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Helmets can stop concussions. Pads can protect you from slashes. Cleats can help you run faster.
But your lacrosse stick is the most important piece of equipment when it comes to your overall success.
A bad stick can make it nearly impossible to throw and catch, whereas a good stick can help you develop consistent accuracy that you won’t have to think twice about. A bad stick can slow you down considerably, whereas a good stick feels like an extension of your body that enhances your abilities.
Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for years, this guide can help you find the best lacrosse stick for your specific situation and learn about what to look for when choosing a stick.
Best Lacrosse Sticks
Note: Before we dive into my picks for the best complete lacrosse sticks, it’s worth noting that advanced players may be better off by choosing individual shafts and heads. Most lacrosse companies only offer a few complete sticks which often don’t include their top-of-the-line heads and shafts. You can see our favorite lacrosse heads here and lacrosse shafts here.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to lacrosse sticks. There are sticks for differing skill levels, genders, positions, style of play, and more.
This can make it hard to choose the best option.
To help, I’ve spent over 20 hours researching the market to find the best lacrosse sticks available today for varying age levels and positions, including options for girls and very young children.
To start, select the option that fits you the most below to jump down to my choices for the best sticks in that category:
Best Complete Youth Lacrosse Sticks
1) StringKing Complete Junior Boy’s Youth Lacrosse Stick
Best for: Youth players, any position
If I had a child just starting to learn the game of lacrosse, I would go with the StringKing Complete Junior Boy’s Youth Lacrosse Stick. Though StringKing is a newer company, they have quickly caught up to the top companies in terms of the quality of their heads and shafts.
This stick comes with a wide head for easier catching and a narrower and lighter shaft to account for the smaller hands and lower strength of young players.
Finally, even though this head has a narrower and lighter shaft than standard sticks, StringKing also adjusted the weight of the head to make sure the overall weight distribution is equal to a full-sized stick.
2) STX Stallion 50 Youth Lacrosse Complete Stick
Best for: Youth players, any position
Similar to the StringKing stick above, this complete lacrosse stick by STX was designed with younger players in mind. It comes with a wide head and thin/light shaft so smaller kids can handle it better.
If you have a smaller budget for a lacrosse stick, this is a solid option that is very affordable. It can be used for all positions besides goalie including attack, middie, and defense.
One of the biggest downsides of this head is the inconsistent string job it comes with. Many customers noted that the pocket was great for throwing and catching while others explained that it was so deep or narrow that the ball wouldn’t even come out.
Best Complete Lacrosse Sticks for U12 & Under
1) StringKing Complete 2 Intermediate Attack Lacrosse Stick
Best for: U12 & Under, Attack & Midfield
StringKing’s intermediate complete lacrosse stick comes with a slightly narrower head and full-sized shaft. You can choose between an all black stick (head, mesh, and shaft) or a stick with a white head, white mesh, and silver shaft.
One of the great things about StringKing’s sticks is that it comes with their own mesh that is arguably the best in the industry. This stick specifically comes with the Type 3 lacrosse mesh that doesn’t require any breaking in. The pocket is much better than most factory-strung complete sticks.
This stick also comes with a unique butt end that includes a thick cylinder that gives players better control of the stick. Note that this can be removed if you prefer a regular butt end.
2) STX Stallion 550 Junior Attack Complete Lacrosse Stick
Best for: U12 & Under, Attack & Midfield
The STX Stallion 550 Jr. is the most affordable intermediate lacrosse stick on this list and comes with a pretty good pre-strung head and mediocre shaft. The head is more pinched than the Stallion 50 head designed for youth players, but is still wide enough for beginners to catch easily.
The Stallion 550 head features STX’s Performance Mesh that is a step above the mesh that comes with most complete sticks. STX says the string job on the stick is ready for gameplay right out of the box, but we’ve found other STX factory-strung sticks to have inconsistent pockets.
3) Evo Warp Next Defense Stick
Best for: U12 & Under, Defense
The Evo Warp Next Defense Stick is a great option for developing defensemen. Its shaft is cut down to 54 inches (as opposed to the standard 60 inches) to give younger players better control of the stick as they get used to longer shafts.
It comes in three colors—all black, white head & black shaft, and white head & silver shaft—though it seems the white head & black shaft combo may come with a full-sized defense shaft.
The head comes prestrung with Warrior’s patented Warp pocket. While this pocket is supposed to hold up better in rain and stay consistent over time, it isn’t adjustable like normal mesh. Beginners may actually prefer this pocket over other factory-strung pockets, but they lose out on the learning experience that comes with the inevitable need to adjust your string job over time.
4) STX Stallion 200 Defense Complete Stick
Best for: U12 & Under, Defense
If you are looking for a cheaper defensive stick for young/intermediate players, this option from STX is a solid choice.
The Stallion 200 head has a wide face shape to help defenders with checking and intercepting passes. It also seems to hold up well based on reviews of previous customers.
The 6000 series shaft isn’t anything to run home about. While it should be good enough for most younger players, there are stronger and lighter shafts on the market. If you or your child are just learning to play defense, though, it’s a good shaft to learn with and you can always buy a new shaft to go with the Stallion 200 later if you want.
>> Read More: Best Youth Lacrosse Starter Sets
Best Complete Lacrosse Sticks for U14, High School, & Advanced Players
1) StringKing Complete 2 Pro Attack Lacrosse Stick
Best for: U14 & High School, Attack/Middie
- Brand: StringKing
- Head: Mark 2A
- Shaft: Metal 2
- Key features:
- Designed for lower pocket with narrow pinch towards throat
- Light head without sacrificing strength
- Head is offset to increase hold and accuracy
- Shaft is pretty light and uses double taper technology to reinforce the weakest areas of typical shafts
If you are an advanced younger player or high school player that plays attack or midfield, this StringKing complete stick is one of the best options. The Mark 2A head is designed with offense in mind and includes a decent pinch and offset for better hold and accuracy.
Unlike many other prestrung sticks, the Mark 2A comes with StringKing’s own mesh and a good string job. You don’t have to worry about learning to string your stick or finding a friend to help.
Lastly, the shaft is one of StringKing’s basic shafts but doesn’t lack in quality. It’s decently light and strong, and should perform well for you for years to come.
2) Epoch Dragonfly Integra Complete Stick
Best for: U14 & High School, Attack/Middie
- Brand: Epoch
- Head: Integra Z-ONE
- Shaft: Dragonfly Integra
- Key features:
- Integra Z-ONE head has a narrow pinch for the bottom half of the head helping with control
- The head also has a decent offset for increased hold and accuracy
- Knot Lock Tech system helps keep sidewall strings tighter, helping you form a more consistent pocket
- Shaft is light and strong
The Epoch Dragonfly Integra Complete Stick is another great option for more advanced offensive players. Both the Integra Z-ONE head and the Dragonfly Integra shaft are engineered for the highest levels of play.
The Integra Z-ONE head has a narrow pinch and a full offset that both help with control and accuracy. It is also designed to have low-to-medium pockets so the ball sites where the head is the narrowest.
I haven’t seen a prestrung Z-ONE myself, but from the reviews and pictures I’ve seen, it seems like the pocket that comes with the head is decent.
Finally, the shaft that comes with the head is decently light and strong and should hold up well for you.
3) STX X10 with Hammer 7000 Shaft
Best for: U14 & High School, Defense
Advanced defensive players can’t go wrong with this complete stick—particularly when it comes to the X10. A few years back, STX released the X10—an updated version of the XCalibur, one its most popular heads.
The X10 has a wide face shape to give more surface area for laying checks and intercepting passes. It is also one of the stiffest and most durable heads available today.
The Hammer 7000 isn’t STX’s best defensive shaft, but is still decently light and durable. It features high-quality alloy with a sandblast finish to improve grip.
>> Read More:
Best Complete Goalie Sticks
1) STX Eclipse 2 Complete Goalie Stick
Best for: Goalies of all levels
This stick features arguably the best goalie head and shaft available today. The Eclipse 2 is used by countless college goalies and the Outlet shaft is designed specifically for goalies.
The Eclipse 2 is the updated version of perhaps the most popular goalie head in the history of the sport—the Eclipse. It comes with an ergonomic throat, making it easy to control, and has an unmatched scoop to help with picking up ground balls.
The Outlet shaft profile and texturized grip both help the stick stay securely in your hands so you can quickly move it to where it needs to be.
If you are a goalie of any level, this stick is an awesome choice and should serve you for years to come.
2) STX Shield 100 Strung Lax Goalie Stick
Best for: Goalies of all levels looking to save money
If you are looking for a more affordable goalie stick, this is a decent option to consider.
The Shield 100 head isn’t as sleek or lightweight as the Eclipse 2, but is regulation size and good enough for beginners to learn with. Note that you may have to restring the mesh (or find someone to restring it for you) due to the often-poor factory string job.
It’s important to note that the shaft that comes with this stick is attack/middie length (30 inches) and isn’t designed specifically for goalies. While many goalies prefer attack length shafts, they are allowed to use longer shafts such as the Outlet (see above).
Best Complete Lacrosse Sticks for Girls & Women
1) STX Lacrosse Fortress 100 Girls Complete Stick
Best for: Beginner girls
If you or your daughter is just starting out, this is a great stick to learn with. It is affordable, comes with a wide face profile, and flat scoop.
It comes in two colors: blue with green strings and pink with blue strings.
2) STX Lacrosse Fortress 300 Girls Complete Stick
Best for: Intermediate girls
Girls that have been playing for a few years and older girls may want to consider the Fortress 300—the next step of the Fortress 100.
The head is wide up top but gets narrower closer to the throat to make it easy to catch without sacrificing control. It is also strong with STX’s Runway Pocket which uses overlapping center strings to hug the ball better offering even more control.
Lastly, the 7075 alloy handle is decently light and durable.
3) STX Lacrosse Crux 600 Girls Complete Stick
Best for: Advanced girls
- Brand: STX
- Head: Crux 600
- Shaft: Comp 10
- Key features:
- Super lightweight
- Include Launch Pocket 2 to increase control and accuracy
- Includes DropRail technology to increase control and range of motion
- Speed Scoop makes ground balls easier
- Shaft includes offset at the end for better control and quicker release
This is one of the most advanced girls lacrosse sticks on the market today. It includes a slew of features that give it unmatched control and accuracy while keeping it lightweight.
The Crux 600 head includes STX’s Launch Pocket 2 that is designed for durability and maximum hold. The key of the pocket is the strip of chevrons that keep the ball secure and guide the ball directly down the center of the head when throwing and shooting.
The head also includes STX DropRail technology that minimizes the sidewall width allowing for better ball retention and a wider range of motion, as well as the Speed Scoop that makes ground balls a breeze.
Finally, the Comp 10 shaft is angled at the end to increase offset giving you better hold and a more accurate release.
Best Fiddle Sticks
STX FiddleSTX 2-Pack Game Set with Two Sticks and One Ball
Best for: Very young children, indoor play, just for fun
If you are looking for mini sticks for your young child or just to mess around with, this 2-pack from STX is a great choice. The sticks are very cheap and come with a soft ball that you can use indoors or outdoors.
Note that you can’t use these sticks in regulation lacrosse games—they are solely for fun.
Complete Lacrosse Sticks vs. Individual Heads & Shafts
When Complete Sticks Make Sense
Most lacrosse players start out using a complete stick nowadays. There are many great lacrosse sticks for beginners to learn with including options from the top companies.
They are affordable and check all of the basic boxes for what you need in a lacrosse stick. You only have to make one purchase and the stick comes ready to use out of the box.
This is why complete lacrosse sticks are often a great choice for beginners and younger players who don’t yet require very advanced heads and shafts.
If you think a complete stick is right for you or your child, click here to jump back up to the first section.
When Individual Heads & Shafts Make Sense
When people hear that lacrosse heads and shafts from different brands usually fit together for the first time, they are often shocked.
It’s true though.
You may have to drill a new hole in the shaft so you can screw the head in, but in most cases, that’s it.
As mentioned in the first section, I recommend advanced players choose individual heads and shafts.
Most lacrosse companies only offer a few complete sticks. So if you only shop for complete sticks, you’ll automatically be eliminating some of the best lacrosse heads and shafts on the market.
In addition, choosing an individual head and shaft allows you to choose ones that fit your style of play the best. For example, you may like very light lacrosse shafts and heads with a narrow pinch, but you may only be able to find a complete stick with a light shaft but wide head.
How to Choose the Best Lacrosse Stick for You
It can be difficult to choose a lacrosse stick with so many options available. Every time I bought a new stick in the past, I spent hours doing research—including trips to my local lacrosse shop—before finally settling on one.
To help you figure out how to decide what the best stick for yourself or your child is, I’ve highlighted some important things to consider below.
Players around 8 and under may not be able to handle the weight and length of a full-sized stick. Luckily, there are smaller sticks (often labeled “Youth”) that have similar proportions and weight distributions as full-sized sticks.
For children that are a little older, there are many full-sized options that come with relatively wide heads that can make it easy to learn catching. These are sometimes labeled as “Junior” sticks.
Finally, older players may want to choose a stick with a more pinched head and stronger shaft. Once players are good enough at catching, narrower heads shouldn’t be much more difficult to catch with, but they offer better hold and more accurate passing. Stronger shafts may be necessary for higher levels of play since the checks are harder and other players have stronger shafts.
There are 3 main stick types in lacrosse: attack/middie, defense, and goalie.
Attack/middie shafts are often simply called “attack shafts” and are 30 inches—the shortest shaft. Attack/middie heads are also narrower than defense heads.
Defense shafts, on the other hand, are the longest shaft at 60 inches long and may be called “d-poles”. These sticks are the longest because defensemen need to have more reach for checks. Many heads designed for defense are wider to give them more area for intercepting passes and throwing checks.
Finally, goalie shafts are usually around 40 inches and goalie heads are nothing like attack/middie and defense heads. Instead they are more circular and much larger.
Youth sticks are often shorter than standard attack shafts by around 1 to 4 inches. In addition, young players and beginners may want to stick with an attack shaft until they are comfortable with it before moving up to a defense shaft.
Your skill level is a big determining factor in which lacrosse stick to buy—especially when it comes to the head on the stick.
Beginners are better suited with a wider head so they can have more leeway with catching the ball. Advanced players—especially attackmen and middies—often prefer narrower heads that have better hold and are more accurate.
When it comes to shafts, typically the lighter and stronger the better, no matter the skill level. There is really no downside of using an advanced shaft with a basic head other than the possibility of the stick being top heavy since most basic heads are a little heavier than advanced heads.
The string job is an often-overlooked aspect of choosing a lacrosse stick. Even the best heads won’t be usable with an awful string job.
It’s especially important when buying complete sticks since most of them come with a factory-stung or pre-strung pocket. Historically, factory-strung pockets are very shallow and don’t have great “hold” (how well the head holds onto the ball).
When choosing a complete lacrosse stick, look for one with a decent pocket (for reference, the max depth allowed is a full lacrosse ball under the lowest part of plastic).
Either that or ask around your team to see if anyone knows how to string sticks or look up some YouTube tutorials to learn yourself.
It’s important to read customer reviews for any product you buy—and lacrosse sticks are no exception.
Reading real customers’ experiences (as I’ve done to create this guide) is the only way to truly know how a stick holds up and performs. Sure you can read what the company selling the stick says about it, but most of that is marketing language. It’s not like they’re going to list out a bunch of a cons to the sticks they are trying to sell.
Check out reviews on Amazon, online lacrosse stores, review sites, and YouTube before making your decision.
Last but not least, your budget is a big factor in what stick makes the most sense for you.
If possible, you should factor in your entire lacrosse budget for the next year or two when choosing a stick.
I say this because sticks typically last at least a year, and buying a higher quality stick that you won’t have to replace for a few years is better than buying a cheap stick that is going to break after a few months.
Regulation Lacrosse Stick Sizes
I briefly went over the typical lacrosse shaft sizes above but wanted to go over the regulation stick sizes so you can make sure the stick you choose is legal.
The following table goes over the regulation lacrosse stick lengths including both the head and shaft. Note that most heads (excluding goalie heads) are right around 10 inches long, so the shaft is the biggest determining factor in whether your stick is a legal length.
|Attack/Middie||40” – 42”|
|Defense||52” – 72”|
|Goalie||40” – 72”|
|Youth Attack/Middie||36” – 42”|
|Youth Defense||37” – 72”|
|Youth Goalie||40” – 72”|
Products to Consider Alongside Your Lacrosse Stick
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned vet, there are many lacrosse products that can help take your game to the next level.
Here are some you may want to consider:
- Balls: A lacrosse stick isn’t very useful unless you have lacrosse balls. While they are all fairly similar, we do have our favorites. Check out the best lacrosse balls here.
- Mesh/stringing kits: If you buy a complete lacrosse stick with a poor factory string job, you may want to restring it. In my opinion, it’s worth buying a new stringing kit as opposed to using the mesh that comes with your stick. See the best lacrosse mesh here.
- Lacrosse bag: You’ll need something to carry around your stick and other gear. Most even have stick holders and separate compartments for wet gear. See the best lacrosse bags here.
- Lacrosse backpack: There are many backpacks designed with straps to hold your lacrosse stick as well as your other equipment. Check out our favorite lacrosse backpacks here.
- Rebounder: Playing wall ball is the best way to quickly develop stick skills. If you don’t have a brick or concrete wall that you can throw off regularly, buying a rebounder is just as good, if not better.
- Goal: Once you have passing and catching down, learning to shoot is the next step in development for offensive players. What do you need to shoot besides a stick? A goal of course! Check out my favorite lacrosse goals here.
- Backstop: If you end up getting that goal, you may also want to consider a backstop to stop any misses from hitting a window or flying 50 yards away.
- Helmet: A helmet can be a good idea if you’re just starting out, even if you haven’t started playing on a real team yet. Using a helmet when learning to play can protect your head incase you miss the ball or it deflects off your stick. Check out the best lacrosse helmets here.
Photo credit: Flickr