Aside from table tennis, one of my favourite sports to play and watch is badminton. I love the pace of badminton, how it can change from slow to fast in an instance. Some of the doubles rallies are absolutely crazy – such amazing skill, speed and reflexes.
A lot of people start playing badminton in the UK each year and one of the first challenges is choosing which badminton racket to buy. There is a lot of choice available – different brands, different weights, different amounts of shaft flexibility.
So in this article, I am going to give some helpful advice about buying a badminton racket for beginner players in the UK. The article is based upon my own experiences of playing badminton and advice from badminton coaches. I also give a few recommendations of some really good beginner badminton rackets you can buy.
Badminton rackets come in three categories:
Head-heavy badminton rackets have more weight towards the racket head. This means you can hit the shuttlecock with more power, which is useful when playing at the back of the court.
Head-light badminton rackets have more weight towards the racket handle. This means you can move the racket around more quickly, which is useful when playing closer to the net.
Even-balance badminton rackets are a bit of both. They don’t have as much power as head-heavy rackets, but more power than head-light rackets. They have more speed than heady-heavy rackets, but not as much as head-light rackets.
Which is best for beginners? Personally, I would recommend starting with an even-balance racket. Why? As a beginner, you won’t have developed a playing style yet or even know how much you will be playing singles or doubles. So an even-balance racket will be a safe bet to begin with, as it will allow you to play both close to the net and at the back of the court fairly comfortably.
As you improve, you may decide you need something heavier or lighter. Or you may end up buying different types of racket. But you will get a better feel of what you need if you start off with an even-balance racket (see recommendations below).
Another important consideration is shaft flexibility (this is the long thin bit which connects the handle and racket head).
Again, there are three main categories…
Players with fast swing speed tend to use a stiff shaft, as they can take advantage of the snapping effect (quick bend / unbend) of the shaft. In general, stiff shafts are better suited for more experienced and advanced players.
Personally, I think beginner players should start with either a flexible or a medium shaft. The logic here is that as a beginner, your shots are likely to be slower and more controlled, so having some flexibility in the shaft will help you get some extra speed on your shots (see recommendations below)..
What is best for beginners?
So to summarise, my simple and straightforward advice for beginner players is to start with an even-balance badminton racket with a medium or flexible shaft. This probably won’t be your ‘forever racket’ but it won’t disadvantage you one way or the other as you develop your technique and playing style.
How much does a beginner badminton racket cost?
The good news is that you don’t need to spend ridiculous money on a decent beginner badminton racket. You can buy a decent racket for £25-£40 / $30-$50.
Anything from reputable brands, such as Yonex, Victor, Senston, Karakal, Carlton, Babolat, Ashaway and Wilson will be decent quality and suitable for beginner players.
Here’s some badminton rackets suitable for beginner players you can purchase on Amazon. All have lots of reviews, so you can read other beginner players’ feedback before making a purchase.
But there is also a load of online badminton stores available too. Just do a Google search for ‘badminton rackets’ and you should find lots of options. So I recommend doing your own research too.
But here are my top three recommendations…
- Senston N80 Graphite Badminton Racket
- YONEX Nanoray 10F Badminton Racket
- Carlton Powerblade Ti Badminton Racket
USA / Rest of world
- Senston N80 Graphite Single High-Grade Badminton Racquet
- YONEX Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Badminton Racquet
- Li-Ning G-Force Superlite 3600 Badminton Racquet
A beginner badminton racket won’t be a racket for life. When you improve, you may want to switch to a head-heavy or head-light racket.
But any of the rackets above will be good to begin with. If you play badminton for a little while, but stop to pursue other interests, you haven’t wasted much money.
But hopefully you will play, fall in love with the sport and keep on improving and improving. And if this happens to you, then this small cost to buy a beginner racket, will be a fantastic investment.