The best badminton rackets for all levels (best in test for 2024)


Even the best badminton rackets don’t make up for practicing your skills, but getting a suitable racket is one of the easiest wins you can get if your budget allows.

You obviously can’t play like Kento Momota just by getting his racket but if you’re playing with the wrong one and correct course, you’ll have a lot more fun and it’ll do wonders for your game. 

Such was it when I found one that truly suited me well. Despite it being an attacking-based racket, I ended up scoring a ton of points during defense as it complimented my weakness.

That journey started as I got curious about the world’s best badminton rackets only to discover the special kind of hell it is to find the right fit for me.

There are at least a hundred different rackets available out there, many with similar specs. It feels as if you have to be a racket engineer to understand the difference.

When researching online, articles like this one, suggesting which badminton rackets are best can help narrow down the field but it only gets you so far. Intellectually understanding how each racket is different is one thing, but the feeling we get when playing with it is a whole other world.

The experience at most offline stores isn’t much better. You can hold the racket and swing it around, but you can’t play-test it to see if it’s a good fit for you in a real game.

It feels as if you’re expected to fork out hundreds of dollars almost blindly. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover a friend who has that exact racket and is willing to let you try it out. It’s not exactly ideal. It’s almost as if we have to adapt to the racket, rather than getting a racket that fits us well.

The big issue when it comes to getting a good badminton racket recommendation is something I refer to as “player-racket fit” and it’s hard to perfect. 

Unless you have access to play-test a ton of rackets on court, the secret is not to get stuck looking for the perfect racket model but getting in the right direction – 85% of the way. 

For example, if you love power, it’ll be hard for anyone to know your game intimately enough to tell whether you’ll love Yonex’s Astrox 100, 99 or 88D more as they carry very similar specs, but picking any one of them will likely get you most of the way as opposed to getting a speed-based racket like Yonex’s Nanoflare 800.

I bet that you’re here to look at some rackets, so let me show you what’s good first and you can use the table of contents to find more pointers on picking a racket if you’d like.

Alternatively, head over to this mini-guide on how to choose a badminton racket if you’re interested in something more in-depth. If you’re looking for a gift for a badminton player, there’s a guide on that too as rackets might not be the best choice.

The best in test overview: the best badminton rackets by skill level

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For beginner players

1. The entry-level player: Yonex Astrox 77 Play

2. The (regular/high) beginner player: Yonex Astrox 99 Play

For intermediate players

3. The low-intermediate player: Yonex Arcsaber 11 Play

4. The mid/upper-intermediate player: Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game

For advanced players

5. For power: Yonex Astrox 100ZZ

6. For speed: Yonex Nanoflare 800

7. For all-around: Yonex Astrox 77 Pro

The best badminton rackets by player-racket fit and playing style

Instead of asking yourself “which badminton rackets are best?” I like to tweak the question to ”what makes the best badminton racket?”

To me, the answer is the one that best solves your problems on court, although not all problems can be solved by a racket. For example, a racket can help you hit the backline if you struggle but it can’t help you move faster around the court.

I’ve noticed three important items where a racket can help:

  • If you want more power
  • If you want faster swing speed to hit consecutive shots like a machine gun
  • If you want to be more precise (or don’t want a racket that’s too specialized in one area)

In my experience, the biggest win can be gained for people who struggle with power but it comes down to preference. 

There are also indirect ways a racket can help you such as if you want to change a habit of smashing too much and add more variety in your play. Then you could get a head light racket to force yourself to play a variety of shots, but I won’t be considering those here.

Rackets by playing style

best badminton racket - playing style matrix

Deep dive: the best badminton rackets in the world

Let’s get to the good stuff, starting with the rackets for beginner players before moving towards higher skill levels.

1. The entry-level player: Yonex Astrox 77 Play

An entry-level player is someone new to playing badminton on proper indoor courts. Perhaps you’ve played in the garden or with friends a few times and found that you’d like to play regularly.

If that’s you, you’ll want a racket that’s easy all around the court both on soft shots near the net and with some power to help you in the rearcourt. It should also support you in your timing when hitting the shuttle by having a flexible shaft.

This, I can recommend Yonex’s Astrox 77 Play. Not only is it affordable, but it’s also easy to play with no matter which situation you get into. You can find my recommendations for the best beginner rackets or go directly to my review of the Astrox 77 Play after testing this racket for ten hours on court.

2. The (regular/high) beginner player: Yonex Astrox 99 Play

Next, we have the beginner who plays on proper courts regularly and takes the game fairly seriously. You’re probably what many of us refer to as a “high” or “advanced” beginner who isn’t far away from the intermediate level.

At this stage, you’re more used to the timing between the racket and shuttle when hitting shots, and you’ll have many more clean hits than the entry-level player even if it isn’t on every shot.

The most common problem is hitting the backline from your own rearcourt consistently, so you’ll benefit from using a racket that assists you in generating power so your clear shots don’t land on the midcourt and make it difficult for you to block an incoming smash.

If you’re in fun mode, this will also help make your smashes way more powerful.

For this, I recommend Yonex’ Astrox 99 Play. It requires slightly better timing than the first recommendation and if you’re coming from that one, it’ll take a few games to get used to. It’ll also be slightly slower when swinging which can hurt your defense, but it packs so much power you’ll have lots of fun smashing and moving your opponents around the court.

If this sounds like something for you, dive into my Astrox 99 Play review after play-testing this racket for ten hours on court.

3. The low-intermediate player: Yonex Arcsaber 11 Play

The issue with the intermediate level is the big difference between low- and upper-intermediate players in their stroke technique.

If you’re hovering around the intermediate level, having just improved your skills, or are on the verge of doing so as a high beginner, you’re facing a different problem.

For most players including myself, this stage is where you benefit from conquering your one-dimensional smash addiction if you’re looking to improve your skills. Only being able to smash to win rallies makes you an easy target for opponents as they can simply stop lifting or clearing and there will be nothing to smash.

The most effective way I’ve found has been to rob yourself of the extra smash power so you’re forced to come up with other ways to win rallies.

Yonex’s Arcsaber 11 Play is a terrific choice for that as it’s a versatile racket that works well all around the court, and according to Yonex’s marketing, helps with precision. Not to mention that it’s affordably priced too.

Keep in mind that some racket matrices make this racket appear more suitable for beginners than intermediate players. But when you get it on court, you’ll notice that it feels stiffer and less supportive with your shot timing as it has less head weight and that feels nice (more head weight means the racket needs more stiffness to keep the head swinging as you’d expect during the movement).

This is my current racket of choice and I’ve been playing with it for quite some time. You can find my intermediate player’s guide to the best badminton rackets or dive directly into my Arcsaber 11 Play review.

4. The mid/upper-intermediate player: Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game

If you’re further ahead with your stroke skills, you’re likely looking for the perfect balance between power to make your life easier when you’re late to the shuttle and under pressure, without sacrificing your chances on soft shots around the net.

This is super hard to find as many rackets historically have been developed to go in either of the two directions, so you’d have to go for a middle-of-the-road racket in order to get a part of both (which often can feel like a compromise as you’re not getting top-notch stuff in either of the two areas you care about).

However, it seems as if Yonex’s new Nanoflare 1000 Game somewhat combines the two. During my ten hours on court with this racket in preparation for its review, I had some surprisingly powerful smashes despite the light head.

It wasn’t super easy to generate power and it took quite a while to get used to its whippy power.

Considering this is decent and that I found it crazy fast in defense, it might be the perfect fit for you if you find yourself in this category. You can find my review in the link above.

5. The top singles players’ weapon of choice: Yonex Astrox 100ZZ

Before diving into this racket, let me be transparent: I haven’t tested this racket as it’s too demanding for my skillset. Instead, I’ve based it on how popular it is among the professional players on the BWF World Tour.

This is the current world #1 in men’s singles, Viktor Axelsen’s preferred racket.

In fact, it’s also the racket used by Akane Yamaguchi, the #1 in women’s single, along with Takuro Hoki (#4 in MD), and Chen Qing Chen (#1 in WD).

I’ve play-tested the intermediate version of this racket, the Astrox 100 Game and if that’s anything to go by, it’s a killing machine on the court if you’re into attacking and smashing.

There are older rackets with more raw power, but I understand that they are difficult to use except in those rare cases where everything is positioned for the perfect smash and you’re not under pressure. 

Instead, this racket seemingly packs almost as much power but is reported to be smoother throughout the entire game, especially when you’re under pressure.

6. The popular speedy doubles racket: Yonex Nanoflare 800

Before diving into this racket, let me be transparent: I haven’t tested this racket as it’s too demanding for my skillset. Instead, I’ve based it on how popular it is among the professional players on the BWF World Tour.

Yonex’s Nanoflare 800 is their flagship racket when it comes to speed, and speedy it is. It is chosen as the weapon of choice by top players like Chiharu Shida (#2 in WD), Lee Yang (#12 in MD), Jia Yi Fan (#1 in WD), and Thom Gicquel (#6 in XD).

The racket’s unusually slim shaft reportedly slices through the air and you’ll be well-prepared to counter smashes or handle fast drive shots. At the same time, I understand that you’ll still be able to play long clears without problems but you might find it a challenge to get a power smash going, as is common for this style of racket. 

It’s easy to play with which means that there’s little adoption time if you’re switching from a different racket. That also comes in handy when you’re having an off day.

7. The surprisingly popular racket of the stars: Yonex Astrox 77 Pro

As I was researching this racket, I was surprised to discover just how many top players are using this all-around racket. In fact, it’s the racket used by the most top players relative to how high their ranking is, as far as I can count.

Korean An Se Young (#1 in WS), Chen Yu Fei (#4 in WS), Muhammad Ardianto and Fajar Alfian (both #1 in MD), Huang Ya Qiong (#1 in XD), and Huang Dong Ping (#4 in XD).

It’s counterintuitive as this racket isn’t designed to be amazing in one particular area but rather performs well all around with no clear weaknesses.

I wasn’t sure whether this racket would be too demanding for my skillset, so I ended up buying it with my own money and testing it on court for ten hours.

That turned out to be true with smashes where I struggled to perform clean hits consistently. On the other hand, I enjoyed playing with it during all other areas on court. You can find my deep dive review here.


  • Buying the best badminton racket is a special kind of hell as there are what feels like a million different options and it’s challenging to figure out which one best suits you without testing them against your existing one
  • Buying in a store isn’t much better as you get to hold the racket but that doesn’t tell you much about how it truly plays against your existing one when it comes down to brass tacks
  • If you’re a Yonex fanboy, consider reading this guide on the best Yonex rackets next or browse the racket catalog
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