Road to being a tennis pro
Choosing from the best tennis racquets for beginners is not an easy decision to make. There a lot of tennis brands and models that it can be often difficult to know where to start. Tennis rackets come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. The different variations will all affect how you play your tennis game for better or for worse.
Looking for tennis racquets that fit more an intermediate level take a look at our guide on this site.
5 of the Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners
Head Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet
Wilson Tour Slam Adult Strung Tennis Racquet
Babolat 2015 Pure Drive Tennis Racquet
Head Microgel Radical OS Strung Tennis Racquet
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Tennis Racquet
Head Ti.S6 Racquet
First in our list of the best tennis racquets for beginners is the Head Ti S6 Tennis Racquet. A straight beam, head heavy widebody, this ultra-light (8.9oz.) titanium tennis racquet 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 racquet 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 tennis racquet is the fact that it comes pre-strung. For many beginning and recreational tennis players, that’s a huge plus to be able to play with this tennis racket 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 racket 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 tennis 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 the Head Ti S6 racquet is 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 Ti.S6, and thicker beams makes it 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. racquet
- 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
- Great ball control
- Can cause more vibration on the hands, elbow, and shoulder
- Can make it harder for players to improve
Wilson Tour Slam Adult Strung Racket
Next in our best tennis racquet list is the Wilson Tour Slam. It's a smart buy for any tennis players who just starting out and don’t have good ball control. 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 racket 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.
I can guarantee that many of you who are at least somewhat familiar with tennis racquets 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 the Wilson Tour Slam? However, there have been many people who decided to give the Tour Slam racquet 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 racket 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 racquet, this is one you will definitely want to keep in mind!
The Tour Slam tennis racquet 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 rackets, 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
- Great ball control
- Large grip size
- Tends to pack quite a wallop with very little effort
Babolat 2015 Pure Drive Racquet
When it was time for Babolat to update the Pure Drive - one of the most popular tennis racquets in the world that has helped transform the modern game of tennis - Babolat analyzed where players typically make contact with the ball. This ball analysis resulted in the FSI technology, which raises the sweet spot in the hoop of the newest Pure Drive. The update was a success in the eyes of our playtesters and helped make our list.
The Babolat 2015 Pure Drive racquet provided our beginner playtesters with even more power and control in this update, depending on where they usually make contact in the stringbed; players who hit higher in the stringbed found easier access to power while others who hit lower on the strings found more control.We had a hard time finding things we didn't like about this iteration of the Drive, so fans of the babolat line can demo with confidence.
Keeping with tradition, the Drive was super easy to use from the baseline. Offering the same seemingly perfect blend of power, control and spin, the biggest difference our testers noticed between this new one and previous version was the sweet spot being raised in the hoop, which affected each playtester differently.
Beginner players who usually make contact higher in the stringbed, which was the majority of our team, found there to be more power than past versions and preferred the update. Players who make contact lower in the stringbed found their to be more control. While the perception of the moved sweetspot was different, the consensus was an improved feel at impact and overall an improvement over previous versions.
The Pure Drive 2015 tennis racquet proved to be just as effective around the net as it was from the baseline, providing a crisp, solid feel and making deep volleys as simple as point-and-shoot. The drive's maneuverability was apparent as well, and the team found it very easy to get the racket into position, even in quick net exchanges or when defending against hard hit shots from an opponent.
The ease of use had the playtesters rushing the net full of confidence - even the ones who would normally consider themselves baseliners. The one downside we found was a slight lack of feel for shots that required more finesse, but all in all, the drive 2015 was simple to wield around the net and can appeal to virtually any style of player.
- Simply easy to use
- Gets extra power on serve
- Great stability and maneuverability
- Improved spin and control
- Great ball control
- Still too stiff for some players
- Design could have been better
- Raised sweet spot takes some getting used to
Head Microgel Radical OS Strung Racquet
HEAD updates its ever popular Radical line with MicroGel technology.
The MicroGel material is included in the frame construction and placed all the way around the head.
HEAD states that when combined with carbon composite fibers in the racket head, the MicroGel Radical deforms and compresses upon
ball impact, uniformly absorbing and distributing the impact load around the entire frame.
According to HEAD, MicroGel creates a rock-solid feel and improved comfort while offering extra stability against twisting.
MicroGEL technology is a special silicone-based material with an extremely low density. It’s used throughout the MicroGel Radical's construction and combined with stiff carbon fibers in order to create a strong, durable racket with an added feature. This unique construction allows for it to deform and compress when coming into contact with the ball, allowing all of the shock to disperse evenly throughout the frame.
This helps to improve the feel for the Microgel, increase the player’s control of the ball, and reduce shock levels for peak comfort. And with the increased head width of the Radical Midplus tennis racquet, this allows the ball to generate more spin since it slides further across the strings when the racket flexes. This allows the ball to travel farther and bounce higher when topspin is applied.
With MicroGEL in mind, this racket is an excellent option for tennis players who have long and fast ball strokes, which advanced players often do. The MicroGEL technology helps to reduce shock which results in less strain on your arms, elbows, and shoulders. But it also allows for improved ball control and stability, which is a must for some.
So, for more aggressive, competitive players who like to control the direction of the ball, the Microgel is sure to suit you well.
If you happen to have a long and fast swing style, the MicroGEL technology can help to reduce vibration and shock to your arms, elbows, and shoulders, while also improving on feel.
Offering a very comfortable hit, the MicroGel Radical Oversize racquet is Andre Agassi's racket of choice. A solid choice for the player seeking control and an arm friendly response this one offers some noticeable flex at impact. While other rackets have faded from this genre, the Radical continues to evolve and impress with each new edition - especially so with this MicroGel version.
There's just enough power here to help get attacking shots away, but not so much that a stronger player would need to hold back during aggressive hitting. Spin production comes easily both off the ground and when serving. We enjoyed the comfortable response from all areas of the court and felt comfortable during aggressive play thanks to the predictable response.
All in all, an impressive tennis racket for a variety of player styles at the 4.0+ level and a great tennis racquet for beginners.
- MicroGEL technology distributes shock evenly
- Increased width means more spin
- Great ball control
- Provides amazing comfort
- Easy to use and control
- Great for players with shoulder injury
- Logo comes off easily
- Reports of cheap tennis string quality
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Strung Racket
Since the Hyper Hammer tennis racquet 5.3 comes already strung, you are able to get on the court and play with it right away. Pre-strung rackets are great for beginning and recreational players alike since you won’t have to worry about getting it strung at a shop and string tension and all that. But just in case the strings snap, it’ll be useful to know that it’s strung with Wilson Ultra Synthetic Gut Natural tensioned at 58 lbs.
The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is one of the best tennis racquets for beginners on the market, thanks largely to its unique design and remarkable technology. For one thing, the oversize head (measuring 110 square inches), 16×20 open string pattern, 10 point head heavy frame, and 28 mm dual taper beam width grants a very large sweet spot that helps to generate lots of power while being forgiving for shots that are not hit in the very center.
And being that the Hyper Hammer's racquet length is 27.5 inches, this helps increase the player’s reach for farther balls, serves, and volleys.
Besides things such as head size, string pattern, balanced point, and beam width, the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 tennis racquet also utilizes sophisticated modern technology to improve its power output even further. Hyper Carbon is a unique space age material used in the aerospace industry to build satellites and state of the art airplanes, but now it’s even used on tennis rackets!
To quote Wilson, Hyper Carbon is “the first Ultra High Modulus graphite ever used in tennis rackets”. When combined with graphite, this creates an extremely versatile material that is four times stronger, four times stiffer, and 65% lighter than titanium. This means that not only can this racket produce explosive shots, but it's sturdy, resilient frame also grants the player a level of control to place balls wherever they may please.
That being said, the Wilson Hyper Hammer tennis racquet 5.3 was designed for intermediate and recreational players with moderate to fast swings, which is why it belongs in the ‘Tweener category. This racket is especially beneficial for older, recreational players who don’t want to expend lots of energy for powerful shots. However, beginning players can also benefit from this tennis racquet for beginners with its larger sweet spot and increased power output.
- Much lighter than the majority of models on the market
- Larger beam width
- Frame provides significant power
- Great sweet spot
- Pre-strung and ready to play with
- Increased tennis racket length
- Great ball control
- Full swings can generate too much power
- Little stability due to increased vibrations
Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners: Tips for Tennis Newbies
Being new to the game of tennis means having to choose from tennis rackets that will also suit your skill level. Here are some things to consider when you are starting out and buying your first racket.
- Generally if the sweet spot is bigger, it is easier to use.
- There are two different materials used for frames. Aluminum comes pre-strung and is less expensive than the graphite options.
- If you are unsure of which grip size you should buy, go with the smaller one. The grips can easily be built up using overgrip.
Everything you need to know as a Beginner Tennis Player
Tennis Rackets: Categories
Generally you differentiate between three categories of tennis rackets: Beginners or Power , Intermediate or All Round , and Tournament or Control Tennis Racquets.
Beginner tennis racquets usually use rackets that generate power for them because they cannot generate a lot of power on their own. These tend to have a very large head size of at least 105 sq. inches (these are oversize rackets) and in most cases are very light.
Beginner tennis rackets are also very forgiving with a large sweet spot. This basically means that you do not always have to hit the ball perfect to make it go over the net.
If you are a beginner you really do not need to spend too much money on the latest top-of-the-line racket. A generic beginners model should work just fine for almost every beginner!
If you are a very athletic beginner and have a talent for ball sports in general, you might be better off starting with an intermediate tennis racket but that would be the exception rather than the norm!
These tennis racquets are slightly heavier with a smaller sweet spot. Intermediate players are usually able to generate a decent amount of power on their own and need more control from their racket.
Therefore they use all round tennis rackets that are usually 92 sq. inches to 105 sq. inches in size and give the player a good mix of power and control.
This category is best suited for recreational players that have been playing for a while and hit the ball reasonably well.
Advanced players can generate their own power and therefore do not need the tennis racket to do that for them. Instead they need a model that gives them as much control as possible.
Advanced tennis models have the smallest head size beginning at 88 square inches and are often very heavy as well. This makes them difficult to play with. There is a small sweet spot and if you do not hit the ball perfectly it will often result in a miss!If you do hit the sweet spot though, these rackets give you the maximum possible control.
Overall these are very difficult to play with and are not well-suited for the average tennis player! So unless you are a really advanced tennis player I recommend you stay away from these kinds of tennis rackets!
Rackets for Junior Tennis Players
Choosing a tennis racket for juniors basically comes down to finding the correct length. You want to find as long a racket as the child can comfortably handle. That way they have the best chance of developing a solid game. Starting juniors too early with adult models can really harm their development and cause injuries.
Recently I had a junior player come to me with chronic arm pain. The kid is a good player and was 13 years old at the time. He is very small and thin for his age though and was using a racket that weighs 330 grams. That’s as heavy a racket as many pros use and I cannot even play with that without getting arm pain.
That in combination with a polyester string was a recipe for injuries for this young player!
Junior racquets can be as short as 19 inches for very young kids. They then slowly progress up to the standard length of 27 inches. Most kids older than 12 can often use a standard length racket. Just make sure it is not too heavy!
Important Features and Reminders to Consider in Beginner Tennis Racquets
Bigger tennis racket heads generally give more power and smaller racket heads less power. The bigger tennis rackets also have a larger sweet spot. Therefore oversize tennis rackets are often used for beginning players and smaller and mid-size rackets are often used by more advanced players.
Midsize: 90-98 sq. inches
Tennis Racquets can vary significantly in weight. As a rule of thumb beginners will use lighter rackets and advanced players usually use heavier rackets. Some of the top pros like Sampras back in the days and Federer these days use extremely heavy rackets!
Adult rackets can weigh as little as 8 ounces or 226 grams and go up all the way to 12 ounces or 340 grams.
The standard length for tennis rackets is 27 inches or 68.6 centimeters. There are also many tennis racquets on the market these days that are a bit longer at around 28 inches or 71.1 centimeters.
Longer rackets provide a bit more reach and leverage. They can be very beneficial on the serve. The longer racket is tougher to maneuver though and will give you less control.
The maximum racket length allowed in competition is 29 inches or 73.7 centimeters
Here we can differentiate between open tennis string patterns and close string patterns. With open string patterns there is a lot of space in between the strings and close string patterns are the opposite.
Open tennis racquet string patterns give you a bit more power and spin yet less control. The same string in racket with an open string pattern will break much more frequently than in a racket with a closer string pattern!
Common tennis string patterns are 16×18 and 18×20. This means that there are 16 strings in the main and 18 in the crosses for example.
If you hit the sweet spot on a tennis racket it feels really good. The ball connects well with the racket and the stroke feels effortless. The player feels very little vibration in the arm. If you do not hit the tennis sweet spot on the other hand the stroke will not feel good and you can feel a lot of vibration in your arm.
Pros often use tennis rackets with smaller sweet spot because they can consistently connect with the smaller sweet spot and the racket provides more control. Beginners need rackets with a larger sweet spot.
Finally, it’s time to pick a grip size. An easy way to find the correct size is to hold the tennis racket with the dominant hand and slide the index finger of the other hand between the tips of the fingers and the base of the palm. If the grip is too small, the index finger won’t fit.
If the grip is too large, the index finger will have extra wiggle room. Choose a grip size that’s comfortable, but keep in mind that a too-large grip size will force a player to squeeze the racket more tightly, tiring the arm.
Additional Tips for Beginners in Choosing Their First Tennis Racquets:
Tennis racquet string tension refers to how tightly a racket is strung. More pressure will create a tighter, stiffer racket, whereas lower tension will create a looser, more powerful racket.
[Note: Also general guidelines. Advanced strings can alter the feel of the ball!]
Most models will have a recommended tension range. Try stringing in the middle of that range (this is where the racket will perform best) and adjust up or down depending on preference. Watch out, though: higher tension brings more risk for the infamous tennis elbow.
Choose a surface
In the U.S., most tennis is played on hard courts, which are made from asphalt or concrete and are considered relatively fast surfaces that offer good ball bounce.
Clay (or soft courts) can be more challenging because they can have trickier bounces, but the softer surface is also more forgiving to bodies as they lunge, slip, and slide.
Tennis was originally played on grass courts, but they’re hard to maintain and also hard to come by these days.
Wear sneakers that provide good support. Other shoes might wear out too quickly, hurt your feet, or damage the court.
Avoid black soles, as these can permanently mark the tennis court, and be aware that most courts won’t allow you on unless you’re wearing non-marking footwear.
Wear white… or don’t.
Tennis has a reputation for requiring its players to wear all white (save for the baby blue cardigan wrapped ‘round their necks), but for the most part the “all-white rule” is a myth.
These days most places don’t care what colors players wear—although it’s worth checking before you head to
the tennis courts, particularly at private clubs, where dress codes might be enforced. In general, it’s fine to wear whatever you’d wear to the gym (with non-marking shoes, of course!).
All dressed up with nowhere to go? Check out the United States Tennis Association’s court finder.
Most Tennis courts will have pros or group lessons to ease new players into the sport. Speak to the front office and see if there’s a level or tennis class that’s right for your tennis skill level and interests.