After 80 hours of testing and checking with the pros, we conclude that the best tennis racquet for most players is the Head Liquid Metal 8 tennis racquet.
It is obvious why the Head Liquid Metal 8 racquet is our top pick. The oversized racquet head makes this a good choice for beginners or intermediate players. The larger frame creates a larger “sweetspot” to maximize shot power and improve the overall quality of gameplay.
Unlike most sport-based companies who dabble in various sports markets, Babolat solely focuses on tennis. The brand prides itself on providing superior tennis equipment which is reinforced by the company slogan “tennis runs in our blood.” This theory is evident with the engineering of the Babolat 2015 Pure Drive tennis racquet.
This racquet is extremely affordable without compromising quality so if you are looking for a budget friendly racquet to practice your backhand swing, the Wilson Tour Slam Racquet will get you one step closer to touring on the tennis circuit…or at least polish your skills to win some backyard matches.
Table of Contents
- What you should know before buying
- Picking the Right Racquet for You
- Our Pick Criteria
- The Top Pick
- What is Liquid Metal?
- How will the racquet improve my gameplay?
- Who should buy this?
- Flaws but not Deal Breakers
- The Step-Up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Other Contenders
- Maintenance Tips and Tricks
What You Should Know Before Buying
Just like any piece of equipment, personal preference plays a huge factor. Knowledge of your personal style and gameplay can inform the kind of racquet that would complement your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Other areas of personal preference such grip and weight contribute to the overall satisfaction with the equipment. If you are a stickler for these key elements, it would be best for you to visit a store in person and get a feel for the racquet before making an investment.
Additionally, some of the racquets mentioned in this article come pre-strung while others are unstrung. If you are looking for a racquet ready for gameplay, be sure to read the product descriptions carefully. On the other hand, if you prefer to have your racquet strung at a pro-shop with specific strings, the unstrung racquet is a perfect option and timesaver!
Picking the Right Racquet for You
Unlike other generic sports gear, tennis racquets are very personalized pieces of equipment that can make or break your game. Before purchasing a racquet, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure the right fit.
One of the easiest decisions to make is the racquet length because it is a standardized number. The racquet length is a measurement that reflects the distance from the top of the frame head to the bottom of the racquet handle. The most common lengths are 27’’ to 28’’, although you can find racquets with an extended length of 29’’. An extended racquet can be beneficial to increase your reach and can also impact the power you put behind your shots. If you have a shorter wing span or are conditioning your level of power, the extended racquet is a good choice. However, the extended racquet also has a few drawbacks including decreased manoeuvrability and in some cases can affect shot accuracy.
Grip is an important aspect of selecting a racquet because it affects your swing and in the long run it ultimately comes down to the impact to your comfort. Luckily there is a good rule of thumb to assist selecting the right size…actually it is the rule of the index finger! When holding the racquet in your dominant racquet hand, see if you can place your index finger in the gap between your fingers and palm. If your finger doesn’t fit in that space, the grip is too small. In contrast, if the space is rather large, the grip is too big for your hand. What if the space falls somewhere in between? In this case, purchase the racquet with the smaller grip. You can always alter the size of the grip by adding tape which is a great option if you are buying online and didn’t get the opportunity for a hands on demonstration. For the most comfort, use padded grip tape specifically manufactured for tennis racquets. Not only can you get the perfect fit, you can customize your racquet with a colour scheme to match the frame or your personality. Like the rainbow? Have at it.
The head of the racquet is a determining factor for purchase. The size of the head desired is dependent on your current skill level. Larger frames and heads are more suited to the amateur or intermediate player. A larger head typically has a larger sweetspot which allows the player to hit the ball virtually anywhere on the face of the racquet and produce a decent shot especially because the racquet optimizes the swing and adds more power behind the shot. Larger heads also allow for medium control of the ball.
A smaller head is better suited towards seasoned or professional players who have a greater understanding of the science behind their own game and swing. The smaller the head, the more control the player exudes over their shot. Due to the smaller face, the player must put the power behind their shot because the racquet isn’t engineered for power. Once again, knowing the specific power to put behind a shot is something more advanced players have a firm grasp on which makes small headed racquets more compatible for serious players.
Like always there are exceptions to the rules. If you are a beginner and have a lot of power behind your shot, using a racquet with a larger head geared towards adding more power to your shot can cause issues. Rather than hitting the baseline, the added power might rocket your shot out of bounds. In this case, using a smaller racquet head would allow more control over the power of your shots and limit the amount of stray balls shooting into the an unsuspecting crowd!
Did you know tennis elbow is a real thing? It is a tennis based aliment caused during play due to repetitive movement and impact. The main cause of tennis elbow is, you guessed it, the racquet. If you want to avoid this unnecessary injury or reoccurring inflammation, be sure to get a racquet with vibration dampeners built in. This will decrease the amount of vibration, created by impact between the racquet and the ball, from travelling into your wrist, arm, and elbow. Dampening technologies are typically standard in racquets currently on the market however some have a higher percentage of vibration reduction. If the dampening measures aren’t cutting it for you, take a good hard look at your string. Most pre-strung racquets come with synthetic strings which run on the harder side in order to last longer after extensive use. If you feel so inclined, restring the racquet with natural strings which have a softer feel upon impact. A combination of these strategies will keep tennis elbow beyond the baseline.
Our Pick Criteria
All of the picks made in this list are based on various criteria with the customer and player in mind. Besides seeking racquets from well-known brands within the tennis community, picks are based on innovation, quality, and durability.
Much like any product worth buying, there is importance associated with innovation. With a market saturated with similar products that essentially do the same thing, the integration of technology and innovative elements add value. The top pick, step-up pick, and budget pick all embody a quality of innovation that make them stand out in the sea of products claiming to improve gameplay without the same product improvement or advancements. These advancements assist in the improvement gameplay by eliminating some detrimental external elements including weak shot power and control.
Most people associate a good buy solely with the price however price and value are two different things. Although some of the picks have a higher price point, their innate value and quality make it a worthwhile purchase. The top two picks do have a larger price tag and besides boasting respected tennis name brands they ensure quality and durability. These two aspects are important when considering the purchase of sports equipment because there is an assurance that the product will last beyond its years in gameplay.
Lastly, the top three picks all offer desirable product improvements and features that not only benefit the player’s game but considers their physical wellbeing. Many tennis racquets on the market don’t have advanced shock and vibration absorbing technologies built in and those that do don’t come close to the reduction percentages of these racquets within the same price range. Casual players will appreciate the dampening technologies the day after a match. The casual player will typically feel a lot of strain from gameplay the next day due to decreased conditioning. With these features, the chances of having to ice your elbow is significantly reduced. For frequent players who train often, the racquets allow for less down time due to muscle strain from repetitive impact keeping you on the court racking up wins rather than on the couch resting.
The Head brand is sweeping the ATP and WTA circuits with product ambassadors including tennis heavyweights Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Maria Sharapova not to mention the veteran and tennis hot head himself John McEnroe. With the combined Grand Slam wins and overall reputation of the players, Head has a strong tie to some of the winningest players on the roster.
Although the players may not specifically use the Head Liquid Metal 8 racquet, the impressive association with top players puts a whole lot of confidence in the product and rightly so.
Head manufactures racquets that are top of the line regardless of the price point. Incorporating state of the art technology for improved gameplay is the cornerstone of this top pick. Enlarged sweetspot technology, dampening shock pads, and the strategic integration of Liquid Metal makes for a superior on-court experience. Specifically created to improve gameplay, this racquet is an introductory piece justly brandished by amateurs and intermediate players for consistent results on the court.
What is Liquid Metal?
If you thought that meant the racquet was made from the same morphing advanced prototype mimetic poly-alloy liquid metal like T-1000 from Terminator you’d be wrong – although that would be really awesome.
Liquid Metal in contrast to more traditional racquet material like titanium, allows all of the power generated in the swing to be utilized without being lost in the ball upon impact. The result? A more effective and powerful shot. The Liquid Metal technology apparently increases swing power by a whopping 29% which will leave your opponent begging for mercy!
How will the Racquet Improve my Gameplay?
So what’s the point of revolutionary innovations in tennis-based technology if it doesn’t somehow enhance personal gameplay? Not only that, when paying top dollar for a piece of equipment, it is good to know exactly what all of those fancy innovations and extravagant words in the product description actually do to improve your swing.
Luckily, this piece of equipment is known as a game improvement racquet. It is engineered to assist the player with optimal swing control and power with the use of the Liquid Metal technology which increases the amount of power without the increasing energy exertion.
Additionally, the incorporation of a larger sweetspot allows for the player to make decent shots even when the ball strikes the racquet awkwardly. The forgiving construction makes this a player’s best friend and the opponent’s worst nightmare.
Who Should Buy This?
The Top Pick is a great racquet for beginner and intermediate players. Even more specifically, the racquet is a great weight for younger players new to the game and well-seasoned seniors. The light weight frame is a good fit for amateur or developing players who need to focus on perfecting their form and fundamental skills with the lighter frame. The larger sweet spot or TSC (total sweetspot construction) further benefits amateur players because it allows them to hone control and power skills thanks to the forgiving racquet surface.
This would be a great introductory racquet and a transitional piece of equipment for youth players who could either use the racquet well into adulthood or later upgrade once their tennis game is on point and become ready for a higher-end product more suited for their performance and preference.
The light weight frame is also great for the aging player who might have mobility issues in their hands like the onset of arthritis or general muscle pain. The lack of a cumbersome frame and associated weight, players maintain control and power without sacrificing comfort and optimal mobility. The weight combined with the extended length of the racquet (27 1/3’’) gives the player additional reach without the risk of overextension thereby preventing the potential for injury or muscle aggravation.
Again, the larger sweetspot minimizes exertion while encouraging comfortable and prolonged gameplay. The added dampening with the No Shox technology also reduces racquet vibrations which limits the amount of reverberation affecting the player’s hand and wrist allowing longer gameplay and eliminating some post-game discomfort.
Flaws but not Deal Breakers
The Head Liquid Metal 8 racquet comes pre-strung with Head’s manufactured synthetic strings. Some players have complained that the strings don’t last after extended gameplay and need to be replaced. Although the racquet will have to be restrung after intense gameplay, depending on the intensity of course, it allows further customization of the racquet according to your personal preferences especially if you aren’t a huge fan of synthetic strings in the first place.
Additionally, it has been noted that during impact with the ball, the racquet makes a low vibrating noise which some find somewhat annoying especially during their service game which can be distracting even during rallies. This slight problem is typically rectified once the racquet is restrung with more robust or natural strings instead of synthetic ones.
Babolat’s racquets border the iconic. One of the greatest aspects of Babolat’s newest racquets is the amount of research and development poured into improving the equipment, which undoubtedly adds to the iconic reputation. The French based company quickly spread outside of Europe and into North American markets based on the popularity of their frame designs and renowned strings which have been continuously engineered since 1875. The Babolat brand and infamous strings are a favourite of Rafa Nadal for creating responsive spin and crisp snap.
A large part of this innovation stems from Babolat’s foray into connected sport technology. This tracking technology collects information about every aspect of the game including ball impact and location on the racquet. The collection of this information allowed for strategic changes including the location of the “sweetspot” and increased control.
The results and findings of the connected technology was immediately rolled into the Babolat Pure Drive line of racquets including the step up pick Babolat 2015 Pure Drive tennis racquet. The lightweight 9 oz. graphite frame allows optimal maneuverability without compromising power or control. The brand is known for a crisp stiff feel. This remains true to this racquet, however, to ensure higher comfort for the player, the vibration has been further reduced and dampened by the Cortex technology.
Wilson is one of the go to brands chosen by top tennis pros. If their racquets are a go-to for 17 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, they are doing something right. Wilson also offers a wide range of product price points to make their racquets accessible to athletes who haven’t won the US Open yet.
This budget pick is perfect for the beginner because the investment is low but the quality is good enough to introduce you to the sport without breaking the bank.
Considering the bargain price, the racquet is brimming with tennis-tech. The aluminium racquet has “Volcanic Frame Technology” which assists shots with added power, stability, and control. It also has “Stop Shock” pads to reduce vibrations from each hit and swing. You definitely get your money’s worth out of the Wilson Tour Slam Racquet whether you use it as a court staple or for an annual tournament.
Best Tennis Racquet for Beginners
This is an affordable and light weight option for the casual player. It also comes with a racquet cover which adds to the value.
Best Tennis Racquet for Men
Dunlop Biometric Black Widow Racquet
Besides having an awesome name the Dunlop Black Widow racquet is great for any player looking for aerodynamic speed and power all in one light weight racquet. No one is a match for the black widow!
Best Wide Body Tennis Racquet
MacGregor Wide Body Tennis Racquet
If you are looking for another great budget pick, look no further than the MacGregor Wide Body racquet. The durable frame allows for wear and tear during the most arduous matches! The wide body also increases your shot surface.
Best Tennis Racquet for Women
Power Aluminum Tennis Racquet
360 Athletics offers the Power Aluminum racquet at an affordable price point in three different sizes. They also offer a manufacturer’s warranty on the product.
Best Large Tennis Racquet
This 27’’ racquet offers a large shot surface for improved power and padded leather grip for style and comfort.
Maintenance Tips and Tricks
Tennis is unlike a majority of sports. There isn’t a team to pick up the slack. Success is strictly based on individual performance. That is a lot of pressure. Besides constant practice and physical conditioning, equipment is key to winning matches. Running shoes and sweat bands only go so far. The racquet is of the utmost significance in the game. It can make or break your service game or determine if that game point is going to be inside the baseline. The phrase “a poor carpenter blames his tools,” is usually an accurate sentiment, however in the case of tennis, the opposite can be true. Tennis racquets can need a great deal of maintenance especially if frequently used. Whether you are dropping a couple of bucks on a racquet or selling your first born, it is important to maintain your racquet for best in-game results and preserve product longevity.
The first tip is the most obvious but not always the easiest. Don’t abuse your racquet. Sometimes the game can be frustrating, especially if you are down 40 – love, but don’t take it out on the racquet. An impact between the racquet and anything other than the ball will not only ruin your tennis etiquette, it could also void any manufacturer’s warranties which would prolong the lifecycle of your racquet. Even if a fit of rage doesn’t damage the frame, it could alter the playability of the strings or internal technology including the dampeners or stabilizers. Also during practice or a match, it is not advisable to use your racquet to pick up balls by flipping them upward with the racquet frame. Although this can be harmless if you have a light touch, it can cause scraps or fractures on the frame especially if you are playing on a hard court surface.
In the interest of preserving your racquet on and off the court, it might also be a good idea to invest in a racquet bag or cover. It will protect against damage during storage and transportation. While we’re on the subject, also be aware of specific conditions during storage and transportation. Don’t overexpose the racquet to extreme temperatures because it could affect the frame and strings. If you were thinking of storing the racquet in your drafty garage or damp basement you might want to reconsider as it could potentially cause cracking and warping of the frame. Also, do not leave it in your car overnight exposing it to punishing heat or cold. Your racquet is your teammate, don’t treat it like an afterthought!
Strings are the lifeblood of your racquet and gameplay. If you happen to notice a change in the power behind your shot, it is a sign that strings need to be replaced. Once the tension of the strings changes ball control becomes difficult. Don’t forget to restring the racquet according to the recommended tension range for the product otherwise you will compromise the integrity of the frame structure.
On average, it is recommended to change strings every year depending on the number of hours on the court. Some players might see it as a pain but it does drastically alter the feel and performance of the racquet. LiveStrong Replacing Tennis Racquet Strings, suggests restringing your racquet depending on the typical amount of times you play in a week. If you play once a week then restring once a year. If you play three times a week then it is advisable to restring three times a year. On the plus side, this gives you the opportunity to experiment with string tension and string brands to see how they can benefit your game. A quick note however, the type of strings you use can dictate how often they have to be changed especially if they are of a softer material. If you pack a lot of power behind your shots and use lighter strings be prepared to replace them more often due to wear and tear.
If you are interested in betting, check out tennis tips UK.
We think the Head Liquid Metal 8 Tennis Racquet is probably the best tennis racquet for most people. Picking the right tennis racquet is a science. If you are serious about your involvement in the sport, it is advisable to not only research the product extensively get additional hands on interaction with the equipment before making an investment. As mentioned before, tennis is not a team sport and the only thing you can rely on is yourself and your equipment. Without the proper racquet and associated maintenance, your game can be negatively effected.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or professional player, it is important to understand the racquet construction and features that best suit your style of gameplay. It is also important to assess your skills to match them to the correct racquet characteristics. Without putting time and research into finding the right racquet could cause frustration during gameplay and not optimize favorable results. Rather than having to curtail your skills to match the strengths of your racquet, purchase one that wholly complements your current skill sets and provides assistance to your weaknesses or areas of improvement.
If you are ever in doubt about what will work best for you, it would be a good idea to ask questions in store to a qualified sales associate who can inform your purchase with further knowledge and experience. Rather than going to a big box sports store for advice, find a pro shop with a specific focus on tennis. The sales associate will have more informed opinions and knowledge about what you are looking for and provide better feedback.
If you happen to be taking lessons, picking your trainer’s brain is an excellent source on insider knowledge. Not only do they have experience with the sport and equipment, they are familiar with your particular style and performance. They will be able to make suggestions based on first-hand observation. Before purchasing a racquet, a coach may also have access to equipment for you to try on-court. This will allow you to get an in-game feel for the racquet and determine if it is a good fit.