With many products in the market, choosing the best tennis racquet can be as intimidating as returning Andy Roddick’s serve. Should you purchase an ultra-light racket? Is your game better suited to a heavier model? Simply put, you want to arm yourself with a brand-new racket that will improve your winning percentage. That’s where this guide can help you.
Top 7 Best Tennis Racquets for 2021
|Babolat Pure Aero Tennis Racquet||Check||$$$|
|Babolat Pure Drive Racquets||Check||$$|
|Head Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet||Check||$$|
|Prince Textreme Tour 95 Racquets||Check||$$|
|Street Tennis Club Tennis Rackets for Kids||Check||$|
|Wilson Tour Slam Adult Strung Tennis Racket||Check||$|
|Wilson US Open Junior Tennis Racquet||Check||$|
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 7 Best Tennis Racquets for 2021
- 2 Special Mentions: Best Tennis Racquet of 2021 for Your Kids
- 3 Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Tennis Racquet
- 4 Everything You Need to Know About the Different Types of the Best Tennis Racquets
- 5 Finally, which tennis racket should I buy?
Wilson Tour Slam Adult Strung Tennis Racket
To start our best tennis racquet list is the Wilson Tour Slam is a smart buy for any tennis players who just starting out. Unlike many of the starters, this one is good because it is perfectly compatible with skill levels beginning through intermediate.With the others, it often becomes necessary for the players to purchase a new racquet fairly soon as their skills outgrow the old one. But that is not the case here; this Wilson tennis racket will last a good long time if needed.
Related: Top tennis racquet brands
I can guarantee that many of you who are at least somewhat familiar with tennis rackets and their prices will raise an eyebrow upon reading this. After all, who expects to find a dependable, well-made racket for a price as low as this one?
However, there have been many people who decided to give the Tour Slam a try and were pleasantly surprised by the high level of performance it yielded.
The price is really what throws everyone in this case, people expect to pay more for a model that performs as well as this one, and the fact that it is also manufactured by a well-known sports brand adds to the mystery of the low pricing. But if you are just starting out and require a dependable beginner racket, this is one you will definitely want to keep in mind!
Related: Tennis racquets under $100
The Tour Slam has a great feel to it- it is incredibly light, but still has a large enough sweet spot on the head to unleash a powerful hit. It is ideal for a new player that require more power behind their swing with less effort. The head is strung tightly to ensure the maximum amount of power upon contact with the ball.
As is the case with a lot of models, I don’t know if I particularly care for this feature because it is a struggle to keep the ball in bounds when you need to. Then again, I tend to favor a more controlled style of play. If you know your style is focused mainly on power, the Wilson Tour Slam would still be a good option to consider.
Despite the amount of potential power behind it, the Wilson Adult has a really cool feature built in called “Stop Shock Pads” that I think really makes a huge difference. Basically, it is a stabilizer and it is designed to reduce vibration and maximize control when the ball makes contact with the head.
A lot of people appreciate this feature because it is easier to hit with both power and control. In addition, the Wilson racquet has a Volcanic Frame Technology feature built into the bridge. It ensures greater support for players who are working on building their technique.
- Moderate weight
- Allows a more powerful hit with less effort
- Very affordable
- Improves backhand quality
- Open string pattern
- Large grip size
- Tends to pack quite a wallop with very little effort
Head Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet
Next in our list of the best tennis racquets is the Head Ti S6 Tennis Racquet. A straight beam, head heavy widebody, this ultra-light (8.9oz.) titanium model has more power than the Ti S5 but more control than the now discontinued Tis7. A lively frame with excellent torsional stability, the Head Titanium Ti S6 will perform best in the hands of players with compact to medium stroke styles seeking an extra large sweetspot (115 head size) that blends a nice balance of power tempered with an open string pattern; ideal for spin artists with an all court game.
One of the biggest selling points for the Ti S6 is the fact that it comes pre-strung. For many beginning and recreational players, that’s a huge plus to be able to play with this it right when you get it. You won’t have to worry about getting it strung at a shop or knowing about string tension and all that. It’s as simple as get it and go.
If by any chance the strings snap, it might be useful to know that it’s strung with HEAD synthetic gut 16 silver and its string tension is 61 pounds, which is an ideal range.
The Head Ti S6 features an oversize head (115 sq. in.), a head heavy frame (8 points head heavy), and an open string pattern, which means maximum amount of power while boasting an ultra-light handle and quick swing weight for the player using it. With the oversize head comes a bigger sweet spot, which tolerates shots that are not hit at the very center.
Again, this racket is ideal for beginners since it will allow players to gain confidence in their shots as they improve and start hitting shots more and more in the center. As for recreational players, you’ll still have all the power you’ll need on the court without expending tons of energy. Furthermore, with the light construction and features that focus on power, it will take less effort to maximize on your swing speed, especially for players with short to medium but solid swings.
Constructed with titanium with an ultra-lite graphite woven in, this gives the Head Ti S6 an extremely light feel (only 8.9 oz strung!) which favors maneuverability around the court. Although don’t be fooled, the Head Ti.S6 is extremely durable and will stand up to the pressures of the court, as you can tell by its frame stiffness rating of 75.
Its 28.5mm straight beam widebody refers to the width of the beam around the racket, and thicker beams make the Ti.S6 more powerful. With thinner beams around 22mm and the largest being 28mm, you can see why so many people have praised this racket for its power output.
Coupled with its stiff, lightweight design, durability and mobility are also big highlights for the Head Ti S6.
- Graphite and titanium construction
- Oversize head, head heavy frame
- Open strings pattern, large sweet spot
- Wider than average beam
- Best for beginning, casual, and recreational players
- Can cause more vibration on the hands, elbow, and shoulder
- Can make it harder for players to improve
Babolat Pure Aero Play Tennis Racquet
The Babolat Pure Aero Play is the ringleader of the Babolat AeroPro racquet line. It has a frame that delivers incredible power, head speed and versatility that makes it the obvious weapon of choice for Rafael Nadal.
The Babolat Pure Aero Play features all the specifications that a player loves from the Pure Aero and integrates a sensor in the handle that tracks every aspect of your game. Players still get the excellent balance between power and control while also featuring the Babolat Play technology to track your progression as a player!
The 2015 Pure Aero line sets the bar high once again for its signature series by first moving its Cortex Active Technology to the inside of the racket and also by introducing FSI spin, which is an open string pattern combined with new oblong shaped grommets at 6 – 12 O’clock to release string movement and generate optimal spin that gives players the best sensations to hit maximum topspin and offering a new cosmetic update that will have every opponent keeping their eye on your racket instead of the ball.
The Aero Modular 2 gives the frame an unrivaled aerodynamic design that slices through the air, giving you more power and spin than conventional frames. Combine that with Babolat’s GT Technology and you have a frame that is both fast and incredibly stable. The Pure Aero also provides you with a tremendous sweet spot that only further exaggerates the rackets explosive power.
If you are looking to simply improve your game, or move up to the next level, the Pure Aero can help you with all of your shot-making and will be particularly helpful for players who love to make the ball kick with pace and spin from all angles.
This new model has a higher swing-weight allowing it to be more stable through contact, ground strokes felt crisper and you will have no issues placing volleys nice and deep. Babolat has improved the spin of the racket as well, in this new frame the spacing in the string pattern is farther apart throughout the entire string-bed allowing each string pattern to bite the ball more. The grommets have been improved and now the string pattern sits protected throughout the whole frame.
- You will gain more power, spin, and control
- Increased Head Speed
- Longer String pattern and Ball Interaction
- Higher swing-weight
- Stiff frame
- Touch shots take a bit of time to get used to
- Frame not suited for anyone with tennis elbow issues
Prince Textreme Tour 95 Racquets
With the Prince Textreme Tour 95, Prince delivers a speedy and surgical player’s racquet to intermediate and advanced ball strikers. At just under 12 ounces, this stick feels solid at impact. The compact 95 square inch head delivers an extremely precise response, with an impressive level of accuracy on the biggest swings.
The exceptional feel comes in part from Textreme, a high-tech material that provides a boost in both flexibility and stability. From the baseline the Textreme’s amazing precision translates into very confident ball striking. Our playtesters found it easy to drive the ball and select ambitious targets with the Textreme.
Topspin players take note: at 8 points headlight, this one feels very ‘whippy’ and explosive for a 95 square inch player’s racket. At net this racket feels solid and precise with enough feel for dropping the ball on a dime. Aggressive servers will find enough accuracy to work the corners of the service box with pace and spin. Prince has created a very impressive player’s racket that does not skimp on speed or feel.
As the pool of traditional-feeling player’s rackets continues to diminish, Prince makes a big splash with the introduction of the Price Textreme Tour 95. As more and more player’s rackets get modernized with stiffer frames, more open string patterns and larger head sizes, this Tour 95 brings back some of the classic precision and feel that’s been lacking in the marketplace.
Our playtesters had pinpoint control of their shots from all over the court, going for their targets with confidence and swinging fast without fear of their shots flying long. The head light balance of the Textreme Tour 95 made it easy for our playtesters to generate swing speed, maximize the spin potential and get the Textreme into position when they were in trouble.
Players who prefer a hefty feel may find the Textreme to be too low-powered for them, but if you’re a fan of a classic player’s frame you definitely need to put the Textreme Tour 95 on your list of rackets to demo!
Finally, kudos for the color combination Prince selected for this frame. The matte black with fluorescent green is both beautiful and classic.Since being released, the 95T has been in unexpected high demand and North American racket retailers including the online retailers are finding that they are having a difficult time keeping enough frames in stock to satisfy the demand. Prince is working very quickly to satisfy the demand.
- Precise and responsive feel
- Classic tennis racket
- Great maneuverability on serves and volleys
- Better predictability on groundstrokes
- A tad down on power
- Not enough plow through
Babolat Pure Drive Racquets
To conclude our best tennis racquets list is the Babolat Pure Drive Racquet. What differs from this version of the Pure Drive with previous versions is the inclusion of FSI technology. Collecting data from the 2012-2013 Babolat Pure Drive Play, Babolat found that the impact zone where most players hit was higher than the traditional center of the racket. In response, FSI places the sweet spot higher in the frame for more power and comfort in the contact zone. A tighter string pattern also helps you to place shots more precisely.
Coupled with GT technology–creates a more rigid construction–the Pure Drive allows for more power and control while retaining its stability.
A noticeable difference between the Babolat Pure Drive and the AeroPro Drive is their unique designs. While the AeroPro Drive relies on Aero Modular technology for a faster swing, the Pure Drive’s Elliptic Geometry and EVO Beam allows for a lower swing weight and less torque and flex on ball impact.
The Elliptic Design does not twist, bend, or add any extra weight, which in turn provides greater resistance to torque and flex (a +20% improvement compared to traditional frames). This helps to create a stiffer frame that can provide both power and maneuverability, although keep in mind that a stiffer frame means that it isn’t as arm-friendly. Since more of the weight is distributed in the handle, this means that it may feel heavier which can take some time getting used to.
The Woofer system was first launched in 1999 and introduced the first dynamic system able to make the frame and strings interactive when hitting. How it works is through a pulley and piston system where the strings are not fixed in a locked-up position like typical racket frames. When strings are fixed in place, this allows for very limited movement since only the strings in the vicinity of where the ball strikes are able to respond.
Last but not least is the Cortex Dampening System, which is included in the handle to reduce shock and vibrations. The Cortex System works by eliminating high-frequency vibrations that could disrupt a player’s comfort while leaving behind useful lower frequency vibrations to provide a cleaner feel.
But even with technology like the Cortex system and GT technology, the Pure Drive will still take time getting used to, especially if you’ve never played with a significantly head light racket. Although the handle provides a solid, consistent feel, the same can’t be said for the frame which feels much stiffer.
But if you have fuller swings and are experienced with technical play, you won’t notice the difference as much over time. Players who are concerned with wrist, arm, and shoulder issues might exercise caution when using the Babolat Pure Drive.
- Designed to provide even more power
- Amazing control
- Very solid for a variety of strokes
- Recommended for intermediate to advanced players
- Frame feels stiffer compared to the handle
- May not be ideal for players who have wrist, arm, or shoulder issues
Special Mentions: Best Tennis Racquet of 2021 for Your Kids
Wilson US Open Junior Tennis Racquet
Wilson is the Official Ball of the US Open and partner of the USTA. The US Open 19 inch Junior Tennis Racket is approved for 10 and Under Tennis and is extremely lightweight and easy to swing.This Wilson 19″ tennis racquet is ideal for young players up to 3’11” tall or up to 5 years of age. The C-Beam frame gives stability and power while the titanium alloy adds lightweight strength.
The aluminum frame offers strength and durability, but is very lightweight making the racket ideal for juniors aged up to 5yo who should just be concentrating on having fun and enjoying the game. This tennis racket is best used with soft foam or felt balls but can also be used carefully with standard tennis balls. The three and a half inch grip size is ideal for the youngest tennis enthusiast.
Nice and light and easy for kids to handle. Here are the age guidelines for the Wilson kids line:
- 19″ up to 5 years old
- 21″ 5-6 years old
- 23″ 7-8 years old
- 25″ 9-10 years old
- Easy to swing
- Comfortable grip size
- A little flimsy
Street Tennis Club Tennis Rackets for Kids
The Street Tennis Club junior tennis racket is a perfect fit for kids eager to build their tennis skills. It is sized in proportion to player height and will improve technique and build your budding athlete’s confidence. Quality aluminum construction makes the Street Tennis Club durable yet lightweight, and your future star will easily be able to control their stroke.
Thick gauge strings allow for better contact with the ball and the grip is specifically designed for small hands. The youth tennis racket is available in 17, 19 and 21-inch sizes. The Street Tennis Club comes in 3 unique color choices for a sleek look, and the smiley face strings will remind your little one to have fun on the court. The Street Tennis Club also comes with a fun video game that can be played in the driveway.
Your child’s first tennis experience can shape their lifelong attitude towards the sport, so it’s important to have proper gear from the start. Using a Street Tennis Club racket helps develop proper stroke mechanics and technique. The lightweight design makes control easier for little hands, and better movement means improved ball contact and overall performance on the court.
- Helps in the development of tennis skills
- Higher chance of tennis ball contact
- Great build and finish
- Comfortable grip size
- Free game included
- Available in different sizes (17”, 29”, 21”)
- Reports of the grip falling off after some use
- Could be cheaper
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Tennis Racquet
Power is directly related to head size – a larger head will provide more power than a smaller head, all other things being equal. A larger head also offers a larger hitting area and sweetspot, providing more forgiveness on off-center hits.
Today’s rackets are offered in head sizes ranging from 85 to 135 square inches, with the most common being 95-110.
These head sizes offer a compromise between power and control for many players. Generally speaking, a smaller head appeals to more accomplished players seeking more control, while larger rackets appeal to beginning and intermediate players seeking more power and a larger sweet spot.
Rackets are available in lengths ranging from 27-29 inches, the legal limit for tournament play. Standard models are 27 inches long. A longer racket provides more reach on groundstrokes, added leverage on serves and slightly more power overall than standard length rackets, all other things being equal.
For most players, switching from a standard length racket to one that is 1/2 -1 inch longer doesn’t normally present much of a problem.
Most (but not all) longer rackets are lighter than their standard-length counterparts to keep them maneuverable. As racket length increases, so does dynamic swingweight.
Simply lengthening a 27 inch racket without reducing weight would result in a very unwieldy “club”.
Weight & Balance
These two characteristics most influence how a it feels when you pick it up and when you swing it on the tennis court. Some basic concepts – a heavy racket is more powerful, more stable and transmits less shock than a lighter racquet (all other things being equal).
A lighter racket is more maneuverable and thus, a player is able to swing it faster.
If this is true, won’t a lighter racket that is swung fast generate the same power as a heavier model that’s swung more slowly?This question has been hotly debated ever since Wilson introduced their Hammer rackets back in 1990. Until then, most models weighed on average 12-13 ounces and were balanced head light (or handle heavy). Wilson’s Hammer “technology” reduced overall racket weight (10-11 ounces) but distributed more mass in the head, resulting in a head-heavy balance.
The idea was to improve maneuverability without sacrificing power by keeping weight in the hitting zone. Since then, racket weights have steadily dropped and now we have sub-10 ounce offerings from most manufacturers. Is lighter better? Not necessarily.
Next, do you want a lighter, heavier or similarly weighted model tennis racquet? Head-light, head-heavy or evenly balanced? Chances are you don’t know what you want until you play with a racket. If this isn’t feasible, here are some guidelines on the advantages and disadvantages of different weights and balances.
Heavier, head-light rackets – preferred by most professional players, this type are often referred to as being “traditionally weighted and balanced” rackets. They typically weigh 11-13 ounces and are balanced 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches head light in order to retain maneuverability. In most cases, these rackets are also referred to as “player’s” rackets because they are generally more control-oriented and designed for players who provide their own power.
Lightweight, head-heavy rackets – several years ago, Wilson discovered it was possible to make a racket more maneuverable without reducing weight in the head. By removing weight in the handle, the racket was lighter overall, while still retaining mass in the upper hoop, where ball contact occurs. This was the concept behind their Hammer and Sledge Hammer designs.
Several other manufacturers have subsequently introduced lightweight, head-heavy (and evenly balanced) rackets. The advantages of this racket type are increased maneuverability without sacrificing power, especially on groundstrokes. The disadvantages are less clear – some “experts” argue that reducing weight increases the amount of shock transferred to the wrist, elbow and shoulder.
Some players who have switched from traditionally weighted and balanced models to lightweight, head-heavy models claim the they don’t feel “solid”. Clearly, you can’t get something for nothing. Reducing racket weight will alter its feel – for better or for worse. Keep in mind, you can always add weight to it if it’s too light. Reducing racket weight, however, is almost impossible.
The amount a frame deflects during ball contact directly affects its power potential. A stiffer racket bends less, thus depleting less energy from the ball.
A flexible racket bends more, resulting in more energy loss.
A common myth among players is that a flexible racket, that bends back more, returns more power to the ball due to a catapult-effect.
The ball remains on the strings for 3-5 milliseconds, much shorter than it takes a frame to recover. Consequently, the frame doesn’t “return” energy to the ball, it absorbs energy – either more or less, depending on stiffness. Stiffer rackets don’t deflect as much on impact, resulting in less power drain than a flexible racket.
Frame stiffness doesn’t only affect power though. Control and comfort are also at stake. Generally speaking, a racket that offers more power provides less control. However, this is largely dependent on player type and ability.
An advanced player may prefer a flexible racket because he or she has a long, fast swing and provides plenty of power. A stiff model might be too powerful for this player, resulting in too many balls landing long.A beginning or intermediate player though, may find a stiffer racket that doesn’t deflect as much on impact, provides better control. This may also apply to a more advanced player with short, compact strokes. To a certain point, stiffer rackets are generally less comfortable than more flexible rackets.
A very stiff frame will transmit more impact shock to the wrist, elbow and shoulder than a medium stiff frame. Comfort is difficult to measure – each player has a different perception of what feels comfortable.
However, players with arm and/or shoulder problems will generally benefit more from a flexible to medium-stiff frame tennis racquet and should likely avoid stiff or very stiff frames.A lesser known effect of frame stiffness is the amount of spin that can be generated. Generally speaking, stiffer rackets provide less spin than flexible rackets because the ball leaves the stringbed more quickly.
Often overlooked by many recreational players, string pattern density influences many aspects of a racket’s overall performance and feel. When we discuss string pattern density, we refer to open and dense (or closed).
An open string pattern will deflect more on impact than a denser pattern, providing greater ball rebound. Strung at the same tension (in similar rackets) an open string pattern won’t feel as “tight” as a dense string pattern.
Open string patterns also allow for more spin potential, as the ball can embed itself into the strings more, due to their wider spacing. Players seeking more spin will benefit from a more open string pattern. The price one may pay for this, though, is reduced string durability.
Open string patterns allow the strings to move more freely, increasing abrasion which causes string breakage.A denser string pattern won’t deflect as much upon ball impact, resulting in less rebound energy. More closely spaced strings will also offer less spin potential but will last longer than a similar racquet featuring a more open string pattern.
Players who don’t hit with much spin and are seeking enhanced control will generally prefer rackets with denser string patterns, as will hard-hitting topspin players seeking increased string durability.
Grip Size or Handle Systems
As models become lighter and lighter, manufacturers are seeking ways to improve comfort without significantly increasing weight.
Incorporating a shock and vibration dampening system in the handle is the most common method currently being used.
Everything You Need to Know About the Different Types of the Best Tennis Racquets
When purchasing or evaluating a new tennis racket there are a variety of aspects that can be helpful to consider including weight, length, head size, frame stiffness, and materials. Add to that the fact that there are close to 20 major racquet brands to select from and the choices can become overwhelming quickly.
Power Tennis Racquets
As you may have guessed, power tennis rackets help players hit the ball more aggressively with less effort. As a result, these are often categorized and recommended for beginners who have not yet developed the proper technique, form and skill to generate their own power.
However, this type of tennis racket can also be a great choice for smaller players or men and women who simply don’t have a ton of strength and struggle to generate the power they want.
Common characteristics include:
- An oversized head
- Large in length
- Stiff frame
- Lighter construction
An oversized head often works well for two common reasons. First, the bigger the head the more power the racket will provide – think trampolines. The bigger it is, the more “spring” it has, thus the more power it can provide. A larger head also provides a larger sweet spot and greater hitting surface allowing for a higher margin of error, something many new players will benefit from.
The length of a tennis racket can also have a big impact on its power. The longer it is the more leverage a player has when swinging, which allows the player to generate more power.In addition, these types of rackets often have stiff frames. A stiff frame is one that doesn’t flex as much when it comes in contact with a tennis ball. Ultimately this allows the ball to rebound more quickly, with greater speed and less effort.
And lastly, lighter construction is another common characteristic of power tennis rackets, which helps make it easier to swing and less stressful on your arm.
Control Tennis Racquets
In many ways, control racquets (often referred to as players rackets) are the opposite of power racquets. With this category players forgo much of the power generated by power rackets in exchange for great control and the ability to place the ball more accurately.
The key is that the player has developed the necessary technique, form and skill as well as a level of fitness required to generate their own power when needed. For this reason, control racquets are the category of tennis rackets
that you’ll find many seasoned and professional tennis players using.
All too often players are swayed by what their favorite professional tennis player or peers are using rather than finding a a model that compliments their playing style and skill level. Yes, this will take some extra time and maybe even a little extra cash to find the right racket, but it will pay huge dividends in the long run.While this type of racket is geared towards higher level tennis players its characteristics can also be extremely beneficial for hard hitting players who are trying to reign in their game.
Common great control characteristics include:
- A small head
- Shorter in length
- Flexible frame
- Heavier construction
Tweener (In Between) Tennis Rackets
At this point there probably won’t be any surprises with this type of racket. Tweener tennis racquets is a category that fall somewhere in between the power and control rackets. As a result, this category tend to be great all-around rackets that provide a wide range of players with a blend of power and control.
This type of type of model is commonly the choice for recreational players as well as beginners and younger players who have outgrown their existing racket and are looking for a bit more control.
Common characteristics include:
- Mid-sized head
- Mid-sized length, though typically airing on the longer side
- Mid-weight construction, though typically airing on the lighter side
Based on these characteristics tweener racquets are an extremely versatile group of tennis rackets with a wide spectrum of options to fit a variety of playing styles and skill levels.
Finally, which tennis racket should I buy?
This is one of the most common questions beginners will ask when getting started with tennis. Unfortunately, there is no quick or exact answer to choosing the right tennis racquet.
However, the more honest you are with your skill level and the more you understand your style of play the more likely you’ll purchase the type of tennis racket that best compliments your game.
For this reason, I’d recommend to try and avoid the temptation of going out and purchasing one on a whim.
Instead, if you can, try to borrow one from a friend when you’re getting started – just about anything will do.
Rackets are relatively expensive, so you’ll want to purchase something that lasts for a while and more importantly a one that will help you have more fun and achieve better results on the court.
If possible work with a tennis pro or seek out the help of a pro at your local tennis club. They are uniquely equipped and experienced in helping players find the right tennis racket. Not only will they be more knowledgeable than your average Joe, but they can get out on the court with you to understand your style and level of play and thus help you match you up with the right racket.