How to Choose a Badminton String
Having chosen a badminton racket, players often ask whether they should choose a string upgrade or stick to factory strings. Before choosing a string and a tension, there are a few key points to understand:
- Every racket has a ‘sweet-spot’ on the string-bed; this is the area that gives you the most power and speed for your shots.
- As you increase the tension of your strings, the sweet-spot decreases on the string-bed. As beginners and more casual players are more likely to mis-hit the shuttle and miss the sweet-spot, a higher tension generally results in LESS power for these players.
- Conversely, as you decrease the tension of your strings, the sweet-spot increases on the string-bed, making lower tensions more suitable for beginners and casual players.
- As players become more consistent and can hit the sweet-spot reliably, a higher tension will provide more power and control, as the shuttle will travel faster off the string-bed.
- Mishits towards the edge of the frame significantly increase the risk of the strings breaking during play.
- Thicker strings are generally more durable than thinner strings, and are therefore less likely to break.
- Each racket has a recommended stringing range; stringing outside of this range will void your warranty.
- Playing with different types of shuttles affects the performance of your strings.
- There is no particular tension that always works well with a particular string, or vice-versa; choosing a string and tension is dependent on your style of play and your technique.
- String tension is as important as the string you choose.
Suggested Tension for Players
The most common mistake for players is to ask for the strings at too high of a tension, often due to ego or mistakenly believing that higher tensions offer more power. As players have to work harder to generate power at higher tensions, they are more likely to cause themselves injury by using too much force.
Choosing the correct tension is ultimately a responsibility for each individual player, and there is no single tension that is correct for everyone. However, we have suggested ranges for different levels of player below:
- Beginner: 18-20lbs
- Casual: 20-23lbs
- Regular Club: 24-25lbs
- Advanced/County: 26lbs and above
The majority of rackets with factory strings are strung between 20 and 23lbs, making them already suitable for the majority of badminton players.
Playing with plastic shuttles, while cheaper than feathers, degrades your strings considerably quicker and requires you to put in more effort to achieve power. Therefore, we recommend that plastic shuttle users lower their tension by a further 1 or 2lbs to provide the necessary extra power.
Almost every badminton racket will include a ‘recommended stringing tension range’ on the racket, though manufacturers do not offer any further guidance on which tension suits different players. Stringing tensions affect your game as much as a new racket will, and it is crucial to understand how adjusting the string tension affects your performance.
Choosing a lower tension results in the following changes to your performance:
- An increased sweet-spot, making it easier to hit the sweet-spot and consistently hit powerful shots.
- A softer feel on the string-bed, resulting in less feel of the shuttle and therefore less control, but also increased repulsion from the strings, resulting in more easily accessible power.
- More durability and a slightly decreased risk of breaking the strings from off-centre mis-hits.
- More shock absorption from the string-bed and decreased vibrations reaching your arm.
Therefore, lower tensions are more suitable for players that want more power, and for players that do not yet consistently hit the sweet-spot on the string-bed.
Choosing a higher tension results in the following changes to your performance:
- A decreased sweet-spot, requiring the player to more consistent and accurate with their strokes in order to consistently hit the sweet-spot and generate power.
- A harder feel on the string-bed, resulting in more feel of the shuttle and therefore more control, but also decreased repulsion from the strings, meaning that the player will have to work much harder to generate power.
- Less durability and an increased risk of breaking the strings from off-centre mis-hits.
- Less shock absorption from the string-bed and more vibrations due to the harder feel of the string-bed.
Therefore, higher tensions are suitable for players with advanced technique that can already generate their own power consistently.
Having decided what tension range you should choose, there are hundreds of different strings that players can choose. Generally, thinner strings offer more repulsion and a brighter sound but at the cost of durability, while thicker strings generally provide more durability. If you play with plastic shuttles then you should choose a thicker string as plastic shuttles degrade your strings far quicker than feather shuttles. To get you started, we have chosen our favourite strings for power, control and durability and left them below: