Yonex, one of the leading badminton racket manufacturers, designs rackets with specific skill levels and playing styles in mind. Yonex also provides racket selection guidelines based on the playing characteristics of its rackets. Although some rackets are better than others, there are no best rackets. The best for one player may not be the best for another, and it may not coincide with its guidelines. The one that feels the most comfortable in your hand and enhances your game is the best racket. Selecting your racket starts by knowing the different models and understanding the differences in the basic racket features.
The different Yonex racket models are grouped in series according to their design technology. At the top are the Voltric, Nanoray, Arcsaber, Carbonex and Nanospeed series. Voltric rackets provide power and are designed for the "all-court" player. Nanoray rackets are for players who have an offensive game with fast, controlled swing speeds. Rackets in the Arcsaber series are designed for players who demand control for precise shot-making. The Carbonex series is for players who like the solid feel from the strings when impact is made with the shuttle. Nanospeed rackets are for players who demand quick racket maneuverability.
Best Grip Size
Most Yonex rackets come in grip sizes G2, G3, G4 to G5. Grip size G2, which measures 4 inches in diameter, is the largest and G5, which measures 3 1/4 inches in diameter, is the smallest. In general, the best size for you is the one that feels the most comfortable. Larger grips, however, are better for beginners who haven't learned how to switch grips between a forehand or backhand shot. For advanced players who like to disguise their shots, a smaller grip is best because this allows you to easily change grips at the last second.
Weigh Your Options
Most Yonex badminton rackets weigh between 74 and 94 grams. The weight can be distributed evenly or toward the head or handle. In general, heavier rackets and head-heavy rackets are best for beginners because they provide more stability than lighter rackets and can help players deliver powerful shots with ease. Head-light rackets, those with the weight toward the handle, are best for advanced players who have fast swing speeds and need control.
Best Head Shape
Yonex makes two different head shapes -- traditional oval and isometric, sometimes referred to as a square head. Oval-shaped rackets have a smaller sweet spot, the area on the string bed where you get the most power and the least vibration at impact. Isometric-shaped rackets have a 30 percent larger sweet spot. The isometric design is best for beginners because it gives them a greater chance to hit a successful shot even when the shuttle is hit off-center. The traditional oval design is better for advanced players who can consistently hit the sweet spot.
Flexible Vs. Stiff
The stiffness of the racket's shaft determines the flexibility of the racket. Yonex badminton rackets range in stiffness from flexible to extra-stiff. A flexible racket provides more power and control for players with slower swing speeds -- best for beginners and lower-level players. A stiff racket is better for skilled, precision players who don't rely on the racket for the power behind their shots.