10 Best Tennis Racquets | April 2017

We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Playing great tennis isn't just about your skill, although that definitely helps. It's also about having the right equipment, specifically a racquet that matches your playing level and style. Our comprehensive selection has been ranked by weight, durability, ball control, responsiveness, and power, to have you playing like a pro in no time. Skip to the best tennis racquet on Amazon.
10 Best Tennis Racquets | April 2017
Overall Rank: 7
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
If you are simply a casual player who likes to hit the ball around, the Wilson Tour Slam is made for you. It has power strings to give the ball more oomph and pop, so you don't have to spend countless hours training, and it comes in at a budget-friendly price.
  • stop shock pads
  • aluminum construction is heavy
  • grip isn't very tacky
Brand Wilson
Model WRT32230U4-Parent
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
9
The Head Liquidmetal 8 is for beginners and intermediate players who are ready to get serious about their game and step up to the next level. This racquet helps you to master control and placement of the ball, two essential aspects of becoming a great player.
  • best for those with a slow swing
  • great quality for the price
  • some find it a bit heavy
Brand HEAD
Model 234904S40
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
8
The Prince Warrior 100 ESP is a good all-around racket suitable for a variety of skill levels. It offers a good balance of power, spin control, and speed, though it seems best for those with full strokes as it is somewhat lightweight and requires a good follow through.
  • produces a strong top spin
  • helps with hit consistency
  • string pattern is a little too open
Brand Prince
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
7
The Head MicroGel Radical is great if you're struggling with your ground strokes. It's head is filled with a microgel that compresses on impact to uniformly distribute the load around the frame, giving it a rock solid feel and great control.
  • andre agassi's racket of choice
  • feels soft and forgiving
  • doesn't give much of a power boost
Brand HEAD
Model 232310-4.5
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The Babolat Pure Strike 100 has a low swing weight to allow for quick reactions, making it ideal for aggressive intermediate players who are often at the net. Unfortunately, its sweet spot is tight, making it somewhat unforgiving.
  • easy to produce head speed
  • ideal for volleying
  • generates a good amount of power
Brand Babolat
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
5
The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is a great racquet for new players who are still learning, but are focused on trying to improve their game and train regularly. It features an oversized frame specially designed to increase hit power from light swings.
  • synthetic strings
  • provides good leverage
  • no shock absorber
Brand Wilson
Model WRT58610U1
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
4
Players love the Head YouTek Instinct MP because it's made with a light and strong material called graphene. This allows you to play longer and hit harder with less fatigue, plus the even weight distribution should help increase your swing power.
  • strings have a nice pop
  • 100-square-inch head
  • great for older players
Brand HEAD
Model 230203
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
3
The Babolat Pure Drive has a cortex dampening system designed to reduce arm shock without affecting ball feedback so you can still produce powerful and accurate shots. It has a higher impact zone than most racquets, which seems to be better for the average player.
  • comes with a cover
  • tight sweet spot string pattern
  • good spin control
Brand Babolat
Model 101167
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
2
For a racquet that lasts but doesn't cost a lot, try the Head Ti.S6. It is made of a combination of durable graphite and lightweight titanium, so it will stand up to years of heavy use. At just 8 ounces, it can help minimize hand fatigue and wrist pain, too.
  • extra long to enhance your reach
  • strings feel very taut
  • comes with a vibration dampener
Brand HEAD
Model 236005-4.5
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The Wilson Pro Staff 97 is a lighter weight redesign of the famous racquet collaboration between Federer and Wilson. It has a bigger sweet spot than the original to help you hit with more power and drastically improve your game.
  • available in four grip sizes
  • 16x19 string pattern
  • very well balanced
Brand Wilson
Model WRT72491U4
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Controlling Your Game

The tools used to play a sport have not only evolved with time to support precision and improved ease of use, but their development almost always tells a story. The same can be said for the tennis racket. Not only does it tell a story, but the game of tennis defines physics at work.

A tennis racket consists of a handled frame with a wide open hoop across which a network of strings or catgut (animal intestine) is stretched. The racket's main parts include the head, rim, face, neck, butt, butt cap, and strings. With many modern-style rackets, some of the catgut has been replaced with synthetic fibers, such as nylon or other polymers for additional strength. Tennis rackets range in length from 21 to 29 inches, depending on the age and skill level of the intended player, with the longest rackets being used by professionals. The size of a racket's head is directly proportional to the level of power that is channeled into the ball when striking it during an intense match. The larger the head is, the more forgiving the margin of error becomes when striking the ball close to the racket's frame.

But wait. Don't I just need something to hit the ball over the net? In the simplest terms, yes. However, there's a great deal more to the story. Hitting the ball effectively with a good racket involves a three-component system between the ball, the frame of the racket, and its strings. The racket itself is not supposed to be completely stiff. In fact, all three of these components are flexible to some extent. This is purposeful so that the ball will transfer some of its kinetic energy to the racket frame and its strings, while the remaining energy is then used to send the ball back over to the other side of the tennis court.

The tension level of the strings is adjustable to give the player varying degrees of power. For example, as the string pattern becomes increasingly tight, the degree of precision upon impact with the ball also increases. This means that there is less deformation of the strings, making the angle and strength of impact with the ball more dependent upon arm movements and skill. By contrast, if the design of the strings is loose and open, deformation of the strings increases, meaning they have a direct impact on the power and spin of the ball. Low-tension strings still command skill as it takes time to learn where a racket's sweet spot is and how best to use it.

Regardless of whether the frame is made from wood, metal, or composite materials, it's more rigid than either the strings or the ball, so it has less elasticity. That said, some amount of kinetic energy is lost upon the frame's impact with the ball. For that reason, some feel that the stiffer the frame, the less energy that is wasted.

Rackets Of Choice

For the beginning tennis player, a large sweet spot and comfortable, non-slip grips are definitely important so that you get a feel for the game and the energy involved. Some rackets also offer gel-filled heads that evenly distribute impact load across their entire frames for improved control.

If you're sensitive to swing impacts, finding a racket with built-in vibration dampening/shock absorption capabilities can make playing the game more comfortable and less jarring.

Lightweight and sturdy materials (i.e graphite, titanium) are a given, since the last thing any player wants is a ridiculously heavy racket that's hard to hold or swing. What's most important is the ability to test your racket before purchasing it to ensure it is as comfortable and effective for your game as possible.

From Monks To Modern Times

The game of tennis has a long history that dates back to the 11th century when French monks used their own hands as rackets to play the first game. Things have progressed quite a great deal since then.

The first actual tennis racket was made from solid wood in 1874 in London by Major Walter C. Wingfield.

Many of the early rackets that followed into the 1940s were constructed from laminated wood (i.e. ash, maple, and okume) in order to improve upon solid wood's variability in strength.

By 1968, Wilson Sporting Goods developed the T2000 racket, which was made from steel. That same year, Spalding released the first aluminum racket called the Smasher. By 1975, the first oversized aluminum racket was made by Weed. Although aluminum was still less accurate than the early wooden models, this oversized racket paved the way for the development of more non-standard sized rackets for additional variety.

By the early 1980s, wood construction became obselete in favor of carbon fiber composites, thanks to companies like Dunlop and Prince. Composite construction has the advantage of being very lightweight and this is still the contemporary standard for today's tennis rackets. Today's focus is on racket customization, such as the Prince O3 racket that features large string holes for improved aerodynamics and speed.



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Last updated on April 24 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.