Just like any other sport or activity, beginning as a tennis player can be a very tough endeavor. What balls do I need, what racquet is the best, the questions go on and on. Today, we are going to help solve a piece of that puzzle for you with a guide on tennis racquets. Whether you are an adult, a junior, or a small child, we are going to break it down for you and let you know what you need and why you need it.
Our guide is going to go over the ins and outs of tennis racquets for beginners. We will then review the most popular products out there right now and also answer any frequently asked questions that you might have as well. Get ready to make it so much easier to get into your groove as a tennis star!
Top Tennis Racquets Comparison Chart
|Image||Name||Pros||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet||Very light and easy to swing||Huge sweet spot||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|2. Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet||Great racquet for additional firepower||Very big landing spot||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|3. Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Tennis Racquet||Light but not too light||Strings make it good for intermediate play||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|4. Babolat Drive Max 110 Tennis Racquet||Can be used for intermediate play||Good at and around the net||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|5. Wilson Tour Slam Lite Tennis Racquet||Good for playing every now and then||Generates decent power||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|6. Prince Textreme Premier 105 Tennis Racquet||Very comfortable||MASSIVE sweet spot||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|7. Wilson Junior Burn Pink Tennis Racquet||Very affordable||Large sweet spot||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|7. HEAD Speed Junior Tennis Racquet||Light weight||Really big sweet spot for a junior racquet||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Tennis Racquets Buying Guide
A Word of Caution
Before we get into the bulk of our guide, we need to quickly discuss something. A lot of people are going to think that the racquet makes or breaks you. This simply is just not true. A racquet is vital, no doubt. You can’t play the game without one, and if you don’t have the right one, you won’t be able to ever hit the ball properly. But, a racquet isn’t going to make a huge difference for your game.
It’s going to be you, your work, and your technique that pays off. Not the racquet. Repetitions are what’s most important, and that’s what you should be striving for. When you reach an intermediate level of play, 3.5 or higher, then you can start to see a real difference from racquet to racquet. But until then, it’s much less about the racquet you choose and much more about you.
Give Me Power
As a beginner, what you are going to find out is that you play with a short, complete stroke and that it is a little bit slow. At least, this is the ideal way to begin. You are working on making contact and learning the fundamentals. There are few gut-wrenching shots being made where you just hammer the ball by turning hard and fast and slamming a forehand winner down the line.
So, what all that leads to is a lack of power. Power is hard to come by, and because of that, beginners almost always are going to need a racquet that helps to generate power in the swing. This does mean you need a heavier racquet than a typical player, but don’t be too worried.
Extra weight really isn’t that bad with tennis. We’re just talking ounces, not pounds! If you pair up a decent starting racquet along with proper technique, you’re on the road to becoming a success and will have a lot of fun in the game.
Here are the sizes and the names that they are given, as well as the square inches that they run between:
- Midsize- 85 to 95 inches
- Mid Plus- 96 to 105 inches
- Oversize- 106 to 118 inches
- Super Oversize- 119 inches and above
A Bigger Sweet Spot
The other major thing that you need when you are a beginner is a sweet spot that is quite large. Having some forgiveness is never going to hurt you on the court, and this is certainly the case with you’ve just began your playing career.
A beginner’s racquet, even for a very naturally athletic player, needs to have a fairly large sweet spot. What it will do is allow you to get your shots within the boundaries more often. Without it, it’s going to be tough for you to keep it in bounds, so you really do need to get a large one. Over time, you can start to shrink it as you become more precise improve as a player.
We’ll get into specifics a little more here with the size of the frame. This is related to the concepts above, but it is more technical and worth knowing. The frame size is pretty self explanatory in its definition. It’s just how big the racquet is overall. If you want to achieve that high level of forgiveness that we touched on above, the best way to do that is to have as large a frame as possible.
Companies, luckily, make frames that are ‘oversized’ in the head of the racquet to give this off. The larger the head is, the more forgiving it will be. Pro players can get away with smaller ones, as they are used to hitting the same spot over and over.
However, as you are just learning, you won’t be able to master nearly that level of play right off the bat. Beginners should look for those that have at least 100 square inches. Anything less is going to make it tough on you to return the ball in an efficient manner.
The length of a racquet is another big thing that should never be overlooked. The ideal tennis racquet for someone that is considered to be a novice is going to be around either 27 or 28 inches. The reason why you want this is because you want to stay in as much control as possible. The longer a racquet is, the more power that you will have available to you.
But, as the sweet spot moves away from you, the more control you lose. You might wonder why you were encouraged to get power earlier but not here. The reason why is because you want to also have a good amount of contact, too. Contact is the main thing for a beginner. You add the power in later, not the other way around. As a beginner, you want to learn the basic movements, the rules, and the strokes.
You can’t learn that if you are unable to swing the racquet in the right manner or you can’t get the ball over the net and within the boundaries. Choosing the right length, with nothing above 28, is a very good idea as you start your tennis journey.
Just like length, the weight of the racquet can play a major role in your level of play. Those that play with a racquet that is too heavy will find it almost impossible to hit shots as they will just be preoccupied with keeping their racquet up as high they can. With that said, though, a good general rule is to pick the heaviest racquet that you can make it through an entire session with.
By doing this, you can make sure to avoid issues. One such issue that can be presented when you use a racquet that is too light is that you can begin to develop poor tendencies. One of them is flicking the wrist. Because you can overpower the racquet, it’s easy to start doing this. What most people don’t know is that this can actually cause you injuries down the line with the wrist, and perhaps more crucially, the elbow.
Tennis elbow isn’t fun, and when you use super lightweight racquets, it seems to be more commonly developed. You should avoid this, and you can do so by going with the general rule of picking the heaviest you can manage. Beginners don’t want anything that is impossible to lug around, no, but you don’t want to be able to swing it so easily that is feels like a butter knife, either.
For normal men, a weight between 7.9 and 11.3 ounces is recommended, while women’s weights aren’t much different as they are between 7.2 and 11 ounces. When it comes to racquets, we aren’t talking about a ton of weight, so you should not be overly concerned if you go up and ounce or two really.
Head Heavy or Head Light?
There are a lot of terms when it comes to racquets, and this is one of them that is quite confusing at times. When you also have the frame and the head to talk about, it can make this one tough. But it’s not all that difficult, really. These terms refer to the balance of the racquet, meaning it is more important than what you’d think.
Depending on who you are, you might like something that another person will not like. You just have to dive in there and see which you prefer. If the balance is in the middle of the frame, it is an evenly balanced racquet. To further add on, if the weight is mostly concentrated on the middle of the frame, then it is head light. Head heavy, then, will mean that the mass is in the head of the racquet.
Head heavy racquets will be more powerful and also offer a lot of stability because you can balance it better. You don’t get as much ability to move it around, but remember it’s just by molecules here because the weights are not super high. Head heavy is most common and is going to typically be the one that beginners will want to play with and learn on.
Strings and Tension
As you get better and better, the options for your racquet are going to get more advanced. Strings and tension will be big words to you if you keep up your journey after you have shed the beginner’s tag, but these words aren’t totally useless to you right now.
What you need to know is that any cheap type is going to work for you. What you need is reps and lots of practice before you can even start to think about the advantages and disadvantages that strings would give you. If you do have a choice, though, you should go with looser strings as opposed to tighter ones.
With looser ones, you will have more power and also have a larger sweet spot, which are two things that we know that we already need as rookies. They also will help you prevent those awful elbow issues we’ve discussed a little bit because you aren’t going to be waving that thing around like a light saber as much. It’ll reduce the strain put upon you simply because you aren’t having to swing as hard.
This is another thing that just comes down to personal feel and preferences. With many of the beginner racquets coming with a one size fits all approach, this isn’t as big to you as it would be to a more advanced player. However, it is still worth a look.
If, for example, you’re in a store, and see a racquet, you might not consider it first but you’ll inevitably end up looking at it. If the grip isn’t thick enough for you, you might not like it. You also might prefer to have something flatter, too, so you could opt for a thinner grip. Generally, the smaller your hands, the lower the number you will want. Something like a 4 ¼.
Larger hands can go for a 4 ½. You can see these expressed on the grip itself at the very bottom of the racquet. It will have a number like 4 or 2. The 4 represents ¼, while the 2 represents ½. Since all grips have four in front, they leave that off to simplify the process. This isn’t a make or break thing, but it’s still good to know, nonetheless.
No one wants to pay more than they have to in order to buy something, so price is always going to be something that contributes to making a good all-around decision. Right off the bat, you’ll be happy to know that beginner’s tennis racquets are not nearly as expensive as the ones that professional and higher tier players use. That is a big plus for you, I’m sure, as you want to save money since you don’t even know if you will be committing to this sport full time.
However, you should know that quality is correlated to the amount that you pay. Correlation does not mean causation, meaning you can find good gear for cheaper prices, but it is generally the case that the more you pay, the better off you will be. Racquets that cost more sometimes don’t last as long as racquets that cost less. This might not make a lot of sense to you, but if it is a premium racquet, it’s usually meant for matches.
That means if you are practicing a ton, it can wear out quickly. This is why as a beginner you want something toward the middle of the lower-middle end of the spectrum. The lowest end are ultra cheap and are readily available, but the durability on them is often questioned very early on in their lifespan. This can be avoided if you just go with a choice that costs a little bit more. It’s much better to spend double or even triple the price if you know that it is going to last you much, much longer.
Just like with always, deals can be found and so, too, can relative ripoffs. You might find an awesome racquet for cheap for whatever reason. By the same token, you could find a racquet to be far more costly than it should be. This could be because a brand is known for their quality and has thus seen prices raise across the board. Or it could have just not been as well made as they intended.
Most of the time, you can get a racquet that is more than adequate for you for about the cost of a decent pair of shoes.
Gender and Racquets
The game of tennis is different between the two genders in a few ways. Males play a lot of matches that have five sets, whereas the women will play just three. The balls are also a little bit different as well. However, the racquets are not all that different.
The weights are generally always the same, and you are able to choose what you like best. While it is recommended that men go slightly heavier than women, it is by no means a requirement. It’s just a few ounces, after all. You also can tailor the racquet to your wants and needs. If you want to be very agile, you can get a lighter one. If you want more power, you can go heavier. It’s just up to you.
The only thing that might make you feel like it is a women’s racquet is if it is pink or another ‘girly’ color. This is just about the only thing to look out for, and other than color there is no real difference in them.
What About the Kiddos?
Most people would not be able to tell the difference in a kids racquet and one for an adult if you just laid them out separately. If you took a kids’ racquet and put it on the ground, it would be tough to tell. The difference, though, is pretty simple. Those for kids are usually smaller and lighter. You don’t want anything too heavy or too long for them.
Heavy is one thing, but if the racquet is ungainly and can’t be moved around by them, it will be useless for them. Also, a kid’s racquet should be larger in the frame to allow a bigger sweet spot, but that’s really not all that different from the adult beginner!
The materials that make up a racquet affect the feel, durability, and the price of it all at the same time. The main type that beginner’s racquets utilize is aluminum. This material is much better for you because it is not only forgiving but is also able to sustain much more wear and tear than other more expensive types of materials. If you drop your racquet, or if you decide to throw it like John McEnroe, you’ve got a much better chance of coming out the other side with a racquet that is fully intact.
That would not be the case with, for example, graphite. Graphite is super at giving you excellent feel and also being light, but it’s not going to be as durable for a new player because you can’t take as many risks with it. Think of a golf driver; it is that very same material, so you have to treat it very carefully.
While we have worked hard on getting the words of fellow players and putting them into our reviews, it is important that you keep in mind that just that and our guide might not be sufficient for you. If you’d like to, you can look on various tennis websites and see what other players of your ilk are saying. You want to get a complete view of their words, and by getting more than one source, you can get a full grasp on it.
Best Tennis Racquets Reviews
HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet
If you want something that is just a generally good pick for both adults and younger players (teens), too, this is a great pick. It’s not the cheapest one you will find on the list, but it’s also not the highest and will do you a whole lot of good as you learn the game. It has titanium as opposed to aluminum, so it is only 8.9 ounces and the material helps to prevent tennis elbow.
The frame is all the way up at 115 square inches, so there is a huge amount of room for that sweet spot that you covet so much. It can be tough to maneuver it once you get a little bit better, but if you are just starting out, it’s really a good racquet to invest your money into. It has a small grip, so that is going to make it easier to swing without putting extra into it.
It does not come with a head cover, which has been expressed as a sore point for some, so please keep that in mind. It also isn’t going to help you much with power compared to others because of the way that the strings are laid out.
- Huge sweet spot
- Moderate price
- Very light and easy to swing
- Not going to produce much power
- Doesn’t come with a cover
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet
If you are looking to get into the game and want something that is quality without spending a whole bunch at all, then the Federer is the one for you. Named after the legend himself, it’s a shock to see them priced so low because of that. It is heavier than a lot of racquets that are being made today at 11.5 ounces, but that isn’t going to be an issue unless you are starting to get much more serious about your play.
This option is one that is for sure intended for those that don’t know if they will fall in love with the game, so it’s not going to hurt to just try it out for that price. It’s got 110 square inches for the head size, so it’s got a plenty big enough landing spot to give you the best chance to hit the ball more squarely as you learn and build upon your skills. It does have a lot of power, unlike the previous HEAD, so that will help you out quite a bit.
The issue with this one, besides it being heavy, is going to be that it’s not going to help you improve a ton.
- Good, low price to pay
- Great racquet for those that need additional firepower
- Very big landing spot
- Isn’t going to help you get better very much
- It is quite heavy compared to newer models
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Tennis Racquet
With an oversized head and an open pattern stringing, this racquet’s name comes to fruition in a big way. The Hyper Hammer is definitely a powerful one to have for those beginners out there, but you don’t have to sacrifice much. With the oversized head that measure 110 square inches, you also get a ton of forgiveness and will be able to make plenty of good shots because it still just under 10 ounces in total weight.
Because of all of these things, unlike most racquets in this beginner tier, it can actually help you as you move into the intermediate range as well. The price is in the middle of the spectrum, much like the Head one earlier, so it’s fairly similar and won’t be costing you an arm and a leg. The head heavy balance of it makes it more stable for you and also allows you to get good forward momentum toward the ball without the racquet being way too heavy.
It does not have as much power as some other racquets do in this beginner range, so look out for that here. It’s going to be a great one for contact players, so you will have to produce some of the power all on your own. It also vibrates a ton, so be ready for that.
- Light but not too light to make you overdo it
- Lots of forgiveness
- Strings make it good for intermediate play, too
- Not quite as powerful as others
- Vibration too much for some
Babolat Drive Max 110 Tennis Racquet
Babolat is known for making high quality goods in the racquet sports, but with that you should know that they are not cheap. They are toward the upper end of the price spectrum for sure with this offering. If you want to improve very quickly, though, and have a larger budget than most, then this is the one you’ll want.
It’s lightweight and has a large head at 110 square inches, making it easier for you to move around at the net and also giving you a larger sweet spot than most others they make. The string pattern on this racquet helps create spin on the ball, which is something that will be useful for a player that wants to quickly progress through the ranks. Like the previous Wilson, you won’t have to buy another racquet as you move up a level, either, as it will work just dandy in intermediate play.
- Helps you up your game fast
- Good at and around the net
- Can be used for intermediate play, too
- Rather large price to pay
- Only for very serious players
Wilson Tour Slam Lite Tennis Racquet
If you’d like something that is in the cheaper range and don’t want the Federer, then this is the option for you. As the cheapest option on the list, it is not going to have a much versatility. It’s served best for players that aren’t sure if they want to play in a serious manner or just for those that want to have some fun goofing off every now and again. The head is large at 110 sq inches and is 11.5 ounces.
This does give it a good sized sweet spot to be sure and you will have quite a bit of power, but you do have the trade off of it being a little heavy. That won’t be a problem, though, if you don’t play often or your sessions aren’t that long. The grip size is 4 3/8 and is the only size, so that is a bit of bummer for some to learn.
It isn’t going to be as durable as others on the list, for obvious reasons, and it’s not going to make you a great player quickly, but it will be good for those that just want the occasional game.
- Extremely cheap to find online and in stores
- Good for playing every now and then
- Generates decent power
- A little flimsy
- One one grip size
- Not for much serious play
Prince Textreme Premier 105 Tennis Racquet
Coming to you at the highest price on the list and coming unstrung, it is safe to say that this racquet from Prince is intended for the beginner that is looking to make quick and steady progress up the ladder. This racquet is rather large in the head at 120 sq inches and thus is incredibly forgiving.
It’s not only forgiving in regards to sweet spot, though, because it is great at reducing vibrations, which is frequently a deterrent to amateurs beginning to play the game. The added length it gives, at about a quarter length, is excellent to help you reach some shots you couldn’t and it’s not so much that you are off balance with it.
You pay a lot for comfort here, so you will have to keep that in mind when you go to buy this racquet. You also have to get it strung, so that is another potential obstacle for you to have to contend with.
- Very comfortable with lack of vibrations
- MASSIVE sweet spot
- Extra length to reach shots
- Big time price to have to pay
- Will have to get it strung before you play
Wilson Junior Burn Pink Tennis Racquet
Whether you want to admit it or not, part of playing the game of tennis is to stand out a bit. A young lady wants to have some style on the court, and this color is sure to help appeal to her to begin with. This junior racquet has a good head size at 103 square inches, which isn’t all that far off from adult sizes, and also is incredibly easy to swing as it just under 8 ounces in weight.
It does have four different sizes (19, 21, 23, and 25) to pick from, so that will make it easier to pick. Going for a very handy price, too, this is a good racquet to give as a gift for a first timer as it will not break the bank and won’t disappoint you too much if they don’t keep with the game. It comes with a bag, which isn’t make or break, but can be a tipping point for your decision.
The coolest thing about this one is that it really feels like a ‘real’ racquet, so it will teach appreciation and will be taken more seriously than others. It can be heavy for some, so please keep that fact in mind.
- Very affordable but not cheaply made
- Large sweet spot
- Style and substance
- Heavier than other junior racquets out there
HEAD Speed Junior Tennis Racquet
Rounding out our list is a good all around pick for the junior player in the Speed from Head. This racquet has the same four lengths available to select from as earlier and also has a large 107 square inches head to allow a huge sweet spot so that proper contact can be made and learned by the junior beginner.
The weight is also quite light, no matter the length of the racquet, so that will help make sure they are not overwhelmed and weighed down too much. It does not come with a cover and the grip size will have to be altered if you want to make alterations, but overall it’s a good pick for a player just getting their start. It’s also affordable for you to buy, so it won’t be setting you back much in the event that it’s not going to be used much.
- Good, low price
- Really big sweet spot for a junior racquet
- Also is very light
- Doesn’t have a cover with it
Conclusion And Final Tennis Racquets Recommendations
Tennis might not be as popular in the United States as it used to be, but it remains one of the strongest sports in the world in terms of fans, ranking fourth on the list. It’s a simple game, and because of that, and the fact that you just need yourself and maybe one other person means it’s relatively easier to master those team sports.
You don’t’ need village to play. This is a good thing, but it’s also meant that there is a ton of equipment out there for sale. In order to find a good racquet, you have to wade through a lot of unnecessary garbage and racquets that are meant for the very best players. A beginner’s racquet needs to be fitted just to you.
It has to relatively inexpensive, it has to have a big sweet spot, and it needs to supply you power. If you can get all three of those, then you’ll be happily off and running in the world of tennis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tennis Racquets
Q: What Kind of Balls Should I Use With My Racquet?
As a beginner, the recommended type of ball is going to be of the pressureless variety. These kinds of balls are going to last a lot longer, and they will retain their shape in comparison to those that are of the ‘normal’ variety. You don’t really have to ever replace them, either, except maybe when the felt begins to come off of them.
This is by no means a requirement, but since you are going to be grinding and practicing a lot, you’ll want something that’s super durable and also consistent. Other types are also good. You should keep in mind the color of the balls, though. Green and yellow are preferred for anyone that isn’t a little over a handful of years old or younger.
Red balls can be used by very young players in order to make it so that they don’t get discouraged by not being able to hit the ball. This is the biggest function of those. Just know that ball machines won’t work with those balls, so if that is how the training is being done, you’ll want to find another avenue to take!
Q: Should You Use Professional Advice To Pick Out a Racquet?
This one is a lot trickier than it might seem to be. There is obviously always going to be a desire for you to lean on players that have more experience. In most cases, this is a virtue that you need to have. It shows a respect for the game, and it will help you learn and improve your overall game over time.
However, when it comes to getting advice on racquets, it’s really hard to get good, accurate advice from a professional. For starters, they oftentimes have affiliations with specific brands. This means they could suggest those without even taking a serious look at how you play.
They also might recommend something that isn’t good for a beginner. Because of those two things, you need to be ultra careful about who you ask. If you don’t feel they are totally honest about the entire process, then take their words with a grain of salt. It’s good to work with them on your game, your form, and your technique, but it might not be as valuable to try and get information out of them about racquets, balls, and other types of equipment due to sponsorships and endorsements.
Q: How Does the Player Rating Scale Work?
In tennis, like in golf, there is a way to keep track of the level that players are at. The scale runs between 1 and 7 and increases in increments of 0.5. A 1 is a person that is just starting at tennis, whereas a 7 is a world class professional that plays in huge tournaments. Once you get to 6, these rankings are virtually useless. The scale is determined by you, so it does require some honesty.
It doesn’t pay to round up here, either, as it could lead to you being hammered by someone in a match. So, if you are interesting you can look up the NTRP Player Rating Scale and figure out where you fall on the list. Remember, 3.5, as mentioned earlier, is where the racquet begins to make a major difference.
Q: How Does Tennis Elbow Happen?
There is still a lot of debate on this, but one theory thinks that it’s the consistent swinging motion that ends up causing this pain to occur. Another idea is that lighter racquets can cause this to happen because they don’t counter balance the arm enough and you fly through the motion and cause harm to yourself as a result of it.
Some things have been brought in to try and curb this from happening, but so far nothing has been able to stop it from happening. Instead, the solutions- like elbow patches and string dampeners- have just proven to be helpful to those that already have developed the condition.
Q: Are There Any Good Resources To Help Me Pick One Out?
There are quite a few good resources online to help you find them. One thing that overwhelms some people is having to crawl through thousands of racquets without knowing what their specifications are and if they will be fit to your needs as a player. One such web page that keeps this from occurring is Tennis Warehouse. If you Google them along with how to pick a racquet, it will help you figure out what kind of player you are.
Then, it will show you racquets that fit what you prefer in your own personal game. Once you have that info, you can research those racquets on all sorts of other websites. It’s quite helpful to know which ones fit your style and which don’t, and they do an excellent job at helping you out.
Q: Should I Believe The Hype of Marketing?
The answer here is a pretty clear no. Whenever you see that something has brand new technology, or has been engineered in a new way, it just instantly catches your eye and gets you to believing it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But that is not the case with tennis racquets. The biggest reason why is because tennis racquets haven’t changed all that much in decades now.
No major breakthroughs have been made in a long time, and there is a real desire for companies to sell more products. This means that if they are quality and won’t break that they only way they can do that is by convincing you that you need to have the latest and greatest thing. Don’t fall for it, at least with racquets. It’s not like we’ve just seen someone jump from wood to alloy suddenly. That was a long, long time ago.
Q: When Should I Replace My Racquet?
This is a question that has a couple of different answers. First and foremost, if the racquet is having problems relating to durability, you should be looking to replace it. If the strings are too loose or have come apart, or if the frame has cracked, it’s obvious that you need something else. If the grip is coming off, though, you don’t have to replace it. You can just find some new grip tape or a new grip.
Some people, of course, will find an excuse to go buy a new one, and that’s just fine. More power to you. Another reason to replace your current racquet would be if you have moved up a level in your game. If you are no longer a 1 or 2 (a novice or rookie player), then you should have a real think about getting something a little bit more advanced.
Those racquets will help you hone in your skills a little bit better. We’re not suggesting that you take your racquet and throw it out of the van down by the river, but you should be trying to improve your game. When you reach the 3 or 3.5 range, your skills are to a point where you are starting to generate your own power and you will want to increase your control by getting a racquet that is a little bit better for that sort of play.