How Often Should You Replace Your Badminton Strings?

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Badminton strings are an essential part of a badminton racket, as they are what a player strikes the shuttlecock with each and every shot. Strings are not all created the same and each of them can offer a different quality to its user – from a power boost to remarkable hitting sound. Besides choosing the right strings to complement a player’s play style, knowing when to replace badminton strings is just as important of a decision. Badminton players will need to replace their strings at different intervals, and failure to replace badminton strings at the right moment may severely impact a player’s playing experience.

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How often you should replace your badminton strings is based off your skill level, budget, and play style. Beginners should replace their strings when they break, intermediate players when the string tensions drops below their threshold for playability, and advanced/professionals as frequently as possible. Budget-conscious and power players should replace their strings only when they break, while control/technical players should replace their strings when the strings no longer offer enough control for what the player demands. 

Let’s explore why choosing when to replace your badminton strings varies across these different factors and what our recommendation would be for each scenario!

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Replacing Badminton Strings Based Off Player Level

We at BadmintonBites categorize badminton players into one of three different levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each of the different playing levels will have a different consideration on when to change their strings, as the focus of the players within each level differs drastically from the others. How so? We’re glad you asked, read on to find out!

Player Level: Beginner

Beginners and casual players are typically grouped into the same bucket. Players here are either just picking up the sport and learning the basics a with total play time of less than 2 years, or play with the simple intention of having fun. Either which way, the focus of this group will be on trying to maintain a rally by keeping the shuttlecock in the air back and forth between themselves and their opponents for as long as possible. There typically is little to no emphasis on relying on the badminton strings to provide extra control over the shuttlecock. 

Beginners and casual players can be more forgiving of the degeneration of string material and/or change in string tension. Chances are that beginners or casual players may not actually be able to notice the difference as it pertains to their game play. As such, the general recommendation here is to only replace the strings when the badminton strings break. Intentionally changing your strings prior to when it naturally breaks can result in unnecessary costs associated with restringing more frequently.

Player Level: Intermediate

Intermediate players are players who have played badminton for more than 2 years and have been able to learn and perform each of the basic badminton shots. Intermediate players will take the game a little more seriously than beginners as they have acquired the skills to engage in more competitive matches. Players in this category will have developed the ability to notice the differences when their strings may have lost tension enough to be outside of their preferences, or even that the strings are not as responsive as when they were freshly strung. 

There is a rule of thumb that seasoned players and even some stringers recommend for intermediate players. That is to restring as many times in a year as you play in a week. This means that if you play three times a week, then you should target restringing your racket three times a year. We feel that this recommendation is a bit too general though, as it doesn’t consider the intensity, play style, or duration of a session of badminton. 

Instead, we recommend intermediate players to change their strings when the the string tension falls below their acceptable tension drop. After being strung, badminton strings suffer from a phenomenon known as string creep. String creep refers to the natural loss of string tension after the strings are strung. This happens as post-stringing, the molecules within the string material will naturally stretch. Within the first 24 hours after strings are strung, the tension will drop about 10%. String tension will continue to decrease naturally at a slower rate after this point, most prominently when used with each session of badminton. 

When strings decrease in tension, the string bed will become looser and increases the trampoline effect of the strings. Coupled with a larger sweet spot, this will actually result in a higher generation of power behind each shot. You may be wondering, why is this a bad thing? As an intermediate player, you are able to generate your own power through proper form and technique, reducing the dependency on looser strings to boost your shots. Rather, you have a greater emphasis on control, generated through higher string tensions as it reduces the bounciness of the shuttlecock coming off of the string bed. 

Intermediate players should aim for a string tension between 22 – 26 lbs (10 – 11.8 kg). Check out What String Tension Should I Use? to discover why we advise against intermediate players from stringing past 26 lbs (11.8 kg) and dive into how string tension can amplify your game. 

To stay cost conscious and keep string creep in mind, we recommend that intermediate players string a few pounds higher than what they desire to actually play at. Primarily, to factor in the 10% tension loss after 24 hours. For example, if you are most comfortable with playing with strings at 24 pounds of string tension, opt for stringing at at least 26 pounds, if not 27 pounds. This will elongate the time in which your strings will be within your ideal string tension.

Player Level: Advanced/Professional

Advanced players are those who have been playing high-level badminton for 5 or more years. These players have mastered the various basic and advanced shots in badminton and have developed the acute ability to notice any irregularities in their rackets – be it string tension, elasticity, or responsiveness. Their refined senses are a result of diligent training on the courts, many by means of a professional coach.

As advanced players, especially those in the competitive scene, are facing opponents of similar skill mastery, demand strict quality of equipment, which includes string health. Advanced players tend to play at high string tensions – oftentimes more than the manufacturer suggested string tensions – as maximum control from strings is their top priority. 

Here, we would recommend advanced/professional players to restring their racket as frequently as their finances allow. As even slight degeneration of the string material can make the difference between a point winning shot or a dud. Furthermore, string creep would be more serious to advanced/professional players given their need to play with utmost control. On the other hand, with most advanced players preferring a higher tension, in a majority of situations, their strings will snap naturally before too much string creep sets in. 

The saving grace here is that advanced players that are professional badminton players may be sponsored by big badminton brands such as Yonex, Victor, or LiNing. These sponsors, as part of the player’s contract, may provide unlimited strings to the sponsored players. Competitive advanced players may seek to get their rackets restrung right before important tournaments, whereas sponsored players can afford taking their restringing frequency one step further to be as often as before each match!

Replacing Badminton Strings Based Off Player Budget

If you are a budget conscious player, whether that be by choice or circumstance, you will most likely be looking at getting the most value out of your dollar. The most economically friendly option for players looking to save money would be to only restring their racket when the strings break. Being cost-conscious will usually come as a trade-off for desired control through a high string tension, or crisp hitting sound and defined responsiveness of freshly strung strings. 

We do want to introduce an exception to our recommendation above. There are situations in which the string tension would have declined so much through string creep and natural material deterioration that the strings become near impossible to break on their own. Essentially, the string bed would have an overall string tension low enough where it could withstand mishits. Here, the strings may reach a point where it no longer benefits the player in providing power and rather adds negative value through its lack of playability. In such a scenario, players should make the decision to deliberately cut and replace the strings in favor of a better playing experience. 

While you may be tempted to do so, refrain from repairing the strings that break instead of restringing the entirety of the racket. Repairing the string means replacing only the broken strings. While it may be cheaper in terms of material cost and service fees, it is advised against for several reasons. Improperly replacing a single broken string may end up causing damage to the frame of the racket (which is even costlier than restringing the racket all together) or ruin the uniformity of string tension throughout the string bed, which results in a poor playing experience. Check out the following informative video by Mark Lawrence, a Senior Stringer from the Yonex Stringing Team on when he thinks a racket should be restrung and why players should never repair a singular broken string:

Tips for Budget Friendliness

  • Purchase thicker strings. Thicker strings, such as the Yonex BG-65 are more durable than thinner strings, offering a longer lifespan than thinner strings. The tradeoff here is that thicker strings generally display lower repulsion power. However, those looking for durability and repulsion power should opt for thicker strings strung at a lower tension. 
  • String at a lower tension. Strings strung at a lower tension have a better resilience to the stress applied by each shot. Rackets strung at a lower tension will have an increased sweet spot on the string bed, creating a bigger area of acceptable hitting where shots may otherwise be considered mishits on smaller sweet spots. 
  • Be mindful of proper string care. Two key considerations for string care is storage and scooping the shuttlecock off the ground.
    • Storage: storage refers to both how and where you keep your rackets when they are not being used on court. Most badminton players have a badminton bag to carry all of their belongings. This can include shoes, rackets, grips, strings, clothes, and other personal belongings like wallet, keys, and cellphone. As racket strings are quite fragile, players should strive for keeping their rackets within individual racket sleeves and away from sharp or hard objects that could rub against and wear down the strings. As racket strings are prone to becoming brittle in cold temperatures, keep rackets in a location where it is closer to room temperature (indoors) instead of colder areas such as in the garage, care trunk, or basement.
    • Scooping the shuttlecock off the ground: with the racket being an extension of a player’s arm, players tend to use the side of the racket to scoop the shuttlecock from the ground instead of bending over to pick it up. This could jeopardize the strings as scraping the racket frame against the ground could erode the material that serves to protect the strings. In other cases, the strings that are threaded in and out of the racket frame may directly come in contact with the ground, which can cause damage to the strings themselves. 

Replacing Badminton Strings Based Off Play Style

In this section we will be looking specifically at the following two play styles, which we consider to be the two ends of the spectrum: Power/Attacking vs. Control/Technique.

Play Style: Power/Attacking

Players who prefer the power/attacking play style enjoy dominating the rally with unrelenting smashes from the back or constantly hitting the shuttlecock downward. Typically this play style will involve high intensity shots which will shorten the string life faster than from technical shots. However, due the nature of power/attacking play, the emphasis is not on maintaining string tension.

Our recommendation for power/attacking players is to replace your strings only when they naturally break. An attacking play style will already apply stress onto the strings, which can erode the outer layer of the strings. Additionally, with increased frequency of executing smashes, there is a higher chance that power/attacking players may mishit with a smash, which can snap the strings naturally. There is rarely a need for players here to cut strings to proactively replace them.

Play Style: Control/Technical

Players who prefer the control/technical play style strive to use refined skill, a wide array of badminton shots, and strategy to outdo their opponents. Their strengths lay in execution of precise shots, whether that be tight, spinning net drops, pin-point accuracy placement, or setting the pace for the rally. Control/technical players have a high reliance on maintaining absolute control over the shuttlecock, namely the responsiveness that the shuttlecock will have to the player’s bidding. 

Our recommendation for control/technical players is to replace your strings when the strings don’t offer enough control for your liking. Make sure that you do not make a rash decision and restring your racket prematurely if you may actually just be having an off day playing badminton. Rather, if you have observed a pattern in which the strings are not providing the level of control you expect, forcing you to over-compensate by altering your natural playing style, then that is an indication for control/technical players to consider restringing their racket instead of playing on until the strings break naturally. 

What Are Signs That Badminton Strings Are at Risk of Breaking?

Signs of Broken Strings
Signs That Badminton Strings Are at Risk of Breaking

1. Fraying. Fraying refers to when the outer casing of the badminton strings are wearing away, exposing the underlying core of the strings. Players are able to visibly see this as the strings look frizzy due to the string material splitting. Fraying is usually caused by general wear and tear of repeatedly hitting the shuttlecock at the same spot on the racket – commonly within the sweet spot of the string bed. Fraying can be accelerated through mishits, such as striking different parts of the skirt of the shuttlecock OR through slice shots that can put additional stress on the strings. 

To spot fraying better, players can opt to play with colored versions of badminton strings. The disintegration of the outer casing of the strings will stand out as the color of the core will have a contrasting color to the color of the casing. 

2. Broken or splitting grommets. Grommets are the miniature tubes that are inserted in the frame of the racket which allows for the badminton string to pass through without touching the frame itself. The grommets’ purpose is to relieve the strings from creating friction through contact with the string, where the pressure from the string tension and hardness of the frame material can cause the strings to snap. Grommets, however, are the piece of the racket that will absorb the pressure from the strings themselves and will deform or warp overtime. If the grommets start splitting and the strings are exposed to contact with the racket frame, this will greatly increase the risk of string breakage. 

Players should take the time to examine their grommets periodically. If there is noticeable damage to grommets, players should request their stringer to replace the grommets prior to restringing. This will help ensure that a freshly restrung racket will not snap prematurely because of the strings rubbing against the racket frame. 

3. String notching. Notching is the behavior when the interweaving cross and main strings of a racket cut into one another. Notching typically occurs from the pressure of string tension and stress from each shot on the overlaying strings. Over time, the continual notching will put the strings at higher risks until they end up snapping from general play. Visually, players are able to observe this through the thinning out of one of the overlapping strings. 

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