HEAVY OR LIGHT RACKET?
Difference between 3U and 4U In Badminton Racket
“U” is the indication of the racket weight normally characterized from 1U to 9U with 1U being the heaviest and 9U being the lightest (please see our blog on rackets here)
3U indicates weight of the racket without string or grip ranging from 85-90 grams whereas 4U indicates weight ranging from 80-85 grams. Thus the difference is just a few grams between the two categories.
However, these small weight differences mixed in with the other racket characteristics such as shaft flex and balance start to make a significant difference to how one racket may feel compared to another.
For example a 3u racket that has a head light balance 290-303mm according to (Badminton Racket Review’s measurements) and has a flexible shaft will feel much quicker in the air and require less player energy input to get repulsion compared to a 3u racket that’s really stiff and very head heavy at 315mm or more which will feel much slower and much more effort.
The same applies to rackets in the 4u weight category as they do in the 3u, however, things start to change as the racket gets lighter.
For example if we take a look at the Kumpoo 9u 60-65g one of the lightest rackets in the world (buy here), because the racket is so light the manufacturer has to make the racket head heavy and give it a stiff shaft – why? Because if the racket was not weighted towards the head it would struggle to create sufficient force when striking the shuttle and the shaft needs to be stiffer because the shaft is light and easy to bend if it was made too flexible it would simply snap.
So in between all of the considerations above lies a sweetspot that’s specific to each individual player. Beginners, players with improving techniques and those with reduced strength and arm speed often consider a 3u heavy head racket that has a flexible shaft, this is because the weight and balance assist in sending the shuttle further than lighter non head heavy rackets.
Players with more experience that would be considered intermediate or advanced will benefit from a lighter racket allowing them to reach the shuttle earlier aiding in better defense and drive rallies as well as improved airspeed for better smashes.