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Best badminton racket 2021: Up your game with the perfect racket, from just £10

Matt Breen
11 Aug 2021
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Find the best badminton racket for you, for a range of budgets and needs

Whether you’re new to the sport or a badminton veteran, you’ll find the best badminton racket for you 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 choose 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 10F: Best badminton racket for under £50

Price: £43 | Buy now on Amazon

The Nanoray 10F is a great pick for beginner badminton players who want a reliable bit of kit in their hand that will help them improve at the sport. The flexible, head-light design adds power to slow swings, and the lightweight design makes it more comfortable and easier to use when first starting out on the badminton court. It’s also an especially good racket for those looking for extra control around the net.

More experienced and powerful players will probably want to look at stiffer rackets with head-heavy designs, but these aren’t always easy to find for under £50. The Nanoray 10F is great for new players and bargain hunters alike.

Key features – Weight: 4U; 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 features – 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 features – Weight: 3U; Balance: Even; Stiffness: Stiff

Buy now from Direct Badminton


4.Yonex Voltric Z-Force II: Best badminton racket for power

Price: £140 | Buy now from Direct Badminton

Strong, experienced players looking for a racket to accentuate their power on the court should look no further than the Yonex Voltric Z-Force II. An extremely stiff shaft combined with a head-heavy design lets you put all your power into your shots, so the shuttlecock stays folded for longer and carries its speed into your opponent’s side of the court.

This is a racket for players who favour an attacking style and want to get the most out of every smash, but it’s still lightweight enough for speedy handling when you’re on the defensive or engaged in tricky net play. You’re not going to be smashing every single shot, after all.

Key features – Weight: 3U; Balance: Head-heavy; Stiffness: Extra stiff

Buy now from Direct Badminton


5. Ashaway Superlight 10 Hex: Best badminton racket for doubles

Price: £88 | Buy now from Badminton HQ

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 features – Weight: 5U; Balance: Head-heavy; Stiffness: Medium-stiff

Buy now from Badminton HQ


6. Wilson Blaze 270: Best badminton racket for beginners

Price: £41 | Buy now from Amazon

The head-light setup 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 featuresWeight: 4U; Balance: Head-light; Stiffness: Medium