Weight, length, head size, frame stiffness, and materials are a few things to consider when deciding whether to buy or evaluate a new tennis racquet. The options can rapidly become daunting when there are nearly 20 leading racquet manufacturers to choose from.
In this post, we will examine the four most popular types of tennis rackets to help you understand how they differ and why you might choose one over the other.
How many types of tennis rackets?
Generally, tennis racquets fall into one of four categories:
- Power Racquets
- Control or Player’s Racquets
- Tweener Racquets
- Modern Player’s Racquets
The classification is based on the swing style of the player, which can be slow and compact, quick and complete, or moderate, that is, in the middle.
It is important to note that the names of each group and the kinds of players they typically suit are suggestions to assist players in reducing their choices.
4 Types Of Tennis Rackets and their typical features
#1. Power Tennis Racquets
Power tennis racquets, also known as game enhancement racquets, enable players to strike with greater force and depth while exerting less effort.
These tennis racquets are, therefore, frequently excellent choices for beginners who have not yet mastered the correct technique, form, and skill to generate power. Players tend to make shorter, more compact strokes at this point, although this changes over time.
A different moniker for this racquet group is “game enhancement,” which alludes to the features these racquets provide to aid novice players in honing their skill set.
However, this kind of tennis racquet can also be an excellent option for smaller players, men and women with weaker arms, and tennis players in their later years who find it challenging to create the same kind of power as they had when they were younger.
Power racquet features that are typical of them include:
– Oversized Head: 105 in2 (677.4 cm2) or greater
– Extended Length: 27–29 in
– Stiffer Frame: 66 or greater
– Lightweight Construction: 8–9.5 oz.
For two reasons, a larger racquet head size frequently works effectively.
First, racquet power increases with head size; picture trampolines for this concept. It may produce more energy because the bigger it is, the more “spring” it possesses.
Additionally, a more prominent head provides a greater surface area for hitting, increasing the margin of error—something that many novice players may find helpful.
The sweet spot, or the region in the middle of the strings where striking the ball delivers the most comfort and performance, will likewise be greater with a giant head.
Lastly, as the strings are further apart, a larger head size tends to make it simpler to generate topspin.
The power of a tennis racquet can also be significantly influenced by its length. The greater leverage a player has when swinging a longer racquet, the more energy they can produce.
The extended length refers to any racquet that is longer than the conventional tennis racquet size of 27 inches (68.58 cm), which is the maximum length permitted by tennis rules.
Although not all power racquets have extended lengths, several manufacturers will change this element to boost power.
Additionally, power racquets typically have stiffer frames. The greater the grade, the more rigid the racquet; frame stiffness refers to how much a racquet bends or flexes when it makes contact with a tennis ball.
It may sound contradictory, but a muscular frame does not flex as much when it makes contact with a tennis ball, allowing the ball to rebound faster, faster, and with less effort.
Another typical feature of power tennis racquets is their lighter build, which makes them easier to handle.
In certain instances, the lighter weight of power racquets is due to their greater head diameters.
If everything else is equal, a larger head size will make the racquet heavier at the top and less maneuverable. The greater weight in the head can be offset by reducing the frame’s weight.
#2. Control Tennis Racquets
Control racquets, often known as players, are the reverse of power racquets in many respects.
Players who choose this type of racquet choose less power in favor of control or the ability to place the ball more precisely. The player must master the requisite technique, skill, and physical fitness to generate power.
Control racquets are perfect for seasoned or professional tennis players with quick, full swings.
Although this kind of racquet is designed for more experienced tennis players, several features can help aggressive intermediate players who strive to control their game.
Typical racquet features include:
– Small Head: 85-97 in2 (548.4–625.8 cm2)
– Standard Length: 27 in (68.58 cm)
– Low to Mid-Range Flex: 50-70
– Heavier Construction: 11.6–12.6 oz.
Smaller head diameters on control racquets lead to less of a trampoline effect and, thus, less power.
Additionally, a player’s margin for error will be reduced, and the size of the sweet spot will be smaller with a smaller racquet head because there will be less surface area to strike the ball with. To put it another way, to make the most of this kind of racquet, a player must be precise with their strokes.
Control racquets nearly always have the conventional length of 27 inches for their length (68.58 cm).
This length guarantees players have plenty of reach and acceptable mobility at heavier weights while still giving them the necessary leverage to hit with pace.
You will discover that the frames of many control racquets tend to be less rigid or more flexible. When a ball is struck, a structure absorbs energy; the more flex, the higher the absorption and the less power.
It is common to expect the contrary, i.e., that as a frame bends, its rebound will help with power production. However, research has proved that this is untrue. Instead, before the racquet can rebound, the ball exits the strings.
Finally, control racquets are frequently heavier than the others. Multiple purposes of higher weight in control racquets include:
– Controlled Power: The force to strike a ball grows as a racquet’s weight does. Therefore, a skilled player may alter their swing speed to generate more or less force.
– Stability: With weight distributed correctly in a racquet’s head, a frame will be less prone to twisting, resulting in a more steady, controlled feel.
– Shock Reduction: For expert players who swing hard, the heavier the weight, the more shock it will absorb.
#3. Tweener (Intermediate) Tennis Racquets
Tweeners are intermediate-level racquets that fall between power and control racquets, even though we are not significant fans of the naming approach, which creates more confusion than it does clarity.
As a result, these racquets frequently deliver an excellent balance of power and control for various players.
Because of this, these racquets are excellent choices for advanced players. They are also fantastic for beginners or recreational players who may have started learning with a low-cost beginning racquet and are ready to improve.
Common traits are as follows:
– Mid-sized Head: 98–104 in2 (632.3–671.0 cm2)
– Standard Length: 27 in (68.58 cm)
– Mid-range Stiffness: 61-70
– Mid-range Weight: 9.6 – 11.5 oz
Because of these features, tweener racquets are a very versatile group with a broad spectrum of alternatives to accommodate various playing styles and ability levels.
*** Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Tennis Court Dimensions & Surfaces
#4. Modern Player’s Racquets
If you go back ten to twenty years, almost all professional tennis players used players or control racquets.
However, as the sport and the racquets used by pros have developed lately, there has been a change in the racquets that some of the best pros now choose.
These contemporary players’ racquets are still heavier than traditional length racquets, but they have larger head sizes and more outstanding stiffness ratings, which boost their potential for power and spin.
What Types Of Tennis Rackets Should You Buy?
We advise choosing a power or tweener racquet if you are a beginner who has never played tennis before or if you have played a little but are still learning.
Tweener racquets are a terrific option for those with excellent hand-eye coordination from participating in other sports. To help you start, check out our list of recommended racquets for beginners.
It is important to remember that you do not have to spend so much money upfront if you do not have the money, do not intend to take the activity too seriously, or are not sure if you will like it.
If you did not begin using a tweener racquet as a beginner, it might be time to do so if you have been playing tennis for a while and your skills and technique are beginning to develop.
Although it could be tempting, we advise you to hold off on switching to players or control racquets at this time so that your game can continue to develop if it ever does.
Before reaching this level, most advanced players would have carefully chosen their tennis racquet. A personalized tennis racquet, however, will be something intermediate players who are having success on the court and progressing to an advanced level should start to think about.
Minor changes to a player’s racquet can significantly affect performance at the upper levels of the game. In addition, making sure all of your racquets are an exact match will assist in guaranteeing a smooth transition as you exchange racquets during a match.
*** Read more: Tennis Net Dimensions and Ultimate Guide To Tennis Nets
Factors To Consider when buying tennis racket
#1. Head Size
Power is closely correlated with head size; given all other factors, a giant head will produce more power than a smaller head. A giant head also provides a more prominent sweet spot and hitting area, which leads to more forgiveness on off-center shots.
Today’s racquets are available in head sizes from 93 to 135 square inches, with 97-100 being the most popular. For many players, racquets with 100 square inches offer a good balance of power and control. More experienced players generally prefer smaller racquet heads because they want greater control, whereas beginners and intermediate players want larger racquet heads. After all, they want more power and a more prominent sweet spot.
Tennis racquets for adults typically measure 27 inches in length. However, they can also be found in lengths between 26.5 and 29 inches (29 inches is the legal maximum for tournament play). All other factors are equal; a longer racquet offers greater reach on groundstrokes, more leverage on serves, and more power overall than a standard-length racquet.
Longer racquets have a higher swing weight due to their increased length makes them harder to control. In order to maintain their maneuverability even at extended lengths, many power racquets are lighter.
#3. Weight And Balance
A heavier racquet has greater strength, stability, and shock absorption than a lighter one. When the stringbed of a heavy racquet makes contact with the ball, the additional weight helps it win the conflict. As a result, the ball feels stable, and the racquet seems to be driving through it. Players with long, quick strokes from the baseline will find good depth and pace from heavier racquets.
The additional steadiness is a pleasant bonus at the net and on service returns. A player can position the racquet more efficiently and produce more spin with a lighter racquet since it is more maneuverable (thanks to the more accessible access to a faster swing). On the court, players can easily control their racquets during rapid rallies at the net, get lobs and passing shots to quickly dip inside the lines, and whip the ball with spin to create better angles. Remember that if a racquet is too light, you can always add weight to it. However, it is nearly impossible to lighten the racquet weight.
A racquet can be either light, heavy, or even balanced when it comes to balance. More of the mass of a head-light racquet will be found near the handle end. Despite being the heaviest style of the racquet, most traditional players’ racquets include a headlight to assist them in feeling agile.
Lightweight power racquets often have a heavy head. Despite the racquet having a modest overall weight, some stability is maintained since there is a lot of bulk near the head of the racquet. The medium-weight racquets are the only ones left; they are evenly balanced or almost so.
#4. Frame Stiffness
– Flexible frame = 63 and below
– Medium stiffness = 64 to 67
– Stiff frame = 68 and above
A frame’s power potential directly depends on how much it deflects when it makes contact with the ball. A stiffer racquet bends less, which uses less of the ball’s energy. A flexible racquet bends more, causing a more significant loss of energy. The idea that a flexible racquet will return more force to the ball because of a catapult effect is widespread among players. Three to five milliseconds, or significantly less time than it takes for a frame to recover, are spent by the ball on the strings. Therefore, a racquet frame absorbs energy rather than “returns” it to the ball; the amount it does depends on the frame’s stiffness. A stiffer racquet uses less power than a flexible racquet since it does not deflect as much on impact.
Not only does frame rigidity impact power. There are issues of comfort and control. A racquet that offers more power typically offers less control. However, a lot depends on the player, their skill level, and the kind of string used in the racquet.
A skilled player who has a long, swift swing and generates his or her force may prefer the feel and control of a flexible racquet. However, a beginner or intermediate player can like a stiffer racquet for a more excellent balance of control and power following their preferred stroke style. When paired with a stiffer, more control-focused string, many advanced players also prefer a stronger, more rigid frame. The result enables the skilled player to strike with great force and spin. At the elite level, the modern power game has come to be defined by the marriage of a muscular racquet and a stiff, spin-friendly string. However, amateur players may experience comfort difficulties when using a firm racquet and string.
In general, stiffer racquets are less pleasant than more flexible racquets, but only to a certain extent. Compared to a medium stiff frame, a very stiff frame will transmit more tremendous impact shock to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Since each player has a unique view of what is comfortable, comfort is difficult to quantify. However, players who have issues with their arms, shoulders, or both should consider frames with an RA of 66 or below.
#5. String Pattern
The string pattern of a racquet significantly impacts many facets of its overall performance and feel, yet is frequently disregarded by many recreational players. It is common to categorize string patterns as open or closed.
An open string pattern provides a more remarkable ball rebound and a higher launch angle because it will deflect more on impact than a dense pattern. Open string patterns must feel more lively when strung at the same tension (in similar racquets). In other words, depth and pace will be more superficial for a player to access. Open string patterns also make it possible for the main strings to deflect more, and with some string kinds, the main strings can snap back into place, increasing spin. However, the cost of this could be a decrease in string durability. More abrasion from the increased string movement leads to faster string breakage.
Less rebound energy will result from a closed string pattern because it will not deflect as much upon a ball hit. Players often perceive a closed pattern’s response as having a more controlled feel. Although the stringbed limits the amount of string movement that can be used to generate spin, the extra control provided by the closed pattern enables players to swing swiftly, which in turn enables them to get the ball spinning quickly. In order to use softer, thinner, and more feel-oriented strings without compromising durability, more tightly spaced strings can last longer.
*** Read more: What Is Break Point Tennis? Definition of Break Point
Tennis Racket Materials
Wood tennis rackets are a classic in the back-and-forth game, despite not being as common as they once were.
Professionals avoid using these types of tennis rackets today, but when tennis started—and even in its early heydays—wooden rackets were the standard—they can genuinely evoke nostalgia for days gone by.
Because of the material’s nature, wood rackets will be the heaviest variety you will handle. They also give the ball less spin but are much more fun to play with.
If you want to play tennis professionally, you should probably stay away from these sorts of rackets; however, if you want to have fun, you should look at wooden tennis rackets.
Metal tennis rackets are far more popular than wooden ones, although not as popular as composite ones. In 1967, the first metal tennis racket that was incredibly popular was released.
The T2000 tennis racket, designed by Wilson, was made of metal and advertised as increasing swing power with time. The popularity of this kind of racket skyrocketed right away, making hardwood tennis rackets all but obsolete.
These days, using a metal tennis racket is probably not a good idea either; they are still somewhat hefty and challenging to control. However, once more, if you are looking for a good time on the court with your friends, they may be fun.
Fiberglass, boron, and kevlar will make composite tennis rackets. Early in the 1980s, Wilson decided to completely change directions and concentrate solely on making these composite tennis rackets.
After this abrupt change, these kinds of rackets experienced a significant surge in popularity as people realized how useful they were for the game of tennis.
Due to their versatility and affordability, they are undoubtedly some of the most well-liked tennis rackets on the market. Players may swing more efficiently with these tennis rackets because they are significantly lighter to grasp than wooden or metal rackets.
Additionally, the racket’s control and hold enabled more powerful swings and generally more comfortable movement. Many players still stick with composite rackets today, and for a good reason.
In addition to graphite, you can also buy top-notch titanium tennis rackets. These rackets are even stiffer and lighter than tennis rackets made of graphite. Although your power may not be as mighty as with a composite or graphite tennis racket, these qualities enable better balance and control throughout a swing.
Pure titanium rackets are expensive and challenging, but only because of their superior quality. For a tennis racket like this, you will spend top bucks, but in return, you will get performance and ability that are unheard of in tennis rackets.
Graphite is the final primary sort of tennis racket material you will encounter. For many reasons, graphite is both highly prevalent and incredibly popular.
Despite being heavier than titanium, these rackets are still relatively light. They have a little more weight, which gives them superior power in swings, helping you to deliver robust and precise strikes consistently. Graphite rackets are simple to use and excellent for beginners in the sport.
You will also not pay an arm and a leg for graphite tennis rackets either. They may be obtained online at your preferred retailers and are reasonably priced.
*** Read more: Why Do Tennis Players Wear Wristbands? [5 Primary Reasons]
Because there are so many different types of tennis rackets available, knowing the differences might help you make the best choice. In light of that, we hope that this tool has been helpful in guiding you.