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My top 10 list of arm-friendly racquets:

Racquet RDC Flex Strung Weight Balance
Yonex EZone Ai 98 (click for more info) 61 11.3 -4HL
HEAD YT Graphene Prestige Pro (click for more info) 63 11.6 -6HL
PACIFIC X Feel Pro 95 (click for more info) 60 11.9 -5HL
Prince Tour Pro 98 (click for more info) 61 11.3 -4HL
Prince Tour 98 ESP (click for more info) 60 11.4 -12HL
Pro Kennex Kinetic KI5 315 (click for more info) 62 11.7 -6HL
Technifibre 2013 Tflight 315 16M LTD (click for more info) 60 11.7 -5HL
Volkl Power Bridge-10 Mid (93) (click for more info) 61 12.1 -8HL
Volkl Organix 10 325G (click for more info) 63 12.1 -7HL
WILSON 2014 Pro Staff 95S  (click for more info) 64 11.5 -7HL

*Finding a racquet that meets all of the criteria established above can be quite a daunting task, since they represent such a small percentage of the market and there are no companies that I know of that are geared toward “arm-friendly” tennis equipment.

The main characteristics that affect how “arm-friendly” your racquet is include: balance, weight, beam profile, flex/stiffness and head size. How these characteristics affect your arm are outlined below.

Balance:  The more head light the better. The balance rating typically ranges from -15HL to +15HH with zero being perfectly balanced. Head Light racquets cause more of the vibration to be absorbed by the handle and less by your arm, while being much easier to control and maneuver at the net.

Weight: A heavier racquet is better. Heavier racquets absorb more of the vibration upon contact. They are more difficult to swing quickly but you can compensate for this with a head light balance, particularly for volleying at the net.

Beam Profile: A thinner beam profile is better. Thicker wide body racquet’s are usually very light and are stiffer.

Flex/Stiffness: A more flexible frame is better. A more flexible frame absorbs more of the shock on contact. Flexible racquets tend to have less power but more control, although they can be more powerful when heavier. Flex is a measurement on the Babolat RDC scale of 0-100, with a lower number meaning less stiffness, you should be looking for a racquet with a stiffness measurement at 64 or less which includes less than 10% of the modern racquets on the market.

Head Size: A smaller head size is better. The sweet spot does not get larger with an over-sized head, and an over-sized head tends to cause more off-center hits which causes more shock to your arm.

Racquet Length: A standard 27″ length is best. Longer racquets are more difficult to maneuver and are made lighter to compensate, thereby causing more shock to your arm.

In an attempt to make it easier for you I have listed my favorite racquets that are “arm-friendly” and play well. An “arm-friendly” racquet may or may not be the best racquet for you in terms of playability but you will need to balance that with the long term health of your arm if you do not want to have to limit your play due to pain. Also you can greatly change the playability of your racquet with your selection of tennis string as you can read about in our next section. While the more flexible “arm-friendly” racquets have less power the more elastic “arm-friendly” tennis strings give you more power. A flexible racquet combined with an elastic string can give you a great balance of power, control and feel while protecting your arm. Another concern that I have is that every racquet gets a rating for the level of player it is geared toward. Yet all of the best “arm-friendly” racquets are supposedly geared towards advanced players and all of the racquets geared towards beginners are bad for your elbow. My best advice for a beginner or intermediate is to get used to the advanced player racquets which will give you more control and save you from tennis elbow. If you need more power use a more “arm-friendly” elastic string and string it at a lower tension.

291 Responses to “Tennis Racquets”

  • Andy says:

    Hi,

    Great site….how does the Wilson Pro Staff 100L compare with the 95S? Are there any other differences other than the head size or are both equally arm friendly?

    Thanks

  • Yogi S says:

    I’m demoing the new Head Graphene Extreme MP racket. I have been using Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0 and have tennis elbow and shoulder pain.
    I also felt it was a tad little to heavy for me after about a set into playing. What do you think of Head Graphene Extreme MP racket?

    Thanks.

    • I do not like the Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0 it is much too stiff. I like the HEAD YT Graphene Prestige Pro which is on my list of top 10 arm friendly racquets

  • Srini says:

    Hi

    I have been looking at the Prince EXO3 Tour 100 racquet. I am a 4.0 player, predominantly baseliner, with a big swing and I have persistent TE problems if I am not careful. I currently play with the Donnay XP dual 102 with a Technifibre Redcode 17G on the mains and Tehnifibre NRG2 17G on the crosses strung around 58lbs.
    I can generate my own power, I like the prince racquet because of the flex rating and the reasonable weight. Due to some shoulder issues I dont want something too heavy. But I am worried about losing pace on my serves with the prince. what do you think?

    thanks
    Srini

    • The Prince EX03 Tour is a great arm friendly racquet but no longer in production. The PRINCE Tour 100 16X18 is new and about the same as the EX03 tour. I am not sure there is much power difference between the Prince EX03 and your Donnay, but you could try stringing it at 53 or 54 lbs.

  • Diego says:

    Dear Thomas,

    I am an 39 leading to 40 yo recreational tennis player who has started 2 months ago with TE problems. I have been through rehabilation of my elbow for the las month and now I am thinking whether my equipment is the rigth one or I should go for something more appropriate to me.

    I currently play HEAD YouTek IG Prestige Pro&MP. The Pro one strung with Luxion BB ACE 1.12 and the MP strung with Tecnifibre X-One BiPhase 1.18, both full bed.

    I was wondering or thinking that I could go for thr ProKennex Heritage Redondo Type C 93 frames (I cannot get clear its stiffness) because on TW say that it has an RA 56 but PK website says 60.

    Pleae, can you advise whether I need to go for the PK or it is just more of the same I am playing at present or I am just going too wrong.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    D.

    PS. I have posted last nigth another similar comment but it just disappeared.

    • The Head Prestige Pro is an average arm friendly racquet since it is a bit stiff, but the Head Prestige MP is a much better and good arm friendly racquet. Yet you could still benefit by switching to the ProKennex Heritage Redondo Type C 93 after looking into that racquet I realized that it is an exceptional top arm friendly racquet – you might also want to look into the ProKennex Heritage Redondo Type C MP, since it has a 98 sq.in. head unless you are a very advanced player it would be difficult to consistently hit the sweet spot with a 93 sq.in. frame

      • Diego says:

        Thanks Thomas,

        The problem with the ProKennex is that I cannot see them being sold in EU and I should probrably keep going with the MP version of my Prestige. I must get another frame then.

        What do you think about my strings setups, are they good enough for my elbow or you recommend other ones.

        Thanks a lot.

        D.

  • Robert says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I am currently looking to update my existing racquets and, so far, the Head Graphene Radical Pro is my top contender. I did suffer from a bout of tennis elbow about a year or so ago and seem to be getting the beginnings of it again now. You had replied to an earlier post stating that you thought the Head Graphene Radical Midplus was a good choice of racquet, albeit a bit on the light side (the Pro is heavier). The flex rating of the Midplus is 64 and the Pro is 68, according to Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express. In a conversation that I recently had with a Head rep, however, I was told that the same frame is used for both of these models. So, my questions are as follows: 1) Do you recommend the Graphene Radical Pro, and 2) Would weighting up the Midplus to equal the weight and balance of the Pro make it a stiffer racquet?

  • Steve Lewis says:

    I’m a 50 year old 3.5 player about 5 weeks in to tennis elbow. I’ve always been partial to Wilson racquets. I have a BLX Blade Team, Six One Tour BLX, Blade 98 BLX and BLX Steam 105s. Between now and when I get a more arm friendly racquet which one do you think I should use? Also, what do you think of the Voykl V1 Classic? Thanks.

    • The BLX Blade Team was a good racquet with a very flexible frame , but a bit too light. The Six One Tour BLX was much heavier but a bit too stiff.
      The Blade 98 BLX is in between the two in terms of weight and flex so that would be a good choice. The Wilson STeam 105s is much too stiff. The Vokyl Classic VI is also too stiff.
      Have you tried the WILSON 2014 Pro Staff 95S ?

      • Steve Lewis says:

        Thanks. Just ordered a 2014 Pro Staff 95S used but like new and will be trying it out once the elbow is ready to get back to play.

        Steve

  • Nicola says:

    Hi Thomas,
    What do you think about the Donnay XP Dual Black 102?.. the heavier version (295 g)..
    Thanks in advance
    Nicola

    • This is another one of those racquets that has all the arm friendly characteristics but is too light to be a top arm friendly racquet. It is similar to the Prince Warrior 100 and the Volkl Team Tour in that sense this could be good for you if you can not get used to the weight of one of my top 10 frames

  • Peter Pell says:

    You should test the Babolat Pure Control Tour. It is within the ranges of your top ten list in all characteristics (weight: 11.8, Balance: -7, stiffness: 63, head size: 98, and beam width: 21mm). I switched to this after finally growing tired of the prince vortex (which was great for my elbow but was unstable and the beam was far too wide for me). I find the Pure Control Tour to be the best racquet ever for my game.

  • RP says:

    I was told today that the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 on your list is discontinued. Any other arm friendly racquet you recommend with similar specs (wt. 12.1 oz, swing wt 300, Flex 58 etc)? Also was told that the Wilson Pro Staff Six.One BLX (95) was discontinued; is the new (2014) Pro Staff 95 as arm friendly as the Pro Staff Six.One BLX? I plan on using Babolat VS Team natural gut at the lowest tension recommended to make it more arm friendly & if I break strings too frequently increase from 17G to 16G to 15G to NXT etc if necessary. I like the Wilson Pro Staff 95 slightly better than the 95S & was told the 95S (16×15) open pattern would break gut strings too easily (I am a 4.0 to 4.5 player with mild/moderate spin). Also equally like the Yonex Ai 98? What would be the best and most arm friendly racquet in my situation, the Yonex Ai 98, the new Pro Staff 95 or some other racquet?

    • I really like both the Pro Staff 95S and the Yonex Ai 98 both are excellent arm friendly racquets and I would not be able to say which is better because they are so close. In this case you should go with the one that feels better to you. Also the 95S is a very open string pattern which would help you with spin but they do have a tendency to break easier

  • Paulo says:

    Hi Thomas,
    What do you think about the new Head Graphene Radical MP? And S?
    Thanks in advance.
    Paulo

    • I like both of them they are both pretty flexible arm friendly racquets but a bit on the light side to be top arm friendly racquets. They could be right for you if you cannot get used to or get comfortable with a racquet that is a little heavier.

  • Adam Koszowski says:

    Thanks for all of your information. Do you have any different recommendations for golfer’s elbow vs tennis elbow or do all of the same mechanics and physics apply? Would you consider the Wilson Blade BLX 98S arm friendly (especially with a little added weight)? Thanks again.

  • alessandro says:

    hi,

    thanks for the helpful website. Following elbow and shoulder pain i tried the Kennex Q5 (i suppose it is similar to the KI5), but I found it too difficoult to use for my level. I had better feelings with the ki10, and today I will try the Ki 15 300: are these two valid options? the shopkeeper suggests the ki15 because it is heavier but i fear the weight on my weak arm (it is also a bit more head heavy). I also tried a prince warrior pro 100, I see you consider it good too: better that the KI15 300? It also is a bit difficoult for me (as opposed to the easier ki10)but i had fun with it.
    thanks!

    • The exact same factors go into golfers elbow as tennis elbow, though golfers elbow tends to be more related to your forehand. The Wilson Blade 98S is a good arm friendly racquet though a bit on the light side so some added weight would make it better.

      • alessandro says:

        I tryed the ki15 300 and i found it OK, as easy as the KI0.
        So now my choice is between the PK ki15 and the prince warrior pro 100. Will probably go for the formed because it more beginner-friendly.
        Thanks!

  • Nora Krist says:

    Thanks for all this valuable information! I have been suffering from tennis elbow for about a year and have tried everything to cure it (rest, PT, acupuncture, ART massage, cortisone injections, PRP, and the tenex fast procedure). I still have some pain but would like to take a few baby steps back on the court. Before I had to lay off, I was playing with the Wilson Steam 99S, and my pro put Shock Shield (I think that is the name) strings in my racquets. I am a 4.0 player. Any suggestions you could give me on my current racquet or specific suggestions of others to try out would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!

    • That racquet is not doing your arm any good you need a more flexible frame The Wilson Prostaff Six.One BLX (95) is only slightly heavier but actually has a lower swingweight and is considerably more flexible.

  • Aymar says:

    Hi,
    Bought the 2012 version of the Prince Exo3 rebel 95 based on the list here. Been having severe wrist, elbow and shoulder issues. Use soft Kevlar in the cross(16) 50 lbs and synthetic gut in main (17) 48 lbs. Switched from Dunlop biometrics 200 plus. Also I am using a smaller grip 4 1/4 compared to 4 3/8. What are your thoughts?

  • Brett says:

    Have you ever hit with the Prince Tour 100T ESP? If so could you compare it to the 98 ESP you have in your list?

    • Have you ever hit with the Prince Tour 100T ESP? If so could you compare it to the 98 ESP you have in your list?
      The 2 are very similar and very arm friendly racquets. The 98 is slightly heavier and more flexible with a slightly lower power level, the 98 is more arm friendly but both are very arm friendly

  • Brian says:

    hi Thomas,

    Good stuff! Enjoy reading the communications. Please share your thought on what I should do. I have been using BLX 90 with full poly and strung at 47lbs. It is a good combination, but I would usually feel fatique or sore at my elbow and wrist. DO you think this is a sign for new racquet? I have been watching Babolat and Head racquets recently. Do you have any recommendation on racquets, as I am looking for a bit more power and comfort? Comfort comes first, since I play 3 to 4 times a week. Thanks again.

    Cheers,
    Brian

  • Elisabeth says:

    I have had the Head Ti S2 for over 10 years and this year Im developed mild TE…I am getting the racquet restrung this week, but now Im wondering if I need a new racquet! Im a low intermediate player, play about once a week. Do you think I need a new racquet?
    Thanks!

    • If you are developing signs of tennis elbow and using a very light and stiff racquet like the Head TI S2 which is very bad for your arm, you definitely should consider switching as soon as you can.

  • RP says:

    What is more arm friendly, the Yonex V Core Tour 97 or the Yonex Ai 98 or is there an even better arm friendly Yonex racquet that you would recommend? Thank you for all of your help.

    • They are both good but the Yonex V Core Tour 97 is considerably heavier but slightly stiffer so I would go with the one that feels better to you. Those are the 2 best current models.

  • John says:

    Thank you Tom for this great website.
    Do you know if I can get specs online for a vintage 80′s (I believe) racket? I picked up a Pro Kennex Conquest 90 recently, but don’t know if I should be using it because of past arm issues. Thanks for any info you can provide.

    • There are not many places that do this and they are hard to find, but I would not want to use such an old racquet especially without testing it, so if you want to stick with this racquet to save money I am not sure you will save after factoring the cost of testing it

  • Lucian says:

    If I have the option of buying one racquet between Wilson Prostaff BLX 6.1 95 and the two Prince frames from your top 10, which is the best option for arm problems? Thank you.

    • All of the racquets on my top 10 list are very arm friendly and the differences between them are very small, so it would be a matter of choosing the one that feels best to you.

  • Lucian says:

    Great site, very helpful. I would like to know if the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 could be considered an arm friendly racquet. Thank you.

    • Yes I would consider the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 to be a very arm friendly racquet.

      • Lucian says:

        Since last year I am playing with a Dunlop Biomimetic 200 having monofilament strings and after I play, I have couple of days of elbow low pain. Is it possible to have these issues because the racquet is maybe too heavy(though I feel comfortable with it) or could be the strings(tension is around 23 kg)? Should I change the racquet and try one from your top 10 list, maybe one having a lower stiffness? Thank you for your answer.

        • The Dunlop Biomimetic is a arm friendly racquet and you are stringing at a low tension so it would be unusual to develop elbow problems under these conditions. It could be possible that you have a racquet that was not built to its specs or it could have changed especially if it is old. See if you could find a place in your area that could measure its stiffness, balance and weight to see how far it is off. I would still recommend trying one of the racquets in my top 10 list since for whatever reason this one is not working for you.

          • Lucian Tudorascu says:

            Though my Biomimetic 200 seems to be in good shape, I do not feel very comfortable playing with it and it is pretty hard to maneuver well while being low powered and I am an intermediate player. I thought about switching to Prince EXO3 REBEL 95. Any other suggestion, please?

          • The Prince Ex03 will not be any easier to maneuver it is about the same weight and swingweight as the Biomimetric 200. One racquet that comes to mind since I just spoke about it is the HEAD YouTek Graphene Radical MP which is a bit lighter with a lower swingweight but is still arm friendly

  • RP says:

    I currently play with a Yonex RQiS1 Tour 95; what are the racket specifications which are good and bad with regard to tennis elbow and overall is this an arm friendly racket? What type of strings and string tension do you recommend for the main and cross strings for a 4-4.5 tennis player with moderate topspin and tennis elbow?

    I may purchase a new racket later this year or next year and prefer to stay with Yonex; what are the best Yonex rackets currently available with regard to tennis elbow that you would recommend for me? Are any of the newer currently available rackets similar to the Yonex RQiS1 Tour 95 and are any of the newer rackets significantly better than the RQis1 Tour 95 with regard to preventing tennis elbow? Thank you for providing an excellent website and for all of your help.

    • The Yonex RQiS1 Tour 95 is a very arm friendly racquet. The YONEX VCORE Tour 97 Tennis Racquet is the new Yonex Racquet that is the most similar and also very arm friendly.

  • T_Brown says:

    How do the Babalot Pure Control 95 and Pure Control Tour + compare to the Babalot Pure Storm LTD GT? I was able to demo the Pure Control Tour + today, and I loved it. I was able to generate lots of power and depth with sufficient control. It didn’t have the same flexibility as the Prince Tour 98 ESP (I also tried it today); however, I liked the way I hit with the Babalot better (the Prince was not as forgiving as the Babalot).

    The local tennis shop has used Pure Storm LTD GT racquets on sale for $90 (they are in good shape), but I cannot demo them. If they are comparable to the Pure Control line, then I may end up getting those.

    Thanks in advance. Also, very informative and useful web site – thank you for taking the time to catalog all of this information.

    • Unfortunately I cannot say either of those racquets or for that matter any Babolat racquets are as arm friendly as the Pure Storm which is now discontinued.

  • Sara says:

    Hi Thomas, could you comment on the babolat pure drive as an arm friendly racquet? I have been using the 10.6 oz, balance of 320mm (+/-7) for a few years and it’s been fine for me till now. Should I switch racquets or restring with less tension? Mine has been strung at 55lbs. Your views would be greatly appreciated! Your site has been very useful to me!

    • The Babalot Pure Drive is one of the most unfriendly arm racquets on the market It was only a matter of time before you start developing arm trouble with that extremely stiff frame. You need to switch gears and start looking at some flexible frames if you want to have an enjoyable summer and lifetime playing tennis.

  • Aussie John says:

    Had surgical repair done to the common extensor origin (aka tendon repair at the attachment to the lateral condyle) last November and am almost ready to start hitting again. Extensive research of racquets and strings with a view to keeping the cost down has resulted in me ordering the highly regarded Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 5G. I string my own racquets and intend to string the 5G with 18 gauge Alpha Gut 2000, which once again is a cost effective but well regarded multi filament string. I intend to string mains and crosses at 52lbs. What would be your view of that frame with those strings as being very tennis elbow friendly? I will also wear a Band It elbow brace when I recommence playing.

    • I think you are taking all of the right steps by selecting a arm friendly racquet and you cannot go wrong with gut at a low tension and the arm brace cannot hurt. Good luck and I hope you are back to full speed soon.

  • Jerald Rogers says:

    First of all, thank you. This site has been a wealth of info. A little over a year ago I went to hit with my son, his friend and his friend’s dad. I was never really a very serious player and had only played an hour or so at a time here or there in the last 5 years. After three hours of play I woke the next morning not even able to pick up a coffee cup. Over the next 3 or 4 months I rested, rehabbed and shopped for a tool that wouldn’t put me in this position again (pain is an incredible motivator). I was using a head heavy and very light (and likely stiff) Wilson Triad. I now use a Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 with Technifibre X-One Biphase strings–no more issues, period. My son (starting high school next year) loves his APD, but my ordeal has planted the seed that we may need to look at other alternatives for his presently young (and presently healthy) elbow. He is a spin monster, so we will probably check out the Prince Tour 98 ESP. Thanks again.

  • Matt says:

    Based on what you’ve written on this web site, I ordered 4 demo racquets and just played with them yesterday. I go tthe Volkl Organix 10 325, the Wilson BLX Pro Staff 6.1 95, the Prince Tour 98 ESP, and the Pro Kennex KiQ Tour 295. They unfortunately didn’t have the Pro Kennex K15 315 in stock for demos. My problem is that they were all strung with different strings and I have no idea what tensions were used. Based on looking at the racquets, I thought the Wilson would be least my favorite (I currently use a Babalot AeroPro Drive, Nada’s racquet and have been suffering from very bad arm and shoulder problems). But I liked the Wilson the most. I’m just concerned that the different strings could have caused me to like it more than the other 3. Please let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks!

    • That’s always a problem with demo’s and the string and tension could make a big difference, regardless if you have arm problems and you currently use the Babolat Aeropro Drive your arm will benefit greatly from any of the racquets that you demo’d. Whatever you choose will take time to get used to and you will need to experiment with different strings and tensions. Maybe you could get the Wilson BLX Pro Staff 6.1 95 and see if you can string it with the same string that was on your demo.

  • Mark Murphy says:

    Great site, provides valuable advice!

    I have been playing with a Dunlop Aerogel 4D 500 Tour strung with Prince synthetic at 60lbs. Last year I started to develop elbow pain. Also own a Radical Micro Gel oversize, no pain yet no feel.

    Considering switching to the Dunlop Max 200 G, Avery M5, or the Yonex VCore 97 Tour.

    Thanks

    • The DUNLOP Aerogel 500 Tour Racquets are very stiff racquets and if you have any arm or shoulder pains you definitely should look into switching. The DUNLOP Biomimetic Max 200G is a very good option and it used to be on my top 10 list. The Avery 5 is also good I like the specs on it and I also like the Yonex VCore 97 Tour. I would say that switching to any of the racquets you are considering or any of the racquets on my top 10 list will put you well on your way to good arm health.

      • Mark Murphy says:

        Thanks for the insight. Just picked up the Dunlop Biomimetic Max 200G and played 5 hours with it this past weekend. No sore elbow or shoulder! There is so much more feeling with this racquet than my old Aerogel 500 Tour!

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