When playing squash, you need a squash racket. A squash racket is to squash as a race-car is to drag racing. So you want to make sure you get a good squash racket to make sure you can take your squash playing to the next level.
This article will show you both how to get a good squash racket and tell you how much money you’ll need to get that racket and maintain it.
The short answer first. How much does a squash racket cost? A squash racket will cost anywhere between about $25 and $200. Beginner rackets cost $25 to $70, intermediate rackets $70 to $130, and pro rackets are usually $130 to $200. There are other options, like renting or buying pre-owned.
I will take a look at all the options, and get you thinking about which racket is right for you and how to look after it when you’ve got it.
Which Racket Is Right For You?
Buying the best possible squash racket depends on your preferences. No racket is the ‘best’, you must figure out what works best for you and work hard at getting good with it. The differences in rackets can slightly affect your game, but overall, your skills are transferable between rackets.
The Differenes Between Rackets
There are a variety of factors; such as weight, balance, string pattern, throat shape, how it looks, durability and the head shape (teardrop, elongated teardrop, square head and oval).
Trying different rackets out will help you figure out what you want from a racket.
Often beginners rackets are both the cheapest and the heaviest. This is because theey are made out of heavy materials, usually graphite alloy.
The cheapest rackets you can buy are normally around $25-$45 and are usually around the 180 grams mark.
Personally I think this is too heavy.
In general, I would say never to get a racket more than around 140 grams in terms of weight.
The heavier the racket is, the harder it is to get it back in time to play your shot. Also, you run the risk of potentially developing shoulder or elbow injuries. You are much better starting out in the game with a lighter racket, that will help you groove your shots.
On the other hand, a heavier weight helps with the force in your shots. Weight is probably the most important factor in choosing a racket.
The vast majority of rackets in popular usage are between 110 grams and 140 grams.
Anywhere in this range is a good place to start if you are not sure.
Quite simply, there are two types of common design, the tear-drop shaped racket and the rounder racket head.
The high-spec rackets are almost uniformly tear-drop shaped, as are also many beginner and intermediate rackets.
I would always recommend the tear-drop shape rackets. Their shape creates a larger sweet spot which really helps in getting consistent power and accuracy into your shots.
The pricing range for squash rackets varies.
Buying a more expensive racket does not guarantee it will improve your game more. What it does tend to guarantee is a higher quality of build for the racket. Price is normally dictated by the type of material the racket is made from, as well as the overall design.
Here are some potential prices for rackets (as of February 2019):
High End Brands
Technifibre Carboflex 125 X-Speed Squash Racquet – £199
Harrow Vaport Squash Racquet – $149
Black Knight Ion Cannon – $164.95
Harrow Bancroft Executive – $180
Mid Range Prices
Head Graphene 115: $120.00
Technifibre Carboflex: $139.00
Dunlop Aerogel 4D Evolution: $100.00
Head Graphene 115: $120.00
Low End Prices
Head Cyber Squash Racket – $25
Head Spark Tour Squash Racket – $49
Dunlop Blaze Pro Squash Racket – $35
Wilson Hyper Hammer 120 – $69
Strings – Prices
You can also pay to have your strings replaced or modified for more control or more power.
Strings that are strung lighter tend to have more power. Strings that are strung tighter tend to offer more control.
The price for this can vary but the cost of getting an online company to do the restringing for you can cost anywhere from $26 to $40 depending on the string, and cost more if you want to add extras.
Grips can cost around $8, dampners around $4, grommets around $10 and over-grips around $3.
Buying A Used Racket
If you want to save money, buying a used racket is a good way to go. This is as long as you do your research before to make sure you don’t pay too high a price or buy a defective racket. Fortunately, you’re about to learn how to avoid both of those issues.
Firstly, you should know how much an used racket should cost. If you are paying over $40 for the frame or the string, you’re probably paying too much. If you are paying over $10 for the grip, then again you are paying too much. Tally all this up and you shouldn’t pay more than $90 for the racket. It should also be noted that this is on average.
Obviously, the more the racket has been used, the more damage it has probably accumulated. This means the newer and less used the racket is, the more likely you will be paying more as the racket will probably last longer.
The other issue is avoiding defective rackets. When buying used items, it is very likely that there is no return policy. That’s why you need to know exactly what you’re buying beforehand.
There are a few ways to start building up your knowledge of rackets so you won’t get fooled. To start off, go to a racket store that sells new and old rackets and get to know the models for each year. Often, racket models change from year to year, so by learning which models are for which year, you can know what models are current and you can also find out which rackets are older.
Something to think about when you do this is to check the labels and stickers on the rackets as this will help you figure out what official brands look like versus cheaper and weaker knockoffs masquerading as popular products.
Combine all this knowledge with doing online research on the names and looks of older rackets, and you will build up quite the understanding of old and new racket models, allowing you to look at the names and looks of the rackets you will find and quickly discern if they are old or new. This is especially helpful for when you buy rackets online as you may only have the model name and a picture to go off of.
Another way to suss out a defective racket is to check it for the telltale signs of usage. Whenever the squash racket hits the ball, it leaves a residue of fuzz on the strings. This is a sign that the racket has been used at least once, but it does not necessarily mean the racket is truly damaged.
The real signs of damage are scratches on the bumper guard and frame as well as if the paint is chipped off, if the grip is worn down and how sturdy the frame is.
The frame should be as sturdy as possible. If it feels like it could break, don’t buy the racket as it probably will break.
If you don’t have the privilege of feeling the frame for whatever reason, look for any cracks in it, as even slight ones can cause huge problems for the racket later on.
The quality of the frame and grip are very important. The second most important thing to check is the quality of the bumper guard. If there is only a scratch or two, the racket should still be mostly functional.
Many scratches is a sign that the racket could fall apart but there is always a chance it will stay together.
If the bumper guard is fully worn off, that’s a sign that sooner or later, the racket has a good chance of breaking.
Paint being chipped off is a sign that the impact which caused external damage also caused internal damage to the racket. Check for all these signs when you buy a racket.
If a racket has been repaired and sold to you, you should be warned that it can still cause problems for you later on. You do not know the quality of the repair job, so if possible, ask questions about it or just err on the side of caution and don’t buy that racket.
If you need to check a racket for signs of repair, examine it for any odd bulges or swelling, which are often signs of repair.
To summarize all this, remember the old adages: “buyer beware” and “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. It always seems like a good idea to save money, but it is more important to make sure you buy something of quality rather than save money, or in the long term, you’ll be buying in terms of quantity and that will probably cost you more money eventually.
Fixing A Racket
Let’s say you’ve bought a racket and you’ve used it a bunch of times. You’ve had many fun practices and even better times playing game after game of squash.
But then you’re hitting the ball in yet another fun game of squash, only for the ball to hit the strings and they break apart. Or the frame gets dented after you accidentally hit the racket awkwardly against the wall.
You’ve grown attached to the racket, and now you fear that the only thing left to do with it is toss it out.
Fear not, there are things you can do to get your favorite racket back.
If your racket’s strings came apart, then as discussed in the section above, you can get the strings replaced.
Something that wasn’t discussed was that you can replace the strings yourself. This method can cost more upfront as you need to buy a machine to let you string your own racket. If you want to do this yourself, here are some instructions on how to start restringing.
First, you need to buy a machine. These machines range in price but you should be able to find a good one for no more than $200.
After that, you need to buy squash string. If you are planning to play at a professional level, then you need to buy more expensive brand name squash strings like Technifibre or Ashaway. Otherwise, you can buy brand name strings like Prince, Head, Wilson and other brands which don’t cost as much.
Once you have done that, you will want to watch videos on how to restring a racket yourself to see how to do and follow the movements carefully to prevent wasting any string or further damaging the racket. There are also articles on how to restring rackets if you would prefer to read the instructions, although videos and images will help.
If the frame is broken, then what you should do depends on when and how it broke.
If the frame broke at all soon after you bought it, you have a few good options. The first is that most retailers will fully refund you if your racket breaks within a month or sometimes longer. As long as you have not purposely broken the racket, the retailer should give you a refund or replacement.
If the frame has broken after the grace period where you can simply return the racket, then there are different steps to take.
The first thing in the case of a broken frame past the return policy to do is check the grommet. A grommet strip binds the racket together, helping keep the casing and the strings together.
The grommet thins over time as the racket hits the ground or walls, or sometimes even just from the impact of the ball hitting it. If the grommet only has mild damage, it may be possible to send it in for repairs. If it is extremely damaged, there is the slightest of chances that it can be fixed, but the more the grommet is damaged, the more likely the rest of the racket is damaged.
The more intense the damage to the grommet, the more likely you will need to simply buy another racket.
It should also be noted that you can try to replace or fix a grommet strip yourself, but it is not recommended. If you don’t use too much force or otherwise mess up changing the grommet strip, it can deform the strip or even the frame to a degree, thus meaning more repairs or at the very least, having to buy another grommet strip.
If the grip is broken, you may be in trouble but it depends on what specifically is broken.
If it’s just the wrapping around the handle, you can put new tape over it, but you should look into some good brands specifically for that before you do so. Your hand will be on it, so you want to make sure the wrapping will be comfortable before you do so. Some people just use normal tape which can work, but once your hands get sweaty this may cause some irritation.
If the handle itself is broken, as in the metal you hold, then this can and probably will hurt you. In that case, your best bet is to either get a new racket or send it in for repairs.
A final word of warning is that if your racket breaks and you wish to repair it, learning to repair any part of a squash racket by yourself is hard. Obviously, like any skill, you can learn it if you work hard enough at it. But for the first few times you try, maybe many times, you may damage the rackets even more so than before. It may be easier to simply pay other established companies to do the repairs for you or buy a new racket when your old one breaks.
Now that you have a rough idea of how much a squash racket costs and the process of repairing them, you should be able to get a racket for yourself and start putting it to good use. Whether you get a used racket or a new racket, you should always take good care of it and observe it to make sure that it is not getting damaged. Prevention is always easier than a cure and a cure is usually easier to do if there is only minor damage instead of major damage.
Hopefully the advice on examining used rackets and the different things to look for in rackets will help you make an inspired choice of racket, and overtime, you and your racket will prove to be a good match for each other. Now go get to work on getting that racket and playing squash!