Badminton rackets can be expensive so it would be wise to know the basics before you buy. If you are a novice player you do not need to spend a lot on a racket. A less expensive badminton racket will do just fine. Aim to spend about £30 maximum. There are many good rackets around at this price.
There are some basic fundamentals to look for in any badminton racket, the most important are the weight, the balance, the head shape, the flexibility and the grip size. Click the link for best badminton racket for beginners
Most racquets weigh between 80-100 grams. More weight should give you extra power, but less maneuverability. A heavy racquet will be more difficult to swing through the air, but it will be more stable than a lighter racket. A lighter racket will offer more swing speed and maneuverability, at the cost of power and stability. The lightest badminton racket i have come across is the Karakal SL-70 and it weighs just 70 grams. This is the weight before you add the strings and your overgrip, so you need to be aware of this.
Yonex are the most popular badminton racket manufacturer and have their own unique system for determining the weight, the U system, which ranges from U= 95-100g all the way to 4U= 80-84g. Various racket makers have their own way of doing things and will be different to Yonex. A novice player should not bother about the weight so much, it is far more important to concentrate on your badminton skills.
The balance of a badminton racket refers to just that. There are three kinds, head heavy, head light, and evenly balanced. Head heavy rackets offer more weight at the top of the swing, giving more power and stability on contact with the shuttle. Head light rackets will enable you to swing the racket quicker, but less weight means less power and stability. Even balanced rackets give you a neutral feel.
The classic head shape is usually an oval shape, but you can also buy isometric head shapes. The isometric head is more square, which creates a larger sweet spot. If you can hit the shuttle in the middle of the racket head you will be hitting the sweet spot. With an enlarged sweet spot you will have more chance of getting power from off centre shots. For a novice this could be a useful advantage
The flexibility of the racket relates to how much flex there is. A stiff racquet will have less flexibility and as such it is unforgiving for a beginner. A flexible racket will obviously have more flex and this will give a beginner a bit more power, as you will have a kind of sling shot effect, but the downside is you will have less control. You should only buy a stiff flex racket when your technique is up to scratch, otherwise you may get shoulder problems, as the vibration from hitting the shuttle travels through your arm and into your shoulder joints.