First of all, if you’re here you’re probably just starting out. So welcome to tennis. You’re going to love it 🙂
Below we will show you everything you should consider when buying a tennis racquet, and the best racquets on the market today for beginner tennis players. Whether you want to remain a recreational player, or want to learn to become a more competitive tennis player we’ll help you find the perfect racquet.
When choosing a tennis racquet for a beginner, there are a few questions to consider.
No matter how you answer these questions, below you’ll be able to find a great choice below.
Most good tennis racquets for novice players have a few characteristics to help beginners play well.
First is the frame size. In general, beginners will want to pick a racquet with a pretty large frame especially if you will need help creating power on your shots.
Since you’ve never (or rarely) played tennis before, you’ll also want a racquet that is more forgiving. Roger Federer can use a small racquet because he hits the ball at the same spot on the strings every single time.
People who are just starting will make contact with the ball all over the strings, so you want to have an oversized racquet head. More than 100 square inches is best for players new to the game. This will give you what is called a big sweet spot. The bigger the sweet spot, the less precise you have to be with your point of contact.
When you make contact with the ball outside the sweet spot, the ball doesn’t go where you want it to.
Here is a general chart that shows tennis racquet specifications for different types of players.
Of course, this will vary based on your specific skill-set and there will be exceptions to this chart. For example, if you play a lot of other sports that involve hand eye coordination, then you may not need as much help with power and can use a smaller racquet with a smaller sweet spot.
Beginner Players Only
Intermediate & Some Beginner
Advanced & Some Intermediate
Racquet Size (Sq. Inches)
107 - 115
100 - 110
95 - 100
Racquet Length (Inches)
At least 27.5
27 - 28
27 - 27.5
Racquet Weight (strung)
Under 10 Ounces
10.1 - 11.2 Ounces
Over 10.5 Ounces
$75 - $200
$120 - $250
Power vs Control
For grip size, you’ll see most racquets come with several options ranging from 4 ⅕ up to 4 ⅝. On the bottom of the racquet, you can find the grip size. Sometimes, there is a number representing the size between 1 and 5 instead of a fraction (see image to right).
Most players should use 4⅜ - look for 4⅜ or a 3 on the bottom of the handle. If you have small hands, then you can start with a 4¼ (2), and if you have larger hands go with a 4½ (4).
I have a 4 grip size on one of my racquets and a 3 on the other. I use the extra grip on the smaller racquet to make them feel the same and it works great. So if you’re unsure, choose the smaller option, and if it is too small you can add over grips to compensate for the difference. However, if you order it too big, there is not much you can do.
Look for the number on the bottom of the racquet to find the grip size.
When choosing a string and tension, newcomers don’t need to worry about this as much. Just choose a string that is relatively inexpensive at your local tennis shop, and tell them to string the racquet with the manufacturer’s recommendation. Usually this will be written on the frame somewhere and will typically give a 10 pound range (ie. 50 - 60 lbs). In this case just choose the middle (55 lbs).
In general, loose strings will provide more power and a larger sweet spot. Looser is also more helpful prevent tennis elbow injuries since you won’t have to swing as hard. Tighter strings will give you more control but a smaller sweet spot and less feel.
As discussed above, adults who are learning to play tennis, you want to start with what is called an oversized racquet. This means the head of the racquet is bigger than normal.
Oversized racquets are generally over 100 sq. inches and over 27 inches long. This gives the player more surface area on the strings which allows more room for error. You don’t have to hit it in the center every time, so the racquet is more forgiving.
Most tennis racquet manufacturers make an oversized model of their most popular racquets.
You can tell if it’s oversized by looking at the specs of the racquet. Many of them are also named with OS at the end standing for oversized. MP means midplus, and is the standard size (27 inches long) for more advanced players.
The other reason oversized racquets are good for beginners is that they create more power. When you’re just learning to play tennis, you want to keep your swing slow and under control. An oversized racquet will create the power for you to get the ball back over the net.
Female tennis players typically need more help with power and are better at control than men. For this reason, women starting out should look for a powerful racquet. The best choices will be 110 to 115 square inches with a thick frame.
The Head TI S6 and Babolat Drive 115 are our top female picks. Both of these racquets provide lots of power with lightweight technology for feel and control as your game improves. We’ve reviewed several other good options below as well.
Beginner tennis players who are thinking about taking the game a little more seriously will want to buy a racquet that allows for improvement. You’ll want something that is forgiving, with a big sweet spot. However, as you get better at tennis you need a racquet that will be effective for intermediate players too.
For most fit and strong adults, you can look for racquets that will help you with control and mobility. As you’re game advances the ball will be coming back faster, so you’ll need a less bulky racquet. Look for a racquet around 100 to 105 square inches, and 27 up to 27.5 inches long. This will help you get a good combination of spin, power, and control. There are several choices below that fit these specifications.
The Head MicroGel, TI S6, and Wilson Hyper Hammer below are great choices for the player transitioning to the intermediate level of tennis.
Below are our six picks for the best tennis racquets on the market for beginners. You'll see detailed descriptions, the relative price (on a 1-3 scale), and our recommended USTA rating level for the racquets. We also included lists of pros and cons with an image of the racquet itself.
For older teens and adults learning how to play tennis, this is the perfect racquet.
Its titanium structure means it is lightweight (8.9 oz strung) so you can control it easily from the baseline and avoid tennis elbow. You’ll be able to generate power on your shots since this racquet has a large frame and has its weight balanced towards the head. The large frame size of 115 square inches means it has a huge sweet spot in case you mishit the ball.
The 16x19 string pattern means you’ll be able to generate topspin on your shots as you get better at tennis. The main strings on this racquet spread wider as they move further from the handle. We found that in combination with the frame technology, this gives the racquet excellent feel.
This racquet is also a great value if you plan to become a more avid recreational player. However, we don’t recommend this racquet for advanced players as it is bulky and difficult to maneuver at the net for a fast paced game.
Price | $
USTA Rating | Up to 3.5
This racquet is the perfect adult beginner tennis racquet. It’s light and easy to maneuver at the net, with a large head (115 sq. inches) for a bigger sweet spot. The wide frame will help generate power. The string pattern helps generate spin so you can continue using it as you continue to improve your game. Also, if you plan to become an intermediate player, you won’t have to change racquets.
Price | $$
USTA Rating | Up to 3.5
A great “tweener racquet,” the Head Microgel in the Radical series can be used by a variety of players at a variety of skill levels. It’s a relatively inexpensive racquet that will allow you to move from beginner to intermediate quickly.
It has a 98 inch head size and tight string pattern so it’s a bit better for control than for power. However the head weight of the racquet and looser string tension should provide enough power for most strong adult players. For players who are relatively athletic with good hand-eye coordination, this is a great racquet that will allow you to grow into a better player.
For the price, this is certainly one of the top intermediate racquets on the market to help players place and control their shots. We wouldn’t recommend this for advanced adult players however.
Price | $
USTA Rating | Up to 4.5
For players who want a balance of control and power, Wilson has created this great racquet in their line of hammer racquet series.
This oversized racquet (110 square inches) has a tighter string pattern, at 18x20, than most beginner racquets. This will help you to place your shots better all over the court. At 9.8 ounces, it is lightweight but still heavy enough to transition your game to the next level.
While we wouldn’t recommend this for advanced or upper level intermediate players, this is a great starter racquet that will give you a few years to improve your game even if you play often.
Price | $
USTA Rating | Up to 4.0
Head created this uniquely designed racquet for players still learning tennis but excited to improve their game.
The Head Liquidmetal Tennis Racquet has metal in the corners of the frame to add weight which helps players create more power. It has a large frame of 112 square inches, and is still lightweight (9.3 ounces) making it a perfect racquet if you’re starting out. The frame design and string pattern technology add more control and great feel as you improve your game and learn to place your shots in different spots on the court.
We recommend this racquet for athletic beginners or recreational tennis players looking to take their game up a level.
Price | $
USTA Rating | Up to 4.0
If you’re on a very tight budget, or just need a racquet for one event then we recommend the Wilson racquet below. It has the best value of any under $50 racquet on the market. Wilson is a major trusted tennis brand and makes quality gear.
This is the most economical option for any starter racquet in tennis. This racquet’s 112 square inch head size gives you a large sweet spot and great feel for the value. It is a little heavier than most beginner racquets but for players who don’t plan to play more than two times per week, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Because of the price, this is also a great way to see if you enjoy tennis without having to spend much. If, however, you know you’d like to become an intermediate or advance player, this racquet is not recommended.
Price | $(half)
USTA Rating | Up to 3.0
With dozens of options on the market, it can be confusing deciding which racquet is best for you. Since most tennis players take shorter and more compact swings when they’re first learning tennis, you need a racquet that can provide power. Your groundstrokes will become more consistent as you play more, but larger sweet spots and more forgiving racquets will make the game more fun. If the your arm is hurting when you make contact, that’s not a good sign.
The Head TI S6 is the perfect balance of control and power, feel and spin, that a beginner needs to learn the game of tennis.