Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game review: your new defense hero?

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Receipt for my purchase of the Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game for this review (this isn’t a sponsored review)

Before we dive into this Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game review, allow me to clear up any confusion.

The Yonex Nanoflare 1000Z is marketed as the racket with the most powerful smash since Indian Satwiksairaj Rankireddy recently set the Guinness World Record at 565 KM/H. 

That is a surprise since it’s a head light racket and the general consensus tends to be that powerful smashes come from head heavy rackets.

Naturally, this is a marketing stunt that is likely made in an environment suitable for such a task, with fast shuttles and high string tension, and without a direct comparison test against other rackets.

The Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game I’m looking at today is the intermediate-version of that racket.

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game review - racket matrix

There has been plenty of hype around this racket since its release in mid-2023, so I’ve been curious to test it since.

While I had tried random head light rackets here and there, this is the first time I got to properly test one over several sessions and with the configurations that I’m used to.

I was expecting it to be difficult to get enough power behind my smashes and clear to the backline properly. My current preferred racket, the Arcsaber 11 Play, already makes this tricky when I’m off balance, although since working on my technique that has become easier.

I anticipated that net shots and defensive blocks would require more of a ‘push’ to get back over the net with the Nanoflare 1000 Game compared to the Arcsaber 11 Play, and especially the more head heavy rackets.

The thing I like most about head heavy rackets is how easy it is to block a smash by simply putting the racket on the shuttle and letting it bounce back over the net without giving it any extra “whip” or power.

As I was ‘unboxing’ the racket, I noticed that the handle felt stickier than on other new Yonex rackets. It felt as if Yonex had already put a tacky overgrip on from the factory. I don’t remember this being the case with my other Game rackets.

yonex nanoflare 1000 game review - handle example

I immediately got it restrung to my usual Yonex BG80 string, which is a power (repulsion) string to keep it consistent and better compare to other rackets.

I’ve been playing with the Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game for ten hours by now and I’m reviewing it with intermediate and beginner players in mind. 

Compared to my other reviews, I haven’t had a chance to test this during training drills so I might come back and update this review when I’ve been able to book those sessions.

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game review

Let’s begin this Nanoflare 1000 Game review with a fun situation I got myself into.

A good example of when things go wrong and I’m running around like a headless chicken while my partner is a super defender.

My first impression

Fucking FUN!

That’s what I wrote down in my notebook.

I found myself returning shots I didn’t even expect in defense and drive duels… I felt like Kento Momota on one of his good days.

For someone like me who loves defense, this was great.

One of my biggest weaknesses has always been switching grips between fast shots when my opponents are targeting me with consecutive shots.

My returns weren’t always great, but I got many more back across the net, and reasonably well, compared to with head heavy rackets and even my even-balanced Arcsaber 11 Play.

I noticed right from the beginning that this racket required some getting used to coming from the Arcsaber 11 Play. It seems as if this racket doesn’t bend during hard shots despite being similarly flexible compared to that and the other head heavy rackets I’ve tested.

For lack of a better word, I’d describe it as crisper or ‘whippy’.

With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into each subcategory of the game.

Net play

Power during net play was interesting. 

With other rackets, I’ve had to control and limit my power around the net. This was the first time I felt that I could give it a little extra ‘whip’ at times. That means more control but also readjusting my technique, which takes a while to get used to.

Net play felt more difficult than with the Arcsaber 11 Play and head heavier rackets like the Yonex Astrox 100 Game due to the lack of power and added control. 

This isn’t a downside as it offers more nuances in net play, but is hard to take advantage of if you haven’t trained it properly and are ready to spend time adjusting.

Everyone has been asking me about the power of this baby, so let’s dive into that next.

Net play

85%

Power (and attack)

The big question is the rear court smash as many of us who consider switching to this racket come from head heavier rackets like the Astrox 100 Game, Astrox 88D Game or Astrox 77 Pro.

While I’m sure it’s possible for highly skilled players to generate powerful smashes with the Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game, it’ll be tricky for us intermediate players.

Don’t get me wrong, during warm up with all the time in the world it felt somewhat easy. Not as easy as with your usual power-based racket, but not as bad as I had expected. 

I did have a couple of clean power smashes that felt great and gave me that pleasure you probably know from hitting a perfect smash. At one point, my partner even joked “you don’t have to go all in on power!”

That being said, I had to work harder to get clean hits in the heat of the moment and especially when under pressure. It felt as if I needed perfect positioning and a clean hit to pull those off, whereas with head heavy rackets, the extra head weight makes it slightly easier even if you aren’t well-positioned with plenty of preparation time.

What I’m trying to say is that you can get the power you’re looking for, but it requires more of you.

With my poor technique, I found myself in pain from overextending my arm and elbow at times in an attempt to overcompensate and generate the power I was used to from other rackets.

On the other hand, I enjoyed half-smashes and stick smashes with more focus on placement than raw power.

I also found that normal clear shots were easier than expected, but still required some effort to get them that last bit to the backline when I was off balance.

Difficult ‘dig out’ shots in survival mode were easier than expected — I found it easier to get the racket in under the shuttle when I was late. That is likely because the racket is easier to maneuver when most of the weight is placed at the handle rather than the head.

In those situations drop shots were fine, but it felt impossible to get anything beyond the mid-court and convert them into a proper backcourt clear. 

Just to clarify, I’m only talking about difficult situations where you’re fighting to stay in the rally and late to the shuttle.

I’m giving this racket a relatively low score in power, not because you can’t generate power with it, but because I anticipate it’ll be difficult for other intermediate players to do as well.

Power (and attack)

50%

Midcourt and defense

At first, I mistimed retrieving several drop shots and didn’t hit the shuttle at all despite being well-positioned.

That felt weird and unusual for me, but this disappeared as I got more used to the racket. I wonder if that crispiness combined with the lack of head weight is causing that.

Drives were fine and easy when I was not under pressure, but slightly more challenging in the heat of intense rallies. I’ve found that more head weight tends to be nice on defensive drives as it gives extra power with little effort.. if you’re able to move the racket into place in time.

While many shots lost power quickly, those short and soft shots you wanna hit with power (think downward mid-court shots for example) were easier to control. 

Not in terms of placement on the court, but in terms of giving the right amount of power so they didn’t fly too close to the net to cause you trouble, while also not having too much power and flying in an arch that would allow the opponent more time to react.

This takes a bit of work to adjust to but contributed to the fun. It made me appreciate softer shots more.

The thing I liked the most about this racket across the board was that it made it easier for me to get the racket in position for fast shots coming right at me. You won’t notice this on overhead shots as much as during drive duels and smash blocks.

I’m playing in the white t-shirt

This is where I gained an edge the most.

Midcourt and defense

90%

Other things I noticed

I noticed a few other things that I don’t know where to place, so that’ll be here.

The difficulty of playing powerful smash shots led me to naturally avoid the tempting gamble between a clean hit and hitting the net. Instead, it forced me to change my approach to the game and play more intelligently, such as working to build up attacks through longer rallies.

I like to think that this made the game more fun for everyone involved as opposed to constantly smashing the shuttle in the floor. At least, it did for me.

On the other hand, that required more from my stamina and footwork. That wasn’t an issue for me, but it may be for you if this isn’t something you work on now and then.

This is an awesome racket, but the playing style it requires can be difficult to take advantage of in doubles games if you don’t play with a fixed partner or a partner who is ready for that kind of game.

It often takes more shots to set up a point, which is fun, but not if your partner isn’t used to this and likes playing that way too. But if they are, this is a great doubles racket.

If I had to say something positive and negative about the Nanoflare 1000 Game

POSITIVE


Blocking smashes and defending under pressure are lots of fun.

NEGATIVE


The style this racket suits most naturally is challenging to take advantage of in doubles if your partner(s) aren’t up for the task.

Hey reader, a quick interruption...

I’m experimenting 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.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I appreciate your support,
Aske

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game: the verdict

Aske

Net play
85%
Power (and attack)
50%
Midcourt and defense
90%
Value for money
85%

Summary

The Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game is a terrific intermediate racket if you enjoy defense and strategically outplaying your opponents as opposed to smashing the shuttle in the floor.

77.5%

Nanoflare 1000 Game specifications

FlexMedium
Balance PointHead Light
Weight / Grip4U G5
Yonex’s recommended stringsControl Players: N/A
Hard Hitters: N/A

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game marketing and technology

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game TechnologyDescription
Nanocell NEOA graphite material said to combine flex and resilience
AERO FrameYonex' head frame for less wind resistance and extra racquet speed.
IsometricIncreases the size of the sweet spot (available on all newer Yonex rackets)
Sonic Flare SystemA graphite material for power and stability during shots
Energy Boost CAP PLUSSaid to help the shaft flex, while stabilizing the racquet by preventing the shaft from twisting
Super Slim ShaftTo make it easier to slice through the air (this is the slimmest shaft Yonex has produced and is said to reduce air resistance)
Built-in T-JointSaid to improve control by increasing strength between the frame and shaft in order to eliminate head twist

Best player types for Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game

Here are my suggestions for who might best like this racket.

The ideal player type

I’m sensing that the ideal player type is someone who enjoys defense as much as I do, and in doubles, it suggests that it’s best suitable for the frontcourt.

Many of us at the intermediate level play socially but still take the games seriously, yet we don’t have a fixed doubles partner. That means we have to be ready to handle all areas of the court as teamwork will be more random. 

My experience has been that it handles that reasonably well, though with an edge on softer shots over harder ones.

The non-ideal player type (you might not like this racket if…)

If you love power and want lots of help with that or want an extra powerful smash, this racket isn’t for you.

If you’re a beginner or highly skilled player, the stiffness probably isn’t for you either.

If you’re a singles player, you might not like this racket either as it only comes in the lighter 4U weight class.

Let’s compare this racket to other popular intermediate rackets.

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game vs. Nanoflare 1000 Play, Tour and Z

The Nanoflare 1000 Game is intended for intermediate players, whereas the Nanoflare 1000 Play is made for beginners.

The main difference lies in how flexible the shaft is. The more skilled the player, the stiffer they tend to like their racket.

The Tour and Pro rackets are for advanced and professional players with strong technique. For this racket series, it’s as simple as following the pricing tier – the higher the price, the better your skills need to be to enjoy playing with that model.

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Game vs. Yonex Arcsaber 11 Play

I never thought I’d say this, but at times the Arcsaber 11 Play felt powerful — or at least it felt easier to generate the power.

The Arcsaber 11 Play felt slightly easier in many drive duels where I was under pressure. It felt like it required slightly less effort to generate power in moments with little time to react, but the Nanoflare 1000 Game felt easier to get in place for the shot in the first place.

The Arcsaber made it easier to play difficult power shots like diagonal crosscourt clears that you would’ve otherwise used the backhand for. In terms of power, it felt as if it was slightly easier to generate with the Arcsaber when you really needed it.

To conclude this Nanoflare 1000 Game review, if you aren’t fairly convinced that you’ll love the Nanoflare racket, I suggest going with the Arcsaber 11 Play.

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