Badminton can be seen as tennis’ lesser known cousin, and while it may not be as well-known in some of the Western nations, it thrives around the world–especially in East Asia. With the ability to play indoors or out and relying on quick reflexes, it is no wonder this sport continues to grow in popularity.
However, with such a focus on quick reactions, players can often overlook the value of a badminton racket designed for power. While the return game may be favored for continuing play, smashes provide the ability to end a point quickly.
That is why we have made a list of the top 5 best badminton racket for smashes. Then we provide a thorough buyer’s guide, so you know which racket will provide the best complement to your game with power.
Best Badminton Racket For Smash 2017
|Yonex Voltric 7 Lin Dan G4|
|3U||A head heavy balance offers additional power||Graphite|
|Wilson Ti Smash||3U||Affordable price||Graphite|
|Yonex Voltric 2||4U||Head heavy, all graphite construction||Graphite Tungsten. Shaft:H.T.Graphite|
|Apacs Nano 900 Power||4U||Medium-Stiff flex balances power and control, G2 grip||Frame: Ultra Hi Modulus Graphite + ElasticTi (Titanium forge) |
Shaft: Ultra Hi Modulus Graphite + Nano Carbon
|Apacs EdgeSaber||4U||G2 grip, price||Frame: Hi Modulus Graphite + Slim Aero Box |
Shaft: Hi Modulus Graphite
1. Yonex Voltric 7 Lin Dan – Best Yonex Badminton Racket For Smashes
Yonex has long been known as one of the best brands in badminton. While this technically extends to most of the equipment within the sport, this sentiment goes doubly for rackets–arguably the most important piece of equipment to a badminton player. However, Yonex also strives to reach a balance, so all players can benefit from their wares.
This is where the Voltric 7 comes into play. While it offers numerous technologies to provide an additional oomph to your swing, generating more power for a front end smash, the Voltric 7 also aims to balance that with a number of qualities that make it well-suited for control and quick response.
This balance can increase performance at all levels of play which is why we ranked this racket as the best for professionals.
The development of power begins with the Voltric 7’s head heavy balance. This provides a maximum amount of momentum at the point of impact, so your follow through strikes the shuttlecock with more force. However, it is how the Voltric 7 achieves this balance that makes this racket so unique.
Moreover, by adding a slight counter weight where the frame and shaft meet, the Voltric 7 still feels like an evenly balanced racket when returning despite an overall head heavy balance to give you an extra push when you smash your opponents.
2. Wilson Ti Smash – Budget Friendly Badminton Racket For Smashing
Wilson is a brand with a general excellent reputation for a wide variety of sports. However, when it comes to the more specialized or niche sports, this brand does not always present the best performing products. In this case, badminton is most definitely a lesser played sport and Wilson has definitely neglected the market.
However, if your goal is to find a badminton rackets for smashing, it will be difficult to find one better than the TI Smash. That being said, this racket comes with so many disadvantages for its power-or-nothing approach that few players outside of the most novice beginners will find this an appropriate racket.
Moreover, the stiff titanium alloy body and frame only add to the maximum potential power generated. Combine this with the isometric head design, and you have a racket that can smash like no other. That being said, all of these features which generate power also make this racket one of the more difficult to control.
In fact, every point of proper control technique is made more difficult with this racket. Your return speed will be much slower. Moreover, the racket itself will be unable to bend and reach for those often necessary quick returns. As such, unless you incredibly skilled with a power game or a total neophyte, this racket should only be seen as a budget option.
3. Yonex Voltric 2 – Best All Around Value Product
The Yonex Voltric 2 is eerily similar to the Voltric 7 is so many ways. In fact, the main difference between the two is determined more by the special edition moniker than anything else. Specifically, Lin Dan, the professional player for which our Voltric 7 was constructed, prefers a more flexible shaft to provide additional control during play.
As such, the Voltric 7 on our list has actually increased its flexibility from the standard Voltric 7 which utilized a medium-stiff flexibility. With this increase in flexibility, the Voltric 7 Lin Dan is on par with the Voltric 2 to the point that their measurable qualities are identical beyond a slight difference in the racket’s composition. That is why we have named the Voltric 2 as the racket on our list with the best all around value.
Much like the Voltric 7, this model features the same head heavy balance to provide additional power through your swing when going for a smash. Moreover, this racket even utilizes the same Tri-Voltage system so you do not feel like you are losing out on any control, despite that additional swing power provided by the head heavy balance.
4. Apacs Nano 900 Power – Best Racket For Intermediate Player
After Yonex, Apacs is a brand of badminton equipment manufacturers that has developed a solid reputation within the sport. However, Apacs definitively positions itself as a non-professional brand. That being said, most people who play badminton are not professional players, and the Apacs rackets still provide exceptional quality at a price that is more consummate with amateurs and hobbyists.
In this instance, the Nano 900 Power offers plenty of features that may actually suit more players looking to generate additional power better than either of the Yonexes on our list. It accomplishes this by providing some of the features that the Yonex rackets do while goosing a couple qualities in the direction of power. However, it does so by giving just a tad in the direction of control which is why we rated this the best racket for intermediate players.
While the Nano 900 Power does not use the patented Tri-Voltage system that the Yonex does, it still employs a head heavy balance so that your swing generates more power throughout and carries that momentum after the stroke into the follow through. Moreover, while the Nano 900 Power cannot boast the same heavy weight as the Wilson TI Smash, it is still a tad heavier than the Yonexes which further generates a bit more power.
5. Apacs EdgeSaber – Best Beginner Choice
Our final badminton racket also comes from Apacs and at the same price point as the Nano 900 Power. However, the EdgeSaber alters a few features on this racket that ultimately decrease some of the maximum power you can generate through your swing but ultimately provides a slight degree more control. That is why we have ranked this racket as the best for beginners on our list.
Much like the two Yonexes, the two Apacs are incredibly similar. However, unlike the two Yonex rackets, the Apacs rackets differ by more than just architecture and construction materials. Unfortunately, following the general trend of the rackets on our list, the EdgeSaber provides medium flexibility. While this flexibility will allow you to generate a bit more power for a variety of swings, smashes does not happen to be one of them.
As such, the EdgeSaber does not produce as much maximum power as the Nano 900 Power, though it does provide more control for beginners who are still learning how to properly use the fundamental techniques of the game. Still, this racket is not without its advantages, though all of those benefits are shared by the Nano 900 Power.
The balance still remains head heavy for excellent power at the point of contact and a smooth release of the momentum on the follow through. Moreover, this racket is also just a bit heavier than the Yonexes, providing a touch more power without sacrificing the ability to still control the racket with ease.
Balance is arguably the most important quality in a badminton racket if you are looking to generate more power for smashing. The point at where the weight of the racket is centered will ultimately determine how much momentum you can carry through your shot and into the shuttlecock. There are three different types of racket balances, and each provides a better approach depending on the player’s style of play.
However, this balance also makes controlling the racket more difficult. With an outside balance, your movements are more likely to overcompensate which will reduce accuracy. Moreover, the movements themselves will be slower reacting, making this a poor choice for a defensive player.
Head light – Head light balance is the worst for a player seeking to increase their power. This type of balance places the point of mass in the shaft of the racket, generally weighting the throat where the frame and shaft connect. You will ultimately have to swing much harder to generate the same type of power from a head light racket.
However, this racket is also much quicker when reacting to your opponent’s shots than a head heavy racket. This provides additional time to set up a return which ultimately leads to an increase in control and accuracy. Still, this type of racket balance is seen more often in doubles play where rapid fire returns are the norm.
Even – The final type of balance seeks to find the midway point between a head heavy and a head light frame. While this type of balance will not generate the most power, neither will it be as restrictive in the return game as a head heavy racket. This provides an excellent alternative to the either/or decision between head heavy and head light balances.
This type of balance is best suited for players who are comfortable playing both at the net or in the backfield. Conversely, this type of balance is also an excellent choice for beginners who have not yet developed their skill set enough to know which type of player they are.
Along with balance, the weight of the racket is the other feature one would argue is the most important for generating power for a punishing smash. The principle is simple: the heavier the racket, the more force it generates through a swing. That force is transferred to the shuttlecock which makes a smash that much faster and harder to defend. However, too heavy a racket can have the same effects as a head heavy balance: your reaction time is slowed and your control and accuracy reduced when playing defense.
For badminton rackets, weight generally falls into four different categories:
- 2U: 90-94g
- 3U: 85-89g
- 4U: 80-84g
- 5U: 75-79g
Keep in mind, rackets can be made that are lighter or heavier than these, like the Wilson TI Smash, but these are the commonly accepted weight categories manufacturers use. For the highest ranks of competition, players most often use a 3U or 4U. However, those rackets are often too unwieldy for amateurs.
As such, people who simply play badminton for fun are advised to use a 4U or 5U weighted racket where the 5U weighted rackets are most appropriate for children and seniors. In general, 4U is the most ideal weight category for amateur players or those will little consistent experience.
Flexibility plays an important role in generating power, but unlike weight or balance, this is not a simple feature where one end of the spectrum generates more power in all scenarios. Instead, the flexibility of the racket will determine which type of shots generate the most power. The flexibility of a racket runs from extra flexible to extra stiff with numerous points in between. Keep in mind, the “extra” categories of flexibility are generally only appropriate for highly skilled players with a specifically designed style of play. In fact, even the stiff and flexible categories fall into this designation. For most amateurs, some degree of medium flexibility is preferred since their skill set rarely defines a play style.
Regardless, the more flexible the racket, the harder you can hit general volley shots. Since these are the most common type of offensive shot in badminton, players in the back field will often prefer a flexible racket to provide more power to longer shots. These rackets will generate most of their power from the full swinging motion.
On the other hand, stiff rackets are better at providing power when shorter motions are used. This finds its most use in situations where the play is close to the net and relies more on the wrist’s action to generate power than the full swing. Quick returns and smashes are where a stiffer racket will benefit from increased power.
The shaped of the head is an important factor for developing power with your shot, but it is often a bit of a non-sequitur. Basically, most rackets use either a conventional, or ovular, frame, or they use an isometric, or square, frame. However, fewer and fewer rackets are made with a conventional frame, and the isometric design has become all but the standard.
The conventional design features strings that are a good bit longer along the length than they are the width. This creates a bouncy feel to the stroke and provides a better element of control to the swing. However, this bounce inherently absorbs more of the shuttle’s energy and leads to a decrease in power.
The isometric frame on the other hand, features strings that are more even in length. This serves to increase the “sweet spot” of the racket where slightly off-center shots will still retain a high degree of accuracy. This is especially relevant when swinging with power as most players lose accuracy the harder they swing.
Some rackets experiment with a diamond or teardrop shape as a modification of the conventional design. These rackets are able to keep the sweet spot larger than conventional rackets without losing the control. However, they are still not as good at generating power as isometric rackets and thus not as good for smashes.
Tension refers to how tightly the strings of the racket are wound. This rating is often given in pounds. Depending on your experience level and playing style, different tensions will suit you better or worse. However, there are a few accepted standards when it comes to tension.
First, the looser the tension, the larger the sweet spot. This is often misinterpreted as equating with “more power,” but that is a misunderstanding of how the tension of strings works. Basically, a larger sweet spot makes it easier for less skilled players to hit the shuttle. In this instance, even if a less skilled player hits the shuttle inaccurately, the looser strings and larger sweet spot will be more forgiving.
However, the looser strings ultimately absorb some of the shuttle’s momentum and will decrease the maximum amount of power that can be generated. As such, more advanced players and those looking for squeezing as much power out of their racket as possible will generally seek a higher tension.
Considering that all badminton rackets will need to be restrung at some point, the string tension the racket starts with is not an indicator of its power potential in this regard. Instead, the maximum amount of tension a racket can handle will ultimately determine how much power you can maximize from your strings.
Many rackets can be strung with tension exceeding 35 pounds. However, the more tension the strings retain, the smaller the sweet spot. That is why less skilled players are better suited using a string tension below 26 pounds. As such, there are few rackets on the market that cannot accommodate beginner needs–but plenty of rackets lack the high end capabilities that skilled power players demand.
In the end, the best badminton racket for smashes will depend more on your experience and playing style than the racket’s actual features. While there are definitely qualities that can increase a racket’s ability to increase power for smashes, going for broke will often work against the player’s ability to perform at a high level.
For a professional, the Yonex Voltric 7’s combination of power and control offer an excellent entry into the badminton racket market if they are looking to goose their smashing power. However, a nearly identical racket can be had at a lower cost in the Voltric 2.
If you do not care about control and simply want to drive the shuttlecock into your opponent’s face, the Wilson TI Smash in undoubtedly the most powerful racket on our list with a weight exceeding the standard class categories. However, this racket is also exceedingly difficult to control and only recommended for advanced players.