The best tennis racket
Tennis is a fun sport for two to four players and a great way to exercise, whether you play casually or competitively. All you need to play (besides a court) is a good tennis racket and some tennis balls. Modern tennis rackets are lightweight in design and made of either aluminum or graphite. Rackets vary in their weight and head size, and a beginner should shop for different rackets with input from an experienced player.
No matter your skill level or playing style, there is a tennis racket for you. To learn more, read our shopping guide, which features our top pick, the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Tennis Racket, a lightweight racket with an extra-large head that's ideal for novices.
Considerations when choosing tennis rackets
Choosing a racket for your playstyle
Your tennis racket should suit your experience level, playstyle, and personal preference. Rackets vary in their head size, length, and weight, all of which combine to give each racket its unique characteristics.
Beginner rackets should have larger heads of around 105 square inches and a length of around 26 inches. They are typically lighter in weight, which allows players to practice for hours without becoming fatigued.
Intermediate to advanced rackets have smaller heads of below 100 square inches to maximize control and spin. They should be around 28 inches in length for more reach and power and a heavier weight to add power to each shot.
Kids' tennis rackets should be small and lightweight so kids can easily control their racket.
Tennis racket features
The frame, strings, and grip of tennis rackets vary and can greatly impact the feel of the racket.
Frames are typically made of aluminum, graphite, or graphite composite -- all of which have their pluses and minuses:
Aluminum is inexpensive and easily dented, but it offers reliable power.
Graphite frames are more expensive and are rigid and lightweight.
Graphite-composite frames feel similar to graphite frames but offer slightly more flexibility.
Grips are commonly made of the following materials:
Leather is a comfortable option that can be slippery, especially if it becomes wet.
Rubber is inexpensive and tacky to the touch, but it wears quickly.
Synthetic materials provide excellent grip but are not as soft as rubber or leather.
Strings are most commonly made of nylon, which can vary in its tension. Other strings combine polyester and nylon, and the most expensive strings are made from animal intestines.
Tennis racket prices
Inexpensive tennis rackets from $20 to $50 are often smaller and made of aluminum. Most rackets in this range are designed for children.
For $50 to $200 are midrange rackets that often have graphite or composite frames, making them a good choice for beginner to intermediate players.
Rackets for $200 and up are designed with precision and power in mind and are best suited to experienced players.
Q. How long should a tennis racket last?
A. This depends on how frequently you use it, but most rackets should last you for several years. When your shots start to feel a bit mushy (even with new strings), it's time for a new racket.
Q. What do I do if a string breaks?
A. The short answer is to bring it to a sporting goods store that offers restringing. Otherwise, it is up to you to purchase a stringing machine and learn how to properly restring a racket.
Tennis rackets we recommend
Best of the best: Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Tennis Racket
Our take: This lightweight racket comes from a trusted brand and is well suited to beginners and experienced players alike.
What we like: Though this is a lighter racket, its weight is centered in the head, allowing for power and follow-through. The graphite frame is highly durable.
What we dislike: The strings included with the racket may become loose quickly.
Best bang for your buck: Wilson Federer Adult Strung Tennis Racket
Our take: This is one of the more affordable adult rackets, and its size and weight make it a great starting point for first-time players.
What we like: Despite the price, the strings and grip of this racket give it the feeling of a more expensive racket. Excellent balance and control.
What we dislike: Though this is a beginner racket, it is on the heavier side at 11.5 ounces.
Choice 3: HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racket
Our take: Though there are some quality-control issues, this is an otherwise reliable racket with a decent length and lightweight design.
What we like: If you are looking for a powerful racket that is also light and easy to swing, this is an excellent option. The head is large enough for new players and they may find this racket easy to control.
What we dislike: The included strings are not the best quality, and a few customers have reported cracks in the frame after moderate use.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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