Whatever your level of performance, if you have had a badminton racket for a while, it's likely that at some point the racket strings will become damaged, or broken due to wear and tear.
This begs the question: to restring, or replace your badminton racket? The answer is never easy, but this guide can hopefully help your decision making process.
Restringing your badminton racket
This is a very cost-effective way of refreshing your game. New strings in a badminton racket certainly gives it a new lease of life. The strings are a vital part of the game – the contact point on the shuttle – and much like new tyres on a car, new strings can provide improved performance while keeping all the properties you are familiar with on your existing badminton racket.
Over time strings will wear, lose tension, and inevitably will break – but when should you consider restringing your badminton racket if they have not snapped? If you feel a noticeable drop in performance, loss of power and/or control, or a dull hitting sound, fresh strings from a reputable stringer could do the job.
As an approximate guide, the number of times you play a week should equate roughly to the number of restrings required over a year. Playing three times a week would mean a restring three times a year – approximately every four months.
This is not an exact science, and there are many other variables that affect string performance and durability such as the string gauge, the tension, and the number of rackets you use. Essentially though, maintaining good quality strings/tension in your badminton racket can vastly help performance and reduce the need for expensive racket purchases.
Replacing your badminton racket
So why even bother buying new? There are many advantages to consider, the biggest of which is probably new badminton racket mechanics. The manufacturers are always hard at work, and the technology is forever improving. Different materials infused with the ever-evolving use of graphite means an existing racket can be very quickly out-of-date, even after just a few years.
As with buying a completely new car, current technology and new specifications can be very attractive prospects – and the same can be said with rackets. A complete change of model can sometimes be needed to elevate your game to the next level. A change of weight, balance, or even switch of brand completely. These bigger changes can only be achieved with a completely new racket.
Another thing to consider is how your game evolves over time, a change of racket is often necessary to complement a changing style. As a junior player gets stronger, as a beginner/intermediate player starts to improve, or as an older player perhaps begins to slow down, these can all warrant the need for a new badminton racket rather than just a restring. Essentially a more fit-for-purpose model can be a change for the better.
There is no exact answer for when to buy a new racket, but in order to maximise the best performance for your game it is worth considering a replacement after a good few years of use – especially if playing more than once a week. A new badminton racket can be the better option rather than restringing an already battered and bruised older badminton racket.
So, to restring or replace?
There are advantages to both restringing and replacing your badminton racket. A restring is the far cheaper option and is an effective revamp on your existing racket. But if your racket is now tired and outdated, or your game now requires a complete change, it is probably better to cut your losses and look to buy new.