When it comes to lacrosse, your defense skills matter. But there’s more to being an effective defenseman than great moves: Your equipment makes a difference. The best defensive lacrosse heads have a wider spot at the upper end of the throat, which makes it easier to handle ground balls and make great passes.
Considerations when Choosing the Best Defensive Lacrosse Heads
There are a few different factors to consider as you shop. The best defensive lacrosse heads are durable, with plenty of stability and lots of room for grabbing fast-flying balls. Here are some of the most important features to look for.
- Strength: It’s impossible to put up a good defense with a flimsy lacrosse head. If you want to keep your opponents at bay with effective checks, you must choose a strong, durable head that won’t break or crack under pressure.
- Customizability: Many of the best defensive lacrosse heads provide some different stringing options so you can put your pocket where it’ll be most effective. Mid to high placement is ideal since it allows for better hold and good, strong shots.
- Tight Connection to the Stick: Look for a lacrosse head that won’t wobble on your stick. Rattling of any kind is going to decrease your performance! We like the way Warrior has addressed this issue with its Loc-Throat technology. Other companies offer some good solutions, too.
- Wide Face Shape: While durability is definitely a primary concern, you’re going to want to look for a defensive lacrosse head with a nice, wide face shape. You’ll find that the wider profile helps you intercept passes far easier than a head with a narrower profile.
- Your Position: Do you play close D, or LSM? Close D players should look for extra stiffness as well as special features that make it easier to scoop up ground balls. Heads that offer the ability to create high pockets are ideal for playing close D, since you’re going to need plenty of power and accuracy during passing maneuvers. If you play LSM, look for a head that lets you create a deeper pocket, as well as one that lets you throw solid checks. Most of the defensive lacrosse heads we’ve reviewed here are well-suited to both positions.
The sidewalls tend to be stiffer, with special cutouts and high-tech plastics that help keep the weight down while delivering enough strength for effective checks. With these key factors in mind, we’ve compiled this short list of the best defensive lacrosse heads available.
Maverick Lacrosse Tank Universal Unstrung Head
The Maverick Lacrosse Tank universal unstrung head features a level five bottom rail and a four-strut design for a good level of support and stiffness. Designed with defense in mind, it offers a good combination of agility and power, allowing players to scoop ground balls and deliver fierce slap checks and poke checks. Two screw holes prevent wobbling at the neck.
- Holds up well, ideal for varsity players
- Helps with accuracy during passing
- Feels a touch heavier than some other defensive lacrosse heads
STX Fortress 300 Women’s Lacrosse Head
The STX Fortress 300 Women’s Lacrosse Head comes complete with a matching STX 7075 alloy handle. String lock technology prevents bagging, and an elongated face contributes to a more powerful feel. Designed with the needs of defensive players in mind, this lacrosse head offers a good level of stiffness in a lightweight package. The face shape features a wider catching area that tapers into a tight pinch, and a raised ball stop aids in ball retention. The STX Fortress 300 is USL approved.
- A great step up from beginner’s equipment, designed for serious, competitive play
- Easy to create a high or low pocket as you prefer
- Strings may start fraying without careful burning
The STX Hammer features a stable design with stout sidewall braces for added strength and stability when retrieving ground balls and checking. The bottom rail is designed to encourage high pocket placement, and the throat’s four-chambered design contributes to a lighter feel, and the double screw holes prevent wobble or rattling. The STX Hammer features STX’s Forward Cant technology, as well as C-Channel technology. It is available in a variety of colors.
- Feels solid when checking and defending
- Good combination of quality and affordability
- Some reports of throat cracking
STX Lacrosse Stallion U 550 Unstrung Lacrosse Head with All Climate Performance Material
The STX Stallion U550 features a reinforced throat for excellent durability. The rear portion features an open sidewall for a good level of stability when checking and going after ground balls. Sidewall braces keep the head strong and steady, so shots are accurate. The bottom rail is designed for high pocket placement, allowing for additional power when shooting. The forward cant design helps players keep control of the ball once it has been acquired. Large stringing holes make for easy setup. The STX Lacrosse Stallion U550 lacrosse head features a universal design, meeting NCAA and NFHS regulations.
- Pointed scoop lets you create a nice channel for better ball control
- Good level of rigidity
- Pointed scoop design can make it a little tough to get ground balls on longer natural grass
Warrior Regulator Max
The Warrior Regulator Max lacrosse head features a reinforced SYMRAIL strut design for outstanding stiffness and durability without added weight. Its bottom rail is designed to allow for the player’s choice of mid to high pocket placement, maximizing hold and ensuring more powerful shots. The angled tilt-tech string hold design ensures that the pocket retains optimal tension, making for better releases. Like many other Warrior lacrosse heads, the Regulator Max features Loc-Throat technology, which ensures a snug fit on the shaft of your choice.
- Stiffer design than many other lacrosse heads
- Great for poke checks
- Just a few color options