The Higher the Racket String Poundage the Better?

Text / Wang Jia-hao

No matter if you are a beginner or have been playing badminton for years, you will probably have been bothered by the three big questions in badminton

1. Which type of racket suits me?
2. Which string type should I choose?
3. What is the right poundage for the strings?













Indeed, racket, string type and poundage are the three main factors that affect feel when you play. Generally speaking, the order of the three for effect on feel is, from greatest effect to lowest: racket>string poundage>string type.

To find out how to choose the right racket for you readers can go to Choosing the right racket for yourself. To find out about the properties of string types and their differences, go to Introduction to the types of badminton string. This article is an in-depth introduction to String Poundage.

Comparison of high and low poundage

Generally speaking, the higher the string poundage, the better shuttlecock control and elasticity will be, while low poundage makes controlling the shuttlecock more difficult. When poundage is high, the string bed is relatively hard which means the shuttlecock and the racket face are in contact for a relatively short time. Short contact time means that the strings have relatively little effect when the shuttlecock is hit and so control of the shuttlecock is easier.

  High poundage Low poundage
Better control of shuttlecock
Initial speed when shuttlecock hit is fast, giving advantages for shots in front of the net
Low elasticity of string bed so less interference from the string bed when shuttlecock hit
Good string bed elasticity, allows power to be borrowed
Hitting long shots requires less effort
Less burden on wrist and arm
More effort required for long shots
More burden on wrist and arm
Less control over the shuttlecock
Power easily dissipates when
shuttlecock hit

When poundage is excessively high, the low number of depressions in the string bed means the contact time between shuttlecock and racket face is short and so, if instant exertion of force is insufficient, the shuttlecock will travel slowly. When poundage is excessively low, the large number of depressions in the string bed means contact between racket face and shuttlecock is longer, meaning that the power from instant exertion of force is unable to be fully transferred to the shuttlecock.

String bed soft (low poundage):
1. At moment shuttlecock is hit large shape changes caused by receipt of force.
2. Shuttlecock stays on racket face for relatively long time.
Hard string bed (high poundage):
1. At moment shuttlecock is hit small shape changes caused by receipt of force.
2. Shuttlecock stays on racket face for relatively short time.
Diagram showing degree of
depression of the string bed

How to choose the right poundage

When choosing the right poundage, the main consideration should be whether sufficient instant force can be exerted (means a player capable of hitting with the instant force required ); when instant force is sufficient then effect on control of the shuttlecock can be considered.

“Suitable” poundage does refer to a specific poundage. At this point I’ll share a secret with you all: from the moment a racket is strung its strings begin to lose poundage. Many players probably think that “I can play for a long time after having my racket strung before I begin to feel the poundage is to low” and this is because the poundage suitable to every individual is a range not a specific figure, like 22-26 or 25-29 lbs.

You can borrow rackets from fellow players and try a few shots with rackets of different poundage to find out what range the poundage most suited to you is. Basically, as long as there is no discomfort or lack of fluency when making a shot, the poundage is suitable.


Poundage is not “the higher the better.”

High string poundage has its advantages but also has side effects, the most direct of which is that the instant exertion of force requirement will increase as poundage is increased; this means that when choosing the right poundage it is certainly not a case of “the higher the better”; and players should take into account their ability and technique and then choose the most suitable poundage.

Everyone should remember that no matter if the poundage is too high or too low you will have to make extra effort with every shot played; so if you feel “It takes more effort to play shots than usual with this poundage” then the time for restringing and adjusting poundage has arrived.


Example” If a player whose most suitable poundage is
26-29lbs has poundage that is too high or too low….

When poundage is too low it will feel
like this when you play shots:

1.. When playing smashes, you will feel like the power dissipates when the shuttlecock is hit, is not concentrated and that the shuttlecock is not hit firmly
2. As described above, because of the dissipation of power more power is needed to play quality shots, meaning that energy is used up.
3. When play a drive (at the moment of impact and after) the speed of the shot will feel slower than it should.

When poundage is too high it will feel when you play shots:

1. The contact time between racket face and shuttlecock is too short so power has insufficient time to be transferred.
2. As above, only 80% of the power used in the shot is actually transferred to the shuttlecock giving rise to a “playing long shots requires effort and the shuttlecock only flies a relatively short distance” situation.

(Edit by VICTOR Badminton )