Choosing the right Tennis Racquet to start with is a critical decision.
Starting with a racquet that doesn't suit you can make your experience lesser enjoyable and might even discourage you from playing more tennis going forward. Nowadays, there is a lot of technology involved in manufacture of equipment. So it is essential to be comfortable with some of the major parameters involved. This may seem cumbersome for a beginner, but it is essential to help you make an informed choice. Along with having some knowledge of your own, you should also consult a coach before making your final decision.
I can very well understand the dilemma you have put up,maybe because i went through the same thing when i had to buy one for myself. The range and variety that is available can be quite frankly, overwhelming.
There are few basic parameters which the players look into while buying a racket.
Racket Material- This being one of the basic aspects of the racket you are going to buy.Its the governing factor for the 'feel' of the racket. Aluminium rackets are available for beginners, they are heavy, cheap, durable and not a preferred option for even intermediate level tennis , however for kids and absolute beginners they won’t be too bad. Majority of performance driven rackets are generally made up of high modulus graphite also known as carbon fiber, the graphite used can be 100% graphite ( the '100%' can be misleading,it's a combination of graphite and resin) or composite. It's called composite when other materials like titanium, tungsten, Kevlar or boron is put into the architecture. All these substances alter the characteristics of the racket. 100% graphite being stiff is usually preferred by power hitters, Kevlar and boron make the rackets lighter helping in increasing your swing speed but being stiffer than graphite, they are inefficient when it comes to absorbing the vibrations from the impact of tennis ball on the racket and used mostly by tennis professionals . This being said you can never judge the performance the racket will give you on court just by going through the literature, nothing will substitute the pure hard feel of the tennis ball over the racket. For intermediate level tennis owning a racket having graphite will do the job.
Racket grip size- The grip sizes will range from 4&1/8th to 4&5/8th. Technically it’s the length between the middle crease of your palm to the tip of the longest finger. I never find technical definitions useful when it comes to sports. So if you need to choose, just hold the racket with your playing grip and the mid-point of your thumb should come in contact with the tip of your index finger. Grip size is a matter of personal preference but if the fingers and thumb don't meet or the fingers wrap around the grip to touch the palm, the grip size is not optimum. If ever confused between two grip sizes always go for the smaller one, you can always take the help of over grips.
Racket size- Head size prevalent in professional tennis ranges anywhere between 95 and 105 sq inches, a larger head gives you a bigger sweet spot and fewer chances of a miss hit.
Beam thickness- This is one thing that i have personally found important while playing but not given much importance while choosing rackets. It's this part :
As you develop your game,you will find that a slimmer frame supports better spin on your strokes whereas a thicker frame is more suitable for through the ball punch ground strokes.
These things I believe would help in trying in different rackets.
These are just guidelines so you can differentiate between rackets and are aware of different specifications present. The best way to choose a racket is by hitting the ball with it. If you are in a club that wouldn't be a problem I suppose, try talking with your coach too, some coaches receive sponsorship from racket companies and have sample rackets with them.
If you are confused by what is meant by 'feel' of the racket just notice how the racket behaves while playing shots: the vibrations on hitting the ball, the movement of the racket through the air, the translation of the power from the effort exerted into velocity of the ball or whether you achieve the spin you expect from your shots.
Oversized rackets (with net area >95 sq. in) are recommended for beginners due to a larger sweet spot, which can help players who have a hard time judging ball trajectory. A lighter racket will help you react quicker and make fine adjustments when learning --- at the expense of possibly introducing bad habits.
The most helpful tidbit of information is that many tennis shops (even online ones) offer a "demo" program. What this means is that you can pay some money to rent a group of rackets at the same time, and try them simultaneously on a tennis court. The ability to compare a few rackets at a time will help you understand what you like and dislike about certain tennis rackets and speed up your selection process.