Getting started with tennis can appear daunting and overwhelming due to the wide range of racket selections available on the market. Each company markets their racket as the best one available which only adds to the confusion. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good tennis racket these days. You will be surprised by the quality of a solid cheap tennis racket offered by a good brand.
The best tennis racquets 2020 guideline presented in this article will really help you out in choosing the ideal tennis racket in or under your budget. You can buy possibly the best cheap tennis racket if you follow our guidelines.
If you are in the same boat then it is your lucky day because we are here to help you select the best tennis racket according to your specific needs. This step-by-step guide will help you choose the right racket based on your unique situation.
Excited for our best tennis racquets 2020 selections? Here is a list of our top 12 picks that you can check out. Any of these options can also prove to be the best tennis racquet for intermediate players as well. Keep scrolling down to learn more about the perfect racket for you.
Are you Ready? Let’s get to the business!
Does my Racket Choice Matter?
I’ll keep it straight with you. On your first day, as a beginner, the racket you choose won’t matter that much. This doesn’t mean that there are no good or bad rackets for beginners because there absolutely are and they differ in quite different ways.
However, many new players over analyze the importance of a racket in the beginning of their tennis playing journey. To keep it simple, if you decide to buy a branded Roger Federer Tennis racket as a beginner, it won’t make much difference. In fact, buying such an expensive racket might even be a bad choice for a beginner (more on that later)
On the other hand, not giving a single thought to the racket you are going to play with is not helpful either. We will cover some basic attributes and useful tricks that will help you become a better tennis player.
Ask Yourself These Two Questions
Asking the following two important questions is very important before you pick up your beginner tennis racket. If your answer to either of these questions is “Yes”, rest assured, you will be able to pick an amazing racket from the list in this article.
If your answer is “No” to either of these questions, a lesser expensive option might suit you better.
Can you spend more than $50 on your racket?
Is your budget tight right now? If this is the case, then by no means you have to spend a huge sum of money on a racket. Our good and cheap tennis racket selection will serve you adequately and when you have some extra money, you can upgrade to a better model.
But if you can spend some extra cash then the options presented in this article will serve you extremely well. The options presented here to surely help you improve your game and make consistent improvements. Now, let’s go to our next very important question.
Are you planning to play tennis long term?
If you are an amateur player who goes on the court a few times a year with some friends and you don’t plan to pursue tennis seriously, then there is no need for you to spend extra money on buying an expensive tennis racket. You can have more than enough fun with any garden variety tennis racket.
If, however, you are serious about becoming a committed player in the long term then you will surely appreciate the added benefits provided by a mid-range tennis racket.
To sum it up, an expensive tennis racket will not make you the best tennis player overnight. You can give Roger Federer a $15 racket and he will still perform better than any amateur with a $1000 racket. It’s just that simple!
A tennis racket doesn’t hold any magical powers that make a player world-class overnight. Instead, focusing on form and getting the basics right is the recipe for success in tennis.
Types of Tennis Racquets
To fully understand the mechanism behind our tennis racket recommendations in this article, you first need to learn more about the different types of tennis racket. Different types of rackets are as following:
Control rackets are more focused on allowing superior control and they are often called player rackets. Control racket has following unique attributes that allow players to have a superior control over their game:
- Flexible frame
- Heavier in weight
- A smaller head size
- Closed string pattern
The combination of above listed factors allows the player to have more control over each shot thus the name ‘control racket’. Ofcourse, having a smaller head size also means that the margin for error is also smaller thus requiring more accuracy. Additionally, control rackets tend to be heavier than your average racket therefore they don’t make a great beginner tennis racket.
Like the example of Roger Federer’s racket which is actually a controlled heavy racket, won’t make a great option for beginners due to its weight and therefore can discourage a new player.
Useful Tip Before Choosing Tennis Rackets
Many novice players read up on control rackets and then make up their minds that control rackets are THE rackets to buy to score big and take their game to the next level but this is not the truth.
While this is true that control rackets allow the player to have better control over each shot but the difference is not something that a new player can fully appreciate. The additional control offered by a control racket is only felt by intermediate or advanced level players.
As you might have gathered from the name, a power racket is a specialized racket used to gain access to more power. To allow for more power, these rackets usually have following set of attributes:
- Stiff frame
- Larger head size
- Open string pattern
As you can see from the above attributes, power rackets are the complete opposite of control rackets. A large head size combined with open string patterns and stiff frame allows the player to have a greater margin for error while generating more power with each shot. A lighter frame also increases maneuverability and makes handling and swinging much easier.
These features make power rackets an attractive option for beginners as well as older folks who are still in love with the game and want to generate more power by applying not very much power.
Game improvement racket is also a very common name for a power racket.
This might sound like an odd name for a racket but these are in fact a very common type of racket because they are the mixture of control and power rackets. There features are a combination of both control and power racket and generally have following attributes:
- Mid-sized head
- Open string pattern
- A balanced flex, leaning towards more stiffness
- Mid-range weight
As you can see, these rackets try to combine the best of both worlds with every manufacturing emphasizing some attributes over others. Small tweaks are made to appeal to different types of players. While adults usually lean more towards power rackets whereas young beginners usually go for tweener rackets.
Tweener rackets can be a great option to begin with and can allow a player to develop a better form as well as become more experienced.
Important Racket Attributes for a Beginner
When buying a new tennis racket, you should consider some important features and attributes. Following are the three most important attributes that a beginner must keep in mind while making a purchase.
Grip Size of Tennis Rackets
Measurements for the circumference of a handle is known as grip size. While buying a new racket, you should be aware of the different grip sizes available because everyone has different hand sizes.
The right grip size allows for a better grip and control and reduces the risk of incurring an injury due to a smaller or larger grip size. Following tables shows the different grip sizes commonly available in the market.
|US Sizes||European Sizes||Sizes in mm|
|4 inches||0||100-103 mm|
|4 1/8 inches||1||103-106 mm|
|4 1/4 inches||2||106-110 mm|
|4 3/8 inches||3||110-113 mm|
|4 1/2 inches||4||113-118 mm|
|4 5/8 inches||5||118-120 mm|
|4 3/4 inches||6||120-123 mm|
Choosing a grip size is not an exact size and will depend greatly on your own hand as every hand is unique and has different structure. You should take a ruler and measure your hand and this will allow you to know your exact grip size.
Using a ruler, measure from the bottom crease of your hand to the tip of your hand’s ring finger. You can use the following picture as a reference point.
Most players won’t have an exact match with the grip size as shown in the picture and if this is the case for you then I recommend you buy the smaller size that is closer to your measurements. Making an increment in the grip size is much easier than making a decrement so choosing one size small is a sensible decision.
I recommend, if you can, visit the nearest sports store that carries tennis rackets and check the two closest sizes to your measurement and get the feel of each racket. If you find one size more comfortable and natural than the other, you should consider buying that size.
Head Size of Tennis Rackets
The centimeter or square inch measurements of a racket’s head is known as the head size of a racket. Following are the two reasons for why the head size matters especially for a beginner:
- A larger head size gives you more area to make contact with the ball and allows for a greater margin for error. If you choose a racket with smaller head size, you might notice that you are hitting the frame frequently and this might cause frustration in the long run
- Second, a larger head size allows you to generate more power with each shot which is a nice thing to have for developing a good form and technique.
Head sizes usually range between 93 and 107 square inches. Our recommendation for beginners is to choose a racket with head size over 100 square inches.
Weight of Tennis Rackets
Weight of a tennis racket is another important thing that beginners must pay attention to. Usually, the mentioned weight of a racket is the strung weight which as you might have guessed is the weight with string drawn on a racket.
Weight plays a huge role in how a racket will perform during a game. However, please avoid getting a racket solely based on the weight because a beginner might get tired very quickly with a heavy racket. A proper weight should be the one at which you can hold the racket comfortably for longer periods of time.
Usually, rackets weigh between 10.5 and 12.6 ounces but a beginner should try to stay below 11.6 ounces.
Some Other Attributes for a good tennis rackets
Following attributes are important but if you are an absolute beginner please don’t dwell too deeply on these but you should at least familiarize yourself with the following key attributes.
- Balance: Rackets are usually head heavy (HH), head light (HL) or equal balance (EB). This is the representation of the weight and is measured in points e-g 4pts HH. Most of the beginners appreciate HL rackets because they are easier to carry and also easier to maneuver and swing.
- Swingweight: Swingweight refers to the weight felt when swinging a racket and can be a useful measure when comparing two different rackets with each other. Balance of a tennis racket influences the swingweight significantly and is usually expressed numerically i-e 324.
- Stiffness: Usually represented in a numeric value such as 67, stiffness refers to the amount of flex a tennis racket has. Generally, greater stiffness means more energy and power will be returned to the ball with each shot.
- Beam width: Width of the frame of the tennis racket is known as beam width. Generally, a thicker beam will give you more power and a thinner bean will give you less power. Some rackets might have a consistent beam-width overall while others may have a varying point around the frame.
- String pattern: The total number of cross and vertical strings on a racket is known as string pattern. A tennis racket that has fewer crosses and mains is called an open string pattern e-g 16×19. On the other side of the things, you have a closed string pattern. Open string pattern is good spin and power whereas a closed string pattern is good enhanced control.
Popular Tennis Racket Brands
Now that we are done with the key attributes of a racket, let’s take a look at some of the popular brands that offer high quality rackets. Most of the famous rackets that you might have seen are more or less from these brands.
These days, the most popular tennis racket brands are as follows:
Some other great racket brands are:
All of these manufacturers produce some excellent rackets that serve a wide range of players. You can’t go wrong with any of these brands and your final decision will be based on your personal preference.
Men’s vs. Women’s Tennis Rackets
Many new players often wonder if there is a difference between a man’s and woman’s racket. These days, almost all the tennis rackets are unisex and you will see the expert players from either gender using the same brand and model.
Technifibre’s T-Rebound Tempo might be an exception as it is marketed specifically to women. Technifbre states that this model is designed while keeping some specific female psychological traits in mind. However, any unisex racket might be able to provide these benefits.
That being said, there are some specific brands and models that are more popular among each gender and the reasons differ for each model. Racket weight is one key attribute that might affect women more so we advise women to consider the weight carefully before making a purchase.
Recently, manufacturers have realized that the demand for lighter models of their popular models is growing therefore almost all the models are available in lighter weight. Both men and women use lightweight rackets, therefore racket weight is not a specific female concern.
Now let’s take a look at tennis strings and what you should expect when selecting one.
Beginner vs. Intermediate Tennis Rackets
A very common question I get asked is what is the difference between a beginner and Intermediate tennis racket. The truth of the matter is that there is no clear boundary but let’s try to break it down a bit further.
Following three factors separate a beginner and Intermediate racket
This is not a set rule but usually a beginner racket will have a much simpler construction as compared to an intermediate racket.
Beginner rackets usually cost less than $150. This, however, does not mean that a beginner cannot benefit from a more expensive model.
Usually, a beginner racket will be made out of simpler and less expensive materials as compared to a racket marketed for intermediate and advanced players.
Intermediate rackets usually have a better construction with more attention to smaller details and usage of higher quality materials.
Things become fuzzy when the above stated rules are not followed. For example, a racket that costs more than $150 and has an advanced construction with expensive materials being used. There are plenty of such rackets on the market and few of these are also included in our list as well.
Pricer rackets that are suitable for beginners are usually light in weight with oversized heads (usually 100 or more square inches). However, intermediate players can also benefit from these rackets. Check the following table to get a better picture:
|Head Size||100 sq. in. and up||100 – 105 sq. in.|
|Weight||10.5 ounces or less||9.5 – 11 ounces|
To sum it all up, while beginner rackets don’t dwell deep in the details of racket features but there is some crossover between beginner and intermediate rackets and these rackets can benefit both groups.
Basics of Tennis String
A tennis racket talk is not complete without mentioning tennis strings so let’s take a quick look.
Luckily, if you are just getting started with the game, tennis strings will not make much difference to you. The difference between various types of tennis strings is very nuanced and any new player will have a hard time pointing out the difference.
However, as your game improves, you will start noticing the difference made by tennis strings and you will be in a much better position to differentiate among various types of tennis strings.
For this particular reason, we are providing some additional information regarding different tennis strings so you might be able to make a more informed decision as your game progresses.
Types of String
Following are the two main categories of tennis strings:
- Natural gut: They are made from a cow’s gut or intestine and are regarded as the highest quality strings your money can buy. However, due to their price and delicate strength, we don’t recommend beginners to start with these.
- Synthetic: Synthetic strings are more common and they serve a wide range of players because they can be obtained at various price points. Synthetic strings have come a long way and these days you can find these in excellent quality and because they are synthetic, they are much more durable thus making them more suitable for beginners.
Synthetic tennis strings further divide into various categories based on the materials used. Polyester and Nylon strings are two most popular choices for synthetic strings and they offer players different benefits.
Here a quick overview of what you can expect from each material:
- Much softer material
- Poor durability
- Arm friendly
- Better tension maintenance.
- Stiffer Material
- High Durability
- Poorer tension maintenance
Please keep in mind these attributes are not set in stone and can overlap with each other. The quality of the polyester and nylon used also makes a significant impact and will be reflected in the price of the material.
Besides the material used, the method of string construction is also an important factor to keep in mind. We are not going to go in deeper details here but the two popular options for string construction are monofilament and multifilament.
Monofilament strings are usually made from a single solid filament and mostly the polyester strings are made in this way. In construct, multifilament strings usually consist of thousands of microfibers that are woven together and this is most commonly used for nylon strings.
You should also know that strings have different thickness or more commonly known as gauge. It is easier to deduce that the more thick a gauge is the more durable the string is going to be.
However, the thickness of a string can also impact the spinning potential and feel-in-hand.Thinner strings will usually both more but they are also susceptible to breakage.
Different gauge sizes are mentioned in the table below:
|Gauge||Min (mm)||Max (mm)|
String Recommendation for Beginners
Price and Durability are the two main factors to keep in mind when selecting a string type.
A new player has no good reasons to spend extra money on a specific string type because the difference will hardly be noticeable. However, you don’t want to get in the hassle of getting your strings replaced frequently so you should aim for something that is reasonably priced but offers some durability as well.
Follow these guidelines when choosing your first set of strings:
- Price: $10 or below
- Material: nylon/synthetic
For reference, following are some great options
- Wilson Synthetic Gut Power 16
- Babolat Spiraltek 16
- Prince Synthetic Gut 16 with Duraflex
As you will see further down in the article, most of the beginner tennis rackets will be pre-strung. If you choose one of those, you won’t even have to get in the hassle of choosing a string type.
Getting Your Racket Restrung
Keep in mind, eventually you will need to get your racket restrung. As a beginner, this will entirely depend on the frequency with which you play.
A good rule of thumb I suggest players follow is the total number of times you play in a week and doubling that number is the times you should get your racket restrung. For example, if you play 2 times a week, you should get your racket restrung 4 times a year or after every 3 months.
A Beginner’s Racket Guide
By this stage, you must be familiar with the basic essential information that will help you make a more educated decision.
Of course, we want to make things much simpler for you, therefore we have compiled the list of 12 of our favorite rackets that you should consider.
The Best Tennis Racket for Beginners
There are a lot of great options to choose from our best tennis racquets 2020 list, but our winner is Babolat Boost Drive
Babolat Tennis Rackets
Babolat offers excellent tennis rackets for beginners as well as intermediate players and the Boost line comes with excellent price. Babolat Boost Drive is our favorite, Strike and Aero models discussed below are also excellent choices for beginners to consider.
Babolat Boost Drive
When it comes to choosing a racket for a beginner, Babolat Boost Driver offers excellence on all the fronts. If this racket feels familiar then you are not mistaken because it belongs to the family of legendary Babolat Pure Drive. Both of them look very similar with the distinct light blue paint job.
It comes with a 105 square inch head which is excellent for a beginner– neither huge nor tiny. Next, it is equipped with open strings pattern measuring at 16×19 (16 main strings and 19 cross strings) allowing for a greater power deliverance with substantial topspin.
Weighing in at 9.8 ounces, it is lightweight and easily maneuverable making it an excellent choice for beginners who are looking to improve their game. The cherry on top is the excellent price which makes this our top choice as a beginner racket in 2020.
Babolat Boost Aero
Nadal fans will recognize this model from the paint job of this racket. Boost Aero is the younger brother of Nadal’s weapon of choice, Babolat Pure Aero but it is priced at fraction of the cost which makes it an excellent starter racket.
Similar to Boost Drive, Aero also weighs 9.8 ounces making it easier to maneuver but the smaller head size gives you a little less power. At the same time, a 16×19 string pattern gives much better spin. As far as control and power are concerned, this racket sits in the middle of Boost Drive and Boost Drive.
Babolat Boost Strike
Weighing in at 10.4 ounces, this is the heaviest model in the Boost lineup. Boost Strike allows players to have more control as compared to Aero and Drive models.
Like other Babolat models, this is a lighter version of Pure Drive with almost similar paint job and a much lower price tag. It has a reasonable 102 square inch head size with 16×19 string pattern. These features make this an excellent choice for any beginner.
Wilson Tennis Rackets
Used by the likes of Serena Williams and Roger Federer, Wilson is another great brand that offers great tennis rackets. Following are our favorite models currently offered by Wilson.
Burn 100 Team
Offering a nice mixture of great features and low price, the Wilson Burn 100 can prove to be a great starter option for new players.
Weighing only 100 ounces, Burn 100 Team offers great maneuverability and ease of use for beginners.
It has a head size of 100 square inches, which is a little smaller than what we will recommend to a beginner but it still has a reasonable margin for error. 16×20 closed string pattern coupled with a flexible frame makes this racket a more control-focused option for entry level players
Another excellent beginner racket is Wilson Ultra 110. To kick things off, it has a generous 110 square inch head size which gives you an increased margin for error. Coupled with an extended 27.5 inch length (a half-inch longer than the usual 27 inches) and just 10.1 ounces of strung weight, this racket allows you to have impressive power in a sleek and easy to maneuver package.
Featuring a 16×18 string pattern with a large head size allows you to have adequate spin. This is a no-brainer for any beginner. Buy this and you won’t be disappointed at all.
Hyper Hammer 5.3
With a generous overhead size of 110 square inches and a weight of just 9 ounces, Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is a great lightweight option. With an extended 27.5 inch length and a lightweight frame makes this an ideal choice for beginners.
One thing that sets this racket apart from other options on the list is the fact that this racket feels weighty when you swing it. This is due to the heavier head size, making the weight shift towards the head. This is a common attribute among hammer lines, thus giving it the name. The extra weight allows you to have a solid feel during contact with the ball while the overall handling and maneuvering weight remains low.
Triad 3 BLX
This is a unique racket on our list because it emphasizes specially on delivering maximum comfort to the player. Infused with Triad technology, producing very low stiffness rating to the grommet holes (these are the small holes where the racket frame attaches with the strings) reduces the vibrations and shock significantly and in turn allows you to have a smooth game.
Wilson Triad BLX features some other great attributes as well such as an enormous 113 square inches of head size allowing you to have a larger margin for error. Weighing in at just 9.7 ounces, this is a lightweight option that will not tire you quickly. The Wilson Triad BLX can be an awesome starter tennis racket and we fully endorse it.
Head Tennis Rackets
Wilson and Babolat are household names for tennis enthusiasts but HEAD is another brand that produces excellent tennis rackets. HEAD offers some great starter tennis rackets and let’s take a look at some of the best beginner models.
HEAD’s affordable titanium series have been very popular among new as well as intermediate tennis players. Titanium Ti.56 features a large head size of 115 square inches coupled with an extensive 27.75 inches length. This racket delivers quite a powerful punch along with superior feel-in-hand.
Equipped with a 16×19 string pattern and just 8.9 ounces of weight makes this a very spin friendly racket. Last but not least, Ti.56 comes prestrung and ready to deliver. This is excellent and cost effective for any beginner.
HEAD Graphene 360
Doing justice to its name, The Graphene 360 Speed Lite is the lightest offering by HEAD at just 9.9 ounces. Due to its lightweight, this racket allows easy control and awesome maneuverability and it makes performances amazing for any beginner.
With 16×19 string pattern and head size measuring at 100 square inches makes it a very powerful yet easily usable option. You will be able to make quite a good use of the power offered by this racket.
Graphene Touch Instinct Lite
Graphene Touch Instinct Lite is a great overall performer with a well-balanced mixture of all the features. For example, it offers a 107 square inches of head size which is an ideal choice for any beginner. It allows for a greater margin for error. Similarly, it is equipped with an extended 27.2 inches of length allowing for a smoother grip and better contact with the ball. Overall, this racket has some solid features that will suit any beginner.
Touch Instinct Lite comes in at just 10 ounces strung weight. This is just the ideal weight for any new player– neither too heavy nor too light. It features a 16×19 string pattern and offers a very respectable topspin. To sum it up, you can’t go wrong with this model as a beginner tennis player.
Yonex Tennis Rackets
Yonex is another incredible tennis racket brand and they offer some very impressive models specifically aimed at beginners.
Yonex’s defining feature is its Isometric Square Head Shape, which according to the company increases the sweet spot for each shot by a whopping 48%. When you will look at Yonex rackets, you will notice how they look a little different and distinct then almost all the other rackets on the market. .
Yonex EZONE Feel
Yonex mostly focuses on experienced players but Yonex EZONE feel is a great model aimed specifically at new players. This model checks a lot of boxes and can be an amazing starting point for any new player.
While its head size of 102 square inches, is not the largest but it is still a very respectable size for beginners. With 16×19 string pattern and a weight of just 9.6 punches makes it one of the most powerful yet easy to handle models on this list.
EZONE feel is also very comfortable to handle and maneuver and features Shockless Grommets on the top of the racket’s throat and provides excellent feel-in-hand as well as increased control.
Prince Tennis Racquets
Prince is another very popular and well-respected tennis racket brand. Prince has helped shape the tennis game with its modernly designed rackets and string patterns. They offer many awesome models ranging from beginner models to experienced ones. Let’s check out the best beginner tennis racket offered by Prince.
Prince Textreme Warrior 100L
With so many offerings from Prince, the Textreme Warrior 100L seems to be the best option for beginners.
It comes with 100 square inches of head size which is the smallest size we recommend to beginners but still it allows for a decent margin for error. Weighing just 9.6 ounces makes it a lightweight and easy to maneuver option for beginners. It feels really stable and solid when making contact with the ball.
Similar to Yonex EZONE Feel, this racket also leans towards more control with lower stiffness ratings. It offers respectable topsin and restrained power to make an excellent overall choice.
Choosing the Right Racket For Yourself
If you have made this far, it is very likely that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with so much new information
To help yourself make the best decision, you should focus on your personal preferences. Take a look at the following factors and then make a choice:
- Your affinity towards any specific brand
- If you prefer lightweight rockets
- Need for a high-comfort frame
- A larger head size to have a better margin for error
Do any of these factors resonate with you? If they do, then you have narrowed your choices.For example, If you are a fan of Wilson brand, then there are four excellent choices on our list.
Please revisit the two questions asked in the beginning of this article because they are the most important questions which you should answer before making a decision. The price of your racket and the frequency with which you are going to play will impact your decision hugely.
If you are still not sure, then the best thing to do is to visit a tennis court and try out some of the racket firsthand. This will make things a lot more clearer for you.
Your local sports club or shop will likely have a few options available and you can take them for a spin. If you like a model that is not included on our list, you should keep the attributes mentioned in this article in your mind because these factors will help you choose the best option.
Another good option is to order rackets online via the demo program offered by online stores. You can try the rackets yourself and then decide what to keep.