Tennis racket and 3 balls

How Much Should I Expect to Spend For a Good Tennis Racket?

Spending a bit more money on a tennis racket can help you ace the competition, but there is not much advantage to picking up a more expensive one if you’re a beginner.

The amount of money you should expect to spend for a good tennis racket will depend on your experience in the sport and whether or not you’ll be competing or just playing for fun.

Just as there is a wide range of levels in tennis (from novices, to club players, to competitive players, to professionals), there is a wide range of prices for rackets. 

Let’s start with players who have never hit a tennis ball before. If that’s you, then look to borrow a racket from a friend or a local club to see if you actually like the sport.

When you sign up for a beginner class, your instructor can probably lend you a racket and give you tips for purchasing one. 

Now that you’ve been on the court a few times, you’re ready to make tennis a regular activity. Even if you have no ambition to make it to Wimbledon, it will be no fun to play with a $20 racket made of aluminum that makes it difficult to keep the ball in the court.

As a beginner or recreational player, you should expect to spend about $60 for a good quality racket. 

Beginners Shouldn’t Overspend

However, it’s important not to overspend on a racket when you’re new to tennis. During this stage, you’re focused on learning the fundamentals and being able to maintain a rally. Having an expensive racket compared to a moderately-priced racket is of little benefit to a beginner. 

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After a year or two in the sport, it may be time to upgrade to a slightly more expensive racket in the $80-$100 range. Once you get into tournament play, to keep up with the competition you should expect to spend between $100-$150 on a good racket.

Imagine a player who practices twice a week, plays a once-a-week league match, and enters five tournaments a year.

To invest that much time in your game, it only makes sense to invest in a higher-quality and more expensive racket.

For players who compete at a high level (for example, nationally or collegiately), you should expect to spend at least $200 on a racket.

Other Expenses To Consider In Tennis

Another expense when you reach a competitive level is having at least two rackets that are the same.

If you break a string during tournament play (which occurs more often for advanced players since they are hitting the ball harder and with more spin), you’ll want to take an identical racket out of your tennis bag since it’s one you are accustomed to.

This is less important if you are a less experienced player since it is less likely you’ll break your strings during a match and, even if you do, you may not notice much of a difference if you switch to a completely different racket.

Since breaking strings during a match is a possibility for any player of any level, it is a good idea to hold on to your old racket as a backup when you buy a new one. 

When you shop for a racket in a store, you’ll notice some rackets are already strung and others are unstrung.

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Cheaper rackets normally come strung, while more expensive rackets are normally sold unstrung. The reason for this is players that play more often (especially advanced players) are more particular about what strings they want in their rackets, and these players generally purchase rackets that are more expensive.

Beginners generally won’t notice a difference between different types of string or even care what strings are in their rackets. 

When you buy a racket unstrung, you also need to factor in the price of strings. For example, a pack of strings could cost $20, plus another $20 for labor, for a total cost of $40.

Another expense is grips. It often doesn’t take long for the grip on your racket to become worn. For tournament play, it isn’t uncommon for a player to start a match with a fresh grip and then replace it with an overgrip during the match (especially during a long match or in hot weather).

An overgrip only costs about $3, but this expense can add up over time. 

Where To Buy Tennis Rackets 

If you buy a racket in a store or pro shop, you can test how it feels in your hand and you might get a better idea of the grip size you need. You may be able to try a racket out before buying it, which is especially important when you’re purchasing a more expensive one. 

Rackets can also be ordered online from websites such as Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express, or from racket manufactures such as Head, Babolat, Wilson, Prince and Yonex. 

Depending on style of play or preferences, a player may look for a heavier or lighter racket, or one with a bigger or smaller head size.

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These specifications, though, generally don’t affect the price of a racket. For example, the Prestige MP (320 grams, 98 square-inch head size), the Prestige Tour (305 grams, 99 square inches), the Prestige Pro (315 grams, 95 square inches), and the Prestige MID (320 grams, 93 square inches) all sell for the same price on the Head website. 

For beginners, you’ll want a light racket (less than 285 grams) with a large head size (107 square inches or more).

It may be difficult for a player just starting out to contact the ball consistently in the sweet spot (center of the strings), and rackets with a bigger head size have a larger sweet spot area. A standard adult-size racket is 27 inches long.

Junior rackets are less expensive. Good quality junior rackets sold on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) website (ranging from 19-26 inches in length) start at $19.99.

Kids can progress quickly from one racket size to the next as they grow, and competitive junior players often start using adult-size rackets at a young age.