Tennis Racket Head Size and Length
The two important factors that can significantly impact how well you swing your racket are the racket head size and length.
This means that finding the best racket head size can positively impact your performance on the court. It helps with comfort and enables you to improve your skills.
This guide will discuss the essential factors to look out for when purchasing a new racket.
How changes to your racket can impact your performance and how different sizes work best for different players.
Tennis Racket Head Sizes
In determining the best head size for your tennis racket, there are two critical factors that you need to put into consideration.
The first is personal preference and then your skill level.
Generally, a smaller head size allows you to achieve more control, while a larger head size provides you with more power as you swing.
According to Michael Schaeffer, a global product lines manager with Wilson Tennis, a larger racket head size is recommended for someone new to tennis, but for a player who’s spent a considerable amount of time on the court (achieved a certain level of comfort and balance), a smaller racket head size is recommended.
What is the Best Racket Head Size?
Tennis racket head size is the total measure of the area of the racket head (where the strings create the string bed of the racket) in square inches.
The right head size is a determinant of the racket’s ‘sweet spot’. This, in turn, influences the power and accuracy with which a player strikes the ball.
Small racket head sizes are considered below 100 sq inches. They are typically recommended for experienced players because it helps them generate a greater amount of power with a little swing action.
The only drawback is there’s an increased possibility of not hitting the sweet spot, in which case it can be challenging to get a perfect aim.
On the other hand, larger racket sizes extend above 102 sq inches.
They are best for newbies and players trying to improve their skills.
Larger head size is the best way for players to hit the ball with power more consistently. It is recommended for players who are yet to master a powerful swing when playing.
Another benefit is that it provides some allowance for off-center shots, giving upcoming players the leverage to continue to practice until they can more constantly hit decent shots.
For players who struggle to get a clean shot across the court, oversize rackets (110 sq inches and above) are recommended.
Below are the major categories for racquet head sizes. This roughly coincides with the different types of tennis racquets.
- Mid / Control
- Mid-plus / Tweener
- Oversized / Power
Here are some examples of rackets for each category:
|Head Graphene 360+ Prestige||Standard (93 in² / 600 cm²)|
|Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail||Standard (95 in² / 612.9 cm²)|
|Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph||Standard (97 in² / 625.8 cm²)|
|Babolat Pure Strike 16×19||Mid-plus (98 in² / 632.3 cm²)|
|Head Graphene 360 Instinct Lite||Oversized (107 in² / 690.3 cm²)|
Selecting the Right Tennis Racket
Buying a new tennis racket or upgrading to a better one can be a daunting task, especially for inexperienced players who are new to the process.
To make the process of selecting the right racket easier for you, here are some guiding tips:
1. Getting started
To begin with, a good understanding of the different types of rackets is important.
In this section, we’ve broken down the different kinds of tennis racquets you can find on the market into 4 primary categories:
- Power rackets
- Tweener rackets
- Modern player’s rackets
- Traditional player’s rackets
Power rackets refer to power-oriented rackets.
They are mostly oversized and super-oversized racket heads.
They are longer (typically 27-29 in.), and most are lightweight (8-9.5 ounces), with a balanced head.
This helps the racket retain enough weight in its string bed.
Power rackets are best suited for players whose swings are short and slow but want more power from the racquet.
Tweener rackets are popular.
This is mainly because they are a hybrid of power and player racket control (combining the power of the racket and the control of the player’s racket). This also explains the origin of its name – Tweener rackets.
Like the power rackets, they are typically light and medium weight; some have slightly light heads, while others have somewhat heavy heads or midplus heads.
The same applies to the power level, as this also ranges from low to medium and too high.
Therefore, both advanced and new players love the tweener racket.
Another good point about tweener rackets is they are spin-friendly.
Modern player’s rackets
The modern player’s racket came into existence due to the need for a racket that delivers heavy topspin.
Hence, they are light and faster than the traditional player’s racket.
The design of the modern player’s rackets makes them perfect for attacking the ball at an aggressive angle to achieve maximum spin.
The head sizes of these rackets are usually between 90 and 100 sq inches, weight is between (11-12 ounces), and their power level is similar to tweener rackets.
The traditional player’s rackets
The traditional player’s rackets are heavier (above 12 ounces).
They have smaller head sizes (85-98), more flexible beams, thinner, and have the right balance to maintain maneuverability.
This racket offers more control than power and designed for players who can provide their own power.
People who use traditional player’s rackets include professional players, college team players, and high-level clubs.
Rackets have undergone several improvements and modifications over the years.
The head sizes of the majority of rackets on the market today mostly range from 93 to 135 sq inches, with the standard size being around 97-100.
However, you should go for a racket of 100 sq inches for a solid blend of power and control.
But generally, smaller racket heads appeal to advanced players, while intermediate and inexperienced players often opt for larger tennis racket head sizes.
2. How Racket Head Size Impacts Performance
Now that we’ve cleared the air on the different types of a tennis racket, let’s also consider how your racket head size will impact your performance.
This will be discussed under the following points:
- Surface area
As earlier mentioned, the larger the racket’s head size, the more power that racket will offer you.
The smaller the head size, the lesser the power it will provide, in which case the player gets more control out of the racket.
The string bed of the racket functions like a trampoline so that a large trampoline will give an object more spring than a small trampoline. And with more spring, the higher or further the object can travel.
The deeper the tennis ball sinks into the strings, the more significant the rebound effect the ball will get, which is more powerful.
Therefore, as the racket size shrinks, its rebound effect diminishes too.
Players who use smaller rackets have more control since the racket does not generate as much power.
A real-life example of this was when Roger Federer moved from 90 to 97 sq inches racket head size in 2014 in a bid to muster more power, following the slump in his performance.
The surface area of your tennis racket is dependent on the racket head size.
The racket head size directly impacts the surface area of a racket that’s available for striking the ball.
The answer is a larger racket head size for a larger surface area.
An increased surface area provides players with a larger margin for error to contact the ball when swinging.
Another benefit of a larger surface area is a more prominent sweet spot.
Hitting the ball consumes less effort when a player strikes the sweet spot, and they experience less shock in the arm.
The sweet spot of a tennis racket is the small area close to the center of the strings.
While a larger head size for your tennis racket offers you more power and error margin, it becomes increasingly difficult to maneuver the racket as extra mass builds up at the end of the racket.
Minor wind resistance also adds up, compounding the player’s work with each swing of the racket.
The good news is most manufacturers have found a way to address this problem. They use lightweight materials to achieve lighter weight at the head.
Racquet Head Size Chart
The chart below illustrates the different racket head sizes available with values provided in both inches and centimeters for quick conversions.
|Size||85 – 97 in |
(548.4 – 625.8 cm)
|98 – 104 in |
(632.3 – 671.0 cm)
|Over 105 in |
Racket Head Size and String Tension
Regardless of your racket head size, the tension at which you string the racket creates a similar effect in the string bed; a higher tension will always produce low power, and a low tension will give you high power.
Rules for Tennis Racket Head Size
According to the official rules of tennis, the width of a racket should not be more than 12.5 inches or 31.75 cm. The hitting surface should not be more than 15.5 inches or 39.37 cm long and 11.5 inches or 29.21 cm wide.
Almost all tennis rackets available on the market today satisfy these conditions, making it easy to purchase any racket of your choice.
Finding the Right Head Size
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding which head size you should be using, here are some recommendations that can suit your level of play.
1. Best Racket Head Size for Beginners
Picking the ideal head size for your tennis racket boils down to personal preference.
But many beginners and rookies will likely play better with larger head sizes, as these offer a larger hitting surface.
In effect, they have a larger margin for error and more power in each swing.
Still, most professionals would recommend beginners use rackets with 100 square inches head size or bigger.
If you’re learning how to play tennis, this size of head will help you.
2. Head Sizes for Intermediate and Advanced Players
As we discussed earlier, an experienced player has mastered his technique and probably knows a few tricks and around the court.
This means that carrying a large racket isn’t necessary.
Instead, they’ll benefit more from using smaller rackets that offer more control.
These kinds of rackets are relatively easier to control for swift players.
For intermediate and advanced players, the recommended head size ranges from 97 to 100 square inches (625.805 to 645.16 cm).
Length for a Tennis Racket
The length of most tennis rackets ranges from 27 to 29 inches (68.58 cm to 73.66 cm).
A longer racket will typically require more effort to swing but can be customized to suit the need or preferences of the player.
When deciding on racket length, the most important question is how it impacts performance.
The performance of any racket typically depends on the following criteria.
The advantage of a longer racket is having more reach on groundstrokes, extra leverage on serves, and a bit more power than you would normally get from standard rackets.
If you enjoy striking your ball far away from the ground, then a longer racket length is ideal for you.
Using an extended frame will make it more difficult to hit the ball when it’s close to your body.
In essence, it is more challenging maneuvering longer rackets, and players may have difficulty hitting shots that require quick reactions, like volleys and returns, if their rackets are longer.
With a longer racket, players have more leverage to achieve greater force as they strike the ball – more power, in other words.
If you desire more power when serving, you might want to consider purchasing a longer racket.
The potential for a spin will typically increase with the length of your racket. The racket head has a direct impact on the spin the racket offers.
With faster swings come higher levels of topspin.
Racket Length Chart
For children and teenagers, their height will likely influence the choice of racket length, whereas adults choose rackets based on personal preferences mostly.
Note the best rackets on the market are about 26-27 inches long.
Here’s a racket length chart highlighting the differences in racket length
|Up to 4 years||40 inches or shorter||19 inches|
|4-5 years||40-44 inches||21 inches|
|6-8 years||45-49 inches||23 inches|
|9-10 years||50-55 inches||25 inches|
|10 or older||55 inches or taller||26 inches|
|Adults||Any height||26.5-29 inches|
Racket Length Rules
The maximum length currently allowed for competitive play in tennis is 29 inches (73.66 cm).
Since the standard length for a tennis racket is 27 inches, most adult tennis rackets on the market are around this figure.
Finding the Right Length
A good starting point for most adults is 27 inches or 68.58 centimeters, as this gives the player the balance they need on the court.
Besides, most standard tennis rackets on the market are 27 inches.
For a more personalized feel, you may add a few inches, especially if you’re a beginner looking to produce more power.
Extended racket lengths also work well for shorter players who may need extra reach and more power.
The weight of your tennis racket is another important factor you need to consider when purchasing a racket.
The weight will impact both your ability to maneuver the racket as well the amount of power you get out of it.
A lightweight racket will be ideal if you’re playing a lot of doubles matches because you’re going to spend more time near the net.
However, a heavier racket will benefit a player who’s playing more single matches, as they’ll be needing more power to strike the ball through the court.
In summary, lightweight means more control and less power, while heavier rackets provide you with more power and less control.
Besides weight, balance is another factor that influences the feel of your racket when you swing it.
When it comes to balance, your racket can be head-light, head heavy, or even balanced.
More of its weight will be around its handle for a head-light racket. They are the heaviest type of rackets.
Lightweight rackets have more weight located towards the head of the rackets.
The even balanced or medium weight rackets, have their weights evenly distributed around the rackets.
This creates a unique blend of stability and maneuverability without compromising much on power.
To answer which balance is best for a tennis racket, you will need to experiment with any of the 3 described above, as this also comes down to personal preferences.
Swingweight refers to how heavy a racket feels when you swing it.
Rackets with higher swing weights are typically harder to swing. Advanced players prefer these because they offer more comfort, power, and stability.
Lower swing weights make for easier swings, but offer less stability and comfort.
This is best for beginners and intermediates; it offers faster acceleration and is suitable for generating higher stroke speed for a good spin and effective pace.
Wrapping Up - Deciding on a Tennis Racket
Now that you have a clear understanding of which racket head size, length, and weight is ideal for you, you can make an informed choice based on your level of play.
It is recommended though that you stick around the official or standard recommendations until you’ve fine-tuned your skill, balance, and technique on the court.