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Guide to Badminton Racket Specifications


Weight

Weight

The stationary weight (measured in grams) usually represents the unstrung weight of the racket frame, excluding the strings, grommets and grip.

Badminton racket weight is commonly denoted by a number followed by the letter ‘U’. The smaller the number, the heavier the weight. The grading system derives from the racket weight classifications used by Yonex, which have also been adopted by Victor. Other manufacturers use alternative grading systems. For example, Li-Ning uses ‘W’ instead of ‘U’ to indicate the weight of their rackets, with different weight bandings to those used by both Yonex and Victor.

U Grade Weight
1U 95g or above
2U 90-94.9g
3U 85-89.9g
4U 80-84.9g
5U 75-79.9g
6U 70-75.9g
7U 60g-69.9g
8U 59.9g and below

Most rackets are weighted either 3U or 4U as this provides a good balance, allowing players to hit hard without compromising on manoeuvrability. The majority of singles players use 3U rackets, as the extra weight helps provide power when the shuttle has gone behind the player deep into the corners. For doubles players, lighter 4U rackets are standard as they allow the player to react quicker at the net and defend against opposing smashes.

It is generally recommended that beginners should opt for a lighter racket, as it is easier to manoeuvre, before progressing to a heavier racket.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) rules stipulate that the weight of a badminton racket should not exceed 100g. However, training rackets weighing around 140-160g are available that are designed to force the player’s muscles to strengthen.

Balance

Balance

The balance of a racket is a measure of its weight distribution, which may be evenly distributed or shifted either towards the head or the grip. The static balance point (centre of gravity) of a racket is expressed as a measurement from the butt end in millimetres or inches. If the balance point is closer to the head, the racket is considered head heavy, while if the balance point is shifted towards the grip, it is head light.

Head-light Head-light rackets are much easier to manipulate and swing. This is crucial when defending against opposing smashes, where quick reactions are required, and is also desirable when playing shots at the net, particularly when looking to finish off rallies at the front of the court. Head-light rackets are therefore recommended for doubles players who prefer to play fast and attacking badminton, and singles players with excellent technique and swing speed.
Head-heavy Head-heavy rackets increase the power of clears and smashes and are popular with singles and mixed doubles players who like to play a powerful game from the back of the court.
Even balance Even balance rackets provide a versatile middle ground, providing enough power from the back of the court and enough control & manoeuvrability at the front. Even balance rackets are recommended for new players looking to develop an all-round game and for more advanced players who play both singles and doubles frequently and want a racket for all scenarios.
Length

Length

The length of a racket is measured from the bottom of the handle/grip to the top of the racket head. Badminton rackets have a typical length between 665m to 675mm. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) restricts racket frames to a maximum length of 680mm.

Head size

Head Size

Head size, expressed either in square inches or square centimetres, measures the total strung area of the racket.

Badminton rackets can have either a conventional head shape (oval) or an isometric head shape (square). Conventional badminton racket frames may have a head size as low as 330 cm² (51 in²), whereas isometric frames are typically larger with head sizes ranging from 340 cm² (53 in²) to 370 cm² (57 in²).

The isometric square head shape was originally developed for tennis rackets by Yonex in 1980, but was later applied to badminton rackets. The first ‘widebody’ badminton racket with the isometric head shape, the Yonex Isometric 500, went on sale in 1992. Unlike traditional rackets where the main and cross strings vary in length, the isometric head shape equalises the length of the main and cross strings, creating a larger sweet spot. The success of this design led other manufacturers to follow suit in 'square-head' or isometric designs, which have now largely replaced conventional frames.

Pattern density

Pattern Density

String patterns are expressed as the number of main strings x the number of cross strings. A more open string pattern with fewer strings yields a lower overall string bed stiffness than a dense pattern, providing improved power but with reduced string durability. A dense or ‘closed’ pattern with more main strings or cross strings creates a stiffer string bed, allowing for better control with reduced power. Closed patterns are therefore suited to use with softer, thinner and more feel-oriented strings.

Badminton rackets have dense string patterns to allow stringing at very low tensions. Patterns vary from the most open around 20x21, to the densest around 22x23.

Stiffness

Stiffness/Flexibility

The stiffness of a racket frame is measured by its ability to flex on its longitudinal axis. Stiffer rackets bend less on contact with the ball, absorbing less impact energy from the ball and resulting in greater power. Flexible rackets bend more, leading to greater energy loss from the ball and reduced power, with an increased dwell time on the string bed during impact.

Flexible Rackets with flexible shafts are suited to beginners or players with slower, smoother swing. The increased flex reduces control.
Medium Medium-stiffness rackets provide all-round performance. They are more forgiving than a stiff racket, but with enough rigidity to control power shots.
Stiff A stiff shaft will provide improved stability, allowing greater power to be wielded in a controllable fashion (when combined with good technique). Stiff rackets are typically suited to physically strong and advanced players who can generate a fast swing speed with explosive wrist action.
Grip size

Grip Size

Grip size is measured as the circumference of the handle in inches and includes the original grip. Badminton racket grip size is denoted by the letter ‘G’ followed by a number. The smaller the number, the larger the handle size.

G Grade Grip Size
G2 4"
G3 3 3/4"
G4 3 1/2"
G5 3 1/4"

Most manufacturers make rackets in a single grip size. The most common grip size is G4, which is the standard for Yonex rackets. Victor rackets come in G5 as standard. While most manufacturers have adopted the Yonex ‘G’ grading system, some manufacturers use alternative systems that can cause confusion as the grading may vary slightly (by about 0.25 inches) or can sometimes be the opposite way around (size increases with the grade number).