Selecting the right tennis racket is vital to making the most of your game. You should choose your racket based not just on your size and strength but also on your playing level. Beginners may need help powering the ball over the net while intermediate players might be looking to improve their control and advanced players might be after more spin.
If you’re looking for advice on selecting a tennis racket for child or junior check out this great post which explains how to measure your child for a tennis racket. However if you are an adult read on to find out some top tips to help you to select the best tennis racket for you whatever your level:
How to choose a tennis racket for a beginner
When you’re just starting out on your tennis journey you want to make sure you have the right racket to help you make more returns and find that sweet spot! Playing with the right kind of racket will improve your game which will help you enjoy the game more and want to keep playing.
The key things to consider when buying a beginner tennis racket are head size, weight and grip size.
For the head size it is generally advised that beginners should opt for a larger head size. This is because the bigger the head of the racket the bigger the sweet spot – the central part of the racket which you should use to hit the ball with. By having a larger head (and therefore a larger sweet spot) you’re more likely to connect with the ball more frequently and begin to make better shots.
Most tennis rackets heads are between 85 and 118 square inches and so it is recommended that beginners opt for a racket with a head that is 100 square inches or larger.
Next thing to consider is the weight of the racket. Players feel differently over whether they prefer heavy or light frames – some find a heavy racket slows their game and others that a too light racket encourages bad habits such as flicking the wrist. The more you play and the more rackets you try out the easier it is to assess what weight suits your game style but for a beginner it is generally advisable to choose a racket with a light frame to make it easier to practise shots over and over again.
Lighter racket frames will be between 9 –9.7oz / 255–275g.
Getting the correct grip size is also a key consideration as a too small or too large grip can result in injury such as tennis elbow. The easiest way to measure for your grip size is to bend your hand to find the lateral crease of your palm. Then with your hand laid flat measure using a ruler or measuring tape the space between the fold of your palm and the tip of your middle finger. As you can see from these photos I have a small hand measuring 4 inches.
Once you have measured your hand this table will tell you what size grip you require:
|US Grip size (inches)||European size|
On average most women will find a size 2 or 4¼ grip the correct size and most men will find a size 3 or 4 3/8 grip appropriate.
Tennis rackets range in length from 27 to 28 inches. Although it is possible to get rackets at 29 inches in length which can add more power to your shots through greater leverage it comes at a trade-off with manoeuvrability so it is recommended that beginners start with the standard 27 inch racket.
To summarize when looking for a racket for a beginner tennis player it is best to go for:
- A larger head (over 100 inches)
- A light frame (9 –9.7oz / 255–275g)
- The correct grip size
- Standard 27 inch racket length
Additionally finding a racket which gives more power to your strokes can be useful for a beginner, this means opting for a head-heavy racket (a racket with a slight weighting to the top).
Best beginner racketsTable could not be displayed.
How to choose a tennis racket for an intermediate player
Once you have been playing tennis for a while you probably know a bit more about what you want from a racket, but it is worth trying out the options as finding the correct racket could really help improve your game.
As an intermediate player the most obvious change you’ll want to make as you move on from your beginner racket is towards a racket with a smaller head because a smaller head means greater control. Intermediate players tend to want to develop their touch and so a smaller racket head can help you do this and add greater manoeuvrability too.
You are also likely to have developed more power in your shots and built up your tennis-playing muscles. This means that you could now select a heavier racket which can add real pace to your game.
To summarize when looking for a racket for an intermediate player choose a racket with:
- A smaller head (98–105 inches)
- A medium weight frame (9.8–11oz / 275–310g)
Best intermediate racketsTable could not be displayed.
How to choose the best racket for an advanced player
Most advanced players will be looking for a racket which can give them a real feel for the ball, added precision and greater control. Advanced players are adept at adding spin to their shots and so the right racket will make this easier to achieve.
A smaller head is an obvious way to gain greater control and better touch. An advanced player can also probably handle a heavier racket, although beware not to make a massive jump from one weight of racket to another as a large difference could cause strain and injury. Any change in racket weight should be done incrementally.
At this level players should choose their racket based on the style and strength of their game. If you like to add spin to the ball then choose an open string pattern as this will help create better topspin. However if you play with flatter groundstrokes then chose a tight string pattern and a smaller head.
To summarize when looking for a racket for an advanced player choose a racket with:
- A smaller head size (85–98 inches)
- A medium to heavy frame (11oz / 310g or heavier)
Best advanced racketsTable could not be displayed.
Last update on 2020-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API