We advise customers every day on purchasing a squash racket. Here are some of the key factors to take into consideration before you buy:
1. Racket throat shape
There are two types of racket throat which are referred to as open or teardrop and closed. Open throat squash rackets have a larger string-bed area, a larger sweet spot and therefore tend to be more forgiving.
Closed throat squash rackets have a smaller string-bed and sweet spot and as a general rule will therefore suit a more experienced player.
However this is just a general guide many of the top pros use teardrop shaped rackets including Ramy Ashour (Prince TT Airstick), James Willstrop (Prince EX03 Rebel), Nick Matthew (Dunlop Biomimetic Evolution 130) and Mohamed El Shorbagy (Tecnifibre Carboflex 125 Basaltex) for their manoeuvrability.
Rackets can be head-light, head-heavy or evenly balanced and it's often a question of personal preference.
Head-light rackets offer great manoeuvrability for quick volleys and flick shots but can be harder to control at speed. Head heavy rackets can be easier to control.
Traditionally many pro players favoured head-heavy rackets but with the game becoming faster-paced and more attacking than ever many of the pros are opting for head-light frames.
Some examples of each are:
Head-light Dunlop Biomimetic Max,Dunlop Biomimetic Evolution 130
Head-heavy HEAD Xenon 135
Evenly-balanced HEAD Cyano 2, Tecnifibre Suprem NG 130
Squash rackets generally weigh 110 - 190g, although Karakal now produce the Karakal SN-90 which weighs only 90g. The weights marked on the racket frames are usually the unstrung weights and are often before paint, grommets and the grip are added so expect your actual racket to weigh a few grams more.
A lighter weight racket will suit an attacking player as it can be manoeuvred quickly so and lighter rackets can also be more fun to use. Lighter rackets can also be great for juniors who want to play with a full size racket without being weighed down. Heavier weight rackets suit players with a slower swing.
There is also an element of personal preference.
Racket beam widths tend to be between 16 and 21mm. A thinner beam racket will suit a more skilled player as it will offer greater manoeuvrability than a thicker beamed racket eg the Tecnifibre Carboflex 130 Basaltex.
There are different types of squash racket strings and varying string tensions. We can advise you on the appropriate string type and tension for your squash racket. Most rackets come factory strung at 26-28lbs.
Higher quality strings will offer more grip and feel on the ball. They are not necessarily more durable as some are finer gauge and they are effectively working harder when in play as they are gripping the ball.
There is a common misconception when choosing squash racket strings that a higher string tension gives greater power. In fact the reverse is true. A higher or tighter string tension provides less power but increases control. This is because the string works like a trampoline. When the ball hits the racket it catches then shoots the ball back out again with greater power.
Many of the factory strings are quite basic and more customers are choosing to upgrade with a custom restring. Tecnifibre and Ashaway are two of our bestselling string brands.
Squash rackets all have the same grip size as standard. It is possible to build up the grip to suit your personal preference using replacement grips or overgrips. As control stems from your fingers, the thicker the grip the less control and feel you may get back from the racket.
Clearly price is a consideration for most people when choosing a squash racket. Most squash rackets under Â£30.00 are either aluminium or composite frames and therefore designed for less frequent use and we would not recommend these for regular players. It is possible to pay £30.00 - £150.00 for a premium graphite or titanium racket.
There are some good quality rackets available for under £50 eg HEAD Liquid Metal 125, HEAD Microgel Extreme, Wilson Hyper Hammer 110/120, Prince TT Predator 130 and Dunlop Blackstorm Titanium.
We offer aten day racket trial to allow customers to have a quick hit with their new racket and to check that they are happy with their purchase.
Remember it may take you a few games to adjust fully to any new racket and to get the best out of it!