Tennis Racket Buying Guide

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

Our Tennis Racket Buying Guide will hopefully help 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.

Table of Contents

Tennis Racket Buying Guide
Tennis Racket Buying Guide

Tennis Racket Buying Guide

Tennis Racket Head Size

The first thing you should consider is the head size of the racket.

Head size range from as small as 80 sq inches to as large as 130 square inches but most modern tennis rackets 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 tennis racket with a larger head size so that it is easier for them to hit the sweet spot and generate pace on their shots.

Oversized tennis rackets are rackets with a head size of 105 sq inches or greater.

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

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

Tennis Rackets with a head size 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 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 racket with a 98-inch head size but if you need some help with power and you want a more forgiving racket then you should look for a tennis racket with a 100-inch head size.

Tennis Racket 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 racket as a lighter racket will be easier to swing and will help you generate more power on your shots.

Lighter weight rackets usually range from 270g to 300g.

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

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

Tennis Racket Swing Weight

In simple terms the higher the swing rate of a 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 racket 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 rackets with a low swing weight until you improve to a level where you are hitting balls with a full swing.

Tennis Racket String Pattern

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

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

A racket with 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 in your string and it will usually come down to which string pattern you prefer.

Tennis Racket 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.

Racket Grip size range from 4 inches to 4 5/8 inches.

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

Tennis Racket Balance (Head Light vs Head Heavy Rackets)

The balance of a racket refers to where most of the weight is included.

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

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

These rackets are referred to as evenly balanced rackets.

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

However, head heavy rackets will give you more power as there will be more mass behind the ball when you hit with a head heavy racket.

For this reason, head heavy rackets 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 racket 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 tennis racket with a head heavy balance might work better for you.

Tennis Racket Stiffness

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

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

A racket 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 racket with a high stiffness rating.

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

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

Tennis Racket 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 tennis racket with a wider beam will have more power but this will come at the cost of less manoeuvrability.

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

Tennis Rackets 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 Clash 108 is also good if you are worried about getting tennis elbow as it is a very arm-friendly racket.

Wilson Clash 108

Wilson Clash 108 V1 Key Specs

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

Where can you buy the Wilson Clash 108?

Babolat Pure Drive

Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat Pure Drive is our number 1 recommendation for a doubles tennis 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 Key Specs

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

Where can you buy the Babolat Pure Drive?

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 plough through on your backhand and provides great feel and control on your shots.

Where can you buy the Wilson RF 97 Autograph?

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this article on how to choose a tennis racket for beginners useful. If you did then you may also enjoy our article on Tennis Doubles Strategy for Beginners.

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