Best Lacrosse Heads

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Your lacrosse head is the single most important piece of equipment when it comes to performance.

Sure, helmets and pads are important for safety, but your lacrosse head helps determine how well you pass, shoot, catch, pick up ground balls, check, and much more.

There are countless lacrosse heads on the market today, making it hard to decide which is the best for you. To help, we've created this guide which highlights the best lacrosse heads for a variety of positions as well as 5 other guides that present the best options by position.

To get started, either click one of the links below to see the best heads for that position or keep reading to see our top 3 choices in each:

Best Lacrosse Heads by Position

Below you will find our top 3 picks for lacrosse heads by position. As new heads come out, I will update this guide if I think they are worthy of being on this page. 

To find the best lacrosse heads, I read countless customer reviews, studied which heads players at the collegiate and professional levels were using, and traveled to my local sporting goods stores to feel the heads in my own hands.

In the reviews below, any references to stiffness, weight, and other metrics are based on heads in that category. For example, the threshold for a head to have “above-average” stiffness is much high for a defensive head than a faceoff head. 

Click to jump down to a section:

Attack

1) Maverik Optik 3.0

Drip Level: 5/5

Maverik Optik 3.0

Details

  • Weight: 4.87 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Low to mid/low
  • Stiffness: Above-average
  • # String Holes: Above-average
  • Year Released: 2021

Just released in June 2021, the Optik 3.0 is newest elite attack head in Maverik's popular Optik line. 

Compared to the Optik 2.0—which was previously our highest-rated attack head—the 3.0 has a shorter throat that gives you more control when one-handed cradling, more sidewall holes (20 on each side), and is stiffer.

The Optik 3.0 has a tight pinch throughout most of the head, giving you more control when dodging and accuracy when shooting and passing.

The increased number of stringing holes, along with Maverik's Tension Lock system, make this head super easy to string. If you prefer a mid-to-high pocket, however, you may be better off going with an alternative.

If you are looking to save some money, the Maverik Optik 2.0 is still one of the best attack heads currently available.

Pros

Cons

2) STX Surgeon 900

Drip Level: 5/5

STX Surgeon 900

Details

  • Weight: 4.4 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Low to Mid
  • Stiffness: Average
  • # String Holes: Average
  • Year Released: 2020

The STX Surgeon 900 is one of the lightest lacrosse heads ever created, weighing in at only 4.4 oz. 

It is surprisingly stiff for how light it is—likely due to the use of STX's EnduraForm plastic—though it's not quite as stiff as some bulkier heads.

Another great thing about the Surgeon 900 is that it has a narrow face shape throughout the head. It has a narrow pinch until about halfway up the head then starts flaring out towards the scoop which is still pretty narrow compared to other heads.

The last feature I'd like to touch on is the Speed Scoop that STX used on this head. It is great for picking up ground balls at all angles and slightly hangs over the top string holes, making sure that your strings don't interfere with scooping.

Pros

Cons

3) StringKing Mark 2A

Details

  • Weight: 4.56 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Low to mid/low
  • Stiffness: Average
  • # String Holes: Many
  • Year Released: 2017

If you prefer an attack head with a slightly wider face shape, the StringKing Mark 2A is a superb option. It is pinched towards the throat but starts flaring out lower on the head than many other options.

It has a traditional offset towards the throat making it easy to string those low pockets that are great for one-handed cradling.

Another thing I love about the Mark 2A (like most StringKing heads) is that it has a TON of sidewall holes, letting you customize your pocket to your play style.

It is pretty stiff for being the second-lightest head on this list and should hold up well over the course of a season.

Finally, it has a flat scoop that is good for ground balls and contributes towards a quicker and more accurate release.

Overall, if you are looking for an attack head with great stringing versatility and a great strength-to-weight ratio, the Mark 2A is a solid choice.

Pros

Cons

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Midfield

1) Maverik Tactik 2.0

Drip Level: 5/5

Or Black, Blue, or Strung

Details

  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid to mid/high
  • Stiffness: Above-average
  • # String Holes: Above-average
  • Year Released: 2019

The Maverik Tactik 2.0 comes in as tied for first in our list of the best heads for middies—and for good reason.

It is light, very stiff, and has a ton of stringing holes that allow you to customize your pocket to your preferences.

The Tactik 2.0 is also one of the most popular heads in the game today. It was voted as the #1 head by players in ECD's Top Heads of 2019 survey.

The second version of the Tactik has a level 3 bottom rail that makes it great for a mid to mid/high pocket—something that many middies prefer.

It has a great stiffness-to-weight ratio which makes it great for both offense and defense. Also, it has a great scoop that makes ground balls a breeze.

The face shape is pretty narrow towards the throat but starts gradually opening up just below the midpoint of the head.

Overall, the Tactik 2.0 is a great choice for midfielders and I think you'll be very happy with this head from Maverik if it's what you decide to go with.

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

2) STX Stallion Omega

Details

  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid to mid/high
  • Stiffness: Best in class
  • # String Holes: Average
  • Year Released: 2020

The just-released STX Stallion Omega ties the Tactik 2.0 as the best lacrosse head for middies.

It has the best stiffness-to-weight ratio of any STX head ever created thanks to the Omega plastic. It is also super durable and won't lose its stiffness over time.

It has STX's Speed Scoop which is loved by many players. It's great for ground balls but also has a slight lip the covers the top string holes so they don't interfere when you're scooping.

The Stallion Omega has a great face shape as well. It has a narrow pinch on the bottom half of the head and gradually opens up towards the scoop.

Though it only has an average amount of stringing holes, they're placed well and you shouldn't have any trouble getting your ideal pocket in it. It also has Innerlock technology that makes stringing on the inside rail easier and more secure.

The biggest downside of the Stallion Omega is that it costs more than most heads on the market. It should last you much longer than the average head, however, so the extra cost may be worth it over time.

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

3) Maverik Kinetik 2.0

Details

  • Weight: <4.8 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid/high to high
  • Stiffness: Average
  • # String Holes: Average
  • Year Released: 2020

If you are an outside shooter that prefers high pockets, the Maverik Kinetik 2.0 may just be your best option.

The first thing you'll notice is that it has a very unique shape. It has a tight pinch throughout most of the head and an aggressive flare towards the scoop. The scoop is still just over the minimum of 6 inches, though, so even that is narrow compared to competitors.

The Kinetik 2.0 has a gradual offset until about 3/4 of the way up the head where it cants back forward at a sharp angle—part of which makes it so great for outside shots. 

Compared to the original Maverik Kinetik, the 2.0 has a more rounded scoop, a slightly tighter face shape, and is easier to string.

Overall, this is a great improvement on the original Kinetik which was one of the most popular heads over the past few years.

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

Defense

1) STX Hammer Omega

Details

  • Weight: 5.4 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid/high to high
  • Stiffness: High
  • # String Holes: Average
  • Year Released: 2019

STX's newest defensive lacrosse head comes in as the best option on this list due to its unmatched stiffness and durability. 

The proprietary Omega polymer plastic helps keep this head super stiff without adding much weight. In fact, the Hammer Omega has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of all STX heads ever made.

This head also has a nice face shape for both defensemen and LSMs. It is pretty pinched towards the throat but gradually widens towards the scoop, giving it good ball control but still being wide for intercepting passes and laying checks.

The Hammer Omega also has STX's updated Speed Scoop that make ground balls a breeze and InnerLock technology that makes stringing easier and keeps your strings tighter.

Overall, this is a great option for any D player. It should hold up well for even the hardest of checkers and perform well in transition. While it may be more expensive than competing defensive heads, it should last you a long time since you won't have to worry about it breaking or losing stiffness.

Pros

Cons

Buying Options

2) StringKing Mark 2D

Details

  • Weight: 5.2 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid/high to high
  • Stiffness: Above average
  • # String Holes: Above average
  • Year Released: 2017

Next on our list of the best lacrosse heads for defense is the StringKing Mark 2D.

It is the lightest head to make this list at an impressive 5.2 oz. Even better, unlike many other light heads, it has above-average stiffness and durability.

Many customers find that the scoop on the Mark 2D is great for ground balls. Its sharp angle, along with the dramatic forward cant shape of the head, allow you to easily scoop balls even when your butt end is still high in the air.

The head shape and numerous stringing holes make it easy to string a high pocket with good hold and smooth release.

The Mark 2D also has a locking bolt mechanism in the throat that helps secure your head more than just a traditional screw helping to eliminate head rattle and movement during checks.

Overall, this is a great head for both defensemen and LSMs due to its light weight, stiffness, face shape, and scoop design.

Pros

Cons

Buying Options

3) Maverik Havok

Details

  • Weight: 5.5 oz
  • Ideal Pocket: Mid to mid/high
  • Stiffness: Average
  • # String Holes: Average
  • Year Released: 2018

The Maverik Havok is one of the most popular LSM heads on the market today. It has a tighter pinch towards the throat than many competitors but opens up towards the scoop.

It it decently stiff but not as much as some more traditional defensive heads. It is, however, lighter than a lot of those options since it isn't as bulky.

The Havok also has the Ground Control scoop that has a sharp angle making it easy to snag ground balls without having to get your butt end close to the ground. The way the top half of the head cants forward also helps with scooping balls.

If you are an LSM, D middie, or defenseman who likes to push transition, the Havok is a great option due to its face shape, light weight, and scoop. 

More traditional defensive players who prefer a wider, stiffer head may want to look at other alternatives as the STX X20 or Maverik Tank 2.0.

Pros

Cons

Buying Options

Goalie

1) STX Eclipse 2

Details

  • Weight: 11.6 oz
  • Throat Design: Ergonomic throat optimized for better grip
  • # Stringing Holes: Above-average
  • Year Released: 2017

The original Eclipse was one of the most popular goalie heads ever made. There’s a reason it was used by goalies of all levels for over 15 years.

The Eclipse 2 is an upgrade on this near-perfect design, and is now the most popular goalie head on the market.

The Eclipse 2 comes with a new throat that gives players a more comfortable and secure grip. STX also doubled the amount of stringing holes for increased stringing customization.

With its offset design, this head makes quick work of ground balls and throws crisp outlet passes.

The Eclipse 2 is perfect for goalies of all levels and is our #1 recommended option.

Pros

Cons

2) StringKing Mark 2G

Details

  • Weight: 10.9 oz
  • Throat Design: Standard (no special grip)
  • # Stringing Holes: Many
  • Year Released: 2020

StringKing entered the goalie head arena with the Mark 2G in early 2020. This head is extremely light at under 11 oz but still features plenty of surface area.

Like many other StringKing heads, the Mark 2G comes equipped with 42 sidewall holes creating limitless stringing options.

The head features a shortened, low-profile throat. For players who prefer not to hold the throat of the head, this may be a great fit. Otherwise, goalies may find themselves using tape to make up for the lack of grip.

This head is perfect for goalies who want to branch out from the mainstream goalie head brands and have complete pocket customization. The Mark 2G also comes with a 6-month warranty should it break.

Pros

Cons

3) Warrior Nemesis 3

Drip Level: 4.7/5

Warrior Nemesis 3

Details

  • Weight: 11.3 oz
  • Throat Design: Standard (no special grip)
  • # Stringing Holes: Above-average
  • Year Released: 2019

The Nemesis 2 was notorious for breaking on the sidewall, but was otherwise a pretty good head.

Warrior seems to have addressed this issue by adding more struts along the sidewall of the updated Nemesis 3.

They also shaved off 1.1 ounces from its predecessor making this one of the lightest goalie heads on the market.

Warrior has done a great job turning what used to be a bulky and brittle head into a lightweight and reliable option for goalies of all levels.

Pros

Cons

Faceoff

1) ECD Weapon X

Details

  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Flexibility (10 = most flexible): 7
  • Flex Type: Mostly oblique flex
  • Warp Resistance: Great
  • Offensive Performance: Great
  • Throat Type: Short throat with plug

The ECD Weapon X is our top choice of all faceoff heads for its performance on offense and warp resistance. 

My final two were the Weapon X and the StringKing Mark 2F, but the Weapon X's full offset was the deciding factor. I carry the ball a lot for my teams and regularly initiate the offense, so having a head with a full offset gives me better hold and a release that I’m used to. It’s worth noting that the offset may take some getting used to when facing off if you are used to faceoff heads that have little-to-no offset.

Aside from the offensive capabilities, this is an amazing head for faceoffs. It does take some time to break in, but once you do, it will flex in almost any way you want. A lot of this, as well as the warp resistance, can be attributed to the asymmetrical sidewalls which help the bottom sidewall flex up into the ball while the top collapses down.

The FlexForm plastic helps the head snap back into shape after every faceoff. Compared some other options such as the CEO and Burn FO, this head doesn’t warp easily and is much more durable over time. You won’t have to worry about trying to pass and shoot with a crooked head which is really important.

>> Read full ECD Weapon X Review

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

2) StringKing Mark 2F

Details

  • Weight: 4.37 oz
  • Flexibility (10 = most flexible): 6
  • Flex Type: Oblique
  • Warp Resistance: Great
  • Offensive Performance: Good
  • Throat Type: Short, no throat plug

The StringKing Mark 2F is another exceptional faceoff head.

Much like the Weapon X, it has great warp resistance, many stringing holes, and a scoop that makes groundballs a breeze.

One of my favorite features of this head is how thin the plastic is. This makes it really easy to flex your head under your opponent's sidewall to grab the ball and drag it out.

And even though the plastic is really thin, this head is super durable and warp resistant. Much like the Weapon X, it snaps back into place very well after every faceoff—making it another great option for playing offense after facing off.

When you first get this head, it may take some getting used to and breaking in since it doesn’t crush down on the ball quite as well as the Weapon X and Nike CEO. For some players, it may seem to resist flexing in the way you are used to.

Overall, this is a great choice for both FOGOs and FOSOs, as shown by how many top college faceoff guys use it.

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

3) Nike CEO

Drip Level: 4.8/5

Details

  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • Flexibility: 9
  • Flex Type: Face flex
  • Warp Resistance: Poor
  • Offensive Performance: Poor
  • Throat Type: Standard throat; not shortened

The Nike CEO wasn’t designed to be a faceoff head. Originally Nike designed it to be used by attackmen who prefer a very tight pinch. It just turned out that the sidewall design made this an amazing head for facing off, and since it came out, it has been the most popular faceoff head since the OG Blade.  

The design of the sidewall struts allows this head to collapse down on itself, creating great face flex allowing faceoff men to securely pinch the ball in the throat even if the rest of the head bends backwards.

If you are a pure FOGO who doesn’t have to worry about playing much offense, this is one of the best options. The way the head flexes and grabs the ball is unmatched—and is the reason why it has become one of the most popular faceoff heads of all time.

On the downside, this head warps… A LOT and isn’t very durable. The top of the head will quickly start bending forward (meaning the scoop will be more forward than the throat) and to the side. This makes it really hard to use on offense and you may have to worry about it being illegal.

Overall, if you are just looking for a head to faceoff with, the CEO is undoubtedly one of the best choices. Just be prepared to constantly bend the head back into shape and buy replacements once the head inevitably breaks or becomes warped beyond use.

Pros

Cons

All Buying Options

How to Choose a Lacrosse Head

Having a hard time deciding what to look for in a lacrosse head? It's definitely a difficult decision to make, but if you know what to look for, it's not impossible. 

Finding a head designed for your position is a great starting point. You can also narrow down your selection based on your budget. While many of the heads listed on this page are on the expensive side, we also have a cheap lacrosse heads guide that may be helpful if you are looking for a more affordable option.

From there, you really just have to figure out your preferences to find a head that matches them. 

What kind of preferences am I talking about? 

Let's explore a little further. Here are 7 things to consider that can help you find the best lacrosse head for you.

1) Face Shape

The face shape of your head is what it looks like when looking at it straight on. If you've ever heard someone talk about how pinched (or wide) a head is, they're talking about the face shape.

Deciding what kind of face shape you want is the easiest way to eliminate many options from your consideration. 

Generally, wider heads are easier to catch with but have less control and accuracy. More pinched heads, on the other hand, hold onto the ball better and are more accurate, but are harder to catch with.

Here is what face shape each position typically looks for in a head:

  • Attack: Pinched heads, especially towards the throat. Help with control when dodging and accuracy with passing and shooting.
  • Midfield: Anywhere from a very narrow face shape to a wide face shape. Middies use the widest range of heads since they are involved in all parts of the game. If you are an advanced player or play primarily offense, a more pinched head is a good choice. If you play a lot of D middie or are just starting out, consider a wider head.
  • Defense: Wide heads that help with intercepting passes and have more surface area for laying checks. Some advanced defenders prefer narrow heads to help with control in transition.
  • Long Stick Middie (LSM): Slightly more pinched heads than the average defenseman uses to help with control in transition and accuracy when passing and shooting.
  • Faceoff: A pinched head that requires less movement in order to pinch or clamp the ball. The head can't be so pinched that it regularly gets caught in the back of the throat, though.

2) Weight

Some players consider weight the most important factor when choosing heads while others don't care as much. It really depends on how sensitive you are to changes in the weight distribution of your stick.

For example, I don't mind a heavier head too much. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not running out onto the field with a metal head or anything like that—I just find that a slightly heavier head doesn't noticeably affect my game.

Typically, offensive players prefer lighter heads that help them move and shoot faster since it requires less effort to move the head.

Defensive players, on the other hand, often opt for a heavier head that is stiffer and more durable than lighter options.

3) Stiffness & Durability

As hinted at above, stiffness and durability often have a direct relationship with the weight of the head. 

Typically, as weight goes up, so does stiffness and durability. Heavier heads have more material, which in turn makes them stiffer and more durable.

I say “typically” because there are some companies using advanced plastics and other materials to increase stiffness while keeping weight consistent or even reducing it.

Throughout this guide and my position-specific head guides, you'll see me reference stiffness-to-weight ratios. When all else is equal, finding the head with the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio—or the head with the highest stiffness and lightest weight—is the best option.

Defensemen especially should worry about finding a stiff and durable head since they are laying checks constantly throughout the game. Having a super flexible head lowers the impact of checks, making it harder to take the ball away.

As far as other positions go, most players prefer stiffer heads that won't bend when scooping the ball and getting checked. The only exception is faceoff men who often need a flexible head for pinch and pops and other moves that require them to flex their heads.

>> Check this out: Best Lacrosse Bags

4) Ideal Pocket Placement

Finding a head that is designed to have your preferred pocket placement is also very important, though it is often overlooked by players.

How do you tell where the ideal pocket placement is for a head?

The easiest way is by locating the maximum offset. This is where the bottom sidewall rail is the lowest on the head when looking at it from the side.

If that max offset is towards the throat of the head, for example, a low pocket would be ideal. Offsets closer to the scoop, alternatively, lend themselves to higher pockets.

Here is what each position typically prefers in terms of pocket placement:

  • Attackmen: Typically prefer lower pockets that are good for one-handed cradling and smooth releases.
  • Midfielders: Preferred pocket placement varies a lot based on the type of player. On the run shooters and outside shooters may prefer a higher pocket that gives them more whip and hold. Middies that dodge from X or carry the ball a lot may like lower pockets to help with one-handed cradling.
  • Defensemen: Often go for a higher pocket that gives them a bit more whip and more control immediately after scooping a ground ball.

5) Scoop

If you've ever used a head with a poor scoop, you know how frustrating it can be.

Poor scoops make it hard to pick up ground balls, often slowing you down or causing you to miss the ball altogether. 

The best scoops allow you to pick up balls from a variety of angles and almost always feel smooth when doing so. 

Scoops that are more angled/curved when looking down your stick allow you to pick up balls at a higher angle in relation to the ground. If your scoop is more angled/curved, you won't have to get the butt end of your shaft as low to the ground as you would if your scoop was completely flat.

This is especially important for defensemen and LSMs since it's harder to get the shaft's butt end close to the ground since it's so long.

6) Stringing Holes

The more stringing holes a stick has, the more you can customize your pocket to fit your needs.

While most heads nowadays come with plenty of stringing holes, it's important to check to make sure you'll be able to string your ideal pocket based on the holes.

Besides the number of stringing holes, you'll also want to make sure they are big enough for your stringing style. For example, if you like to loop your top string around the first diamond of mesh a few times, you'll need a large top sidewall hole.

7) Strung vs. Unstrung

As you can tell above, you usually have the option of buying a strung or unstrung head. 

In most cases, I recommend buying an unstrung head and either stringing it yourself or getting a friend to do it. This allows you to string your ideal pocket instead of being stuck with whatever the company selling the head decides to go with.

There are exceptions to this idea, though. Some companies—such as East Coast Dyes and StringKing—offer great prestrung pockets that you can customize based on your preferences. 

Before going with a strung head, check to see if the company allows you to choose your preferred pocket style and read some customer reviews to see if they were satisfied with the string job that came with the head.

>> Read More: Best Lacrosse Shafts

High School & College Head Rules

NFHS (high school) rules for lacrosse head dimensions started to match NCAA (college) rules starting in 2018. Previously, high school heads could be narrower towards the throat but had to be wider towards the scoop, and vice-versa for college heads.

Now that both organizations have the same set of rules, any head that meets NCAA rules is legal for NFHS as well. Here are the rules for heads:

  • Minimum width of 6″ at the widest part of the head
  • Minimum width of 3.5″ on front and back of the head at 5″ up from throat of the head
  • Minimum width of 3″ at 3″ up from throat of the head
  • Minimum width of 3″ at 1.25″ up from throat of the head

The following diagram from Stringers Society makes the rules a little easier to visualize:

Lacrosse Head Rules Diagram

If you are buying a head that was released in the past 2 years, you shouldn't have to worry about it meeting these regulations. 

If you are buying a head from 2017 or before, you should check to see if it meets NCAA specs. If it does, it should also meet current NFHS rules. If not, then it is likely illegal for both high school and college since the new NFHS rules went into effect in 2018.

Choosing Mesh for Your Lacrosse Head

If you end up going with an unstrung head, you'll need to buy mesh and strings in order to get your head ready for action.
 
Below you can find some of my top choices for both full string kits as well as just mesh. You can also check out our Best Lacrosse Mesh Guide to learn more.
 
Photo credit: Flickr

Dave

Dave is the founder of Lax Drip. In his 15+ years of playing lacrosse, he always had trouble figuring out which gear to buy without a reliable and trustworthy gear review site—so he created the resource he always wished he had. Dave has played lacrosse at the high school, college, and adult levels and continues to play to this day.

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