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Rackets in Badminton - The "Secrets" Out There

Do Brands Keep Their Promises?

Often times, consumers are at the mercy of brands when it comes to product specifications and promises. That is why consumer associations exist to protect the rights of consumers. Unfortunately, not all matters reach the hands of consumer associations. Often times, the issues might be too small or just too many for consumer associations to handle effectively. Most of the time, they just get ignored or neglected. Therefore, the best way to protect consumers is through knowledge. 

The same can be said of badminton products, especially rackets. Sometimes, brands do not deliver what they promise or at least, not fully. Consumers might sense that something is not right but not sure exactly what. Or, sometimes, consumers are just not aware of it. In other circumstances, there is just no way for consumers to ascertain the truth. 

This blog post is meant to make you aware of some of the things that may vary from brands to brands, or in some cases, that are not fully the truth. Having said that, we also need to clarify that by knowing these "trade secrets," it does not mean that there is a way to find out the truth, or to correct the issue. However, by being aware of them, at least we can fine tune our expectations and take things with a pinch of salt


So, What "Trade Secrets" Might Brands Be Hiding From Consumers

1) Weight 

Weight is one of the first factors consumers look at, when they are shopping for a badminton racket. Weight is usually written in grams or U format (For instance, 3U, 4U, 5U). As with other manufactured items, not all items will turn out the same at all times. A 82g racket might not always come out as 82g all the time. There is still a human factor involved in production, that will affect this consistency level. Therefore, to protect themselves, manufacturers will also put +/- at the back of the weight. e.g 82g +/-5g. This means the racket is 82g, with allowance for difference of 5 grams heavier or 5 grams lighter/ The problem is that, nowadays many brands take advantage of this by making a racket sounds lighter than it actually is. For instance, a racket might weigh about 90g. To make it sound better, brands will display the weight as 85g +/-5g. In badminton, 85g and 90g can make a whole lot of difference to some consumers. It will influence their mind in deciding which racket to purchase

Another confusion in weight exists due to the different standards used in defining a U specification. For example, for many brands, an 82g racket is still considered a 4U racket, However, certain brands list an 82g rackets as a 5U racket. This is also evident in grip size. For instance, for Yonex rackets, a grip size of G5 is considered the smallest. However, in Apacs rackets, G1 is the smallest grip size. 


2) Graphite

Graphite is a well-sought-after material in racket construction, as in automobile, electronics and weaponry industry. Badminton players prefer graphite rackets as they are generally lighter. Graphite rackets are defined in terms of T. .eg 30T, 40T, 50T graphite. The bigger the number, the more expensive is the racket, as a bigger number generally means higher durability. However, what most consumers do not realize is that, there are several layers of graphite involved in making a racket. And, most brands just define the graphite on the outermost layer. For instance, in a 40T Graphite racket, it might just mean that the top layer graphite is 40T. The other layers could be 24T or below. There are "honest" brands out there, though. When they say 40T graphite frame, they really mean that the whole frame is made of 40T graphite. How do you tell which is which? Well, we probably have no exact way to do so, However, one important clue is the reputation of the brand. If the brand has been trustworthy and truthful in other things, then probably they are telling the truth when they claim that their rackets are made of 40T graphite entirely. 


3) Graphite Again

As we mentioned earlier, most consumers are searching for graphite rackets nowadays, so the price competition among all the brands in graphite racket market is getting increasingly intense. In order to gain an edge over their competitors, some brands go to the extent of listing their rackets as graphite, even though it actually contains some fiberglass. Fiberglass is cheaper than graphite and its main weakness is its lack of control. 


4) Design and Engineering of Rackets

Some badminton brands like to use the term "designed and engineered" and the locations will usually be Japan or Korea. Many consumers have the impression that the rackets actually come from these two countries. However, that is not the case. The words "designed" and "engineered" have been used loosely. It does not mean that the rackets are made in these countries. Perhaps only the conception of idea or product design is from there.


5) Product Registration

Another favourite "trick" of badminton brand owners is to register their brands in more "prestigious" countries; perhaps Japan, UK, etc. Their products will then display the country names in which they register their brands. This makes customers think that the particular brands are from these "prestigious" countries. In actual fact, it is far from true. The companies are not located in those countries. Neither are the rackets made in those countries. So, the next time you hear a badminton brand called "Haaland" Norway, do not assume that the company is from Norway nor the products are made there.