Updated: Apr 19, 2021
Got yourself a new Yonex racket and want to know if it's genuine? Here are 5 easy methods you can use to quickly verify if your Yonex badminton racket is a genuine product.
YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/rgN-gpVYiIg
Method 1 - Check the production code on the cone
This is the easiest and non-invasive method to verify your Yonex racket.
Take your Yonex racket and peel away any grip you have on the handle back. All genuine rackets have laser engraved production codes on the cone above the handle, whilst on counterfeit rackets, the codes are normally printed and not engraved.
The first five digits refer to the date the racket was produced -- the first two digits refer to the manufacturing day, the next two refer to the manufacturing month, and the fifth digit refers to the manufacturing year. The 6th digit is a manufacturing code. Finally, you have the country code -- "UK" stands for the United Kingdom; "SP" typically refers to the South East Asian or South Pacific region; "JP" stands for Japan; "CH" stands for China; "KR" stands for Korea, etc.
In the example above, I peeled away the grip of my Nanoray Z Speed and it shows a code "130923UK". This means that this racket was manufactured on 13 September 2013 in the UK, and I know the racket is likely to be genuine because the first generation Nanoray Z Speed was launched sometime in 2013.
I've heard shop owners in the UK telling customers that their rackets are fake if they are not a UK-coded racket and this isn't true! For example, I play with a G5 grip size, and UK-coded rackets almost exclusively come in G4 grip size, which is too big for me. Hence, I tend to get mine from regions that stock G5 grip size rackets. It doesn't mean the rackets aren't genuine, it is just marketed and labeled differently for a different region. With online shopping and reliable logistics processes, it is now much easier for customers to get their hands on international models too, sometimes at a cheaper price.
Method 2 - Check the serial number on the shaft
Besides the manufacturing codes on the cone, there is also a line of numbers just above the cone on the shaft. This set of numbers is the serial number of the racket. To us, it typically doesn't mean much unless you bring it to someone who is connected to Yonex and is able to find out if the numbers on the shaft and cone match. What's important here is the outlook and font of the numbers.
It wouldn't pass Yonex's quality control if there is any defect with the serial numbers. They also have examples to show this on their website. So if you spot anything wonky about the serial numbers, the source of your racket may be questionable.
Method 3 - Check the Yonex hologram
There should be a hologram sticker on the cone of every Yonex racket.
The photos above show the old and recent Yonex hologram stickers.
To verify a Yonex hologram sticker, you need a Yonex Authenticity Verifier and they tend to get shipped to Yonex stores around the world.
Alex from AK Badminton and Tennis over in California very kindly sent this one over to me. Thank you, Alex!
Using an Authenticity Verifier, on the "visible" side, you should be able to see the Yonex lettering appear on every single row of the holographic sticker; whereas on the "invisible" side, none should appear.
So if in doubt, you can always head to a racket shop and they should have something like this for you to identify your racket's authenticity.
If you've bought your racket somewhere within the South Pacific region, chances are you might have a Yonex Sunrise sticker in addition to the Yonex sticker stuck onto your racket cone somewhere, which looks like this.
Yonex Sunrise is a part of the Sunrise group which is based in Singapore. It is the sole distributor of Yonex and Mikasa products across 14 Asian countries over the last 30 years. Now, this is an old Yonex Sunrise sticker on show here. Current stickers have a scratch area that reveals a code that you can then input onto the Sunrise Group website to quickly check the authenticity. This sticker is present on almost every single Yonex product distributed in the South Pacific region.
Here's a link to the Yonex Sunrise authenticity checker web page
Method 4 - Check the barcode sticker underneath the grip
This method does need a little work. So underneath your racket's original grip, there's always a barcode sticker on the wooden handle on genuine Yonex rackets. If you've unwrapped your racket's original grip and have found no barcode sticker underneath it, you might have not a genuine racket in your hands!
Method 5 - Check the feel of the racket
The fifth method to verify a Yonex racket is pretty hard if you don't have another racket to compare with, but I think it's worth mentioning. This technique relies on the physical feel and visuals of the racket. You tend to check if your racket is genuine because it is expensive, which means that the racket tends to be one of the higher-end models that are better made. One test I was taught a long time ago was to twist the racket slightly with one hand at the racket's head and the other on the handle. It should feel pretty stiff. Compare that with a fake Yonex racket, you'll find that the fake ones are significantly softer with less rigidity and stiffness to the frame and shaft compared to a genuine racket. Also, look at the grommets and paint job. If it's not perfect, you might not have a genuine one on your hands.
Hope these tips helped you with checking if your Yonex badminton racket is genuine, or not 😬
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Thank you and till the next one! 😊