Lacrosse is a sport that is most popular with college-aged players and youngsters, at least in the US. While MLL is growing, it has little in the way of the support seen in the NFL, NBA or even MLS. That has not stopped it from becoming an increasingly popular sport, though. Fortunately, because the sport is has a relatively small player base, compared to the bigger sports, only the best companies can survive. Gear is also significantly less expensive as the competition between the companies providing gear is aggressive. Still, there is a lot of gear to wade through and finding what is best can be a struggle. There is no “best” piece of equipment, though, so even as you go through our list, keep in mind that these are our best shots at comparing the different Lacrosse heads for a general audience. We will look at entry level all the way through professional level heads, strung and unstrung, to give you the best choices for what you are searching for.
Top Lacrosse Heads Comparison Chart
Lacrosse Heads Buyer’s Guide (What to Look For)
Lacrosse heads, to the casual watcher, or even new player, would seem to have very little room for features. That isn’t the case, though, as each head will offer something unique. From attacking to midfield and defense and goalkeeper’s heads, the variations are endless within each. From a better scoop to something that is better on the face-off, or heads that give a bit more power to shots or control to passes, the head is likely the most important piece of gear you will buy, followed closely by the stick.
When looking for a lacrosse head, it is key that you find what fits your play style the best. I, for example, was a quick give-and-go player. Deeper pockets were never comfortable for me as they did not allow me to “springboard” the ball as soon as I caught it. It has been years since I’ve played and I’m sure some things have changed in the sport, but when I did, a shallow pocket was not hugely popular, but key for the type of player I was.
The deeper the pocket, the better you can control the ball. You will also get a bit more power if the head gives you support for a straighter shot. A really good head can make an average, or above average player, a great player. You also need to consider the shape of the head. An angled scoop makes it much easier to grab the ball off the ground and toss it to a teammate, whereas a scoop with less of an angle will give a straighter trajectory when the ball is released.
Attacking heads are generally the lightest heads out there as well as the smallest. They are made for speed and powerful shots. While they may offer a longer path from the pocket to the lip, they are generally thinner than defenders heads. The best thing to look for in an attacker’s head is a style that will fit your position. If you are a main shooter, you want something that gives you control. If you are someone that generally plays more of a wing game, something that gives you a few defensive capabilities is going to be key.
Defenders heads often fit into the midfield role and will give a wider catching area. The job is to intercept a shot or pass, so you need something that has the widest head available. With that said, you are often the start of a counter-attack so a deep pocket may be important to keep control of the ball while you set up that big pass. You may also find that the head you choose is directly influenced by the stick you are using. Try a few different pairings until you find the two that will fit your style the best.
The goalkeeper’s head is generally the largest and is there to be the last line of defense. You don’t get a ton of control or power from the head, but you do get stopping power and a solid pocket. Goalkeeping is extremely difficult in lacrosse, so the head is key to ensure you get every advantage you can. Again, the stick and the head need to match up so the weight and length feel correct. There aren’t as many options in goalkeeper’s heads, but we will make sure to mention at least our top pick on the list.
Best Lacrosse Head Reviews
It is key to make sure you understand how we do our reviews. We weight value heavily in the reviews and want to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck. We aren’t going to just list the most expensive heads out there, though they are generally the best. The question is this; is the price increase worth the benefits of the better head? If not, the more expensive head will likely drop down the list a few spots, or not show up at all. We also look to review for a general audience. It is extremely unlikely that professional MLL players are out shopping for a head but don’t know where to start. Still, we will take as many people into account and suggest heads for beginners to pros. With that said, our list follows.
The East Coast Dyes Mirage Lacrosse Head is good enough on its own but add in the HeroMesh and you end up with one of the best values on the market. It isn’t the cheapest head out there (from our research) but it offers so much for the money that it is worth the investment. Very few heads come pre-strung and that alone sets this one apart.
In addition to the pre-stringing, the head is built with the pocket in mind for the attackers out there. They use 3D printing technology to make sure that they have the best pocket money can buy. Constantly tweaking the pocket and pre-stringing the head lets you get out and play quickly with one of the most aggressive heads on the market. The other advantage of the pre-string is there is no break-in time. HeroMesh and HeroStrings are semi-soft and durable which gives you a consistent amount of control.
If we had to find a negative it would be the fact that it is a pre-strung head. While many players will want to grab the head for that reason, it does add to the cost and eliminates the ability to customize the head with your favorite mesh and strings. The head is a solid purchase on its own, but it really shines because of the pre-stringing, so if you are looking to string with something other than HeroMesh, you may want to look at something else on the list.
- Pre-strung means you can get in the game much faster.
- No significant break-in for the mesh.
- The mesh provides a powerful and accurate shot and is fit perfectly to the head.
- Pre-stringing denies you the ability to customize the head to your liking.
- The head isn’t the best head on its own, so if you are stringing it with something else, look for a different head.
The first unstrung head on the list is perfect for attacking players. With a multitude of colors and affordable prices across the board, you are likely going to find the perfect fit both functionally and in the visual department. The CORE-TECH sidewall design is in place to reduce weight without giving up the stiffness needed for an accurate and powerful pass or shot.
The sidewall holes also push down to create a deeper set pocket which gives a greater release channel. Brine has been in the business for a very long time and all of their experience goes into this head in particular. While it isn’t unusual, the fact that it is unstrung gives you the ability to customize the head to your liking, something our number one pick didn’t do. You also save some money up front.
The weight of the head is only 7 ounces which is as light as you can expect at this price range. It is probably not the best professional level head, but for those moving up their game, you won’t find many issues with this as your main choice. It is priced at a low enough price that you can pick up a couple of heads at the same time as well. Great for adults and youth alike, there really are no major drawbacks to this head unless you need something that is pre-strung.
- Light and durable.
- Holes allow a deep pocket.
- Multiple colors to choose from.
- Not pre-strung. (We had to reach for a con for this one).
Maverik is a big name in lacrosse gear and this is the best head they have made yet. While it can be used as an attacking head, you are more likely going to see this used as a midfield head. It is a bit too stiff for faceoffs. Multiple color choices are another benefit, though not unique.
While this offers the same performance and innovations as the OPTIK brand heads, this head is designed to meet the specs for NCAA and NFHS. Another huge benefit is how easy the head is to string. If you haven’t had to string a head before, this one will provide plenty of practice but little challenge.
The head is very light and durable and feels great when paired up with a Maverik stick. The stiffness of the head may be a deal breaker for some and it is fairly basic on the “tech” that you find in other heads, but a lot of that is just marketing speak. For this, you are getting a great midfielder or defensive head that should last you for quite some time.
- Easy to string.
- Multiple color options.
- Light and durable.
- Not a great attacking head.
- A little stiff for some players.
- Won’t do you any favors in face-offs.
Maverik’s Tank is a pure defensive head with a level 5 bottom rail. You won’t see this on an attacker’s stick, but for those that play defense, there are few heads that are more durable and ready for action.
While it does the job of a defender’s head well, it serves your needs in every way, but it won’t do much else. It will need to be strung perfectly to hold the ball well, but when it is, you’ll be in great shape. A few reports mention a missing bumper pad or not fitting a stick just right, so there may be a few issues with quality assurance on this one.
If you don’t mind fixing the issues, or returning and getting a replacement, this is our top pick for a purely defensive head. We admit there are a few concerns with it, but that doesn’t take away from how fantastic Maverik is at making a highly defensive and usable head. This is definitely for the more experienced players though, so wait for high school before picking this up.
- Best purely defensive head on the market.
- Very durable.
- Not too heavy.
- Great at scooping ground balls.
- Need to string perfectly to get the most from the head.
- A few quality issues such as no bumper and poor fit to sticks.
Warrior worked with MLL superstar Paul Rabil to perfect this head in every way he saw fit. With a maximum Truoffset design and longer sidewall transition, you get more velocity per shot. The design also offers a number of unique color choices that can make the head stand out for younger players. And really, that is who this is designed for.
While the head is a great design that increases power, it lacks in durability compared to most other heads on the list. But for the price that you should pay (according to our research) the durability shouldn’t be a big issue. Playing it at higher levels, high school or higher, will wear the head out quickly, but for newer players, or younger players, you’ll find that the head will not only last for a good while, but it will help improve their game.
When it comes to value, this is one of the best on the list. It is only at number five because of durability concerns. The action you get with the head at the price you will pay makes this outstanding compared to just about anything else on the market. Stringing is also extremely easy, making it even more appealing to newer players. Still, durability is a concern and keeps it from topping our list.
- Tweaked by Paul Rabil to be a better attacking head.
- Great price for an amazing head.
- Great design with a number of different color choices.
- Easy to string.
- Durability is a big concern.
- Will not fit all sticks.
STX makes its first appearance on the list as one of the top defender heads out there. While it doesn’t compete with the Tank, it does come in at a lower price on average. While the sidewalls provide a ton of durability and stability for checks and ground balls, the lip is less durable by a long shot. The new Speed Scoop design is made to enhance groundball play by minimizing drag for quick scooping. It features a 3-sidewall brace for added durability and improved stiffness.
The pocket is designed to sit high for defenders and the stick you use will have a huge impact on how effective this is on pokes and checks. The head itself is extremely strong when pushing off attackers, but again, the top of the head has a tendency to crack right down the center. Stringing the head isn’t as easy as other heads on the list, but it is far from impossible. The wide base is one of the biggest benefits and the head holds up well to scooping, but we put it at number six due to the less than amazing durability. Still a great head at a very reasonable price on average.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, however. Some verified buyers were not happy with the quality since their units actually broke!
- Will put the hurt on attackers.
- Great at scooping.
- Wide base.
- Durability at the lip is a concern.
- Not the easiest to string.
STX shows up again with a great face-off head. While this is a fantastic head, it shows up lower on our list due to the fact that it is such a specialized head. With specific flex zones engineered into the midsection of the head for better face-off movements it does one thing extremely well. There is also a third screw hole through the throat plug which provides better torsion stability with the new STX duel handle.
While this head provides a great deal of use for face-off players, it isn’t going to appeal to the average player. It isn’t great for beginners or even intermediate players for the most part, this is a head with a specific purpose and it is priced for high-level players. All of those are great for the right type of player, but a con for just about everyone else.
Another concern is the product itself can come with some extra plastic that needs to be cut or chipped off. Though it isn’t on every head, it is something you need to concern yourself with and be prepared to deal with if you are one of the unlucky few. Overall, though, the consistency of quality with the duel U is perfect. We recommend the same strings on every head and this is no exception, HeroMesh is one of the best ways to take the head to the next level.
- Perfect for face-off players.
- Third screw gives more torsion control.
- Flexible to allow more movement in faceoffs.
- Priced for more professional level players.
- As a specialized head, the Duel U won’t meet a majority of player’s needs.
- Quality control is a little lacking, you may have to shave off some excess plastic.
Gait may not be a big name in lacrosse heads compared to the others on this list, but don’t let that dissuade you from considering this as your head of choice. The Recon XL is a solid choice for a head that is stiff with a medium (not too wide or too narrow) scoop area for good velocity and accuracy. It features a narrow channel also for better control. It’s built for all positions and it comes complete with a ball-stop and a multi-hole string system for custom pocket placement.
The only real concern we have with the head, in general, is some complaints that it can break with one bad hit. As this is likely going to be used more as a midfield head, keep the durability in mind. It is a great head at a great price, but the concerning durability may be one of the primary reasons that you are getting the lower than average price.
Still, for younger or newer players, this is one of the better options on the market. The reason it is listed at number eight on our list is due to the fact that it probably won’t hold up well with more aggressive play. Your results may vary, but we aren’t confident enough in the head to move it up the list until we have a better idea of how well it can take a beating. At this price, though, you can’t really go wrong.
- Great midfield head for the price.
- Good for all areas of the field
- Multi-hole stringing gives you more options for how you string this one compared to many others on the list.
- Durability is a question.
- Not a great head for more aggressive play.
- May crack on the first hit on a side.
Brine knocked it out of the park with our number two pick, the Clutch Elite. Unfortunately, this does not get anywhere close to the quality found in the Elite. So why does it make our list? Primarily because it is a strung head that is perfect for starting players. If you need to change the strings, it is fairly easy to do and the color choices will ensure younger players get a kick out of the design.
The head does feature the same CORE-TECH sidewall design as the Elite, which makes it a lighter head that is still pretty stiff. The head also includes a 2SHOT molded sidewall to let you customize the color of your head to your liking. The price varies a great deal, and we only suggest going with this head if you can get it under $50 or so.
The construction is not up to snuff with most of the other heads on the list, but if you are trying to get a younger player into the sport this is the perfect place to start. The strings that are pre-strung are solid, but you may want to restring once you get more advanced in the sport. This is a great attacking head though that will let newer players find a rhythm that works for them. That is likely what Brine was going for with this head and it will probably work. Brand loyalty is key in any sport.
- Pre-strung and ready to play as soon as it is on the stick.
- Some of the same technology on the Elite is here.
- Construction is lacking compared to most other heads, especially the Brine Elite.
- Pre-strings aren’t the best, but will do the job.
- Durability is fine, but it won’t last in more advanced play.
The final head on the list comes from the company that seems to be against the letter C. The Metrik is a great head for defense, but could work on attack. This will most likely be a good midfield head that will get the job done when you need to be more aggressive. Another big advantage is the age range this heads seems to fit into. With reports of U10 to high school players using the head, this is one that could be the go-to for a big part of the player’s career.
While this is comparable to many heads on the list, the catch-all nature of the head keeps it from placing higher on the list. It doesn’t do anything special and doesn’t offer some of the features that the other heads feature, but it is a solid workhorse of a head. There aren’t any real cons with this head, but the fact that we didn’t see any real pros, outside of the wide age range, left us feeling just okay about the Metrik.
Durability did not seem to be much of a problem, especially considering the cost. You should be able to find this pretty cheap. It won’t be the easiest head to string, but you shouldn’t struggle too much. Just keep in mind that this is a general workhorse head that doesn’t offer much in the way of breakthroughs and you will get just what you expect. A great head to learn with and grow with.
- Solid head for any age group.
- Great for younger players to learn on and grow with.
- Durable and affordable.
- Offers little in the “frills” department.
- Does not stand out from the crowd in any significant way, just a workhorse stick, nothing to impress friends with.
Conclusion & Recommendations
Our list covered a great deal for lacrosse players running face-offs to defense. While some heads, such as the Brine Clutch 3, at number nine, may seem to be pretty terrible to more advanced MLL players, they are perfect for those just getting into the sport. While there are a number of great defender heads on the list, we stick by number four, the Tank, as our favorite for more advanced players.
The top of the list is likely going to be the most popular all-around head for most readers. It offers plenty of great benefits and features, comes pre-strung, and works wonders at improving your game. Now, I personally feel some remorse about putting the Metrik at number ten. It is a solid head, but it has the “meh” syndrome that forced me to be unimpressed with the head compared to the rest reviewed. That isn’t to say it isn’t a great head, it just didn’t blow my hair back.
Most heads are meant to be used in a game and effective, looks aren’t all that important. Still, when you buy an expensive piece of gear, you want something that you can show off a little, or at least looks good sitting against the wall when you aren’t playing. That is why the Maverik Optic, number three on the list, ranked so high. It is not only a solid head, it looks great as well.
Our list tried to appeal to players of all styles and give you a solid place to use a stepping stone for more research. You may find the perfect head on this list, and if so we are happy we could help, but as with any item, one review isn’t going to be correct. These are opinions and while we try to be consistent in our judging, I would suggest you use this as your starting point, look at our reviews for sticks and other gear and see if you agree with our assessments on your own. Just purchase from a place that has a return or exchange policy and you will be safe.