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The Best Tennis Rackets for Beginners

Light, forgiving, user-friendly, but with a logical next step in the racket line… these are all things you should be on the lookout for as you choose your first frame. Here is our pick of the Top 5 Beginner Rackets.

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It’s no secret that tennis has grown massively in the past few years.

It’s an extremely fun sport, and from the anecdotal experiences we’ve had in-store, beginner players have migrated over en masse.

Multiple times daily — new players come in to the store, tell us they tried tennis for the first time, loved it, and want to get their first real racket. Today, we will make the process of finding your first racket a little easier by developing a comprehensive list of the five best beginner rackets.

Before we get into any specific rackets, we have to set some criteria for what makes a racket suitable for beginners.

For one, the racket must be light enough to complement a new player’s relatively slow stroke.

Naturally, beginners won’t be able to generate the same racket head speed as advanced players, so they should opt for lighter frames generally in the 280 to 295-gram range. It can be a little challenging to find what weight works best, but as a general rule, taller players like heavier rackets because they have more leverage to swing it properly, and vice versa. 

Most of the rackets on this list weigh around 285 grams because that has worked for most beginners in the past. There are a few exceptions, and we’ll explain why they’ve made the list when we get there.



Second criteria: every racket on this list is part of a more extensive racket lineup with similar playability, just at different weights.

That’s important because if you demo a 285-gram racket and get along well with it but want more stability, you can easily transition into that line’s 300-gram option. It’s also important because beginner rackets are temporary; you eventually want to transition into something heavier, and that transition is easy if the heavier racket plays similarly. 

Finally, a beginner racket must be forgiving in playability and on the arm.

In playability because you want your racket to help you when you make a mistake, and forgiving on the arm because the tennis swing is a violent motion, and as a beginner, you won’t have the technique or the muscles to withstand less comfortable frames.


5. Head Auxetic Speed Team

The Speed Team ticks all of the above criteria; it weighs 285 grams, has a forgiving 100 square-inch head size, and a comfortable feel. It separates itself from other rackets with similar specs because it packs a few features that make it play well with spin. 

As a beginner, you want to learn to play tennis the right way. Nowadays, playing well involves playing with spin. The Speed has a semi-aerodynamic beam that helps it accelerate quickly through contact when swung with the windshield wiper technique. Still, it’s also not so aerodynamic, where it punishes you if you don’t hit with spin.

The Speed also has a great combination of power and control. A lot of other beginner rackets are more geared towards power to help players get the ball over the net, but not everyone struggles with that, and with its thinner beam, the Speed is softer, which makes it more controlled. For super-powerful beginners, please wait until we get to number four; the Speed is more for players with good power but nothing over the top.

The transition from the Speed Team into the MP is also fairly simple. The MP isn’t just the Team with 15 extra grams, but it’s pretty close in feel, just with a little more control, but it’s still more user-friendly than outright control rackets.

4. Head Gravity MP 2023

Putting the Gravity MP on this list is bending the criteria to the max, but let me explain. This racket will only work for a very particular type of beginner: those of you who go out and swing for the fences every time you hit a ball — you know who you are. Power isn’t an issue; controlling that power is, and that's where the Gravity MP comes in.

With its thin beam, soft flex, and tighter string bed, it’s close to being a true control racket, but thanks to its 100 square-inch head size and teardrop shape, it’s significantly more forgiving than other rackets in the same category.

It also weighs 295 grams, close to the “standard” weight range geared toward intermediate and advanced players. This will be too heavy for most true beginners, but that extra mass will help slow down your stroke if you are a player who whacks uncontrollably at the ball. 

The best thing about the Gravity MP is that you’ll never graduate out of it. Unlike the other rackets on this list, it can be played at the highest level; you may just need a bit of customization to stabilize it against the biggest hitters.

3. Wilson Clash 100L

The Gravity took us away from our criteria, but don’t worry, the Clash 100L brings us back down to earth. It has a 100 square inch head size, weighs 280 grams, and has a thick beam. It has every ingredient to be user-friendly, with one small catch: it’s very soft. 

Many of tennis’ most forgiving rackets are stiff because stiffness helps with stability when static weight is low. Wilson’s priority in developing the Clash was to produce a racket that was as stable as it was soft, and they delivered. When it first came out, many experienced reviewers were caught off guard by the incredible level of stability considering the Clash’s low stiffness and static weight; no one had experienced anything like it, and it pretty much revolutionized the game.

Those players who had been suffering with stiff but stable rackets finally found what they’d been looking for for years, and the sales told the whole story; the Clash worked. Especially for those of you with a history of arm injuries or discomfort, there is no better line of rackets.

Beyond its comfort, though, the Clash also has a decent amount of spin technology (albeit less than the Speed), so it complements that modern swing style, and the transition out of the 100L into the 100 is about as easy as it gets since the two rackets are identical in everything but weight and balance.

2. Yonex EZONE 100L

If you value build quality, look no further than Yonex. The Japanese frames are still made in-house with the highest attention to detail and quality control. Regarding which Yonex racket is best for beginners, it’s the EZONE 100L. It weighs 285 grams, has a 100 square inch head size, and a 16x19 string pattern, but if it’s so beginner-friendly, why are so many professional players swinging it?

They’re not necessarily using the 100L, most likely the 100 or the 98, but the EZONE line has a unique design that gives it a fantastic blend of beginner-friendly power and great control and feel for the ball. So far, all the rackets on this list have featured a constant beam; the EZONE goes away from this classic design with its thick hoop and thin throat.

The thick hoop helps the frame stay sturdy on impact to make it stable and forgiving, but then the paper thin throat flexes significantly more for better ball control and feel. Developing something so different in the early 2010s was a giant leap of faith but undoubtedly paid off, with players of all levels falling in love with the EZONE.

It’s also a very spin-friendly racket. The throat isn’t just thin; it’s also aerodynamic, which, as I mentioned with the Speed, helps accelerate the head through contact. If the Speed’s throat is semi-aerodynamic, then the EZONE 100L’s is fully aero, although still not as crazy as the Aero and Extreme offer.

Finally, stepping up to the EZONE 100 is as easy as it was for the Clash; it’s just the same racket, 15 grams heavier.

1. Pure Drive Team

As usual with anything Pure Drive-related, there's not much competition. This line dominates the tennis industry and with good reason. Consistency and pragmatism have helped make it so successful, and the odds are high that one of the Pure Drives will work for you.

It’s powerful, forgiving, controlled, and has a uniquely user-friendly x-factor that makes for a short period of adaptation when someone takes it out to demo. It’s gotten to a point where each time we send it out with another racket, there’s an 80% chance that the player will choose the Pure Drive.

The consistency I’m talking about has been crucial in maintaining its position at number one because Babolat has never produced a “bad” Pure Drive. Instead of revolutionizing the line from one generation to the next, they prefer subtle improvements, which makes it easy to switch to the next generation. Players always know what they’ll get, and the next one is usually just a little better than the previous one.

Babolat has focussed most of its R&D on dampening the frame for the current Pure Drive Team. To be so user-friendly and powerful, the Pure Drive adopts the “stiffer is better” motto, which made some of the previous versions uncomfortable. This version's SMAC dampening tech is so effective that despite its high stiffness rating, discomfort is a non-issue. It may not be as comfortable as the Clash, but unless you’re worried about swinging a stiff racket, you’ll never have a problem.

On top of that — and this has more to do with that pragmatic side — Babolat has a comprehensive weight tier system for all their rackets. The Tours are the heaviest, and then they go down in 15 gram increments to the Standard, then the Team, and finally the Lite, with the Pure Drive Team weighing 285 grams. If you demo the wrong one or want to switch to a heavier model as you get better, it’s a simple change.

There they are! The best beginner rackets at Rackets & Runners. Of course, there are several other options, but if you want to give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect frame, go for one of these.

Do remember that these are beginner rackets. You always want to progress as a player, which means you’ll eventually want to switch to something heavier. That’s why it was so important to discuss frames with a logical “next up” racket to work into (other than the Gravity MP).

If you want to demo any of these rackets, you can always come visit us in-store, or you can check them out online!


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