What Is a Badminton Racket Made Of?

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What is a badminton racket made of? Badminton is a great sport for a full-body workout. It involves rapid movements across the court as well as jumps and crunches that help utilize and build up most of the muscles in your body. Your badminton racket also plays a role in how well you play the game.

It all comes down to the material used in its construction.

What Is a Badminton Racket Made Of?

Badminton rackets are manufactured from lightweight, man-made materials. High-quality rackets are typically made of graphite, while lesser quality ones are made of aluminum and steel, depending on the manufacturer. The reason for using lightweight materials is that the rackets are more manageable and maneuverable, and easy to carry for the players.

Badminton racket on the grass with shuttlecocks

There are other materials used for various, smaller parts of the badminton racket. These include nylon and natural gut for strings, and cotton and synthetic material for grips. Each one contributes towards the competency of the racket and gives it a unique property.

Therefore, if you are looking to buy a new racket that fits your skill level and preference, you have come to the right place. First, check out the different parts of a badminton racket, followed by the common materials used for manufacturing these parts:

Parts of a Badminton Racket:

The badminton rackets are usually up to 26.77 inches (680 millimeters) long and 9.06 inches (230 millimeters) wide. They have up to five major parts:

  • The Handle Or Grip: It is the bottom-most part of the racket, gripped by the player during the game. A good handle ensures that your hand and wrist are comfortable and can dictate your performance during the match. It also prevents the racket from flying out of your grip and certain materials used can absorb the palm sweat.
  • The Shaft: It is the long, thin part that connects the handle to the head or the throat of the racket. The shaft stiffness and flexibility can have an impact on your game performance (more on it later).
  • The Throat: It is a small, T-shaped part that connects the shaft to the head. However, some badminton rackets do not have a throat; the shaft directly fuses to the head.
  • The Stringed-Area: It is the netted part of the badminton racket, which should encounter the shuttlecock. The stringed-area must follow the BWF guidelines, which means it should be no longer than 8.66 inches (220 millimeters) wide and 11 inches (280 millimeters) long. The string thickness is between 0.62 millimeters to 0.70 millimeters. The guidelines also specify that the area should be flat with an alternatively interlaced pattern of cross strings.
  • The Head: It is the top frame that bounds the stringed-area. The shape and weight of the head play an important role in the power of your shots and your overall gameplay (more on it later).

Materials Used for Badminton Racket Frames

The frame is made first. It is the most essential part of the badminton racket and constitutes the head and the shaft. However, in some rackets (especially those used by beginners) these two parts are separated with the throat and can be made up of different materials.

Let’s have a look at the most common materials used for the badminton heads and shafts:

Graphite

High-quality racket frames usually manufacture from High Modulus Graphite, which is light in weight and shatterproof. Graphite often combines with fiberglass to provide the frame with additional stability and flexibility.

Graphite rackets occasionally refer to as carbon or carbon fiber rackets, depending on the manufacturers. Due to its strength and flexibility, it is possible to string the racket at a higher tension without causing damage to the frame.

All of these attributes make a graphite badminton racket pricier than its counterparts.

Aluminum

Woman holding a badminton racket

Aluminum is the second most common material that is use of a racket’s head while graphite or steel uses in the manufacturing of the shaft. Beginners predominantly use the rackets with the aluminum head attached to a steel shaft. On the other hand, badminton rackets by intermediate players have a graphite shaft with an aluminum head.

Aluminum heads have greater elasticity, which provides a better grip. They are also quite robust and durable, making them an ideal choice for many non-professional players.

Steel                 

Another material used for the badminton racket’s frame is steel. Steel rackets are made for beginners and are not very common. Moreover, they are most characterizing as cheap and of low quality.

Titanium

Occasionally, you can find titanium rackets where the entire frame is constructed of the same material.

Materials Used for Badminton Racket Strings

The materials used for the manufacturing of the strings, along with the thickness and tension of the strings, determine how well you can hit the shuttle. In other words, it affects the power of the shot and your control on every strike.

Following are the most common materials used for the racket’s string:

Nylon

Nylon is the most common material used for manufacturing badminton racket strings. It is a synthetic material, which is quite strong and resistant, despite being cheap to produce. The gauge numbers of nylon strings determine their thickness.

For example, lower gauge values denote greater thickness and vice versa.

Thicker nylon strings provide more control and are more resilient, but they offer less power in the shots. Conversely, thinner nylon strings serve powerful shots, but they are prone to wear and tear, and breakage.

Natural Animal Gut

In the beginning, badminton strings were made from natural animal gut. However today, only a few players still prefer natural gut to nylon and it is almost close to being extinct.

Natural gut strings provide the rackets with more control and power. They are also more competent at absorbing shock and reducing vibrations on the player’s arm. However, they are expensive to manufacture and less durable than synthetic strings.

Material Used for Badminton Racket Grip

The lowest part of the badminton racket is its grip. Its primary purpose is to provide the player with a firm hold on the racket.

Here are the most common materials used for the grip or handle:

Polyurethane

Polyurethane (PU) is the most common material used for handles. It is a popular choice for making grips since it is more durable than cotton. However, it does not have a very good feel and has lower friction.

Consequently, PU is used as an under-grip, which is the standard grip emerging from factories.

Cotton

Most often, players add an additional grip, over the under-grip, known as the overgrip. Cotton uses for making towel over-grips, preferred by most professional players. The material is good for sweat absorption and provides better slip resistance.

However, it needs to replace regularly due to a higher deterioration rate.

Main Characteristics of a Badminton Racket

The characteristics of a badminton racket help you narrow down your choices and choose a racket that supplements your playing abilities.

Badminton racket on play with shuttlecock

Following are the things to consider when choosing a badminton racket:  

Weight

The ideal weight of a good badminton racket is usually between 80-95 grams (without the grip and strings). However, you can also find lighter or heavier rackets in the market.

The weight of a racket is often denoted by “U” and classified into categories:

  • 1U: 95-100 grams
  • 2U: 90-94 grams
  • 3U: 85-89 grams
  • 4U: 80-84 grams
  • 5U: 75-79 grams

Lightweight badminton rackets (3U) are more suitable for beginners as they are easier to maneuver and control. They are also more suitable for delivering quick serves and easily switching between strokes.

Heavier rackets provide more power, as they accumulate momentum during the swing. However, it is less comfortable to handle a heavier racket, which is also harder to control.

Balance Point

The balance point indicates the center of the badminton racket, where the weight of the racket is located. To find out the balance point of the racket, place your finger at different points along the shaft until the racket balances on your finger.

  • If your finger is closer to the head, it is a head-heavy racket. These rackets can deliver powerful strokes and produce lengthy clears.
  • If your finger is closer to the grip, it is a head-light racket. These rackets are easier to manipulate and swing, ideal for a fast-paced game.
  • If your finger is in the middle of the racket, it is an even balance racket. These rackets are neither head-heavy nor head-light. Opt for these rackets if you are new to the game and do not have a specific playing style yet.

Shaft Stiffness

Shaft stiffness is also another important attribute to consider when you choose a badminton racket.

  • Flexible shaft is ideal for beginners, who play with slow, smooth swings. It helps transfer power to the shuttlecock, so the player does not have to exert too much effort for simple shots. However, it does not always deliver accurate placement or quick shots.
  • Stiff shaft is ideal for advanced players, who play faster, more explosive shots. It also allows for perfect shot placement. However, you need a good technique and stronger swings to make the most of a stiff shaft.

Tension of the Strings

String tension is one of the primary factors that determine the quality of the racket and can influence your gameplay.

  • Low tension (16-21 pounds) recommends for beginners and amateur players as it allows for powerful shots with little effort. However, the accuracy of the shot is not the best.
  • High tension (22-32 pounds) recommends for intermediate and advanced players. It allows for extremely powerful and accurate shots when played by competent players. However, high-tension strings are less durable.

String tension also varies across the globe as temperature affects the string tension. Moreover, the sweet spot is a part of the stringed-area, which generates the most powerful shots and higher accuracy. Lower the tension, larger is the sweet spot, and vice versa.

Shape of the Head

The shape of the frame also affects the sweet spot and, consequently, your gameplay.

  • Isometric heads are symmetrical, with larger, more even sweet spots to produce more quality shots. As a result, this shape is better for beginners.
  • Oval or conventional head has a smaller sweet spot. However, if the shuttle encounters the sweet spot, the resulting shot will be very powerful. Thus, this shape is better for upper-intermediate and advanced players.
Badminton rackets on the floor with shuttlecocks

Related Questions

What’s the Background of a Badminton Racket?

The original badminton racket featured a wooden frame, which was too heavy and not so flexible. As the game rose in popularity, the professional players opted for the lighter aluminum or steel rackets, and later switched to even lighter frames made of carbon fiber composite.

What Are the Best Shuttlecocks Made Of?

Good quality shuttlecocks are made with goose feathers and used in professional tournaments. Duck feathers shuttlecocks are relatively cheaper but great for practice, while synthetic shuttlecocks are more durable and appropriate for beginners.

Conclusion

Badminton rackets are made of lightweight materials including graphite or carbon fiber, aluminum, and rarely steel. The materials used for the manufacturing of the rackets determine their quality and price. Thus, graphite rackets are considered to have superior quality to aluminum while steel rackets are cheap and of low quality.

Moreover, nylon or natural animal gut is used for making strings, while polyurethane is used for under-grip, and cotton is used for overgrip.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.