How To Choose A Tennis Racket and Grip Size
Our comprehensive guide is aimed at explaining the differences between the large number of performance adult tennis rackets which we specialise in, and helping you to narrow down the choice to the one which is best suited for you!
How do I choose a tennis racket?
With hundreds of rackets to choose from, it can be a daunting task knowing which one to go for. Fortunately we're here to help simplify the process of selecting the right racket by explaining the most important characteristics that you should be looking out for.
There are 3 main elements of a rackets specification which can significantly differentiate them from each other. These are the weight, the head size and the balance of the racket. The 'best weight', 'best head size' and 'best balance' will be different for each individual, however using the information below and taking into account your physique and skill level, a decision can be made on the specification which you will be comfortable getting the most performance out of.
When comparing rackets, you must always compare their unstrung specifications, as strung specifications can distort the actual difference between rackets. Any specifications mentioned in this guide will therefore be referring to unstrung specifications.
How heavy should my tennis racket be?
Performance graphite tennis rackets can range from 225g to 340g, with rackets on either end of the scale having their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
The heaviest rackets provide the highest level of frame stability to players who have a fully developed and/or powerful swing motion. The heavier weight is commonly combined with a thinner beam width to allow these players to keep their powerful strokes under control. For these reasons, they are the most competitive and are preferred by professional and advanced level players. Players who are not strong enough will find difficulty in swinging these rackets and experience fatigue sooner during play. Tennisnuts classify a 'heavy racket' as being above 300g.
Lightweight rackets (below 280g), are far easier to manoeuvre which can be advantageous in various situations from lining up a serve to switching between forehand and backhand positions. They usually come with a thicker beam width in order to maintain structural stability. As a result, they are able to help generate power very easily for players who have shorter swings and/or who are not physically very strong or athletic. They are also a great option for young players who are moving on to their first adult size racket as the weight is closer to that of junior graphite rackets. While there is a noticeable increase in power, there is a drop in control and accuracy compared to heavier models so experienced players or those who are in good shape physically should avoid lighter rackets as it is very easy to hit the ball too long.
The remaining rackets (between 280g and 300g) are the most popular for their ability to provide a competitive specification which most players can comfortably play with. Unless you definitely fit into either of the categories above, this is the category to look in. Within this weight range, there is a racket for every play style as they are available in a wide range of head sizes, balances and other specifications which we will explore further in this guide.
What is the best tennis racket head size?
The head size of a racket is a major factor determining the size of its 'sweet spot' and in turn the consistency of power and accuracy with which a player can hit the ball.
Smaller head sizes, which we consider to be below 100 sq inches, are recommended for advanced players who can consistently hit the sweet spot and generate a great amount of power from their swing action. These players will enjoy the benefits of a smaller head size to place their shots with high accuracy. There is however an increased risk of not hitting the sweet spot and in this case it can be difficult to muster a decent shot.
On larger head sizes (above 102 sq inches), the larger sweet spot will enable players to hit with power more consistently. This is ideal for players who are unable to, or have yet to master a powerful swing. It also provides forgiveness on off-centre shots allowing players who cannot consistently hit the sweet spot to continue their rallies. Oversize rackets (above 110 sq inches) are a great option for players who struggle to generate enough power to get the ball across the court.
The most popular head size is 100 sq inches which we recommend most competitive players to start at.
Yonex's EZONE range features a squarer ISOMETRIC head shape which allows for a larger sweet spot compared to the same sized head on a standard hoop shape racket.
Which balance is best for a tennis racket?
The balance of a tennis racket is determined by whether its weight is distributed more towards the head or the handle.
Balance points are often quoted in millimetres. This length (measured from the bottom of the racket) represents the point at which the racket can be balanced without tipping either way so the higher the number, the heavier the racket is towards the head. An evenly balanced racket of standard length (27 inches / 686 mm) would have a balance point of roughly 343 mm.
While the balance points of most rackets are below 343 mm (and are therefore head-light), it's still worth knowing and comparing how head-light. As an example, a racket with a 315 mm balance point will be more head-light than a racket with a 325 mm balance point, so even if all other specifications are the same, they will feel and play differently.
On rackets which are more head-light, the weight is closer to the hand which improves manoeuvrability on ground strokes and volleys, and in general keeps the player more in control. It is however harder to generate head speed on swings so going for a very head-light racket may leave you struggling for power. Only advanced players should pick balances of 315mm or less.
On head heavy rackets, the weight in the head will build momentum on swings and lead to increased power. It does however become harder to direct shots with accuracy. Social players looking for easy power from their racket should opt for balances of 340 mm or above.
For most other competitive players, both beginners and intermediates, rackets between 315 and 340 mm will be suitable depending on the factors discussed above, as well as preference. If you require more power, go closer towards the 340 mm point, or if you prefer more control go closer towards 315 mm.
Deciding on a tennis racket
Now that you have an idea of the weight, head size and balance that you need, you can use the filters on any of our tennis racket product pages to narrow down the selection. The number options you will be left with will depend on the combination of specifications you require as rackets are made with presumptions in mind e.g. if someone needs a heavy racket it is also likely that they will need a smaller head size, or if someone needs a very light racket it is also likely that they will need an even or head heavy balance.
To make things easier, we've grouped each racket into one of three categories based on their characteristics: Ultimate Control Rackets, Powerful Control Rackets and Lightweight Power Rackets.
- Advanced to Intermediate
- Heavy weight (over 300g)
- 98 sq in. head size and below
- 22mm beam width and below
- Beginner to Advanced
- Medium weight (280 to 300g)
- 98 to 102 sq in. head size
- 22 to 24mm beam width
- Beginner to Intermediate
- Light weight (Below 280g)
- Over 102 sq in. head size
- 25mm beam width and above
If you still need to narrow down the choice further, you can read into the product description to find out which style of play the racket is suited for. The construction of all rackets vary in some way to differentiate them from others, for example the Babolat Pure Aero range features an aerodynamic frame engineered to help players who hit with spin. Others like the HEAD Gravity range boasts a tear-drop head shape for a larger sweet spot slightly higher up on the string bed.
If you still unsure, you may consider popping into our London store to get a feel of some of the rackets, or make use of our online tennis racket demo policy to try a racket before committing to a purchase. You may also contact our team who will be more than happy to advise you.
Once you have chosen a specific tennis racket, you will need to decide which grip size to go for.
How do I choose a tennis racket grip size?
The grip size is the circumference of the handle of the racket, and the size you need will therefore depend on the size of your hand.
While the grip size is measured in inches, they are often converted into numbers ranging from Grip Size 0 to 5, or L0 to L5. If you already have a racket and would like to get the same grip size, you can check the base of the handle to find out which grip size it is.
Grip size conversion table
|Grip size number||Grip size in inches|
|0 or L0||4 inch|
|1 or L1||4 1/8 inch|
|2 or L2||4 1/4 inch|
|3 or L3||4 3/8 inch|
|4 or L4||4 1/2 inch|
|5 or L5||4 5/8 inch|
There are two ways you can measure your grip size.
A rough way of finding out is by holding a racket in your normal forehand grip. If the racket is of the correct grip size, the distance between your palm and longest finger should approximately be the width of a finger (pictured below). If the gap is too small it means you will need a larger grip size, and if the gap is too big you will need a smaller grip size.
If you do not have a racket available to measure, an alternative way is to measure your hand using a ruler. As pictured below, line up the ruler on your palm in line with the intersection of the thumb and fingers. The length from there to the top of your ring finger (next to the little finger) is roughly the right size.
It must be noted that choosing a grip size is not an exact science. If you are between two sizes, you should go for the smaller one if you like to hit a lot of top spin as its easier grip to hit 'over' the ball. For those who hit flatter, going for the larger one will allow for a more comfortable hitting experience.