Choosing the right tennis racket isn’t easy.
But don’t worry!
I have made this comprehensive guide on how to choose a tennis racket to make life easier for you. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player I’ve got you covered.
First, I will teach you the basic features to look out for, and then you’ll learn about the key factors that affect what tennis racket you choose.
Let’s get started!
Before making a purchase, there are several features you must learn about so you can have a better understanding of what to look for in a tennis racket.
Racket length and head size are two important factors to consider when choosing a tennis racket.
The normal length for an adult tennis racket is 27 inches. However, some rackets are longer than 27 inches and can measure up to 29 inches. These are known as oversized rackets.
Longer rackets provide more power but are more difficult to maneuver and control. A shorter racket makes it easier to control the ball but sacrifices power.
Head size is also an important factor to consider as it can impact the amount of power and control you have on your shots.
Racket head sizes fall into these 3 categories:
- Midsize: 85-97 in²
- Mid-plus: 98-104 in²
- Oversized: 105+ in²
When you’re starting out, choosing a racket with a head size greater than 105 inches is a good idea because they are more forgiving and have a larger sweet spot.
As you progress, you may want to consider a racket with a smaller head size, which provides more control and is easier to maneuver.
Choosing the right grip size for your tennis racket is important for your comfort and performance on the court. A grip that is too small or too large can lead to discomfort, decreased control, and even injury.
Grip sizes range from 4 inches to 4 ¾ inches. A 4 ⅜ grip size is best for most adults, but if you have smaller hands, use a 4 ¼ grip, and if you have larger hands, use a 4 ½ grip.
If you’re not sure which grip size to use, go with the smaller one because you can always add an overgrip to increase the size of the grip.
Below you can view all the different grip sizes:
Racket weight, balance, and stiffness are also important factors to consider.
Lighter rackets are easier to maneuver, making them ideal for beginners, but they aren’t as stable when hitting the ball.
Heavier rackets provide more control and stability, but require more effort to swing and may put a lot of strain on your arm.
As you gain experience and play more frequently, you may opt for a heavier racket to control the ball better and handle any pace your opponent throws at you.
Balance refers to the distribution of weight in the racket.
Rackets with their weight shifted toward the head are referred to as head heavy. These rackets are typically lighter in weight to improve maneuverability while increasing power and stability as more weight is shifted to the head.
Rackets with their weight shifted towards the handle are referred to as head light. These rackets are typically heavier to reduce vibrations while maintaining maneuverability by keeping more weight in the handle.
Rackets with their weight distributed evenly throughout are known as balanced.
Stiffness refers to how much the racket flexes when it comes into contact with the ball.
A stiffer racket can provide more power but may be less forgiving, while a more flexible racket can offer more control and comfort but may not provide as much power.
The ideal stiffness of a racket depends on your personal preference and playing style, which is what we will discuss later on in this guide.
Determining your skill level is important when choosing a tennis racket because it can affect the type of racket that will best suit your needs.
Skill levels can be classified into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Beginner players are those who are new to tennis and are just starting to learn the basics of the game. They may not have developed proper technique and footwork yet, and may struggle to consistently hit the ball over the net.
Beginners may benefit from a racket that is lightweight and has a larger head size, which can help with power and forgiveness on their shots.
Intermediate players have some tennis experience and have developed a certain level of skill. They have a better understanding of the game and may have improved their shot consistency.
Intermediate players may benefit from a more balanced racket with a medium head size, which can offer a good blend of power and control.
See my list of the best tennis rackets for intermediate players to learn more.
Advanced players are those who have been playing tennis for many years and have developed advanced skills and techniques. They have a high level of consistency in their shots and can execute more complex shots such as top spin, slice, and drop shots.
They also have a good understanding of tactics and strategy, and are able to read their opponents and adjust their game accordingly.
Advanced players may prefer a heavier racket with a smaller head size, which can offer greater control and precision in their shots.
See my list of the best tennis rackets for advanced players to learn more.
I’ve included a specification chart below that will help give you an idea of what features to look for in a tennis racket based on your skill level.
Up to $150
A crucial factor to take into account when choosing a tennis racket is your playing style.
Every tennis player has a unique style of play. Some players are more aggressive whilst others are more defensive.
- Aggressive Player: You may want a tennis racket that’s heavier, stiffer, and has a larger head size. These features can give you more power, stability, and control, allowing you to hit the ball harder and with greater accuracy.
- Defensive Player: You may want a lighter tennis racket with a smaller head size and a more flexible frame. These features can give you more maneuverability and help you generate more topspin.
In addition to playing style, swing style is another important factor to consider when selecting a tennis racket. Swing style refers to the way a player swings the racket during their shots, whether it’s a long, smooth swing or a short, compact one.
The type of swing style you have can impact the type of tennis racket that’s best suited for you.
- Short Swing: You would benefit from a racket with a stiffer frame and a larger head size. This helps you generate more power on your shots.
- Long Swing: You might prefer a racket with a more flexible frame and a smaller head size. This improves your control and feel.
It’s also worth noting that your swing style can change depending on the shot you’re hitting. For example, you may have a longer forehand swing but a shorter backhand swing.
Take the time to analyze your swing and experiment with different tennis rackets to find the perfect match for you.
Tennis rackets can vary greatly in price, with some costing a few hundred dollars and others costing less than $50. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest racket available, it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of the racket can have a significant impact on your game.
Tennis rackets that are more expensive are typically made of higher quality materials, such as carbon fiber or graphite, and have more advanced technology that can improve your performance on the court. These rackets may also be more durable than less expensive alternatives.
However, it’s important to note that just because a racket is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for you.
There are plenty of tennis rackets available at more affordable prices that can still provide you with the performance and features you need to destroy your opponent on the court.
When considering your budget, it’s essential to think about your level of play and how often you play. If you’re a beginner or only play occasionally, a cheaper option may make sense. However, if you’re a more advanced player who plays regularly, investing in a higher-quality racket may be worth the extra cost.
There are 3 main types of tennis rackets:
Power rackets are designed to provide maximum power. They are ideal for players who have a shorter, more compact swing or those who lack natural power in their shots.
These rackets typically have a larger head size, longer length, and lighter weight, which allows for greater maneuverability and swing speed. They also have a stiffer frame which helps deliver more power to the ball.
Power rackets are a great choice for players just starting out.
Control rackets are designed to provide maximum control and precision which is why they are ideal for advanced players.
They have a smaller head size, heavier weight, and a more flexible frame, allowing for greater control and stability.
However, they do lack power.
Tweener rackets are a mix of power and control rackets, making them ideal for players who want the best of both worlds.
They typically have a medium head size, weight, and stiffness, which allows for a balance between power and control.
When it comes to selecting a tennis racket, there are many popular brands to choose from. Here are some of the top tennis racket brands to consider:
- Wilson: Wilson is one of the most well-known and established tennis racket brands in the world, with players such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams using Wilson rackets. They offer a wide range of rackets for players of all levels, including the popular Pro Staff and Blade series.
- Babolat: Babolat is another popular brand that is known for producing high-quality tennis rackets. Their Pure Drive and Pure Aero series is a huge favorite of mine.
- Head: Head was founded in the United States back in the 1950s. They produce a wide range of sports equipment, including tennis rackets. The Radical, Speed, and Gravity series are very popular.
- Yonex: Yonex is a Japanese-based company that is known for its unique head shape. Their EZONE and VCORE series are particularly popular among players.
When selecting a tennis racket, it’s important to consider not just the brand, but also the specific series and model that is best suited to your playing style and preferences.
It can be difficult to select a tennis racket for your child. You want to buy something big enough that they can grow into but isn’t so big that they can’t use it.
A sizing chart for junior tennis rackets can be found below. You’ll need to make adjustments if they’re above or below average in strength and height for their age.
<40 in (<102 cm)
40-44 in (102-113 cm)
45-49 in (114-126 cm)
50-55 in (127-140 cm)
56-60 in (142-152 cm)
60+ in (152+ cm)
Most kid’s rackets come with a standard grip size of 4 inches. If the grip seems too small you can always build it up using overgrips.
Once you’ve found the perfect tennis racket for you, you can start looking for tennis strings to go with it.
Choosing the right tennis strings isn’t easy, so I’ve covered the basics to help you get started.
There are 5 types of tennis strings you may want to consider:
- Polyester: They offer a stiff feel that can provide more spin and control to your shots, but they lack power and comfort. They are a popular choice among advanced players who are looking for a string that can control their powerful strokes.
- Multifilament: They offer more power and comfort than polyester strings, but may not be as durable. A good option for players looking for a balance between power and control.
- Natural Gut: They provide excellent feel, power, and comfort, but are not as durable as other types of strings.
- Synthetic Gut: They offer a great balance of durability, power, and comfort. A good choice for players looking for an affordable and versatile string.
- Hybrid: They are a combination of two different types of strings, typically a polyester string in the mains and a natural gut in the crosses. This can offer an excellent balance of control, spin, power, and comfort.
It may be worth testing out a bunch of different tennis strings to find which best suit your game.
String tension refers to the amount of pressure at which the strings are strung in the racket.
The higher the tension, the less the strings will stretch, resulting in a more controlled but less powerful shot. The lower the tension, the more the strings will stretch, resulting in a more powerful but less controlled shot.
The ideal string tension depends on your playing style and skill level, as well as the type of strings you are using. A general rule of thumb is that higher tension is better for advanced players who prioritize control, while lower tension is better for beginners or players who want more power and forgiveness.
However, some professional players like to have their rackets strung insanely low with Adrian Mannarino having his rackets strung at 24 lbs!
It’s important to note that string tension can also affect the durability of the strings. Higher tension can cause the strings to break more quickly, while lower tension can cause the strings to lose tension more quickly.
If you are unsure of what tension to use for your racket, I’d recommend starting in the middle of your racket’s recommended tension. This is usually between 52-56 lbs.
String gauge refers to the thickness of the strings and is measured on a scale from 13-22. Lower numbers indicate thicker strings and higher numbers indicate thinner strings.
The most common string gauges for tennis rackets are 15L, 16, 16L, and 17.
Thicker strings generally offer more durability and control, but less power and spin. Thinner strings offer more power and spin, but are less durable and may require more frequent restringing.
There are so many great tennis rackets on the market that it can be hard to know which is the best one for you.
Everyone’s game style is different, so the ideal tennis racket for you may not be the ideal tennis racket for someone else. Knowing what type of player you are and finding a racket that fits your strengths and weaknesses is the best way to ensure you choose the right racket.
One thing I recommend is that you try out different rackets and get a feel for what suits your game before making a final decision. There’s no harm in experimenting!
Image Source: Valentin Balan