Watching the greats like Serena and Federer hit with ease and power will inspire any tennis player to do better and be like them. The pop that comes off of today’s rackets is inspiring and exciting.
Racket manufacturers have been dueling it out for the last few decades providing the most up-to-date technology. With so many different directions to go, suited for different styles, it can be difficult for anyone to know what to choose.
This list of the 10 best tennis rackets will be sure to provide you with the answers you are looking for. But what’s most important about choosing a tennis racket is first knowing what makes up a racket and how certain differences will result in different outcomes.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Choose Your Next Racket
- 1.1 Four Types of Rackets
- 1.2 Weight
- 1.3 Length
- 1.4 Head Size
- 1.5 Material
- 1.6 String Tension
- 1.7 Balance
- 1.8 Swingweight
- 1.9 Drive
- 1.10 Stiffness
- 2 The Top 10 Best Tennis Rackets 2021
- 3 Best Racket Brands
- 4 FAQ:
- 4.1 What If I am unsure about the type of player I am or who I want to be?
- 4.2 What is the life expectancy of a racket?
- 4.3 When is a good time to start changing out my racket?
- 4.4 What are some of the other factors to consider when changing a racket?
- 4.5 What if I make the wrong choice of racket?
- 4.6 Does it matter which strings I string my racket with?
- 4.7 What are the weight classes of rackets, and how does it change?
- 4.8 How do I know which tension to string my racket at?
- 4.9 What is an overgrip, and do I need it?:
- 4.10 How do I know which handle/grip size to choose?
- 4.11 What is the recommended level of stiffness for players?
- 4.12 Is playing with my favorite pros racket a good idea?
- 4.13 Are there any sponsorship opportunities?
- 5 Conclusion
How to Choose Your Next Racket
While all rackets aim to provide the absolute best in each category, they will differ among certain aspects. What you end up with will be the racket that best fits your playing style and what will work for you in the future as a developing player.
A lighter version of a racket may lack the necessary power to get depth on your shots. That may be OK with you for the tradeoff of not having any elbow or joint pain that may come with swinging a heavier racket.
Elbow and joint pain can also be a factor of racket stiffness as well as weight distribution.
While there are a few different weight classes per style of racket offered, there’s no real guarantee that one weight is better than another for an individual player. While heavier rackets tend to be what the pro’s use, sometimes a lighter version offers that maneuverability that a player is looking for.
Just knowing a few of these factors and how this could fit in with your playing style can make all the world’s difference. Choosing the right racket can certainly make the wins start to add up, and that’s why this list is perfect for you.
Often we tend to go with what’s comfortable and not necessarily what’s best for us as players. What may feel uncomfortable for a day or two may pay huge dividends down the road.
This is because, as athletes and tennis players, striving to improve is a natural part of the game. For those of us that need more spin but tend to hit on the flatter side, considering a racket with an open bed string for our next choice will help assist in that.
Below is the complete guide of what makes up a tennis racket and how certain features change the way a racket performs. By understanding these categories, you are suited to choose the ultimate racket for you.
Four Types of Rackets
There are essentially four groupings of rackets that manufacturers make tailored to three different styles of players.
We can think of these as:
- Power rackets
- Traditional rackets
- Modern rackets
- Tweener rackets
Each of them gear towards slightly different rackets that offer slightly different things.
And even within these groupings, we can dive further into customization.
These rackets are meant for the players with short/compact swings that need something extra on the ball. The rackets are typically oversize to super oversize in the frame and offer a massive sweet spot for great contact every time.
They tend to be longer rackets with a head-heavy balance but lighter in weight overall. While these rackets aren’t always for the beginner group, they are recommended because of how the racket performs.
Rafa inspired a generation of players when top-spin became such a favorite playing style over the hard and flat. These rackets offer more margin by allowing players to be unbelievably aggressive and put tons of rotation and spin on the ball.
The head size tends to fall into the midplus category, and the rackets typically are lightweight rackets. This racket offers all the power of a tweener racket but has slight modifications that make it spin-friendly.
Traditional rackets are meant for the very best such as professionals or high-level college and club players. They are usually the heaviest in weight and the smallest in frame size. They are typically less stiff for control and have easy maneuverability as head light rackets.
These rackets are almost always standard length with a couple of options that add a few inches depending on the racket and the manufacturer.
Traditional rackets are mostly found on professional tours.
The title says it all. Tweener rackets have become increasingly popular among players because it offers that lightweight feel and power that the power rackets have but also gives you some control from a traditional racket.
They are light to medium weight depending on which specific racket you choose. They can either be head light or heavy, not really swaying to one side or the other. Its preferences are strictly up to the player. The head size, however, still falls in the midsize range typically.
These types of rackets are generally sold to the intermediate to advanced player because of all it has to offer. Depending on the racket, intermediate players may go towards a tweener racket that gives them an extra boost of power, while college players may go for more control and less power since they can provide it on their own.
The weight of a racket has a lot to do with how it swings and what it feels like when you make contact with the ball. A heavy-weighted racket will offer you a lot of power, stability and transmit less shock and vibration when you hit the ball.
Heavy rackets have two things to consider for any level of player.
The first consideration is that moving up the weight of a racket may always feel tough at first. It may be difficult to swing and impact the timing of your groundstrokes. This is fine for the first day or two while hitting as normal. It’s when you can’t maneuver the racket after a few days that you find you do not have the required strength to use a heavy racket.
The second consideration is while heavy rackets transmit less shock, they do add weight to the swing and, therefore, the arms. This reason alone is an important reason to have good technique. Doing an exercise poorly in a gym setting would not convince a trainer to increase your weight. The same can be said for rackets.
Heavier rackets are typically for more intermediate to advanced players as they are able to handle the power that would come with a heavier racket.
Light rackets have been becoming more popular these days for those who can make up their own power. This may be a tweener or power racket because players need more maneuverability. This would be getting the racket in and out of position quickly as a player would need to for a return of serve.
These rackets are for those who may like to play with a lot of spin and need to snap the wrist quickly. Or this may be a better option for a younger player. Keep in mind, though, that for lighter rackets, you will need to make up for the lack of power sometimes that can come with them depending on the specifications.
Often beginners and young kids gear towards these rackets because of the ease of moving the racket without putting too much strain on the arms and wrist.
Tennis rackets for young adults and adults typically range from 27 to 29 inches. This is the legal and standard range for the kinds of rackets mentioned in this list. However, many of the rackets mentioned will come in junior sizes, which are provided below as well.
There are four things that really become affected when the length of a racket changes, even by a few inches.
- Power:The more inches that are added to a racket, the more power you will see on the groundstrokes and serve. This is due to physics. As you could imagine, the more area the racket will travel from start to finish, the more force it will apply when hitting the ball.
- Reach : A longer racket means that you can get to more balls. How often does the ball hit the tip of the racket when running? Quite a bit. However, extra inches doesn’t always mean better swings.
- Maneuverability: Think of this as a long stick. Is it easier to quickly move a shorter stick or a long stick? Moving the racket quickly with extra inches becomes increasingly difficult and cuts down on the maneuverability significantly.
- Spin: The spin actually increases as the power does because of the same reasons. The increased area covered results in a greater effect on the ball.
Extra inches are usually not a factor when considering buying a racket for most levels. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s counted out. For some, this may be too difficult to move around, which is why often those who buy the extra inches are seasoned club players.
Tennis rackets for kids have very different lengths than adults offering a different size for every age group.
The dimensions below are the breakdown from height to age suggestions for a kid. However, the more advanced a kid is, the more likely they will move up a size quicker.
Under Four: If the child is 40 inches or shorter, a racket length for them should be 19 inches.
Ages Under 4: If the child is 40 inches or shorter, a racket length for them should be 19 inches.
Ages 4 to 5: If the child is 40 to 45 inches, a racket length for them should be 21 inches.
Ages 6 to 8: If the child is 45 to 49 inches, a racket length for them should be 23 inches.
Ages 9 to 10: If the child is 50 to 55 inches tall, a racket length for them should be 25 inches.
Age 10 and up: If the child is 55 inches tall and up, a racket length for them should be 26 inches. Or the child may be strong enough to move towards an adult racket which is 27 inches.
Rackets for competition can not exceed 29 inches and are never recommended to be used. Often, they aren’t produced, so it’s not something one should fret about.
Head size directly impacts the power of the shot and also how well the shot is hit. This is referred to as the “sweet spot” of the racket. The sweet spot is the area that a ball is hit best on the strings and is in the center of the racket.
The smaller the head size, the smaller the sweet spot. A larger racket head will offer a larger sweet spot and a more forgiving feel for those who don’t always hit on center.
The following head sizes can be broken up into four main categories.
- Mid-Plus Size
Midsize rackets are the smallest frames that are offered out there. This offers less power and more control and is suited for more advanced game styles.
The frame itself is 84-97 square inches. This is a relatively small sweet spot, which is generally ok for advanced players because they can be more accurate in general.
Mid-plus size is the next step up and offers the in-between of midsize and oversize. The sweet spot slightly increases, making slightly off-center hits more comfortable and adding a little more power to the game for all play levels.
This racket frame is generally 98-105 square inches.
Oversize has the second-largest sweet spot and is a fan favorite among beginners because they often don’t hit right in the center of the strings. This racket head size allows for a lot of easy power with little effort and forgives contact that isn’t perfect.
The larger head size is not popular among more advanced players because it doesn’t offer a lot of control and is likely headlight which may add vibration to the contact.
The dimensions for oversize rackets tend to fall in the 107-115 square inches.
On a few occasions, you may find a racket playing with what is referred to as a super oversize racket. The rackets typically aren’t approved for official matches as this would exceed the dimensions allowed.
However, the people who usually use these rackets are players who are older in their career as it’s the easiest racket to make contact with and adds an easy boost to the ball.
Keep in mind that rules state that the racket head size can not exceed 12.5 inches in width and 15.5 for the hitting surface area.
Rackets are commonly made of aluminum, graphite, boron/kevlar, or carbon fiber. It’s important when choosing a racket to know what materials make up your racket as all of these products produce a different result with the racket.
Aluminum has become a less popular choice these days but nonetheless has always been an affordable and lightweight option. Often aluminum rackets are hollow along the throat of the neck and become tubular.
Because aluminum is so cheap, this material is often made for more affordable rackets.
Graphite is one of the most popular materials used in rackets, and graphite is often the sole material of rackets. HEAD is an excellent example as a lot of their rackets are made from Graphene 360 technology.
Graphite is a grade and type of carbon and is lightweight and sturdy. For the rackets that are made up of 100 percent graphite, they tend to be a lot stiffer and geared towards players who hit with a lot of power.
Graphite, though, can be combined with other materials like Kevlar, Tungsten, Fiberglass, Titanium, Copper, and more. These rackets are geared more towards beginners as the rackets are more flexible, transmit less shock, and help with mishits.
Similar to graphite, boron and kevlar rackets can be made in combination and is a little bit lighter than graphite. While stable, these materials are less forgiving than graphite. These materials are not exactly meant for beginner players as they are more recommended from intermediate to advanced.
Prime quality rackets are made from carbon fiber, which is a form of graphite. These rackets come at a price along with some of the other materials. Most of the rackets on tenniswarehouse.com come from carbon fiber.
On the side of the racket or in the initial packaging, there will be a recommended string tension range. What you string your racket at will ultimately be up to your playing style. A loosely strung racket (45 lbs) will have immense pop and little control. A tighter strung racket (60 lbs) will offer a lot more control and allow players to swing freely. Most players fall in the middle around 50-55 lbs.
Stringing the racket at loose tension will add serious drive to the ball and put less stress on the joints and arm as it will absorb the ball better. This will require players to hit with a lot more spin and use their wrist more.
When you string the racket loosely, you let go of the idea of having control. But when you string the racket more tightly, you can swing without hesitation and provide your own power.
It’s possible to go too tight and have a lot of unwanted effects. While you may get more control, it is possible that it can cause stress on your arm, especially if you have improper technique.
The balance of a racket is how the weight is distributed throughout the racket. While a racket can have evenly distributed weight, it also can have two other options. The weight can be distributed more to the top (head heavy) or more towards the handle (head light). All of these options produce different results.
Head Heavy rackets have most of the weight towards the top of the racket and will provide a lot of juice behind the ball. These rackets can be slightly hard to maneuver and cause sore arms. Think of a golf club. It’s easier to lift the club from the heavy part than it is to lift it from the handle.
Head heavy rackets actually tend to be the lighter rackets in general and transmit less shock to the arm or vibration, providing a stable hit.
Equally distributed rackets sound just as the title is. The weight is disbursed evenly through the racket and offers the best of both worlds. There is less shock and vibration from the head light rackets but more than the head heavy rackets. They also will offer you power and control at the same time.
These rackets are great for players still trying to figure out their game and what works best for them as it is often considered a combo racket. But that doesn’t exclude the rest of the group as even players who are the very best play with mid-range rackets and have equal distributions throughout their rackets.
Head Light rackets are handle heavy rackets. These are the rackets that tend to be heavier in weight in general. This type of weight distribution offers a lot of maneuverability to quickly get the racket in and out of position. However, since the weight is not at the tip of the racket, it’s possible it will get push back from the ball and twist and turn.
Head light rackets tend not to be lighter overall because, in these situations, a lot of shock is transmitted to the arm and can often cause injury to the elbow.
The swing weight of a racket is slightly different than the actual weight and the balance of a racket. This swing weight is a calculated rating that is based on how heavy the racket feels when swinging rather than what the actual weight is.
The swing weight comes directly from the balance of the racket as a head light or head heavy racket in combination with its actual weight.
The swing weight of a racket tends to increase as the weight at the racket’s top increases. This means that head heavy rackets have a higher swing weight than a head light racket. We can go back to our golf club example in explaining why it’s hard to swing a racket that has more weight at the top than when it does at the handle.
The drive is the terminology for essentially the power you get from making contact with the ball. A part of this comes from the player, but a lot can be attributed to the racket itself. It doesn’t all have to do with the power either. The drive of the ball can be topspin heavy or flat.
The factors that influence drive are some of the factors mentioned above and below. The frame size of a racket, along with the length of a racket, will influence drive quite a lot. The stiffness of a racket also plays a large role in what kind of drive a player will get from their racket.
Regardless of what level you are, many rackets try to find a great balance between a big drive with some control. This will be a combination of the racket’s specifications with small adjustments that make each racket different from another.
The stiffness of a racket is exactly how it sounds. A racket can be stiff and not move at all when being hit, or it can be flexible upon contact and have quite a bit of bend. The stiffness will be rated on the manufacturer’s website.
The more flex a racket has, the more it will bend backward and forwards upon contact. This is not something the naked eye can see per se but something that a player will absolutely be able to feel when hitting with a stiff or flexible racket.
The rating manufacturers use is referred to as an RA number and is usually between 50 and 70 on a number scale for more rackets. The higher the stiffness rating, the lower flexibility the racket has, and vice versa.
An average player won’t have the necessary tools to measure a stiffness rating themselves as a machine costs $4500. This means that players strictly rely on the manufacturer to tell them the exact rating.
The more advanced a player is, the more likely they are to play with a slightly stiffer racket as they can provide their own power. However, many players these days enjoy playing with slightly flexible rackets at all levels.
The Top 10 Best Tennis Rackets 2021
That’s a lot to digest at first, but with all that information, it can be much easier to figure out what rackets may suit your playing style and needs now and in the future.
With all the information listed on a manufacturer’s website, it can be tough to compare models and know exactly what some of the differences are, with so many options to choose from.
That’s why this list will provide you the absolute best rackets in the game for 2021 and what makes each one unique.
Keep in mind that while this is a great list to start with, it’s really important to call your local tennis club or a company like Tennis Warehouse and demo these rackets out for a few days for overall comparison. There is no substitute better than playing with the rackets themselves.
1. Yonex Ezone 100
The Yonex Ezone rackets come in a few different weights, and all offer diverse playing styles. However, the Yonex Ezone 100 is the perfect combination of all weights and specs.
Yonex, in general, has been a game-changer since opening more than a decade ago. Still, this racket, in particular, offers intermediate to advanced players a powerful drive with a fantastic feel and touch.
It’s more rectangular frame than other rackets is what attributes to the control and relatively smaller sweet spot than some other options. The frame includes M40X material and technology in the throat that dampens vibrations and shock to the arm, making it comfortable to hit with.
The racket’s grommets have a liner tech that reduces shock and vibration as well that are meant to have a more forgiving feel with slightly off-center shots.
- The Ezone is an excellent fit for all game-styles as it scores well in all areas from groundstrokes to volleys and serves. This is perfect for the all-court player.
- The power comes from the stiffness as it rates on the higher end at 70.
- It has excellent control because of its smaller frame.
- Despite a stiff frame, added technology reduces overall shock and discomfort.
2. Wilson Pro Staff 97
The Wilson Pro Staff 97 comes at a cost, but there is a reason why Federer loves it and performs so well. It’s a heavier racket weighing in at 315g unstrung. This makes for effortless power.
Adding on to the easy power is the larger sweet spot that the racket offers. It’s also a spin-friendly racket, which makes depth control at times harder for less advanced players.
It is head light which means despite being a heavier racket, it’s meant to have easier maneuverability ratings with most of its weight set in the handle. It also boasts a modern look that just screams powerful with it’s all matte black look.
Finally, the racket offers a stiffer frame and a dense string bed to reel back in some control for players who feel like they are ripping it a little too much.
- The Pro Staff exudes power that may take a few hits to get used to with a generous sweet spot that forgives off-center hits.
- The racket’s stiffness is paired with a dense stringbed to offer a better feel and incredible drive.
- Being head light, the maneuverability is quiet and makes for easy volleys and net game.
- A heavier racket, in general, is best suited for players who are more advanced and have the strength to play with it.
3. Babolat Pure Drive
The Babolat Pure Drive has been a popular choice for tennis players since it was first introduced in 1994. It is described as “intoxicatingly power” and has easy playability compared to most.
Babolat introduced it’s SWX Pure Feel technology to deal with the vibrations that came off from the stiffness level of the racket. This has been a significant game-changer for those who felt the racket was sending too much shock to their elbows.
This racket can be harder to control, so combining it with spin-friendly strings and a game that adds topspin is a must for intermediate and advanced players who use this racket.
It’s weighed in at 11.11 ounces, making it a medium heavyweight racket with an increased swing weight of 327, making it even more powerful than it already is.
- Power is the name of the game when it comes to the Babolat Pure Drive.
- The racket is meant for aggressive baseliners with its stiff frame.
- Having said that, volleys were reported to be crisp with a clean feel and its cortex technology that dampens the shock on contact.
- The racket itself weighs in medium but offers a stronger string weight, which explains the drive’s boost.
4. Wilson Blade V7 98
The Wilson Blade V7 98 is a popular choice among tour players. It’s a head light racket with a flexible frame that provides an incomparable feel when striking the ball.
This racket is without Wilson’s famous Countervail technology and instead moves forward with FeelFlex tech to add to the racket’s stability upon striking.
This racket has been noted for exceptional playability, with all styles of playing finding the racket to be a great fit. With control being the focus of this racket with great access to spin, players can feel like they can take a good cut at the ball.
The flexibility of the racket also dampens some of the power but provides a lot of comfort to the elbow, arm, and shoulder for players who tend to swing big. It’s a dense 18×20 string pattern and a light racket strung at just over 11 ounces.
- A flex frame offers maximum comfort and less vibration to the arm.
- It’s overall light frame has easy maneuverability allowing players to swing hard and fast.
- Control, stability, and power are rated high in all categories making it an all-around great choice for intermediate to advanced players.
- The higher swing weight with the light racket is what makes the head heavy racket feel like it has juice and stability behind it.
5. Babolat Pure Strike 98
The Babolat Pure Strike 98, in its third generation, has taken on some modern technology like its new dampening system to absorb the ball better and provide a more forgiving contact than it’s previous models.
The swing weight was increased from its 2017 version giving off a more solid strike and stable feel. It’s said to be the middle ground between the Pure Aero and The Pure Drive, giving control, power, and spin-friendly playability.
At 27 inches in standard length, the 16×19 string pattern has a little more of a boxy frame and added flexibility, contributing to the racket’s new and improved feel.
At 11.3 ounces, it is head light, which is why so many report that on the run, winners come easy as the maneuverability is rated very high. This also makes it great for returning big serves and hitting big serves as well.
It’s a great racket for intermediate to advanced players, given its weight. However, a few beginners have reported to love it as well as they have grown into it. This is due to the fact that it’s power is not uncontrollable, and the feel is something they heavily rely on as a newcomer.
- 98 square inches for the head frame is on the smaller side, meaning a smaller sweet spot but more control.
- The weight is 11.3 with string but 10.8 without, making it one of their more maneuverable rackets with the weight lying in the handle.
- Volleys were rated very high as the racket’s responsiveness was high and clean control is readily available.
- The higher swing weight contributes to the power but certainly has its players needing to provide some of their own juice.
6. Wilson Clash Tour 100
The Wilson Clash Tour 100 will be getting a new name in the upcoming months as the Clash Pro. This modern player’s racket is super spin-friendly and offers a very flexible frame. It’s actually one of the lower stiffness rating on the market, coming in at 55 RA.
Wilson combines its FeelFlex technology with its StableSmart technology. This gives it that bend that it needs on contact and stabilizes the racket to avoid shock and vibration.
It’s a head light racket meaning that the maneuverability is high, resulting in big spin and big power for optimal shots. Players can feel comfortable taking significant cuts at the ball without worrying about losing it to the fence.
At the baseline, you will have no problem hitting winners or getting things back, but at the net extra stability from the player’s end is needed as volleys aren’t as crisp as some of their other product lines.
- It’s 100 square inches in head size, falling right into the medium head size category.
- A strung weight of 11.5 ounces with a lighter swing weight at 322 gives it the powerful hit with the ability to move the head around quickly.
- With power being rated at medium coming half from the racket, players can swing fast and big, providing their own power more comfortably.
- Feel, and speed is what comes to mind with this racket with the dual technology.
7. Yonex VCORE Pro 100
The Yonex VCORE Pro 100 offers a sleek design with matte-green and black paint, making it a fun to look at racket as well as fun to play with. It’s updated version revolved around boosting its overall stability.
You can expect less shock to the arm as the dampening vibration mesh is incorporated into the racket’s handle. This will help players who are prone to tennis and golf elbow significantly.
The swing weight was increased to 323 and has an overall stiffness rating of 65, making it a slightly stiffer racket than some. It’s 11.2 ounces for weight, which makes it not a very heavy racket and easy to swing.
Like many other rackets, it is a standard 27-inch length, which is optimal for intermediate to advanced players with a 16×19 string bed. While the string bed itself may be smaller with a 98 square inch frame, the sweet spot felt great for those who’ve tested it.
- Despite a stiff frame, Yonex adds dampening technology to their rackets’ throat, offering much less shock to the arm and elbow.
- This puts more control and precision behind the swing leaving players to put their power into the shots.
- Lock Booster grommets are used throughout the racket to promote better energy transfer from the ball and make the racket more spin-friendly.
- As with all Yonex rackets, the shape offers a smaller head with a better positioned sweet spot because of its shape.
8. Head Speed 360 Graphene S
Head has recently come up with some of their own technology, and it’s showcased in the Head Speed.
With a 100 square in frame size, this racket weighs in at 10.6 for their S version. Its swing weight is 307 grams and provides unbelievable power and stability. It’s combined with their Spiralfibers that sit at the bottom of the hoop of the racket to give off that comfortable feel upon contact.
This light racket makes for quick whipping around at the baseline for retrieving down balls or also for returning serve. Users report that the power offered is low to medium, allowing players to take full-on swings and feel comfortable.
This is likely due to the crisp feel and accuracy it provides.
- Not only is this racket light weight, but it feels unbelievably light and easy to swing as the weight is no more than 307 grams.
- This is because it is a head light racket making it easy to provide spin and maneuver the frame quickly.
- The stiffness rating rates relatively high at 69, making it a little less flexible but adding the necessary power.
- With the stiff frame, one might worry about vibration, but its Spiralfiber technology assists with comfort and feel.
9. Babolat Pure Aero Tour
The signature yellow and black look of the Babolat Pure Aero Tour has been around for some time and has long been loved by tennis players. It’s designed for intermediate players and even more so advanced players because of the weight of this racket.
It’s the heaviest among all the Babolat ranges and comes in at 11.8 ounces. Its swing weight is 327 grams, which is slightly lighter than its actual weight. Its frame size is 100 square inches, and even with the tweaks to its drive, it still remains a powerhouse.
To fight this, they incorporate their Cortex technology, which dampens the overall plow-through, and in combination with their FSI Spin tech, a well-produced shot comes off the stringbed naturally. The FSI tech has extra spacing between the strings, which assists in more ball rotation.
Because of its weight, the maneuverability takes a hit. Though players reported that once they got used to it, they were able to whip the racket just fine. For those who play aggressive to start, their game will rise to a whole new level of big.
- Heavier than most on their market, the Aero packs in the punch at 335 grams.
- The swing weight is not much less at 327 grams making maneuverability, not its priority.
- Crisp and precision, however, come as a surprise with their FSI technology and Cortex Dampening System.
- Standard length of 27 inch with a 100 square inch frame size giving it a little extra size.
10. HEAD Gravity Graphene 360+ Pro
The HEAD Gravity Pro comes with an aqua teal on one side and a bold orange on the other. Think Miami Dolphins. This racket has come onto the tennis scene in the last few years and has been making a splash.
It’s a low power racket with a massive sweet spot in an 18×20 stringbed frame. But despite the lack of power, the control and feel are phenomenal. This is great for any player than can provide their own juice and want to focus on the contact feeling of the ball.
Admittedly great for players who may hit off-center from time to time as the massive sweet spot has a forgiving feel. For what power it does give to the racket comes relatively easy with the Graphene 360+ technology HEAD incorporates.
This, combined with the spiralfiber technology, offers a spin-friendly racket that can not only pack a punch but take one too. It’s stable and finds itself remaining that way in all areas of the court.
- This version of the Head Gravity is heavier, weighing in at 332 grams or 11.7 ounces.
- The swing weight is exactly as it feels as it remains at 332 grams.
- The racket provides a crisp and clean feel with a medium stiffness rating of 62.
- And despite its heavier weight, the racket swings fast and offers a more traditional player racket in a modern-day.
Best Racket Brands
The rackets listed above come from the world-leading racket brand manufacturers serving the top professionals to the beginners. Each brand tends to follow similar models when producing rackets, and that’s why it’s essential to know each brand and what they specialize in.
The major four are Wilson, Babolat, Head, and Yonex. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Wilson rackets are hard to miss, consider two of the very best players in the world have been using them for the majority of their career. Serena Williams and Roger Federer, among many more pros, have been using Wilson since they merged as Wilson Sporting Goods Company in 1931.
Wilsons has a modern look these days, with most of their rackets now featuring a simple black frame and one bold color. The bold color tells you what the racket type is as each of its rackets have their own colors. The Ultra, for example, is blue.
Wilson has a wide range of products to choose from, offering something for everyone from beginner to advanced. They are also a U.S. based company.
Babolat is a French company based in Lyon, France. Babolat got it’s start making natural gut string back in 1875 and has become a leading racket manufacturer since. Babolat is no stranger to having world-known athletes such as Rafael Nadal himself, king of the clay. Or consider Caroline Wozniacki, grand slam champion.
Babolat has always been known for its striking power and its consistent design that could be recognized anywhere. The colors have stayed relatively the same over the years with blue and white, yellow and black, and a red and white mix.
Their product range is slightly smaller than Wilson, offering a consistent line of rackets that have been loved by all ranges of players.
When someone mentions Head, they might automatically think of Maria Sharapova, a dynamite in the game since she was a young girl. Head became a tennis manufacturing company in 1969 after making ski equipment since 1950. They were the first company to make a metal racket during the era of wooden rackets.
The rackets themselves are striking with bright and bold colors that make them look fierce and beautiful all at the same time. They have just as big a product range as Wilson offers, making it a perfect company for beginners to choose from.
They are well-known for updating technology, specifically the Graphene 360, offering perfect scores in every category.
Yonex has been dominating the tennis industry lately, with all the best players starting to sign over. In particular, Japanese and world number one may come to mind, and that is the great Naomi Osaka.
In 1969 Yonex started making rackets made from aluminum after previously only having made badminton rackets. In the early ’80s, Yonex started exploring options with graphite and never looked back.
Their isometric shape rackets are part of what have made them different and have produced different results than the rest of racket manufacturers. It’s a weird combination of power, control, and a big sweet spot that you don’t normally get. Or you don’t normally get all of them at such a high level.
This FAQ section will help answer any of the remaining questions that one should have when choosing a racket. There is so much information to take in that it can be easy to forget and miss the little things that make a difference.
And while you understand a lot of the basics, these are just a few more things to keep in mind that will help the process become a little bit easier.
These are the common questions that come up when choosing a new racket or a new racket manufacturer.
What If I am unsure about the type of player I am or who I want to be?
Finding out whether you can learn to control power or need more can control is a hard thing. Tennis Warehouse or your local tennis store/club can help you demo many rackets out at once and compare them to see how much power feels comfortable and what level of power doesn’t.
Most places will allow you to choose a couple of rackets out at once for a small fee. To go a step further, string it with your preferred string and your own tension to get the racket’s real feel. It’s best to try out different specs because it’s easier to determine what feels right and wrong that way.
Generally speaking, the weight is what can really make a difference for a player. The heavier a racket, the stronger the player will need to be to maneuver it and control it. The size can also make a difference, too, as large head frames tend to offer more boing.
What is the life expectancy of a racket?
This is not a straightforward answer, as it ultimately depends on how the racket is treated and used. Generally speaking, rackets last about two years, according to the USTA. Even if the racket is kept well, the more you string a racket, and it pulls on the frame, the more wear and tear it will have.
This answer can vary depending on the frequency you are hitting with the racket and how much you are getting it strung. In general, beginners are not getting their rackets restrung frequently enough, so this may not be a huge issue.
Those who are using their rackets a little less frequently and popping strings a little less than their racket will last longer. However, it should be said that if you do break strings on the racket, remove the strings so that there isn’t pressure on only certain parts of the frame.
When is a good time to start changing out my racket?
There are two ways to really tell if a racket needs to be changed out.
- The first way anyone can tell is the actual physical distress on the racket you can see. Scratching, etching, and small chips on a racket are signs of wear and tear but doesn’t mean the racket needs to be changed out immediately. Larger cracks in the racket are when a racket is done because playing with a cracked frame can cause injury as less power and the dynamics will completely change.
- The second factor is how the racket actually feels when you are playing with it. An intermediate to advanced player should be able to tell when their racket doesn’t have the same juice it used to have. It will become much more difficult to hit the ball, and the things you used to love about it won’t feel the same.
What are some of the other factors to consider when changing a racket?
As mentioned before, the style of play is a huge reason to research and go with a certain racket or racket brand. However, as players develop and improve their game, so do their playing styles. It’s important to know where you want to go and where you are when choosing the racket.
Somebody who is hitting very flat at the moment, but their coach is encouraging them to start playing with spin will choose a different racket than if they were to continue playing flat. Same can be said for those who approach net a lot verse those who stay at the baseline.
What if I make the wrong choice of racket?
This is why demoing rackets are an extremely important process. The more time you can spend with a racket and comparing rackets, the better of any player will be in making their final decision.
Having said that, every racket these days are becoming more modernized and trying to offer the absolute best of everything that can be marketed towards an all-court player or really any game style. This is why we see great control and power in the same descriptions.
Having said that, if you don’t like your racket within a certain amount of time of using it, most racket manufacturing company may offer a buy-back deal if it hasn’t been beaten up.
Does it matter which strings I string my racket with?
Choosing the strings actually matters a great deal. The good news is that often manufacturers will sell strings that are recommended to go with your racket purchase. Having said that, there are a few different materials that may make the racket feel much different than if you played with something else before.
Most beginners start with synthetic-gut because of its fair price and the all-around playability that beginners are looking for. However, if you are injury-prone and have should and elbow issues choosing a softer string is always a good idea.
Natural gut is one of the best options for a soft-on-the-arm type of string. The downside to this is that it is also one of the most expensive strings out there to purchase.
What are the weight classes of rackets, and how does it change?
While each individual rackets have their own general weights and swing weights compared to one another, each racket has separate weight classes that allow the ultimate customization for all players. Any HEAD racket comes in a multitude of weights such as the S, MP, MP Lite, Pro, etc. This is so that a young girl doesn’t have to play with the same weight as a male pro.
The Yonex Ezone 100 Lite is much different than the Yonex Ezone 98. The 98 is much heavier and stiffer.
The key to these rackets is knowing what they are good for and then determining what the appropriate weight is for you while keeping in mind that more stability and power comes with heavier rackets.
What won’t change from the light to heavy racket versions is the weight distribution, the frame, or the string bed. These all remain the same.
How do I know which tension to string my racket at?
The wide-range of tension options listed on a racket may not be helpful for those having no idea where to start. This is purely a trial and error system where beginners might want to consider their strength and playing style.
A female player who is not very strong and doesn’t consider herself to be aggressive may opt for a looser tension like 50 lbs because it will make hitting the ball a lot easier. On the opposite spectrum, a guy who has played sports his whole life might find that hitting the ball with a low-tension offers no control. They might want to play with 54-56 lbs.
Playing indoors and outdoors and at different altitudes also has an effect on how a racket should be strung. Sometimes players will opt for a looser tension outside because of factors like wind resistance. Inside, the ball comes much faster, and players may tighten their strings to swing more freely.
The best bet here is to try a few different tensions out and see what’s most comfortable.
What is an overgrip, and do I need it?:
There is a good chance if you have been playing tennis for some time, then you know what an overgrip is. However, some people tend to rewrap the original gripping that comes with the handle without realizing there are so many options for overgripping a racket to add handle customization.
The overgrip is a thin grip that is placed over the main grip to add comfort, tackiness and adjust any sizing to the handle. Overgrips can be changed as frequently as every day or normally within two weeks, depending on how much use the racket is getting.
Overgrips are much cheaper than purchasing racket handle grips over and over again.
How do I know which handle/grip size to choose?
Racket handles come in sizes 0-6 but most commonly 1-4 or 4 ¼, 4 ⅜, 4 ½, and 4 ⅝. The best way to really know is to play with a few different sizes first. If your hand gets tired easily from holding the handle, then this means the grip is too big. If it’s too small, you can always add another overgrip to make it a bit bigger.
However, there is such a thing as the ruler test for those who have never held a racket before or don’t know where the best place to start is.
Step 1: Place all fingers tightly together like you are telling someone to stop.
Step 2: Place a ruler to the horizontal crease all the way up to the tip of your ring finger.
Step 3: This is the size that you should play with.
Or you can use the finger test. Hold the racket like you would for hitting a forehand. A finger from your opposite hand should be able to squeeze in a fit snuggly from the tips of your fingers on the racket to your palm.
What is the recommended level of stiffness for players?
This really just depends on the type of player and what their game style is. As mentioned, the stiffer a racket is, the more power it will have to offer. This means that a more flexible racket will be ideal for those who struggle with lack of control.
A super stiff racket is not ideal for those who err on the beginner side because it may have too small of a sweet spot and have too much power for them to control. It’s better when learning sometimes to learn to add power than try and control it.
Is playing with my favorite pros racket a good idea?
There is a reason why specific pros gear towards certain rackets. The question that one should really be asking themselves more has to do with the pros game style than it does the racket.
Ask yourself, is that the game style I will be working towards or already emulate? This can be an easy way for finding rackets that may work for you as finding the pro that you most identify with game style with now or in the future can be an easy way for selecting demo rackets.
An example where this doesn’t work is when it comes to weight class. Roger Federer’s racket will be a lot heavier than recommended for someone who is an intermediate and needs a more manageable swing weight.
Are there any sponsorship opportunities?
Each manufacturer handles their packages and sponsorships very differently. The criteria can vary quite a bit, but any intermediate to advance player should reach out to customer service and representatives to ask what that criteria is.
All the mentioned above brands and more have packages that are less of a sponsorship and more of a great deal where you will get rackets, bags, shirts, grips, string, and more for an all-inclusive price.
This is often offered to advanced clubs with intermediate to advanced players as they take steps toward getting a half or full-sponsorship with a company.
With all the information, it’s easy to lose sight of having fun and get wrapped up in trying to find the perfect racket for your game. Having said that, put the focus back on fun and have confidence in the manufacturers that there is something out there for everyone. Finding the right racket takes a little trial and error.
These top 10 best tennis rackets for 2021 have been favorites in the game for years, and with the added adjustments that each company has made to fine-tune and improve the latest versions, it is sure one of them will be an excellent fit for you.