Badminton Racket Stringing FAQ
Updated: May 29
The purpose of this blog post is to provide information for people who are new to badminton equipment or badminton in general. It will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to read this article.
During my career as a stringer, I have encountered many customers who had no idea about things like tension and string types. I often had to make decisions for them, which is something I shouldn't have to do. It's a matter of personal preference, similar to asking about someone's favorite color. I am writing this to give you a general idea about stringing and equipment so that when you come to me, you know what you want.
Q: What is string tension, and why is it important?
A: Tension refers to the amount of force applied to each string of the racket. For example, 24 lbs (pounds) means that 24 pounds of force are applied to a single piece of string, held in place by a clamp. The application of tension can be easily explained using the picture below:
Tension is responsible for generating repulsion in badminton. Without any tension, imagine playing badminton with a bug catching net.
Q: What tension suits me?
A: As I mentioned before, knowing the appropriate tension is something you should determine before consulting a stringer. How do you decide what tension is best for you? String tension affects several factors, including power (repulsion), control, durability, and vibration.
However, the above image isn't entirely accurate, as the common string tension range for badminton rackets typically ranges from 18lbs to 33lbs. When the tension is lower than 20lbs, it can create a 'bug catching net' effect, resulting in less power due to loose strings. Conversely, when the tension is very high, the string bed becomes rigid. In such cases, players need proper technique to generate enough power for advanced shots, such as hitting clears from the backcourt to the backcourt. Advanced players often prioritize control for better shot placement, which is why higher tension is preferred. Regarding durability, higher tension leads to less durability for the strings. Vibration, on the other hand, isn't a significant overall factor to consider as it also depends on the construction of the racket shaft. While there are various types of strings available in the market, this section represents the general characteristics applicable to all strings.
In general, For feather shuttlecocks:
Beginner: 18lbs to 23 lbs
Intermediate: 23lbs to 25lbs
Advanced: 26lbs to 28lbs
Pro players: 29lbs+
For plastic shuttlecocks: 1lbs lower than above values
These are just a recommendation, and it’s not restricted to what YOU actually want
Q: What are the common strings to choose and understanding their characteristics?
A: Unfortunately, in Canada, our options for string brands are quite limited. There are three major brands to choose from: Yonex, LiNing, and Victor. Almost all strings from these brands are made in Japan because Japan has the leading technology when it comes to nylon material and weaving patterns. Yonex, in particular, has a string lineup with "unreasonable and confusing" names, which can confuse many new players due to the presence of over 10 different strings. LiNing, on the other hand, offers only three types of strings, each with a clear definition based on your playing style. Victor has around five products in their lineup, with clear naming and characteristics as well. Before diving into a detailed discussion of each brand, let's focus on the one essential aspect you need to understand about strings: the string diameter.
String diameter typically ranges from approximately 0.5mm to 0.7mm. Thinner strings provide better repulsion, a sharper sound, but less durability. Thicker strings offer better durability and can handle higher tension, resulting in better control. There is no perfect combination that excels in every aspect.
Yonex, being the largest brand for racket sports, offers a wide variety of options. The best way to distinguish Yonex strings is to look at the color of the package and read the pentagon chart.
Yellow stands for durability: Long term use & cheapest category & high tension
BG65 & BG65TI 0.7mm
Blue stands for repulsion: Smasher & not durable & breaks fast
BG66 Ultimax (aka. BG66UM) & BG66 Force 0.66mm
BG80 & BG80 power 0.68mm
Aerosonic (aka. BGAS) 0.61mm (Thinnest string Yonex provides)
Green stands for control: All-round player & most expensive category
AeroBite & AeroBite Boost a mixing of main 0.72mm cross 0.61mm
However this category also has great durability
Red stands for hitting sound: not commonly used category
The pentagon chart:
Each yonex string has a pentagon chart above and it’s self-explanatory
LiNing string lineup:
LiNing has the simplest lineup for strings.
No.1: Competitor of Yonex BG66 series 0.65mm
No.5: Competitor of Yonex BG80 series 0.68mm
No.7: competitor of Yonex BG65 series 0.70mm
Victor string line up:
Victor string all starts with the name VBS (victor badminton string):
VBS-63: competitor of Yonex Aerosonic/Exbolt 0.63mm
VBS-66N: competitor of Yonex BG66 series 0.66mm
VBS-68/P: Competitor of Yonex BG80 series 0.68mm
VBS-69N: Competitor of Yonex NBG series 0.68mm
VBS-70: competitor of Yonex BG65 series 0.70mm
Q: After knowing my options for strings, which one is the best for me?
A: Brands compete with each other and offer similar products within the same class. However, even with the same tension and racket, each string and its competitors can still feel quite different. The choice of which string to play with is purely a matter of personal preference. For someone new to badminton strings, it is recommended to try different types until you find the perfect fit for you. Here are some general guidelines:
Beginners: Focus on your technique as a priority, so opt for something cheap and durable. At this stage, equipment matters less. Low tension strings are also preferred.
Intermediate: This is the stage where you identify your play style. Choose strings that align with the characteristics you desire. Select repulsion strings if you enjoy smashing, durable strings if you're on a budget, or control strings for a more all-round experience.
Advanced: By this stage, you should have a good understanding of the sport and your preferences.
You are encouraged to experiment with different options based on specific reasons (e.g., switching to BG65 from BG66 for better durability). However, I've witnessed many players becoming obsessed with buying "fancy" equipment, hoping it will improve their gameplay. This is a mistaken mindset, as a better racket alone doesn't enhance your skills. Always prioritize your technique and avoid falling into the cycle of constantly buying new rackets and strings, in my humble opinion. I've had customers who returned to me, complaining that their drops were not going over as before and their smashes lacked power. Upon observing their gameplay, it became evident that their forms and techniques were off. To give you an idea of how equipment isn't the most crucial factor, I would say, only 3% of your gameplay depends on the racket, 7% on the string, and a staggering 90% relies on your technique. When it comes to equipment alone, a $300 racket versus a $60 racket or a poor stock string versus a quality aftermarket string with the right tension, the latter has a far greater impact on your gameplay. As long as you don't have a $3 aluminum racket with fishing strings, your racket is fine. Aim to adapt to your racket rather than constantly searching for the elusive "perfect" one.
Q: How do I know if a stringing job is good or not? What is the stringing pattern? What are the differences? What's the best pattern? How do stringing patterns relate to a stringer’s knowledge/skill level?
A: There are many ways to tell if a stringing job is good or not. The first basic thing to look at is if the main & cross is woven correctly. It is very easy to tell if something is wrong if you look at your racket sideways. Then visually check if every piece of string is intact with no sign of cut or wear. Sometimes a stringer may accidentally cut/slice the string (the string wouldn’t break in this case but you can tell there is a cut/slice, since one piece of string is made of many thin nylon strings woven together) and lead to less string life. Knots should be the right size and clean, and they should not slide into the racket after playing with the racket (knot is too small or not strong enough).
There are different patterns to string a racket. Normally, you should only see 2 knots or 4 knots at MAX. Anything more than 4 knots, you stringer probably put some left over short piece of strings to string your racket which means you got ripped off.
Here I have some customer’s racket and I was astonished by his previous stringer’s job
His previous stringer used many short pieces of strings to string his racket and cut costs. This is absolutely terrible and very bad for the racket. By looking at the racket, see if there is any significant deformation showing on the racket. Some deformation is acceptable and rackets are designed to handle them. More bad examples:
Simple way to tell if the tension is high enough as what you asked: pinch the middle 2 main strings and if the tension is high, it will be hard to pinch them so that they touch each other
If your racket looks like this after you get it back from a stringer, you need to hire a new guy
Example of normal non-twisted string and twisted string, a bit of twisting is fine but the one shown in the pictures is really bad