Buying a tennis racket for your child may not be the easiest task in the world.
Kids may be heavily swayed by the rackets their peers are using, what their coach recommends or what their favourite professional player on TV is playing with at the time.
There can often be a disconnect between the racket a kid may desire, and the one that is actually best suited to their development.
This can result in young players using rackets that are too heavy, too big or too stiff for them.
Whilst this may not seem like a big problem on the face of it, a young player is clearly going to go through growth spurts and physical changes quite rapidly.
Therefore, the last thing they need is to be developing bad playing habits or injuries simply from playing with a racket that is not suited to their physicality.
Another thing to consider is the cost of constantly changing rackets.
As a junior player or young child is playing tennis, it is natural for them to go through a few different racket sizes as they grow older and stronger.
However, if you don’t get the racket right for their age group, playing level and physicality the first time, you could actually be doing more harm than good.
So, we have put together a guide to the best kids tennis rackets to take the stress and hassle out of choosing your child’s next tennis racket!
If you are looking for a more tailored solution, be sure to check out our custom fitting service.
What to Look for in a Kid’s Tennis Racket
What you look for in a kid’s tennis racket will vary massively depending on the child’s age, playing level, experience and how often they will be playing in the future.
That’s why we have considered all the variables in our guide below, making it easy for you to choose the perfect racket for your son or daughter!
We have categorized the factors below by age ranges; 3-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-10 years and 11+ years old.
These are approximate recommendations based on the average child of a certain age, so consider trying out our custom fitting service along with talking to your local pro shop for a more in depth service.
At the level of kid’s rackets, weight is less of an issue than when considering adult rackets.
This is because more often than not junior versions of regular rackets are made from lighter weight, less stiff materials.
This is because kids play with lighter, less pressurized tennis balls that require less taught frames to hit them effectively.
This means that a smaller length junior tennis racket will generally come at a similar weight, no matter which brand you choose from.
The majority of rackets for juniors will be under 200g, whilst lighter adult tennis rackets tend to range between 230 and 260g as a point of reference.
That being said, it is worth having your child hold the racket and shadow some shots slowly when trying out their prospective tennis racket.
It is important that they can swing the racket freely and without straining their arm too much.
If the child struggles to hold their racket above their head or perform a service motion, then the racket is probably too heavy for them.
It is also worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to change the racket when your child requires a more weighty option.
You can in fact add lead tape to certain points of the racket head, to increase the weight.
This is a cost effective way of adding weight without having to buy a new racket, which may not be necessary if your child had gotten stronger but not necessarily any taller.
The length of your child’s tennis racket is a key factor you need to consider when making your purchase.
Racket sizes coincide with racket weights at junior level generally speaking, so a smaller racket will more often than not be considerably lighter than a longer racket.
This is particularly true at the lower end of the spectrum, as rackets get progressively heavier as they reach coller to full length.
The vast majority of full sized adult tennis rackets are 27 inches long, with some extended length rackets reaching around 29 inches long.
These are generally aimed at players looking for an arm friendly racket, as these generate more easy power through greater leverage.
However, when looking for the best kids tennis rackets, you will generally be following these guidelines when it comes to racket lengths:
- Age 3-5 years: 19-20”
- Age 6-8 years: 21-23”
- Age 9-10 years: 24-25”
- Age 11+ years: 26”+
As you can see, the racket lengths may only progress by a couple of inches per age bracket, but this makes all the difference.
These rackets will also become progressively stiffer, heavier and more expensive, owing to the greater level of strength required to use them effectively.
Remember, the aim is to swing the tennis racket as smoothly as possible to generate consistent, powerful, natural shots.
If a child is using a racket they are not strong enough to, this will be very difficult to accomplish.
These racket lengths also tend to coincide with the corresponding tennis ball types.
So, the length of a child’s racket should really follow the ball type that they are playing with, along with their level of competition and physical development.
A player should really outgrow the racket rather than grow into it, as it is better to have a player playing with a racket that is slightly too light and short, than one that is too heavy or too long.
As a player passes 11 years old, they will start to transition from junior rackets into lighter weight adult rackets.
This can be a tricky transition to make, since many kids will experience bigger fluctuations in their height and weight during this period.
So be sure to progress gradually into full sized adult rackets.
Stiffness again will progressively increase as rackets become longer and heavier.
This is necessary as a player gets older, as they will start to use heavier and harder tennis balls.
These balls require more racket stiffness to be struck properly without warping the racket head, so a player will have to be stronger in order to use these rackets to their full effect.
Again, try to playtest a racket before purchasing it.
This is the only real way to know whether the racket is too stiff or has the potential to warp too much.
However, as long as you use the recommended length guides, the stiffness of the racket should take care of itself.
Generally, less expensive rackets with lower grade technology in them will be less stiff, so make sure you factor this in when making your purchasing decision.
Cost is always an important thing to consider when buying a tennis racket, especially if you’re buying on a budget.
It is even more of a consideration when you may be forced into purchasing a new tennis racket every year or two as your child may be going through rapid growth spurts.
Fortunately, kids’ tennis rackets tend to be reasonably priced as most manufacturers appreciate the fact that parents will have to be buying a few rackets for their child as they continue playing the sport.
So, try to focus on getting the right racket for your child as per their playing level, rather than trying to just save money on an individual racket.
By cutting corners and trying skimping on one racket, you may cost yourself an arm and a leg in bills if your child develops injuries as a result.
To begin with, kids tend to pick rackets based on what their friends are playing with, the colour scheme or what their favourite professional player is using.
While this can make the buying decision simple for kids, it is not so easy for the adult that has to be responsible and make sure the child isn’t playing with a racket bigger than them!
Therefore, whilst it may be an easy solution to give your child whichever racket they desire, make sure to consult a coach or store worker at your local pro shop before pulling the trigger.
They will give you valuable insight into which racket will best suit your child, in terms of length, weight and racket material.
The Best Kids Tennis Rackets
Best Tennis Rackets for 3-5 Year Olds
Babolat Nadal Junior 19”
This popular aluminium racket is painted to represent the king of clay’s famous Pure Aero from Babolat.
It is a great choice for a player looking to follow in the footsteps of their favorite player Rafael Nadal!
Best Rackets for 6-8 Year Olds
Prince Attack 21”
This is a lightweight choice from Prince, perfectly suits for a beginner player who is just starting the sport.
It is an affordable benchmark for youngsters to start their tennis journey from, allowing players to experiment with their technique and swing freely.
Head Speed 21”
This aluminium O-beam constructed racket from Head is a great choice for young players who want a bit more feel from their racket.
Tecnifibre Bullit 23 RS
The Bullit 23 RS from Tecnifibre is a slightly larger headed, slightly heavier option for a player who has just gone through, or going through a growth spurt.
It is still light enough at 200g to be used by most 8 year old players, but will give a bit more pop from the stable aluminium frame.
Best Rackets for 9-10 Year Olds
Spiderman Junior Tennis Racket 25”
Who doesn’t love Spiderman! This Spiderman themed racket from Marvel is sure to be the envy of all of the player’s in your child’s next tennis lesson.
It is a nice fun racket that offers a natural composition, meaning that it’s a great blank slate for inexperienced players to get started with.
Babolat Pure Strike Junior 25”
This scaled down version of Dominic Thiem’s racket is composed of graphite, making it a similar construction to the full length version.
This racket is aimed at players who like to hit aggressively from the baseline, much like the Austrian super star!
Best Rackets for 11+ Year Olds
Head Radical 26”
Aimed at juniors looking to emulate Andy Murray, the Head Radical 26 offers a bit more control and stability.
This racket is aimed at players who are improving their technique and need a bit more control to harness their new found power.
Dunlop CX 200 Junior 26”
This traditional racket from Dunlop is a perfect transition racket for juniors looking to graduate to the adult game.
It is a great control racket, based on the racket used by Jamie Murray and Kevin Anderson.
Overall, when buying a kids tennis racket it is important to buy a racket for the player’s level at the time, rather than trying to bridge the gap between age ranges.
The aim in this process is to find a racket that will be comfortable for your child to play with, not too heavy or too long too early.
There are a range of good rackets out there that can fit the bill, so be sure to get out there and try rackets before you buy.
As long as your child feels comfortable, you won’t go far wrong!