Head heavy badminton rackets have historically been known to be good for smashing, clearing and everything power-related.
Since rackets rarely are like in video games where gear just gets better without any downside, the power has come at the expense of something else. In the past, that was often speed which resulted in a slow-moving racket with some resemblance to a sledgehammer.
New ideas and technology make the right racket choice even more complex nowadays as some head heavy rackets are surprisingly fast and suitable as all-around rackets, even in doubles.
I’m a head heavy racket kinda guy but it took me some time to figure out the difference between the best rackets for singles and doubles games.
The classic singles playing style that many new players get attracted to with a focus on killer smash is easy to understand.
An adapted version for doubles with a similar type of player at the rear court is also easy to grasp but it becomes murkier when that same player has to cover the front court. Suddenly, that same power racket becomes less useful and a pattern might develop where that player continues to lose points.
Skilled opponents will turn that into a tactic attempting to force that rear player to the front court and exploit their obvious weakness, so we are forced into some sort of alternative.
During the same game, the player with the head heavy racket might get more tired in their arm and shoulder as each swing requires more force than if the racket’s weight balance is even or placed towards the handle. That same player can especially get in trouble during fast drive duels which are common in doubles games.
This has led to a wide variety of head heavy badminton rackets. Some with more evenly balanced weight, in a lighter weight class, or with thinner frames to compensate with a faster swing and easier maneuverability.
As a general rule of thumb though, it’s still the case that the 3U weight class (heavier) is better suited for singles whereas 4U (lighter) is better suited for doubles games when it comes to head heavy badminton rackets.
It gets more complex than this as rackets can have different weights depending on the material used to create them, which often comes to show in the budget. I’m not going to cover that aspect in this article to avoid confusing you, but I wanted to let you know in case you feel like researching on your own.
A simple indicator that you’ll like head heavy badminton rackets
Since you’re looking for head heavy rackets, I figure you already know that you’re interested in one. In case you aren’t sure I want to offer a few pointers so you can get a better sense of if this racket category is for you.
If you feel that you lose too many points when you’re hitting from the rear court with backhand or clear shots but they only reach the mid court before easily getting killed, you might not be able to generate enough power with your existing racket. It could also be as simple as wanting more power in your smash.
In case you already have a head heavy racket and you’re a beginner or rusty from not playing for a while, your existing racket might simply be too stiff. You might prefer a racket with a more flexible shaft since that can help if your technique isn’t developed just yet. On the other hand, advanced players tend to prefer rackets with stiffer shafts as they require better technique but allow you to generate more power.
Finally, when comparing racket reviews, note which racket the reviewer is used to or compare it to as it may be different from the one you’re playing with now. It could mean that, for example, your version of “fast” and theirs isn’t the same and if you buy before trying it, you might find that it wasn’t what you were looking for at all.
Four of the best head heavy badminton rackets right now
Each of the popular badminton racket brands has its own series focusing specifically on head heavy and power play rackets. For example:
Yonex has the Astrox series (before that it was the Voltric series). Victor, the Thruster series, and Li-Ning the 3D Calibar series (or their C-letter editions such as the Li-Ning Aeronaut 9000C).
With the background out of the way, let me introduce you to the four racket categories you and I will be looking at when it comes to head heavy rackets in badminton.
The best head heavy badminton rackets:
- The doubles front court blitzer: Yonex Astrox 88S Pro
- The doubles rear court destroyer: Yonex Astrox 88D Pro
- The singles sledgehammer slammer: Yonex Astrox 100ZZ
- The all-arounder: Yonex Astrox 77 Pro
I know it looks like this article should’ve been named Yonex head heavy rackets as that’s the only brand highlighted in the list. If you make it through, you’ll discover other alternatives in some categories but at the time of writing this, I struggled to gather enough in-depth reviews from others or access to test rackets to include them here.
A few examples of rackets that I was especially curious about and considered including were:
- Li-Ning AxForce 80
- Li-Ning Aeronaut 9000C
- Yonex Astrox 99
I hope to learn more and update this in the future.
1. The doubles front court blitzer: Yonex Astrox 88S Pro
When playing the front court in doubles, we tend to benefit from a speedy and light badminton racket to win points in tight net duels as the shuttle just barely kisses the net and there’s little reaction time.
The tricky part is that we’ll never be able to just depend on playing the front court. If we try, we can expect our opponent to exploit the situation and get easy points. Instead, we’ll have to hold our own in defense around the mid court and attack at the rear court to keep them guessing.
The Yonex Astrox 88 has been upgraded as a pair of two rackets seemingly with the intention that one racket would be best suited for the front court, the 88S Pro, whereas the 88D Pro would be better at the back.
The Astrox 88S Pro has a head heavy balance point but is reported to be surprisingly speedy despite that, and to head heavy racket fans it might even feel like this racket lacks power at the back, at least without good technique.
It’s user friendly because of its slightly bigger sweet spot and it’s fast in defense for things like counterattacks, lifts, and drives.
- CKYew – Yonex Astrox 88S Pro vs Astrox 88D Pro
- CKYew – Yonex Astrox 88S Pro vs Tour
- Volant Badminton
2. The doubles rear court destroyer: Yonex Astrox 88D Pro
As mentioned, the Yonex Astrox 88D Pro appears to be the intended rear court sibling of the Yonex Astrox 88S Pro.
It’s not ideal for beginners as the shaft is stiff but if your technique is up for the challenge, you’re looking at a pretty fast head heavy racket (although not as fast as the Astrox 88S Pro) that can handle net play when necessary. Also don’t expect any problems with flat drives, blocks, or lifts during defense.
While the Astrox 88S Pro has some power, the Astrox 88D Pro packs it heavy and makes clears and smashes a breeze.
If you’re looking at an all around head heavy badminton racket, this might be an option worth considering besides the suggestions we’ll get to later.
- Volant Badminton
- CK Yew – Yonex Astrox 88D Pro, Tour, Game
- CKYew – Yonex Astrox 88S Pro vs Astrox 88D Pro
- Paul Stewart
As an alternative, you might want to consider the Yonex Astrox 100ZZ in the 4U weight class. You’ll be able to find that racket covered below.
3. The singles sledgehammer slammer: Yonex Astrox 100ZZ
The Yonex Astrox 100ZZ is Yonex’ flagship power racket and has been Viktor Axelsen’s preferred choice while dominating the singles category.
Where the old Voltric Z-Force 2 represented old school hulk-like raw power with all the benefits and disadvantages of a traditional superhero, the 100ZZ is more complex.
It’s reported to pack slightly less raw power during easy power smashes where you’re not under pressure. In more common situations where you are under pressure, though, the 100ZZ makes it easier to generate the power you’d expect from the best head heavy badminton rackets.
That means it’s less likely to wreck your game as there’ll be more opportunities to use it without getting in trouble when under pressure, and players that are strong can still leverage their strength to generate power with this racket.
In comparison, the Astrox 88D Pro handles slightly better as it has a lighter head but the 100ZZ is still fairly easy to play with considering how powerful it is. Its slightly smaller sweet spot doesn’t affect its playability and it has a good soft feeling when the shuttle hits the racket.
The ZZ (high-end) version of this racket has an extra stiff shaft and is not for beginners. If you’re a beginner and intrigued, one of the budget-friendly options like the 100 Tour or 100 Game might be better suited for you.
It’s available in the 3U and 4U weight classes, where 3U is best for singles as it feels heavier and stiffer while the 4U will be good for doubles.
- CKYew – Best Yonex power racket
- Astrox 100ZZ vs Tour and Game
- Axelsen’s own review between 100ZZ and ZX
- Volant 100ZZ and ZX
Another potential contender is the Victor Thruster Ryuga (Lee Zii Jia’s original racket, not the Ryuga 2)
You’ll need to be a strong player with good technique as this racket can make your shoulder feel tired but it can be a great choice for singles. It’s stiff, the hitting feeling is solid and like a sledgehammer filled to the brim with power.
It comes with an unusually short handle that can help generate swing in your smash as you’ll hold further down on the handle.
The racket is reportedly great for the type of singles net shots and blocks where you just need to hold the racket and feed on the power of your opponent’s previous shot.
4. The all-arounder: Yonex Astrox 77 Pro
As a reference point, the Yonex Astrox 77 Pro is faster than the Astrox 88D Pro and perfect for the player who likes a bit of head weight. It’s not too far away from being evenly balanced and it’s fast, reliable, and smooth. Overall, it’s fairly easy to play with.
The medium flexible shaft can work well for beginner, intermediate, and even some advanced players. Basically, it’s a racket that’s above average in all aspects that are important without being spectacular in anyone in particular.
It also comes in different budget versions called Play and Tour.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
A head heavy badminton racket is good for power, meaning smash, clears, and getting out of trouble with the backhand which is often especially suitable in singles games. However, nowadays, many head heavy rackets are made slightly lighter and faster to suit front court doubles play as well.
Whether head heavy rackets are good depends on your playing style as there are strengths and weaknesses to both. The typical strength for a head heavy racket is power, whereas the downside often is a lack of speed.
Yes, a head heavy racket is good for smash as it transfers more power into the shuttle like a hammer onto a nail as opposed to a head light racket that offers speed and maneuverability.
The difference between a head heavy and head light racket in badminton is where the balance point is placed. It either has more weight at the head (head heavy), which leads to more power in the shots such as your smash.
On the other hand, a head light racket is faster to swing in the air so you’ll be ready for quick follow up shots faster, which is common in doubles games.
- Many head heavy badminton rackets have been made slightly faster these days which can make your decision to buy more confusing and even harder without trying the racket first
- When at the backline, if you struggle to hit further than the mid court and lose a lot of points due to easy kills for your opponents, it might be worth it to have a head heavy racket with more power
- There is an overweight of attention on Yonex rackets compared to other brands, which makes it tricky to gather enough solid insights about other rackets for you to fairly judge which one fits you best
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