The Best Squash Racquets of 2018 | Power & Control

Choosing the best squash racquet is a critical decision that must be made after taking various factors into consideration.  Are you a beginner or an intermediate player?  Are you as close as it gets to being a pro?  Do you have absolutely no clue what squash is, but want to learn?  Squash is a game that is similar to racquetball.  However, the actual handle is longer than a racquetball racquet’s handle, making it look a little like a tennis racket at first glance.  But don’t be fooled these are designed for very specific purposes to help you get the most out of your time on the court!

Depending on the type of materials that you want and/or need, the price will vary.  Because there are a number of companies out there that sell squash racquets, you can also see price-point differences.  Of course, this also means that you have plenty of places to look when making a decision, which is never a bad thing.  This is a massive advantage over some sports where you see one or two very popular brands engulfing everyone else.  Like court shoes, with squash rackets you can find awesome material from a number of different sources.

Some of the categories that we will look at in this guide are: weight, balance, head size, throat style, and stiffness.  Each of these have unique factors that can help you improve your deficiencies, which will make you a much better player.

Top Squash Racquets Comparison Chart

Racquet Weight

Materials

As with all sports, technology has come a very long way.  We now have instant replay in practically every sport.  As a result, the move away from wood has happened rapidly.  For instance, golfers used to literally use wooded drivers.  Now, they are made of graphite mostly.  Soccer goals used to have wood in a lot of cases, but it has become cheaper and more practical to come up with other solutions.  This is the case with squash racquets.  In the old days, racquets were made out of wood in most cases.  This made the racquet quite heavy and much less durable than they are currently.  Nowadays, graphite and carbon fibers are very common.  This allows squash racquets to be much lighter in weight than their counterparts of decades gone by.  The reason that this is such a big deal is that these materials give the same amount of support as wood once did, but they are much lighter!  So if you have the same strength in something at half the weight, for example, you are able to actually generate more power (potentially) because you are able to swing faster than you could before.  A racquet made with carbon fiber can range anywhere from 90 grams in weight to 155 grams.  Most commonly, rackets are going to hover in the 130-140 gram range.

Benefits of a Lighter Racquet

The benefits of having a lighter (on the scale) racquet are numerous.  Whether you are a junior or a top pro, you could have a legitimate reason to use a very lightweight racquet.  To start, let’s look at juniors.  As a junior, you are usually quite small and just learning the game.  Why stunt the growth of a potentially great squash player by having them play with a racquet that is too difficult to swing?  If strength is a factor, a lighter weight racquet is an answer because it will allow the junior player to actually swing and hit the ball.  A drawback to this, however, is going to be that the racquet is not going to give you a lot of support in terms of power.  Top pros and even top amateurs players, or players that are quite experienced, can also use a lighter racquet to their advantage.  Because of their lightness, they are easy to maneuver.  This makes it possible for a player that is very proficient at playing to really put his or her opponent under pressure with a great capacity for volleying.  These very light racquets are best used for players who are already quite strong and forceful with their strikes, and are also for someone that can absolutely hit the sweet spot every time.  This is crucial because these racquets are going to be moving much quicker, which gives you less time to hit that perfect shot.  So, unless you are a junior or a top player with loads of experience, a super lightweight probably isn’t right for you.

Benefits of Heavier Racquet

Heavier racquets have a lot of uses for them as well.  Are you lacking a little bit of power?  Are you just starting to play and need something to hold up well?  This is likely your answer.  As the inverse of the lighter racquet, the heavier racquet allows you to generate more power with less of a swing.  You don’t have to fully throw your weight into a shot with these types.  This is great for someone that isn’t as physically strong, or as used to playing squash as others might be.  This means that kids, men, and women of all sorts of levels of experience can be benefited by having a heavier racquet.  Of course, the negative side of a heavier racquet is having to take a little longer to swing!  You are going to be a little bit slower than someone with a 90 gram racquet is.  To get it to move faster, you have to expend more energy than you normally would.  Cardio plays a big factor in squash, and this area is no different.  For an average player, you should probably split the difference somewhere toward the middle or the upper end of the spectrum and you’ll do great!

Racquet Balance

Balance is a key component to any squash racquet.  Finding the right feel for you and your purposes is absolutely necessary.  Not all racquets are the same.  In fact, there are three types of balances: head light, head heavy, and evenly balanced.  While the names may sound confusing, don’t let them intimidate you.  The right racket is out there for you, and the explanations are very simple, even if you are new!

Head Light

This type of balance simply means that the racquet has most of the weight toward the handle.  What this does is allow the head to be lighter, which allows to you to better move the racquet.  This type of balance is best for the player that likes to play volleys.  To link to the above passage about weights, head light balanced racquets are usually used in conjunction with heavier racquets.

Head Heavy

This type of balance is essentially the direct opposite of the head light.  Heady heavy racquets have most of the weight toward the head of the racquet.  This helps the player to generate power as well as helping you develop a constant, consistent swing.  Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the lighter weight racquets typically have a head heavy balance.

Even Balance

This type of balance basically splits the difference between the other two.  It offers you a certain flexibility that will allow you to have a proficient volleying and power.  A couple of points to look for: if the even balance comes with a lighter racquet, you are going to have trouble generating power unless you are very strong or experienced.  If it is heavy, you are also going to have trouble swinging in most cases.  For an even-balanced racquet, you are going to want something that is down the middle in just about all categories.

The best way to determine what you want in this area is to go out and look at racquets.  Even if you don’t necessarily want to buy in-store, you need to go and see how each type feels.  Some people simply cannot play without a certain type because it will feel alien to them.  Go look and see what kind of feel you like, and then make your decision!

Head Size

The sizing of the head on your racquet is going to determine whether your racquet is meant for control or power.  A smaller head, for instance, will provide you less power while a larger head will give you more power.  Knowing which type of player you are, or which type of player to want to be is crucial when you encounter this step of the equation.

Smaller Head

A smaller head has numerous benefits to your game.  As indicated above, it will provide you less power.  But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing that should make you write off a smaller head totally.  The length of the smaller head’s string plays a critical role in this.  Because it has less string, the bouncy trampoline effect is taken away.  This means that the ball is not going to bounce quite as hard off of the face when you hit it.  Because the string is smaller, it also gives less.  This means that not only are you less powerful, but you are also much more accurate because the string gives less!  This means that you can more accurately control your shots, which can give you a massive advantage on the court.

Larger Head

A larger head is the opposite of the smaller head.  You are going to see an increase in power because there is a longer distance between the strings.  This not only gives you more power, but it also gives you a greater area to find the “sweet spot.”  The larger head has strings that give more than the smaller head and they also give you more spring when you strike the ball.  However, the larger distance between strings can cause you to be less accurate.  While the difference isn’t too severe, you will notice a difference if you compare the larger head to the smaller.

Note: Just to be clear, the sweet spot is in the very center of the racquet.  It is where you want to hit the ball so that it will go where you want it to go.  If you hit the ball on the outer edges of the string, with the handle, or the shaft, the shot is likely to be very poor!

Throat Size

The throat of the racquet is the area directly under the strings and above the handle.  Throat size determines what kind of strings are used, making it important to look at.  Please note that the meanings of the two are kind of opposite to what you would assume.  The closed throat actually has a small opening between the handle and the strings while the open throat has no opening.  This can be confusing, but it will all make sense in just a minute!  When choosing what size throat to use, you must decide whether you are going to play individually or if you will be playing doubles.  Because the styles are completely different, you are going to want to make sure to have something that will hold up!

Closed Throat/Bridged Style

A closed throat helps you by providing stability and lessening “torsion.”  Torsion is simply the action of twisting.  This just means that you are more in control with this style of throat.  Because of the design, there is a “hole,” if you will between the handle and the strings.  As a result of this, all of the strings are just about the same length, with the exception of those just on the outer edges (this is because the edges of the racquet are rounded).  This also increases control, because like with the smaller head, there is less distance between the strings.  In doubles, this is the racquet that is recommended because of the heavier “hard” ball that is used.

Open Throat

The open throat is not the one with the “hole” between the handle and the strings, as most would assume.  Open throat racquets typically have a tear-shaped look to them, and as a result of their stringing, they provide the user more power than closed throat racquets would.  They do this because as a result of their being no “hole” as discussed earlier, they have much larger strings running down them than the closed throats have.  This means, as we saw earlier, that you can hit the ball harder because they have more rebound to them.  You also, however, will have less control because of this.

Racquet Stiffness

Stiffness also plays a factor in the racquet because they allow you to produce more power depending our their tightness.  Today, it is very common for some lighter racquets to be very stiff.  This means that you can move the racquet around very quickly and easily while also getting a lot of power out of it because of its intense “rebound,” which is exactly what it sounds like.  Not all lightweight models have very stiff stringing, but some do.  It may be something for the very serious player to look into to help their game out as they buzz around dominating people with their pace.

Racquet Power or Control

Now, we need to take a little more about the power vs. control conundrum that we have here.  This is something that has to be considered in all sports, so it is no surprise that we see it here.  Which wins?  Well, it’s usually the player that can do a bit of both in truth!  At least, those are the most consistent players.  Like all things on this guide, it can be a little subjective.  My needs as a player as going to differ from yours.  You may be perfectly capable of playing with a lighter racquet because you are very big and strong.  But for most of us, we’re going to need something that has at least medium weight to it.  We have gone over above some of the specific factors and talked a little about power and control, but we need to put it all together now.

Power

A Power racquet has a few things to look for, as we have seen throughout the guide.  The best way I know how to explain this is to say that if the majority of the options are power ones, then you have a power racquet.  For example, we know that an open throat gives you more power (and consequently, less control), so if this is included along with larger head, head light balance, and a heavier weight, then you have a racquet that is meant to give you power.  Now, sometimes we see different and seemingly strange combinations of the above things.  Don’t be alarmed.  They are there to offset one another to give you some hope of keeping the ball in play!

Control

Like the power racquets, control racquets are going to be signified by a few things.  If a majority of the following factors are present then you are seeing a racquet that is built for control and speed: a closed throat, a smaller head, head heavy balance, and lighter weight.  As with power, sometimes companies make combinations that will offset some of the control so you will have some power to go with it!

Skill Level Recommendations

Lastly, before we get to our guide, I am going to make a recommendation for beginners, for intermediate players, and for advanced players.

Beginners: Wilson Pro Factor

with a beginner’s racquet we need something that is going to last through the hits and learning curves.  You’re not going to be perfect, so we need a large sweet spot, a decent weight, and decent maneuverability.  This gives it you and more for a very reasonable price as well!

Intermediate: Dunlop Aerogel 130

for intermediate’s we need something that they can graduate up to.  This is perfect because it is a little bit lighter, but it still gives you the power to hammer through with shots.  It also will also stand up even when you still have your occasional miss hits!

Advanced: Dunlop Force Evolution 120

this is the type of racquet meant for someone who will practice and work very hard to get used to.  It gives much better accuracy without making you give up power, which makes it perfect for players that are advancing toward the top of the squash heap.

Best Squash Racquet Reviews

HEAD Micro Gel 145

The title gives us some vital information from the get-go with this product from the racquet geniuses HEAD.  This racquet weighs 145 grams, which is toward the heavier end of the spectrum.  What that tells us right off the bat is that this is going to be a power racquet.  Amplifying this is the fact that it has an open throat, so they are definitely shooting for power with this design.  It simply has to be because of its sheer weight.  A good strike on this one will give you great power.  At a very reasonable price you also get the Micro Gel technology that greatly reduces vibration.  So, basically you are going to get a lot of power and you will be able to improve your control game as well because the lack of a stinging vibration!

Python Beginner Squash Deluxe Starter Set

I like to talk companies’ words at face value- at least until they show they can’t be trusted.  So, like the product listing says, this is a beginner set that comes at a very inexpensive price, making it popular.  This is also a set, which is unlike the rest of this list, so if you are needing to get a good start with all of the necessary equipment, this may be something for you to look into.  Because it is a beginner racquet, you are getting a lighter weight one that has a medium-sized closed throat.  Remember, this is to help you learn to hit the sweet spot, and a light weight racquet is going to give you more of an opportunity to do that. This would also be good for very quick and weaker types of players!

Dunlop Hot Melt Pro

I really like the white and black “classic” type look that this racquet has. It exudes class in that regard.  And looks do matter, as subjective as they are.  This is another very reasonably priced racket offered.  It comes is at 140 grams, so it is a little on the heavier side.  It is also even-balanced, so this points to it being a racquet that is looking to fit itself into the middle of the power and control spectrum in order to give the user the best of both worlds.  It has a slightly closed throat to it, so you will have an opportunity to split the difference between total power and total control a little better as well.

HEAD Graphene Cyano 115

This racquet takes us to the next level of squash.  It is still reasonably priced, but this design gives you to be able to power into shots with as little weight possible because of the graphite shaft.  The balance is stated as “slight head heavy,” which means that this is a racquet that is meant primarily for quick and controlling type players.  However, it is still at 115 grams, so it allows you to also have the power necessary to potentially overpower your opponents through its open throat.  The head of this racquet, no pun intended, is more narrow than many, so this is certainly not one that I would recommend for beginners.  You need that sweet spot!  So, if you are pretty serious and want to save a few bucks, this is worth your look!

Black Knight ION Cannon

Black Knight offers up another reasonably priced racquet.  This racquet weights 130 grams, so it is still in the middle of the spectrum, but it is hovering toward the heavy end.  What this does is it allows you to have both power and precision.  The power comes from the advancing weight and graphite while the precision comes from the larger sweet spot.  It also includes an open throat, so you have more power as a result of the strings giving you more rebound.  This is an excellent choice for someone that wants to have both, but can’t handle using a very lightweight option.  For some, it just isn’t doable because they have issues breaking the racquet or with control because they have been used to swinging some heavy “wood” in the past.

HEAD Xenon2 135

HEAD makes the list once again (no shocker!) with a 135 gram offering this time.  This splits the difference from earlier a little, but it still gives you a head heavy look and feel, which typically comes with lighter racquets, so this is a bit of an interesting combination that you’ll probably want to try out before committing to.  This is also a reasonable-priced, mid-range product that is offered, and it has corrugated rails that help give you more stiffness, which produces more power.  It has a larger closed throat and it is also good at absorbing shocks, so you don’t have to worry as much about vibrations with this model.  This is not the type of racquet that’s going to withstand to hitting the floor or the wall very often, however, so if you are very new and/or prone to doing that, you might want to look elsewhere.

Dunlop Force Evolution 120

Dunlop comes back to the list this time with a much more expensive option.  This model is lightweight at 120 grams, so you are going to have a lot of maneuverability and control to your shots as a result.  One of the things I see instantly about it is that this is something you are going to have to get used to.  If you are just switching over from a racquet in the 140-160 range, you will see a drop off of power initially.  This may be catastrophic for some players, but if you are skilled, you will get used to it and flourish with this racquet!  This is a head light balance, so much so that they claim it is “extra head light,” so this means you can move the racquet around better!  This has a very small closed throat to it, but it does have one nonetheless!

Harrow Vapor Graphite

the most expensive racket on this list so far comes in at #8, and it is easy to see why.  This is a high-class model that weighs 140 grams.  It’s also a really cool black and red, so when you are overpowering your opponent into submission, you’re also going to look great while doing it.  This racquet is used by some of the world’s top squash players, so that tells you that is probably going to take quite a bit of power and skill to be able to master using this racquet.  It is also head heavy and has a closed throat, giving you a consistent swing and shot each time.  This is definitely something to consider if you are a very serious player or have been playing for a very long time and can afford it!

HEAD YouTek Neon2 130

HEAD produces the fourth addition to this list with another moderately priced racquet.  This one also weighs 130 grams, but they quickly tell us that this is a POWER racquet.  Not sure why they needed to scream that, but I got the message.  What this also gives you is a great ability to move and control shots as well because at 130 it isn’t overly bulky.  So if you are wanting power and you have good reflexes, this could be your choice. This is also a closed throat, so this also helps you with your control.

Dunlop Blackstorm Titanium

Dunlop rounds out our list with a moderately priced option that is a little bit different than the now typical graphite.  This offering uses titanium, which gives you some added durability.  This might be good for beginners and/or kids that are hitting things besides the ball!  It has a closed throat and is head light, which tells us that you are able to produce more power.  It weighs 135 grams, so it isn’t way too heavy either.  This is highly recommended for beginners and anyone looking to save on an awesome racquet.

 

 

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