Best Tennis Racquets in the World

A tennis racquet and ball

Choosing the best tennis racquets for this year is not an easy decision to make. There are so many different brands and models that it can be often difficult to know where to start.

They come in different shapes, sizes, and weights and the different variations will all affect your game for better or for worse.

The good news is that I have done most of the hard work for you by testing and reviewing the models that I think are the best racquets on the market at the moment.

As a keen tennis player myself, I know what to look for and have tried to make choices for each skill level and also for different types of shots so you can match your racquet to your style of play.

So, let’s get this show on the road…

Our Top Picks

RankImageRacquetPriceRating
1.Babolat Pure Drive
10/10
2.Wilson Pro Staff RF97 9.5/10
3.Head Liquid 8 9.5/10
4.Babolat Aeropro Drive GT 9/10
5.Wilson Zero Strung
8.5/10

 

The Top 7 Tennis Racquets in the World for 2018

Head Liquid Metal 8

The Head Liquid 8 racquet is in a class of its own.

There are no better options on the market to make you feel like a pro.

The Liquid 8 model is lightweight, as well as powerful. The designers have gone to extreme lengths to make sure that you get optimal control and power when hitting the ball.

It only weighs 10oz / 266g and packs a serious punch that is unrivaled by even the heavier models.

The Liquid 8 comes with a special feature designed to reduce unwanted string vibration called No Shox. This addition to the Liquid 8 improves the player’s focus and momentum, allowing one to respond to your opponent’s movements more easily. Because the Liquid 8 is both lightweight and powerful, it makes a good choice for advanced players and beginners alike.

It has a head size of 112 sq inches, which is much larger than other models. The extended head size means that it will be easier for you to strike the ball when swinging and setting up a serve. The Liquid 8 is ideal for both competitive and practice matches due its sturdy grip and performance.

In short, the Liquid 8 is simply awesome.

Thousands of beginners and seasoned players have vouched for its effectiveness, as it strikes the perfect balance between power and control.

The lightweight frame will allow you to respond to what’s happening on the court in real time, while the its string dampening technology will let you hit the sweet spot with an effortless ease.

Key Features of the Liquid Metal 8:

  • Beam Size: The beam size of the Liquid 8 is only 28x26mm, so it’s easy to handle.
  • Sweet Spot: Unlike other models on the market, this has a sweet spot that has been optimized to fit the entire head. This feature is called Total Sweet spot Construction and ensures that even beginners will have no trouble serving and hitting the ball.
  • String Pattern Area: 16 strings x 19 strings.
  • Head Size: The head size of the Liquid 8 is one of the largest at 110 square inches, which affords greater accuracy when hitting the ball.
  • Weight: As stated previously, the weight is one of the features that makes it stand out from its’ competition. At less than ten pounds, it is one of the lightest models that money can buy.
Our rating:

Wilson Zero Strung Performance

The Wilson Zero has one of the lightest frames of any racquet on the market. Due to its low weight, it is good for intermediates and people who are getting used to the game.

Although it may not be ideal for advanced players, it is a great option for people who have a defensive playstyle due to its extreme maneuverability.

This is considered the most balanced out of all the top tier models in its price range. This makes the Wilson Zero great for beginners as well as those who desire more a stable option.

It makes up for its lack of power with ease of use, allowing free movement and powerful defenses against your opponent’s plays. Wrapping lead tape around the frame can give it some extra punch when it’s required, although its defensive power alone can easily change the tide of a close matchup.

The construction of the strings is widely praised by many of its’ users. There is little string vibration during use, and most people would not need to replace the strings for some years even under heavy use. The strings are also dually tapered, which means users can expect accurate serves every time the ball is hit.

Key Features of the Wilson Zero

  • Lightest racquet available.
  • Provides extreme maneuverability.
  • Stable and prevents vibrations.
  • Easy to use and control.
  • Head Size: 118 sq. inches
  • Weight: 1oz (260g)
  • String Pattern: (16×19 strings)

In summary, the Wilson Zero is ideal for people who are gradually getting used to the game.

The enlarged head means that the sweet spot is easily hit on every swing. Although it may not be the strongest that money can buy, it is extremely easy to swing and use, which makes it a viable option for doubles matches or for advanced players.

Our rating: 

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

Racquet technology is getting more advanced every day. Wilson’s engineers have designed the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 with the help of the mighty Roger Federer.

This provides an enhanced sweet spot area as well as a larger head size for more accurate shots.

The designers of the RF97 have stuck to a classic composure during its design, resulting in an attractive yet heavy frame.

The downside to this one is that some players may find it difficult to handle due to its weight. The good news is that the RF97 will force you to step up your game and learn a thing or two about aerodynamics and how to get the most out of every shot.

If you are a professional or advanced player, then the RF97 will suit you perfectly. All you’d need to do is swing it correctly and the rest will be taken care of by its own momentum.

This does require a certain amount of force to swing, but in return, it will provide you with more shock absorption of the incoming ball than lighter models.

The studier frame along with the enlarged head size all work to make the swing more stable during play. The RF97 was designed for people who have an aggressive play style and those who like to dictate the rhythm of play.

The RF97 is great for returning a wide ball or serving a blazing serve at full strength. It also has an advanced string pattern that helps to deliver more control over the ball and added stability during the spin.

Features and Dimensions of the Wilson Pro RF97

  • Head Size: 97 square inches
  • String Pattern: 16*19
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: 13 ounces
  • Made from graphite
  • An ideal choice for aggressive players
  • Classic design
  • Amplifeel technology

With the proper training and skills, you’ll be able to respond to every corner shot, set up rallies in the baseline and volley every shot with ease.

The Wilson Pro RF97 is a real beast of perfect design. If you can bring the racquet under control then you can end up dominating your games!

Our rating: 

Babolat Aeropro Drive GT

The Aeropro Drive GT is the weapon of choice used by Rafael Nadal and some of the other top players in the world.

The advanced design gives it an improved topspin compared to other models on the market. The Drive GT gives you an incredible control over the ball and lets you respond to your opponent from all corners of the court.

The features almost give the user an unfair advantage when on the court. It also provides greater topspin when making a groundstroke, which can lead to creative plays that will catch your opponent off guard.

Drive GT’s Cortex Active Technology helps to link the handle and the frame together, resulting in more responsive swings. The patented technology also helps to prevent disturbing string vibration that can lead to more controlled and accurate shots.

The handle was designed in a unique way to redirect the vibrations to the center of the user’s hands. It also features aero modular technology, this feature, along with its complimentary beams, helps to increase the speed and accuracy of the spin when hitting the ball.

Features and specifications

  • Design improves stability
  • One of a kind architecture
  • Great for long swings
  • Synthetic Grip
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Length: 28 inches
  • Materials: Graphite and tungsten
  • Head size: 110 square inches
  • Employs GT Technology

Many professional and advanced players use the Drive GT because it gives the amazing performance in the backcourt, as well as providing an unparalleled spin and balance on every serve. The racquet will give you the same result when hitting the ball from the tip of the frame as when you land it in the middle of its sweet spot.

The only downside to the Drive GT is arguably its stiffness during prolonged play, which is why it is not recommended to be used by beginners. The manufacturers have paid attention to their user’s feedback and have gradually increased its head size from 4 to 7.

Our rating: 

Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat Pure Drive is widely known as the most balanced of all top-tier models in its price range.

This provides the optimal synergy between balance and power. It has been designed to unearth the total potential of a talented player and allows them to get the most out of their game.

The Pure Drive comes in bold colors of black and blue, combined with light strokes of white to reveal an illustrious appearance. It takes advantage of the most recent and significant innovations in the field of tennis to help any player master their game.

The majority of reviewers that tested this agreed that this is one of the most technically advanced models.

Notable features and specifications of the Pure Drive

  • Various Grip sizes: 4 ½, 4 ¼, 4 1/8, 4 3/8, 4 5/8.
  • Frame Interaction Technology: This feature enhances the optimal impact area.
  • Woofer Pattern Feature: Works to clench the strings in the area of the sweet spot to enhance performance.
  • Appealing Elliptic Shape: Not only is the shape easy on the eyes, it also effective in achieving ideal string tension and increases the power of your serves.
  • Cortex Dampening System: The cortex dampening system gives the user more control and power when hitting the ball with reduced string vibration.
  • 16 Mid Tension Strings

To summarize the 2015 Babolat Pure Drive, it is a technically advanced racquet for the seasoned player. It is also very accessible and comfortable to swing.

This model’s custom strings means that you do not have to worry about restringing it every couple of years, saving you time and money.

Our rating: 

Wilson Blade 98 16 x 19 Countervail

The Wilson Blade 98 is widely known to be one of the top racquets in the world for both pro and amateur players allowing for powerful shots.

The Countervail has the amazing technology that reduces the vibrations in your shots and therefore protects your arm from injury

  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: 11.2oz (strung), 10.7oz (unstrung)
  • Flex Rating: 62
  • Balance: 6 points head light
  • String Pattern: comes in 18×20, 16×19, and 18×16
  • Swing Weight: 326

Yonex DR 98

You can’t go wrong with this as it offers power and flexibility in your shots and features Quake Shut Gel technology that will absorb the vibrations when you make a shot to protect your wrist and hand.

It has to be the most comfortable racquet on the market which is great for long games.

  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: 11.4oz (strung)
  • Flex Rating: 62
  • Balance: 6 points head light
  • String Pattern: 16×19
  • Swing Weight: 324

The Bottom Line – Which is Best For You?

That concludes our list of the best tennis racquets for 2018. Due to the numerous models and options that are on the market today, you may still be left wondering what option is going to work for you and improve your game, which is why we’re going to discuss options for the beginner, intermediate and advanced players.

As always, you are encouraged to first experiment with each type to get a feel for each type before purchasing.

An abstract image of tennis players

If you are looking to specifically match your skill level or ability have a read of our guide below to the best racquets…

For Beginners

If you are just starting out in the world of tennis, you should go to your nearest sports store and try out different brands and models of racquets to find out what suits you.

When trying out a racquet for the first time, keep your eye out for the following:

  • What model is the easiest for you to handle and use?
  • Does it feel good in your hand in terms of grip and weight?
  • Is iteasy or difficult to serve?
  • Does the model feel sturdy enough when striking the ball?

If you a beginner, you will want to look for the following qualities to find the perfect racquet:

  • A model with a larger head size.
  • String dampening technology.
  • A common brand for cheaper repairs and servicing.
  • A model that is vouched for by the tennis community.

In light of the above prerequisites, two options to consider are Liquid 8 Strung or the Wilson Zero. Both come with glowing reviews from verified Amazon shoppers and are relatively inexpensive for a quality model.

For intermediate players

If you have been playing the game of tennis for a while, then you are probably getting pretty good but may lack the crucial mechanics and responsiveness that advanced players have to get your game to next level. This is where a quality racquet can be the deciding factor between success and failure.

You want to pick a racquet that best challenges you and stretches your skills.

You should look for a racquet with the following qualities:

  • Medium weight for more powerful swings and added responsiveness.
  • Optimized head size with a small sweet spot for faster volleys.
  • Opt for power over utility.
  • Possibly a model that is used by professional players.

The Liquid 8 perfectly caters to all the requirements above, but so would something a little more challenging such as the RF97. It could be seen that the Liquid 8 is the safe option for anyone no matter what, while the Wilson Pro RF97 is going to force you to step up your game and improve your mechanics.

Either one is guaranteed to get you your money’s worth of value.

For Advanced Players

For seasoned and even professional players, you are likely crushing it already, but there is always room to go higher. There will always be people on the court that have the bleeding edge over their competition, which will ultimately result in them winning more games over the long-term in major tournaments and the professional arena.

A key advantage that you have as an advanced player is that you can experiment with different technologies that have been designed for the competent player in mind.

For this reason, you should look for the following features when searching for the best tennis racquet if you want to take your game to next level.

  • Experiment with heavier racquets to give you an unexpected amount of power against your opponent.
  • Try out the latest technologies and innovations such as new string configurations and dampening features.
  • Stick to the untested and experimental.
  • If something looks like a risky choice, you have nothing to lose by going for it.

Because you already have core mechanics and competencies already dialled in, you can opt for the most innovative options on the market such as the Babolat Aero drive GT or the Pure Drive model by the same manufacturer.

For Topspin, Control and Power Like Rafa

If you want something that can provide the kind of awesome topspin control and power that Rafa Nadal gets on his shots then you need his signature racquet the Babolat Pure Aero.

Best for Women: What the Venus Sisters Use

Although all racquets can be used by men or women and are generally unisex, if you are looking for one used by two of the greatest female players of all time in Venus and Serena Williams then the midsize Wilson Blade 104 is what they use for their baseline style of play.

Racquet Specifications

Official Size Specifications

The International Tennis Federation gives the following official guidelines on racquet size:

The frame of the racket shall not exceed 73.7 cm (29.0 inches) in overall length, including the handle. The frame of the racket shall not exceed 31.7 cm (12.5 inches) in overall width. The hitting surface shall not exceed 39.4 cm (15.5 inches) in overall length, and 29.2 cm (11.5 inches) in overall width.

Head Size

The size of the racquet’s head is arguably one of the most important factors when selecting a model.

Each one has what’s called a sweet spot when playing tennis which is the best position for the ball to hit the racquet, resulting in more powerful and responsive shots out on the court. The head size determines how large the sweet spot will be.

One thing to keep in mind about buying a racquet with a large head size is the trade-off between control and power. A larger sweet spot will result in more powerful shots but may lack the responsiveness that you need to win games.

Manufacturers distinguish their head sizes by grouping them into different categories:

  1. Midsize (85-94 sq inches): midsize are not usually recommended for beginners due to their smaller head sizes and the strain they will put on your arm when hitting shots. However, in the hands of a seasoned player, they can provide the most control because of their lighter frames.
  2. Midplus: (95-104 sq inches): Midplus head sizes strike the perfect balance between power and additional control and are best for intermediate players.
  3. Oversize (106-135 sq inches): Oversize are perfect for people who want a bigger sweet spot. They are also put less strain on the arm, which means they are an ideal choice for beginners and people who are still getting used to the game.

Tennis racquets leaning against the net

Length

The length of a racquet is an important consideration. They can be between 26 and 29 inches in length, with the most common length being 27 inches. Shorter models are available that have been designed as the best option for children.

The advantage of having a longer racquet is that you will have more powerful serves, but at the expense of agility. Small differences in length translate to a big difference in how powerful your serves will be, especially if you are not very tall.

Longer racquets are generally lighter than those of standard lengths.

The three most common sizes can be viewed below:

SizeLength
Small26 inches / 66.04 cm
Standard27 inches / 68.58 cm
Long28-29 inches / 71.12 - 73.66 cm

Grip Size

The grip is where you place your hands. Choosing an appropriate grip size is important to avoid elbow injuries, as well as getting a secure feel of the racquet.

Measure your grip size: Measure from the middle wrinkle of your hand to the top of your ring finger to get your grip size in inches.

Racquet grip size is something that you really need to get a feel for in person.

Man putting new grip tape on a tennis racquet

Weight

The weight of the racquet will affect its stability and control during play. A heavier racquet will lead to less vibration when hitting the ball, which increases stability. While those with a lighter frame will have more maneuverability, ideal for striking the ball faster.

It should be noted that light racquets can always be modified to be heavier, while heavier models have a set weight.

When deciding the weight, you should take an honest evaluation of your arm strength and your level of play. Lighter racquets are good for beginners and children whilst heavier models are suited towards advanced players.

Below is a rough guide to help you select the appropriate weight.

  • Children: (250 grams)
  • Beginners: (250-270 grams)
  • Intermediate: (270-290 grams)
  • Advanced: (290-311 grams)
  • Professional: (310+ grams)

As stated previously, for advanced and professional players I advise that you try out a heavy one as this will allow you to get the most out of every swing and produce the best shots possible.

For beginners, I suggest trying a model that is less than 270 grams. The reduced striking force of the lighter model will help keep the ball inside the lines, as well as preventing the ball from bouncing across the end line of your opponent’s side of the course.

The Balance of the Tennis Racquet

The balance of the racquet will determine how the weight of spread over its surface. The weight can be distributed to the top or towards the bottom. The balance should be taken into consideration for a beginner or even an intermediate player.

For advanced players, it is recommended that you choose a racquet that has more weight distributed to the bottom for better maneuverability.

Beginners should pick something that has a balanced weight ratio for the best of both worlds in terms of stability and power.

Materials

It should be no surprise that there are different kinds of materials used and the best tennis racquets are made from the best materials. T]

The most common are made from aluminium which is durable and stable enough for even competitive play, although for a player who prefers to strike hard with a high amount of accuracy, an aluminium frame may not be ideal.

Most players who are new to the game are recommended to pick up a graphite model as these are generally cheaper and easier to handle for novices.

What Strings to Use

A close up of tennis racquet strings

Many professional tennis players consider their choice of strings to be one of the most important features when choosing the best racquet for their needs.

Some common materials used for tennis racquet strings are as follows:

  • Natural Gut
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Spun Threads
  • Multi-filament

As always, each type of material used in the string will have a considerable impact on how your tennis game is played. Different strings have varying benefits and weaknesses and are designed to work in different ways.

You should endeavor to select the type of string that work best for you.

Elastic strings will generally give you more power with every serve, as will choosing a model that has longer strings. If you are learning it is advisable to choose a model that has softer strings such as polyester, as this material is great for reducing string vibration, which can lead to more accurate shots.

Advanced players may want more spin on their serves, which is where thinner strings can make for the perfect choice.

About the Brands

Head

Head is one of the leading brands of tennis racquets and was formed in the 1950’s in Baltimore USA. See our reviews of head racquets here.

Babolat

Babolat is a French brand based in Lyon and formed in 1875, See our reviews of Babolat racquets here.

Wilson

Wilson was formed in 1913 in Chicago, USA. See our reviews of Wilson racquets here.

Summary

Each model that can be seen above has been carefully researched and selected due to their competitive prices and numerous positive reviews. The full spec sheet of each can be viewed on their respective product pages on Amazon.

You are encouraged to do your own research of each model and come to your own conclusion about what is ultimately going to be the best for you.

If you still can’t make up your mind about what model to purchase and you don’t have the time to visit a sports store, you can always watch videos of players using the best tennis racquet on video sites such as YouTube and learn from their opinions and advice.

As a final note of caution, it is important that you only buy from verified merchants when looking for the best tennis racquet, as there are fraudulent and imitation models of the most popular brands out there if you choose not to buy from credible retailers such as sports stores and Amazon.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our reviews of the best tennis racquets and that this guide was both interesting and informative to read.