not as mainstream or drawing the same audiences as tennis, for example, it is a game of extreme skill. It also requires athleticism, speed and fast reactions, as well as excellent hand to eye coordination.
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Badminton is a game played by all ages, both for fun and competitively, and as an indoor sport can be enjoyed all-year around. This is one reason it remains popular in schools and colleges, where its popularity is currently at an all-time high.
What is it that makes badminton such a popular sport? It’s fast-paced, can be played as singles or doubles, by men or women and children, and is a great way of getting exercise while becoming more skilful.
Of course, the most important piece of equipment is the racquet, and a badminton racquet differs from many other types in being extremely light, and having to hit a shuttlecock – a feathered item – rather than a ball.
So, before we go on to have a closer look at the ten best badminton racquets on the market right now, a bit more about them, what to look for, and about the sport itself.
Table of Contents
- Best Badminton Rackets
- How It Works
- Important Features to Consider
- Let’s Sum It Up!
Best Badminton Rackets
In all areas of racquet sports, and in other sporting equipment, graphite has played a large part in recent years. It is strong, light and affordable and, as a result, makes the perfect material for badminton racquets. This one, from the Senston brand, is made from micro carbon fibre, a very strong and capable material – let alone extremely light – that is popular with such items. It’s stylish, neat and designed for playability.
The large head size of this racquet makes it a popular model. And it has a large sweet-spot – the perfect central area for hitting the shuttlecock – that is very effective. Maximum strength is 28lbs, which is adequate for one of these, and an overall weight – without strings – of around 80g is very light indeed. It is nicely strung for maximum effect and distance, has a nice, usable grip and comes in a choice of 9 colours.
As with all items, there are some brands that lead the market. In the world of racquets, for badminton and other sports, and sporting equipment, Wilson is a giant brand without any doubt at all, with a reputation for quality products throughout. It has a fine selection of badminton racquets, of which this is a typical item. Nicely made with a slim, micro carbon shaft and frame for lightness – just 90g playing weight – and supplied ready to go, this is one that would suit both beginners and experienced players.
The racquet is supplied with medium flex shaft, so if your preference is for a different design you may want to look at other ones. It is very nicely made with an effective grip and a decent power and distance. You also get a quality protective carry bag, which is also a bonus with one of these.
Another major player in the world of racquets, Victor is also a maker with a strong reputation, and this is one of a few of their models that we have included as the choice is very impressive. Not too long ago it would have been unthinkable to have an entire racquet of this type weighing less than 90g, but this one does, and it’s a testament to Wilson’s technology and design team that they have achieved this.
It’s a very neat racquet in the traditional style, with the graphite frame being particularly attractive, and is strung with high quality stringing for great effect. The head is designed in the isometric style so that you have a greater chance of hitting the sweet spot, and it is a very effective racquet for all types of play. Finished in blue and white, it has a low maximum tension of 20lb, and does not come with a bag, but at around £30 we think it worth a look.
We have chosen to include a variety of racquets from Victor as we feel they cater for everyone from the high-end professional to the beginner, with well-priced racquets for all. This model, the AL2200, is a budget racquet designed for the casual player – or someone who wants to see if the sport is for them – and is every bit the perfect choice. Put simply, there is nothing fancy or special about this one, but it does the job it is made for.
The shaft is steel, the head-frame aluminium, and it is strung with heavy duty line for easy playing for beginners. It does have an isometric head so you get the most efficient play out of it, and it is finished with a decent grip. Playing weight is 118g which is still surprisingly light for a racquet such as this, and at round £12 – but without a bag – it’s a good choice for the novice. It can also be had with a bag and shuttlecocks for £25.
Another from Victor – and we make no apologies for including multiple items from this very well-respected maker – the V-3700 is an advanced model that is intended, if not for professionals, for players who are tournament-ready, and as such it is a very decent design with many excellent attributes. It has a high modulus graphite shaft and frame, to begin with, which is the material favoured by many people, and weighs in at just 89g.
You also get the isometric head, which is perfect for maximum area and getting the sweet spot when you need it, and it has a shaft with medium flex – if that’s not what you want then you might want to look elsewhere – and 20lbs of maximum tension in the line. It comes strung with multifilament string, and is ready to use with a nice G3-size grip. At around £35 you are playing for a quality racquet, and get a very nice bag with it.
If you are a beginner looking to try badminton and see if it is for you, or you want to get a couple of racquets so your children can have a dabble, then this two-racquet set from the Senston brand may be a good choice. Senston is known for simple yet affordable quality racquets, and this is a great opportunity to buy a pair for a sensible price. These have a graphite shaft, and a weight of around 85g (unstrung) which is surprisingly light.
You also get two racquets nicely strung with durable line that will last a long time – perfect, as the maker says, for beginners or casual games – and these are medium flex racquets so that will also suit the novice. They are nicely finished with a neat and usable grip, and come with a strong carry bag, and at around £25 you will find it difficult to get a better pair of racquets than this to begin playing with.
Back to our friends Victor for this one, and it’s another from their impressive and highly-regarded Magan range. This model, the V-3100, is intended for players who are of a more serious nature – perhaps club or tournament players – and is an impressive racquet at a sensible price. Unusually, this model has a carbon shaft but an aluminium head. That may put some people off, but it still weighs in at an impressive 93g.
It’s typically nicely made, as we would expect from one of the top brands in the game, and features a medium-flex shaft, and the isometric head enables excellent strike rates with the sweet spot. This one comes with very durable multifilament string, and in a choice of colours, and has a nice to hold G3 grip. It is a nice enough racquet, although it doesn’t come with a bag, but at a price of a shade less than £20 it is certainly worth a look.
Yonex has built a reputation for providing quality best badminton racquets for the casual user and those who are a little more serious, at sensible prices too. This one – the Nanoray 10 – is one from a range that covers all the bases, and does so very well indeed. This is a medium-range model, with an isometric head for the best success rates and use of the sweet spot, and comes factory strung to a high standard, ready for play.
This is a graphite carbon construction with a medium flex shaft, and as such is good for beginners, but professionals may want to look for different configurations. It weighs a quite astonishing 83g, which is very, very light indeed, and is powerful enough for most styles of play. A decent grip is provided, although it is easy to change if you have your own preferences, and it comes with a nice bag. At not much more than £30 we think this is one for the short list.
If you are looking for a medium or high-end racquet suitable for regular club or tournament play, look away now! That’s not to say this set is not worthy of inclusion on our list – it most certainly is – but that it will not pass muster if you are anything other than a beginner, a child or someone who just wants to knock about in the garden for fun – and the maker is not claiming anything else!
In fact, if you do want a set lying around for casual use – or one to take when you go camping or to the caravan – this may be a perfect choice. You get two very durable rackets – thanks to an iron shaft – yet they are still very light. They have a nice grip so are comfortable to use. Plus, you get a nice carry bag, so it’s all there for great family fun, and at around £20 it’s worth it.
10: Carlton Powerblade Ti
Our final choice, from known-brand Carlton, is a more serious model and comes with some impressive features. This is one for the regular club player, perhaps a tournament level player, unlike the entry above. It is a carbon framed model that weighs in at a very light 87G – that’s unstrung – and it is well designed with medium flex and a balance that is head-light; this might not be to everyone’s taste, so do bear it in mind. This maker has a wide range of racquets of different sorts, and is also a maker of many other sporting items.
The Powerblade range, if which this is one, is aimed at experienced players who know what they are doing, so you also get an isometric head which allows you to easily target the desired sweet spot. The racquet comes with a full bag plus a head cover, and we have no hesitation saying it is likely one of the best of the bunch. At around £30 it is also pretty good value.
That’s our list of the ten best badminton racquets on the market right now for you, but which one is going to suit you best? It’s a difficult decision to make, so before we do, let’s have a look at what you need to consider when buying one of these.
How It Works
A badminton racquet is quite simple, and serves a simple purpose. The player holds it, and uses it to direct the shuttlecock where he or she wants it. There are many materials used to make badminton racquets, and the general idea is the lighter they are, the better they are for the player to use and manipulate.
Originally, badminton racquets would have had a wooden frame, but this is unusual now. Although there have been many games using shuttlecocks for centuries, badminton, as we know it now, is British in origin.
It is thought to have developed in the middle of the 19th century, perhaps being fine-tuned by the British in India in the latter part of that century. Although the name is taken from Badminton House, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, there is no historical record of why. So, if you play, you are playing a game that nobody really knows the origins of, with a name that cannot be explained.
Oddly as a racquet sport, Badminton can actually be played with four per side, although this is rarely seen. These days, competitive games are generally single players or doubles teams, as in tennis. The rules are quite simple and involve trying to land the shuttlecock in the opponents’ side of the court before they can return it.
What do you need in the best badminton racquet? The following list of ten should easily give you a selection to choose from, so let’s have a closer look at them.
Important Features to Consider
What are you looking for in the best badminton racquet? This is the major question as you could be at any one of many stages of playing ability. To help you find what you need, here are a few pointers as to what to look for:
Casual or Serious – are you a casual player, or are you looking to play regularly, perhaps with a club and maybe even to tournament level? This is an important question, not least because you can find some very serious racquets for not much more outlay than those that are meant merely for fun, so make sure you look closely at the specifications and don’t buy solely on price.
Carbon or other – carbon and graphite – essentially the same thing in various forms – are the desired materials for the shaft at least, as they provide little flex and are very light. Some of the above use aluminium, steel or even iron, and the choice is yours.
Weight – some of these weigh around 120g (all weights are unstrung) and one as little as 75g; it depends on what you want from your racquet so look very carefully at what is on offer.
Balance – touched on only briefly in our reviews, this is important only to the serious player. It refers to how the racquet is weighted – evenly, as in the same weight upper and lower, or otherwise. Check it out and handle some before you buy.
Accessories – it makes sense to buy one that comes with a bag and, as not all of these do, we recommend you check out the options carefully.
There are many more factors we could list, and you may have your own defining points – budget included, of course – so which one of the above is for you? Let’s sun things up!
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Let’s Sum It Up!
There are two different types of badminton racquets covered in our reviews above: those that are for serious players, perhaps those who are looking to learn more and take the sport seriously, and those that are for fun, maybe for the family to use on the beach or in the garden.
If the latter is your requirement, a badminton set for fun, go straight to number 9 on the list. For around £20 you get two decent racquets that are made from durable materials yet are still suitably light, that will last a long time and bring you hours of fun.
If you are looking for a serious sports racquet, we can recommend a couple: the final one on the list, from Carlton, is a very nice racquet at a sensible price and comes with a nice bag and head-cover package. Or, you could look at any of the upper-end Victor models for great value and excellent quality and style.
The choice is yours, but whether you are a beginner, a serious player or someone looking to try the sport out, there is sure to be something for you on our list.