Like all of your on-the-court gear, the right badminton racket can help take your game to the next level. And if you’ve recently outgrown your beginner status in badminton, you might feel ready to invest in a racket that suits your newfound skills.
But what are the best badminton rackets for intermediate players? And what kind of features should you be looking for as you browse?
Whether your game is power-focused, defensive, or somewhere in the middle, read on to discover the best intermediate badminton rackets on the market in 2023.
What to Look for in a Badminton Racket
Badminton racket shopping can get confusing, especially if you haven’t purchased a new one in a while.
To help you keep things simple, here’s a quick breakdown of what to look for as you shop:
- Weight: Rackets come in weight classes U (95 to 99 grams) to 6U (70 to 74 grams). The higher the number, the lighter the racket.
- Balance point: Rackets can be head-heavy, head-light, or even balanced. A head-heavy balance point delivers more power, while head-light is easier to control.
- Flexibility: Stiff rackets bring more precision, while flexible rackets offer more momentum. Medium-flex rackets provide a bit of both.
- Head shape: Nowadays, many rackets are built with an isometric head shape to increase the sweet spot size. However, there are still some oval-shaped rackets on the market.
- Grip size: Grip sizes are usually ranked G1 to G5, with G1 being the largest and G5 being the smallest. If you have a racket with a smaller grip size, you can use grip tape (or overgrip) to customize it to your liking.
4 Best Intermediate Badminton Rackets in 2023
Here are the four best badminton rackets for intermediate players in 2023:
1. Best All-Around: Arcsaber 11 Pro/11 Play
Launched in 2022, the Arcsaber 11 Pro and Arcsaber 11 Play are newer versions of Yonex’s legendary Arcsaber 11. These rackets are slowly but surely gaining popularity among intermediate players — and for good reason.
Their even balance point and light weight make for a perfect blend of strong smashes and smooth handling. Plus, they suit a variety of different playstyles, strengths, and weaknesses. The Arcsaber 11 Play comes with a medium-flex shaft for an extra power boost, while the Arcsaber 11 Pro has a stiffer shaft for sharper accuracy.
Both options come with a built-in T-joint, isometric head shape, and graphite material (although the 11 Pro’s graphite frame is slightly higher quality). The 11 Play is available in the 4U weight class with a G5/G6 grip, while the 11 Pro comes in a 3U/4U model with a G5 grip.
2. Best for Power: Astrox 99 Play
If you lean towards a blend of medium flex and high power, the Yonex Astrox 99 Play is a racket worth checking out.
For around $80, it’s a lower-cost option built to pack a powerful punch on the court. (The Astrox 99 line also offers the Game, Tour, and Pro models for other styles and skill sets — but the Play provides incredible value for its price point.)
It has a head-heavy balance point and weighs around 83 grams (4U), making it ideal for hard-hitting smashers. And thanks to its Rotational Generator System and Aero Box Frame, you can count on it bringing a smooth experience to every rally.
Honorable mention: If you tend to enjoy more lightweight power, another great option is the Li-Ning Air Force 77 G2.
3. Best for Speed: Apacs Nano Fusion Speed XR
Looking for an evenly-balanced, high-speed racket that won’t break the bank? If so, the Nano Fusion Speed XR from Apacs is one of the best options to look at.
At just 78 grams, it’s a super lightweight, medium-flex racket that offers seamless handling and control. It also comes with a graphite shaft and slim-frame design — meaning you can expect a durable, consistent performance every time you reach for it.
Overall, the quality and price point of the Nano Fusion Speed XR make it best for medium-skilled players who enjoy fast yet balanced play.
4. Best for Doubles: Astrox 88D Game
Released in 2021, the Astrox 88D Game is one of Yonex’s newest options for offensive doubles players.
So, what makes the 88D worthy of making the list? Firstly, it offers a head-heavy balance point and medium-stiff shaft, both of which are solid specs for intermediate doubles offense. In addition, it’s made with Yonex’s Nanomesh Neo material, which makes for a more flexible, powerful frame.
There are other versions of the Astrox 88D line — including the 88D Pro and 88D Tour — but they can lean a bit on the pricey side. If you’re not looking to splurge $200+ on a racket just yet, the 88D Game is an excellent option to start with.
Honorable mention: The Astrox line also offers the 88S Game, which is geared toward more control-focused doubles players. If that sounds like your playstyle, you can check it out here.
The Best Intermediate Badminton Rackets in 2023: The Bottom Line
Choosing the right badminton racket is one of the toughest parts of gearing up. It takes time to sift through all the different specs, features, and technologies out there — and what works for other players might not work for you.
The bottom line? Take your time and do your research before making the investment. Even if you plan on buying online to save some cash, it’s never a bad idea to swing by your local sporting goods store or test out your friends’ rackets to get a feel for what you like.
Ultimately, remember not to rush yourself. Finding the right racket can make a world of difference in your game, so it’s important to choose wisely!
Looking for more badminton best-of lists? Visit the Badminton Justin blog today for product roundups, advice, and reviews to help you find the right gear for your game.