Especially for beginners, and even for intermediates, purchasing a tennis racket is a bit of a mystery. Buzzwords abound: nano titanium, woofer grommet system, super-oversized heads. What does it all mean? Luckily, there are some basics that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Great Value

This lightweight item is made with durable Nano Titanium technology. HEAD

The first considerations for buying a racket should be size and weight. Heavier rackets provide more power, lighter ones give more control. Powerful players who hit the ball aggressively and hard should opt for a lighter racket, since they don’t need the power assistance from a racket’s weight. Those with slower strokes and less power should grab a heavier racket, something above about 320 grams.

Top Pick

With a “head heavy” weight balance, this tool offers a lot of power. Wilson

Two other size measurements are important here: grip size and head size. Getting the right grip size—the thickness of your handle—is vital for feeling comfortable and in control of your racket. It’s easy to measure; there are plenty of guides available online, or consult with your local tennis pro. The other important measurement is head size, which is related to weight. A larger head provides more power and a larger sweet spot, making it easier to hit.

Also Consider

The oversized head size means a larger sweet spot and increased potential for off-center hits. Babolat

The two most commonly used materials in tennis rackets are titanium and graphite. Some rackets will be made entirely from one or the other—graphite is heavier and offers more power, while titanium is lighter and offers more control; many are an alloy combining both. But after all of this, the most important thing of all when buying a racket is to try it out. Head to your local tennis court and make sure you like playing with your racket.