The answers to this question are usually from the sponsored players that are active on the forum shouting out “buy the one from my manufacturer!”. They espouse their manufacturer’s top of the line model and provide no real reasoning behind why a player that is looking to replace their $20-30 Walmart special should buy a new racquet of that type at that price.
There are a number of different ways to balance a racquet: head heavy, balanced, head light. Each of these will make a difference in your swing.
There are a number of different weights of racquets, everything from 150g unstrung to 230+. This will also make a big difference if you make a change.
There are different shapes to the grip itself, which can make a racquet pleasant to hold or a nightmare.
Cliff Swain has a quick video that discusses things to consider about a new racquet. I recommend investing the 9 minutes it takes to watch it.
If the racquet hasn’t been restrung in the time that you’ve had it, that will be the cheapest option to get a new lease on the game. If the frame isn’t damaged or warped, then this is certainly the step I would recommend first.
I would also recommend checking with your opponents about their racquets, what they like, what they don’t, and borrowing those racquets for a few points. Once you have some idea of what the other options are, consider doing a demo with Racquetball Warehouse, RacquetWorld, or Gearbox (or a local pro-shop, if they have courts to let you try the racquets out on).
If you do think that you’ll be looking at new racquets, consider your price range. There are good racquets available for the recreational player at $50, $80, $125, and $200+. When you are thinking about the investment you are making in equipment, think about how often you play, how often you’ve been playing, how long you think you’ll play going forward. The materials used and the refinement of the models increase significantly with the price, so if you’ve been playing for a few years and are expecting to play for a few more, consider spending a bit more so that you don’t have to make the decision about a new racquet again soon.
If you play once a week, consider paying one day’s wages as your budget. So, if you make $20 per hour, you could spend up to $160 on a racquet and get something really good. (Usually, a model a few years old that might have been sitting on a shelf that entire time.) If you play multiple times per week, consider paying two day’s wages as your budget. So again, with the $20 example, 16 hours would give you a budget of $320. Currently, that is $60ish dollars over the most expensive new models.
If you prefer a different type of comparison, how many hours of use will you get out of the racquet? One first-run movie ticket in my area is $18. So, for the price of 15 movies (~30-40 hours) (equivalent to one or two movies a month), you can get a top-of-the-line current racquet that will last you for years.
You’ll notice that I use Gearbox for all of my recommendations. I think that they make great, reliable, resilient racquets that are all good choices to go into your demo package if you do move ahead with purchasing a new racquet.
Don’t spend $200+ without first hitting with the racquet.