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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 tennis racquets for beginners on the market today. 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.
How to Choose a Tennis Racquet for Beginners
When choosing a tennis racquet as a beginner, there are a few questions to consider.
- Is the racquet for a child or an adult?
- Will you need help creating power for your shots? Or will you need more control? - In other words, how physically strong are you?
- Do you expect to remain a recreational player, or do you want to become more competitive?
- What is your budget?
No matter how you answer these questions, you will 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.
Racquet Specification Chart Based on Skill Level
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 11 Ounces
10.1 - 11.5 Ounces
Over 11 Ounces
$100 & up
$150 & up
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.
Choosing a String and Tension
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 to 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.
Best Tennis Racquet for Beginner Adults
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.
Best Tennis Racquet for Female Beginner
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 110 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.
Best Tennis Racquet for Beginner to Intermediate Players
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.
Top 6 Beginner Racquets - Reviewed
Below are our six picks for the best tennis racquets for beginners available today. All 6 racquets are considered adult tennis racquets. 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.
Head TI S6
For older teens and adults learning how to play tennis, this is the best tennis racquet under 100 dollars.
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 the best value tennis racquet 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
Babolat Drive 110
Babolat makes some of the best tennis racquets on the market, and this racquet is the perfect adult beginner tennis racquet if you have a large budget and want to improve fast.
Babolat made this racquet lightweight and easy to maneuver at the net, with a large head (110 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 4.0
Head Microgel Instinct
The Head Microgel Instinct can be used by a variety of players at a variety of skill levels. It's a great "tweener" racquet for atheletic beginners or people who want to move from beginner to intermediate quickly. It’s a relatively inexpensive racquet as well.
It has a 100 inch head size, giving it decent power, but the tight string pattern makes it great for control for a beginner racquet. The 10.4oz head weight of the racquet helps add power too. For players who are relatively athletic with good hand-eye coordination, this is a great racquet.
For the price, this is certainly one of the top beginner or even intermediate racquets on the market to help players place and control their shots. However, we would not recommend this for advanced adult players.
Price | $
USTA Rating | Up to 4.5
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 (oversized)
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
Babolat Pure Aero Lite
The Pure Aero is used by Rafael Nadal. This lightweight version is a great racquet for beginners who want to have the option to become more advanced players.
The Pure Aero Lite has a sturdy, wide frame that helps new tennis players create power. It has a 100 square inch frame which is low for a beginner racquet, but still okay if you have decent hand-eye coordination or play other sports. At only 9.5 ounces, it's very easy to swing if you’re just learning to play tennis. The frame design and string pattern help add more spin as you develop your game to the next level.
We recommend this racquet for athletic beginners or recreational tennis players looking to take their game up a level.
Price | $$$
USTA Rating | Up to 4.5
Best Cheap Tennis Racquet for Beginners
If you’re on a very tight budget, or just need a cheap tennis 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.
Wilson Federer Tennis Racquet
This is the best budget tennis racquet for anyone new to tennis. This racquet’s 110 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 at 11.5 oz, 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 advanced player, this racquet is not recommended.
Price | $(half)
USTA Rating | Up to 3.0
Conclusion: Our Pick for Top Starter Racquet
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.