Updated: Nov 23
Having the right equipment is essential when starting to play tennis. Read our guide for top recommendations and key features.
9 Best Tennis Rackets for Beginners | Key Tennis Equipment for Newbies
If you're just starting out with tennis, you might have a variety of goals. Perhaps you want to volley the ball back and forth for fun - or maybe, you have aspirations of competing and going pro. You might pick up a tennis racket for exercise or get on the tennis court for some socialization.
Whatever the reason you want to play tennis, choosing the best beginner tennis racket can be overwhelming. Having the proper equipment and tennis gear is critical to learning to play tennis in a fun and productive way. From frame and grip size to strings and tension, choosing the right tennis racket is no easy feat! Let's discuss the key features you'll want to look for as you shop, as well as our top picks for the best beginner tennis rackets.
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How to Choose a Beginner Tennis Racket
As you begin shopping for the best tennis racket, you'll need to be mindful of what your goals and capabilities are. Consider the following questions:
Do you plan on playing only recreationally or do you want to compete?
Do you need help maintaining control?
Do you need help with powering your swing?
How strong are you?
You'll also need to consider a few practicalities. What's your budget - are you looking to get a cheap tennis racquet or a more expensive option? Are you shopping for beginner tennis rackets for children or adults?
Use your answers here to help you sort through the various features that most beginner tennis racquets offer. Below, we've listed options for every scenario, so you'll find one that works for your needs.
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Tennis Racket Frame Sizes
There are a few specifications to consider as you shop for a tennis racquet, the first being frame size. It's generally best for beginners to pick a racket with a larger frame. The larger size gives you a better chance of making contact with the ball.
In tennis, there's a spot on the racket called the sweet spot. This is near the center of the racket and is generally the best place on the racket to hit the ball with. To help you find the sweet spot, it's best to go for a racket that is 100 to 107 square inches. You may find a racket that goes up to 115 square inches, but having too much space might make you fail to follow through, setting you up with bad habits that are hard to break down the line.
This oversize frame will also help you get used to hitting the ball without needing to be perfect. Over time, you can begin working more on the precision you'll need to use a smaller racket.
A bigger frame size also helps your shots. The extra space enables you to create more power behind your swing, allowing you to deliver fastballs that challenge your opponent.
*The Head TI S6 is a great tennis racket for female beginners.
Tennis Racket Grip Sizes
You can find the grip sizes listed on the very bottom of the racket, at the end of the handle. Grip sizes range from 4 1/5 to 4 5/8. Alternatively, some rackets are numbered 1 through 5 rather than using the fraction system. For example, 4 1/5 would be a 1, 4 2/5 would be a 2, and so on.
Grip size depends on the size of your hands. Someone with small hands would start by trying a 4 1/4, while someone with larger hands should opt for a 4 1/2. Most people, however, do best with a 4 3/8 or a 3.
If you do realize that you've chosen a grip too small, that's okay. You can add an extra grip (or overgrip) onto it to add more width and bring it up to the next grip size. Therefore, it's better to choose a smaller racket if you're debating between two sizes.
Tennis Racket Strings and Tension
Strings and tension specifications are more important for advanced tennis players, so don't spend too much time on these elements when you first start to play tennis. The tighter your strings are, the more control you get but you'll also lose some feeling and your sweet spot will shrink. On the other hand, looser strings give you more power and a larger sweet spot.
Plus, you don't have to swing as hard with loose strings, which can help prevent tennis elbow injuries.
Beginners can opt for an inexpensive string at the local tennis shop or sporting goods store. Then, tell them to string it to the manufacturer's recommendation, which you can find written on the frame.
Most manufacturers list a tension within a range, like 40 to 50 pounds. Just opt for the middle of that range - so, in our example, you'd ask for 45 pounds.
The Best Tennis Rackets for Beginners
As you consider the following beginner tennis rackets, keep in mind what we discussed above. An oversized racket (at least 27 inches long and 100 square inches) will give you the best start playing tennis. You'll find that most brands make a beginner oversized version of their popular rackets, so you won't have to sacrifice other elements in the name of a larger size.
This racket is one of the best beginner tennis racquets because it balances two key elements: it has a larger head size at 107 square inches while remaining lightweight at just 10.6 ounces. That makes it perfect for a beginner, as it's both comfortable and easy to use. However, it's also versatile enough to accompany you as your tennis skills advance. In fact, this tennis racquet is used by beginners and competitive players alike.
This tennis racquet says it all in the name: it's a comfortable tennis racquet that's easy to use from day one. Plus, it won't break the bank at $103.
As far as beginner rackets go, this one is very forgiving. It's pre-strung, so you won't have to worry about tension or strings. The 107 square inch head and 27.5 inches length give you the right reach and power, even for balls that are a bit farther from you.
This beginner tennis racquet comes pre-strung and is a bit heavier than average beginner rackets. For that reason, it may be better for men playing tennis, but anyone can use it. The added weight gives you the sense of a whip, perfect for creating spin. At just $99, it's also super affordable.
If you're concerned about control, look no further. This tennis racquet makes playing tennis easier as it gives you the control you might lack in a bigger frame. At 100 square inches, it's just barely considered oversized. The smaller frame also helps you maintain longer strokes, which will be important as you advance in your tennis career. That extra control and technique could be especially helpful if you plan on playing tennis for competitive purposes.
Must-Have Tennis Bag Essentials:
Make sure you always have an additional sleeve of tennis balls in your bag so you can pick up a good tennis match if necessary. The extra benefit? Additionally, you get to use a tennis ball brand that you are accustomed to, giving you an edge over your rivals.
On your hands, it starts out as a liquid and turns into a film that dries sweat and prevents sweat from coming through your hand's pores.
This towel provides 3 to 4 hours (depending on conditions) of cooling relief while enduring outdoor heat and/or high levels of physical activity.
Playing with an overly worn-out grip on your tennis racquet can be uncomfortable, slippery, cause blisters, and cost you your game!
Racquet overgrips should be changed regularly and even mid-match if necessary for a more comfortable match.
Dampeners lessen the racquet's vibration in your hands. The last thing you want if you usually play with a dampener is to lose it in the middle of a game. If your dampener ever disappears into thin air and is never found again, make sure you have a spare one in your bag.
Make sure you have adequate sun protection and can actually see the ball.
Tennis matches can take hours, so don't forget to protect your face and skin with sunscreen.
This tennis racquet is incredibly light, weighing in at just 9 ounces. It's also got a 115 square inch head, so it could be a great option for a true beginner learning hand-eye coordination and tennis basics.
You might go for this tennis racquet if you aren't sure if you want to play recreationally or competitively yet. It has a bigger sweet spot thanks to the large frame, giving you plenty of room for error. If you decide to use this beginner tennis racquet simply for fun, it will work perfectly for hitting balls with your friends or children.
If 100 or 115 square inches seems huge to you, you might opt for this tennis racquet that comes in at 98 square inches. It offers more control than the bigger beginner tennis racquets on this list but is still forgiving enough for someone just starting in the tennis world.
Beginners may easily get tennis elbow as they adjust to the repetitive motion of swinging the racket. To avoid this, you'll want to go with softer beginner tennis racquets - that is, a racket with looser strings that feels more flexible in the hands. This Wilson racquet won't send shock waves up your arm and offers a nicer feel during play.
We often want our beginner tennis racquets to take us into the intermediate stage. That means you'll need to strike a balance between the oversized head of a beginner racket and the control and mobility you need as an intermediate player. The Dunlop SX600 is the perfect tennis racquet for this purpose, providing the power a beginner tennis player needs. It also offers the potential to generate topspin thanks to its unique 16x18 string pattern.
The best tennis racquets for female beginners rank in a tie between the Head TI S6 and the Babolat Drive 110. Both are more on the lightweight end of the spectrum while offering the power a beginner needs. Plus, their control only expands with your skill level.
Deciding to play tennis is an exciting choice. Whether you just want to hit a tennis ball around for fun or become the next Roger Federer, choosing a great tennis racquet will get you started on the right path. You might opt for a lightweight racquet or prioritize an inexpensive racquet - it all depends on your goals. Whatever you do, you'll be glad you chose one of the above top-rated beginner tennis racquets.
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