Tennis racket guide

The ultimate tennis racquet guide

Amon Fearon - August 24, 2022

Looking for a new tennis racquet? We hate to break it to you, but it’s not as simple as just ordering the first one you see online. Things like size and weight can impact your power and accuracy to change the course of the game.

Luckily, we’re on hand to break it all down for you. Here’s everything you need to know about buying a tennis racquet including what size you need, how to hold it and some technical aspects to familiarise yourself with.


How to choose a tennis racquet

When choosing a tennis racquet, it’s important to first know some basic terminology. Here are some key measurements to take shopping with you.

First up, head size. The head size measurement refers to the area where the strings create the face of the racquet. There are three sizing measurements, which are:

  • Midsize - 85-97 in2 or 550-625 cm2
  • Mid-plus - 98-105 in2 or 630-680 cm2
  • Oversized - 106-135 in2 or 685-870 cm2


Next, the weight category for racquet frames, which are:

  • Lightweight: 255 – 275g or 9 – 9.7 ounces
  • Medium: 275 – 310g or 9.8 – 11 ounces
  • Heavy weight: 310g or 11 ounces and heavier


If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to opt for lighter frames with larger head sizes. This gives you more control of the racquet as well as a larger surface area for hitting the ball. As you progress and become more skilled, you can start to look at going up a weight size and down a head size. Let’s put that into context:

Racquet Specifications




Head Size
(sq. inches)

85 - 97

88 - 105

106 - 135


255 – 275

275 - 310

310 +


More Power

Balanced Racquet

More Control


Of course, it goes without saying that higher quality tennis racquets will give you a better playing experience. Just as you should get premium tennis wear with details that perform, a good tennis racquet is well worth the investment. Consider getting a racket made from graphite composite to help absorb shock when hitting the ball. If you can't find anything within budget, try aluminium as a more affordable alternative.

Many cheap racquets easily break and are often made of lower-quality materials that don’t allow you to perform at your best. These racquets are more likely to be an alloy material that's less resilient. Always read the product description in depth and check out some reviews online for a better idea of what you’re buying.


What string should I use for my tennis racquet?

Andy Murray holding tennis racket

Just like head size and weight, there are also different specifications for strings. Some tennis strings can be made from a non-vegan animal material called natural gut. This type of tennis string produces more power than your typical string while holding a consistent tension. However, there are plenty of synthetic alternatives to choose from that replicate this.

The type of string you need varies depending on the skill you’re looking for. Here’s a rough guide to help you:


Type of string




Polyester or nylon


Polyester designed with textures that enhance spin


Now you know the type of string you need, let’s move on to the gauge. The gauge of tennis strings simply refers to its thickness. The bigger the gauge, the thicker the string is providing you with more durability and control. On the other hand, a thinner gauge can give more power. So, again, we’re back to being honest with yourself about your skill level.


Skill level




Extreme durability and control


Advanced/competition players

Best for players that break strings a lot


Advanced/competition players

Power and control



Power and comfort

17L/1.20mm & 18/1.15mm


Maximum touch and feel


How to measure grip size on tennis racquet

Another measurement you need to know about is grip size. The grip size refers to circumference or the thickness of the racquet handle. Grip size can be given in either inches or millimetres depending on whether you’re shopping in the US or in Europe. So, make a note of both and have them to hand just in case.

To measure your grip size for a tennis racquet, you will need either a ruler or tape measure. With your fingers closed, you want to measure between the tip of your ring finger on your dominant hitting hand and the second line of your palm.

Grip size on tennis racquets is put into categories. If you’re in Europe, this is between 0 and 5. In the US, it’s slightly different. Here’s a conversion chart to help you find the right grip size while shopping:

Grip size

100 – 102 mm

103 – 105 mm

106 – 108 mm

109 – 111 mm

112 – 114 mm

115 – 117 mm








US (inches)


4 1/8

4 2/8 or 4 1/4

4 3/8

4 4/8 or 4/12

4 /58


Grip size is important not only because it can improve your play, but it can also protect your wrist from injury. If you use the wrong grip size, you are potentially putting more strain on your wrist to get that comfortably strong grip and control you need to play.


How to hold a tennis racquet

girl holding tennis racket

When it comes to holding your tennis racquet, you’ve got a few choices. Most players will switch up their grip throughout the game depending on the type of hit they are aiming for. For example, you’d hold your tennis racquet one way to serve a ball with power and another to hit a far-reaching ball. You may also switch from one hand to two and so on. Here are some of the ways to hold a tennis racquet:

Grip type

When it is used



Serve, volley or smash


The most common way to hold a tennis racquet. Place your hand on the racket so that the V formed by your thumb and forefinger are at roughly 11 o'clock.


Racquet acceleration and spin

Move your hand clockwise around the racket, so that the thumb-finger V is somewhere between 12 and one o'clock. Like how you would shake hands with someone.


Spin and power of shot

Move your hand further around again so that the V is between two and three o'clock.

Full western

Racquet speed and string line up for spin

When the V of your thumb and forefinger are anywhere beyond three o’clock. In this position, you may even be able to hit the ball with the opposite face of the racquet. 



Start in a continental grip but this time move the hands the same amount anti-clockwise. Most backhand plays use an eastern grip but in reverse.

Two-handed backhand


Changes depending on whether you’re right or left-handed. For right-handed players, the left hand does all the work while the right supports. This is of course, the other way around for left-handed players. A two-handed backhand would involve the right hand in a continental grip and the left hand in an eastern grip higher up the racket handle.