Tennis Racket Buying Guide

When it comes to buying a tennis racket, you literally have hundreds of options to choose from which can be very daunting, especially if you are new to tennis.

This Tennis Racket Buying Guide will hopefully help you to understand what you should look for when buying a racket such as Head Size, Weight, Swing Weight, String Pattern, grip size, balance, stiffness, and beam width.

Tennis Racket Buying Guide

What to look out for when buying a racket

Head Size

Head sizes range from as small as 80 sq inches to as large as 130 square inches but most modern frames will have a 98 to 100 head size.

Generally speaking, a larger head size will give you a bigger sweet spot and more power on your shots so beginners often will opt to buy an oversized frame with a larger head size so that it is easier for them to hit the sweet spot and generate pace on their shots.

NB: Oversized rackets have a head size of 105 sq inches or greater.

The downside to using an oversized frame is that although you get plenty of power, this comes at the cost of control.

As your game improves it is likely that you will want to buy a frame with a head size between 95 and 104 sq inches as this is more suited to intermediate players and will give you a better balance between power and control.

Frames with a head size of less than 95 sq inches are more suited to more advanced tennis players as they will have a much smaller sweet spot and generally speaking, should be avoided by most recreational tennis players.

For the vast majority of recreational players, it will be a decision between a 98 vs 100 head size.

If you are looking for more control then I would recommend a 98-inch head size but if you need some help with power and you want a more forgiving frame then you should go with a 100-inch head size.

Weight

What weight your racket should be, depends on the level you are currently playing at.

If you are a beginner then you should go with a lighter frame as a lighter frame will be easier to swing and will help you generate more power on your shots, with lighter weight frames usually ranging from 270g to 300g.

Intermediate players who have started to develop a full swing will usually opt for a slightly heavier frame in the 300g to 320g range, while more advanced players usually prefer heavier frames that are between 320g and 360g.

If you are a beginner, then you should definitely avoid frames heavier than 300g, so for example Roger Federer’s RF97 should not be used by beginners, as a heavy frame like this, will not help you play better and is more likely to slow your improvement.

Swing Weight

In simple terms the higher the swing weight of a tennis racket the harder it is to swing.

A lower swing weight will help you generate spin whereas a higher swing weight will give you more power and stability on your shots.

If you play lots of doubles or if you have a one handed backhand then I would recommend going for a frame with a medium to high swing weight as this will give you the stability you need on your backhand and on your volleys.

If you are a tennis beginner, then it is best to stick to options with a low swing weight until you improve to a level where you are hitting balls with a full swing.

String Pattern

Put simply a tennis racket’s string pattern is the ratio between the number of vertical strings (called main strings) to the number of horizontal strings (called cross strings) on a racket.

There are a number of string patterns available with the most popular being the 16 x 19 and 18 x 20 string patterns.

A 16×19 string pattern will give you more spin on your shots whereas an 18×20 string pattern will give you more control.

There is no right or wrong option when it comes down to the string pattern you choose and it will usually come down to what you want from your sting pattern .i.e more spin or more control.

Grip Size

Grip size is often overlooked when buying a racket but getting the wrong grip size can have a big impact on your game.

Grip sizes range from 4 inches to 4 5/8 inches, with the average grip size being 4 and 1/8 for adult female players and and 4 1/2 for adult male players.

Check out this Grip Sizes Guide and Chart for more information on how to work out what grip size is right for you.

Balance (Head Light vs Head Heavy)

The balance of a tennis racket refers to where most of the weight is included and deciding between a Head Light vs Head Heavy can have a big impact on the playability of a racket

If most of the weight is included in the head, it is considered to have a head heavy balance (HH), whereas if most of the weight is in the handle, it is considered to have a head light balance (HL).

Most tennis rackets are either head heavy or head light but there are some, where the weight has been evenly distributed around the frame and handle.

These rackets are referred to as evenly balanced rackets (EB).

Head light frames are generally easier to swing than head heavy frames and you will find that most tennis pros play with a head light frame.

However, head heavy frames will give you more power as there will be more mass behind the ball.

For this reason, head heavy frames are usually used by beginner tennis players who need help generating power on their shots.

However, this extra power you get with a head heavy frames comes at the cost of control.

If you are a beginner and you want to play lots of doubles then I would recommend a racket with a head light balance whereas if you plan to mainly play singles and from the baseline then a head heavy balance might work better for you.

Frame Stiffness

Frame Stiffness is measured on a scale from 0 – 100 with most rackets falling in the 50-80 stiffness range.

The stiffness rating of a frame is one of the key things you should look at if you have had arm issues or tennis elbow in the past.

A frame with a high stiffness rating will give you lots of power but it is more likely that you will encounter some arm issues if you regularly play with a frame with a high stiffness rating.

If you are looking for an arm friendly option then I recommend going for a frame with a stiffness rating in the low 60s or below.

A good example of an arm friendly option would be the Wilson Clash 98 V1 which has a stiffness rating of 55.

Beam Width

The average beam width of a modern tennis racket is 23mm with rackets below this being considered to have a narrow beam and rackets above this being considered to have a wide beam.

Generally speaking, a wider beam will give you more power but this will come at the cost of less maneuverability and control.

You will find that tennis rackets for beginners will tend to have a wider beam whereas rackets used by more advanced players will have a narrow beam.

Recommendations

Wilson Clash 108

If you are looking for a good beginner racket, then the Wilson Clash 108 V1 is a good pick as it is a lightweight frame, with an oversized head size that gives you good power on your shots.

The Wilson Clash 108 is also good if you are worried about getting tennis elbow as it is a very arm-friendly option.

Wilson Clash 108

Wilson Clash 108 V1 Specs

Head Size:108 in²
Length:27.25 in
Unstrung Weight:280 g
String Pattern:16 x 19
Stiffness Rating: 56

Where can you buy the Wilson Clash 108?

The Wilson Clash 108 is available to buy from Amazon and if you purchase it after clicking on the button below you will be helping to support our blog as we will earn a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you.

Babolat Pure Drive

Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat Pure Drive is our number 1 recommendation for a doubles racket as it gives an excellent balance between power and control.

The Babolat Pure Drive is also very popular on the doubles pro tour with players like Bob and Mike Bryan using the plus version of the racket.

Babolat Pure Drive Specs

Head Size:100 in²
Length:27 in
Unstrung Weight:300 g
String Pattern:16 x 19
Stiffness Rating: 71

Where can you buy the Babolat Pure Drive?

The Babolat Pure Drive is available to buy from Amazon and if you purchase it after clicking on the button below you will be helping to support our blog as we will earn a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you.

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

Wilson RF 97 Autograph

If you are an advanced player, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the best tennis racket you can get for your one handed backhand.

It offers excellent plow through on your backhand and provides great feel and control on your shots.

Where can you buy the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph?

The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is available to buy from Amazon and if you purchase it after clicking on the button below you will be helping to support our blog as we will earn a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you.