Types of Tennis Racket: The All-Inclusive Guide
Choosing the best tennis racket is possibly the most crucial decision a tennis player could make. But choosing from different types of tennis racket, it is quite difficult.
It might seem like a simple task from the outset, but ensuring you have the most suitable frame takes some serious thought and time.
When a tennis player has a racket that’s perfect for them, the game will always be a well-played one, as the fundamental basis is well-established from the very start.
Although a significant and, therefore, seemingly scary endeavor, choosing the correct racket is a natural process, as long as you know exactly what to look out for.
This article will serve as your holy grail of tennis rackets, offering information on how to choose a noise, the categories of rackets that exist, and how the type of tennis player can affect the decision.
👉 At the end of the article, you’ll know exactly what to look for:
Table of Contents
How To Choose a Racket
There are hundreds of different types of tennis racket on offer, so choosing the perfect one might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
However, there is no need to worry because there is a solid checklist that must be fulfilled, and if a racket doesn’t meet one of these requirements, you know it isn’t the right one for you.
The three main characteristics of a good tennis racket are weight, size, and balance.
It is crucial to tailor each aspect to the player, as each individual will vary significantly as to what they require.
Using the specifications described below and considering physique and skill level, a well-informed decision can be made.
It is essential to note rackets should be compared to one another, as unstrung specifications as strung specifications can sometimes distort the factual discrepancies in the noises.
👉 With that in mind, each point below is referring to unstrung specifications:
When the racket’s head is bigger, it will provide greater power, as there is a larger surface area.
Like a trampoline, the bigger the racket, the more spring it has, and therefore, the greater level of power that can be exerted.
The larger surface area also allows for a larger margin of error, which can be especially useful for newer players..
The sweet spot is the area in the center of the strings, where striking the ball is much more comfortable and generates better performance.
If the racket head is bigger, this sweet spot will also be bigger, and the player will reap those benefits mentioned above. Additionally, a larger head size will usually make a topspin much easier to generate, as the strings are positioned further apart, offering separation of space.
A smaller head size is considered to be below 100 square inches and is recommended for advanced players who don’t have too much of a hard time hitting the sweet spot with each strike.
These players, who also have the propensity to generate greater power within their swing, will have greater accuracy when using a smaller head size, allowing for consistently good shots.
That being said, playing with a racket with a smaller head size increases the risk of missing that beloved sweet spot and, therefore, can pose a disadvantage.
On the other hand, a larger head size is considered to be above 102 square inches, which is ideal for those players who haven’t mastered the art of power within their swing.
This greater surface area provides a larger sweet spot area, increasing the chance of hitting a good shot.
Also, this area allows greater forgiveness on off-center shots, which is perfect for those who have difficulty consistently hitting the sweet spot.
Oversize rackets, which are usually above 110 square inches, are the best option for truly novice players who struggle to create sufficient power to get the ball across the court.
The most popular and widely-used head size measures 100 square inches, which is the recommended size for competitive players to begin with.
The weight distribution determines the balance of a tennis racket; it can lie further towards either the head or the handle. Millimeters are the most common metric to describe balance points, and are measured from the bottom of the racket.
This length represents the point at which the racket can be balanced without tipping either way. Balance is most important aspect to look for while choosing from different types of tennis racket.
Therefore, a greater number demonstrates a heavier racket towards the head, and vice versa.
343 mm is the approximate balance point for an evenly balanced racket that measures the standard length of 27 inches (686 mm).
Most rackets have a balance point of below 343 mm and are therefore considered ‘headlight’.
Although this is indeed the case for the vast majority of rackets, different variations are worth being aware of.
For example, a racket possessing a 315 mm balance point will be more head-light than a racket with a 325 mm balance point. Even if every other specification is identical, the rackets will have a different feel. The player will play in another way.
On headlight rackets, the weight is closer to the player’s hand, allowing greater room for maneuver on volleys and ground strokes, increasing the overall level of control.
Conversely, on head heavy rackets, increased power is generated as greater momentum can be created upon the swing.
Tennis Nuts advises for social players seeking easy power from their racket should select balances of 340 mm or greater. In contrast, most other competitive players are best suited to rackets between 315 and 340 mm.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this will also depend on the factors mentioned above and player preference.
If more power is required, it’s advised to select closer to the 340 mm point, or if more control is preferred, towards 315 mm would be best.
#3. Extended Length
The length of a racket will significantly influence the level of power that is possible to generate.
A longer racquet will provide more leverage when swinging, allowing the player to create greater power.
A standard length for a tennis racquet is 27 inches (68.58 cm), so extended length is used to describe racquets up to 29 inches, the longest length allowed by tennis rules.
Not all power rackets will boast an extended length, but it is a feature that many manufacturers will adjust to factor in greater power.
This is also an important aspect to look for in various types of tennis racket.
#4. Stiff frame
Stiff frames are a common feature of power rackets.
The stiffness refers to the extent that a racquet bends when coming into contact with a tennis ball. Therefore, a higher rating will constitute a stiffer racket.
Almost counterintuitively, a stiff frame will not have as much of a flex when it meets a tennis ball. This causes the ball to rebound faster, with more speed and less effort required.
Performance graphite tennis rackets will weigh anywhere between 225g to 340g, with rackets on either end of the spectrum boasting their own sets of pros, as well as cons.
A heavier racket will provide more frame stability for those with the most powerful swing motion. Usually, a heavier frame will have a thinner beam, allowing for greater control over these powerful strokes.
Therefore, heavier rackets are the preferred choice among advanced and professional players.
More novice players will struggle to manage the sheer weight and can therefore tire out much quicker during a game.
A heavy racket comes in at over 300 grams.
A racket considered lightweight will weigh below 280 grams.
They are much easier to handle and maneuver, which is desirable at any point during a game.
Lightweight frames are usually paired with a thicker beam, to maintain structural stability.
Therefore, for newer players who are not particularly athletic or physically strong, these rackets can help generate power with greater ease.
Moreover, they are very suitable for younger players who are making their very first switch to adult rackets, as this weight is similar to junior graphite frames.
However, although offering an evident increase in power, a lightweight racket causes a lesser degree of control and accuracy and should be avoided by advanced players.
The rackets that fit between the lightweight and heavy categories (between 280 – 300 g) are the most popular because they provide a competitive specification suitable for players to use comfortably.
Within this weight range, a racket for every style of play is on offer, as they are also available in a wide array of head sizes, balances, and other characteristics that are crucial to consider when choosing the perfect tennis racket.
Fundamental property and feature of various types of tennis racket.
Tennis rackets can be made from a few different materials.
While this does not make any racket inherently better than another, certain materials will suit different players.
Therefore, it is important to consider the material, as it can make a difference to the player’s overall experience.
Wood tennis rackets were once all the rage for avid tennis players for a back and forth game.
Offering a more nostalgic experience, these tennis rackets aren’t nearly as widely used as they once were, and professional players have dropped this style all together.
Wood rackets are the heaviest type of racket possible due to the dense nature of the material.
Also, they tend to generally put less of a spin onto the ball, which would be unsuitable for advanced players attempting certain types of play, like the kick serve.
Metal tennis rackets are certainly more popular than their wooden predecessors, but they aren’t as popular as composite frames.
The first metal tennis racket debuted in 1967, and was the buzz of the tennis world when it was first launched.
The T2000 created by Wilson was fairly popular, as it was marketed as a racket that would generate much more power within the swing.
By this point, the wood tennis racket was practically obsolete.
For the amateur or social tennis players who are not looking to get into the sport on a serious level, a metal tennis racket would do a decent job. However, they are still relatively heavy as a frame and, therefore, more difficult to use and maneuver.
Fibreglass, boron and Kevlar are elements often used in the composition of these types of frames.
Wilson decided to adopt this material in the early 1980s, which completely revolutionized tennis rackets. Different types of tennis racket are made from different components.
Composite tennis rackets are much more lightweight than the previously mentioned styles, therefore offering greater advantages, including making the swing much easier to achieve for players.
This increased ability to grasp and control the racket also allowed for greater power through swings, making for a more comfortable motion. Many players select only composite rackets in today’s age, as the benefits are a no-brainer.
Graphite tennis rackets are arguably one of the most common materials used, highlighting their unparalleled popularity.
Although heavier than titanium, these frames are still relatively lightweight but offer the advantage of greater power. This ultimately allows for better control over the ball.
Moreover, graphite rackets are inexpensive and easy to get your hands on, being sold across many retailers online.
They are a great option for those just getting started with tennis.
Last but not least, is the titanium racket.
These rackets are lighter than those fabricated from graphite, but they are even stiffer.
These characteristics offer the benefits of better balance and control during a swing, although power may not be as strong compared to a composite or graphite tennis racket.
It is also worth noting that pure titanium rackets are a bit more on the expensive side and more difficult to access, but that’s due to their premium quality.
Although requiring a dramatic loosening of the purse strings, the performance and ability that comes with this type of racket is worth every penny.
#7. Level of play
The final factor that comes into play when choosing a racket is the skill level of the player in question.
Each level of play will be evaluated below, with the most suitable racket type being explained with appropriate justification.
Below different play levels does also effects the different types of tennis racket.
For those who are new to the game of tennis and have little to no experience, Tennis Companion recommends opting for power or a tweener racket.
For any players who may have prior experience with sports that require great hand-eye coordination, a tweener racket is appropriate.
However, it’s important to consider that for players who aren’t interested in taking the sport any further than just a few fun, casual games here and there, it’s not necessary to spend a great deal of money investing in a specific, high-spec racket.
It’s perfectly acceptable to buy a cheer and cheerful racket under these circumstances.
For those who have been playing tennis for some time and the skills and techniques are trying to reach a stage of maturity, then it may be high time to experiment with a tweener racquet if that wasn’t tried at the beginner stage.
Tennis Companion advises resisting the temptation to use players or control racquets to allow technique and skills to continue advancing before making the switch if ever tried at all.
A truly advanced player will have spent considerable time and effort carefully choosing the best tennis racquet much before reaching this level of play.
With that being said, intermediate players are only just beginning to experience real success on the courts. They will want to begin considering a custom tennis racket.
At higher levels of tennis, minor adjustments to a player’s racket can considerably influence performance.
Furthermore, ensuring all rackets in your roster match perfectly will help ensure a seamless transition as rackets are switched up during a match itself.
Categories of Racket
There are five dominant types of tennis racket a tennis player has the luxury of choosing from.
Each variation will be examined below, with the purpose of the racket, design, materials, advantages, and disadvantages being thoroughly explained below to provide detailed information that will help you select the most appropriate racket.
#1. Kid's Rackets
Purpose: doing exactly what they say on the tin, kid’s tennis rackets are designed specifically for children under the age of 13.
They are made to be easy to swing, lightweight, and even brightly colored to attract even the youngest of tennis players.
Design & material: evidently, rackets made for smaller humans will naturally be much smaller in frame size than normal tennis rackets.
In the same vein, they will be made from much lighter material, including aluminum, to be easier for young children to use.
However, using lighter material often means these frames are more prone to damage and breakages.
This is because, to achieve a light frame, the materials used are a lot cheaper, meaning their quality is lower than normal.
With that being said, it is highly unlikely for a child to cause genuine damage to a racket, so the advantages drastically outweigh this disadvantage.
#2. Power Racquets
Purpose: Most racket manufacturers who specialize in power-oriented styles will use this name.
They are designed to enhance the degree of power a player has over the ball by offering unique design features designed with shorter players in mind.
Design & material: These models feature oversize to super-oversize heads measuring between 107 and 135 square inches.
They are lightweight (around 8 to 9.5 ounces), longer (approximately 27 to 29 inches), stiffer, and head heavy in balance to keep enough weight in the sweet spot.
#3. Control or Player's Racquets
Purpose: you guessed it; control is at the core of these rackets.
Typically, these types of special rackets aren’t advisable for beginners’ use.
They’re recommended for experienced players who are attempting to polish up and perfect their technique.
Control rackets are not exactly the easiest to use, but that offers the opportunity for a learning curve! The entire purpose of this racket is to hone in on getting those skills to a T.
Design & material: to allow for better-placed accuracy,control rackets are designed with a much smaller head compared to usual tennis rackets.
Additionally, the frame tends to be slightly more flexible and heavier, which allows for greater control over the ball.
However, with this comes its disadvantages. Control rackets are notoriously difficult to use, as they’re heavier.
This also means they are on the pricier end of the spectrum, which may not always be ideal. They are also slightly less accessible to find, as they don’t tend to be as popular.
#4. Tweener Racquets
Purpose: Tweener rackets are an ideal go-to frame for intermediate tennis players who are just starting to take tennis that bit more seriously.
Contrary to what the name suggests, they are not solely designed for tweens or young adults; they can be used by intermediate players of all ages.
These rackets are usually higher quality than cheaper starter rackets that tend to be made from aluminum, providing greater power to the player.
Design & material: Tweener rackets will probably be fabricated using either graphite or carbon fiber. These materials are heavy enough to allow for a more powerful swing and feel good in the hand.
They are very usable; great for practicing.
Tweener rackets come in any design thinkable.
They are available to buy as part of a whole tennis kits that contains everything required to get started on the ultimate tennis journey.
Generally speaking, the lightweight yet durable materials, paired with the versatile designs, create the perfect intermediate tennis racket.
#5. Modern Player's Racquets
Purpose: Modern player tennis rackets are designed for the everyday tennis player.
They are materials that they are constructed from that are heavier and stronger than your intermediate tennis racket, which allows for a more powerful swing.
Being slightly less easy to maneuver compared to a tweener tennis racket, they’re great for the more seasoned player.
Even some professionals are starting to favor these types of tennis racket due to their enviable durability and easy use.
Design & material: Like tweener tennis rackets, modern player rackets are likely to be made from graphite, carbon fiberor other types of composite materials.
Being a well sought-after style, they are accessible to find and come in various designs and materials.
Specific designs and materials are used in the crafting of modern player rackets, which offer enhanced performance rather than a standard volley.
It’s important to recognize that modern player rackets are notably heavier than a typical racket.
Although this is advantageous in the long run, it can be frustrating for some, as it will make the game seem much more difficult than it needs to be.
Patience is, therefore a virtue when getting used to this type of racket.
Matching the Racket to the Type of Player
Depending on a player’s type and style of tennis, certain rackets will serve better purposes and therefore vary in suitability.
Therefore, it is crucial to bear this in mind when selecting, and to be honest, when assessing the type of tennis done by the player.
#1. Modern player
According to Tennis Warehouse,the modern player uses more top spins, which has ultimately informed the design of the modern player tennis racket.
These rackets are ideal for using an aggressive angle when attacking the ball to achieve maximum spin.
The power level is similar, if not the exact same, to tweener racquets, and the string weight usually measures between 11 and 12 ounces. Head sizes are typically around 98 to 100 square inches.
#2. Attacking player
Attacking players require a racket that rewards precision because to win a point, they need to aim as close to the lines and as physically possible.
Roger Federer is a prime example of an attacking player. Control rackets possess power, but a decent level of feel on volleys is necessary for attacking players.
#3. Aggressive counter-punchers
Power and spin are synonymous with counter punchers, and Rafael Nadal has been described as a relatively aggressive counter puncher.
When evaluating the types of tennis racket used by typical aggressive counter punchers, like Andy Murray, Nocav Djokovic, and Del Potro, they all have slight variations, demonstrating how key it is to find a racket that is the most suited to your body type and type of play.
In conclusion, this article has described the importance of considering many racket specifications to select the optimal frame for you.
The main thing is that you feel comfortable and that your racket is helping you to play on your top form; any negative feeling that your racket is hindering you is a big red flag.
There are many varieties of tennis racket that you should be aware of, which means there is the right one out there for everyone; you just have to spend the time and effort finding it and trying it out!