In badminton clubs and throughout online communities, it’s common to come across players talking about badminton string tension. But if you’ve always used your racket fresh-out-of-the-box and never adjusted your strings, you might wonder: What exactly is string tension, and how important is it for your game?
Below, discover a complete guide on badminton string tension, including how it works and tips to figure out which tension level is best for you.
What Is String Tension in Badminton?
In short, string tension is simply the level of outward “pull” or tightness on your racket’s strings. And it’s standard to talk about this force in terms of pounds or kilograms. For example, a string tension of 22lbs will mean that the outward-pulling force on the string from the frame is 22lbs.
What Badminton String Tension Should I Use?
So now that you understand the basic idea of badminton string tension, how can you know which amount of force is right for you?
First things first: Any racket you purchase will always come with stringing recommendations. This makes it easy to find a general range of how tight your strings should be. But when it comes to the specific amount of tension, it’ll depend on factors that are unique to you — namely, your skill level and preferences.
(Side note: If you string your racket over the recommended guidelines, you could put too much tension on your frame and cause damage. This can also void your warranty, so be sure to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines!)
Here’s a rundown on the pros and cons of low, medium, and high tension:
Low String Tension (17 to 21lbs.)
Low string tension is often defined as anywhere from 17 to 21lbs (7.7 to 9.5kg), but the range can vary depending on who you ask.
In general, lower string tension is:
- Best for beginners because it expands the size of the sweet spot while increasing power and string durability.
- Not as helpful for intermediate or advanced players who want their string tension to boost accuracy and control.
While low string tension can boost power for inexperienced players, it tends to hit a limit as to how much of a boost it can give. For this reason, advanced players with sharp swing techniques often opt for higher string tensions, as it works well for both their control and power.
Medium String Tension (22 to 26lbs.)
As you get better at generating power from your arm movement (as opposed to depending on low string tension, a high-flex shaft, or other beginner-friendly features), you might find that you prefer a medium string tension.
Medium tension is loosely defined as the 22 to 26lb (10 to 11.8kg) range. It is:
- Best for intermediate or advanced players who want better control and accuracy.
- Not as helpful for beginners because it slightly decreases the sweet spot — and if you miss the sweet spot, you can lose a good chunk of your power.
High String Tension (26lbs+)
High string tension is above 26lbs (or 11.8kg), and it’s normally useful for players who have honed their racket-handling skills to a T. High tension is:
- Best for advanced or professional players who want laser-sharp control and accuracy. You might find that you enjoy this level of tension if you can generate significant power through your technique alone and are very precise when you hit the shuttle.
- Not as supportive of durability. While higher string tension can offer enormous benefits to players who know how to handle it, it’s not always the best choice if you want long-lasting strings. Higher tension is more likely to weaken the strings over time, and it can increase the risk of snapping — especially if you regularly miss the sweet spot. This is because there will be extra tension in areas near the frame.
Choosing the Right String
With tension in mind, it’s also important to think about the type of string you’d like to use on your racket. Badminton strings are made from many materials ranging in thickness, repulsion, and durability.
- Thin strings create a louder, snappier sound but are slightly less durable.
- Thick strings are a tad bit heavier and feel different from thin strings when you make contact with the shuttle. On the flip side, they’re more durable and less likely to snap.
For more string information (and our top recommendations on the best products), be sure to check out our complete badminton string buyer’s guide.
Badminton String Tension: The Takeaway
If you’re a beginner who could still use extra power as you improve your technique, a lower string tension can boost repulsion and sweet spot size. But if you’re an intermediate or advanced player with a strong, accurate swing, it may be time to move up to higher tension.
Overall, string tension is unique to each player — so when you get your racket restrung, keep your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences in mind. And if you aren’t sure which tension to go for, perhaps some of your friends can let you test out their rackets before you decide!