HEAD Instinct S

HEAD Instinct S review


The reality of playing a sport like tennis is that most of us are not going to reach the professional levels of the game, but that isn’t a failure at all, in fact playing club tennis is one of the most enjoyable ways of keeping fit whilst playing a competitive racket sport, and that is why Tennishead likes to review rackets that are designed to help club players play better tennis. Hence why we’ve put the HEAD Instinct S in the hands of our racket testers to see what they think.



HEAD rackets are played with by many of the top pro’s but you are unlikely to see the Instinct S on the tour because it’s a racket specifically designed to appeal to amateur’s and club players. The racket is manufactured using exactly the same materials with the same technologies as all HEAD rackets but they can keep the cost lower by not using the top pro’s to endorse this range.


Buy this racket…

To help you feel confident when purchasing this racket we’ve teamed up with a trusted retail partner,, to make sure you get the best price combined with free premium tennis balls, next day delivery (UK only) and fantastic advice from tennis equipment experts.

To take advantage of all these benefits simply follow this link to purchase the HEAD Instinct S with an exclusive 5% Tennishead discount.



All HEAD rackets are made using an element of Graphene in the frames, including the Instinct S. The material is used in the shaft of the racket ‘for optimized mass distribution which gives better manoeuvrability and more power’ and also in the head of the racket which ‘reduces frame deformation which enables better energy transfer.’

But would the racket live up to these claims when we sent our testers onto court to try it out?


Watch as our testers try out the HEAD Instinct S


The play test

None of our three testers had ever played with the HEAD Instinct S before which really does help to deliver an honest review based on actual feedback from an independent voice.

Our Tennishead play testers for the HEAD Instinct S review were:

Will: Sees himself as a ‘counter punching’ style of play, has been into tennis for 16 years and currently hits with the Babolat Pure Drive

Sue: A player who sees herself as a ‘baseline grinder’, has been playing tennis for 30 years and currently uses a Mantis 300 racket.

Austin: Who ‘likes to win the point at the net’, has been playing for 15 years and who’s current racket is a Babolat Pure Drive 2020.

  • Groundstrokes

Austin was first up from the baseline, “I found it really really easy actually. I felt I could have been out here all day and I wouldn’t have missed. The only downside is because of the weight I struggled to create any power with it, which wasn’t great for me but could be a perfect racket for a club player or an improver or maybe even a junior, because it’s just really easy to use and really well made.”

Will then hit some groundies with the Instinct S and said, “This racket was ok actually. Things like timing were good, it was easy to generate a lot of spin because of that acceleration on the racket. The only downside with this is someone not at club level, a little bit better than that, isn’t generating the power. Because it’s so light you have to really go for it to generate the power, but other than that the groundstrokes were good.”

Sue then played with racket and found it, “very smooth actually. I felt I could control the ball, it wasn’t too heavy to manoeuvre from one side to the other. It had a bit of snap or zip through the ball, very comfortable to play with.”

  • Volleys and smashes

Austin then headed to the net for volleys and smashes,”I struggled to get the pace on the volleys and the depth which meant I had to sort of swing quite hard to get the power which sometimes resulted in it going long. Which isn’t what you want to do on the volleys. I feel like for me, maybe the weight was a bit of an issue on the volleys, making me swing too much.”

Will also hit some shots form the net and said, “Volleys were good. Again it was a case of having to swing a bit more to compensate for the weight, but because the head is so light on the smashes, things like flicking your wrist down and really getting a downward motion on the smash was actually really good on this.”

Sue was next up for volleys and she commented, “I felt I was hitting them cleanly, the ball was coming off the racket nicely. Again because it was a little bit lighter, it was easy to manoeuvre into position quickly.”

  • Serves

Austin then tried some serving with the Instinct S, “Serves I actually found really good, I felt I could really hit it, it wouldn’t go long, good control and could really get my serve going in. Again pace maybe a little bit of an issue but not too much on the serve”

Will also hit serves and he found his, “serves were a little bit slower than I’m used to. Again I wasn’t able to generate the mount of pace that I normally do so for someone at club level I think this racket is very good, but not so much for competing at a high level I don’t think.”

Sue was last to try her serves an she said, “Lovely, it felt very comfortable. Even though it’s a lighter racket you perhaps feel you had to put more effort in, I didn’t have to at all, it was coming off the strings very comfortably and felt very nice.”

  • We then asked our testers if the HEAD Instinct S suited their style of play?

Austin likes to win the point from the net and so he said, “I think it is (suited to my style). Maybe not for me because of the weight but for someone who is a little bit younger and looking to attack the ball I think this is a really good racket for that. It’s really consistent and could really hit the ball and it could still go in, and the volleys were easy enough.”

Will is a counter puncher and he said, “I think it would suit my style. I think for me with this you’re able to generate a lot of spin which is useful for a game style like mine when you are on the back foot. So I think for my game style personally this is a good racket.”

Sue is an out and out grinder and she said, “Absolutely, it suits my style. I think it’s a fantastic racket actually for all levels. Just really comfortable. It feels clean when you’re hitting the ball and gives you a nice confident feeling of being able to hit the ball where you want it to go.”

  • Design and style

Austin commented, “I really like the design, I like the colour scheme. It looks a little bit like a (Babolat)  Pure Drive which could be maybe a bit of an issue, but other than that I think it looks really nice, the blues really compliment each other well”

Of the colours, Will said, “I think it looks really slick. The two tones of blue are really nice, quite an attractive racket to look at and the grips obviously light blue as well, so for me this is a nice looking racket.”

Sue said, “Yeah its ok. I love the grip actually. I love the way the grip goes with the colours on the paintwork. Yeah its, nice.”

  • The final question was on the price. Did our testers feel that $200/£140 is a fair price for the HEAD Instinct S?

Sue – “Its good value, it’s a good racket for all levels. A good price and I’d recommend it. I’m a coach as well and I’d recommend it to people that I coach, and also its very good for myself, yeah a good all rounder.”

Austin – “I think that is an absolute bargain. Really nice racket, really well made. Perfect for a junior or a club player, something like that. I think £140 it’s a fair price.”

Will – “I think that’s a great price. I think £140 for racket like this, it’s built well, its light, its not going to cause to many injuries, so it’s a great price I think.”

The specifications

For a detailed explanation of each racket measurement criteria below have a read of our guide.

HEAD Instinct S

R.R.P. = $200/£140 (Purchase for £112 at by following this link)

Head size = 100 sq in

Weight = 285g

String pattern = 16/19


In conclusion then..

The firs point to note from our testers comments is that price isn’t everything. This is one of the less expensive rackets on the market but that didn’t influence our testers opinion and in fact they were genuinely surprised at what a ‘well made’ racket it was for such an ‘affordable’ price.

The HEAD Instinct S is a light racket compared to many others so it seems form our testers point of view that this might make it more suitable for an aspiring teenager or a less experienced player who is still learning their strokes and would appreciate the lightness of the frame.

To sum up, if you are a club standard player looking for a solid ,affordable racket that will last you a long time you will probably want to give this a try.


Buy this racket…

To help you feel confident when purchasing this racket we’ve teamed up with a trusted retail partner,, to make sure you get the best price combined with free premium tennis balls, next day delivery (UK only) and fantastic advice from tennis equipment experts.

To take advantage of all these benefits simply follow this link to purchase the HEAD Instinct S with an exclusive 5% Tennishead discount.

HEAD Instinct S
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