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The Best Tennis Rackets for Under $100

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

My Top 5 Selections

There are some very good rackets that are priced around the $100 level nowadays, so picking out a top 5 was no easy thing for me.

Below are selections for the best tennis racquet under $100 in 2016, I hope that you find the list interesting and useful.

1. Prince O3 Red

My personal favorite is the first on the list below: the Prince O3 Red. I bought this racket as a back up, but I have found myself using it more and more as my main.

It's a good all rounder, giving plenty of power with very little loss of control. I love the design and the feel too.

I would certainly recommend if for a beginner who isn't sure what sort of racket to pick, and requires something that is versatile.

It's a beautifully balanced racket, offering an elegant blend of playability and control. The Prince O3 Red also features O-Port technology. This means that it has large O-ports rather than traditional pin-sized holes for the strings, creating a more responsive string bed and expanding the sweet spot by 54 percent, which helps you to hit more of your favorite shots.

Prince O3 Red MP.  A great all round racket for an affordable price.  An ideal starter for beginners, this racket is highly rated and a best seller for good reason.  The large O-Port grommet holes provide excellent power.
Prince O3 Red MP. A great all round racket for an affordable price. An ideal starter for beginners, this racket is highly rated and a best seller for good reason. The large O-Port grommet holes provide excellent power.

2. Head Micro Gel Radical

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.

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.
The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is ideal for 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 ideal for those who prefer a larger head size. It provides a lot of control for players, but can also deliver real power when required.

3. Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3

Delivering explosive power, the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is another racket under $100 that is certainly more than worthy of consideration.

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.

Thommy Haas.  Choosing a racket with the correct grip size is crucial if you want to hit your shots comfortably.  If the grip is too thick or too narrow for your hand, the racket will tend to slip, impeding your game.
Thommy Haas. Choosing a racket with the correct grip size is crucial if you want to hit your shots comfortably. If the grip is too thick or too narrow for your hand, the racket will tend to slip, impeding your game. | Source

4. Head i.S12

Another classic power racquet, the Head iS12 is ideal for players with compact swings who are searching to achieve maximum ball speed.

Exceptionally light, weighing just 81 ounces strung, it has a large sweet spot and provides excellent control as well as bazooka-like power. It has a strong and steady feel, especially when you are playing at the net.

Exceptionally light and powerful, the Head i.S12 offers control and comfort for an affordable price.  Its strong and steady feel is great for net play and volleying.
Exceptionally light and powerful, the Head i.S12 offers control and comfort for an affordable price. Its strong and steady feel is great for net play and volleying.
Kim Clijsters.  Most players, even amateurs, who play matches like to have at least one back up racket.  The back up is useful if you break a string, but it can also be swapped if you want to try something with a different feel.
Kim Clijsters. Most players, even amateurs, who play matches like to have at least one back up racket. The back up is useful if you break a string, but it can also be swapped if you want to try something with a different feel. | Source

All my time in rehab has made me appreciate tennis more than ever.

— Kim Clijsters

5. Wilson Six Two BLX

An exceptional all-round racket, the Wilson Six Two BLX is incredibly versatile as well as powerful and easy to play with wherever you are on the court.

The racket's blend of power and control is especially suited to players with moderate to fast swings and is capable of supplying spin, not just pace.

The Wilson Six Two BLX offers exceptional value for money and is suitable for those players just starting out as well as the more experienced.

Wilson Six Two BLX
Wilson Six Two BLX

Best Tennis Accessories: The Essentials

As well as a racket, you may well wish to consider picking up some tennis accessories — items that make practicing and playing tennis much easier and more enjoyable.

Below are the ones that I personally find indispensable and would highly recommend.

  • Overgrips: Many people, including some world class professional players such as Roger Federer, like to play with an overgrip. Overgrips can be a great help to players who find their racket hand gets slippery during matchplay, as they absorb moisture and give your grip a tacky feel. If you do want to use an overgrip, however, you should take into account that it will add some thickness to the size of the grip so you may wish to buy a racket with a slightly smaller sized grip.
  • Ball Pickup: It makes practicing one heck of a lot easier.

    • You have a secure place to keep your practice balls.
    • The balls are easier to gather when they are scattered around the court.
    • The pickup can be turned upside down and the handles used as lockable legs, when you want to "feed" the balls to another player.
    • The pickup is very portable and easy to transport and carry.

  • Wristbands: They are great for keeping your moisture levels under control, especially in hot and humid conditions when maintaining a firm grip on your racket can sometimes be tricky.There are many different products on the market. Often, as with the Nike Swoosh range, you get a large variety of colors to choose from, enabling you to pick your favorite, or the one that goes best with your other tennis apparel.

Historians believe that the origins of the game of tennis can be traced back to 12th Century France. In those days, there were no rackets; you would just hit the ball with your hand, and it was known as “jeu de paume” ("game of the palm"). It wasn’t until the 16th century that people started using rackets to hit the ball.

It was also around this time that the game became known as "tennis." Up until the 1960s, rackets were made of wood. Then Wilson introduced a steel version. The changes in technology meant that rackets could be built much lighter. This revolutionized the game by giving players more opportunities to employ power and spin.

There have also been major advances made with regard to string construction, which also means that more spin can be employed.

Modern rackets are a composite of materials, including elements such as graphite, ceramics, glass-fibre, boron, and titanium.

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

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)

Buying the right racquet for your needs is important.  The choice depends on factors such as your physique, tastes, preferences, and style of play.
Buying the right racquet for your needs is important. The choice depends on factors such as your physique, tastes, preferences, and style of play. | Source

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.

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.

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

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1 comment

SD 15 months ago

I really appreciate your article.

thanks,

SD

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