20 Best Tennis Racquets (2019): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

Are you on a quest to find the best tennis racquets?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best tennis racquets.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Buyer’s Guide
  • Tennis Racquet Types
  • Material Types Used to Make Tennis Racquets
  • Top Brands of Tennis Racquet

I will also answer some common questions.

  • How do you select the right grip size?
  • What weight is right for my racket?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Chief Editor

Brian

Hi! I’m Brian, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science at University of Houston. I used to be an editor of a sports magazine. Currently, I work as a part-time editor at OutsideHow.com. I like to read sports and recreation magazines, such as Outdoor Life, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Runner’s World. I hope that this article can be helpful to you.
Brian

25
Hours Researching

60+
Products Evaluated

1200+
Reviews Considered

14
Researched Sources

Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Professional's Choice
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Best Value
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Image
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Price
$31.14
$169.00
$19.15
Prime
-
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Image
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Price
$31.14
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Image
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Price
$169.00
Prime
-
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Image
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Price
$19.15
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Tennis Racquets

If you want to play the sport like any of the leading tennis stars today, you will have to consider improving your equipment. This means finding the best racket for your level of expertise and playing style, which can be confusing in the world of tennis sporting goods. There is a long list of considerations all of which will have a considerable impact on your playing style and potentially keep you from serious injury.

In the following article we have shortened this search for the best racket for you and provided a good overview of some of the leading options available on the market today.

1. Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet – Best Tennis Racquet for Beginners | Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Sale
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
  • Aluminum Construction
  • Volcanic Frame Technology provides power and stability
  • Power Strings increase power
  • Stop Shock Pads reduce racquet vibration for greater control
  • Strung Balance 3 points Head Light

The attractive design is one of the leading selling points for the Wilson Tour Slam and it isn’t too costly either. It is made of a high grade aluminum materials which allows it strength and lightweight performance suitable for extended hours of play. It also features Volcanic Frame Technology which should improve the stability of the racket.

Powerful strings will also allow you to lay more power into your hit for dynamic response. There is also an important shock absorbing pad which reduces vibrations as these are the enemy of clear shots and improved control.

The Wilson Tour Slam also features and extra-long body which can improve the momentum you are able to deliver to your hits. Even though it is especially strong it is not a heavy feel and can allow for easy in game handling. As far as the cheaper rackets go, this is certainly one of the best.

Pros
  • This racquet is inexpensive, making it a great choice for those shopping on a budget
  • Provides considerable durability and top-quality that ensure it will be good for many practice
    sessions.
  • Shock pads provide reduced vibration
  • Extra-large sweet spot allows for impressively easy power hits.
  • Easy grip handle for excellent control in the game.
Cons
  • Some might find this option too heavy for comfortable use
  • It doesn’t come with a standard carry case, which could be a negative for some

2. Wilson Junior US Open Tennis Racquet – Best Tennis Racquet for Juniors

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Wilson Junior US Open Tennis Racquet, 23-Inch
  • Aluminum Racquet
  • Approved for tennis players 10 and under. Ages : Youth 7-8
  • Strung racquet without a cover

As your child gets older their skills will increase and they may outgrow the use of their training racket sooner than you think. The Wilson Company is one of the leading brands in producing entry-level rackets and tennis equipment for tomorrow’s stars. This latest example is just another credit to their sterling record.

This Junior Tennis is made from lightweight aluminum alloy that ensures your child will begin to must the strength and motion to excel in this sport. The racket is also prestrung at the factory and features specifications almost identical to the official deal but little more suited to a younger demographic. As a matter of fact the design is specific for players under the age of ten years.

We had a chance to use this racket in practice and are happy to report in makes the task of learning the motions of a tennis match all the easier. It also features a good moisture absorbing handle that provides suitable grip even after being drenched with sweat. Some of the more experienced players also tried out this options and were very impressed with the results.

The racket features an interface of 19inches which is a little smaller than you will find for junior rackets but greatly improves the training capacity and seems to offer no problems for any of the consumers. Finally, this racket is designed for the under 10 age range and since the quality is strong and the price is right it is the perfect choice for giving your child a love of the port.

Pros
  • Factory strung that matches the pro racquets
  • Extremely affordable
  • Great for improving your swing at a younger age
  • Medium interface size that is great for under 10 players
Cons
  • The racquet might be a little too heavy for younger players

3. Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA) – Best Value

Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
  • Volcanic frame technology for power and stability
  • Power strings longer main strings for explosive power
  • Stop shock pads for improved comfort
  • Strung, no cover.Unstrung Balance:33.5CM/3 Pts HL

Wilson is the name to trust when it comes to all things tennis related. This fine Wilson Federer is a trustworthy and reliable option that won’t bust your budget either. If you like a little extra control in your racket, you will find the ARC technology greatly enhances control.

The handle features a perforated grip which allows for extra breathability during the otter months and it also is a nice warm grip for the winter months. Because vibration is the ultimate enemy out here, the Stop Shock Pads will be a welcome support to combating this issue.

The perforated style handle wrapping is really nice for staying warm and keeping cool but it doesn’t actually help the grip. Another point is that this racket is bit weak where the racket part meets up with the handle.

Pros
  • It is easy to control, a perfect option for any kind of player
  • The featured arc technology allows for better control of the ball
  • Not an especially costly option,
  • It is a decent quality racquet, making it a great option for beginners
  • It has good balance for easy control
Cons
  • It may have too much heft for some players
  • It isn’t as solid and durable as some other options

4. HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet – Strung – Best Tennis Racquet for Intermediate

HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet - Strung
  • The head size of the racquet is 115 square inches and is 1" head...
  • The beam of the racquet is 28.5mm
  • The string pattern of the racquet is 16x19
  • The racquet weighs 8 oz
  • The racquet is extra long in length at 27 3/4"

The HEAD Ti.S6 features a unique combination of titanium and graphite that produces a silky cadence and high durability in performance. The head size is 115 sq. inches and an inch heavy the beam is 28.5 mm. This racket also uses a string pattern of 16Ă—19 and the string weight is 8.9oz.

Furthermore, the full length of the racket is 27-inches with a head heavy balance of 8 pt. One notable advantage is the increased power returned with only slow swing speed. This is a great advanatge for those looking to practice their motion and build strength at a latter point.

Pros
  • Great to use if you want to get back into the game
  • Lightweight option for those who need it
  • Gives you tremendous power for minimal output
  • The gut on the racket gives a good spin
Cons
  • Only problems seem to come with transit

5. Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet – Best Tennis Racquet for Advanced Players | Professional’s Choice

Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
  • Pure Aero. Latest AeroPro Drive for 2016. Endorsed by Raphael Nadal
  • For strong intermediates and advanced Players
  • Comfortable, high control, high spin, all court racquet
  • Strung with top quality string by USRSA Master Racqut Technicians

Babolat Pure Aero Play racket has a significantly higher grade than most of the other rackets found on this list. The Babolat is considered a large investment no matter the skill level of the tennis player. One of the most attractive qualities of this racket is that it was used by the renowned tennis champion, Rafael Nadal. Babolat has often referred to this racket as a deadly weapon.

It doesn’t have the catchiest name, but the Babolat’s Pure Aero is going to change your entire approach to the game. With an 100” head and superior Frame String technology it provides precision control where it is needed the most.

This racket certainly contains all the special features that make a tennis racket a superior tool, but the most important is its smart racket technology. This allows you the unparalleled advantage of seeing a readout of your shot performance displayed on your smartphone or mobile device. For those looking to take their game to the next level, this is imperative.

Pros
  • The smart racket technology provides data on your performance as a player, with the right analysis this can increase your capacity considerably.
  • Used by Rafael Nadal, one of the best tennis players in the world.
Cons
  • The cap for the charging port at the bottom of the grip isn’t high quality and sometimes comes open.

6. Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Tennis Racket

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Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Tennis Racket (Black/White, 4 1/4)
  • Power frame for players with short, compact swings
  • Oversized head provides more forgiveness and power
  • Head Heavy balance for increased stability and momentum in lighter...
  • Open string pattern for more power and spin

The 5.3 Wilson Hyper Hammer tennis racquet features a design that is a lot more forgiving, yet once again it might not be the best choice for beginners. Yet, it does come with entry requirements that are much lower.

This tennis racquet comes with a 110-square inch oversized head along with a bigger sweet sweet spot, which means it is not so demanding on the accuracy of the player. The teardrop elongated racquet head shape also contributes to making the sweet spot larger.

Weighing in at just 9 ounces, the 5.3 Wilson Hyper Hammer tennis racquet is controllable and lightweight. It is also not as fatiguing on your hands. The head-heavy design offers an increase that is slight when it comes to your swing power.

This racquet also comes with a 16 x 29 open-string pattern. This pattern type typically offers a medium spin, which means this model is a lot more predictable when compared to the Babolat racquet. However, it still delivers an average spin, which could be distracting for players that are less experienced.

Pros
  • Controllable and lightweight
  • Oversized forgiving head
  • The head-heavy design helps to increase momentum
Cons
  • Can result in a ball spin that is distracting for less experienced players

7. Wilson Tour Slam Tennis Racquet (EA)

Wilson Tour Slam Tennis Racquet (EA)
  • Power String bridge
  • Longer main strings for explosive power
  • Stop shock sleeves for improved comfort
  • Grip Size: 4 3/8

This version is regarded as the “lite” model to the Wilson Tour Slam Racket

Similar to the Tour Slam Racket, this racquet comes with an oversized-head which is more suited to beginners. It also features Wilson’s Stop Shock sleeves and a long-frame which helps to absorb vibration for every shot which makes this racket a lot easier to use.

Even though it is advertised as the “lite” version it weighs 10.3 ounces which is is the same as the Tour Slam Racket. It does still mean that it is one of the lighter weight rackets.

Pros
  • An affordable racket which comes from a well-known and respected brand
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons
  • You will need to upgrade the racket quickly once you start learning the ropes of this sport
  • Not the best racket for advanced and intermediate tennis players

8. HEAD MicroGel Radical MP Tennis Racquet

HEAD MicroGel Radical MP Tennis Racquet, Strung, 4 3/8 Inch Grip
  • On ball impact, Head Micro Gel uniformly distributes the impact load...
  • The head size of the racquet is 98 square inches
  • The beam of the racquet is 21mm
  • The string pattern of the racquet is 18x20
  • The racquet weighs 10.4 oz and is standard in length at 27"

This is among the best of the tennis racquets when it comes to beginners and this brand has grown rapidly in popularity. This primarily has to do with the unique design focused entirely on beginner tennis players.

It provides optimal comfort which will help you with improving your skills very quickly while offering you the motivation you need to play the game of tennis more.

The design combines a carbon-composite fiber material and MicroGel on the frame. These materials offer exceptional absorption from when the balls impact the racquet.

This helps to eliminate or drastically reduce injuries which are common from higher impacts. The MicroGel materials also provide increased stability which helps you to stop twisting your arms along with maximizing comfort by ensuring you achieve a firmer grip when holding your racquet.

In addition, this beginners racquet provides powerful groundstrokes which are made possible due to the oversized sweet spot. This means you will find this racquet the ideal choice for all types of courts that you play on, and your overall game will be easier. Lastly, this racquet is very durable due to the long-lasting carbon fibers.

Pros
  • A more forgiving racquet which makes it easier to play with
  • More control over your racquet which promotes powerful deliveries
  • The large sweet spot makes it the ideal choice for beginners
  • The head size is large which makes it harder to miss the balls
Cons
  • Certain players do not like the stock strings

9. HEAD Tis5 Comfortzone Performance Tennis Racquet

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HEAD Tis5 Comfortzone Performance Tennis Racquet (Pre-Strung)-4 1/2
  • Head Ti. S5 CZ OS Tennis Racquet
  • Does NOT come with racquet cover

The Head Tis5 Comfortzone features a solid and durable build. This means the racquet handles powerful hits very well and performs the way it is supposed to. The basic and solid colors help to keep your focus on function and it also blends in easily with all your other tennis gear.

While some players think this racquet is on the light side, this is the weight which will offer you with improved control. This is a racquet that is easy to handle and is ideal for players that use medium swings.

The fan-string pattern makes it great for groundstrokes, and due to the combination of soft and hard textures, it significantly reduces vibration. Vibration is not a friend to any tennis player, so the racquets which are able to reduce this are always worthwhile. However, it is important to keep in mind that this racquet is not strung as firmly when compared to other options.

Pros
  • Easier to control which is an added benefit for beginners
  • The solid build makes it more durable
  • Exceptional grip for easier control
  • It comes pre-strung which does away with these additional costs
  • It allows for more powerful hits, which is an added bonus in tennis
Cons
  • Too lightweight for professional tennis players
  • On the expensive side when it comes to its quality

10. Street Tennis Club Tennis Rackets for Kids – Best Tennis Racquet for Kids

Street Tennis Club Tennis Rackets for Kids, 19-Inch, Black/Yellow
  • HELPS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TENNIS SKILLS - Using the proper racket...
  • HIGHER CHANCE OF TENNIS BALL CONTACT - Using the proper racket also...
  • CHOOSE FROM DIFFERENT SIZES - This racket is available in 17, 19, and...
  • GREAT BUILD AND FINISH - This racket is made from top-quality Aluminum...
  • FREE GAME INCLUDED - This tennis racket comes with a free video game...

The correct sizing is very important when it comes to a tennis racquet, especially for children. If your child is an avid fan of Federer or Nadal, this is the type of racquet which will give them the edge they need over their competition.

This racquet comes in several sizes offering you the opportunity to find just the right size for your child. Studies have proven that using the correct sized racquet, increases the chances of the child making contact with the balls. Even the advanced players will agree on this point.

This is a perfectly balanced racquet which will encourage the correct swing. If the racquet is too heavy it usually causes an under swing which might take months or even years to try and correct which might even become a setback for your child when they ready to start entering older leagues.

This racquet also comes with an online video-game for free that helps with improving their overall gameplay. This is also the type of racquet which will help your child to make up their mind that tennis is the sport that would like to participate in. We recommend this racquet for helping children to start off on the right path.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use and lightweight
  • Ideal for development
  • The ideal balance for the correct form
  • The grip is non-slip
  • Comes in various sizes which means you will find the perfect match for your child
Cons
  • The design style might not be appealing for certain young players

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. HEAD Ti. Conquest Tennis Racket - Pre-Strung Head Light Balance 27 Inch Racquet - 4 1/4 In Grip
HEAD Ti. Conquest Tennis Racket - Pre-Strung Head Light Balance 27 Inch Racquet - 4 1/4 In Grip
  • HEAD PERFORMANCE: Born out of revolutionizing how we ski and play...
  • GREAT FOR BEGINNERS: The HEAD Ti Conquest tennis racket is an ideal...
  • HEAD LIGHT ADVANTAGE: The adult tennis racket has a head light balance...
  • DURABLE TITANIUM: Made with a durable Nano Titanium technology, the...
  • DIMENSIONS: Frame Weight: 275 g / 9.7 oz, Head Size : 108in, Grip...
12. Wilson Energy XL Tennis Racquet (EA)
Wilson Energy XL Tennis Racquet (EA)
  • V-matrix technology for a large sweet spot for increased power
  • Stop shock sleeves for reduced racket vibration and greater control
  • Airlite alloy for lightweight strength
  • Grip size 4-3/8 inch
  • Head size 112 square inches. String pattern 16x19
13. Head 2013 Youtek Graphene Speed Pro Tennis Racquet
Head YouTek Graphene Speed Pro 18/20 Tennis Racquet-4 1/4
  • Novak Djokovic's previous racquet of choice, the Head Graphene Speed...
  • Head Size: 100 sq. inches / 645 sq. cm
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Balance: 6 Points Head Light
  • String Pattern: 18 Mains x 20 Crosses. Racquet is strung and ready to...
14. Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Lite Tennis Racquet - Quality String
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Lite Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-1/4)
  • Intermediate player version of the famous AeroPro Lite, called Pure...
  • Latest Frame-String technology for crisper play and more control with...
  • 100 head, 10.0 ounce strung, even balance
  • Strung with top quality Babolat string by USRSA Master Racquet...
  • Cover not Included
15. Babolat 2015 Pure Drive Tennis Racquet - Unstrung
Babolat 2015 Pure Drive Tennis Racquet - Unstrung
  • Babolat Pure Drive Grip 3
  • L3 (4 3/8)
16. HEAD Instinct 21 Junior Tennis Racquet, Strung
HEAD Instinct 21 Junior Tennis Racquet, Strung
  • O-beam construction
  • Head size 107 inches
  • Length 21 inches
17. Babolat Pure Drive (25) Junior Tennis Racquet
Babolat Pure Drive (25) Junior Tennis Racquet
  • Headsize: 100in²
  • Length: 25"
  • Strung Weight 8.5-8.6 oz
  • String Pattern: 16x19
  • Composition: Graphite Composite
18. Babolat Boost Strike Tennis Racquet
Babolat Boost Strike Tennis Racquet (Prestrung)
  • Babolats Boost Strike tennis racquet is the ideal frame for beginners...
  • Note: This racquet is pre-strung with Babolat's Spiraltek 16 at...
  • Check product description below for racquet specs.
19. Champion Sports 27-Inch Titanium Tennis Racquet
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Champion Sports 27-Inch Titanium Tennis Racquet
  • Oversize head offers more power to your swing
  • Wide body construction
  • Strong titanium frame
  • Tennis Racket: 27in
  • Cushioned leather grip
20. Prince Textreme Warrior 100 Racquets
Prince TeXtreme Warrior 100 Tennis Racquet (4-1/4)
  • Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645.16 sq. cm.
  • Length: 27in / 68.58cm
  • Strung Weight: 11.14oz / 315.81g
  • Balance: 12.7in / 32.26cm / 6 pts HL
  • String Tension: 50-60 pounds

Tennis Racquet Types

Tennis racquets are divided into 3 general categories, according to their abilities. This includes the Beginner, Tweener, and the Advanced. As you might have noticed in the reviews above these are the categories that drive the performance and construction of all the worthwhile racquets of today.

The Beginner Racquet

These racquets usually feature larger heads. These large heads are needed to provide a bigger “sweet spot”. The sweet spots that are larger compensate for the tendency of the beginner to make contact that is “less than perfect”. The beginner racquets are also usually cheaper and lighter.

The Tweener Racquet

These racquets usually weigh more and the combination of the sweet spot/ head is slightly smaller when compared to beginner racquets. They are also usually tougher and tighter and yield volleys that are more aggressive when they are wielded correctly.

The Advanced Racquet

These are usually the heaviest of the tennis racquets with much smaller heads. The manufacturers of these racquets know that these players already have the skills needed to deliver more accurate and powerful volleys.

Any beginner player that decides to use an advanced or intermediate racquet will waste a lot of time trying to figure out the correct mechanics on how to play tennis. Compare this to learning how to drive for the first time in a car like a Maserati.

Material Types Used to Make Tennis Racquets

Graphite

This carbon-based lightweight material is one of the premium materials used to make tennis racquets. It is lightweight and durable while the pure graphite frames are usually fairly rigid. If you are looking for fewer vibrations and some spring in a graphite racquet look for the graphite racquets that are combined with tungsten, titanium, or fiberglass.

Aluminum

The aluminum racquets used to be very popular for many years. Yet they have definitely taken the back seat in comparison to other materials and graphite. Aluminum is still in use by the cheaper racquet manufacturers which offers a low-cost alternative over graphite.

Boron or Kevlar

These materials share a few similarities to graphite, yet there are a few marked differences. These are materials which are usually stiffer while producing more when it comes to vibrations for those shots that are not perfectly aligned. Beginners should stay away from these types of materials.

Grip Materials

The most common materials used for grip include neoprene, rubber, leather, and others. The synthetic materials such as neoprene provide a more textured surface which provides an easier grip when compared to rubber or leather.

Strings

The majority of the strings of today consist of nylon yet there are many other variations when it comes to quality in the world of the nylon strings. Polyester is another common material which is either used as is or combined with a material like nylon. The natural gut string has become exceedingly rare and they are also very expensive.

Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Perfect Tennis Racket

Take a casual glance at the market for tennis rackets, and the varieties available to you seem to fall into three broad skill-based categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This system is decent, but there are a lot more complexities that you can and should consider. If you’d like to upgrade your selection from a “pretty good” racket to one that’s perfect for you, you’ll need a good understanding of all the more subtle terms of tennis racket design:

String Pattern

Modern rackets come in one of two string patterns: open (16×18) or closed (18×20). As you might guess, the difference is in the number of strings crossing on the racket head. The choice between the two is something of a trade-off. With an open string pattern, you get greater power and spin. With a closed string pattern, you get more control and a more durable piece of equipment.

Head Size

Head size measures the total surface area of a racket’s face (frame and strings). This, too, is a place where you have to compromise between exclusive benefits. A larger head size delivers more power, while a smaller one delivers more control. There are plenty of intermediate rackets that give you a fair share of both. As a general rule of thumb, head sizes under 95 square inches are considered “mid-size.” Rackets between 95 and 105 square inches are “mid-plus,” and anything larger is considered “oversize.”

Weight and Balance

Rackets fall into three weight categories: lightweight (less than 10 ounces), medium (10-11.5 ounces), and heavy (over 11.5 ounces). Most of the weight in a tennis racket comes from the handle, so weight also affects where the racket’s balance point is. Balance is measured in terms of head-heaviness or head-lightness, and this is expressed in points. Each point equates to 1/8 of an inch. So an 8-point head-heavy racket balances 1 inch up from the racket face. An 8-point head-light racket balances 1 inch down. Heavier rackets are head-light and lighter ones are head-heavy. A lighter racket is faster and more maneuverable, ideal for beginners. Heavy rackets deliver more power and control, making them suitable for experienced players.

Swing Weight

Though the term might suggest that this measure is closely related to a racket’s weight, that would be a misunderstanding. Swing weight is a measurement of how much resistance you feel when swinging a given racket. It’s measured on a scale of 0-1000, with the majority of modern rackets coming in between 280 and 350. A racket with a low swing weight will let you apply more spin, while a higher swing weight gives you more stability.

Grip Size

Grip size is a straightforward figure: It simply tells you the size of the hand the racket’s built for. Grip size typically ranges from 4 to 4.75 inches. Getting a properly-fitted grip is important. Without it, you may experience irritation, performance loss, or even injury.

String Tension

You can choose your racket based on how tight or loose its strings are. String tension is measured in pounds, with most modern rackets falling between 45 and 65 pounds. When you take string tension above 60 pounds, you get great stability and control. Low string tension (less than 50 pounds) delivers more power but also increases the impact transmitted to your arms.

String Gauge

This figure describes the thickness of a racket’s strings. It’s rated in half-points from 15 to 20. When you see an L following a gauge rating, you’re looking at a half. An 18L, for instance, falls between an 18 and a 19. The higher the gauge, the thinner the strings. Thinner strings deliver better performance all around, but they’re less durable. Factor in the power of your hits and how often you want to have to change your strings when you choose a string gauge.

Frame Stiffness (Flex)

Tennis rackets are assigned flex ratings that measure how stiff their frames are. Typical values range from 50 to 80. Stiffer rackets (flex of 70 or more) deliver more power at the cost of added strain on the arms. Very flexible rackets (flex under 60) deliver lots of spin and reduce strain, but they also bring down the maximum amount of power you can apply.

Playing Level

As mentioned at the start, most manufacturers broadly categorize their offerings based on skill level. Cost tends to correlate directly with skill level, so be realistic about how experienced you are. If you’re just volleying some balls with friends to find out if you like tennis, spending $200 on an “advanced” racket would be a waste. And on the flip side, if you’re an advanced player with advanced concerns like getting more spin on your return shots, buying a $70 “beginner” racket isn’t going to address them.

Control

The more tennis experience you get, the more control you’re going to want to exert over your racket. As a beginner, it’s easy to place your shots when you’re using a heavy, stiff, large-headed racket. As your skills improve, though, you’re going to want the greater precision offered by a small-headed, flexible racket. Such a racket is less forgiving, but in talented hands, it can produce better results.

Power

When you’re first learning the tennis ropes, you won’t physically be capable of generating tons of power. As you master fundamentals and improve your technique, though, you can concentrate on maximizing power if you so desire. There are rackets out there built to help – generally those with length, large heads, and stiff frames.

Touch

The all-encompassing term “touch” embraces a lot of different tennis racket mechanics. It is, essentially, how a racket “feels” when you swing it. The best racket for you is one that effortlessly plays to your strengths and matches your style. A racket with good touch will feel almost like a part of your body rather than an artificial tool coming between you and the ball.

Comfort

Many factors affect how comfortable a given tennis racket is, but vibration is probably the largest one. For beginners, dampening vibration and shock is useful. This allows you to improve your accuracy and precision as you learn the game. Rackets designed to minimize vibration usually rely on high weight to help absorb shock.

Stability

Stability is essentially the ease with which a racket allows you to return service. Greater weight increases stability and allows you to return shots with confidence. With greater levels of experience, though, you’ll probably want to surrender some of that stability in exchange for more responsiveness and precision.

Maneuverability

When a racket’s maneuverability suits your style and skill level, it will feel light and easy to swing regardless of its physical dimensions. A maneuverable racket is also one that speeds you up when you’re positioning the racket for a return.

Style

Although this guide has been focused exclusively on performance so far, it’s also worth considering that looks matter to a lot of players. A stylish racket that matches your usual tennis wear can give you a nice boost of confidence. Although looks probably shouldn’t be your top priority in picking a racket, it can be a deciding factor when you’ve narrowed your selection down to a few otherwise-equivalent options.

Cost

The price spread on tennis rackets is very wide, with the upper limits being staggeringly high. World-class professional rackets make use of cutting-edge technology and rare materials, driving their price up tremendously. When you set a budget for buying a tennis racket, bear in mind that the more you spend, in general, the higher the quality and durability of the product you get.

Customer Reviews

Barring a “test drive” on the courts, the best way to understand what it’s like to play with a given racket is to read what other players have written about it. Customer reviews on tennis rackets can be enlightening. This isn’t the best source for technical data, but reviews are particularly useful for appraising you of problems that might otherwise be impossible to spot before you make a buying decision.

Top Brands

Head

Head manufactures a very broad range of sports equipment, but tennis rackets have long been (along with skis) their bread and butter business. Head was founded in 1950 and eventually cultivated a reputation for cutting-edge racket design. They introduced aluminum rackets in 1969; by 1997, their product line was full of advanced materials such as graphite and titanium. Head remains a top name in tennis rackets today, and their offerings cover the entire range from the beginner to the expert professional. Head is particularly good at building premium-quality high-end rackets; roughly 30 percent of the ATP Tour’s top 100 players use Head rackets.

Wilson

When the Ashland Manufacturing Company was founded in 1913, the firm’s core business was making animal-derived textiles. Tennis strings were a big seller along with surgical sutures and violin strings. Moving toward sports equipment by starting to sell tennis rackets and shoes for baseball, the company renamed itself Wilson-Western Sporting Goods in 1925. Today, despite name and product line changes, Wilson has been manufacturing premium tennis gear for over one hundred years. Wilson has an exceptionally broad range of tennis rackets, covering every need for every sort of player. If you’re an all-courter, an attacker, a baseliner, or simply a recreational player, Wilson makes a tennis racket designed specifically for you. (The company is a big name in junior rackets, too.) Wilson’s reputation for quality tennis equipment is strongly bolstered by a significant stable of pro players who endorse the company’s products.

Babolat

Babolat is a name that’s been intimately associated with fine tennis products since the beginning – literally. Pierre Babolat began making and selling gut tennis strings in 1875, just a year after Walter Clopton Wingfield codified the modern rules of the game. Babolat remained specialized for nearly a century, but the company made a conscious move toward “total tennis” in 1994. This meant adding rackets to their line of strings and other tennis accessories. Babolat rackets were relatively unknown in the US until 2000, but since then, they’ve handily built up a reputation for impeccable build quality and cutting-edge design. Their constant innovation, deep professional roster, and a wide range of equipment for every aspect of the sport have made them a driving force in 21st-century tennis.

Prince

Prince is a company that provides quality equipment for a whole range of different racket sports: Not just tennis, but badminton, squash, and more. Robert H. McClure started Prince in 1970 in Princeton, New Jersey. The company’s first products were tennis ball machines built out of repurposed vacuum cleaner parts. Prince moved into racket sales six years later, making a splash with the Prince Classic 110. Named after its 110 square-inch head, the classic was instantly acclaimed for its comparatively huge sweet spot – 50 percent bigger than competitor’s rackets. Prince moved into composite rackets early, offering its first graphite models in 1978. Today the company sells rackets designed for tennis players of every skill level.

Dunlop

Dunlop was formed in 1889 as a rubber goods manufacturing firm. The company began producing sporting equipment at its Birmingham headquarters in 1910. It was several more years before Dunlop embraced tennis equipment; the company began selling balls in 1924 and rackets in 1925. The company’s sports division became an independent company (Dunlop Sports) in 1928. Dunlop professional rackets are acclaimed for world-class quality. A statistic particularly beloved by the company is that more grand slam winners have used Dunlop rackets than any other brand.

Yonex

Yonex is a Japanese company that produces equipment for all sorts of racket sports as well as golf. The company’s greatest fame comes from its top-tier badminton gear, but the company’s tennis offerings are not to be sneezed at. Minoru Yoneyama founded Yonex in 1946, initially focusing on a completely different sort of woodworking. The company’s first products were wooden fishing floats. Yonex shifted to badminton rackets in 1957. When the march of progress led them into aluminum rackets in 1968, they moved into tennis rackets the following year.

Volkl

Volkl is a German sports equipment firm founded in 1923. Today, the company manufactures snowboards and skis as well as all sorts of tennis equipment. The company’s shift into tennis happened back in 1972 with the introduction of the Zebra racket, the world’s first fiberglass-framed racket. Since then, a commitment to staying on the cutting edge of technology has preserved Volkl’s position in the tennis equipment industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you select the right grip size?

Grip size is a rather subtle racket measurement, but selecting the right one is vital to bring out the best of your abilities. With an undersized grip, your racket will tend to slip in your hand. With an oversized grip, adjustments during play will be too slow and cumbersome.

Measure your grip size using a measuring tape. Place your dominant hand palm-up and start measuring from the tip of your ring finger. The place to stop is at the bottom crease of your palm – this is usually right across from where you thumb attaches to your hand. This measurement, in inches, is your grip size. Most players fall between 4 and 4.75 inches. If you are planning to add grip tape to your racket, take this into account and buy a racket one size smaller than your measured grip size. This gives you the added texture you’re looking for without making your racket’s grip too big.

Is there a benefit to buying an unstrung racket?

This question all comes down to your level of experience. Pros will typically buy unstrung rackets and then have them strung in a way that suits the intricacies of their play. This is not really necessary for beginners, casual players, or even average recreational players. Research your string options a little, and then buy a racket that’s already strung in a way that sounds good to you. If you find you don’t like the strings after trying the racket out, remember that you can always have it restrung to make it fit your needs better.

What weight is right for my racket?

Contrary to your first thought on the subject, racket weight affects much more than comfort and swing speed. Your racket’s weight also impacts your speed of play and level of control.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect more control out of a light (255-270 gram) racket. Up at the heavy end of the scale (330 grams), you get power and speed. A mid-weight racket (between 280 and 310 grams) is a solid compromise for a beginning or intermediate player, offering both power and control.

Final Thoughts

If this article has managed to impart any helpful information about tennis rackets, then it will have fulfilled its purpose. As you’re now aware, there is a surprising amount of complexity and diversity in the world of tennis rackets; different models are separated by far more than just being designed for beginners, intermediates, or advanced players.

Don’t worry about absorbing all the information provided here at one go. You can hang onto this article as a handy reference guide whenever you’re in the market for a new tennis racket. As with so many purchases, the secret to a good buy is making an effort to be an informed consumer.

For specific model-by-model guidance, check out the reviews we’ve posted. We’re always on the lookout for rackets with big sweet spots, good grips, and high-tech materials. While we try to present a wide range of reviews and recommend at least one racket for every sort of player, you can always refer back to this buying guide. The general advice and information presented here will help you understand any tennis racket offered for sale and decide whether or not it fits your needs.

References

Best Tennis Racquets ( Top 3 Picks )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Professional's Choice
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Best Value
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Image
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Price
$31.14
$169.00
$19.15
Prime
-
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Image
Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green
Price
$31.14
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Image
Babolat 2018 Pure Aero Tennis Racquet - Quality String (4-3/8)
Price
$169.00
Prime
-
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Image
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet (EA)
Price
$19.15
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2019-10-04 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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