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The Best Cheap Tennis Rackets On the Market – A Buyer’s Guide

Tennis is one of the lowest cost sports to get involved with.  You can play in an old t-shirt and sweat shorts on park courts that are often cheap and sometimes completely free. In fact the biggest cost you’ll face when taking up the game is your racket.

At the higher end, the rackets we recommend on this site often come in at the 300 pound or dollar mark, maybe a little more. 

But while you usually get what you pay for, there are a number of rackets available for much less than that, that will still do a very decent job if you’re shopping on a budget.

So, if you’re looking for a quality racket but at a great value price then look no further. 

If you’re in a rush, our favourite budget racket is the Babolat Boost Drive, combining great all round attributes at a very reasonable cost. 

But if you’re looking for some more specific advice, read on as we reveal our favourite tennis rackets on a budget.

Our Top Seven Budget Rackets

Best Budget Racket overall – Babolat Boost Drive

Runner Up – Wilson Pro Staff Precision 100

Best Value of all – Wilson Tour Slam Lite 

Best Cheap Racket for Beginners – Head Ti S6

Best Cheap Racket for Intermediates/Advanced Players – Dunlop FX500

Best Budget Racket for Kids – Babolat Nadal Jr 

Best Cheap Racket for Girls – Wilson Burn Pink Jr

Our Criteria

In other words – how did we select the best budget tennis rackets?

Cost

Obviously our number one concern in making this list was price. But what’s equally obvious is that not everyone’s budget is the same. That’s why we’ve included a range of options for various ages and skill levels. And at various prices. But in general they should cost under a hundred pounds or dollars. Often under 50.

It’s worth noting though that prices do vary as rackets come in and out of fashion and stock so it’s always worth checking the latest. 

Quality

Despite the low cost we think we’ve managed to put together a list of rackets that are not only well constructed and from quality brands but that will offer a performance at least comparable to their more pricey siblings.

Pre-Strung

If you’re shopping on a budget the last thing you need is to pay additional costs to have the frame strung. That’s why all of our picks come pre-strung.

Let’s get into it…


Babolat Boost Drive

Head Size: 105 sq in | Strung Weight: 278g | String Pattern: 16×19

Babolat Boost Drive Strung Tennis Racquet

Pros:

  • Great for power and spin
  • Really forgiving
  • Lightweight and speedy

Cons:

  • At this price? Not much

Babolat’s Pure Drive range is consistently one of the best performing rackets out there for more advanced players. The Boost is their more budget version of that racket but for the price it’s still a remarkably good stick.

With its 105 square inch head you get a good sized sweet spot with an impressive margin for error but it’s not so large that you compromise on mobility. It’s super quick around the court and developing players will appreciate the ability to get their racket back and ready fast.

It also brings with it far more power than you’d expect for a racket at this price and its open 16×19 string pattern allows for an impressive amount of pop without compromising on control.

The Boost Drive

With half decent technique you can wield some wicked topspin and strike the lines with good consistency. And on serve it’s a bit of a menace.

Although it may lack the clout of its elder siblings it’s still a really well made racket and for this price you can’t go far wrong.


Wilson Pro Staff Precision 100

Head Size: 100 sq in | Strung Weight: 320g | String Pattern: 16×19

Pros:

  • Smaller head for greater precision
  • Perimeter Weighting adds stability
  • Basalt Carbon Fiber construction

Cons:

  • Less forgiving than the Boost Drive for learners

Wilson continue their run of budget versions of their big sellers with this take on the iconic Pro Staff. 

Although not having a huge amount in common with the full price Pro Staff other than the name this is a well built stick for a more ambitious player. 

Its 100 inch head and 305g unstrung weight give it the feel in the hand of a performance racket. And it plays pretty well too. 

Wilson have added some torsional stability to the hoop so it doesn’t twist on your strokes. That means you get a nice consistent response. 

Although the head size is not as forgiving as the Boost Drive above it makes up for that with speed of response especially at the net. 

The main difference between cheaper rackets and their more expensive counterparts is the materials used in the frame but this is no cheapo aluminium. It’s a graphite-carbon combo and while it won’t absorb vibrations quite as well as the bigger boys it doesn’t feel like you’re just swinging a frying pan like with many budget sticks.


Wilson Tour Slam Lite

Head Size: 113 sq in | Strung Weight: 291g | String Pattern: 16×19

Pros:

  • Incredible value
  • Surprising power
  • Consistent response
  • Well built

Cons:

  • Not for intermediates

Probably the cheapest of all the adult rackets on our list, the Wilson Tour Slam is great for those who like to play for fun and appreciate incredible value. 

Despite its cheap cost a lot of thought has gone into designing a frame that brings power and consistency to recreational players.  

The Tour Slam Lite

Although this is an aluminium alloy frame it’s surprisingly lightweight while still feeling solid in the hand.  It’s especially light when you consider its got an oversize 113 square inch head but that really helps minimise duff shots, even if you miss the sweet spot. 

They’ve included slightly longer than usual main strings to give your shots some extra pop and Stop Shock sleeves on the middle crossstrings to dampen vibrations and add comfort. 

There’s a range of colours and grip sizes and at this price it’s hard to go wrong.


Head Ti S6

Head Size: 115 sq in | Strung Weight: 225g | String Pattern: 16×19

Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Hugely forgiving head size
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons:

  • Lacks mobility

Head’s Titanium S6 stick is an evergreen favourite. It’s been selling in its thousands for years. People know a bargain when they see it. 

In fact it made it on to our list of best tennis rackets for beginners in its own right.

Its main selling point is it’s incredibly light at only 215g Unstrung which makes it ideal for newbies or those who don’t have a huge amount of muscle.

Despite that it’s extremely powerful, partly thanks to its 115 square inch head and partly to its extended 27.75 inch length which offers plenty of leverage and additional reach. 

Its sweet spot is huge and it’s really gentle on the joints so if you’re a tennis elbow sufferer it’s also a good choice.

The only reason we’d reserve this as a beginner’s stick is that the head size is so large it can be a little cumbersome, particularly at the net. And as your game progresses that can be a hindrance. 

But if you’re new to the game and you’re on a budget this is a really fun, easy to use, powerful racket.


Dunlop FX500

Head Size: 100 sq in | Strung Weight: 320g | String Pattern: 16×19

Pros:

  • Crushing power
  • Proper performance racket
  • Control and consistency
  • Good for intermediate and advanced players

Cons:

  • None – as long as you can find it cheap!

We weren’t expecting to include the FX 500 on this list as it also appears on our list of best power rackets but to our surprise this keeps cropping up at a really reasonable price.

It’s hard to say why as its specs are a match for some much more expensive frames (the Babolat Pure Drive amongst them). In fact the only reason this doesn’t top our list is the fear these deals won’t last (without wanting to sound too much like a car salesman). 

The Dunlop FX 500

The FX 500’s superpower is…well its super power. Dunlop have twiddled with their grommets (the holes where the strings go) to make the strings snap back into position giving the ball a good amount of welly on its way. 

It’s lightweight enough for an intermediate to graduate to but comes with a good amount of stability and delivers really consistent shot-making. On return of serve it fared particularly well, coping with the opponent’s power and giving a little more back.

A great, versatile and powerful racket, if you can find it at a price that suits your budget you should snap it up. 


Babolat Nadal Junior 

Pros:

  • Easy to make good shots
  • Great for little learners
  • Well built

Cons:

  • None for this price
Babolat Nadal Junior 26 Inch Tennis Racquet (Rafa Edition)

If you’re thinking of getting your kid into tennis but you don’t want to spend the earth, a good place to start is the Babolat Nadal Jr.

Kids will be familiar with the look of this one, styled as it is after Rafa’s own frame in bright neons.

Made from a lightweight aluminum it’s nonetheless solid and well balanced and comes with a really large head size to make things easy for your little newbie. Who needs tantrums on the tennis court?

It comes in a variety of sizes depending on your child’s age and height so check our buyer’s guide below to make sure you get the right one. 


Wilson Burn Pink Jr

Pros:

  • Wilson build quality
  • Lightweight but powerful
  • Quadriform tech for consistent shots

Cons:

  • None at this price

For younger girls taking up the sport there’s a wider range than ever of quality rackets at affordable prices.

This junior version of the Wilson Burn comes in a great shocking pink to show your colours on court. It’s got Wilson’s Quadriform tech which stabilises the racket for a more consistent swing. 

The aluminium frame is strong but lightweight and it comes with a bumper guard to protect that bright pink paint job.

The Burn Pink with matching bag and balls

You get a lot of tech for the price and it’s also available in a variety of junior sizes so check out our guide below to make sure you get the right one for your child. This also comes bundled with a three pack of pink balls and overgrips or a great matching racket bag if you’re looking to make it a gift.


How to choose a tennis racket on a budget

There’s a lot to consider when deciding which tennis racket is for you and we cover most of it in our guide which we’d urge you to read. 

But when choosing a budget racket there are a few things to bear in mind in particular.

What kind of player are you?

Are you primarily a recreational player or are you hoping to work up to a more competitive level?

If it’s the latter you may want to consider a racket that can grow with you. It’s all very well choosing something that’s under fifty dollars but if six months later you have to buy a better one because your game has improved that’s fifty dollars you didn’t need to spend. 

What’s your grip size? 

Even value rackets come in a variety of grip sizes and if you get it wrong you won’t get the performance you deserve (and could even risk injury). 

We’ve written a guide covering exactly how to choose the right grip size for you but the easiest, at home version is as follows:

Simply hold your dominant hand out flat and measure the distance from the top of your ring finger down to the lower of the two horizontal creases in your palm (also known as the bottom lateral crease).

This should give you a measurement somewhere between 4 and 4 ⅝ inches. That is your grip size. Now simply check our table below to convert for wherever you’re buying your racket.

Buying a budget racket for kids

The most important consideration when buying for kids is that you get the size right. Adult rackets (in general) all measure 27 inches in length but for kids it of course varies depending on their height. 

The best way to find out if a racket is the right size for your child is to have them hold it by their side. The top of the frame should hover somewhere between their ankle and the floor. If it scrapes on the ground the racket is too large. If it’s well above the ankle, too small.

If you prefer to buy your racket online, no problem!! Just measure your child’s height and refer to our chart below.

HeightRacquet Length
Less than 100 cm17″
100-110 cm19″
110-120 cm21″
120-130 cm23″
130-137 cm25″
137-148 cm26″

Break Serve, Not the Bank

Hopefully by now you’ve found a racket to suit your budget but if there’s really nothing here that appeals remember you can always look for second hand rackets or outdated frames at bargain prices. 

If you think you’d rather spend a bit more and get something to grow into take a look at our best rackets for beginners. Or if you’re after a wider range of kids’ racket choices we’ve got a guide for that too. 

FAQs

What’s the difference between an expensive racket and a budget one?

The chief difference is the materials used in their construction. Often the moulds used are exactly the same but the real cost to the manufacturer is in the latest composite graphites that give the rackets their expensive feel and better performance.

Will I play better with an expensive racket?

The answer is…it depends. If you’ve got a decent level of technique then yes, a better racket will certainly help. 

If you’re in the early stages of your tennis journey a more expensive racket won’t necessarily be that useful though. In fact, if it’s too heavy for you, it could actually hinder.

How long should a racket last?

As long as you treat it carefully and restring regularly a racket can last for years. 

Of course as your strength and technique evolves you’ll quite likely outgrow your racket but that really depends on how regularly you play. The truth is, when you need to upgrade you’ll know. 

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