Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Aske
I was at the court the other day, casually looking at lightweight badminton rackets at a small adjacent shop while resting in between games.
A girl from our group came up to me and we got talking about rackets as she showed me her ultra-light Li-Ning racket.
Since my return to the court as an adult, I have only played with a highly flexible beginner racket and a heavy singles racket, so the idea of a somewhat powerful but lightweight one has been new to me.
It took me down the rabbit hole researching this modern type of racket to get a better understanding of what’s available in the market right now, and if one of these could be suitable for someone like me who is used to power.
In this article, I’ll show you examples of the best lightweight badminton rackets, but not necessarily with a head light balance point.
The player best suited for a lightweight badminton racket
When we look at racket recommendations, it’s easy to get confused if the categories are similar, such as the best choice for singles or the front court in doubles.
Recommendations for, say, head heavy rackets, and lightweight badminton rackets are usually intended for different players with different strengths and preferences. It’s like comparing apples to oranges as the player preferring a head heavy racket likely isn’t trying to achieve the same style of play as someone with a head light or lightweight racket.
For many of us, it’s necessary to take a step back to figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are, and which playing style we prefer before selecting a racket that accommodates that.
If you’re simply looking for a lightweight badminton racket without caring much about other details, anything in a lower weight class such as 4U or 5U will do. The problem is that most rackets will be available in 4U at least, so it doesn’t narrow down the list by much.
Lightweight badminton rackets tend to be good for players who prefer being fast over raw power and attack. They’re often particularly suitable for doubles players where games are faster and there are more drives, pushes, and counter attacks taking place rather than the classic hammer-smash in the ground to win points.
Many beginner and intermediate players like light badminton rackets as they are easier to play with if you’re just getting started and want to have fun.
On the other hand, the downside often is that it can feel difficult to generate enough power in your smash, clears, and late backhand, especially if you’re out of position. If that’s you, you might find yourself outgrowing a light badminton racket soon.
Alternatively, you might need to compensate for the downsides with faster footwork, better positioning, or different shots. I’ve also noticed that “power blocks” where you block a smash and feed off of the energy from your opponent’s shot without needing to do much else, are off limits or at least difficult to pull off with lightweight rackets.
If you prefer that your racket amplifies your strengths, it makes sense to use a lightweight racket if you’re looking to win points by forcing errors from your opponent in fast doubles duels or playing tight net shots.
If you’re a power guy like me and are thinking of having a lightweight racket that helps compensate for your weaknesses, you might find that flat drives and shots on your body become easier to handle, especially under pressure. The downside is that you’ll have to adjust your technique on power shots to add more body weight in order to gain the power you’re used to from similar rackets.
Lightweight rackets can also be good if you tend to get tired in your shoulder after playing or want to go one step further to avoid injuries.
Before, it felt more clear cut that rackets would fall into one of two categories, either being heavy and hammer-y or light and nimble. The modern generation of badminton rackets is more complex and blends these two approaches in new combinations to adjust to the evolution in gameplay.
You should look at these suggestions as a starting point for further research as I’m unable to get access to all rackets that are available in the market.
It’s tricky to find in-depth tests and English reviews from some brands, like Li-Ning, than it is from Yonex, so it can feel as if this is unbalanced. I figured offering plenty of information online and sending demo rackets to influencers would be an affordable no-brainer marketing strategy for all racket brands, but I guess not.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Six of the best lightweight badminton rackets
Many of these rackets come in different weight classes, so since you’re looking for a good lightweight badminton racket, you’ll likely be better off picking a weight class of 4U or lighter for any of these rackets.
- The playable racket (your new best friend): Yonex Nanoflare 800
- The modern surprise: Yonex Astrox 88S Pro
- Your power partner: Li-Ning Axforce 80
- The expensive choice: Li-Ning Aeronaut 9000D (Drive)
- The head light alternative to singles: Victor Auraspeed 90K
- The cross-courtship: Victor Auraspeed 100X
Hey reader, a quick interruption I’m running an experiment partnering with webshops that sell badminton gear, like Amazon. I’ll include links to buy the gear I review and if you do, they’ll pay me a small commission. That doesn’t change your price and you’ll get more play-tested gear as a result but I thought it was fair to let you know. I appreciate your support, Aske
Get ready for these rackets to charm your pants off fast (you have been warned!)
1. The playable racket (your new best friend): Yonex Nanoflare 800
The Yonex Nanoflare 800 is the flagship racket of the head light division and it’s as fast as they come. So fast that you might even feel the 4U to be a bit too light.
It’s ultra-slim shaft slices through the air, making it easy to have the racket in place while you’re in waiting stance between shots — which is especially useful in fast drive duels in doubles games.
Clears are reportedly effortless while smashes can feel hollow and light as you’d expect from a head light racket.
The two key points about this racket are speed and playability. It’s super easy to play with and popular with the pros.
It’s relatively stiff, so it’s unlikely to be a great choice if you’re a beginner as you might prefer something more flexible to offer more assistance with your technique.
There’s also the even lighter LT option I’ll link to below.
2. The modern surprise: Yonex Astrox 88S Pro
Next, we have the modern surprise, the Yonex Astrox 88S Pro.
I call this the modern surprise as it’s a head heavy racket, which is unusual for a lightweight badminton racket but an example of a newer type of racket.
This racket has been found to be surprisingly fast for a power-based racket and speed is a key part of it. So much so that you might find it lacking raw power at the rear court if you are used to heavy rackets or your technique isn’t developed.
The sweet spot feels bigger, which makes it easier to play with even for a racket on the stiffer side that is often preferred by advanced players. Defensive action like drives and lifts are also good.
The Yonex Astrox 88S Pro also comes in budget friendly options called the Tour and Game which are also more beginner friendly due to their flexibility.
- CKYew – Yonex Astrox 88S Pro vs Astrox 88D Pro
- CKYew – Yonex Astrox 88S Pro vs Tour
- Volant Badminton
3. Your power partner: Li-Ning Axforce 80
The Li-Ning Axforce 80 is the second head heavy racket, yet it feels very light and quick. It’s described as medium stiff but reported by players as feeling slightly softer if you’re used to other popular brands like Victor and Yonex.
It’s comparable to the Yonex Astrox 88S Pro above as it feels similar but more hammer-y and with more whip compared to the Astrox 88S’s smooth hitting feeling. Perhaps somewhere in between the Astrox 88S Pro and the Astrox 77 (the latter being an all-around style racket rather than lightweight).
Some players reported issues timing their shots so if you’re not used to rackets with a lot of whip but if you’re able to master the timing, you can generate solid power despite it being a lightweight badminton racket.
For someone who prefers a lightweight racket, this could be good as a singles or rear court doubles racket.
4. The expensive choice: Li-Ning Aeronaut 9000D (Drive)
I’ve noticed that Li-Ning tends to be in the higher price range when it comes to badminton rackets, so be careful if you fall in love with the Aeronaut 9000D (Drive). It might end up an expensive love affair.
This racket is reported to feel head light, sharp, and easy to maneuver for those tight net shots. Its speed is great for your drives and counter attacking but might require timing to be tight in order to get the full use out of this racket, so you might want to avoid this one if you’re a beginner and don’t feel confident with your technique.
The same goes for shots needing raw power. It can be tricky to extract from this racket, so you may need to compensate with your playing style if you aren’t used to lacking that.
5. The head light alternative to singles: Victor Auraspeed 90K
The Victor Auraspeed 90K is used by Anders Antonsen and is among one of the few (if not the only) head light racket used among the top players in men’s singles.
It has an easy swing which makes for a racket feel easy to play with. It’s fast and similar to the Nanoflare in terms of control when counter attacking and in defense.
While smashing can be tricky without adapting your technique (if you are used to power rackets), drop shots and clears should be no problem.
6. The cross-courtship: Victor Auraspeed 100X
The sexy Victor Auraspeed 100X reportedly offers good control and angles for your cross court drops. It’s fast, making it easy to stay on the attack in doubles and move your opponent around the court.
Its head light balance point and nearly stiff shaft gives a smooth-feeling swing to nail the fast drive duels on doubles. Despite that, you’ll still be able to get you and your partner out of trouble with clears despite this being a nimble racket.
The lightest badminton racket is the Apacs Feather Weight 55 racket at 8U or 58g.
There are many subcategories within lightweight badminton rackets and there isn’t one racket better than all the rest.
But a popular choice is the Yonex Nanoflare 800 or the Yonex Astrox 88S Pro.
Light weight badminton rackets are good if you know what to do with them. If they suit your playing style of being fast and counter attacking, this type of racket will likely suit you better than if you prefer short rallies where you hammer the shuttle in the ground with a powerful smash. These rackets are often popular in doubles badminton games.
- It’s challenging not to look like you’re biased toward Yonex when recommending rackets as not all popular brands make it easy to test and review their rackets
- Rackets are more complex these days and you’ll even see lighter rackets begin head heavy which can cause confusion if you’re used to them either being a sledgehammer or feather-like
- The best lightweight badminton rackets tend to be particularly good for doubles games as they tend to be faster, or for beginner and intermediate players who just wants to have fun and experience the intensity of the sport