So you want to take your tennis game to the next level, but you’re not sure what is the best entry-level tennis racket. Choosing the right tennis racket is important because it can have a huge effect on your performance.
It’s important to choose a racket that suits your level of physical strength. There are many other factors to consider too, such as racket size, weight, skill level, grip size, string and tension, and your budget, to name a few.
Chances are you’re not yet ready to dish out money professional rackets yet. We spent hours researching the UK market and narrowed down our choices to a list of the best entry-level tennis rackets for beginners. Not only are these are budget-friendly with many under £100 but also great to start your game with.
Without further delay, let’s start.
Our selection of the best entry-level tennis racket available in the UK market!
How to Choose Your Entry-Level Tennis Racket
So you’re looking to get into tennis, but you’re not sure how to choose a racket. If you’re new to the sport, you might think most tennis rackets look the same, and any will do the trick. That’s not necessarily the case. In this guide, you’ll learn how to find the perfect entry-level tennis racket for you.
What is My Tennis Grip Size?
One of the most important factors of tennis rackets is the grip size. If the tennis racket’s grip is too small, you’ll be more likely to lose control. Likewise, if it’s too large, you won’t feel comfortable, and you’ll spend more energy on each stroke. Not to worry, figuring out what size is best for you is easy.
To start, find a ruler or measuring tape. Next, place one end of the ruler on the tip of your ring finger and measure down to your hand’s bottom lateral crease (the area across from your thumb’s second joint, a bit below the centre of your palm). The distance from the tip of your ring finger to that area is your grip-size, usually measured in inches.
In Europe, the measurements are based on a scale from one to six and measured in millimetres. Size zero in Europe would be 4” and six would be 4” ¾ inches. These are the most common grip sizes, and it’s very easy to find a suitable racket that fits your hand size.
What Is The Best Tennis Racket Weight For a Beginner?
While you might assume a light racket is best, that’s not necessarily the case. Lightweight rackets are great for beginners and people that don’t have much physical strength. The downside is you have to swing them harder to deliver more power.
On the other hand, if the racket is too heavy it will be too difficult to use, and you’ll run out of energy much quicker. You also risk overshooting the swing which can cause just as many problems.
The trick is to find a weight that matches your level of physical strength. I recommend a middle ground, a racket that’s heavy enough to deliver power, but light enough for control. You might have to test out a few rackets to find your ideal weight.
What About Head Size?
When we are talking about the head size, we are talking about the size of the head of the racket where the strings are. It will generally range from 80 SQ IN to 130 SQ IN. Normally, the larger the head size, the larger the sweet spot. The sweet spot is the area where you get the most power and comfort from the racket. Usually, the head size is in proportion to the level you are at as a tennis player. Rackets with an oversized head (105 SQ IN or larger) are perfect for beginners whereas, mid-plus heads (95 SQ IN to 104 SQ IN) are great for intermediate players. However, this is sometimes not the case so emphasis should be placed on ‘usually’.
Within the racket head, strings are arranged in what is called a string pattern. There are a variety of string patterns by the most common ones are 16 X 19 and 18 X 20. The 16 and the 18 respectively are the number of main strings. Those are the strings that run from the top of the head to the bottom. The 19 and the 20 respectively are the number of cross strings. Those are the strings that run side to side. The fewer amount of strings on a racket result in more spin due to the limited surface area touching the ball. The more strings will lead to more control due to there being more surface area touching the ball. Therefore, the more strings, the better it is for a beginner player.
The balance of a racket refers to where the weight of the racket is located. If most of the weight is located in the head of the racket, it is considered head heavy and harder to swing. If most of the weight is located in the handle, it is considered headlight and easier to swing. If the racket is perfectly balanced, it is considered even.
Swing weight is the number that is specific to the racket industry and isn’t referred to anywhere else. Simply put, the higher the swing rate, the harder it is to swing. High swing weight is measured at 330 or above. The lower it is, the easier it is to swing. Low swing weight is measured at 310 and below. Modern-day rackets are measure between 280 and 350 on the swing weight scale. The advantage of having a low swing weight is more spin and the advantage of having a high swing weight is more power and more stability. If you choose a racket in between, you will get a blend of both.
Like swing weight, stiffness is measured on a scale, in this case, 0 to 100. The majority of rackets fall between a 50 and 80 range. The stiffness is a measure of how stiff a racket is. The stiffer a racket, the more powerful it is. Potentially, you can also feel less comfortable when the racket is very stiff. Rackets will low stiffness are known to be more controllable. High stiffness is between 69 and above. Whereas, low stiffness is between 60 and below. Medium stiffness is between the two and gives a blend of both advantages of power and controllability.
What Makes A Tennis Racket More Expensive or Cheaper?
There are a variety of different factors that play a role in deciding how a tennis racket is priced. We will discuss some of the following factors:
Aiding in making a tennis racket more expensive or cheaper are the materials used in the making of the tennis racket. Expensive rackets are usually made of high-quality components like titanium, graphite, and carbon fibres. Due to the use of these materials, these rackets are seen as more durable, weigh less, and aid in making a more controlled and powerful shot.
Cheaper rackets are made from alloys, which is a combination of metals or from a mixture of metals and non-metals. These are used as they are cheaper than the other components mentioned to make more expensive rackets. It is hard to know exactly what is in these alloys and therefore, the tennis racket tends to be more flexible. Although the flexibility sounds like a sign of quality, it is more likely due to the cheap combination of metals used.
Each brand has its own technology put into the rackets to make them better for the player. However, this technology is created by the use of research and development. Research and development take money to do. Therefore, the best outcomes of this research are found from the more money spent on it. In saying this, the best technology will then go to the rackets that have had more money spent on research and development, making them more advanced and luxurious for players. These types of technology could be certain materials put in the racket to absorb vibrations. This Is desirable for a player as it can reduce the risk of tennis elbow. Otherwise, a different shaped head size to increase the sweet spot offered on the tennis racket.
Pre-strung vs. Unstrung:
Most tennis rackets are sold pre-strung. These usually do not add to the value of the racket. They are seen as inferior to rackets that are sold as unstrung. Therefore, making them more cost-effective. Unstrung rackets allow the player to sting them to their specific needs, catering to their string tension which is dependent on the type of player they are. In paying more for this, the player gets the benefit of choosing these specifications. This can aid in creating value to the tennis racket and making it a little more expensive than an ordinary pre-strung racket.
Aim for Quality:
When it comes to choosing an entry-level tennis racket, most beginners will buy any cheap racket to test out.
While you probably do need to test a few rackets to find your ideal style, it helps to focus more on racket quality. We recommend aiming for the mid-range rackets because they’re more durable and stable.
Overall, you shouldn’t stress too much about buying an entry-level tennis racket. Choose the one that suits your immediate needs (grip-size, style, weight, etc) and take it from there.