There is one shot in badminton that garners the most admiration and respect. A shot that many players strive to refine to perfection. This shot is the revered smash! A smash is the fastest shot that is played in badminton – one that has been recorded at 306 mph (493 kph), which is faster than the fastest high speed train. With blistering speeds, the smash can oftentimes finish a rally, winning a defiant point for the executor. No wonder badminton players of all skill levels seek any and all ways to smash harder, faster, and steeper.
In this post, we will focus our attention on which badminton rackets are the best for delivering the best smash. We highlight must-have characteristics you should pay attention to when searching for the racket that can best boost your smashing potential.
A smash is a downward angled shot that is performed with an overhand motion. It is the most offensive shot in badminton and typically lands between the opponent’s mid to back court depending on how steep the birdie is hit.
While the smash is considered 1 of the 5 basic badminton shots, it is the shot that gets the most spectator appreciation and subsequently, a player’s desire to continuously improve and perfect. This is because the smash is an impressive shot that can be used to overwhelm an opponent and win the point outright. Guinness World Records have been awarded to the fastest badminton smash measured in competitive play, which is currently held by professional badminton player Mads Pieler Kolding at a whopping 426 kph (264.7 mph).
Whether you are seeking to master the badminton smash shot to improve your own game or impress others, you need to choose the right racket to enhance and not reduce nor contrast your ability to deliver. What we mean by this is, choosing a racket that is meant for control and expecting it to aid your smash is counterproductive. While a racket alone cannot make a badminton player good at smashing, combined with proper training and technique, a racket can make a good player great at executing a smash. Without further ado, let’s explore the key factors to consider when looking at a racket to enhance your smash and what our top 4 recommendations to help you achieve your goal.
The following 4 rackets are the ones we would recommend for badminton players focused on smashing:
|1||Yonex Voltric Z Force II||Learn More|
|2||Yonex Astrox 100 ZZ||Learn More|
|3||Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw||Learn More|
|4||Yonex Duora 10||Learn More|
If dominating your opponents through power play is not your preferred style, check out our other racket recommendation posts to find the right racket fit for you:
|Best Rackets for Beginners||Link|
|Best Rackets for Control||Link|
|Best Rackets for Intermediate Players||Link|
|Best Rackets for Smashing||Link|
For other guiding posts regarding our analysis on rackets, check out the following posts:
|Racket Series||Signature Trait||Post|
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Factors in Rackets that Help a Player’s Smash
The balance of a racket refers to whether the distribution of weight of the racket is towards the handle or the head of the racket. Balance is typically determined by where the racket’s balance point is, which is the point along the shaft of the racket you would need to position your finger to have the racket rest perfectly horizontal.
The three different balances that rackets are categorized under are: head-heavy, head-light, and even balanced.
To boost the power behind a smash shot, you should choose a head-heavy racket. Head-heavy rackets have weight concentrated towards the frame or head of the racket. Having more mass situated near the top of the racket increases the momentum in the racket swing, which translates into added power behind the smash. You can imagine this as the weight atop a sledgehammer, which can be brought down with thundering force!
As the balance of the racket shifts towards the handle of the racket, players will gain better racket control at the expense of added power. Players focused on delivering powerful smashes should stray away from head-light rackets.
A racket being heavy-heavy should not be confused with the overall heaviness or weight of the racket. Racket weight is captured from a range of 1U to 3F. Rackets at each weight category can potentially also be classified as head-heavy, head-light, or even balanced. Players looking for a powerful smash should opt for a racket weight around 3U. This weight offers enough mass behind a swing (think momentum = mass x velocity) without causing the player too much arm fatigue too quickly.
|1U||95g – 99.9g|
|2U||90g – 94.9g|
|3U||85g – 89.9g|
|4U||80g – 84.9g|
|5U||75g – 79.9g|
|F||70g – 74.9g|
|2F||65g – 69.9g|
|3F||60g – 64.9g|
The flexibility (flex for short) of a racket refers to how stiff the shaft is. The stiffness of a racket’s shaft directly impacts how fast the racket will recover during the execution of a shot. The stiffer the racket shaft, the less it will bend during the swing. With less bend, the shaft has a shorter distance to travel to return to its natural upright state, otherwise deemed as a shorter recovery. Rackets that have a higher flex will bend more and take longer to return to its natural upright state.
In order for smashers to overwhelm their opponents, they require a racket that will not only be able to deliver fast smashes that explode quickly off the racket’s string bed. Let’s explore what this means and how it relates to flexibility. A fast smash refers to the shuttlecock moving at a high speed through the shot. Whereas quickness refers to the shuttlecock moving fast or doing something in a short time. While proper form, technique, and even the racket itself can contribute to a fast smash, the stiffness of a racket helps deliver a quick smash. This is primarily due to the speed of racket recovery.
Given the shorter recovery of stiffer rackets, the racket seemingly snaps back quickly and delivers immediate feedback from the player’s swing into the racket. The result is that the short recovery allows the racket head to meet the shuttlecock sooner, which sends the shuttlecock back towards the opponent in a shorter duration of time. This is what we mean by achieving a quick smash. Flexible rackets on the other hand takes longer to register a smash, as the greater degree of racket bending leads to a longer recovery time. The result is a slower return of the shaft to its natural position, lengthening the time in which the power is transferred from the swing to the shuttlecock, reducing the shot’s quickness.
Flexibility is usually plotted on a range and may be categorized differently per manufacturer. Yonex, one of most popular badminton brands in the world, for example, categorizes flexibility in 4 distinct buckets: Hi-Flex, Medium, Stiff, Extra Stiff.
For smash oriented players, we recommend choosing a stiff or extra stiff racket. This will offer the shortest recovery time for your smashes to deliver the quickest smashes. However, stiff rackets are generally recommended for intermediate or advanced players. Beginners or recreational players should not choose stiff rackets as they do not yet have the strength or skills to navigate the demands of a stiff racket. Forcing a quick swing to extract the full power of a stiff racket may lead to injury. If you are a beginner, check out the 4 Best Badminton Rackets for Beginners to find the racket that best suits your level and play style.
In order to generate power with stiff rackets, players need to be able to generate a quick swing on their own, else the racket would offer little to no recoil unto the shuttlecock. Players with a slower swing may need to opt for a medium flexibility racket, but do so at the discretion of a shot that is less quick.
Racket Technology and Material
In the modern day, the badminton racket has evolved leaps and bounds from its wooden origins. Manufacturers have experimented with several concepts to improve the badminton racket. From frame shape and size to shaft length and thickness, the badminton racket is modified to improve a particular attribute of badminton play.
Certain racket technologies have been developed by keeping the optimization of a player’s smash as the primary objective. Players prioritizing smashes should seek out rackets that specifically employ smash-boosting technologies. Some of the most important concepts have been:
- Weight distribution in the racket frame to bolster its durability through the smash.
- Enhancement of snap back to enable steeper smashing angles.
- Reduction of air resistance through addressing the aerodynamics of the racket.
Materials used in the construction of a racket follow a similar theory to racket technology. Materials help to reinforce the racket to deliver better quality shots. Some of the key materials that are particularly useful for smashing include:
- High Modulus (HM) Graphite which strengthens and stiffens the racket.
- High-elasticity material that boosts the velocity of the swing of the racket head.
- New advanced graphite which stores and unleashes large amounts of power in a player’s shot.
Badminton racket manufacturers have developed and branded their own racket technologies and material names. We will cover these items in the rackets we have specifically chosen for amplifying a player’s smash. However, if you want to do your own research, we advise you to look closely at what the technologies and materials used within the racket are meant to achieve. Choosing a racket that focuses on boosting the smash will be the cherry on the top of selecting a stiff and head-heavy racket.
4 Best Rackets for Smashing
1. Yonex Voltric Z Force II
Yonex’s Voltric rackets are branded as the series that delivers crushing power, which goes hand in hand with players looking to smash. Its entire line of rackets are head-heavy, which provides that extra momentum to back a player’s swing.
The signature technology within the Yonex Voltric series is the TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM. This invention strategically distributes the weight throughout the racket frame along with modifying the uniformity of frame thickness along the top and sides of the racket head. While it maintains a head-heavy balance, the TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM embodies a stiff top frame with thinner frames along the side of the racket head. This creates a phenomenon in which the shuttle is held on the string bed for longer, transferring more power from string to shuttle, resulting in a faster smash.
To address the decreased racket handling that is commonly associated with head-heavier rackets – remember head-light rackets generate better control – the TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM uniquely balances the weight distribution at the top of the frame and at the built-in T Joint where the racket head meets the shaft. Coupled with the aerodynamically thin sides of the frame, the Voltric rackets are able to cut through the air with reduced resistance and deliver thunderous power.
The Voltric Z Force II is the top of the line racket in the Voltric racket series. It includes the signature TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM and more. The Voltric Z Force II has a new built-in T joint beyond the other rackets in its series, which serves to stabilize the racket on the string bed to offer its wielder better control through fewer vibrations.
The Voltric Z Force II includes a highly elastic material known as the EX-HMG in its shaft, which produces additional power behind each shot. The high modulus (HM) graphite is a material that contributes to the stiffness of the racket, which players can leverage to deliver quick smashes.
The Voltric Z Force II was released in 2014 and was the racket of choice for legend Lee Chong Wei. At that time, this racket was released with Yonex’s thinnest shaft, the extra thin shaft which aided players in achieving quick swings, which in turn generates faster smashes. This characteristic complemented the Voltric’s extra stiff shaft, which made it a little more forgiving for players who may have a slower swing.
Take the Voltric Z Force II with you onto the court and overwhelm your opponents with sheer power.
2. Yonex Astrox 100 ZZ
Yonex’s Astrox rackets are known for its extraordinary ability to deliver steep attacks, which makes it even more challenging for opponents to return shots. Fast smashes at sharp angles are the perfect recipe for victory. The Astrox racket series is slated to replace the previously mentioned Voltric series, so you know the Astrox rackets will also be capable of producing dominating smashes.
The namesake of the Astrox racket series is the rotational generator system. This is a unique feature that applies the counterbalance theory in distributing the weight of the racket in 3 distinct locations – at the top of the frame, at the bottom of the frame at the t-joint, and finally at the handle of the racket. This is a fundamental shift from the standard racket, where weight is evenly distributed along the racket frame and shaft. While the rotational generator system enables players to quickly recover and be poised for the next shot, its contribution to smashing is in its ability to deliver steeper smash through the larger degree of swing the counterbalance achieves. Yonex boasts that this technology can help player achieve a steeper smash by up to 2.3°.
While we had mentioned above that the Voltric Z Force II had the thinnest shaft out of Yonex’s rackets, the manufacturer one-upped themselves by introducing the hyper slim shaft in the release of their Astrox 100 ZZ racket in March 2020. The hyper slim shaft is Yonex’s thinnest shaft ever for faster slicing through the air.
The Yonex Astrox 100 ZZ is devastating on court with its extra stiff flexibility shaft, imbued with a new racket material known as namd. Namd is a revolutionary graphite material that attaches nanomaterial directly to graphite fibers, which stores a large amount of energy during the flex of the racket, which then gets unleashed onto the shuttlecock through a quicker snapback response. While namd is present in the shaft of most Astrox rackets, only 2 rackets – the Astrox 100 ZZ and Astrox 99 – contain the namd throughout the shaft and racket frame. Its claimed the longer racket stroke from the flex derived from the namd can increase shuttlecock speeds by up to 7.1% – delightful news for smash-oriented players.
The Astrox 100 ZZ contains a new energy boost cap plus found at the intersection between the racket shaft and handle. The indents in the front of the energy boost cap plus optimizes the shaft’s performance by allowing it to achieve additional flex, which ties back to unleashing a steeper shot.
Similarly to the Voltric Z Force II, the Astrox 100 ZZ also HM Graphite in both its frame and shaft, which bolsters the racket’s stiffness which contributes to the quickness of the shuttlecock leaving the string bed upon contact.
To further boost the potential of the Astrox 100 ZZ, the racket’s ambassador is none other than former Men’s Singles World Champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Viktor used the Astrox 100 ZZ in the 2020 All England Open, where he emerged as the champion.
Unsettle your opponents with the Astrox 100 ZZ with near impossible to return smashes through its speed and steepness.
3. Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw
Victor’s Thruster racket series is known for its ability to deliver powerful shots. Its motto is: “deliver lethal smashes to win”. Sounds perfect for someone looking for a racket that amplifies their smash shots.
The Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw is just slightly head heavy in balance and contains high resilience modulus graphite in both the frame and shaft. The hard material adds stiffness to these distinct locations of the racket, contributing to the short recovery of the racket which leads to quicker shots that come off the string bed.
The modified racket frame resembles more of a rounded shape in comparison to the more commonly seen square isometric heads. Victor claims that the improved head shape generates increased power. The Thruster rackets frames are double enforced for heightened durability and ability to deliver powerful smashes.
Within the racket frame is a new material coined Rebound Shield which is made of elastic glass fibers into the multilayered design of the frame which helps to deliver dominating shots with comfort.
The Victor Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw is made with Nano Fortify TR+ material which is an upgraded carbon-fiber version of the Nano Fortify which has supreme elasticity to deliver great repulsion power.
The racket shaft is extra thing, enabling swift swing speeds by optimizing aerodynamics and reducing air resistance.
The Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw is made widely popular by being the racket of choice of the reigning World No. 1 Women’s Singles player from Taiwan – Tai Tzu Ying (as of January 27, 2021).
A racket made for champions, take up the Victor Thruster K Falcon Claw and smash your way to victory!
4. Yonex Duora 10
Yonex’s Duora series is a game changer in its introduction of a unique racket frame that combines two different frames on opposite faces of the racket, giving it its mark of dual impact.
The box frame intended for the forehand delivers solid, crisp, and powerful shots. On the flip side – literally – the aero frame seeks to address the generally weaker shots on a player’s backhand by creating a more aerodynamic construction for speedier swings and higher repulsion. Catch your opponents by surprise by delivering a mighty response with a backhand smash.
The Duora 10 is manufactured with the same HM Graphite material in the frame and shaft and new built-in T joint as the previously covered Voltric Z Force II and Astrox 100 ZZ rackets.
To drive the point home, the HM Graphite material adds stiffness to the racket which in turn produces quicker replies. The built-in T joint is able to stabilize the shuttle on the string bed, producing better control of the shuttle before immediately firing towards the opponents end of the court.
The frame is further reinforced with NICKEL-TITANIUM FIBER which helps the frame retain its shape during play while lending a hand in increasing the power behind each shot.
While the stiff shaft is not as thin as the extra thin shaft and hyper thin shaft of the Voltric Z Force II and Astrox 100 ZZ rackets, respectively, the Duora 10 sports a super slim shaft that aims to still enable its player quick and powerful swings by reducing the air resistance when executing a shot.
The Duora 10 is a popular racket of choice among top professional players such as the former Men’s Doubles World Champions from Denmark – Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen – and was the racket that the recently retired legend Lee Chong Wei chose to replace the Voltric Z Force II.
Of special note is that the Duora 10 was the racket that made history in registering the fastest recorded smash in competitive play in 2017 by Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding at an astonishing 426 kph (264.7 mph)!
Extinguish your opponent’s chances of winning by overpowering them with the Duora 10!
Honorable Mention – Yonex Nanoray Z Speed
We would like to take a moment to give an honorable mention to the Yonex Nanoray Z Speed racket. This racket hails from Yonex’s Nanoray racket series, which are known for lightning speed. This is a suitable trait as it precisely describes the feat that retired Malaysia professional player Tan Boon Heong achieved with it.
In a 2013 experimental speed test to achieve the fastest recorded smash in non-competition, Tan Boon Heong, wielding the Nanoray Z Speed, set an astonishing Guiness world record with a smash clocking a whopping 493 KPH (306.3 MPH)!
While the Nanoray series was not designed specifically for monstrous smashes, this world record goes to show that in the right hands, alongside proper physique, form, and technique, you can still achieve amazing smash performances.
Pick up a Nanoray Z Speed and channel your potential to one-up the fastest recorded smash speed in history!
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