Not only is there a huge array of choice from multiple well-known brands, you’re also bombarded with a ton of confusing specs and jargon. String pattern, swingweight, beam width, stiffness rating…
And the truth is there’s no such thing as the ‘best’ tennis racket out there, only the best one for you. That’s why we’ve broken this guide down into categories to make your choice easier (and simpler to understand).
So whether you’re buying a racket for the first time or upgrading your existing frame in an effort to develop your game, stay tuned as we try to find the best tennis racket for you.
NOTE: The rackets we’ve selected are all full length, adult rackets. If you’re after a racket for juniors, take a look at our full guide to the best rackets for kids, including sizing advice.
Our Top 8 Rackets
Best Tennis Racket overall – Wilson Pro Staff 97 v14
Best for Beginners – Head Ti S6
Best Value for Money – Dunlop FX 500
Best for Intermediates – Wilson Clash 100 v2
Best for Power – Babolat Pure Drive
Best for Spin – Babolat Pure Aero Rafa
Best for Control – Tecnifibre TF 40 305
Best for Comfort/Tennis Elbow – Yonex VCore Pro 97
How we chose our rackets
We’ve only selected rackets from top manufacturers with excellent build quality and years of positive feedback.
All of our choices come recommended, not just by us, but by seasoned experts and members of the tennis community. That’s important. They’ve been playtesting these rackets for years, not just for an afternoon.
While all of these selections have professional endorsements we’ve not allowed that to sway our opinion. Most of the rackets that pros recommend aren’t actually the ones they use on court. And besides, there’s no point using Roger Federer’s stick if you’re a newcomer to the game without the skill or strength to handle it.
You should select a stick based on your skill level AND your preferred style of play.
That’s why we’ve broken our recommendations down as follows:
If you’re new to the game we always recommend a lightweight racket. Nothing will put you off returning to the court more than the exhaustion that comes from swinging a frame that’s too heavy for you.
We also looked for sticks with a large head and sweet spot. As a newbie you’ll hit off-centre more often than not. You need a forgiving frame.
Finally we looked for rackets that leave some room for you to develop as a player. You don’t want to have to change your racket six months after buying it.
If you want to know more about our criteria, take a look at our full list of recommended beginners rackets.
Intermediates and Advanced Players
When you’ve been playing for a while you start to develop your tennis strength and so we look for slightly weightier models. That extra heft will offer more power without the need for a huge oversized head.
A smaller head size makes for a more manoeuvrable racket which will help as your game improves.
If you’re hoping to add more spin to your game a speciality frame can help. When recommending spin rackets we looked for frames with an open string pattern which helps grip or ‘pocket’ the ball and help turn it.
We also looked for rackets with a head-light balance and an aerodynamic shape that allows for plenty of whip.
Many players want as much power as they can get from their racket. That means more weight in the head, a larger head size for greater trampoline effect and usually a stiffer, wider beam.
You can check out our favourite power rackets in full here.
Unlike spin rackets, those geared towards control tend to have denser string patterns. That means that strings move around less, cutting down on shot variability and improving consistency.
They also have smaller sized heads which means you sacrifice something in terms of power for the benefit of greater accuracy.
If that’s something you’d like to add to your game you can see our full recommendations for control rackets here.
If you suffer from repetitive strain injuries such as tennis elbow it can help to play with a more arm-friendly racket. In reviewing rackets for tennis elbow we looked for those with lower stiffness ratings. Flexible frames absorb more of the shock from your shots so as not to jar the joints.
We also looked for rackets with larger, more forgiving sweet spots.
And so, with all that said let’s get into our favourite rackets available this year.
BEST TENNIS RACKET OVERALL
Head Size: 97 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 315g | Stiffness: 66
- Power without compromising precision
- Good dwell time
- A brilliant all-rounder
- Too heavy for most newbies
If you’ve been playing the game for a number of years and you’re looking for a racket that’s consistent, precise, powerful and nice and quick to move around the court you should give the Pro Staff a try.
On serve and groundstrokes the Pro Staff has a lovely crisp feel, responding to the smallest of adjustments to your swing.
At the net you benefit from the smaller 97sq in head size which makes it quick and easy to adjust for an instinctive volley.
At 315 grams unstrung it’s pretty heavy so be warned – this is not a good choice for newcomers. Thankfully that weight is concentrated in the handle so if you’ve got the strength it’s easy to get around and whip up some topspin.
This latest model uses a braided graphite construction which adds to its really stable feel and dwell time.
This was our pick of the crop for advanced players.
BEST RACKET FOR BEGINNERS
Head Size: 115 sq in | Strung Weight: 252g | Composition: Graphite/Titanium
- Extremely light
- Huge sweet spot
- Easy to use
- Difficult to graduate from
The Head Ti S6 has something of a cult following in tennis circles.
What sets it apart is that it’s incredibly lightweight despite having a big head. Like a very smug supermodel.
That makes it perfect for beginners or those lacking muscle who still want a racket that packs a punch.
As well as offering power, the 115 sq in head contains an enormous sweet spot so this is a really forgiving frame and perfect for learning the game.
Trouble is it might be too easy. A few users have found it difficult to move on from the Ti S6 due to its ease of use.
Still, it’s sold incredibly well ever since its release over 20 years ago (Head’s biggest selling racket) which is testament to how well it plays.
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Head Size: 100 sq in | Strung Weight: 320g | String Pattern: 16×19
- Crushing power
- Proper performance racket
- Control and consistency
- Good for intermediate and advanced players
- Not very arm-friendly
In our humble opinion, too many people are sleeping on the quality of Dunlop’s range of great value rackets.
The FX500 has the specs and build quality of a superior players’ racket that you’d usually find for twice the cost.
With a low-flex, thicker beam and 100 sq in head size you get a really powerful frame that shows itself off from the back of the court. Serves, backhands and forehands come with ferocious pace and its (relatively) low weight and grippy string bed allow for plenty of whipped topspin.
At 71 RA that stiffness may come at a cost to your joints but Dunlop have included a technology called Sonic Core Infinergy in the hoop and FlexTouch Resin in the shaft which both help to absorb shock.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced player looking for a racket you can grow with you should really take a look.
If you’re after other good value frames check out our guide to the best budget rackets.
BEST FOR INTERMEDIATES
Head Size: 100 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 295g | String Pattern: 16×19
- Power to dominate points
- Head light and speedy
- Massive spin potential
- Slight lack of stability
If you’ve outgrown your starter stick and are looking for a step up but you consider yourself an all-rounder rather than a specialist, the Wilson Clash is a great choice.
At 295 grams unstrung it’s a step up in weight but without being a drain on your muscles. Its 100 sq in head is really forgiving but nice and precise with the consistency you need as your strokes become more accurate and you start to hit the lines.
Its 16×19 string pattern pockets the ball nicely allowing for plenty of spin and built in power on your groundstrokes.
At the net it’s nice and speedy but just about sturdy enough to absorb some of your opponent’s power. That’s despite a considerably low stiffness rating of just 55 RA so it’s easy on the joints.
For all those reasons, the Clash comes top of our list of the best rackets for intermediates.
BEST FOR POWER
Head Size: 100 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 300g | String Pattern: 16×19
- Explosive power
- Easy and forgiving
- Decent Control
- Tough on the joints
The popularity of Babolat’s rackets over the last few years has coincided with the game’s growing obsession with raw power. And that’s not a coincidence.
The Pure Drive is their most powerful range and it’s no surprise it was favoured by Andy Roddick back in the day. It’s a monster from the back of the court.
Despite having the bells and whistles of an advanced racket its 100 sq in head size and lightweight construction make this accessible to all levels.
It offers decent topspin thanks to its 16×19 string pattern and that’s lucky. Because if you’re more of a flat hitter this would be a really difficult racket to control.
The Pure Drive’s High Torsional Rigidity system means it won’t twist on impact so all that power gets returned to the ball. Unfortunately that’s another way of saying that it’s a stiff racket so if you’re protective of your joints you may want to avoid.
Conscious of their reputation for stiff rackets Babolat have done their best by adding a layer of rubber inside the frame to offset some of that shock.
BEST FOR SPIN
Head Size: 100sq in | Unstrung Weight: 290g | String Pattern: 16×19
- Aerodynamic shaft
- Wicked spin
- Great all-rounder
- Not for volley specialists
While we’re talking Babolat, the Pure Aero was our pick of the best rackets for spin.
Aero refers to the uniquely aerodynamic shaft which allows for you to whip up a frenzy with minimum wind resistance.
The open string pattern features Babolat’s FSI tech which they promise allows for prolonged pocketing of the ball and therefore better spin. It definitely seems to work as the Pure Aero is great for topspin and gives real pop to your kick serve.
Many players have complained that the Aero is less than stellar at the net where its power and stiffness makes subtlety a challenge.
But if you model your game on Rafa’s brand of baseline battery then that’s probably a price worth paying.
BEST FOR CONTROL
Head Size: 98sq in | String Pattern: 18×20 | Stiffness: 64 RA
- Plush feel
- Clinical response
- Lacks free power
You may not have considered a Tecnifibre before but they have some of the most vocal and passionate fans around.
If you pick up the TF 40 you can understand the appeal.
Groundstrokes deliver a plush, crisp feel with great feedback. That and its dense 18×20 string bed make for a clinically accurate frame with excellent shot consistency.
This isn’t the racket for you if you’re after huge amounts of topspin or free power. But if you have the strength to generate your own, or you value a more technical approach to point building, this is worth trying out.
Buyer beware: The T40 is also available in a more open 16×19 string pattern. That will obviously offer more in the way of power and spin but less in the way of control. Check that you’ve picked the correct model.
BEST FOR TENNIS ELBOW
Head Size: 97 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 310g | Stiffness: 60 RA
- Vibration Dampening Handle makes even bigger shots arm friendly
- Thin, very flexible beam
- Isometric Head shape offers forgiving sweet spot
- Fun and easy to hit with
- Lack of feedback on shots
In a world of very similar looking frame shapes, the Yonex range stands out.
All of their rackets feature an isometric head which has been shown to increase the size of the sweet spot. That makes them nice and forgiving and the VCore Pro is particularly kind on your joints.
This is designed top to bottom for comfort. There’s a tech called a Vibration Dampening Mesh in the handle which – as its name suggests – absorbs shock. And their ‘Flex Force’ frame is constructed to be strong but low stiffness – only 60RA. The combination of arm-friendly tech and huge sweet spot makes this a really comfortable racket to swing.
It’s fast and easy to maneuver with its 97 sq in head but gives plenty of pop and a sweet crisp connection.
The one complaint you hear about the VCore Pro is that it’s so cushioned you lose some connection and feedback from your shots. If that’s a concern you should avoid it but for intermediate and advanced players looking for a really plush frame it’s a good bet.
How to Choose the Right Tennis Racket For You
If you’re looking for some in-depth advice on selecting a tennis racket please check out our full guide to choosing a racket. But for now there are a few major aspects to consider.
What’s your level of play?
It’s important to be honest with yourself about where you’re at in your tennis journey. There’s no point buying a racket that you can barely pick up and – full disclaimer – copying Rafa Nadal’s exact specs and string setup will not bring guaranteed Grand Slams!
We’ve written a full guide to understanding your tennis rating which should help you decide on your level.
What’s your preferred style of play?
Are you a baseliner who relies on powerful groundstrokes to grind your opponent down? Maybe consider one of our recommended power rackets to lean into that super power.
Are you looking to develop your topspin or slice? Consider a racket that specialises in spin.
It’s important to be able to assess your own game (maybe with the help of a coach) and decide on the strengths that you’d like to enhance but also the weaknesses you need to improve.
How do you feel about your current racket?
What do you love about it and feel you couldn’t do without? In what ways does it seem to be holding you back?
Maybe you have a nice consistent frame that allows you to hit the lines but you struggle to put opponents away. Maybe it’s powerful enough but erratic and you need a little more control.
Think about what else you’d like to bring to the court.
What’s your string setup?
While many of the frames – and especially those for beginners – will come prestrung, more advanced rackets will not. And the setup you choose will have a huge impact on how your racket plays.
What’s your grip size?
When buying a frame, one thing you’ll need to know is which grip size to choose.
We’ve published a full guide to grip sizes and how to measure your own. But the quickest way to determine your grip size is to 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.
Understanding Racket Parts and Specs
Finally, as you start to research different rackets it’s easy to get blinded by jargon. If you don’t know your grip tape from your grommets or your butt from your bumper guard take a look at our handy guide to racket parts.
The other specs that sometimes cause confusion are as follows:
Head Size – Obviously enough refers to the size of the main hoop where the string bed sits.
String Pattern – Tells you how many main and crossstrings in the string bed. An open string pattern such as 16×19 has fewer strings than a denser pattern such as 18×20. Open string patterns are better for spin and power, closed patterns are better for control.
Balance – A racket’s balance refers to where the weight is distributed in the racket. If it’s mainly in the handle we’d describe it as ‘Head Light’ making it easier and faster to swing while a ‘Head Heavy’ racket offers less control but greater power.
Stiffness – Rackets are designed to flex when making contact with the ball. The higher the stiffness rating the less the flex. That tends to mean a more powerful but less comfortable racket.
It’s Not Racket Science…
Hopefully this guide has pointed you towards a racket that will enhance your game and lead to many happy hours on court.
But remember – there’s no substitute for trying a racket out for yourself.
Lots of good tennis retailers offer a demo programme where you can try before you buy. If you’re based in the USA, Do It Tennis will send you up to three frames free of charge, you just pay for delivery (although, full disclaimer, we are an affiliate so may receive a small commission if you make a purchase).
If you’re wondering how you’re going to cart your shiny new racket to the courts be sure to check out our guide to the best tennis bags. And why not treat yourself to a new can of balls while you’re at it.