Tennis Racket Buying Guide for Beginners

Best Beginner Tennis Rackets – Buying Guide

For players who have just started playing tennis, buying a racket or any tennis gear could seem like a daunting task.

The racket, especially, is the most crucial of all tennis gear.  If your racket is of low quality or doesn’t match your skill level, your game will be affected.

In this tennis racket buying guide for beginners, the intricacies involved in racket selection will be explored.

This guide will provide all the necessary information to help make the right decision and transition into an intermediate-level player quickly.

This guide covers everything from choosing a top-quality racket to determining what sort of racket would be best for you.

Common features of beginner tennis rackets

When selecting a new tennis racket, a variety of attributes and characteristics should be considered. The three most important attributes of a good tennis racket for beginners include Grip Size, Weight, and Head Size.

Grip Size

Finding the right grip size is crucial because too small or too large a grip can lead to an injury. More than the exact size of the grip, it’s about the comfort factor.

Rather than religiously following measurements, go for the racket that feels most comfortable to you.

If you want to select according to the right grip size, it’s a good idea. But keep in mind there’s no exact science or formula behind it.

You only need to measure your hand and determine what it takes to get in the right ballpark. You can do it using a ruler.

Simply measure the distance between the tip of your hand’s finger up until the bottom crease on your hand. The point starts between your pointer finger and thumb and runs on the sides. Once you get the exact measurements, check the grip of the racket and make the right choice.

Weight

Usually, racket manufacturers and retailers describe its weight as the strung weight, which refers to the racket’s weight with strings.

The role of weight in the performance of a tennis racket is fundamental and important. But, beginner players should avoid buying a heavier racket. Instead, they should opt to buy a lightweight racket. That’s because a lighter racket will be more comfortable for you to hold for an extended period.

Additionally, it will be easier to maneuver. A majority of tennis rackets weigh between 10.5 to 12.6 ounces. Beginners should not buy a racket heavier than 11.6 ounces.

Head Size

Tennis rackets for beginners usually have an oversized head, roughly between 102 and 110 inches. However, an advanced mid-size racket head will measure around 95 to 100 square/inches.

Wondering why beginners would need a bigger head?

Because a bigger or wider head will provide a larger sweet spot and ensure better responsive contact with the ball, even if it doesn’t strike dead center in the middle of the racket strings. A racket’s head size will either be a centimeter or a square/inch measurement of its head where you find the strings.

Typically, the ideal head size for beginner tennis players is from 100 to 107 square/inches.

A racket’s head size should be an important consideration for beginners because a larger head size increases the error margin when swinging because of the larger stringbed.

Secondly, the ball will keep hitting the frame if the head size is too small, which often frustrates the player.

A larger head size provides easier access to power and helps the player develop proper techniques to generate power independently.

Other main attributes to consider

Beginner tennis players need not worry too much about these attributes, but it is always important to gain familiarity with them. Here are some additional characteristics to check out in a tennis racket.

Balance:

Have you ever heard of HL, HH, and EB rackets? These symbols represent the racket’s weight distribution, generally measured in points.

So, HL refers to Head Light, HH means Heady Heavy, and EB means Equal Balance. When measures, the balance will be depicted in points, such as 4pts HL.

Beginner tennis players prefer to buy HL rackets, as they are more convenient to maneuver and swing.

Swingweight:

Don’t confuse swing weight with strung weight. The swing weight is a measurement of how heavy a racket feels when the player swings it. You can use this measurement to make a comparison between various rackets.

A tennis racket’s balance has a considerable impact on the swing weight. It is mainly expressed as a numeric value, like 324, etc.

Stiffness:

A racket’s stiffness is represented as RA rating. It indicates the amount of flex a racket exhibits. It is also expressed as a numeric value, like 67.

Generally, the stiffer a racket is, the more energy or power it will return to the ball. A-frame with a higher flex will generate less power and offer more control to the player.

Beam Width:

A racket’s beamwidth is its frame’s width, measured in millimeters. A thicker beam generates more power.

Conversely, a thinner beam results in less power. Some rackets feature a steady beamwidth all the way around, while others’ beamwidth may vary at different locations around the frame.

String Pattern:

A racket’s string pattern refers to the number of vertical/main and cross strings. A racket with fewer crosses and mains will have an open string pattern, for instance, 16×19. Or else, you can get a closed string pattern, such as 18×20.

Open string patterns will offer superior spin and power, whereas a closed string pattern ensures better control.

What tennis racket size should I get?

Players who have just started to learn tennis should ideally start with a lighter racket with a larger head size. It is generally referred to as an oversize tennis racket.

The reason we suggest it is that such a racket will help in contacting the ball consistently. And, it will help the player learn to rally without wearing out their arm, as their muscles will gradually get used to the game.

Beginners should look for a few things when buying a tennis racket, including oversize head size, lighter frame, and more power.

How much does a decent tennis racket cost?

If you want to play tennis, you most necessarily need a racket, but this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to purchase the finest racket.

It is indeed true that some rackets do run for a pretty penny. However, there are plenty of affordable options available, some of which we will discuss later in this guide.

So, as a beginner, you can expect to find a reasonably good quality junior tennis racket for as low as $30.00 and an adult tennis racket for $59.00 or above.

A racket’s cost varies according to the weight and material. A starter racket is most suitable for beginners and infrequent tennis players or anyone playing with lower-compression balls.

A racket made of aluminum is generally lighter and more affordable. An expensive racket will include carbon graphite, either entirely or in composite form. If engineered correctly, a graphite racket will offer better rigidity and ensure increased power and better impact stability, all of which leads to greater control.

Remember that control is essential to develop your game, particularly when progressing to a heavier and harder standard yellow tennis ball.

Pro tennis players look at frame shapes, and the brand’s proprietary technology to achieve their required playability attributes to complement their game style and physical characteristics. Also, you should keep in mind that a racket comes with additional ongoing maintenance costs.

The costs associated with racket maintenance may include annual grip and string replacement, which will most probably set you back approximately $30-$35.

Should I get a heavy or light tennis racket?

For beginners, the best tennis racket would be lightweight rather than a heavier one. In pure racket terminology, this means its unstrung weight should be between 240g to 275g.

Since newcomers will learn new techniques and absorb the impact of contact with the ball, they will have to either put new muscles to use or use muscles differently.

Therefore, a lightweight racket will allow them to easily master these new movements without feeling any aches or pains. It also fairly reduces injury risks.

However, the choice also depends upon the size and strength of the player. Certain tennis rackets are better suited for players of different sizes/strengths. If you are a naturally muscular person, you should opt for a racket that provides more control and doesn’t add much power to your game.

Are expensive tennis rackets worth it?

This depends entirely on the player. It isn’t necessary to invest in an expensive racket right at the start of your tennis journey. However, you must keep a check on the material and build the racket you are about to purchase. Though it isn’t a given that inexpensive or cheaper rackets will be of low quality, but you never know. This could be the case if the brand is relatively new or unknown.

The inexpensive tennis racket materials may be suitable for an inexperienced player who only wants to play tennis for fun. That’s because this kind of material is usually more flexible, so less energy is transmitted from the racket to your arm.

Hence, if you are a beginner player and intend to play tennis occasionally, there’s no need to pay hundreds of dollars on a tennis racket.

On the flip side, if you intend to ace the sport and are serious about playing tennis regularly, a cheaper quality racket will not only affect your game but also prove to be a bad financial investment.

For someone hoping to go professional at some point, a high-quality and slightly expensive branded tennis racket will be a safe investment.

Expensive rackets are rougher and allow the player to make more powerful and controlled shots.

In a nutshell, playing with an expensive tennis racket means it may take a little longer to master a technique, but it is most definitely worth it if you are in it for the long term.

Do expensive tennis rackets make a difference?

There’s no doubt that expensive rackets make a considerable difference. Generally, the more expensive racket offers a better string job, while less expensive rackets won’t have great strings. However, if you feel the strings are good and you can play with them, any racket would be good regardless of its price tag.

You should keep in mind strings are responsible for contacting the ball, and therefore, it is better to invest in a racket with great strings.

Haven’t you seen pro players using freshly strung rackets every day? They do this because strings make a huge difference, and it is one of the critical aspects that make a racket expensive or cheap.

A cheaper racket contains strings made from the standard synthetic gut. However, expensive rackets feature polyester string, more suitable for performance-oriented players, as these offer better spin and durability.

What rackets do most pros use?

There are so many racket brands available in the market that it becomes hard to choose.

So, a better way to figure out which one is the best is to pick your favorite brand or go for the brand endorsed by your favorite tennis player. Here is a brief overview of the rackets pro tennis players use and the brands they have endorsed.

Naturally, the best players wouldn’t compromise upon the most important tennis gear – the racket. So their chosen brands would certainly create top-quality rackets. And who wouldn’t want to invest in brands that regularly make an appearance on the pro tour?

Wilson

Wilson rackets are preferred by players like Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Kei Nishikori, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. These players are also the company’s current headliners.

Federer, particularly, has his own signature Wilson racket that’s been a top seller since he started winning Grand Slam tournaments. Wilson happens to be the most recognizable of all tennis racket brands and golf, basketball, baseball, and many other sports.

Babolat

Just a few decades ago, Babolat was nowhere in the league of industry bigwigs, but today it’s a major player in the sports industry and is known for making solid strings.

Babolat jumped up in ranking after its rackets were endorsed by Rafael Nadal, Garbine Muguruza, Dominic Thiem, and Caroline Wozniacki.

Babolat is known for creating the best junior-level rackets as well, and accessibility has been the company’s primary focus to date.

From pros to beginners, Babolat creates some of the industry’s best rackets.

Head

When players like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovich, and Ash Barty endorse a brand, people are bound to take notice.

Head isn’t a novice in the industry. It has always been one of the most reliable and strong competitors in the sports gear industry.

Head rackets are suitable for all skill levels, as the company creates multiple racket lines to suit the broadest range of play styles and skills.

Prince

John Isner is the face of Prince and always uses its rackets.

However, Prince has a reputation for being popular among the senior players, who still like to use its rackets post-retirement. Prince creates highly advanced and modern rackets, but at the same time, it creates a dedicated line of rackets for beginners and intermediate players.

How often should you get a new tennis racket?

There is no specific or perfect formula to determine how often you should replace your old racket with a new one. Assuming that you don’t intentionally splinter, a racket can last at least two years, after which you may start thinking about getting a new racket.

However, this 2-year rule applies to those club-level players who usually play tennis 2 or 3 times a week. Those playing tennis once or twice a month don’t need to worry about replacing their rackets even after 3 to 4 years. They only need to restring the racket annually, and it will last a long time.

As far as materials are concerned, aluminum rackets are more flexible, so these can naturally bend out of shape over time due to heavy-hitting and poor maintenance. On the other hand, a well-cared-for graphite racket will last many years.

Do remember strings are for a racket, as the engine is for a car. They account for at least 50% of the racket’s overall playability.

Hence, it is essential to care for the strings more than the racket’s grip or frame. Ideally, players should change their racket strings the same number of times in a year as they play tennis in a week. Or at least when they break. This means if you play three times a week, you should refresh the strings three times a year.

Furthermore, invest in a good tennis bag or racket bag to enhance the life of your precious gear. A case or bag will protect the racket from scratches, scrapes, and bumps and keep the strings and grip dry.

Do not store your racket in direct sunlight, and keep them as close to room temperature as possible to reduce tension loss and ensure consistent playability.

What is the most powerful tennis racket?

Power rackets are a great option for players with a short slow swing. Oversized head, a longer length of 27 to 29 inches, and lightweight are key features of power rackets. This category of rackets is designed to offer players easy access to power.

That’s why power rackets have a larger head size, stiffer frame, open string pattern, and lighter weight.

The large head size improves a player’s margin for error when swinging, and when combined with an open string pattern and stiff frame, the racket returns more energy to the ball. Moreover, the lightweight frame allows the player to swing and handle easily.

Power rackets are popular among beginners because of these attributes.

Wide-framed rackets

A wide-framed racket will give you more power. If you watch pro tennis players closely, you will notice that their racket frames aren’t too wide.

That’s because they are already very powerful players and can generate power on their own. However, the case is entirely the opposite for beginners.

They need their racket to help them. That’s why power rackets are a preferred choice for beginners, as these give them a tremendous margin to improve their game.

It is easier to swing with a light and wide framed racket, but this doesn’t mean you should buy the lightest racket. Generally, the weight should be between 250g and 350g.

Narrow frames are ideal for more skilled players, as they have perfected their technique and can use the smaller head size to play precise and accurate shots. Beginners cannot immediately achieve the same skill and expertise level, so they should go for a lightweight and wide-framed racket.

A racket weighing 250g to 275g would be most suitable, as it will be moveable, and you will be able to hone the technique.

Does the tennis racket make a difference?

It is one of the most crucial parts of tennis, but it is the skill, passion, technique, and training that makes the difference more than the racket. However, we cannot overlook the importance of a racket in improving your tennis expertise.

If the racket isn’t of the right size and quality, you won’t find it comfortable to play with it.

Therefore, your shots won’t be accurate, and you will struggle to improve your game. So a tennis racket is as important as the player’s skill and passion.

It is how skillfully and appropriately you use and care for it that makes the difference.

Men's vs. Women's Tennis Rackets

Beginner tennis players often wonder if there is any difference between tennis rackets for men and women.

The fact is virtually all rackets are unisex, and there is no difference between them.

Therefore, men and women can use the same models of rackets.

However, the Tecnifibre T-Rebound is an exception, as it is specifically marketed for women. According to Tecnifibre, the company focuses on creating rackets as per their common physiological traits.

Nevertheless, almost all other tennis rackets are suitable for male and female players.

Top Ten Best Beginner Tennis Rackets 2021

Editor's Choice:

Price- $84.95

For older teens and adults who have just started to play tennis, the Head TI S6 is an ideal, budget-friendly tennis racket.

With a price tag of under 100 USD, titanium structure, lightweight (approx. 8.9oz strung), and the brand name’s reliability, this racket is our top pick for this list.

Due to its lighter weight, you can easily control it from the baseline and avoid developing tennis elbow, a common muscle injury among beginners. Moreover, you can generate more power on your shots because this racket has a larger frame, and the weight is more or less balanced towards the head.

Another great feature of Head TI S6 is its large 115 square/inches frame size, so it has a huge sweet spot to deal with situations when you mishit the ball. Its 16×19 string pattern helps the player generate topspin on shots as well.

This racket’s main strings spread wider as they move further away from the handle. When combined with frame technology, the racket creates an excellent feel.

Furthermore, it is the best value racket if you are interested in becoming an avid recreational player. For advanced players, this isn’t suitable because it will be challenging maneuvering for a fast-paced game.

Pros

  • Incredible baseline power
  • Lightweight so helps prevent injury and tennis elbow.
  • A large sweet spot helps improve shots.
  • Budget-friendly racket.

Cons

  • It isn’t ideal for intermediate-level players.
  • A little bit bulky, so it cannot be maneuvered comfortably at the net.
Babolat Pure Drive 110

Price- $209

Babolat is known for making the highest quality and reliable tennis rackets on the market. The Pure Drive 110 is proof of that. It is perfect for adult beginners who have a large budget and are looking to improve fast.

It is a lightweight racket, which makes it easy to maneuver at the net. This racket has a large 110 square/inches head, so it’s a given that the Pure Drive 110 would have a bigger sweet spot.

Another great feature is this racket has a wider frame and string pattern. These features help the player generate spin and improve their game profoundly.

It is also an excellent choice if you want to transition into an intermediate player, as you won’t need to change rackets once you progress in skill level.

Pros

  • Great power to ace groundstrokes
  • Huge sweet spot, so you will never miss a shot.
  • Allows better control than many high-end beginner rackets.
  • The Best racket to learn to hit topspin.
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate players alike.

Cons

  • Quite expensive than most starter rackets.
  • Inappropriate for high-level intermediate players.
Wilson Clash 108

Price $229

Wilson’s Clash series of tennis rackets are one of the best options for beginners and high-level intermediate players.

The Clash 108 helps you improve your technique fast. It features a 108 square/inch head size that naturally creates a huge sweet spot, which beginners need the most. Moreover, it is a flexible racket offering excellent control and comfort.

The Wilson Clash 108 has an extra .25″ length that adds power to your groundstrokes and serves.

Beginner tennis players who want to learn to hit with topspin should certainly invest in the Clash 108, because it can provide plenty of spin. We found it one of the most comfortable and forgiving tennis rackets we tested.

But, the downside is its price tag. It is definitely an expensive one, but it is worth the investment to ensure faster skill level improvement.

Pros

  • Ideal beginner racket for maximum control.
  • Ensures faster improvement at the game.
  • Outstanding mobility for doubles.
  • Added length and larger head size offers more power.
  • Easy on the arm

Cons

  • Quite an expensive racket compared to other beginner rackets on the market.
Head MicroGEL Radical

Price- $89.95

The Head MicroGEL Radical is suitable for players at various skill levels and is an excellent Tweener racket for people who want to proceed to the intermediate level quickly.

At just $89.95, it is one of the budget-friendly options for beginners.

The racket features a 98inch head size, which makes it perfect for control and maneuverability. To add to the control, it has a tighter 18×20 string pattern, and the 11oz head weight further adds power.

For athletic players with relatively good hand-eye coordination, the Head MicroGel Radical is a great choice, especially given its reasonable price. It is an ideal racket for both beginners and intermediate-level players.

But it is not recommended for advanced adult players. Its small head size is also not a suitable option for people who haven’t played tennis or usually struggle with hand-eye coordination.

Pros

  • Ideal beginner racket for control.
  • Perfect transition racket for not only beginners, but intermediate level players.
  • For doubles, it offers adequate mobility.
  • A good option for those with amazing hand-eye coordination and athletic beginners.

Cons

  • Its head size is relatively small for a beginner racket.
  • A bit heavy for a beginner player.
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3

Price- $99.00

Players who require a balance of control and power should look no further and invest in Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 oversized racket. This is one of the best products from the Hammer line of rackets from Wilson.

It’s undoubtedly an oversized racket at 110 square/inches. Moreover, it features a tighter string pattern at 18×20, which is better than most beginner rackets.

The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 will help you place your shots perfectly over the court. It’s considerably lightweight with 9.8oz, but is still heavy enough to help you transition into the next level.

However, as is usually the case with most beginner-level players, the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 isn’t suitable for upper-level or advanced intermediate players. But, it is an excellent starter racket that improves your game tremendously if you practice regularly.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate players.
  • Tight string patterns ensure a better feel and control.
  • For a beginner, this racket allows good mobility at the net.

Cons

Not enough power compared to other starter rackets.

Babolat Pure Aero Lite

Price- $199.00

The Pure Aero is the preferred choice of Rafael Nadal, which proves it is among the top-rated rackets.

This is a lightweight version, which is why it is called the Pure Aero Lite. Hence, it is ideal for beginners who want to progress towards more advanced levels.

Pure Aero Lite features a sturdy and wide frame to help new tennis players create maximum power. Its 100 square inch frame is, although low for a beginner’s racket, however, it’s just enough if you have good hand-eye coordination. With just 9.5 ounces weight, this racket swings like a breeze and is amazing for those learning to play tennis.

The Pure Aero Lite’s frame design and string pattern are beneficial in adding more spin as you proceed to the next level. In our opinion, this racket is ideal for athletic beginners and recreational tennis players who intend to go up on their game level.

Pros

  • Great spin and control for a starter racket.
  • Helps a player to improve faster.
  • Adequate sweet spot for maximum comfort.
  • Better feel that many hyped beginner rackets.

Cons

  • Its small frame is not too helpful for a beginner.
Wilson Tour Slam Tennis Racket

Price- $33.99

It is perhaps one of the best budget tennis rackets for people who want to improve their game and are tight on the budget. Its 112 square/inches head size allows a larger sweet spot and offers a great feel for the price tag.

It is slightly bulky with around 10.3oz weight, but it is still within the ideal tennis racket weight range for beginners.

Given its low price, the Wilson Tour Slam tennis racket is a good option to help you determine whether you enjoy playing tennis or not.

However, if you plan to play tennis more seriously and move to the intermediate level, it isn’t the right choice.

Pros

  • Extremely budget-friendly.
  • A bigger head size allows a larger sweet spot.
  • Great power.
  • Has the reliability of a trusted brand like Wilson

Cons

  • It cannot help you improve your game.
  • A bit heavier than other starter rackets.
Wilson Burn 100LS v4

Price- $139.00

The Wilson Burn 100LS v4 is a medium-priced tennis racket that offers a solid mix of features. So, you get the best of both worlds, as it’s made by one of the most trusted brands in the market and comes at a reasonable price.

This racket weighs 10.5oz, so it isn’t too heavy, and it is easy to maneuver. Beginners will find it most suitable, as the 100 square/inches head size is enough to help them enjoy plenty of margin of error when swinging the racket to hit the ball.

Wilson Burn 100LS v4 has an open string pattern of 18×16 with a stiff frame and RA rating of 71. There’s no doubt that this racket delivers good power and makes it super easy to generate topspin.

Pros

  • Its head-light frame allows superior power, maneuverability, and control.
  • It features Parallel Drilling to ensure a more forgiving and consistent string bed response.
  • It is made with high-performance carbon fiber for enhanced frame stiffness.
  • The addition of an orange bumper guard protects against the racket hoop.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a control frame.
  • Advanced players may not prefer the weight.
Head Graphene 360+ Instinct PWR

Price- $179.95

The Head Graphene 360+ Instinct PWR features a 115 square/inch head size and is slightly lighter at 8.6oz, but at the same time, it is a bit longer at 27.7″. Hence, you can expect plenty of power, error margin, and topspin.

The extended length helps you enjoy extra momentum and leverage for regulating pace and spin. It’s not only perfect for beginners who have just started learning the game but for savvy doubles experts who require extra power on volleys and serves.

Made with Head’s signature Graphene 360+ technology, which blends the power and stability of Graphene 360 and SpiralFiber in the racket’s lower head, it provides a cleaner feel at impact.

Pros

  • Easy spin and power.
  • Graphene 360+ allows players to maintain maximum stability and more power.
  • They are designed for players from beginner to intermediate level.
  • Offers an innovative and modern design with an asymmetric style.
  • Lightweight and flawlessly blends power and maneuverability

Cons

  • Not suitable for playing high-level tennis, but useful for intermediate players.
  • Lacks some plow through that takes away some control
Yonex EZONE Ace

Price - $99.00

Although Yonex is known for creating rackets for experienced players, the Yonex Ezone Ace is a fantastic option for new players with an exceptionally low price tag of $99.00. It features a 102 square/inch head size, which is a great starting point, but certainly not as big as others on this list.

Furthermore, it weighs 9.7oz strung and has a 16×19 string pattern that offers a great blend of controlled topspin and power.

All in all, the Ezone Ace is a comfortable racket that’s less stiff than other beginner rackets, and hence it’s a worthy contender for players who are concerned about their arm health.

Pros

  • Offers medium power with its faster and longer swing.
  • Huge sweet spot.
  • Comfortable feel.
  • Suitable for all types of players.
  • Features vibration dampening Mesh technology

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer much control for big hitters.
  • Less spin than expected from a Yonex racket.

In conclusion, this article has highlighted the importance of addressing and understanding the different components of a tennis racket. The main thing when choosing a racket is to select one that feels comfortable and natural rather than opting for a certain brand or price point.