The 3 Best Tennis Rackets for Under $100

Updated on February 4, 2018
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Paul has been an enthusiastic amateur tennis player for over 35 years. In 2013, he competed in the USTA tennis nationals in Arizona.

Out of all the essential tennis equipment that a player needs, the racket is perhaps the most crucial.  Getting one that feels good and suits your game can easily make a difference between winning and losing matches.
Out of all the essential tennis equipment that a player needs, the racket is perhaps the most crucial. Getting one that feels good and suits your game can easily make a difference between winning and losing matches. | Source

2018's 3 Best Rackets Under $100

Here are my selections.

  • The Head Micro Gel Radical: Control and Consistency
  • Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3: Powerful and Lightweight
  • The Head Tis5 Comfortzone Performance: More Power With Less Effort

I discuss my choices below in more detail.

Buying a racket that is right for your individual needs is very important. The choice depends on factors such as your skill level, style of play, physique, tastes, and grip size.
Buying a racket that is right for your individual needs is very important. The choice depends on factors such as your skill level, style of play, physique, tastes, and grip size. | Source

Before You Buy: How to Choose a Tennis Racket

Before buying a racket, it is useful to understand your own game. Assess whether you are at a beginner, intermediate, or advanced skill level, and also what sort of player you are, for example, whether you are a power player, or someone who likes to spin the ball more.

Understanding factors such as these will give you a much better chance of picking the racket that is right for you.

The main factors to consider when buying a new racket include:

  • Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player?
  • What type of swing do you have?
  • Are you a power player, a finesse player, or a combination?
  • Consider things like the head size and shape, length, and weight of the racket?
  • If you are physically strong, you may want to pick a heavier racquet (10-11 ounces). If you prefer a lighter one, you will want something around 9 ounces.
  • How the weight is distributed is also something to look out for. Some people prefer their racket to be head heavy, others prefer head light. It's an individual preference.
  • What is the appropriate grip size for you? (See below)

The Head Micro Gel Radical is low density, but maintains a sturdy feel, whether you are playing from the baseline or up at the net volleying.  This racket is light but plays like it's heavier, because it distributes the impact load around the frame.
The Head Micro Gel Radical is low density, but maintains a sturdy feel, whether you are playing from the baseline or up at the net volleying. This racket is light but plays like it's heavier, because it distributes the impact load around the frame.

Head Micro Gel Radical: Control and Consistency

This racket is made from Micro Gel, a revolutionary silicone based material, which has an extremely low density.

The Head Micro Gel Radical is an excellently designed racket that uniformly distributes the ball impact load around the frame to provide a sturdy feel and original touch.

Despite the racket’s light weight (just 10.4 oz), it manages to provide a feeling of comfort, control, and consistency from both the baseline and playing at the net.

My pros and cons are below.

Pros

  • Great for control
  • Best suited to players at intermediate level
  • Sturdy and comfortable to hold
  • Impact is uniformly distributed
  • Greater width for more spin

Cons

  • Not an ideal racket for most beginners
  • Sweet spot is relatively small

Choosing the correct grip size can often be overlooked by beginners when they go to buy a new racket. If the grip is too big or too small, you won't be able to hold the racket firmly and you may even drop it.
Choosing the correct grip size can often be overlooked by beginners when they go to buy a new racket. If the grip is too big or too small, you won't be able to hold the racket firmly and you may even drop it. | Source

Choosing the Correct Grip Size

It is worth highlighting the grip size, as it is often overlooked by beginners. If you choose a grip size that is wrong for you, then the racket will slip out of your hand when you are playing. There are five different sizes of grip.

You can check the grip size by "shaking hands" with the racket. If the size is correct, there should be enough room to fit the index finger of your non-hitting hand in the space between your ring finger and palm.

If you are ordering a racket online, find an existing racket that you own, or a friend's that fits, and note the size.

The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is a difficult racket to go wrong with in my experience. It's ideal for intermediate players and those who prefer a larger head size.  It provides a lot of control for players, but can also deliver real power when required
The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is a difficult racket to go wrong with in my experience. It's ideal for intermediate players and those who prefer a larger head size. It provides a lot of control for players, but can also deliver real power when required

Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3: Powerful and Lightweight

Delivering explosive power, the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is my personal favorite out of the three.

The classic frame features a larger head size, which increases the size of the sweet spot, as well as generates more power.

This racket feels strong and sturdy despite its light weight, and gives you an enormous amount of control and accuracy, as well as explosive power when needed.

My pros and cons.

Pros

  • Large sweet spot
  • Great racket for intermediate players
  • Lightweight
  • Head Heavy balance
  • Pre-strung

Cons

  • Because it's lightweight you do feel more vibrations

Rafael Nadal is famous for playing with a Babolat AeroPro Drive, a black racquet with yellow stripes.  The Spaniard is generally regarded as the greatest clay court player of all time, and has been nicknamed the "King of Clay".
Rafael Nadal is famous for playing with a Babolat AeroPro Drive, a black racquet with yellow stripes. The Spaniard is generally regarded as the greatest clay court player of all time, and has been nicknamed the "King of Clay". | Source

You just try to play tough and focus point for point. Sounds so boring, but it's the right thing to do out there.

— Rafael Nadal

String Tensions

Achieving the optimum string tension for your game is important. Loose string tension will generally give your shots more power, but you will have less control. If you lack power, then you may want to opt for a tighter string tension.

Tighter string tension does the opposite: you will have less power, but more control. If you already have plenty of strength to play effective ground strokes but lack consistency in your shots, then you may want to consider asking for a tighter tension.

Caroline Wozniacki is a former World No. 1 on the WTA Tour.  The Dane was the first Scandinavian to hold the top ranking position.  Her greatest weapon is probably her two-handed backhand which she often uses to turn defense into offense.
Caroline Wozniacki is a former World No. 1 on the WTA Tour. The Dane was the first Scandinavian to hold the top ranking position. Her greatest weapon is probably her two-handed backhand which she often uses to turn defense into offense. | Source

I just go out there and fight for every point, and then we see how far I can go.

— Caroline Wozniacki
The Head Tis5 Comfortzone Performance. This is a great racket for beginners and players who are susceptible to elbow injuries and other vibration-related aches and pains. It delivers a lot of power without the player without too much effort.
The Head Tis5 Comfortzone Performance. This is a great racket for beginners and players who are susceptible to elbow injuries and other vibration-related aches and pains. It delivers a lot of power without the player without too much effort.

Head Tis5 Comfortzone Performance: More Power With Less Effort

The Head Tis5 Comfortzone Performance is ideal for beginners, as well as for intermediates with a slow swing who like a larger sweet spot.

Comfortzone technology makes this racket particularly gentle on the arm. It feels smooth when you hit a shot and there is noticeably less vibration than with most rackets.

The Tis5 comes prestrung, another plus for beginners who generally don't want to bother with it.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginners
  • Gentle on the arm with minimal vibrations
  • Lightweight
  • Very large sweet spot
  • More power with less effort

Cons

  • Not the sturdiest of rackets, they can break if dropped.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Paul Goodman

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      • profile image

        SD 2 years ago

        I really appreciate your article.

        thanks,

        SD

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