Discover how to choose the best tennis racquet for you. Whether you're looking for a beginner tennis racquet, or seeking a racquet to give you the perfect combination of power, spin and control, let this be your guide to finding the perfect tennis racquet for every type of player.
Below, we’ve covered every aspect you should to consider because choosing the racquet that’s right for you requires some serious thought. If we can help you to choose the best racquet for you then we’ll be happy as we know you’ll be more confident on the court leading to a more enjoyable game of tennis
Let’s get started!
Understanding What Makes A Racquet
- Racquet Head Size
- Racquet Weight
- Racquet String Pattern
- Racquet Length
- Racquet Balance
- Racquet Stiffness
Racquet Head Size
The vast majority of racquets are in the 95 to 110-square-inch range. Experts have different theories as to why this has happened, but we believe it is because the average player is looking for the best balance of forgiveness, manoeuvrability, and stability.
Provided your swing speed is the same with both, a larger head racquet will produce more power than a smaller head racquet. For example, a 95’ will produce much less pop than a 110’, while a 97’ and 98’ would be difficult to differentiate.
OVERSIZE: 101” or larger
MIDPLUS: 96” to 100”
MIDSIZE: 85” to 95”
When choosing a racquet, there are three elements which affect power and control: head size, weight, and string pattern.
Racquet Head Size
Larger Head size = More Power
Smaller Head size = More Control
Lighter Racquet = More Power
Heavier Racquet = More Control
Racquet String Pattern
Open Pattern = More Power
Denser Pattern = More Control
The weight of your racquet plays a major part in your swing and should therefore be a major deciding factor in the racquet you buy. It’s true that most manufacturers will offer a range of weights of the same racquet, so don’t be afraid to ask or look for a racquet you like but at a different weight, as any good racket manufacturer should be able to offer this.
Heavier racquets (310g and beyond) are generally are more powerful than lighter rackets (300g and below), but are less manoeuvrable and can wear a player out.
*Important note – Strings and grips add approximately 20-25g to the weight of your racquet
LIGHTWEIGHT FRAME: 9 – 9.7oz / 255 – 280g
MEDIUM FRAME: 9.8 – 11oz / 285 – 305g
HEAVY WEIGHT FRAME: 11oz / 310g or heavier
Racquet String Pattern
This refers to the number of main (up and down) strings and the number of cross (side to side) strings. The most common patterns around are 16×18, 16×19, 16×20, and 18×20.
The string pattern cannot be changed*. You will hear debates about “dense pattern” versus “open pattern” racquets. Dense refers to very small spaces between the strings, while an open pattern has more separation between the strings.
A good way to remember is:
More strings (dense pattern) = more control.
Less strings (open pattern) = more power and spin.
Most adult tennis racquets are 27 inches long. The maximum length for a racquet is 29 inches but because they are so hard to manoeuvre you won’t see many of them on the market. The most common “long” or “plus” racquet is p 27.5 inches. They provide a little bit more reach without being impossible to wield.
As for the Junior or Hot Shots Racquets, these are broken down to match the size of the child and the size of the court. Red, Orange and Green ball divisions, have racquets from 19 inches, 21 inches, 23 inches, 25 inches and 26 inches. Click here to see our Hot Shots Racquet range for players ages 4 -10 years old.
When you pick up a racquet for the first time, without even swinging it you will begin to notice its balance. This is a tricky subject as it’s often down to personal choice, so if possible, we would recommend trying different rackets to work out if you prefer more weight in the head of the racquet, or more weight in the body of the racquet.
Head-heavy rackets are often lighter, offering added power on groundstrokes, while head-light rackets are generally heavier but more manoeuvrable. Imagine a baseball bat or hammer. These are extreme examples of a head-heavy balance. Now grab the hammer at the head and note all of the weight is now in your hand. This is an example of a head-light balance. A household item like a broom or a rake has a fairly even-balance.
A head-light racquet is easy to move quickly and is a great option for players who spend most of their time up at the net. Conversely, the head-heavy balance is more cumbersome at the net, however, it will provide a little more help from the back of the court.
Super-light racquets are often slanted towards head heavy to get power, whereas middle-weight or heavy racquets are more evenly balanced or head-light for manoeuvrability.
The racket flex on impact affects power and comfort. The stiffer a frame, the less energy is lost when hitting the ball, but sends more impact shock to your hand and arm.
Stiffness generally refers to a racquet’s “feel”. A more flexible racquet feels like the ball is staying on the strings longer. Benefits to highly flexible frames include shock absorption, and increased control and comfort. Usually racquets with thinner beams will be more flexible frames, and racquets with thicker beams will have a firmer “feel”. Stiffer racquets will not flex much, and are often described as crisp and solid. A stiff racquet will also transmit more shock to the arm than a more flexible one.
Types of Tennis Racquets
In order to help players to navigate the huge range of options on the market, we can categorize racquets into a few different groups. Player ability, Racquet style and Racquet Brand
Break down by Player Ability
- Beginner Racquets
- Intermediate Racquets
- Advanced Racquets
If you’re a beginner - the exact specs of your frame are less important than making sure it’s comfortable and not too heavy. It’s tempting to start with an expensive racquet loaded with features or to copy the model your favourite player uses. However, this strategy can hurt your game because you’ll likely end up choosing a racquet that you don’t have the skill to use properly.
One of the first things you should check when using a new racquet is the grip size. Using the proper grip size lowers your risk of developing hand or arm issues and gives you a more solid grasp. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to find what size you should be using. We’ll explain the process of finding your grip size later in this article.
Beginners often do best with racquets that have a head size larger than 100 square inches. The large head gives you a big target to hit the ball with and increases the size of the sweet spot. The downside of using a bigger head is the additional size means you’ll have to sacrifice some control. However, if you’re a novice, it’s a trade-off that will likely improve your game during the learning stages.
Another important factor to consider is the weight of your racquet. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to stick with a racquet under roughly 310 grams. Racquets generally start at about 250 grams. If you’re a smaller person, you might want to start with a racquet on the lower end of this weight range. A light racquet is easier to manoeuvre and can help prevent injury from using a racquet that’s too heavy.
Here are a few other racquet attributes beginners do well with (we’ll explain what each of these means in more detail in the sections to follow):
- Oversized head
- Extended length
- Stiffer frame
- Lightweight construction
Popular Beginner Racquets
Name of Racquet
Once you’ve made it past the beginner stage, you’ll have more control over your shots and will be better at producing power. If you’re at the intermediate level, you’ll likely want to start experimenting with smaller head sizes and heavier racquets. If you opted for a larger head size as a beginner, then you might want to move down to racquet’s in the 98 to 100 square inch range for extra control as an intermediate player.
You’ll typically find intermediate level racquets with medium head sizes while maintaining solid manoeuvrability and sacrificing some power. However, if you’ve been playing for a while, you’re likely able to produce more power yourself than when you were a beginner to make up the difference. You can also try moving up to a slightly heavier racquet if you feel like you have the strength to use it. The heavier racquet will give you more stability when you hit the ball. You may also want to experiment with several other aspects of your racquet, including going with a heavier swing weight, using a more flexible frame, and trying a tighter string pattern. We’ll cover each of these attributes later in this guide.
Popular Intermediate Racquets
Name of Racquet
If you’ve been playing tennis competitively for years, you probably already have a good idea of what type of player you are. Advanced players have more strength, better stamina, and more control than lower level players. If you’re at this level, you can handle heavier racquets and smaller head sizes.
However, just because you can use smaller and heavier racquets doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, the racquet you should be playing with is the one that feels the best to you.
If you’re at this level, you’ll improve your game the most by matching your style of play to the type of racquet you’re using and tweaking the specs to maximize your performance. Almost all advanced players go with a control (player’s racquet) or a modern player’s racquet. If you have the technique that allows you to generate plenty of power, you might want to go with a control racquet. If not, there are different types of racquets for you to choose from.
Popular Advanced Racquets
Name of Racquet
Break down by Different Racquets Styles
- Power Racquets
- Control Racquets
- In between Racquets
Power racquets have larger heads than the other two types of racquets and are generally much lighter. They’re often stiffer to reflect more energy to the ball when you hit and have their balance closer to the head for a higher swing weight.
Power racquets are suitable for players with compact, slow swings. If you’re a relatively small player or aren’t as physically strong as other players, you might like this kind of racquet since it helps you increase your power output.
To summarize, power racquets generally have the following attributes:
- Oversized head
- Extended length
- Stiffer frame
- Lighter construction
They make a great choice for players who are:
- Learning how to play
- Smaller in height
- Looking for power
Control racquets trade power for control and are generally suitable for advanced players because their small heads and heavier weight require a high level of precision to hit the sweet spot consistently. Compared to power racquets, they generally have heavier frames to increase stability and more flexibility in the frame to reduce power and allow you to have better placement of the ball.
Control racquets usually have the following attributes:
- Smaller heads
- Standard length
- Flexible frames
- Heavier construction
Control racquets are ideal for players who are:
- Experienced players
- Taller in height
- Looking for control
This style of racquet is generally light or moderately heavy (9.6 to 11.5 ounces) and have a relatively neutral balance. The head size usually falls between 98 – 104 square inches.
The specs of this style of racquet fall somewhere between those of the power and control racquets. Most of the attributes, including head size, stiffness, length, and weight, fall somewhere in the mid-range.
They make a solid choice for players who:
- Are looking to upgrade from a beginner’s racquet
- Seek a balance of power and control
Break down by Racquet Brand
Popular Racquet Brands
There are more than 12 different quality tennis racquet brands on the market. Here’s a list of some of the more common brands.
Babolat is a French company that was founded in 1975 in Lyon and is one of the big three in terms of popularity along with Wilson and Head. Babolat racquets range from about $150 to upwards of $350.
Wilson originated in the early 1900s in America. Some of the most successful players in the world have used a Wilson racquet, including Roger Federer and Serena Williams. The Wilson sporting brand is well known across a range of sports. Wilson have the full range of junior, beginner and advanced professional frames.
Head is newer to the game than both Wilson and Babolat and originated in America in 1950. It’s now one of the most popular racquets on the market and a popular choice among professionals. The cheapest Head racquets are about $200, and the high-end racquets are around $380.
Yonex is the best-selling Japanese brand of tennis racquets. These racquets are more rectangular in shape and have a unique look. Modern players like Nick Kyrios and Naomi Osaka use these racquets. The Yonex range covers all player levels and price ranges.
Racquets made by Tecnifibre start at higher prices because they don’t offer inexpensive aluminium frames but top out at more affordable prices. At the low end, you’re probably going to pay about $150. Tecnifibre’s most expensive racquets are a little over $300.
How to Choose a Grip Size
Almost all tennis racquets on the market have four different grip sizes to choose from:
- Grip 1: 4 and 1/8 inch (extra small)
- Grip 2: 4 and 1/4 (small)
- Grip 3: 4 and 3/8 inch (medium)
- Grip 4: 4 and a ½ inch (large)
The size of your hands helps determine the ideal size grip you should use for the most comfortable fit and prevent injury. If it’s too small, you won’t have a solid grip, which can lead to injury from over-gripping, while a grip that’s too large can put extra stress on your arm muscles and won’t be comfortable.
Most adult women find success with a 4 ¼ (grip size 2) while men typically gravitate towards 4 3/8 (grip size 3). However, any grip can be suitable for any person, it is all personal preference.
You may also want to try a racquet one size above and below the size you measure to see how they feel. When buying a racquet, it’s easier to make the grip bigger than smaller. Adding an overgrip to your racquet will increase the grip size by roughly 1/16 of an inch or half a grip size
It’s most important to remember that your grip should feel good. If you’re unsure about what grip size is best for you, it’s always best to go with a smaller handle because you can use overgrip to build up the thickness of the handle. While we can guide you to the approximate size that you should start with, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Where to buy from – physical store or online
We are aware that not everyone has the choice of buying their racquet from a physical store But the greatest benefits from visiting a physical store are:
- You can hold and feel different racquet
- You can ask the advice of the shop staff
- You may be able to take the demo racquets out onto court and give them a try before you buy
The best scenario is to buy from someone like www.tennisgear.com.au! These guys are an online retailer with first class physical shops as well. They will let you borrow demonstration racquet to try before you buy then you can purchase a new racquet through their website, knowing you’ll be getting the lowest online price.