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Yonex Badminton Rackets for Beginners - Are They Worth Buying?

In the past, it is rare to find Yonex graphite badminton rackets that are below USD30. Let us emphasize that we are referring to graphite rackets, not the aluminium or steel ones. The cheapest Yonex graphite will probably cost more than USD35. However, this has changed over the past few years. What triggers it? We probably have to thank Apacs for this. Apacs have carved out a market segment of cheap, light weight and high-tension badminton rackets. Apacs graphite rackets have been sold at prices never seen before. And, these are not just ordinary graphite rackets. They are light: ranging from 78g to 85g. They can withstand stringing tension up to 38lbs (in lab tests. NOT for actual games on the court)

With all of these, Apacs have taken the badminton world by storm, especially in Asia, where consumers crave for light weight and high tension. This dealt other brands a big blow, including Yonex. Their entry-level graphite are nowhere near the prices of Apacs rackets. And, the Yonex ones are not able to withstand high tension: most of them only up to 26lbs. Moreover, they are not very light. The weight is at least 84g and above. If you were Yonex, what would you do? Naturally, you want a piece of the pie as well. Therefore, Yonex started sourcing from factories in China that can produce such light weight and cheap rackets. Before this, most of their rackets were made in Japan, where quality is the main focus; not price. 

So, here we are today. We can see Yonex entry-level graphite badminton rackets flooding the market. We can speak of Yonex Astrox Lite 27i, Yonex Astrox Lite 21i, Yonex Nanoray Light 18i and the list goes on and on. Now, the question in most consumers mind is, are these entry-level graphite Yonex badminton rackets worth buying? We shall consider this based on several factors important in choosing a badminton racket 


1) Performance

In terms of racket performance, Yonex badminton rackets are comparable to other entry-level badminton rackets. After all, they are all manufactured in China, possibly the same factories as some other brands. So, there is not much distinction there. The rackets are as Yonex describe them: light and can withstand high tension. However, in terms of balancing and shaft flexibility, they are probably not as consistent as other Yonex rackets of higher prices. For instance, when the balancing is stated as 290mm +/-5mm, it most likely falls into the deviation range. Moreover, when the balancing is 293mm during this batch, it might not be the same in other batches. So, if you would like to buy an exact racket, it will be quite tough. There is bound to be a bit of differences across batches


2) Cosmetics

In terms of racket appearance, Yonex entry-level graphite rackets have more attractive designs than many other brands. They also have more variations to choose from. And, most importantly, they don't have any chip-off problem associated with some of Apacs entry-level rackets. The paint chip-off does not affect the performance of a racket, but a minority group of consumers are bothered by it. Hence, for these customers, Yonex rackets will be ideal for them


3) Stringing

This is one part where Yonex have to improve on. It is nothing major but it is something that bothers stringers. As you know, grommets are those plastic parts that hold strings in place. In Yonex entry-level rackets, the grommets tend to drop out during the stringing process. They also tend to drop out from rackets before the rackets are strung. Therefore, if you purchase the rackets unstrung, you have to make sure all the grommets are there. For stringers, not only do you have to be careful not to drop the grommets during stringing, but you also need to make sure the grommets do not get pulled along by the strings. One of the reasons why the grommets drop out easily, is because some of the holes on the rackets are too big for the grommets. Some of the grommets have also being misplaced. For instance, some standard grommets are placed in holes that are meant to be shared between two strings. Therefore, naturally, the holes will be too big for the strings. The problem might seem small, but it requires a lot of effort and attention from stringers. Otherwise, the strings might break easily if the grommets are missing.


4) Logos

One complaint we hear often from customers, is the fact that Yonex-associated badminton organization logos placed on these entry-level rackets can vary from models to models, or even batches to batches. Bear in mind, we are talking about genuine Yonex badminton rackets. One reason we can think of is possibly due to the fact that Yonex engage several factories to make these entry-level graphite rackets. And, they place different association logos on the racket, either by intention or by mistake. (we believe most likely it is the latter). Despite this, it is just a superficial weakness. It does not affect the quality of the racket. However, with the widespread imitation of Yonex rackets, some dealers might get into trouble if consumers suspect their rackets are fake due to this difference in logo, So, to save dealers from potential wrong accusations, it is fitting that Yonex deal with this problem soon.