8 Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners 2021

This is a review of the best badminton rackets for beginners.

My name is TSE Bun, I am an ex-professional badminton player with a world ranking of 30 or men’s singles, I am also a badminton instructor with 30 years of experience. Over the years, I have tried many different rackets, from different brands and price ranges, and I will share my thoughts with you in this article.

I believe that the YONEX Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Badminton Racquet is the best overall racket for beginners. It is an all-rounded, lightweight, and great price point racket. Just good enough for you to figure if you love badminton and learn most of the basics.

For sure there are many other great options in the markets and they are suitable for different needs. I will good over these options one by one in the following article.

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners: Quick Summary

Here is a sum-up of the best Badminton Rackets for Beginner:

  1. YONEX Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Badminton Racquet (Black) is a great all-rounded, durable, lightweight, affordable racket that is great for beginners to intermediates
  2. Pretty Similar to the YONEX Nanoray Light 18i, ASHAWAY Superlight 79SQ is another excellent option for all-round beginner badminton racket
  3. Kawasaki Explore X260 is a great value-of-money option, “price of a Coca Cola, Taste like a Champagne.”
  4. YONEX Nanoray 60 FX Badminton Racket is a lightweight, maneuverable, easy to control racket which is great for players who like to play close to the net and the front part of the court
  5. Option no. 2 in terms of the best beginner badminton racket would be the YONEX Astrox FB Medium Flex Badminton Strung Racquet (Navy/Orange)
  6. LI-NING Badminton Racket U-Sonic 67 Limited Edition is a great head-heavy racket for players who want to improve their smashing skills
  7. We would recommend the Senston N80 Graphite Racket as the best budget-friendly option.
  8. YONEX Astrox Smash Badminton Racket (For UK Readers) is a great price point, all-round, lightweight racket

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners: Who Should Get This?

Of course, the badminton rackets in this guide are geared towards beginners, however, they covered a range of different styles and abilities. Some models are best for newbies just starting, some are better for beginners with a bit of experience, some are designed for helping beginners in transforming into intermediate.

So yeah, I would suggest first-timers to players who can master the basic skills of badminton and yet looking forward to improving themselves, keep reading this article.

If you have never played badminton before? A badminton set would be great enough for you to enjoy some fun with your loved one in your garden, or even on the street, or a parking lot. Just enjoy this game with over 2000 years of history first, it’s so much fun!

Best Badminton Racket for Beginners: What to Consider?

Weight

Thanks to modern technology, nowadays, badminton rackets are very light, i.e. most of them are below 100 grams. (without the string and grip).

The majority badminton manufacturer uses “U” as the indicator for the weight, while Li Ning, is using “W” as the indicator. Below shows how popular brands classify the weight of their rackets:

Apacs and Abroz Badminton Racket Weight:

  • 8U: 59.9g and below
  • 7U: 60g – 73.9g
  • 6U: 74g – 79.9g
  • 5U: 80g – 83.9g
  • 4U: 84g – 86.9g
  • 3U: 87g – 89.9g
  • 2U: 90g and above

Yonex Badminton Racket Weight:

  • F: 70g – 74.9g
  • 5U: 75g – 79.9g
  • 4U: 80g – 84.9g
  • 3U: 85g – 89.9g
  • 2U: 90g – 94.9g

Li Ning Badminton Racket Weight:

  • W3: 85g – 89g
  • W2: 81g – 84g
  • W1: 72g – 80g

Normally, a good badminton racket would weigh from 83g – 95g (within the 3U and 4U) and should not exceed 100g without counting the grip and strings. 

How Does the Weight of a Racket affecting the Player

The heavier the racket, the easier it to accumulate momentum and kinetic energy for a powerful smash. However, it’s also more difficult to control and slower too. But then when you can master the skills, it’s gonna offer you more stability. 

Other than that, you need a stronger body to master a heavier racket, or else it is very easy to cause injury. Because the force generated may be too much for your muscles. So it is a good idea to go easy at the very beginner.

Nowadays, you may find quite many singer players are using 3U rackets (heavier rackets).

The lighter the racket is, the higher maneuverability and speed a player could be offered for net movements and defending the opposite. Most double players are using 4U rackets too.

We would recommend a lightweight racket (around 4U – 5U) for beginners since it’s much easier to control and yet you can still get some power until your body (especially your arms, shoulder, and wrist) is getting used to the action and movements of badminton, you can start trying a heavier racket.

5U used to be considered as too light for the majority but in some special cases like young kids and female players with not much strength. The problem with rackets that are too light is they cannot generate enough power. However, thanks to modern technology, more and more 5U rackets can generate very powerful smash too.

Length of the Badminton Racket

The typical length (bottom of the grip to the tip of the badminton head) of a badminton racket ranges from 665mm to 675mm, and should not exceed 680mm. 

The longer the racket, the more power you can accelerate for the game, but then you will get less maneuverability, and vice versa.

As a beginner, I would suggest you pick a racket with a length between 665mm to 670 mm since that’s the most common length range of badminton. If you are a tall and strong person, you can pick something closer to 670mm. 

Should I get junior badminton rackets with short lengths for the kids?

It is quite common for parents to get their kids a junior racket that is much lighter and with shorter length since it is much easier to handle and their rackets will always hit the floor because it’s too long for them.

However, as an instructor, I do believe there is a responsibility for me to tell you the problem of kids playing with junior rackets. When you practice badminton, your body will build up a sense of distance, it’s like your eyes, arms, shoulders, wrist, your whole body and the racket are coordinating to hit the feather birdie.

If your little kid uses a shorter racket and then changes to a longer one when he/ she grows bigger, it will completely ruin the sense of distance and coordination they built up. Just get a cheap, light racket with the normal length for them, let it hit the floor, let it breaks. 

I used to teach 7 years old who had been playing badminton with a junior racket when he was only 5 years old, he was playing pretty good with his junior racket but then when he switched to the standard racket, it took him around 2 – 3 months to gain back his normal standard.

But hey, if your little one (normally below 6 years old) finds it easier to play with a junior racket, just let them use it. Badminton is all about having fun, especially for beginners, right?

Balance point

The balance point of a racket, also known as the center of the badminton racket, is the point on the racket shifts, is a very important defining factor when you are an intermediate or advanced player, however, as a beginner, the impact is relatively small. 

 According to the position of the balance point, the rackets are categories into 3 types:

Head-Heavy Balance Badminton Rackets

With a balance point closer to the head of the racket, a head heavy racket comes with extra mass at the head and therefore:

  • Increasing the power of clears and smashes
  • Reducing the maneuverability of the racket
  • Suitable for players like to play power smash and stay at the back of the court

Head-Light Balance Badminton Rackets

Opposite to a head heavy balance racket, a head-light balance racket comes with a lighter mass at the head and hence:

  • Comes with better maneuverability and control
  • Lowering the power for a smash
  • More suitable for defendant players who like to play close to the net and play driving, fast and attacking badminton at the front part of the court

Even Balance Badminton Rackets

Even balance badminton rackets are more like the middle man in between of a head heavy balance and head-light balance badminton racket. The center point of the racket is locating at the middle of the racket and hence it comes with:

  • Better maneuverability and control but less power than a head heavy balance racket, and vice versa for a head-light balance badminton racket
  • A racket suitable to play at all position in a badminton court

We would recommend a beginner to get an even balance badminton racket since you are still at the stage you want to learn all the skills for every position in the court. So a racket with less character is preferred.

Once you have improved your skills and become a better player, it’s the time you can start trying rackets with different balance points and you can explore different styles of playing.

Normally, an advanced badminton player would bring 2 – 3 rackets to the game when they are in a serious competition, one for playing powerful smash and one for quick shots and swings in front of the net.

Flex of Racket (Shaft Flexibility)

The flex of a racket means how easy the racket could be bent, is also a very important factor you should take into account when you purchase your racket. Nowadays, flexibility is normally divided into: 

  • Flexible
  • Medium
  • Medium-Stiff
  • Stiff
  • Extra Stiff

Do note that the stiffness would fade away as time pass by, which means a stiff racket will become not that stiff after being used for a few months.

The stiffer the racket, the shorter the reaction time left for shuttlecocks to hit and bounce back from the racket, hence more kinetic energy would be retained, which would result in a more powerful and explosive smash. However, it would require a higher level of technique to control the swing too, and vice versa.

The slower, softer, and smoother your arm and wrist swing, the more flexible racket you need, vice versa, you will need a stiff racket if you are planning to do a quick, aggressive, and powerful smash. 

We do suggest a beginner pick a flexible to medium racket since it’s easier to control, also, a string tension closer to the lower end is also preferable so the force generated by the racket would be minimized.

Price

The price is always a very important factor, it is always better for a beginner to get a racket that’s not too expensive since you may need to change your racket after a few months when your skills are improved.

Grip Size

The modern badminton rackets normally come in two sizes:

  • G5, 81mm
  • G8, 84mm

We would recommend G5 for beginners since it’s always easier for you to adjust the grip size by adding more types than shaving down the handle part unless you have a huge hand.

Besides, having a G5 Grip would allow more flexibility for you to adjust the balance point by adding more layers of tape onto the handle.

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners – Our Recommendations

Best Overall Beginner Badminton Racket: YONEX Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Badminton Racquet (Black)

The Yonex Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Racket is a great all-round lightweight, flexible racket with head-heavy balance. This is one of the rackets I always bring along for my absolute beginner students during their first lessons.

This is a racket suitable for people starting to learn net play and smashing. The 75g weight makes it an easy-to-control, maneuverable racket. With the Aerobox construction, the Nanoray Light 18i comes with increased stability and accuracy 

What We Also Like:

  • It is very maneuverable and easy to handle
  • The built-in T-joint structure made it a very durable racket, much durable than most of my other rackets
  • Change to 27lbs – 30lbs tension string and you can use it for your intermediates stage

What We Don’t Like:

  • The strings come with the racket may not be tight enough

Best All-Around Beginner Badminton Racket: ASHAWAY Superlight 79SQ – Badminton Racket

The Ashaway Superlight 79SQ is a reasonably priced, well-balanced racket. I recommend this for beginner players because the isometric head shape results in a larger sweet spot which makes this racket more forgiving.

This is a great racket for beginner to intermediate players who are looking for a balanced racket that is good for both power smashing and speed controls.

What We Also Like:

  • Lightweight and yet durable
  • It’s a value for money purchase

What We Don’t Like:

  • There are complaints about the racket arrives with no covers

Best Beginner Badminton Racket for Value of Money: Kawasaki Explore X260

Kawasaki Sports was founded in 1915, other than badminton, this is also a well-known brand producing different sports products such as Tennis and Swimming related gears.

As a sponsored player by Kawasaki, I highly recommend this brand since it is definitely a great value option. The Kawasaki Explore X260 is one of the rackets I ordered for my students a lot. 

This is how we describe Explore X260: “Price of a Coca Cola and Tastes like a Champagne.” I would say this is an all-rounded racket suitable for beginner to intermediate or even advanced level players.

What We Also Like:

  • Suggested String Tension is 18 – 26 Lbs, but I tried it with 30 Lbs and it was totally fine.
  • This is a racket you can upgrade
  • Price is very affordable

What is Not That Nice:

  • Can’t think of any

Best Beginner Badminton Racket for Control: YONEX Nanoray 60 FX Badminton Racket

The Yonex Nanoray 60FX is a Head-Light, lightweight (4U) Carbon Neo racket that comes with a G5 Grip. I love the vibration filter control cap to increase stability and reduce unwanted vibrations. This is a racket designed for the quick action and well control.

Made with Yonex’s exclusive technology material “Nanomesh + Carbon Nanotube” technology, the YONEX Nanoray 60 FX comes with improved power, elasticity, and toughness.

What We Also Like:

  • This is a great racket for beginner to intermediate level player
  • Very stable for fast drive shots
  • Price is reasonable and comes with a carry case

What We Don’t Like:

  • You have to spend more energy on performing a power smash
  • Some players may consider the strings too loose

Best Beginner Badminton Racket for Control: YONEX Astrox FB Medium Flex Badminton Strung Racquet (Navy/Orange)

The Yonex Astrox FB Medium Flex is a budget-friendly, head-light, easy to control racket. Made by Yonex’s exclusive material “Nanomesh + Carbon Nanotube”, it is a durable, powerful, and lightweight racket.

This is also a racket that can be upgraded. Thanks to the single-pass grommet hole construction, you can choose to set a high-performance stringing pattern when your badminton skills improve because there are more grommet holes.

What We Also Like:

  • A larger sweet spot in all direction is available because of the isometric shape offering an equal main (vertical) and cross (horizontal) strings length
  • Increased contact time of the shuttles and strings because of the tungsten infused grommets
  • Weight is equally distributed throughout the frame and the grip, resulting in better control

What We Don’t Like

  • This is a great racket that comes with a great quality frame but when it comes to the factory strings, there is room for improvement. Players may need to replace the strings after a few games.

Best Beginner Badminton Racket for Smashing: LI-NING Badminton Racket U-Sonic 67 Limited Edition

The Li-Ning U-Sonic 67 Racket is great for beginners to intermediate level players with an aggressive style. It is a Head Heavy, medium flex, lightweight (4U), budget-friendly racket that comes with G5 Grip and 25 lbs strings

What We Also Like:

  • The performance was better than what we were expecting
  • Color is nice too
  • I have recommended this racket for quite a number of my students when they are learning smashing skills and they all loved it

What We Don’t Like:

  • The included factor grip tape doesn’t suit me
  • It is less responsive than other professional rackets used for power smashing

Best Budget-Friendly Beginner Badminton Racket: Senston N80 Graphite Racket

The Senston N80 is probably one of the cheapest rackets you can purchase in the market which comes with fine quality. Lightweight racket (only 75g with no string) made with carbon fiber material, solid, one-piece frame construction and comes with a non-slip handle. 

And they come with a solid carrying bag too! The Senston N80 is a racket you want to put at the boot of your car so when you can play with your friend whenever you want.

This is not a racket we would suggest for proper badminton training, but it’s a good tool for leisure sports and games.  

What We Like:

  • Price is a killer
  • Lightweight
  • One-piece frame so it’s pretty durable for the price
  • Comes with a carrying Bag
  • Customer service is pretty good, they reply to questions very quickly.

What We Don’t Like:

  • It is for recreational players only, not suitable for any serious game
  • String tension is too low so you can produce a powerful smash

Best Beginner Badminton Racket for UK Readers: YONEX Astrox Smash

The Yonex Astrox Smash Racket is very lightweight (73G only!!) comes with a Head-Heavy balance. According to the official specs, it said it’s a medium flex but I would say it’s more a medium-stiff flex. It is a great racket for the absolute beginner to intermediates.

What We Also Like:

  • The price is great and reasonable!
  • It produces a great balance between a powerful smash and a fast drive
  • Very responsive and easy to control
  • It over-performs most same price range racket

What We Don’t Like:

  • You can’t get a “bang” powerful smash from it because of its lightweight

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners: Useful Tips and Resources

So we’ve talked about all the important components of the best badminton rackets for beginners, here are some useful tips I hope you will find them helping your life as a badminton beginner.

  • It is a good idea to wear knee support on your first badminton day since your muscles may not be getting used to such vigorous physical activities, if possible, do get a pair of great badminton shoes too so your foot will be well protected too!
  • Wear an ankle brace if you have a weak ankle, jumper’s knee and ankle sprain are very common badminton injuries, especially on beginners because their bodies are just not ready yet.
  • Make sure you do warm-ups before and after your game
  • Although I suggested you let the young kids use regular rackets even if it’s gonna hit the floor, just make sure to avoid scraping the shuttlecock off the floor with your racket unless it’s a cheap one. Since it’s gonna damage the paint wrapping the frame or even causing cracks on the frame.

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners: FAQs

What is the Best Brand of Badminton Racket?

The best brand of badminton racket and all you want to know about them:

  1. Yonex from Japan, probably the most popular badminton racket brand in the world. Their rackets are used by many world-class players
  2. Li-Ning from China, founded by Chinese ex-Gymnastics world champion Li Ning by 1990, is a relatively new badminton racket brand and yet very popular in the world’s top-class player
  3. Victor from Taiwan since 1968. Now their products are sold to over 60 countries in the world.
  4. Kawasaki, another Japanese brand with a long history, producing high-quality rackets with great technology, and very good-looking though.

Which is the Best Yonex Badminton Racket?

Here are our picks regarding the best Yonex badminton rackets:

  1. Yonex Voltric Z Force II
  2. Yonex Duora Z Strike
  3. Yonex Astrox 88D
  4. Yonex Arcsaber 11
  5. Yonex Astrox FB Medium Flex

We have written more detailed information regarding the best Yonex badminton racket, you may want to take a look via here.

Is Yonex Better than Li Ning?

It is very difficult to conclude that Yonex is better than Li Ning, you need to pick the most suitable racket according to your style and need. Yonex has a much longer history than Li Ning and rackets from both brands are used by Many top players in the world. 

Yonex has a more famous badminton series while the development of footwear by Li Ning is pretty strong.

Is a Heavier Badminton Racket Better?

No, a heavier badminton racket would increase the power for clears and smashes because of bigger mass, however, it also increases the stress to your wrist, arm, and shoulder and decreases the maneuverability of your racket.

You should take into account the balance of your rackets and your skill levels for choosing the racket instead of just picking based on the weight.

Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners: Conclusion

The racket is one of the most important components for badminton, playing with a great racket can make it much easier for you. We’ve picked the above model because it could help you a lot in getting better.

Though every racket in this guide helps beginners, they are quite different in style and playing style. Do not limit yourself to the one that seems like fitting your style the most, instead, keep trying models with different features and specs and after years, you will find the perfect racket that suits you the most.

Badminton is a great sport that can bring you a lot of benefits and I hope you can enjoy this amazing exercise like I do!

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