Tennis Racket Weight, Balance, and Swing Weight
Your racket weight, balance, and swing weight will play a significant part in tennis but are often underestimated by players when choosing a new racket.
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Tennis Racket Weight
The weight of your tennis racket can be understood as resistance to linear movement (lifting it up and down).
For instance, when you hold, swing, or try to lift your racket from the ground, the resistance you naturally feel against the effort you exert is due to the racket’s weight.
You will feel the influence of weight in the balance and swing weight of your racket as you play.
The ideal weight of any tennis racket lies anywhere between 8 and 13 ounces (226 and 369g).
At first glance, the difference between the weights may not seem much, but slight weight changes can significantly impact your performance when playing.
Depending on your height and level of play, the racket’s weight that works well for you will vary.
But in most cases, the choice of weight is a matter of personal preference.
The weight of a racket can be listed as either strung or unstrung.
Both refer to the weights of your racket under different circumstances.
Since the racket’s strings have weights of their own, regardless of how small it might seem, it adds to the weight of the entire racket with the strings installed.
The unstrung weight is the one printed on the racket’s frame, and since you’ll never need to play tennis without strings in the racket, the apparent weight you’ll see when looking to purchase a racket is the strung weight.
Do note a heavy racket will require more effort to swing than lighter ones.
There are three main categories of rackets based on their weights.
Lightweight rackets have larger head sizes and stiffer frames.
They are ideal for beginner players since they’ll find it easy to swing.
Being able to maneuver your racket with as little effort as possible is essential.
The amount of power you generate with your racket is dependent on your ability to swing the racket with ease.
When manufacturing rackets, most brands consider the type of players that will use them.
Generally, lightweight rackets:
- Fall in the range of 8-9.5 oz. (226.79 – 269.32 grams)
- Generate less power, and
Are easier to control
Mid-weight rackets – as the name implies – lie somewhere in the middle of the weight range described above.
This racket category strikes a balance between power and control for the ideal player.
Heavier rackets will require more effort to swing and offer more power than control.
Lighter rackets, however, will weigh less and require less effort to maneuver, hence more control.
Most players use mid-weight rackets due to the balance between control and power, making it the most common type of tennis racket you’ll find on the market.
Generally, mid-weight rackets:
- Usually weigh between 9.6 – 11.5 oz. (272.16 – 326.02 grams)
- Provide a fine combination of power and control
These are the types of rackets you’ll find at the end of the weight range – weighing over 11oz (328grams).
The heavier the racket, the more effort you’ll need to swing the racket. Advanced players use heavy rackets the most.
They feature smaller head sizes and flexible frames that enable players to generate more power through full swings and well-developed techniques while also helping them maintain fine control.
With their weights, heavy rackets help in reducing shock and vibration as you strike the ball.
Beginners and intermediate players will find heavy rackets challenging to control until they’ve developed their technique.
Generally, heavyweight rackets:
- Weigh over 11 oz. (328.85 grams)
- Provides more power than the other two, and
- Help in maintaining more control with each swing
Racket Weight Charts
The performance of any player will partly depend on the weight of the racket.
To maximize your performance, you need to find the correct racket weight – that aligns with your level of play.
With each player’s level of play, here’s a general overview of racket weights and the corresponding power generated.
|Lightweight||Beginner||8-9.5 oz. (226.79 – 269.32 grams)||Low|
|Midweight||Beginners, Intermediate||9.6 – 11.5 oz. (272.16 – 326.02 grams)||Medium|
|Heavyweight||Advanced||11.6 – 12.6 oz. (328.85 – 357.20 grams)||High|
Lightest Tennis Rackets
Here’s a list of some of the lightest tennis rackets available on the market. Note this excludes children and teenagers. This tennis racket category has heavy heads to help create a balance during use.
|Head Titanium Ti.S5 Comfort Zone||107 inches||8.5 oz.||297||7 pts HH|
|Head Titanium Ti.S6||742 inches||8.9 oz.||318||8 pts HH|
|Head Graphene 360 Instinct PWR||115 inches||8.7 oz.||314||10 pts HH|
Midweight Tennis Rackets
Most tennis rackets available fall into this category. Here’s a list of some common tennis midnight tennis rackets. Due to the flexibility, control, and balance they offer, most players prefer to use midweight rackets.
|Racket Type||Head (inches)||Weight (oz.)||Swingweight||Balance|
|Babolat Pure Drive||100||10.7||316||4 pts HL|
|Wilson Clash 100||100||11||312||7 pts HL|
|Wilson Blade 98 16×19 v7||98||11.4||328||4 pts HL|
|Head Graphene 360 Radical MP||98||11||324||6pts HL|
Heavyweight Tennis Rackets
Heavyweight tennis rackets have light heads or feature head light balance, which is meant to offset the heavyweight of the rackets.
|Wilson Pro Staff RF97||97||12.6||335||9 pts HL|
|Volkl C10 Pro||98||12.3||330||8 pts HL|
|Yonex VCORE Pro 97 330||97||12.3||332||7 pts HL|
|ProKennex Ki Q+ Tour Pro||98||12.0||327||7 pts HL|
Static Weight and Swingweight
Static weight and swing weight are two critical considerations for players looking to purchase a tennis racket. Let’s dive right in.
Static weight is the measured weight of a tennis racket, either strung or unstrung weight. As we discussed earlier, the strung weight of your tennis racket is the weight of the tennis racket with strings installed, while the unstrung weight is just a measurement of the tennis racket without strings installed.
To calculate the static weight of a racket, it is placed on a weighing scale.
Note the tennis strings will mostly add between 15 -20 grams to the static weight of the racket. So, as you shop for tennis rackets, it’s important to keep these parameters in mind. They may be insignificant but can impact the level of control and degree of power the racket will offer you.
The swing weight of your racket is simply how heavy it feels in your hand as you swing it during play, or a measure of how difficult a racket is to swing.
Swingweight is a function of the static weight in combination with the balance or natural distribution of weight along the length of the racket.
Usually, the swing weight of any racket will increase as the weight of the racket shifts towards its head. But if the weight shifts toward the handle, the racket’s swing weight will decrease.
To better elaborate on the subject of swing weight, let’s consider a hammer held by the handle. When you swing the hammer, it will feel lighter in the handle but heavier in the head.
One of the best analogies for thinking about swing weight is considering a hammer. If you hold a hammer from the handle and swing, it will seem heavier in the way a racket with a higher swing weight would feel.
When you hold the hammer by the head and swing, it takes more effort to swing the hammer when holding it by the handle.
As such, we can say that the swing weight of the hammer is heavier when you hold it by the handle or lighter when held at the head.
This is the same sensation you get with your racket.
Due to the importance of swing weight in tennis, manufacturers ensure the rackets they send into the market feature the weight and balance that will cater to the varying needs of the different categories of players.
Generally, with a lower swing weight, the racket has greater acceleration and swing speed, but you’ll experience more shock. As for power, you’ll get more power from the racket, typically with less effort.
Higher swing weight decreases the racket’s acceleration and final swing speed, but you’ll experience less shock and power is generated more from the swing speed of the racket.
Note it is best to consider swing weight in reference to your preference.
Advanced players often prefer a customized mix of static weight and swing weight that offers them the best result, which depends on their style of play.
Tennis Racket Balance
The considerations on tennis racket weight are complex, complete without factoring in how the racket’s weight distributes throughout the racket. To better understand tennis racket balance, here are the three categories that you need to consider:
Head Heavy (HH)
The weight of head heavy rackets are concentrated on the head.
Head heavy rackets generally provide players with more power, and the ability to wield control and maneuver the racket comes from the lightweight of the racket.
Since the racket’s weight is distributed toward the head, it offers players a satisfying level of stability, which helps prevent the head from twisting out of control.
Head-light rackets have their weight concentrated at the handle. The stability of the racket is often due to the lower stiffness ratings and the weight of the racket itself.
Head-light rackets vary in weight. The heavier ones tend to shield players more from shock and vibration when the racket’s headmakes contact with the ball.
This means heavier head-light rackets can be used to reduce shock and vibration in a racket, provided the player is comfortable using the racket for prolonged periods.
Equal Balance (EB)
An equal balanced racket is the type of racket that has its weight distributed evenly or equally throughout the racket.
There is a perfect balance between the weight of the racket head and the weight at the handle.
This will provide players with enough power and stability and sufficient weight in the handle to help prevent excess shock and vibration when the racket is in use.
Midweight tennis rackets tend to be closer to equal balance because the weight class doesn’t require distribution toward the head or handle for the racket to perform.
How to Measure the Balance of Your Racket
When measuring the balance of a racket, the balance point of the racket should be considered.
The racket’s balance point is the point along the length of the racket where the racket will not tilt back and forth on thin support but remain balanced.
In other words, the balance point is the center of gravity of the racket.
A balance point scale is usually the instrument of choice to measure the balance point.
First, place the tennis racket in the center of the balance board. Ensure the handle is pointing toward the scale of the balance board, and the racket is resting on the tip of the balance bar. Move the racket along the board until it teeters and totters, without hitting the ground on any side.
Now, measure the distance of the butt of the racket’s handle from the 27-inch mark to determine its balance.
If the balance point is closer to the racket’s head, it is head-heavy.
If the balance is closer to the racket’s handle, then is head-light.
Finally, if the racquet balances precisely halfway up the racket from the butt, then it is an equal balance or even balanced racket.
Selecting the Perfect Racket Weight and Balance
Purchasing an ideal racket is often dependent on what an individual is comfortable with.
There is no formula for picking the racket with the appropriate weight and balance.
However, you can start by learning the different types of rackets (power, tweener, modern, and traditional player’s rackets) and their sizes.
This will help you decide which type of racket is best for you.
Also, try your hands on these rackets for a few minutes before making your choice.
As you play, you’ll know whether it feels too light or too heavy in your hands.
If it’s too heavy, you’ll notice that you feel pain around your arm and wrist after playing, and it’s probably going to be harder swinging the racket.
If it’s too light, you’ll wield more control, but you’ll also feel more vibration and shock as you hit the ball with the racket.
In the end, you’ll pick a racket that’s as close as possible to your preferences (with the weight, balance, and swing weight of each under consideration).
Tip for Newbies & Intermediate Players
The process of finding the correct racket can be pretty overwhelming, especially for newbies and intermediate players who are yet to develop or master any style of play.
It may take you working with a racket technician to determine or find the weight, balance, and swing weight that’s right for you on the court.
If you know the specifications that work best for you, the racket technician will suggest rackets with roughly the same specifications.
Note also that the racket’s head size and length must be considered, as that also influences the power and control the racket will offer you.
Lighter tennis rackets are not better than heavier ones.
Instead, what matters is which specification gives you a boost playing.
If you experience excessive shock and vibration, you should get a heavier racket.
If you feel pain and strain on your arms and wrists, a lighter racket will work best for you.
But more often than not, beginners will enjoy playing with lighter rackets, while more experienced players will be more comfortable playing with heavier rackets for better control and balance.