Guide to Buying Badminton Equipment
Buying the right badminton equipment is more than just buying the most expensive equipment on the market. You need to figure out what kind of equipment fits your style, skill level, and budget. Buying a top-of-the-line racket to play with for your very first time will only get dinged up and worn out as you learn to play. On the other hand, buying a cheap, heavy racket will limit your potential. This guide will teach you what things to keep in mind as you shop for badminton equipment.
Like many sports, badminton can be expensive if you look at top-of-line equipment. However, you don’t need to get the most expensive racket on the market in order to have fun or even be competitive. Regardless of your budget, you can find a decent and dependable racket as long as you keep a few tips in mind:
- Shop in person: Although ordering products online is convenient, you’ll want to purchase your rackets in person. You should feel the weight of the racket, the size of the grip, and even consider the look of it. You may be able to figure out these things online, but nothing compares to holding an actual racket.
- Notice brand names: This is a topic this is completely subjective, but not irrelevant. If you trust a name brand and have had good experiences with it, you should stick with it. There are several reliable brands that specialize in badminton. Ask other badminton players, or simply compare online. Knowing you’re getting a quality product helps you get the most value from your wallet.
- T-Joint: The T-joint is a t-shaped piece, separate from the racket, which connects the shaft and the head. Generally, lower-end rackets have this T-joint, which can severely reduce their power and durability. Look for rackets with a smooth, one-piece construction of the head and shaft.
First, you must decide whether you want to purchase plastic or feather shuttles. If you’re newer to the game, buying plastic shuttles is the cheaper, more reliable route. Again, you can research which brands tend to be more durable than others, but overall, plastic shuttles last much longer than feather shuttles.
For feather shuttles, you’ll want to be more thorough with your research. Use all resources available to you because it’s expensive keeping feather shuttles in stock. Follow these tips when you buy shuttles:
- Speak with shop owners: While you may be uneasy about taking the advice of a shop owner, no resource is off-limits. Although some could have ulterior motives, you shouldn’t assume this. Most of them are happy to help, and they can be the best resource of information — something you certainly shouldn’t deny yourself.
- Stick with what works: If you have a favorite brand or type of shuttle, stick with it. Shuttles can be quite particular and there’s always a period of adjustment when trying new shuttles.
- Always keep value in mind: For plastic shuttles, this is less of an issue because most have an excellent lifespan. Using feather shuttles, however, can be quite expensive because you can easily go through two or three in a single match. Weigh out the quality of the shuttle against the price and find shuttles that satisfy a happy medium between the two.
Depending on your budget, you may or may not want to invest in a pair of badminton shoes. A pair of sturdy tennis shoes is certainly adequate, but definitely not ideal. Badminton relies heavily on lateral movement, which makes the wide base of badminton shoes a more appealing choice.
Aside from the comfort factor, you should consider the shoes’ insoles. Shin splints, a slow-healing and painful condition of the shins, is a common occurrence among badminton players. The excessive lunging and jumping you do on the court can quickly aggravate the area around your shins. Having well-padded insoles will help you avoid this complication.
Hot Tip: Replace Your Insoles
If the original insoles of your shoes are not sufficient, you can purchase some separately. Along the same lines, monitor the condition of your insoles so you can replace them before they become ineffective. Don’t underestimate the value of quality insoles; having a firm foundation will go a long ways towards preventing injuries.
Badminton racket grips, or overgrips, are mainly made of polyurethane, a rubbery-like material. These grips normally have two sides with different types of material. One side will be somewhat rough, almost sticky, giving you a fair amount of grip control and security. The other side will be slicker, almost cloth-like, which provides more comfort than its counterpart.
Like all of this equipment, your choice of grip is a matter of preference, which will depend on price and quality. However, when you find an overgrip that works well for you, consider buying it in bulk. You’ll need to change your grip regularly, whenever you notice a significant amount of wear. It may seem excessive to buy 10 or 20 grips at a time, but it will end up saving you money.
Badminton bags specifically refer to specialized bags designed for badminton equipment. These bags have an individual section for your racket, shoes, shuttles, and miscellaneous items. A good way to approach this purchase is to think about necessity. Badminton bags come in a variety of sizes, and are priced accordingly. If you don’t need a pocket for your shoes, then select a bag without one. If you like keeping some towels, a change of clothes, and other items with you, then choose one big enough to accommodate that.
Hot Tip: Protect Your Racket
While a badminton bag is optional, a case for your racket is a necessity. If you’re willing to invest a good amount of money in a decent racket, you should certainly be willing to spend a little more to get a protective case for your racket. Fortunately, some rackets come with a protective case. In other instances, however, you’ll be smart to pick one up.
Always Think of Value
Every player is unique, and as such, there is no one racket or one pair of shoes that is perfect for everyone. Do your research and never be afraid to seek out the advice of others. Above all else, think about the value each piece of equipment holds for you. If you only play a few times a month, shelling out money for top-of-the-line gear may be a little excessive. At the same time, you should consider the quality of each item. Buying a cheaper racket that only lasts a month is probably not worth the frustration it will cause you. Ultimately, you have to find the balance between budget and quality that’s right for you.