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Guide to Tennis Racket Specifications


Weight

Weight

The stationary weight (measured in grams) usually represents the unstrung weight of the racket frame, excluding the strings, grommets and grip. Tennis rackets typically range from the lightest around 225g to the heaviest around 340g. Most tennis rackets are within the range of 240-310g.

Heavy
(300-340g)
Heavy rackets are suited to advanced level players with a fully developed and powerful swing. Players who lack the strength required will find it difficult to swing heavy rackets and are likely to experience fatigue sooner during play. However, heavy rackets provide the highest level of frame stability and transmit less shock than lighter rackets, making them advisable for players with wrist or elbow injuries.
Mid-weight
(280-300g)
Mid-weight rackets are typically the most popular and are suitable for the majority of players to comfortably play with.
Light
(225-280g)
Light rackets are easier to manoeuvre, which can be advantageous in various situations such as hitting volleys and switching between forehand and backhand positions. They help generate power very easily for players with shorter swings or who are not physically very strong or athletic. Light rackets are also a great option for young players who are moving on to their first adult size racket. Players with tennis elbow or other arm and shoulder injuries, however, should avoid ultra-lightweight rackets.
Balance

Balance

The balance of a racket is a measure of its weight distribution, which may be evenly distributed or shifted either towards the head or the grip. The static balance point (centre of gravity) of a racket is expressed as a measurement from the butt end in millimetres or inches. If the balance point is closer to the head, the racket is considered head heavy, while if the balance point is shifted towards the grip, it is head light. If a racket has an even (neutral) balance, the weight is typically centred around the throat of the racket.

Head-light If a racket is head light, this improves manoeuvrability but makes it harder to generate power. Head-light rackets are typically suited to more advanced players.
Head-heavy Head-heavy rackets help to build momentum on swings, which leads to increased power. However, it is more difficult to direct shots with accuracy. Head-heavy rackets are recommended for social players looking to hit with greater power.
Even balance For the majority of players at beginner or intermediate level, an even balance racket is recommended as this provides versatility without sacrificing too much power or manoeuvrability. The balance can be shifted slightly towards the head or grip depending on individual preference.

The balance point of a racket is sometimes referred to in ‘points’, with each point representing 1/8 inch from the racket’s midpoint. For example, a racket with a length of 27 inches and a balance point of 12 1/2 inches is 1 inch, or 8 points head-light (even balance would be 13 1/2 inches).

Dynamic weight

Dynamic Weight

The dynamic weight or swing weight of a racket, expressed in grams, is calculated by measuring a racket’s weight in relation to its balance, length and head size. In essence, swing weight is a gauge of how heavy a racket feels when swung. The lower the number, the easier it is to swing and the greater the manoeuvrability. Rackets with a higher swing weight are harder to swing, but offer greater stability on impact.

Beginners and intermediate players may opt for a lower swing weight as it is easier to position the racket effectively and to generate racket head speed. Higher swing weights are more suitable for advanced players, as they allow them to redirect the pace of big hitting opponents and hit with greater power.

Length

Length

The length of a racket is measured from the bottom of the handle/grip to the top of the racket head. The standard length for the majority of adult tennis rackets is 27 inches. However, rackets may range from 26.5 inches up to the maximum legal length of 29 inches. A longer racket provides greater reach and leverage, providing more power than a standard-length racket, but can be more difficult to control. The added length results in a higher swing weight, meaning more effort is required to manoeuvre the racket.

Tennis rackets for juniors are available in a range of sizes (with lengths down to 19 inches) appropriate to specific age groups and also the ability/strength of the player.

Head size

Head Size

Head size, expressed either in square inches or square centimetres, measures the total strung area of the racket. Although there is no industry standard, modern tennis racket head sizes are typically divided into four different categories:

Category Head Size
Midsize 85-96 in²
Mid plus 97-105 in²
Oversize 106-115 in²
Super oversize 116-135 in²

Tennis rackets are generally available with head sizes ranging from 95 to 110 square inches, with rackets in the mid plus size range being most common. For competitive players, a mid plus racket close to 100 square inches is the recommended starting point.

Rackets with oversize heads have a larger sweet spot that will allow players to hit with power more consistently, with greater forgiveness when hitting off-centre shots. This is typically recommended for beginners or players with a less powerful swing. Oversize or super oversize rackets above 110 square inches are suited to players with shorter swings who struggle to generate enough power to get the ball across the court. Rackets with larger head sizes than 137 square inches are not currently legal for the sport.

Smaller head sizes below 100 square inches can provide greater accuracy but have a smaller hitting area and sweet spot with a greater risk of hitting off-centre shots, so are recommend for more advanced players with powerful swings who can consistently hit the sweet spot. Rackets with heads smaller than 85 square inches have not been in production since the 1980s.

Beam width

Beam Width

Beam width (measured in millimetres) represents the thickness of the racket frame. The measurement is taken as the width of the racket when viewed from the side. Rackets with a thicker (wider) beam width are usually stiffer and more powerful due to the extra material in the frame, while rackets with a thinner (narrower) beam width offer greater manoeuvrability, flexibility and feedback.

Narrow beam
(18-21 mm)
Narrow beam rackets tend to be suited to more advanced players. Heavy rackets are often combined with a thinner beam width, to keep powerful shots under control.
Average beam
(22-24 mm)
Rackets with an average beam width provide a middle ground of power and control.
Wide beam
(25-28 mm)
Beginners may opt for a wider beam as this helps to generate power. Light rackets usually come with a wide beam in order to maintain structural stability.

Some frames have a constant beam width, expressed as a single number, while others taper from one width at the top of the head to another at the throat. In this case, the beam width is listed as two or three numbers in order of head, shoulder and handle of the frame.

Pattern density

Pattern Density

String patterns are expressed as the number of main strings x the number of cross strings. A more open string pattern with fewer strings yields a lower overall string bed stiffness than a dense pattern, providing improved power but with reduced string durability. A dense or ‘closed’ pattern with more main strings or cross strings creates a stiffer string bed, allowing for better control with reduced power. Closed patterns are therefore suited to use with softer, thinner and more feel-oriented strings.

Tennis rackets typically range between 14x16 for an open string pattern to 18x20 for a closed pattern. Rackets with 16x18 and 16x19 string patterns are the most prevalent on the market.

Stiffness

Stiffness/Flexibility

The stiffness of a racket frame is measured by its ability to flex on its longitudinal axis. Stiffer rackets bend less on contact with the ball, absorbing less impact energy from the ball and resulting in greater power. Flexible rackets bend more, leading to greater energy loss from the ball and reduced power, with an increased dwell time on the string bed during impact.

Frame stiffness is often expressed as an RA score, or stiffness rating. Tennis rackets typically have an RA score within the range of 50-85, where the lower number indicates a more flexible racket and the higher number a stiffer racket. The majority of modern rackets will fall on the scale somewhere between 60-75.

Frame Stiffness RA Score
Flexible 63 and below
Medium 64 to 67
Stiff 68 and above

A stiff frame will transmit more impact shock to the wrist, elbow and shoulder than a flexible frame. Tennis elbow and other arm problems are often worsened by very stiff rackets. More flexible rackets provide a softer impact with less shock and vibration and are therefore recommended for players with arm and/or shoulder problems.

Grip size

Grip Size

Grip size is measured as the circumference of the handle in inches. In Europe, the sizes are often converted into numbers ranging from size 0 to 5, or L0 to L5.

US Europe
4" L0
4 1/8" L1
4 1/4" L2
4 3/8" L3
4 1/2" L4
4 5/8" L5

The average grip size is L3, which suits most male and female players. Smaller women may opt for an L2 grip size, while some men may find a L4 grip more comfortable. Juniors typically require an L1 grip size.