Tennis Racquet Head Size & Length

Tennis Racquet Head Size & Length

Selecting the right fit

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If you’re in the market for a new tennis racquet, then it can be helpful to understand how variation in head size and length can impact overall racquet performance.

In this article, we’ll review how each is measured as well as how changes impact performance and the types of players who might benefit from different sizes.

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Tennis Racquet Head Sizes

The head size of a tennis racquet is the area of the racquet head where the strings create the face or stringbed of the racquet, measured in square inches.

There are three different categories for racquet head sizes, which roughly speaking coincide with the different types of tennis racquets.

  • Mid / Control
  • Mid-plus / Tweener
  • Oversized / Power

Here are a few examples of racquets that fit into each category:

RacquetHead Size
Head Graphene 360+ PrestigeStandard (93 in² / 600 cm²)
Wilson Ultra 95 CountervailStandard (95 in² / 612.9 cm²)
Wilson Pro Staff RF97 AutographStandard (97 in² / 625.8 cm²)
Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 3rd GenMid-plus (98 in² / 632.3 cm²)
Wilson Blade 98 16×19 v7Mid-plus (98 in² / 632.26 cm²)
Babolat Pure Aero 2019Mid-plus (100 in² / 645.2 cm²)
Babolat Boost DriveOversized (105 in². / 677.4 cm²)
Head Graphene 360 Instinct LiteOversized (107 in² / 690.3 cm²)
Wilson K Factor KZeroOversized (118 in² / 761 cm²)

Let’s review how a racquet’s head size impacts performance.

Performance

When it comes to racquet head sizes, there are two primary considerations:

  • Power
  • Hitting surface area
  • Maneuverability

We’ll take a look at each of these individually.

Power

Generally, the larger the head size, the more power the racquet will offer, while a smaller head size will provide less power, and therefore, more control for a player.

An easy way to understand why this happens is to think of your racquet like a trampoline. The larger the trampoline, the more spring you get, and therefore the higher you can bounce when jumping.

In other words, a larger racquet head will allow the ball to sink deeper into the tennis strings, which results in a more significant rebound effect and, all other things being equal, more power.

As a racquet head size shrinks, the power potential of the racquet shrinks along with it. Consequently, players will have a greater sense of control with a small racquet head because the racquet doesn’t generate as much power.

Even a small bump in a racquet’s head size from 98 to 100 square inches, can provide a noticeable impact on a racquet’s power.

In 2014, Roger Federer made a substantial shift in his tennis racquet, moving from 90 to 97 square inches to help increase his power and margin for error as his performance slumped.

Surface Area

Beyond power, racquet head size also has a direct impact on the hitting surface area of a racquet. Larger racquet head sizes increase the surface area, which provides players with a higher margin for error when swinging to make contact with the ball.

On the other hand, a smaller racquet head size will provide players with less surface area, and ultimately, a lower margin for error when hitting.

Similarly, larger tennis racquet head sizes provide a more prominent sweet spot. The sweet spot of a tennis racquet is a small area toward the center of the strings. When struck, there is less shock sent to a player’s arm and hitting feels relatively effortless feel.

Tennis Racquet Sweet Spot & Head Size

Players describe a similar feeling in other sports, such as when swinging a golf club or baseball bat.

Maneuverability

All other things being equal, the larger a racquet’s head size, the more difficult it becomes to maneuver due to the extra mass at the end of the racquet as well as minor added wind resistance.

To some degree, manufacturers can combat this through lightweight materials and adding more mass to the handle for a more head light balance. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting as you consider opting for an oversized tennis racquet.

Racquet Head Size Chart

Here’s a chart to help illustrate the different head sizes available as well as provide quick conversion from inches to centimeters for various head sizes.

SpecMidMid-plusOversized
Inches²85 – 9798 – 104105+
Centimeters²548.4 – 625.8632.3 – 671.0677.4+
PowerLowMediumHigh
ControlHighMediumLow
Sweet SpotSmallMediumLarge

When shopping for tennis racquets, you may find a reference to the racquet’s head size in its name.

If you come across the abbreviation MP in the name of a racquet, it’s referring to its mid-plus head size. Likewise, OS referes to oversized.

Head Size & String Tension

The tension you string your racquet impacts all head sizes the same way. That is, the lower the string tension, the higher a racquet’s power. Conversely, the higher the tension, the lower the power.

For more information on the topic, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on string tension.

Head Size Rules

The official rules of tennis state that a racquet should not exceed 12.5 inches (31.75 centimeters) in width. Moreover, the hitting surface cannot exceed 15.5 inches (39.37 centimeters) in length and 11.5 inches (29.21 centimeters) in width.

The vast majority of tennis racquets available for purchase fall into these acceptable ranges, so unless you’re purchasing a super oversized tennis racquet, there’s no need to worry about violating these rules.

Finding the Right Head Size

There’s no right or wrong answer to which head size you should be using a tennis player. However, some recommendations will tend to suit specific levels of play.

Ideal Head Size for Beginners

Understanding which head size to buy is a common question beginners have when selecting a new tennis racquet.

Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. Still, most beginners will benefit from bigger head sizes that offer a larger hitting surface, which increases the margin for error and provides added power.

More specifically, we recommend beginners purchase racquets with head sizes that are 100 square inches (645.16 centimeters) or greater. We find players have more fun learning how to play tennis with these head sizes.

Be sure to check out our list of the best tennis racquets for beginners, which features racquets with these head sizes.

Intermediate & Advanced Head Sizes

Experienced players who have developed solid form and technique will benefit from the increased control associated with racquets that have smaller head sizes.

Furthermore, racquets with smaller head sizes are typically easier to maneuver, which is also useful for more advanced players who need to react faster on the court.

Our recommended head sizes for intermediate to advanced players range from 97 square inches ( 625.805 square centimeters) to 100 square inches (645.16 centimeters).

At these levels, players should consider their style of play as they determine what the best tennis racquet for their needs is.

Tennis Racquet Length

The length of a tennis racquet is another characteristic that varies from racquet to racquet. Most tennis racquets range from 27 (68.58 centimeters) to 29 inches (73.66 centimeters) in length.

Performance

When evaluating racquets, four topics usually come up:

  • Reach
  • Maneuverability
  • Power
  • Spin

Let’s dig into each.

Reach

The first, and likely most obvious factor, is that a longer racquet will provide you with more reach – that is, the ability to hit a ball that is farther away from your body. A small change in length can be the difference between a player getting to a tennis ball or not.

Maneuverability

Closely related to reach is maneuverability. Typically, the longer the racquet, the more difficult it can be to maneuver.

In particular, shots that are close to a player’s body can be more challenging to hit with an extended frame, and players may not be as quick to adjust their racquet when hitting shots that require fast reflexes such as volleys or returns.

Power

A longer racquet will also provide players with more leverage or the ability to achieve greater force when striking a tennis ball, which helps increase the power of the tennis racquet.

Many players will find the extra length advantageous when serving, as it allows them to hit a bigger, faster serve. Of course, racquet head speed will increase on other strokes as well.

Spin

Similar to power, the potential for spin will increase as the length of a racquet does.

Racquet head speed directly influences spin. As a player swings their racquet faster, they’ll be able to generate higher levels of topspin.

Racquet Length Chart

Up until roughly their teens, a child’s height will directly influence the appropriate racquet length. For adults, it’s all about personal preference.

Here’s a chart to illustrate the differences in racquet length.

AgeHeightRacquet Length
4 years or younger40 inches or shorter19 inches
4-5 years40-44 inches21 inches
6-8 years45-49 inches23 inches
9-10 years50-55 inches25 inches
10 or older55 inches or taller26 inches
AdultsAny height27-29 inches

It’s worth noting that the quality of tennis racquet also comes into play with regards to length. Typically, manufacturers make smaller kids tennis racquets from inexpensive materials such as aluminum and feature low-end construction methods.

Top tennis brands like Wilson, Babolat, and Head reserve their high-end materials and construction techniques for racquets 27 inches (68.58 centimeters) or longer.

Racquet Length Rules

Currently, 29 inches (73.66 cm) is the maximum length allowed for competitive play under the official rules of tennis.

The standard length for a tennis racquet is 27 inches or 68.58 centimeters. As such, you’ll find the vast majority of adult tennis racquets with this length. Extended length racquets are most commonly a half-inch longer at 27.5 inches or 69.85 centimeters.

Racquets that are shorter than 27 inches are ideal for children whose development hasn’t progress to the point where they can comfortably use the standard length.

Finding the Right Length

For most adults, we recommend starting with a 27 inch (68.58 centimeters) frame, as it’s usually a sufficient starting point.

Plus, the majority of tennis racquets on the market are 27 inches (68.58 centimeters), so you’ll have the most options, and if you switch racquets, it will be one less spect to consider.

However, don’t let that deter you from trying a racquet with extended length, which can help produce more power if you’re just starting.

Extended length tennis racquets also make great options for shorter players who are looking for extra reach and more power.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking to determine the best head size and length for yourself, first start by evaluating the pros and cons in this article.

Most players will do great with a head size in the range of 98 (632.26 centimeters) to 105 square inches (677.42 centimeters) and a length of 27 inches (68.58 centimeters).

As with most decisions for tennis gear, nothing beats getting on the court with a racquet you’re interested in and testing it out for yourself. If possible, we’d highly recommend you spend some time with a racquet before you purchase it.

Do you still have questions about what racquet head size or length might be best for you? Feel free to ask a question or comment below, and we’ll be happy to help!

Home > Gear > Racquets > Racquet Head Size & Length

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6 comment(s) need to be approved.
18 replies
  1. Jamil
    Jamil says:

    Hello guys , I measure 1M98cm and i’m playing with a babolat pure drive , I’m willing to change this racket because i think that one is too short for me . So what’ll be the best racket lenght for me
    thank you :D

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hey Jamil,

      Thanks for your question. Do you mind telling me what problems you’re experiencing with your Babolat Pure Drive? Are you looking for more power, control, reach, etc…?

      The standard length Pure Drive is a 27 inch racquet, which is a very common length so it’s likely you may be able to solve any issues you are experiencing without changing the length of your racquet.

      For comparison, John Isner one of the taller players on the ATP tour uses a 27 inch racquet and he’s 6’9″ or just over 2M tall. Of course, every player is different, but I find it’s less common that the length of the racquet is the direct cause of problems for players.

      Looking forward to your reply!

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Jay,
      Excellent question – finding the right racquet for beginners can be tricky. There are a lot of options :)

      I wrote this post to help beginners find a great racquet, and I think it will help point you in the right direction.

      Of course, if you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d love to help out!

      Until then, have a great day!!

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Miltos – thanks for your question.

      Assuming you’re looking at the same racquet (one with a 99 and the other with 100 in²), then the difference will be minor as it’s not a significant change in size.

      With that said, the 100 in² version should have a little extra power. Outside of that, I wouldn’t expect much difference. If you can share the exact racquets you’re looking at, I’d be happy to get more specific for you.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  2. Ratanlal
    Ratanlal says:

    I have been using Wilson Ncode N2 which has a large head but has been discontinued. Any idea of equivalent substitute?

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Ratanlal,

      Check out the Wilson K Factor KZero. The head size is a little smaller, but you’ll find it shares many of the same attributes as the Wilson Ncode N2. Have you come across it?

      Good luck in your search.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  3. Shan Driscoll
    Shan Driscoll says:

    Hi I have just taken up tennis . I am 4ft10″ tall. Aged 64, female. I find the 27″ length racket I have brushes the floor when trying to serve. Should I go for a junior 26″ ?

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Shan,

      Moving down a size in your racquet is absolutely an option. However, the only challenge you may find is that your selection will be mostly limited to junior tennis racquets. If you’re a recreational player that’s not overly concerned with racquet performance, then this would be a reasonable option.

      One exception would be Tecnifibre’s T-Rebound line of tennis racquets, which are 26.5 inches in length. Perhaps that’s enough to make the difference for you.

      Aside from that, you may want to take a look at your technique when hitting your serve. Even at 4’10,” I’d expect this shouldn’t be an issue for you, so linking up with a local instructor would also be worth the effort.

      Good luck and let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  4. Raelynn Daly
    Raelynn Daly says:

    Hi there, My 17 year old son is having some issues with his shoulder – it keeps popping out when he serves (currently being investigated by doctor) I need to buy him a new racquet. Any suggestions? Any help much appreciated. R

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Raelynn,

      Ouch – that sounds troublesome. Sorry to hear about that.

      I’d be happy to provide a few recommendations. As a starting point, it would be helpful to know which racquet your son is currently using. Answers to these questions would help too:

      • What does your son like about his current racquet?
      • Aside from the shoulder issue, what does your son dislike
      • Do you have a budget?
      • What level is your son?

      I’ll keep an eye out for your reply.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  5. Robert M Scott
    Robert M Scott says:

    Hello – I am just starting to take up tennis again but have a question. I played before with two good eyesbut now I am losing sight in my left eye. I am right handed and now I am having trouble hitting the ball and even missing it on a regular basis. I believe Iwould benefit from a larger racket as I now am using one that is 115 square inched. Would you agree with that?
    Please let me know your thoughts

    Thanks
    Bob Scott

    Reply

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