Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Aske
To tell you about the best badminton grip, I’ll need to turn back time to last weekend. I was so frustrated because I kept making these simple mistakes that I normally never make and it happened seemingly out of the blue.
The shuttle would fly far wide, nowhere near the court on an easy shot, I couldn’t block more than one fast shot in a row, meaning my net duels got screwed, and my smashes would constantly hit the net. It drove me insane and I couldn’t figure out why this happened seemingly out of nowhere.
It led me to play different shots than I normally would and I lost confidence with shots I’ve used a thousand times without problems. After five games in that session, my confidence was gone.
At first, I thought it was due to the footwork training I’ve been doing as I’m reworking my habits, but at some point, it dawned on me that it had been a while since I changed my racket’s grip.
I play in what feels like a sauna over here in Asia, with no AC, and where everyone brings at least two t-shirts to a session as it gets so hot. So it’s easy for the palms to get sweaty and that makes it necessary to change the grip more often than I had realized.
When I did, it instantly fixed the problem and through the pain I learned a valuable lesson: don’t forget to change your badminton racket grip regularly!
Why the best badminton grip may be a better investment than your racket itself
The big brands always tout that their gear makes us better and we tend to eat it raw. We LOVE instant fixes, even if we know it’s likely not true because what if this is the one time it actually is!?
The FOMO is real.
We all know that someone who buys a better racket thinking it’ll improve their game. In fact, I did just that when I upgraded my 2-for-1 garden racket set to one serious racket costing about $75. It was head heavy and made my smash faster but besides that, it hasn’t really made that much of a difference in my playing sessions… and it took a while to adapt to it.
On the contrary, in a lucky coincidence that broke my strings I got them changed and it made a nice difference to my game.
But what made an even bigger difference was changing my grip. It feels ironic how much more expensive the racket is compared to the grip that cost me like $2 to change.
It has happened more than once and when I found the right grip, I played like 25% better instantly. Even the other players noticed the difference. Particularly, in fast duels as I could change the grip on blocks and drives much faster.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe it.
Naturally, it depends on which type of shots are being played in the game, what you struggle with (e.g. sweaty palms) and how often it happens. For example, prioritizing smashes with a certain racket doesn’t make them happen more frequently unless we use a predictable play style whereas the racket grip affects every shot we make.
The reality is that there usually aren’t any instant fixes or gains that make a meaningful difference simply because most have already been discovered and taken advantage of, which levels the playing field and eradicates the gains.
The grip is a good example of this as most serious players have found their preferred grip and use that rather than the original one rackets come with. I figure that since you’ve been searching for the best badminton grip, you might not have been taking advantage of that already.
If so, let’s dive in and figure out which one is best suited for you.
The best badminton racket grip: the grip your favorite player uses (and why it doesn’t matter)
There’s plenty of content out there covering the different grips and their benefits but let me ask you this: if they’re so different and specific to a certain purpose, why is it that there are top players succeeding with each of the major grip styles like the towel grip or the Yonex Wet Super grip?
The top players seek 1% gains, so if one grip was seriously better than the others, everyone would be using the same one even if their playing style is slightly different simply due to the statistics of which scenarios happen the most often.
Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota use the towel grip, and LOH Kean Yew uses a Li-Ning overgrip (1.33m into the clip). No matter your preference, there’s likely a pro player out there using that one too – there isn’t a “best grip”, only what’s best working for you. Even if your favorite player uses a certain grip, it doesn’t mean it works for you — you don’t have the same hands/body or play in the same environment!
So how do you find your own, I hear you ask?
There are three racket grip categories:
The replacement grip which entirely replaces the original grip that the racket came with.
The overgrip, which is perhaps the most common one, is a thin and cheap grip that you put on top of the original racket grip.
Finally, there’s the towel grip which is usually made from cotton and tends to be thicker, heavier, and more ideal for sweat absorption.
I played with the towel grip for a while after getting recommendations and looking at some of my favorite players, and obviously it was better than having the standard stock grip. But it was a game changer when I found the right grip for me and it was much better than the towel grip.
You don’t have to get too technical in order to find the best fit for you. Instead, get on court and feel the difference based on your gameplay style. If you play a couple of games with varied shots like smash, blocks, drive, etc. Against a fairly even opponent, you’ll know when you’ve found the right one.
That’s what makes the difference, not what I or anyone else writes in general terms as only you know your specific style. The most effective approach to finding the right grip is simple: buy each of the grips you’re intrigued by and trial and error your way to the one you prefer.
You probably have more than one racket, so put the towel grip on one, the Wet Super Grip on another, play with both during a few sessions, and take note of how they feel different. Do you have an easier time switching grip in fast duels? How does it feel when you smash? How tight do you need to hold the racket in order to feel right?
Alternatively, just play with one for 5-10 sessions, switch to the next one for 5-10 sessions, compare and continue to process. It’s kinda annoying when you play with one that isn’t good but the result is well worth it.
Handy logistics about the best grip for badminton rackets
How often should you change the grip?
There is no fixed timeline for when you should change your grip but players who aren’t aware of the importance of a good grip tend to leave the same one on for far too long. I know I was guilty of that.
Changing it monthly (that’s about 8-10 sessions for me) is a good place to start. You’ll benefit from taking note of when it gets slippery and you lose the effect, so change it according to that since it depends on the environment, sweating, how often you play, and the grip itself.
The best badminton grip for sweaty hands
Most grips cater to sweaty hands since this is one of the main challenges we have with gripping the racket in general, so the question really is how sweaty your hands get.
In the court I used to play at, my palms didn’t get that sweaty but at my current one it’s a lot warmer and so I needed to make sure my grip catered to that.
Make sure you test out a few different grips to find what’s best suited for you in your current environment – a good place to start is by testing the towel grips or Yonex’ Super Tough Grip.
How to apply the grip
There are many different grips but the way we apply them is the same. Here’s a good walkthrough by former world champion Thomas Laybourn on how to apply Yonex’ Wet Super Grip.
- The right grip is a giant benefit to your game. The trial and error to find the right one is well worth it
- We can’t depend on liking the same as our favorite player. We are different and play in a different environment
- Don’t underestimate how often you should change your grip to keep it effective
Frequently asked questions
There is no best grip since it’s based on your own preferences. Two options that are good to start experimenting with are the Yonex Towel Grip and the Yonex Wet Super Grip.
Viktor Axelsen uses the towel grip on his rackets to get the feel he needs, as you can see him describe here. In the example, he played with the Yonex towel grip in 2021.
Lin Dan has historically been using the towel grip like many other top players in the world. Most likely because its thickness fits well into his palm while providing the necessary sweat absorption. Tournaments in Asia tend to get particularly hot and so the hands might sweat more than, say, in the west.
There is no best grip size in badminton but the sizes G4 and G5 tend to be the most used these days.
The overgrip is a grip you place on top of the racket’s original grip to get a better feel between your palm and the racket when you play.
You’ll usually need to remove the old overgrip before applying a new one.