[Updated on 1 June 2020] Squash is a fun sport and one heck of a workout, so it is not surprising that a sport invented in the 1800s is still popular today. Squash does not require as much equipment as most of the other major sports, but it does need a few items. Unless you are a professional player you are probably not looking to spend an arm and a leg on your Squash gear. Casual players and weekend warriors rejoice because you came to the right place to find the best squash racquet under $100.
Just because one racquet is considered the best for one person doesn’t mean that it is best for everyone. These reviews are based on several factors to decide which racquets are the best overall. To better understand which of these racquets is best for you it helps to know a little more about the features.
Does Price Matter?
Price is a factor, but it is not the only factor. Often people equate price with quality, and while the two are correlated, the most expensive product is not always the best.
A lot of people think that a racquet is a status symbol, but a price tag doesn’t do a lot on the court. Even if you are a veteran of the sport there is no shame in having a budget racquet. Some players use cheaper racquets for practice, while others choose to invest their money elsewhere. Buying cheaper racquets with different features also allows you to test which features you like and which you don’t when you eventually buy a more expensive racquet.
Why Are Squash Records so Expensive?
The materials used in the construction of these racquets are not cheap, and as science advances, they only become more expensive.
Players expect their racquets to take a beating, which means that they need to be made out of more expensive material. The more durable the racquet, the longer they last which means that the companies sell fewer products, so the product needs to cost more.
Racquet companies are always looking for ways to improve their equipment for players. The more advanced technology is, the more it costs.
There is something to say about brand recognition. Sometimes companies charge more for their racquets because of their reputation.
What Features Do I Need to Know About?
To decide which racquet is best for you, you must first know more about the overall features of racquets.
Weight and Balance
The weight of the racquet is a major factor in your gameplay. A lighter racquet allows for a faster swing, but a heavier racquet gives you a more powerful strike. The balance of the racquet has an equal effect on the speed and power of your swing. A heavier head slows down the swing and gives it more power while weight in the handle allows for a faster swing. Many of the best racquets take a balanced approach with the head and handle being equally weighted.
The dimensions of a racquet affect gameplay in a similar way to the weight and balance. A large racquet head gives you more power and a larger sweet spot, but you lose precision. A smaller head gives you less power and a smaller sweet spot, but you have a lot more control over your ball.
One overlooked dimension that is important to note is the beam or the width of the racquet head. Beams can range in width from 15 to 25mm. A thinner beam gives more bend to the racquet for speed while a wider beam is stiffer, so it gives a bigger sweet spot and more power.
The throat is the part of the racquet where the handle meets the strings. A racquet can either have a closed throat or an open throat. A closed throat has a gap between the strings and the handle and offers more control and stability. With an open throat, the strings meet the handle creating a teardrop shape that gives more power to your swing.
The strings are an important part of the racquet, but they are more complex than most people realize. Texture, patterns, thickness, and tension of the strings all play a part in the overall way your racquet plays. Less expensive nylon strings are smooth, so they don’t grip the ball at all leading to less control. Thicker strings and more dense weaves make for better ball control while a more open weave offers more power.
What if The Racquet Isn’t Perfect for Me?
There are certain features of the racquet that you can’t change like the weight, but there are a few that you can customize to make the racquet perfect for you. Even the best racquets need to be restrung every once in a while so if you like everything about your racquet but the strings, don’t worry because you can change them later. Another feature that can be changed instantly is the handle grip. Many players will add grip or a slip-on grip cover before they ever play to make the racquet feel better in their hands. Some players also install a tool called a vibration dampener, which keeps the strings from vibrating too much after a strike.
Is There Anything Else to Know Before I Buy?
If you are new to squash, you’ll want to consider buying some safety gear at the same time.
There is a lot of sales jargon when it comes to squash racquets, so stick to the basics when choosing the best racquet for your needs.
There are multiple weights of squash balls, and they are all marked with a colored dot. Double yellow balls are competition, and blue dot balls are a beginner. Make sure that you are testing your racquet on a blue dot ball if you are trying it before you buy.
The Best Squash Racquets
With so many different companies and models of racquets, it is intimidating to choose the right one, but these are overall some of the best on the market.
Head is one of the most popular racquet brands, and it shows in equipment like this. This racquet is made from a combination of carbon fiber and silicon, which makes it strong but lets it give a little with minimal vibration. The bit of giving offers a punch of power to your shot thanks to the two holes toward the top of the racquet that allow the top half of the head to flex backward.
At 145 grams, this is a heavier racquet than many other racquets in its class. Though a lot of beginners would list this as a negative attribute, a slightly heavier racquet is not a bad thing in the hands of a pro. The head is light, and the handle is thin, which means that this is a well-balanced racquet that feels good in your hand. A nice thing about a thin handle is that you can always add more grip tape.
The Microgel 145 offers a lot of power, but it also offers a surprising amount of control. It has an open throat and noticeably wider space between the strings, which helps with power but also creates a larger sweet spot. This is certainly the most unique racquet on this list and one of the most unique period; thanks to all of its features it is the perfect racquet for a newcomer or a veteran.
This is another great item by Head that is balanced in every way. This particular model has been around for a while, and it remains a favorite among players. It is constructed from a nano-titanium, which makes it strong but lightweight. The open throat combined with great strings makes for an easy to find sweet spot.
The Nano Ti only weighs 110 grams, but it is head heavy which gives it more power despite its lightweight. Most people will find the grip to be comfortable, but as your swing improves you may find the lightweight racquet combined with an efficient swing makes the handle harder to grip. This racquet is made with Head brand quality so it will stay structurally sound, but the titanium scuffs and dents easily so you may find that your racquet doesn’t look too pretty after continued use. At a reasonable price this is one of the best racquets for those breaking into the sport or a casual player who is looking to save money without sacrificing quality.
Pro Impact is not a household name like Head or Dunlop, but that doesn’t stop them from making a nice racquet. It doesn’t do anything for function, but this racquet has a great color pattern, and it comes with a similar colored carrying case, which is a bonus. The body is constructed out of graphite, which makes it lightweight but impressively durable.
The teardrop shape and open throat design create a trampoline effect that gives great power even to beginners. This racquet doesn’t sacrifice anywhere because even with the added power, you still get great accuracy. The handle width is pretty standard, and since this is such a light racquet the weight is pretty evenly balanced. Since the head doesn’t weigh much it doesn’t put too much strain on your grip.
What makes this racquet stand out is that it is perfect for every skill level. A pro won’t have a problem using it, and it will improve a beginner’s game. The lightweight frame make it a fantastic racquet for pre-teens and teens that are serious about their craft.
The name sounds cool, but the racquet is even cooler. As an updated version of one of their most popular racquets, Black Knight has improved on its design. It is made with a combination of graphite and Berillium which makes it durable and fairly stiff which is an advantage for some and a disadvantage for others.
There are several features that make this a popular choice in its price range, but the top one has to be the grip. There is never a fear of losing your racquet mid-swing, and it never strains the hand or leaves blisters. Even with a head heavy design, this racquet feels more balanced thanks to that grip. The teardrop-shaped head has an open throat, but unlike a lot of other racquets, this design does not give it a lot of bounce.
The Bandit 3 is not meant for beginning players. It has a small sweet spot that is better suited for intermediate to advanced players. This racquet is on an island by itself because it is fantastic for the price and a great practice racquet for advanced players, but it is not a great racquet for competition.
If budget is the biggest concern, you can’t go wrong with this inexpensive but reliable racquet. Prince is a popular racquet company that has been around for ages. From the look of it you would never be able to tell that it is a budget product. At 180 this racquet is still light but noticeably heavier than more expensive graphite and carbon racquets. It is made from a mixture of titanium and aluminum which makes it durable but not resistant to scuff and dents.
Although this racquet is slightly heavier, it is balanced to be headlight so the majority of the weight is in the handle. The head is slightly smaller than average, but thanks to an open throat and a fanned out string pattern, it has a large sweet spot. This racquet is not designed for big power shots; instead, it is a great racquet for practicing precision ball placement.
As a budget racquet, the part that suffers the most is the grip. The good news is that grips are replaceable if it falls apart or doesn’t feel right in your hand. The Inspire 200 is a racquet that is best suited for a beginner or a casual weekend player who is not ready to invest in a more expensive racquet. It is not meant to last forever, but if it is properly cared for, it will last a while.
Just because these are not the most expensive racquets on the market doesn’t mean they aren’t great. Each of these racquets has desirable features that players will love, but one of them stands out amongst the budget crowd. The winner of the budget models has to be the Head Microgel 145.
Most of these racquets are meant for beginning players. An advanced player will still feel comfortable with the Head Microgel in their hands. The Microgel 145 is the most technologically advanced of all the racquets on this list. It feels perfectly balanced in your hand and allows beginners to generate power shots while not sacrificing accuracy. It is also a durable racquet, so it stretches your money farther because it doesn’t need to be replaced often. The fact that it is made by one of the most reputable companies in the industry doesn’t hurt either.
Finding a decent racquet under $100 is difficult, but it is not impossible. There is a racquet on this list for every player, no matter the skill level.