Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Aske
A reader had experienced the difference between two badminton grip sizes and asked how it affects your game performance.
The supply of popular rackets with different sizes tends to be limited, so in order to review rackets I’ve been taking whatever grip size I could get my hands on and adding extra grip.
Except for one racket from a relatively unknown brand, all the rackets I’ve been testing have been in the same size thus far, so I haven’t had an opportunity to conduct a proper experiment yet.
There is some “theory” as to how the sizing affects your game performance but it comes with a twist. In fact, the well-sounding argument might not even apply to you.
Let’s dive in!
How badminton grip sizes affect the control of your racket
When players talk about the grip, it’s easy to get confused as it can both refer to how you hold the racket during a stroke, the size of the racket’s handle, or the type of grip that is surfacing the handle (i.e. a towel grip or overgrip).
When players refer to grip size, they usually mean the size of the handle and specifically the thickness of it rather than the length, as that is nearly the same on all rackets.
When you’ve found the best racket for you, you might have noticed that the product page describes another unit of measure, often called G, next to the weight class (measured in U). It’s typically available in G4 or G5. Those are the badminton racket grip sizes.
The handle impacts your ability to control the racket as it’s the only place you touch directly when hitting the shuttle. You might even hear some players argue it’s even more important than the rest of the racket.
Being able to grip the racket like you want is one thing. It’s a whole other being able to switch between grips rapidly and effectively in the heat of the battle. It’ll be the difference between blocking a smash, winning a drive duel, or losing the point, and showing your opponents a weak spot they can exploit in future rallies.
The badminton grip sizes affect your playing style as attacking players tend to like a thicker grip so they can better squeeze the racket to extract power during a smash or drive shot, for example.
On the other hand, defensive players tend to prefer a smaller (tinner) grip as it enables them to switch faster between different grips and shots when under pressure.
Clearly size affects performance and in a perfect world, it’s a nice touch when customizing your racket but the reality is different for us casual players.
Before diving into the twist that is the real world and why this might not apply to you, it’s worth looking at the grip sizes themselves.
Compare between brands with this badminton grip size chart
Considering how the badminton grip sizes are displayed on nearly all rackets that are sold (except some entry-level beginner rackets), you’d think it’s easy to compare between brands.
I’ve been working to create a badminton grip size chart to easily convert the sizing between the different brands in inches or millimeters. That turned out to be shockingly difficult.
The brand Victor updated their sizing about ten years ago to be more in line with Yonex’s. Yonex might be seen as the general standard as they are the biggest brand in badminton gear in many countries. But it turns out that while the sizing is now named the same and within the same ballpark, it’s still slightly different.
LiNing uses another system, naming their sizes S1, S2, etc. but seems to have begun moving towards the G-naming system as well (credit to the folks over at Li-Ning Studio in India for helping clear this up).
.. And don’t get me started on the other brands like Apacs, Ashaway, and Babolat. There’s conflicting information online about the sizing of all major badminton brands online, while the official brand websites and their 2023 product catalogs don’t clarify.
As I’m writing this, I’ve emailed the brands and several stores in the hope of clearing this up but barely any response so far. I’ll update this section if I’m ever able to confirm this data beyond Yonex and LiNing (which is confirmed).
For now, take the rest with a grain of salt.
Update (22. June 2023)
I’ve heard from Babolat and Victor with confirmation and updated sizes.
Before looking at this grip size chart, I should point out that it’s common that a higher number refers to a smaller size (i.e. G5 being smaller than G4) but it isn’t always the case.
|Brand||Grip Size Name||Grip Size (mm)||Grip Size (inches)|
Finding the right grip size fit for you
Considering the difficulties in comparing grip sizes, it feels like we’re stuck with one brand if we bother testing and honing in on our size preference. If we switch, it’s kinda like switching from an iPhone to an Android and the charger doesn’t fit – you might have to test the grip sizes again to find a good fit for you.
I don’t mean to come across negative, so let me get to the point.
For most of us players at the beginner or intermediate level, diving deep into the handle size won’t make that big of a difference in our game performance.
Heck, if you’ve played with a few different rackets, you might not even have noticed if the size was different.
The reality is that no simple guide will guarantee a perfect fit for you.
Experimentation is the name of the game, and it’s not easy. If you go to your local store and dry swing two editions of the same racket with different grip sizes, you might feel a slight difference. But that doesn’t make it any easier to decide what you’ll like when you’re in the thick of a game, sweating your ass off defending and waiting patiently for the opportunity to hammer a shuttle in the ground.
Unless you prefer the most popular options, you’ll be at the mercy of vendors and their supply chain to get the racket you’re looking for in the right weight class and handle size (which I believe is G5 for doubles and G4 for singles if we look broadly).
If you’ve gotten used to your current grip, you might find that other grip sizes won’t fit you now, without adjusting your technique.
For example, as you’re using a relaxed grip until just before hitting the shuttle, you’ve likely adjusted your hand to balance that grip with not letting go of your racket entirely.
That being said, if you’re looking to do this experiment, as a rule of thumb, you’re better off buying a smaller handle size as you can increase it but not the other way around.
Some players like to put a layer of cushion wrap underneath the grip to thicken the badminton grip size. I also find that the overgrip tends to be slightly thicker than towel grip, as towel grip absorbs more sweat after just one game and feels thinner.
If you don’t have a preference, I’d go with whatever size is generally easiest to get on rackets where you live. That’ll likely be Yonex’s G5.
Then experiment with customizing it like you want to with cushion wrap and other additional grips to get the right feel for you. It’s more affordable than switching rackets and makes it easier for you to stick with your preferred choice across different rackets.
Don’t get hung up on the badminton grip sizes, though. Unless you’re a skilled player, this is unlikely to make a huge difference compared to other aspects of the game.
- For beginner and intermediate players, the handle size often doesn’t matter that much compared to improving other aspects of the game and gear
- Generally, players often feel that a smaller badminton racket grip size offers more control in defense whereas a bigger size offers more power in attack
- It tends to be cheaper and easier to customize your handle with cushion wrap and grips rather than buying and testing multiple rackets with different grips