Matcha whisks (Chasen) vary from school to school in some instances. I am going to focus in on Urasenke as I do not know much about the other schools. For this school they keep to the classic bamboo colour as seen in these pictures, but can you spot the difference between them?
First off the handle (jiku) thickness varies. I have small hands so I prefer the one with a smaller Jiku, but these are hard to find. The other difference is the thicker Jiku Chasen is made in China. You can get Japanese made ones but here in Toronto they are next to impossible to find, I have two Japanese ones and I still feel I need to stock up on more.
The second difference is the number of tines on the head (hosaki). The China made one has 100 and the Japanese made one has about 90-80, both perfect for Usucha (thin) tea.
The weight of them is different when using as well. While I can quickly whip up a bowl with the 100 hosaki whisk, with the other one I need a little more time and muscle power. This is something that I need to work on considering my preference in size and weight.
I feel for the spring I will gift myself a good chasen. Nara, the place for the best chasen, is a type I would love to have these range in price from 35-60$ depending on where you look, sometimes more. The best advice is to try things out but always keep on hand what you are used to.
What kind of whisk do you have?