In order to practice badminton, like most sports, you need to buy certain equipment. Badminton is not a very expensive sport to play, but it is not basketball or running either, where you hardly need anything to get you going. In this post, I will explain all the different badminton equipment and gear that you can have, ordered by importance.
Here is the list of the badminton equipment you need to play badminton:
- Badminton Racket
- Badminton Net & poles
- Badminton Shoes
- Badminton Outfit
In addition to that, the following are some other equipment that can be useful to intermediate or advanced badminton players:
- Badminton Kitbag
- Badminton Socks
- Badminton Grip
- Insoles or orthotics
Let’s have a look at each of these pieces of equipment and explain what they are.
A racket is a must-have if you want to start playing badminton. Rackets are the tool that is used in order to hit the shuttle and, without one, there is no game to be played.
Rackets vary in material, shape, weight, and price so it might be difficult to know what to choose. If you are just starting, I recommend that you forget about all the different options you will read online and pick a beginner’s racket from one of the renowned badminton brands. This way you will make sure that the quality is good enough, but that you do not pay extra for characteristics you will not notice at your current level. If you don’t know which are the renowned badminton brands, you can have a look at our badminton brands post, where we list all the important badminton brands and explain what products they offer.
If you are a beginner, then I recommend that you look at one of the rackets from the B-Series from Yonex, specially designed for entry-level players. One example is the Yonex B 4000. You can purchase this racket on Amazon for a crazy low price. Most of the other brands will have similar products in a similar price range that will also match your current level. Be careful of anything that goes below that price as the quality will be, most likely, not good enough.
If you have been playing for a little bit and are looking for the next step for your badminton racket, you need to have a few items into consideration.
The balance point of a badminton racket
The balance point of the racket needs to be in line with your style of play. If you are a player that favors power over control, you want a balance point that goes more towards the head of the racket. If you are a player that favors control over power, you want a balance point that goes more towards the handle.
Weight of a badminton racket
The weight is another factor to take into consideration when buying a racket.
Rackets come in different weight categories:
- 2U: 90-94 grams
- 3U: 85-89 grams
- 4U: 80-84 grams
- 5U: 75-79 grams
The heavier the racket, the more power and less control you have. As with the balance point, your choice will depend on your style.
The shape of the frame of a badminton racket
Another important factor is the shape of the frame. There are two shapes in the market. The oval shape (the traditional one) and the isometric shape.
The oval shape has a more concentrated sweet spot, so it is more difficult to hit the shuttle properly. However, when done so, the shots are better.
The isometric shape has a bigger sweet spot, but the control you gain over your shots is lower.
My recommendation for beginners and intermediate players is to choose an isometric shape frame as it will help more with their game.
The shaft of a badminton racket
The last important point to consider is the shaft, which is the part of the racket between the head and the handle. This can come in different materials and in different stiffnesses.
For a beginner player, it is better to start with a flexible shaft because it will help you generate power more easily so you can focus on the form of your shots. Once you become more proficient, it might make sense to switch to a stiff shaft in order to have more precision in your shots.
Shuttle (or birdie)
The second mandatory item is the shuttle. This is what distinguishes badminton from all the other racket sports and what makes it so unique. The shuttles used in competitions are called feathered shuttles and they are not cheap to buy, especially because they do not last that long. We do not recommend using this type of shuttle if you are just starting.
There is a different kind of shuttle, called a non-feathered shuttle, which is cheaper and much more durable. This one doesn’t have feathers but has a plastic body that resembles fairly well the flight of the feathered shuttles. On Amazon, you can purchase a cheap and durable tube for a very low price.
If you want to know a bit more about shuttles, you can check our badminton shuttle post, where we go much more into detail into the different types of shuttlecock and we recommend different shuttles depending on the circumstances.
Badminton Net & poles
A net (with the poles) is, in our opinion, also a mandatory item. Even though you can still hit the shuttle around without the net, this equipment provides certain limitations to the shots that make the game more realistic and fun. If you are playing indoors in a sports hall that is equipped for badminton, they will most likely provide the nets and poles so you don’t need to worry about them. If you want to play outdoors, you will need to purchase them. They are not very expensive (start at around $50 in the US). Check the latest price on Amazon.com.
We go down the scale here from mandatory to recommended equipment. Shoes are, in our opinion, the third most important equipment to buy after rackets and shuttles. This is because badminton can be a very demanding sport for your feet and having proper shoes will save you from a lot of discomfort and injuries. This is, obviously, if you play badminton indoors. If you play badminton outdoors, do not spend the money with shoes that are designed for indoor use.
As it is the case with all the other items, there are shoes that are designed for beginners so you do not need to spend a tone of money on them. My recommendation is, if you can, to make sure they are shoes designed for badminton, as the movements are very specific and shoes designed for indoor courts, in general, will not work as well. These will be slightly more expensive but they are, in my opinion, worth the investment.
This is the final recommended equipment. It is not as important as the shoes because it will not prevent injuries, but it will certainly improve your comfort while playing. Having a sportive outfit will allow you to move faster and more comfortable around the court and hit the shuttle with ease. Shorts (or skirts) and a t-shirt are the preferred outfits.
Badminton Kit bag
As we explained in our badminton kit bags post, we do not recommend buying a kit bag if you are a complete beginner. However, if you have already been playing badminton for a few months and you see yourself playing long term, it is a good investment to make. Kit bags will help you keep your badminton equipment organized and easily accessible.
As for what to look on a kit bag, here is a summary of what we explain in our extensive buying guide for kit bags.
One strap or two straps?
If you only go to training sessions and a sporadic local tournament, it might make more sense for you to buy a kit bag with only one strap, because they are usually smaller, cheaper and easier to move around. If you do more than that, you are probably better of buying one with two straps.
Durability is very important
You will sometimes overload your badminton bag, other times you will forget your dirty clothes inside there for a few days and other times it will be tossed around without much care. Your badminton bag will have to go through all this and keep working and looking well. Therefore, make sure you pick a kit bag from a reliable brand. I have only used Yonex bags and they have always lasted for a very long time.
Pick a size that will fulfill your needs
If you are going to buy a bag, just think a bit about what things you are going to put inside and how many times you are going to use it, or for how long will you have to be holding it. You definitely don’t want to buy a badminton bag that is too small and where you have to squeeze things in every time, but you don’t want to be buying a big one to bring it around always empty.
That being said, try to always be on the safe side towards it being big. It is better to have a slightly over-sized bag than a slightly under-sized one.
As for specific product recommendations, assuming you have started a few months ago and you only go to play recreational badminton once or twice every two weeks, I would choose a kit bag with only one big compartment and one strap. Yonex has a basic line called the Team Series. From that, the Yonex bag 4923 is the most suitable for beginners. You can follow this link to check it out on Amazon.
It is a compact and reliable bag at a very good price. This bag can fit up to three rackets, although you will probably only bring one or two with additional items such as badminton shoes or change clothes. It will fulfill your needs for a badminton bag for years to come for the price of a dinner out.
The grip is the product that is wrapped around the wooden handle in order to increase the slip resistance so that the racket doesn’t go flying when you hit a shot. Grips can be divided as follows:
The undergrip will come already installed on the racket when you purchase it, as it is a necessary part of the racket. It is advised, however, to add an additional grip on top of that one, which is called the overgrip. This grip is changed periodically once it becomes too slippery due to usage.
Some players feel that the undergrip plus the overgrip makes the handle to thick and they prefer to strip the undergrip away from the handle before applying the overgrip.
As we said above, the undergrip is always included when you buy a racket. It is usually made of polyurethane. The undergrip should be thought of as the base and should not be in contact with your hand. However, for beginners, the undergrip alone can be a good starting point.
PU (polyurethane) overgrip
This is the most common type of overgrip, especially for beginner and intermediate players. As the name suggests, this overgrip is done with polyurethane and there is no maintenance required. From this type of grips, we recommend the Yonex Super Grap Overgrip (link to Amazon here). It is a great option that comes from the most well-known badminton brand.
This is the type of overgrip that a lot of professional players use. It is made of cotton and it is the best option for sweat absorption and slip resistance. However, it deteriorates very fast so it needs to be changed much more often than the PU overgrips. This is the reason why it is mainly used by professional players. However, if you would like to try this type of overgrip, we would recommend the Yonex Badminton Towel Grip AC402EX (link to Amazon here).
Badminton socks are not so different from normal socks, but they are not mandatory or recommended items to purchase. However, they do bring an extra layer of protection and comfort, so it is a “nice to have” if you practice the sport regularly.
Badminton socks will secure your ankle while also providing extra cushioning in your heel and toes. This pack of three pairs of Yonex socks on Amazon is a good buy.
Insoles or orthotics
The last item on the list is also the least known. You might not find this in a lot of places online because I don’t think its use is very spread. However, personal experience tells me that it is a very good addition for semi-pros or pros. As I have said before, badminton can be a very hard sport on your feet. This is due to the speed of the game and the need for changing directions all the time. That is why I think that shoes are such an important purchase. However, depending on your level, shoes and socks only might not be enough to ensure your feet don’t suffer.
In this case, insoles that add an extra protection layer can be very useful. They will help by providing an extra cushioning effect and shock absorption. However, please bear in mind that good badminton shoes will always have this already included, so make sure that the product you are buying does actually improve what already comes with the shoes.
If you want to go the extra mile or if you have delicate feet (or an old injury), you might want to go all the way to orthotics. The orthotics work to relieve pain by realigning and supporting the ligaments and bones of the foot properly so that the foot can function as normal.
As I said, this is very useful for pros, as most players at that level have brought their physical limits so far that this type of help will be needed.
And with this final item, we have arrived at the end of this post. Is there any item that you are missing from the list? Would you like more information on any of the items already described? Then let us know in the comments below!