Whether you want to hit like Federer or play casually with friends, choosing a tennis racket is a big decision. Many beginners, however, only know names like Wilson, Head, or Babolat, while frame, head size, weight, strings, grips, and other features remain a mystery.
But never fear! We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most popular tennis rackets online for beginners, or those in the market for new equipment. No matter your skill level, we’re here to help you find the perfect racket to improve your game.
How to Choose a Tennis Racket – Buying Guide
Before introducing our recommendations, we’ll explain some important features of a modern tennis racket point-by-point. We’ll focus on three major aspects here: weight, head size, and frame stiffness. It’s okay if you don’t understand yet; just keep reading.
Choose a Weight According to Your Strength
One of the most important points to consider when choosing a racket is the weight. Generally, rackets weigh about 300 g, but the range can be anywhere from 250 g to 350 g. This may not seem like much of a difference at first, but even a few grams will tell on your arm after repeated swings.
Lighter rackets are easier to swing and are a good choice for beginners. However, lighter rackets lack power and control, which gets annoying as you progress and begin to play more consistently. For beginners who have experience in other ball sports and are confident in their strength, a slightly heavier racket is also a good starting choice.
Also be aware that “head-heavy” rackets are available. These have more weight near the strings and are designed to produce power, though they don’t weigh much overall. That’s why they’re ideal for beginners.
As a rule of thumb for novices, women tend to use rackets in the 260-280 g range and men stick to the 280-300 g range. For intermediate players and beyond, it’s important to strike that balance between weight and force, and lightness and maneuverability. It helps to go to a shop first and try several rackets to see what feels right; some tennis facilities even have demo rackets you can use on court.
Recommended Head Size: Midplus
Next, look at the surface area of the “head,” which includes the strings and upper part of the racket. Most rackets fall between 85-135 square inches. Basically, a larger head makes it easier to hit the ball, but sacrifices accuracy and consistency.
A head size of 85-95 is called “Midsize”, 95-105 is “Midplus”, and 105-125 is “Oversize”. Note that “Midsize” is actually the smallest category. Be careful not to confuse “Midsize” and “Midplus,” as they refer to different sizes.
Oversize rackets are best suited to novices and elderly people. It’s a lot easier to make contact with the ball, and the size compensates for lack in strength. On the contrary, the smaller head of a midsize racket has higher control, speed, and accuracy, but requires faster reflexes. Smaller rackets have smaller “sweet spots” and are best for experienced players who can generate their own speed.
Therefore, the midplus is a well-balanced compromise of these features. For new players who want to quickly improve their game, you can’t go wrong with a midplus racket.
The Easily Misunderstood Stiffness Factor
Now we move on to “frame stiffness,” which is a little hard to understand. Essentially, a stiff racket frame provides more power, while a flexible racket contours around the ball and offers more control.
This dynamic may seem counter-intuitive. Many assume a more flexible frame will absorb and then return more energy like a catapult, but that’s not true: a stiff frame will create a solid wall to deflect energy, while a flexible frame will slightly yield to the ball, sacrificing power for comfort and control.
Stiff rackets often have narrower frames, while flexible frames are wider. The range is between 17-30 mm. Be aware that for players who want to hit with more power, a thin, stiff frame may be overcompensating–you might end up with a lot of balls flying out of the court.
Thinner, stiffer frames are best suited for players who already have excellent control of the ball. Wider, more flexible frames allow you to bounce back your opponent’s energy, so you can focus on form and developing more consistency with your shots.
Top 10 Best Tennis Rackets to Buy Online
Now that we’ve introduced the features of a modern tennis racket, please refer to the list below for our top ten racket recommendations. By knowing how to make an informed decision, you can shop with confidence and find the one that best suits you!
10. Head Titanium Ti.S6
The Favorite Racket for Beginner and Elderly Players
The Head Titanium Ti.S6 is an extremely lightweight racket at 250 g with a large head size of 115 square inches. Combined with a fairly stiff frame, the result is an incredibly forgiving racket that at the same time supplements the user’s power.
This racket is one of the most popular products available for elderly players who are not as fast or powerful as they used to be. Although a beginner may eventually plateau using this racket, it’s a great way to get on the court and have fun–without having to meet the demands of a higher level racket.
9. Wilson Ultra 100 CV
Balance and Reliability for Powerful Base-liners
The second generation of the Wilson Ultra is a sleek, well-balanced racket. It fully utilizes Wilson’s unique counter veil (CV) technology. The design dampens the impact of the ball and makes it easier to swing, hit, and keep up the pace for longer.
The Ultra is aimed at intermediate base-liners who are starting to get a feel for their power. It is a stable, reliable racket. The innovations in comfort make it a fantastic choice for players looking to branch into higher-performance rackets, while still working on their fundamental ground strokes. That’s not to say the Ultra is only for beginners, as evidenced by Gael Monfils’ recent switch to the line.
8. Head Graphene Touch Instinct MP
Hit Comfortably and in Style with Sharapova’s Racket
Maria Sharapova is one of the top female players in the world, and the Head Instinct is her racket series of choice. A balanced and accessible racket, it’s easy to use and a solid choice for beginner and intermediate players. You’ll be able to hit comfortably with this racket, no question asked.
This Instinct is slightly heavier than previous version at 315 g, but S and Lite rackets are viable alternatives. The Lite version also has a slightly larger head size of 107 at 284 g, making it an attractive choice for women looking for a high performing racket that is still easy to swing.
7. Wilson Burn 100 CV
Nishikori’s Preferred Racket Against Big Hitters
The Burn 100 CV is the latest model in Wilson’s Burn series. The smaller Burn 95 is used by Kei Nishikori. In order for Nishikori to compete with the world’s most powerful players, this racket was designed for increased speed, but still maintains a consistent and comfortable feel. A key feature of this product is, again, the counter veil material, which eases fatigue by absorbing more of the ball’s impact.
The Burn series is designed for advanced players looking to improve their endurance with minimal performance trade-offs, so it may be difficult to handle for a beginner. It’s a niche racket–but if you fit into that niche, you won’t find anything better.
6. Head Graphene Touch Speed MP
Control the Court Like Djokovic
The Speed MP’s weight, head size, and frame stiffness are all balanced, making it easy to use and a great choice for an all-rounder. Novak Djokovic, one of the modern champions of tennis, uses a slightly heavier Pro version of this racket, which maintains most of these features.
The latest version of the Speed is more user-friendly than previous iterations, and the Graphene Touch material serves to dampen much of the ball’s vibration on contact. The weight is maneuverable, so it opens up plenty of shot possibilities for players confident in their strength, but looking for more control and speed.
5. Yonex VCORE Duel G 97
The Key to Wawrinka’s Powerful Shots
Stan Wawrinka brought newfound attention to the Yonex VCORE Duel G 97 when he used it for the first time in a Grand Slam tournament. The latest model of the VCORE naturally complements Wawrinka’s power potential with speed and control.
The flexible and thin frame allows for spin and accuracy, even when hitting the ball with everything you’ve got. Ideal for strong players who lack consistency, the VCORE will help keep your winning shots in the court.
4. Head Graphene Touch Radical MP
Murray’s Ultimate All-Rounder to Push Your Performance
The midplus version of the Radical that elevated Andy Murray to world champion in 2016, this is a higher-end racket for intermediate and advanced players. With the same Graphene Touch technology as other Head rackets, the Radical provides balance, comfort, and a stable platform from which to apply power.
You get precision and speed with this racket, but it requires skill to use effectively. The Radical is, however, a favorite among the high-intermediate demographic and is a great racket to aspire to.
3. Babolat Pure Aero
Nadal Fans Rejoice with Insane Spin and Control
Rafel Nadal’s signature “banana shot” can be realized with the Babolat Pure Aero, which is designed for maximum spin. Formerly called the AeroPro, this racket is a favorite across all skill-levels, ages, and among both men and women.
Babolat’s Woofer technology ensures that the thick, flexible frame and string structure work together to grip the ball and generate as much spin as possible. The design makes the racket easy to swing despite the weight, and with the right amount of power, the resulting spin will keep the ball offensive and in-play.
2. Wilson Blade 98
Class Meets Power: A Professional Favorite
The Wilson Blade line has long been a professional and, in turn, crowd favorite. The 104 version is used by both the Williams Sisters and the 98 by Milos Raonic and David Goffin. With a fairly forgiving 98 head size, it’s a good racket for players looking to improve consistency and control.
Equipped again with counter veil technology for fatigue reduction, the Blade is a cornerstone of the Wilson arsenal. The thin frame adds precision. With a head-heavy balance, it can be a devastating tool in the right hands. A variety of head sizes and string patterns allow you to fine-tune your preferences and find the perfect Blade for your game.
1. Babolat Pure Drive
Balanced Performance for Any Player and in Any Situation
Babolat’s wildly successful Pure Drive owes its popularity to the balance of power, spin, and control that suits any skill level. The most recent design only further perfects this winning formula. At a standard weight of around 300 g and with a head size of 100 square inches, it’s easy to control in any situation. It gives comparable Wilson and Head rackets a run for their money.
A classic favorite, it’s hard to find a more versatile racket in terms of power, spin and control. It’s suited to any player looking to improve or identify their strengths.
Finding a racket that best suits your strengths and play-style is the key to improving the quality of your game. Now that you are equipped with the necessary information, go out and try looking for your next racket. We hope you find your perfect match!