Tennis is well known for being expensive. Its equipment typically costs between $500 and $1000. But luckily, racquets can be exceptionally cheaper.
But still, with dozens of famous brands that produce a variety of models, it can be a nightmare to find a good racquet with optimal performance and handy price.
Worry no more, we’ve done the boring work for you. To help you make an educated buying decision, you’ll find below a comprehensive review of the 5 best tennis racquets under $100.
We’ll also discuss in brief the factors you need to consider before purchasing a racquet. So make sure to stick around till the end. Let’s go!
The Racquets We Chose for You
After thorough research, we came up with detailed product reviews that tackle their technical specs, pros, and cons.
HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet
Our Top Pick
This racquet from HEAD is one of the best beginner-friendly racquets. It features an oversized head that measures 115 sq. in. This gives you a wide forgivable sweet spot in addition to the extra shot power. For enhanced comfort, the handle is covered with the unique SofTac grip form HEAD. This feature increases the friction between your hand and the racquet handle, which might be suitable for players with sweaty hands. What we really like in this racquet is the fact that it’s constructed from titanium and graphite. These two materials together produce the lightest racquets possible. With 8 ounces, you won’t feel any extra burden as you swing. But don’t think that this means less durability. Titanium is made to last years with the least deformations. Also, the strings are made from HEAD’s synthetic gut, which is known for prolonged durability. It comes with a length of 27.75″. This adds extra force to your serves and makes it easier to catch hard distant balls.
Wilson [K] Zero Tennis Racket
Best Value Racquet
If 4.25” is your grip size, we think that this racquet will give you the best value for your hard-earned money. Why do we think it’s special? Mainly for these 3 features that aren’t found in other racquets. Firstly, a feature inspired by Roger Federer, [K]ompact Center. This feature means that the racquet yoke is shorter and straighter than other models. This improves your maneuverability, stability, and feel. Secondly, [K]ontour Yoke. Wilson has enhanced the racquet’s frame stiffness at key stress points. This means longer durability and less chance for strings detachment. Lastly, [K]arophite Black. This racquet is manufactured from both carbon and silicon dioxide. Together they give the racquet a high strength and astounding flexibility. That’s why this racquet has a balanced mix of power and control. Considering the technical specs, it weighs 9.1 ounces with an oversized head that measures 118 sq. in. It’s 27.5” long with a 16x19 string pattern.
HEAD MicroGel Radical Tennis Racquet
Best Racquet for Intermediate Players
With the unique MicroGel technology from HEAD, this racquet is considered one of the best intermediate racquets at this price range. The MicroGel is a flexible material that HEAD embeds within the racquet frame. When the ball hits the racquet, this material absorbs the force and distributes it throughout the length of the frame. With this material, the chances of losing control over the racquet after hitting the ball off-center decrease drastically. Additionally, shock absorption improves your feel and comfort. The string pattern of this racquet is 18x20 which, together with the MicroGel, ultimately gives you full control over the ball. It weighs 10.4 oz with a head size of 98 sq. in. These features make it more suitable for intermediate and expert players. What’s also great is that the different grip sizes share the same price, which makes it much easier to compare with other racquets. Considering the length, it comes with the standard 27”.
Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Tennis Racquet
Best Racquet for Beginners
If you’re still discovering the hidden aspects of tennis, this racquet may be your perfect choice. It’s highly customized for beginners with its lightweight of 9 oz and the oversized head that measures 110 sq. in. By these parameters, you’ll easily swing the racquet through the air with a big sweet spot that forgives your bad inevitable ball hits. It’s manufactured with a length of 27.5″. Though it doesn’t lie too far from the standard 27”, this will still improve your serve power and groundstrokes. Here’s the feature we like most. This racquet is manufactured from a material called HyperCarbon. This material, according to Tennis Warehouse, is 4x stronger, 4x stiffer and 65% lighter than titanium. It’s also interesting to know that it’s used in the space industry to make satellites and airplanes. The strings are arranged in a 16x20 pattern and manufactured from Wilson Ultra Synthetic Gut. This improves racquet control and comfort to a large extent.
Wilson Tour Slam Tennis Racket
Best Economical Racquet
If your budget is really that tight, search no more. This is the lowest price you can find for a racquet with acceptable performance. With that price, it’s pretty obvious that it’s made for players who aren’t that serious about their game. Even if you are, purchasing such a model and upgrading when you feel like it might be a good idea for your pocket. There are two cool features that make it stand out even more. Firstly, the bridge is manufactured with Volcanic Frame Technology. According to Wilson, this improves racquet stability and power to a well-accepted level. Secondly, the strings have built-in “stop shock pads” that are designed to absorb some of the ball force during impact. Hence, enhancing your control and comfort. As for the other technical specs, it weighs 10.3 oz with a head size of 112 sq. in. The string pattern is 16x19 which goes well with the shock pads mentioned earlier.
How to Pick the Right Racquet for You
You can have the price as your main concern. However, you should also know what are the differences between beginner and advanced racquets. Hence, you’ll choose a racquet that fits your skill as well as your budget.
What are these differences? Let’s see.
This is by far the most important feature you have to put in mind when purchasing your racquet.
Choosing the wrong grip size won’t negatively impact your performance only, but it can also cause irritation and subsequent injuries to your wrists, hands, and elbows.
To measure your grip size, bring a ruler and measure the length between the tip of your ring finger and the middle crease of your palm. The ruler should be parallel to your hand outline. If the ruler measures 4.5”, that’ll be your grip size.
But you shouldn’t depend on math only. To know whether a racquet fits you, try the racquet in your hand. You should be able to put your index finger of the non-dominant hand between the palm and the other fingers of the gripping hand.
If you’re stuck between two sizes and you can’t make a decision, pick the smallest one. If you find it too small later, you can easily compensate for this with an overgrip.
This is the size of the actual hitting area of the racquet within the frame. They come in three categories that increase in size as follows:
- Midsize, 80-94 sq. in
- Midplus, 95-105 sq. in
- Oversize, 110 sq. in and more
The bigger sizes generate more power and have a bigger sweet spot. In case you’re not familiar with tennis terminology yet, the sweet spot on a racquet is the area that gives the best ball hit.
Therefore, if you’re a beginner, choose an oversized racquet, it’ll be more forgiving and will produce large power on your behalf.
But if you’re an expert or a person with a strong physique, you’ll need a mid-sized racquet that doesn’t generate power over your already-powerful swings.
Weight and Weight Distribution
Beginner players often require lightweight racquets with head-heavy weight distribution. As the weight decreases, it becomes much easier for a non-experienced player to swing hard balls.
The bigger weight toward the head will increase the torque of your swing, which will make it extra powerful.
Experts, on the other hand, who generate enough power by themselves, require heavier racquets that don’t just fly easily.
The weight distribution can be either even or toward the handle. This will enable you to maneuver the head easily to hit tricky balls.
There are many string patterns produced by different manufactures. However, 16x19 and 18x20 are the most common.
These numbers mean how many vertical and horizontal strings your racquet has respectively. So, a 16x19 means that there are 16 strings running from the top of the head toward the handle, and 19 strings running between the sides.
Choosing between these types is a matter of preference. If you want to spin, go lower. If you want to control, go higher.
This is quite similar to the string pattern. The overall racquet flexibility is affected by its frame material and thickness.
Racquets with higher flexibility will absorb some of the ball power, resulting in more comfort and control. Commercially, these racquets have a flexibility score of 60-65 RA, short for racquet analysis.
Oppositely, stiffer racquets will transmit more shock to your arm, while also returning the ball with the highest power possible. Their score is around 70 RA.
The most common length for adult racquets is 27 inches. However, some brands make models that can reach 29 inches, the maximum length allowed in tournaments.
The higher length will make it easier for you to catch hard groundstroke, in addition to improving your serve. The trade-off with longer racquets is that it’ll be harder to swing, decreasing your overall control.
Therefore, if you’re a beginner, go with the standard size of 27 inches until you have the required skill of handling longer racquets.
As you saw, the best tennis racquets under $100 include high-quality products with exceptional performances and features.
HEAD Ti.S6 Tennis Racquet is our top pick. With the SofTac grip and the titanium-carbon construction, you’d be getting a racquet that performs well and lives long. Its oversized head and the ultra-lightweight make it an obvious choice for beginners.
If you’ve been practicing for a while now and you think you’re ready for the next step, then HEAD MicroGel Radical Tennis Racquet will fit your needs.
MicroGel Technology makes it feel more comfortable than any other racquet. Its medium head size and weight give you more freedom with your swings.
Lastly, if you want to get the cheapest racquet possible, then go for Wilson Tour Slam Tennis Racket. Its volcanic frame technology and built-in shock pads are a real bargain at this price.