Top
tennis racket buyers guide

Tennis racket buyers guide: The 10 best rackets for intermediate players


 

With plenty of technical changes and innovation in the racket market, now is the time to update your racket. In this latest tennis racket buyers guide, we test 10 rackets for intermediate players which are proven to help make you play better tennis!

 

Every racket we’ve reviewed below is available to buy right now & delivered direct to your home for the best price possible from our favourite retailer here

When was the last time you changed your racket, or at least played with a different one? Research suggests that on average players change their racket every five years. Manufacturers are constantly evolving the technologies in their rackets. Every year tennishead play-tests the most recent racket releases and publishes a tennis racket buyers guide. Some are simple updates of existing ranges, some are new models, but all offer a potentially new playing experience.

Read on to see what our testers made of 10 of the best rackets on offer for club players. These are players who know their way around the game, but who don’t want the heavyweight player rackets.

Darren Powell at Wimbledon Park Sports advises club players to steer clear of the pro frames because of their heavier weight, smaller sweet spots, thinner frames and stiffness. “They are aimed at someone with an almost perfect technique,” he said.

For a good level male club player Powell recommends a racket weighing 290-300 grams with a 100 sq inch head. “This offers a good mix of power and control,” he said. He suggests women should go for a 100 sq inch head size but possibly a slightly lighter frame, around 270–280 grams. This specification is more manoeuvrable and is better suited to slightly shorter swings and less powerful physiques.

As always, our advice once you have read our tennis racket buyers guides is to go to a good retailer like AllThingsTennis.co.uk and get hold of some demonstration rackets.

Powell believes it can take up to six weeks to get used to a totally new racket. “We normally recommend if people take two rackets, they try one for one day and the other on a different day, so as not to keep chopping and changing,” he said. During that time play all the major strokes as well as some points. “In doing that you take into account every aspect of your game,” Powell said.

Every racket we’ve reviewed below is available to buy right now & delivered direct to your home for the best price possible from our favourite retailer here

You can read our other recent racket buyers guides here:

The 10 rackets that will bring more power to your game!

The 10 best rackets for advanced players to buy right now!

 

 

 

Babolat Pure Strike Team

  • RRP: £160
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 285g
  • Balance: 330mm
  • String pattern:16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 21.3mm/23.3mm/21.3mm
  • String tension: 50–59lb/23–27kg

The white with orange and anthracite coloured frame certainly caught the eye of our testers, as did the fact that the frame combines both square and elliptical shapes, giving a modern feel to a classic design. Howard felt it generated more power when counter-punching rather than generating his own power. David felt there was plenty of power. The lightest racket in the Pure Strike family, it is the easiest to swing, and a good choice for players looking for a light performance racket with great feel.

Click here to buy the Babolat Pure Strike

 

 

Dunlop Revo CV 3.0

  • RRP: £209.95
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 300g
  • Balance: 320mm
  • String pattern:16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 23mm/26mm/23mm
  • String tension: 45–60lb/20–27kg

The brand had currency with those testers who remembered Dunlop in its heyday and were keen to test the new rackets in the Srixon range. Both Elliot and Tim were impressed with the racket’s stability, even if they hit the ball o centre. Tim particularly liked the racket head weight. The Sonic Core VG material injected into specific areas of the frame increases power and reduces vibration while the Synchro Charge System helps to improve stability. Our testers rated the racket as a good all-rounder for club players.

Click here to buy the Dunlop Revo CV 3.0

 

 

Head MXG 5

  • RRP: £220
  • Head size: 105 sq.in
  • Weight: 275g
  • Balance: 335mm
  • String pattern: 16 x 18
  • Length: 27.2in
  • Beam: 24mm/26mm/22mm
  • String tension: 48–57lb/22-26kg

The first thing that struck Howard was the size of the head, which made the racket look like the old Head Ti. At 105 inches it was one of the biggest on offer. It made for powerful shots. “I didn’t have to work too hard,” Howard said. Elliot found it generated good power without being too stiff and that it helped his serve as well as offering control on his ground strokes. “Power under control” is how Head promote this model. This might be the racket for players looking for easy power and a generous sweet spot.

Click here to buy the Head MXG 5

 

 

Manti 295iii

  • RRP: £149.99
  • Head size: 98 sq.in
  • Weight: 285g
  • Balance: 325mm
  • String pattern:16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 21mm
  • String tension: 44-60lb/20–27kg

The third generation of Mantis rackets is new for 2018. The 295iii continues to offer club players a solid racket with a simple and elegant look. Elliot found it difficult to generate power from the baseline but said the lightness of the racket made for crisp volleys. Tim found the racket too head-light to achieve real power, but he liked other models in the Mantis range. If you are prepared to try a Mantis check out the entire range and see if this British-engineered brand surprises you.

Click here to buy the Mantis 295iii

 

 

Pacific X Fast LT

  • RRP: £149.99
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 288g
  • Balance: 322mm
  • String pattern: 16 x 19
  • Length: 27.3in
  • Beam: 25mm/23mm/22mm
  • String tension: 50-60lb/23-27kg

With similar graphics to the Babolat Pure Drive, this offering from the German manufacturer Pacific surprised Howard with how it played. “It had lots of power and pop,” he said, adding that it was a good all-round racket. With his fast swing speed Howard found it harder to control the ball, but for intermediate players who are prepared to invest in one of the smaller brands, and are looking for a racket that is solid for sliced volleys and powerful from the baseline, this could be a good choice.

Click here to buy the Pacific X Fast LT

 

 

Prince 03 Beast 100

  • RRP: £190
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 280g
  • Balance: 330mm
  • String pattern: 16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 24mm/25.5mm/22mm
  • String tension:50-60lb/23-27kg

Prince have reorganised their range of rackets and updated their two best technologies, 03 and Textreme (now with Twaron). The “Beast” collection was previously known as the Warrior. While Elliot was not too keen on the bulky frame, Howard felt his volleys were crisp and he noticed a good mix of power and control. David was surprised to find that the racket felt heavy. The Beast is a solid racket and comes smart tennis-sensor ready. Definitely worth putting on your shortlist for a play-test.

Click here to buy the Pacific 03 Beast 100

 

 

Tecnifibre T-Flash 285 PS

  • RRP: £145
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 285g
  • Balance: 330mm
  • String pattern:16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 24mm/25mm/23mm
  • String tension: 49–59lb/22-27kg

This racket’s signature technology is called Power Stab (PS), which uses a convex yoke to create longer and more powerful main strings. It makes the racket very powerful and a good choice for players who want easy acceleration. David found the power difficult to control and Elliot felt it was not easy to create spin, so it would be more suitable for a flat hitter. With its French heritage and its tri-colour frame, this attractive lightweight racket is easy to swing and great for hitting shots on the run.

Click here to buy the Tecnifibre T-Flash 285 PS

 

 

Volkl V Feel 8 300

  • RRP: £179.99
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 300g
  • Balance: 320mm
  • String pattern:16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 24mm/22mm/24mm
  • String tension: 50–60lb/23-27kg

At 300g the V Feel 8 was one of the heavier rackets in the category, but Tim found it light to play with. He enjoyed the feel of a well-balanced racket and the flexibility. He saw similarities in how it played with his current racket. Elliot found it hard to create spin, particularly on the backhand side. The racket packs quite a punch in terms of power. The V Feel 8 is an interesting choice for intermediate players who like to feel their game and have a variety of strokes in their game-play.

Click here to buy the Volkl V Fell 8 300

 

 

Wilson Blade 98

  • RRP: £190
  • Head size: 98 sq.in
  • Weight: 285g
  • Balance: 330mm
  • String pattern: 16 x 19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 21mm
  • String tension: 50-60lb/23-27kg

All the testers were impressed with the performance of the Blade 98. David said his ground strokes were “good without being massive” and the racket was very comfortable when rallying, albeit less easy to hit through the court. Tim said it offered “a good mixture of control for all strokes,” as well as being “nicely balanced and weighted.” That’s nothing less than you would expect from Wilson. With its sleek matt-black colour and thin flexible beam, this is a good intermediate racket and one which is arm-friendly.

Click here to buy the Wilson Blade 98

 

 

Yonex V Core Pro 100

  • RRP: £210
  • Head size: 100 sq.in
  • Weight: 280g
  • Balance: 335mm
  • String pattern: 16×19
  • Length: 27in
  • Beam: 21mm
  • String tension: 45-60lb/21-27g

This is the lightest and fastest of the V Core Pro family. Built with Namd, a resilient carbon material used in strategic places to optimise the response, the racket got the thumbs-up from our testers. They were impressed with the control at the net and both Tim and Howard felt they served well with it. The isometric head shape gives it a very forgiving feel. The V Core Pro 100 is, according to Elliot, “a responsive solid all-round racket with plain and simple good looks”.

Click here to buy the Yonex V Core Pro 100

 

The testers

Meet the players who tested the frames at Bromley Tennis Centre in Kent

ELLIOT NATION

  • Age: 27
  • Occupation: Tennis coach
  • Rating: 6.1
  • Level: Advanced
  • Current racket: Wilson Pro Sta RF 97

HOWARD PHILLIPS

  • Age: 25
  • Occupation: Tennis coach
  • Rating: 9.1
  • Level: Advanced
  • Current racket: Head Speed

DAVID WILLIS

  • Age: 51
  • Occupation: Solicitor
  • Rating: 7.2
  • Level: County
  • Current racket: Babolat Pure Drive Team

TIM WALKER

  • Age: 60
  • Occupation: Writer
  • Rating: 6.1
  • Level: Competitive
  • Current racket: Wilson Hyper-Hammer

Look ahead to 2019 with our guide to every tournament on the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and the ITF Tour

If you can’t visit the tournaments you love then do the next best thing and read our guide on how to watch all the ATP Tour matches on television in 2019

To read more amazing articles like this you can explore Tennishead magazine here or you can subscribe for free to our email newsletter here


tennis racket buyers guide
Copy link