The racket is the most important piece of equipment you will have as a tennis player, and one thing I get asked about them above all is whether it is smart to invest in an expensive racket rather than one that costs $30. In this article, you will find out just that.
As a general rule, the more expensive the tennis racket is the better materials, frame design, string job, weight balance, and overall performance it will have. If you take tennis seriously, then a more expensive tennis racket is certainly worth it.
That being said, it is smart to invest in a more expensive racket if you feel that you play enough to take the benefits out of it. However, you have yet to discover what is exactly what makes the more expensive rackets superior to cheap ones.
Next, I’ll explain each factor individually so you can get a better understanding of the subject. Let’s start with the player type.
1. Player type
Tennis rackets are often placed into one of two categories: beginner & recreational rackets and competitor rackets. As you can imagine, competitive rackets cost more than beginner and recreational ones.
This is because everything is better in pro rackets, from materials to string jobs and everything between.
Recreational and beginner rackets often cost from $30-$100, and pro-level rackets are +$100 and often reaching above $200. Let’s look at what the actual differences can be, and I’ll start with the materials.
One of the main differences between cheap and expensive tennis rackets is the material, and it really is worth the cost to invest in the best materials that are carbon fiber, graphite, or titanium. These materials are lightweight yet extremely durable and sturdy to get that perfect feel for tennis. Also, they will absorb the vibrations from the racket very well.
On the other side, the cheap rackets are often made from aluminum or metal alloys that can be combinations of different metals. Rackets made from these lesser materials aren’t as sturdy and are good at absorbing the vibrations, which makes the playing experience worse.
So if you’re looking for a quality racket, make sure that it is made from carbon fiber, graphite, or titanium. Expect a heftier price tag as well, but in the end, it is worth the cost.
The next easy do-tell between cheap and expensive rackets is the frame. There are two kinds of frames: One-piece frames and two-piece frames. One-piece frames are far superior to two-piece frames because they can give more power to the ball.
Think about it, if the frame isn’t made out of parts, it is able to handle the vibrations far better than with a frame that is made of two parts, and the vibrations won’t be so effectively transmitted through the racket.
If you aren’t sure whether the racket’s frame is one or two-piece, you can easily tell by looking at the bridge above the frames throat and see whether it is whole or made from another piece.
If you want a quality racket, always purchase one with a one-piece frame because it is able to keep up even with the most powerful strikes.
4. String job
Strings are, without question, one of the most important parts of the whole racket because they are the only thing that makes contact with the tennis ball. So what are the differences between strings?
Well, a great racket often has polyester or natural gut strings, whereas cheap rackets have synthetic strings. If you get a cheaper racket, you can always cut out the original strings and add your preferred ones yourself.
The thing is, strings will start losing tension immediately after the racket is stringed, so making sure that the strings are of good quality and stringed well will get you a long way.
Finally, a great rule of thumb is that you should restring your racket as many times a year as you play tennis per week. So for example, if you play tennis twice a week, you should restring your racket twice a year.
When it comes to the weight of the tennis racket, there are light ones that weigh near 250g and heavier that weigh 300g-350g. Often, cheaper entry-level rackets are lightweight because they are easier to swing.
However, they aren’t as good at generating power to the tennis ball, so if you want to become a great tennis player with powerful strokes, I would advise you to get a racket that weights +300g.
The weight often is in correlation with the head size, and beginner level rackets have large head sizes because it is easier to hit the ball. However, pro-level rackets are often smaller with a heavier weight because the smaller head size allows better accuracy and a more advanced sweet spot in the middle of the strings.
Therefore if you are a skilled tennis player, I highly recommend a smaller head size with heavyweight so your accurate strokes will be top-notch. Of course, these rackets come at a higher price. For beginners, a lighter racket with a bigger head size is great, and they are often cheaper as well.
Finally, the brand that the tennis racket carries has a major effect on the price. This is because more trustworthy brands are able to take a bigger profit margin, and people are willing to pay for the recognition, status, and trust that the brand has been able to generate over the years.
For example, if there were two rackets that are exactly the same but the other one would carry a Wilson brand’s logo, and the other won’t carry any or one that is unknown to the public, the Wilson one would be considerably more expensive. This is precisely because of the trustworthiness, and fame Wilson has taken in the tennis world.
What about you? Would you pay extra for the trust that your racket really is of high quality, even if it meant a more expensive price tag? I know I would, and all my gear is from reputable brands because they raise trust in my heart.
Do expensive tennis rackets make a difference?
Expensive tennis rackets are often superior to cheap ones in many ways. For example, expensive rackets have one-piece frames whereas cheap ones have two, the strings are more of high quality, the weight is more balanced, and the materials are the best possible ones. This makes a huge difference.
How much should I spend on a tennis racket?
If you are a recreational player or a beginner, you should invest between $50 to $100 for your racket. If you take tennis seriously or are an advanced player, then you should invest more than $100 for your racket. Best rackets are above the $200 price gap, so you need to invest if you want the best.
Is a lighter or heavier tennis racket better?
Depending on personal qualities such as strength and agility, the best racket for an individual can vary. A heavier tennis racket is great for strong players because it can generate the most power. In contrast, lighter rackets are faster, so it is the best choice for players with lesser strength.
Why are tennis rackets so expensive?
Tennis rackets are expensive for various reasons such as materials, thought-out design, expensive string jobs, branding, and profit margin. I have a really in-depth article explaining the whole subject that I highly encourage you to check out!
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
After all, expensive tennis rackets are certainly worth it if you want to up your performance on the courts. On the other hand, if you play tennis only recreationally from time to time, then a cheaper racket will suffice very well. It really comes down to that if you feel that you need a better racket with a heftier price tag, then you should probably invest and vice versa. I hope that my article was as helpful to you as these things were to me when I was starting.