A Guide to The 11 Best Badminton Rackets For Beginners In 2021

by | May 28, 2020 | Racket Guides | 0 comments

Have you just started playing badminton as a new hobby? Has a friend recently started who needs some advice? Well, you have come to the right place! Before beginning your journey in the sport, there are a couple of things you need to think about.

One of the most important pieces of equipment that you will need before commencing this popular sport is a good quality racket. So, what is a good badminton racket?

Selecting the perfect one can be tricky, so in this article I will review the top 11 beginner rackets in the industry to help you choose the best one. Here are the rackets with their ratings.

The rating was from 1 to 10, 1 being a very poor racket and 10 being an outstanding one. The rating was calculated from the racket’s price, balance, flexibility, weight and altogether quality. You can look at the racket and it’s rating below:

1. Yonex Nanoray 209.2
2. Yonex Nanoflare 160 FX9.0
3. Babolat I Pulse Power8.0
4. Yonex Astrox 2 7.8
5. Apacs Virtus 35 7.8
6. Wilson Carbon 787.8
7. Li-Ning Turbo Charging 20 Boost7.7
8. Babolat Satelite Gravity 747.7
9. Yonex Carbonex 8000 Plus 7.0
10. Senston N80 6.8
11. Yonex Muscle Power 2 6.3

To get the most value out of this article you should also read my other article on how to choose a badminton racket.

What should you look for in a beginner’s racket?

So where to begin when researching? There are several things to consider before taking the plunge and making your purchase.

Balance

One of the most important things to consider is the balance point. There are three main types of balance: head light, even balance and head heavy.

You can determine the type of balance by putting your finger below the head to see which way it moves, similar to an old style weighing scale. Or you can look at the shaft of the racket and it will often tell you the balance of the racket.

You can use any balance type as a new player, but it is recommended to use a head light racket when first starting out. This is because a head light racket will be easier to swing, so that you can work on your technique and you will discover that shots requiring quick reactions are easier to do.

A head heavy heavy racket will allow you get more power in your shots but you may struggle to play good quick reaction shots and your defensive skills.

An even balanced racket will give you a combination of the two.

Weight

Another key component of good quality and something to consider is the best weight for your needs.

Ideally, you should be looking for a lightweight type if you are just starting out as they are easier to handle. The weight is measured in ‘U’: the smaller the ‘U’ number, the heavier the weight. As a beginner, you should aim for a weight under 89g (3U). This ideal weight bracket will make the racket easier to handle whilst also helping you build up some strength in your arms.

Flexibility

The flexibility of the shaft is something else you should consider before going ahead with your chosen purchase. In the shaft of the racket there are varying levels of stiffness.

To help you understand this it is best to compare the stiffness of a racket to the stiffness of the sorts of rulers you use at school: a flexible racket is like a bendy, plastic ruler and a stiff racket is similar to a stiff wooden ruler.

There are six different types of flexibility in a racket:

  • Hi flex.
  • Medium flex.
  • Flex.
  • Stiff.
  • Medium stiff.
  • Extra stiff.

As a beginner, you should aim to select one with a flexible shaft, as your swing speed is likely to be slower than that of a more advanced player and a flexible shaft will make it easier for to get a higher swing speed.

A more advanced player would find a stiff racket more beneficial as they will not need the flexibility to get a quick swing speed on their racket. Also, if a stiff shafted racket is swung quickly it can generate more power than a more flexible racket.

Price

When first starting out, you don’t need to spend lots of money. What is more important is that you are learning and getting the hang of the technique by playing a lot.

You can purchase a decent product for your needs between £20 ($24.55) and £60 ($73.64). As you progress and become more advanced you would be looking at investing in a more expensive quality model to adapt to your increasing strength and abilities.

The following rackets will vary in price. Here are my price categories:

£- low priced

££- mid range

£££- high end

  1. The Yonex Nanoray 20

The Yonex Nanoray 20 is ideal for those just starting out in the sport, as it is lightweight and easy to use and control. It is reasonably priced and comes from a well-known and respected brand in the industry.

Overall Rating: 9.2

Price: ££

Weight: 88g

Balance: Head light

Flexibility: Hi-flex

Pros:

• It is well priced and affordable.

• Lightweight for easier control. This will be an advantage for a beginner player as it will allow them to practice their defensive skills.

• The racket has quick repulsion as the shaft is very flexible, so it will be easier for an inexperienced badminton player to gain a fast racket swing speed.

• Good for speedy exchanges. With the racket being head light, it will be less difficult for a new player to work on their timing and get used to a quicker pace of game.

Cons:

• Some players may find it difficult to generate power in their shots.

• Grip is not fantastic as it wears down quickly with continued use.

Overall, the Nanoray 20 has some great features, which are worth considering when deciding. It has an aero-box vari-frame, which allows you to slice through the air at a quicker rate, and has a control support cap to allow more control and precision.

The shaft of the Nanoray 20 contains nanomesh and carbon nanotubes to help strengthen and reduce the thickness without affecting performance.

It also comes already strung and is provided with a cover.

2. Yonex Nanoflare 160 FX

This is another quality product which is great for a new player. The frame has great stability and is thin, which helps reduce air resistance.

This is a mid-range in price and slightly more expensive than most. The Nanoflare 160 FX is ideal for those starting out as it is head light but also allows for precision and has the ability to give the shuttlecock more acceleration.

Overall rating: 9.0

Price: ££

Weight: 83g

Balance: Head light

Flex: Hi-flex

Pros:

  • With an isometric head shape there is a larger centre area of the racket called the ‘sweet spot’, which is an ideal hitting point on the strings. This will make it easier for a beginner player to time their shots.
  • Having a thin frame and a highly flexible shaft will mean it will allow a new player to gain a faster racket speed.
  • With it being a head light model and a lightweight frame, it will not cause too much stress and pain to the arm.

Cons:

  • If you have a low budget this racket is at the more expensive end of the range.
  • It might be harder for some players to generate power.

The Nanoflare 160 FX has a new aero deformation frame:  once a shuttlecock is hit, the force causes frame deformation which then returns to its original shape with its stiffness. This is turn reduces stress and can improve the distance the shuttle travels.

It also has a built in T-Joint where the shaft and frame connect. This results in a durable and greater strength frame, which is also torque-free.

Made entirely of high modulus graphite, the Nanoflare 160 FX is easy to handle and very resilient. It is also provided with a full cover and is already pre-strung.

3. Babolat I Pulse Power

The Babolat I Pulse Power offers the right balance of control, speed and accuracy and is ideal for those aiming to eventually move up to the intermediate level.

This model boasts an ultra aero frame and a progressive angle which provides balance between head resistance, stiffness and aerodynamics. All of these special features result in greater accuracy.

Overall rating: 8.0

Price: ££

Weight:80g

Balance: Even balance

Flex: Flexible

Pros:

  • The flexible shaft will make it easier for an inexperienced player to reach a quick racket swing speed.
  • The racket is great value for money and reasonably priced. 
  • With its even balance and flexible shaft, you should find it a racket with good all-round qualities.

Cons:

  • It may be unsuitable for you if you have a good technique as you could get more power from a racket with a stiffer shaft.

In summary, this racket is excellent value for money, with a great feel and control. It is well-suited and beginner friendly, highly recommended for those just beginning their badminton journey.

4. Yonex Astrox 2

The Astrox 2 has a rotational generator system. The balanced head has the ability to adapt to the different shots, helping you to control the speed of the shuttle. This Astrox 2 is ideal for powerful drives and smashes.

The Astrox 2 is well priced and is great for players new to the sport or who enjoy playing in an attacking style.

Overall rating: 7.8

Price: ££

Weight: 78g

Balance: Head heavy

Flex: Hi flex

Pros:

• With the racket having a head heavy balance you should find it easier to generate power in your shots.

• If you are struggling with your technique you should be helped by the flexible shaft which will make it less difficult for you to generate racket speed.

Cons:

  • You may find the strings are more vulnerable to breaking.
  • You might discover that quick reaction shots such as your defence shots are harder to do with the head heavy balance.

Overall the Astrox 2 is good value for money and is very light. The flexible shaft allows for high shots and the top-heavy balance allows for more power. It is made with graphite and nanomesh neo material.

The Astrox 2 is well designed and attractive with some added design features to make it really stand out. Great for those who want to look stylish whilst playing. With all of its design features the Astrox 2 would benefit those just starting the sport or even intermediate players. I would recommend this model for those just starting out.

5. Apacs 35 Virtus

Overall rating: 7.8

Price: £

Weight: 84 grams

Balance: Even balance

Flex: Medium flex

Pros:

  • If you have a low budget this racket is very affordable.
  • With its even balance and medium flexible shaft, you should find it has good all-round qualities. 
  •  The racket has an isometric shaped head which will make it easier for newer players to time their shots thanks to the larger ‘sweet spot’ area (central part of the racket head) on the strings.

Cons:

  • As it doesn’t have a heavy head or a stiff shaft you may struggle to generate power in your shots.

The Apacs Virtus 35 is a low-priced racket. The frame is made of high modulus graphite and is ‘high speed’, allowing you to get a quicker and cleaner swing. The racket should allow you to play tight drop shots and net shots on account of its light design. 

Overall, if you are a beginner player this is a decent racket which is a safe choice for you.

6. Wilson Carbon 78

The Carbon 78 is designed with an asymmetric head and uses Flex 6 string for better performance and longevity. Graphite is used in its construction and this provides more stiffness and strength.

Overall rating: 7.8

Price: ££

Weight: 78.5g

Balance: Head heavy

Flex: Flexible

Pros:

• With its heavy head you should find it easier to generate power in your shots.

• If you are struggling with your technique the flexible shaft will make it easier for you to create a quicker racket swing speed.

Cons:

• As the racket is head heavy you may find it strains your forearm if you have not developed an adequate technique yet.

With an oval drive shaft, the Carbon 78 has the ability to improve off-centre hits and provide more control. The design and feel of the Carbon 78 is excellent and would make a decent addition to any collection. It also comes with an indoor replacement grip and a racket cover.

In conclusion, this racket seems a safe option for a beginner learning the game.

7. Li Ning Turbo Charging 20 Boost

The Li Ning Turbo Charging 20 Boost is specially designed to reduce air resistance whilst playing. Its innovation trapezoidal design allows for stronger swings and speeds of the shuttle.

Perfect for those players who like quick attack games. Its unique design allows players to achieve a perfect balance between stability and speed.

It is another reasonably priced model for those starting out that offers versatility.

Overall rating: 7.7

Price: ££

Weight: 86g

Balance: Even

Flex: Flexible

Pros:

• The flexible shaft will make it easier for an inexperienced player to create a quick racket swing speed.

• The even balance should allow you to generate power but at the same time you should not find it too heavy.

Cons:

• Despite the racket not being head heavy the entire racket is relatively heavy compared to other rackets in this range. If you have not got the correct technique yet you may find it strains your forearm.

The Li Ning Turbo Charging 20 boost is a good choice due to its stability and control. Made out of ultra-strong material, it won’t disappoint in terms of strength and rigidity. A good choice if you are just starting out and want to improve your game.

It boasts many product technologies that make it a tempting choice. The UHB shaft improves the flex to help provide strength and control and the wing stabiliser and TB Nano Power technology make it tenacious and a decent choice with a relatively low price tag.

8. Babolat Satelite Gravity 74

The Satelite Gravity 74 is a very light and agile racket. It is  ideal for those just starting out who are not looking to compete in the sport at an elite level.

The Satelite Gravity 74 isn’t the cheapest and is more higher priced for a beginner racket. Ideal for those new to the sport as offers great control.

Overall rating: 7.7

Price: £££

Weight: 74g

Balance: Head light

Flex: Medium

Pros:

• Like the Nanoflare 160 FX the racket has an isometric shaped head which will make it easier for newer players to time their shots due to the larger ‘sweet spot’ area on the strings.

• With it being such a light racket, you will find quick reaction shots easier to do.

• As the racket is very head light it will not cause too much stress and pain in your arm if you have not developed the correct technique yet. The light head of the racket will make it easier for you to work more on your technique.

Cons:

• As the racket is so light you may struggle to generate power.

• If you are not looking to spend too much money then this racket may not be ideal for you.

The Satelite Gravity 74 is a great starter piece of equipment but due to its ultra-light weight, it can take some getting used to and it may take a while for you to achieve greater distances until you build some strength up.

It has a thin shaft which results in less drag and has a very fast swing speed. Due to its lightweight design, it isn’t the best for powerful play, but if you are new to the sport then it is great to help you practice and hone your new skills before progressing onto a more advanced model.

9. Yonex Carbonex 8000 Plus

The Yonex Carbonex 8000 plus is designed to allow players to gain more control during smashes. It is designed in a box shape which allows for more accurate shots and has a great feel when you are handling it.

The Yonex Carbonex 8000 plus is also fitted with Elastic Ti technology to help improve performance. It can also help to boost your confidence as it allows you to make more powerful shots.

Overall rating: 7.0

Price: ££

Weight:87g

Balance: Neutral

Flex: Semi stiff

Pros:

• If you have developed a reasonably good badminton technique you should find you are generating a fair amount of power in your shots with this racket.

• This would be a great racket if you were at the stage of contemplating stepping up from beginners to intermediate level of playing.

Cons:

• If you are still learning the correct technique you, might find that it is more difficult to generate a decent racket swing speed with the fairly stiff racket shaft.

• The oval shape of the racket head gives you a smaller ‘sweet spot’ (centre area of the racket head), which might make it harder for you to time your shots.

This is a decent racket for improving players, helping you to develop your skills and to learn more advanced moves. It helps you to deliver quick, attacking shots. Overall, this is a good quality choice.

10. Senston N80

The Senston N80 is ideal for those looking for good value for money. It is made with a graphite body, which makes it long lasting, and it offers precision and accuracy. The thin and light-weight frame is ideal for those starting out in the game and the aerodynamic shape makes high-speed shots a possibility.

The Senston N80 slices through the air with ease and low resistance allowing for speedy moves and making the game more enjoyable!

Overall rating: 6.8

Price: ££

Weight: 75g

Balance: Head heavy

Flex: Medium

Pros:

• With its heavy head you should find it easier to generate power in your shots.

• You will find the racket a good combination of a lightweight frame and a heavy head.

• With the lightweight frame you should find the racket easy to move through the air, enabling you to focus on your timing and technique.

Cons:

• You might find the racket too fragile as the grip and strings are prone to breaking.

The Senston N80 is ideal as it is lightweight but has added stability as it is made with carbon fibres. The slim shaft offers better performance. It is stylish and you can choose from nine different colours.

11. Yonex Muscle Power 2

The Yonex Muscle Power 2 provides fantastic contact between the frame and string enhancing the energy in every shot. It boasts an isometric square head shape with a 32% larger hitting area than a typical racket face.

Overall rating: 6.2

Price: £

Weight: 95g

Balance: Even

Flex: Stiff

Pros:

• This racket is the lowest priced in this article  and the most affordable. This would be a  good choice for someone on a low budget.

• With the fairly heavy frame and stiff shaft you will find it easier to get power out of your shots if you have developed a reasonable technique.

• The racket has an isometric shaped head which will make it easier for newer players to time their shots due to the larger ‘sweet spot’ area (central part of the racket head) on the strings

Cons:

• You may find the racket too heavy. It could put a strain on your forearm and you might find that owing to the heavy frame you struggle to focus on developing good technique and accuracy.

• The strings have been known to be fairly brittle and to break easily.

The Muscle Power 2 is perfect for those on a tight budget due to its low cost price. Ideal for those who just want to play recreationally and hone their skills. Although it is not as powerful as more expensive products, it is still a reasonable racket, handling and playing well.

Overall, this racket is ideal for you if you are mastering the basics whilst having fun at the same time!

Summary

As you can see after considering these rackets, there is a lot of choice out there when it comes to purchasing a new racket but at the same time lots of things to bear in mind. If you are just beginning to play badminton, you should not worry too much about choosing the perfect racket. What is more important is learning how to play properly, getting playing experience and enjoying yourself! Over time you will learn what racket is best for you.

You should regard my advice as guidelines in choosing your racket.

Hopefully, this gives you a snapshot of what is available out there and good luck as you start the first step on your journey!

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