The Best Tennis Racquets of 2018: A Comparison and Guide

So you’re looking for a new top tennis racquet? You’ve come to the right spot. This article provides a definitive look at and thorough comparison of the best tennis racquets of 2018. This is the tennis racquet review guide you’ve been looking for!

You’ve got a lot of options out there, so tread carefully. There are massive price differences between the most expensive rackets out there and the cheapest tennis racquets. But the good news is, you have more choices than ever when making the decision about what the best tennis racquet for you is.

Remember to, after making your final decision, consider these important final consideration before buying a tennis racquet.

Best All Around Tennis Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff RF97

Check Price NowThis racquet is a specimen. Tennis Club Supplies rates this stick the best tennis racquet for 2018. Roger Federer and Wilson came together to design a racquet that works for players who want to develop a game style similar to Roger. It’s heavy, yet it’s perfectly balanced and so feels light in a swing.

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The touch on the Wilson ProStaff RF97 is unparalleled. On a drop volley, it feels as though you are lightly tossing the ball short in your opponent’s court. Finally, it meets all these standards of a top tennis racquet with a classy design and groundbreaking technology.

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Best Tennis Racquet Comparison

Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3

The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is the best tennis racquet for beginners. It is large, forgiving, and light. Select this racquet if you’re new to the game and not looking to spend a fortune.

Best Low-Tier Option

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Wilson Pro Staff 97

The Wilson ProStaff 97 is the younger sibling of the RF97. Slightly lighter than the RF97, this racquet still possesses most of the touch, finesse and control of the best tennis racquet.

Best Mid-Tier Option

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Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat Pure Drive is one of the best racquets for advanced players who like to play big from the baseline. Read more below in the tennis racquet guide to the Babolat Pure Drive.

Best High-Tier Option

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Final Thoughts Before Purchasing a Top Tennis Racquet

measure-tennis-racquet-grip-size1. Think about how that racquet will fit in with your playing style. Some racquets will be better at the touch and those will often be preferable for doubles players and all-court players. Other racquets will prioritize power from the baseline and those are good for grinders. Get the best tennis racquet that’s specifically the best for you.

2. Purchase the racquet that feels best in your palm. Don’t just buy one because Rafa is playing with it, or because Federer just won Wimbledon with it. Instead, pick the best tennis stick for your game regardless of what others have chosen. Remember that how you string your racquet also plays an important role in how your racquet will perform on the court.

3. Finally, make sure you purchase the correct grip size. Use a ruler and the table on this page to guide you when deciding on the right grip size. If you’re right in between two grip sizes, I encourage you to go with the smaller of the two. This decision will help you keep control over the racquet, specifically on the serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want to switch tennis racquets?

Why should you switch to a new tennis racquet? Well, the number reason you should make a change is because you’re unhappy with your old racquet. That could be for any reason, but don’t change if you’re happy. However, sometimes you need to demo new rackets for comparison’s sake!

Tennis racket happiness is comparative. If you’re using a ten year old tennis racquet, even if it’s one of the best tennis racquets from back then, it’s likely the technology has developed enough so that better tennis racquets are now available. Demo a racquet and see what you like better.

The primary reason to switch tennis racquets after awhile is because of flex. This means that rackets get bendy over time causing them to lose some of both their power and control. Even buying an identical but new copy of the same racket will solve this problem.

I recommend, if you’re buying new rackets, to buy the most up to date model of your stick so as to keep up with the latest technology.

Who is This Tennis Racquet Guide Designed For?

You’ll find many guides out there that are specifically tailed to the best tennis racquet for women, or, the best tennis racquet for kids. This guide is not that guide.

No woman is created the same, no kid is created the same, and no tennis player is the same. This guide is for everyone and is just designed to get you started on your journey to finding the best tennis racquet.

How is This Tennis Racquet Guide Organized?

At the top, you’ll find our pick for best tennis racquet based on price point. We suggest a low-tier, mid-tier and top-tier option. We do a more in depth dive into our favorite tennis racquets farther down the page.

Factors To Consider Before Purchasing a Top Tennis Racquet

String Pattern

“String pattern” refers to the number of crosses and mains on a racquet. Cross refer to the strings that go from left to right on a tennis racquet. Mains refer to the strings that go up and down. So, if a racquet has 16 crosses and 19 mains, then there will be 35 distinct lines of string across the racquet. Don’t pay too much attention to this specification. Head size is a better indicator of the size of the racquet.

Weight and Balance Point

“Weight and Balance point” refers to the point on the racquet at which the racquet is evenly balanced. A higher number in this category means that the racquet is LESS head heavy. A lower number here means that the racquet is MORE head heavy. If you were to use your finger as a fulcrum and let the racquet balance on your finger, this number would be the number of centimeters from the base of the racquet that you would need to place your finger.

Grip Size

Grip size is an important factor for any player to consider. Please refer to the guide above on how to chose the correct grip size. Go for the size that the photograph in that section recommends.

Head Size

Head size is the best indicator to look to determine the size of the racquet. Anything smaller than 90 sq in is abnormally small (although 85 sq in heads do exist) and anything larger than 110 sq in is abnormally large. I recommend advanced players to aim for 90 to 100. Intermediate players to look around the 100 range. Beginners should aim for a racquet no lower than 100 sq in.

Racquet Weight

Racquet weight is possibly the msot important consideration when buying a racquet. The only real weight to determine the weight of the best tennis racquet for you is by trying different racquets out. For beginners, go under 300 g, for intermediates, aim for around 300 g. Advanced players should not purchase a racquet below 300 g.

Best All Around Tennis Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff RF97

federer-tennis-racquet-guideNot many players get the chance to imagine, design and then mass produce their own racquet. Then again, Roger Federer is not “many players.” Federer’s intricate knowledge of tennis is felt in every nook and cranny of this tennis racquet. It’s light in the hand and has a sturdy string weight rendering it deadly for approaches and serves. It’s 97 inch head size feels slightly smaller than it is giving the racquet an unbelievable amount of control and comfort. While not for beginners, we adore this racquet and therefore rate it the best tennis racquet available. Buy it. Buy two. Use it, love it, live it.

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Wilson’s and Roger’s coordination on this racquet is unlike anything that’s yet been done in the world of racquet sports. You’ll feel a bit like Roger when you’re swinging it around. Whether that’s because his signature is on it, or because he helped design it, is for you to decide.

rf97-top-rated-tennis-racquetOne of the best way to understand how this top tennis racquet feels is to think about how Roger plays. Traditionally, experts refer to his style as “all-court” style. He is comfortable from all areas of the court and slowly builds points. He molds his game to attack the weaknesses of his opponents. He’s a shot maker when he needs to be and a grinder when he needs to be. He dance at the net just as he can glide at the baseline. This flexibility is felt in the ProStaff RF97. Roger uses this best tennis racquet, so he wanted it to be something he was excited about.

Tech Specs of the Best Tennis Racquet: Wilson ProStaff RF97

  • Head Size: 97 sq. in.
  • String Pattern: 16×19
  • Unstrung Balance: 30.5CM/12 Pts HL
  • Unstrung Weight: 340 g
  • Length: 27
  • Cross Section: 21.5MM Flat Beam
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Pros of the Wilson ProStaff RF97

Here are the primary reasons we rate the Wilson ProStaff RF97 the best tennis racquet available.

Unbelievable Touch & Feel

One thing Roger is known best for is his touch. His ability to put the ball anywhere on the court from anywhere on the court is phenomenal. While I don’t think his ProStaff should get all the credit, it certainly doesn’t hurt. The number one reason Tennis Club Supplies rates this racquet the best tennis racquet is because of the feel of the ball the player receives from it.

The ball seems to just spend a longer period of time on the strings which allows you to maneuver it in more subtle ways. If you’re at the net, pounding a volley deep or hitting that dropper this is the racquet that allows for the precision required.

The touch on the racquet also assists from the baseline. Particularly slices will feel more comfortable. And the racquet is built to provide additional spin. Wilson actaully tested this racquet and found that even for those swinging at the same speed, the Wilson ProStaff RF97 produces more RPM (rotations per minute) on the ball than other racquets.

Stringing Recommendation: To increase the touch on this racquet even more, string NATURAL GUT in the main and a POLY STRING in the crosses.

Bigger Sweet Spot

sweet-spot-tennis-racquetThe sweet spot on this racquet is massive. For those who aren’t aware, “sweet spot” is tennis player lingo for the area right in the center of the racquet that makes you think “sweeettt” when you hit the ball there. For a racquet to be rated as one of the best, it’s important to not just have a large sweet spot, but also to have powerful one. The Wilson ProStaff RF97 fulfills both of these requirements.

Federer and the engineers specifically got together to figure out how to enlarge the sweet spot. Even a player as expert Roger gets a ball off center on occasion. So, when designing the racquet, he was looking to minimize the situations in which he misses the sweet spot. Way to do that? EXPAND it. He was successful in his goal.

Bottom Line: The larger sweet spot is a forgiving feature of this racquet that players of all levels should appreciate.

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Sleek Look & Design

Winning your match is half the battle. The other half, without a doubt, is doing it in style. Any best tennis racquet will allow a player to reach this goal. The Wilson ProStaff RF97 certainly meets the mark. It’s sleek matte black finish carries an exquisite sense of style. When I carry this racquet, I feel like I should be wearing a tuxedo. You know that classy Roger Federer personality? The one that somehow perfectly balances confidence and humbleness? This racquet envelopes that persona.

Play good. Look good. Be good.

Cons of the Wilson ProStaff RF97

Not for Beginners

Sometimes I think this racquet should come with a “don’t try this at home” warning. I do not recommend this racquet for any player 3.5 or below. If you’re still working on perfecting your game, you’ll want to find a racquet that provides a bit more power and a larger head size. This best tennis racquet is heavy and to use it like it’s meant to be used, it requires that you have nicely designed strokes.

Price is High

No point in beating around the bush. The Wilson ProStaff RF97 racquet isn’t cheap. It’s MSRP is $250 and that makes it one of the most expensive racquets on the market. For this reason, I recommend you try demoing the racquet before your purchase it. If you break strings, you’ll definitely need at least two sticks. All the more reason to make sure you like it before clicking “buy.”

For those dedicated to their game and looking for the highest quality equipment the world of tennis can offer, don’t let the price dissuade you. You’ll be glad you shelled out the extra cash!

Heavy Weight

One of this racquets best part, in my mind, is its weight. But that doesn’t mean the heavy weight is appropriate for everyone. Particularly, if you don’t have well developed strokes, this racquet might cause you to hurt your shoulder or elbow if used for an extended period of time.

The racquet’s balance, paired with good strokes, makes the weight no problem and work in the player’s favor. But, with undeveloped strokes, the balance of the racquet does not adequately outweigh the weight meaning you might be swinging a few more ounces than you bargained for.

Conclusion on our Top Rate Tennis Racquet: Wilson ProStaff RF97

federer-using-best-tennis-racquetTennis Club Supplies rates this the best tennis racquet on the market for a good reason. It’s superb.

The Wilson ProStaff RF97 allows for amazing touch and feel, it has a massive sweet spot, and looks damn good well it does it. It’s the perfect racquet for players looking to develop an all court game, perfect players who want to be shotmakers somedays and grinders some others.

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For stringing this stick up, you’ll want to make sure you (or your stringer) consults Wilson’s guide for stringing this particular racquet.

Best High-Tier Racquet: Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat Pure Drive is, at this point, a classic contender for best tennis racquet. In this 2018 upgrade, Babolat did a wonderful job of emphasizing the strengths of the racquet while also addressing some of the weaknesses. This racquet is best for players who play aggressive from the baseline. 

The Pure Drive brings impeccable power and and spin when you can get a full swing behind the ball. Many players report that it’s at its best on the serve. When using the Pure Drive, you’ll see an increase in power on your flat and an increase in RPM’s on your kick and slice. This racquet will help you hold serve.

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All these benefits come from Babolat’s state of the art racquet technology. This racquet features SMAC visco-elastic material that was actually first developed by NASA. In addition, the string spacing is slightly updates to include FSI Technology. Finally, Babolat changed the grommet shape from the traditional circle to a diamond. These factors allow the string to “grab” the ball helping to create additional spin provided you can bring high racquet head speed.

The Babolat Pure Drive does take a bit of getting used to. When a stick adds this much power to your game, you may find yourself letting a few balls sail at first.  Be sure to give the racquet a full 90 minute chance before you put it down. That’s a good standard rule for trying any racquet as all racquets will feel a bit odd right when you pick them up for the first time.

Cons of the 2018 Babolat Pure Drive

This racquet does have a few cons. As with any racquet that provides such high powered thrust, you sacrifice some touch. For players who like to attack net, we can’t recommend this as the best tennis racquet. Play like Federer, use something else. Play like Nadal, this is your best tennis racquet!

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By the way, if you do buy this racquet, or any other, considering pairing it with the Babolat POP which helps track statistics on your swing. This nifty device is a tennis sensor that can help you pick up on potential weaknesses in your game.

Tech Specs of the Babolat Pure Drive

  • Head Size: 100 sq. in.
  • String Pattern: 16×19
  • Unstrung Balance: 32.5CM
  • Unstrung Weight: 300 g
  • Length: 27 in

Conclusion on the Babolat Pure Drive

babolat-tennis-racquet-guideThis stick is the ideal best tennis racquet for players who play big from the baseline or for players who want to play big from the baseline. For power hitters, this racquet create an effortless experience. It’s all about power and you’ll really feel the ball fly off the racquet.

While Babolat has done a better job reducing the trampoline effect of the Pure Drive, it still has less touch compared to other racquets. For this reason, you may find touch baseline shots and volleys a bit tougher to execute on. We don’t recommend this racquet for doubles play unless you’re the kind to stick back at the baseline and rip the ball.

Be sure to check out Babolat’s stringing guides for all their racquets if you are going to string this one up yourself.

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Best Mid-Tier Tennis Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff

The Wilson Prostaff is a very similar racquet to our best rated tennis racquet: the Wilson ProStaff RF97. This model is slightly cheaper and plays similarly. It’s ideal for all court players who want a racquet that allows them more control than average over the ball. The primary difference between this stick and our top-rated RF97 is the normal ProStaff is slightly lighter. This makes it a bit easier on the arm and more forgiving for players who don’t have the experience on the court as Roger does.

If you generate significant power on your own and are looking for a way to control it, then this is a great racquet for you.

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The slightly cheaper price is another benefit when compared to the Wilson ProStaff RF97. We prefer the weight of the RF97 slightly more, but make sure you do too before you decide to go with that one.

Otherwise, everything else we noted about the ProStaff RF97 also holds true for this top rated tennis racquet.

Tech Specs of the Wilson Pro Staff 97

  • Head Size: 97 sq. in.
  • String Pattern: 16×19
  • Unstrung Balance: 31.5CM
  • Unstrung Weight: 315 g
  • Length: 27 in

Conclusion on the Wilson ProStaff 97

prostaff-mid-tier-best-tennis-racquetThis racquet is slightly cheaper and lighter than Tennis Club Supplies’ best tennis racquet. We recommend it whole-heartedly. Get it if you like playing with the RF97 but don’t think your arm can handle the heavy weight over the long term. It’s great for all court players and for aggressive players who are looking for a racquet that gives them a little bit more control than they’re used to.

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Best Low-Tier Racquet: Wilson Hyper Hammer

best-low-tier-tennis-racquetThis is a fantastic best tennis racquet for beginners. It is even a great racquet for intermediate players. It’s large head size is forgiving to players who occasionally miss the sweet spot. That being said, this racquet is a significant step down from the other available options. Of course, the price point goes hand in hand with that. This racquet is less than half the price of the others.

We’ll start by reviewing the tech specs. Please take note that they are significantly different than the racquets above. You’ll find that this stick, while still qualifying as one of the best tennis racquets available, is considerably lighter and larger. Consequently, it comes with less control.

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Tech Specs of the Wilson Hyper Hammer

  • Head Size: 110 sq. in.
  • String Pattern: 16×20
  • Unstrung Balance: 8 points head heavy
  • Unstrung Weight: 255 g
  • Length: 27.5 in

Who should buy the best low tier tennis racquet?

I would recommend not buying this racquet if you are young and plan to stay dedicated to tennis for an extended period of time. You’re better off, in that situation, investing in a pair of nicer racquets and sticking with them for the long haul. Unfortunately, using a cheaper racquet like this can lead you to develop some bad habits. If you have an issue with a stroke with a normally weighted racquet, you’ll notice immediately as your arm will get sore. But with this light weight Wilson Hyper Hammer? You can keep the stroke hitch around for awhile without noticing any ill effects. This could hurt your health and your game in the long run.

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I do recommend buying this racquet if you only rarely play tennis. It’s large size is extremely forgiving to inexperienced players. Only playing once or twice a year? Don’t see the point in spending $200 on a top of the line racquet? Then this is the best tennis racquet for you.

Conclusion: The Best Tennis Racquets of 2018

best-tennis-racquetsGood luck on finding the tennis racquet that is the best fit for you. You’ve got a lot of options! If we have one piece of advice, it’s to make sure you demo the racquet you’re think about buying. Having the racquet in your hand will help you determine if it’s a good fit for your game. If you’re picking up additional new tennis gear, you might also consider giving our articles on the best tennis sunglasses and the best tennis ball machines a look.

In addition remember to review our tips for the final things to consider before purchasing a tennis racquet.

Finally, don’t forget to purchase a some strings for your racquet and some over grips too.

Best Tennis Racquet of 2018
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Best Tennis Racquet of 2018
This tennis racquet buying guide provides a look at the best tennis racquets of 2018. We'll walk you through everything you need to know to buy the right top-rated tennis racquet for your game.
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Tennis Club Supplies
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