Consider Stringing Style and Position When Choosing a Head
When shopping for an affordable lacrosse head, the first thing to consider is the stringing style and position you play. Different head shapes and features cater to different stringing setups and playing styles.
For example, if you string traditional pockets and play midfield, you may want a wider head with a deeper scoop and more offset for increased ball control. Middies handle the ball a lot, so the right head shape can make stringing easier and improve handling. A nice deep pocket with a deep scoop helps gain possession on ground balls too.
On the other hand, attackmen who prefer a Low V nylon shooter pocket typically want a narrower, more pinched head shape. The narrow channel focuses the ball release and adds whip on passes and shots. A tight throat and defined sidewall also give more rebound for fast feeds and shots.
So before buying a budget lacrosse head, think about how you string, where you play, and what performance characteristics matter most. An attackman’s dream head might be a middie’s nightmare! Knowing the optimal head shape and features for your style helps narrow the options.
Don’t just default to the most expensive, flashy head. An inexpensive head tailored to your stringing and position can deliver just as much, if not more value. Get the right technology for YOU at the right price point.
Look for Durable Yet Inexpensive Materials Like Plastic
When shopping for budget-friendly lacrosse heads, pay close attention to the materials used in construction. While you may have to sacrifice some frills, an inexpensive head made from quality materials can still deliver durability and performance.
One material that offers an optimal balance of affordability and sturdiness is plastic. Brands like Brine and STX use injection molded plastic to produce heads costing under $50 that hold up surprisingly well. Plastic formulas vary, but most are rigid and impact-resistant while remaining lightweight.
The plastic itself resists dents, cracks, and weathering from UV rays. And plastic molding allows for intricate head geometries unmatched by other manufacturing techniques. Complex scoops, sidewall designs, and throat shapes are possible even on cheaper heads.
Of course, the plastic grade does affect longevity. Premium polycarbonate and composite blends found in high-end heads exceed standard plastics in toughness. But standard plastic formulations hold their own, especially in youth and beginner sticks subjected to less abuse.
Just inspect heads carefully for any major structural flaws before buying. Some cosmetic imperfections are expected on budget models, but make sure the plastic feels solid and sturdy overall. Minor scratching or graininess is normal, but major warping, thin spots, or cracking compromises integrity.
In the end, don’t fear plastic heads just because of the cheaper price tag. Major brands have engineered excellent standard plastic blends that resist wear and tear over time. Prioritize construction quality over materials alone when evaluating budget options.
Check For Discounted or Older Model Heads
One easy way to score major savings on lacrosse heads is to look for discounted or older model clears. Both online and in sporting goods stores, last year’s heads often go on sale after new versions release.
For example, you can frequently find previous Brine and STX top-level heads marked down 30% or more once the newest iteration hits shelves. Even 6-12 month old mid-tier heads see discounts around holiday sales periods. Keep an eye out for clearance sections and sales racks.
Older generations still perform excellently, the tech just isn’t the absolute newest. But you can save a ton for what is still a high-quality head. Make sure to inspect for any wear and tear before buying used, however.
Buying last year’s model new rather than latest version is also smart. For example, you can currently buy a Brine Clutch 3 for around $50-$60, while the Clutch 4 costs near $90 as the newest release. That’s $30+ saved for what is still a fantastic head.
Discounts apply online too. Check lacrosse specialty shops and major retailers for deals on older models. Sort by price low-to-high and look at prior years’ heads. With a bit of searching, finding a pro-level head under $70 is doable.
Getting an amazing head doesn’t mean paying full new-gear prices. Consider discounted previous models and sales on last year’s clears. With some deal hunting, older can mean cheaper but still awesome.
Focus on Fundamentals Over Features
When evaluating budget-friendly lacrosse heads, it’s easy to get caught up comparing fancy tech features and specs. But at more affordable price points, focusing on fundamental performance is key.
Rather than obsessing over patented sidewall designs, rail shapes, and other bells and whistles, prioritize basic head qualities. Assess overall stiffness, scoop depth, pocket channel width, ball control, and cross-section profile shape.
An inexpensive head with a smooth, gradual pinch and decent depth pockets just fine. Fancy adjustable sidewalls and multi-shot molded rails don’t directly equate to better play. Some pros even remove complex adjustable parts to improve stiffness.
Similarly, budget heads can have excellent scoop shapes for ground balls, even if lacking space-age materials. And basic plastic with quality injection molding provides plenty of stiffness, especially in youth and women’s sticks.
Don’t assume more expensive means better performing. Plenty of cheaper heads play extremely well by nailing head shape, stiffness, and pocket fundamentals. Flashy features entice, but straightforward time-tested lacrosse head geometry works.
For best value, go for simpler heads that do the basics well. Focus more on the traditional design elements that impact feel and ball control. You may lose some sizzle, but not core performance.
Compare Prices Online for the Best Deals
To find the best bargains on lacrosse heads, be sure to compare prices from different online retailers. With some searching, you can often save 20-40% or more on the same exact head.
All the major specialty shops like Lacrosse Monkey, Lax.com, and Dick’s carry a wide range of heads at various price points. Check each site for current sales and clearance items. Sign up for email deals and coupons too.
Wider marketplaces like Amazon and eBay provide additional options, especially for older models and used heads. Sort by price and look for highly rated sellers with lots of reviews when buying used.
Don’t limit browsing to just one or two sites. Enter the specific head name into Google Shopping to compare real-time pricing across dozens of retailers. Click the various listings to get a feel for who has the best deals.
Prices fluctuate frequently, so search regularly. Use price tracking tools to notify you of drops on heads you have your eye on. Set up alerts on retail sites too for upcoming discounts and clearance events.
With lacrosse gear demand lower than major sports, great online deals abound if willing to search around. Never assume one site or local store has the definitive “best price”. Leverage the internet to save big on budget lacrosse heads.
Consider Buying Used Heads in Good Condition
Used lacrosse heads offer another great route for getting pro-level gear on a budget. With some inspection and cleanup, quality pre-owned heads play like new at fractional prices.
Scour classified ads, consignment shops, and online marketplaces for deals. Craigslist, SidelineSwap, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace all boast loads of secondhand heads at discounts of 50% or more off retail.
When buying used, carefully examine for cracks, warping, and bend marks. Look down the throat and run a pocket tool along the walls and scoop to check for dents or flaws. Roll the head on a flat surface to assess overall straightness.
Also try pressing the sidewalls toward each other to feel the overall stiffness. Soft spots or excessive flexing likely mean the head is getting too warped and worn to use.
If everything checks out structurally, a good scrubbing with soap and water removes most grime and restores appearance. You can further sanitize using cleaning solutions like Green Gobbler or bleach wipes.
With some diligence assessing condition and cleaning, used heads make awesome budget finds. Just be selective and patient while deal hunting to score pro-level gear at unbeatable prices.
Opt for Beginner or Intermediate Level Heads
Another budget lacrosse head buying strategy is going for beginner or intermediate level models instead of premium tiers. Major brands offer excellent mid-range heads costing under $50.
Heads marketed as “beginner” like the Brine Edge and Warrior Burn provide awesome versatility and playability at extremely affordable prices. They utilize simplified features to nix expensive molds and materials.
Intermediate heads bring more advanced shaping and materials while keeping costs down. Options like the STX Stallion 700 and Maverik Optik deliver premium design elements but lack some adjustable parts and use standard plastics.
Don’t worry, these aren’t flimsy toys! Reputable mid-tier heads offer impressive durability, pockets, and performance. Many high school and even college players use intermediate sticks to save money.
While you do lose some specialized features and bleeding-edge tech compared to elite heads, beginner and intermediate tiers work great for most players. Focus more on overall design and construction quality when choosing.
With some brand and model research, getting a perfectly playable head under $50 is doable. Don’t overspend just for the sake of highest tier gear.
Buy in Bulk With Teammates to Get Volume Discounts
Buying lacrosse heads in bulk alongside teammates can unlock serious volume discounts from retailers. Coordinate orders and pool funds to save huge.
Many online lacrosse shops offer custom team pricing programs with tiered discounts based on total order value. The more heads you buy together, the lower the per unit cost. Discounts of 20%, 30% or even 40% off are common with team orders.
Work with coaches and parents to organize a mass program-wide order at the start of the season. Have each player chip in to buy 3-5 heads upfront to meet minimum discount tiers. Then distribute gear accordingly.
You can also arrange smaller bulk buys with your position group or a few close teammates. For example, all attack players could go in together on a dozen heads to outfit the rotation. Even just 5 heads sees nice team savings.
Buying even 2-3 heads together beats solo purchases. Ask shops about duo and trio pricing options if a full team order isn’t feasible. Any quantity helps maximize value.
Grouping up with teammates to buy heads wholesale is a proven way to grab big discounts. Buy more together to equip the squad and save cash in the process.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales and Promotions
Timing your lacrosse head purchases around major seasonal sales events and promotions can translate to huge savings on quality gear.
For example, late winter sales after the holidays offer great deals on prior year’s inventory. Stores and manufacturers are motivated to clear old stock before the spring season really picks up.
Keep an eye out for storewide clearance sales at retailers like Dick’s and Lacrosse Unlimited too. Sign up for their email lists to get discount alerts and coupon codes.
Your best overall discount window is August through October during the offseason. With little game action, retailers slash prices to attract buyers and reduce inventory carrying costs.
Shopping seasonal sales takes some planning and waiting for optimal timing. But you can easily save 30% or more on awesome heads compared to peak season MSRP prices. Just get the gear shortly after the deals rather than right as season starts.
Patience pays off big when buying heads budget-consciously. Work the annual lacrosse gear sales calendar and keep a bargain hunting mindset.
Get Clearance Heads With Minor Cosmetic Flaws
When shopping for budget lacrosse heads, keep an eye out for clearance models with minor cosmetic defects. These play perfectly but cost way less due to small imperfections.
Common flaws include color inconsistencies, blotchy logos, rough logo edges, and gloss differences. You may also find heads with slight molding marks or other non-structural irregularities.
Stores shift these cosmetically flawed heads to clearance racks and sell at deep discounts just to move inventory. But aside from looks, they function identically to pristine versions.
Inspect clearance heads closely before buying to ensure imperfections are purely cosmetic. Avoid any with cracks, warping, or other structural damage. But if it’s just visual defects, jump on the savings.
You can also touch up blemishes yourself using paint pens and epoxy patches from companies like FlashMob. A little DIY work makes clearance heads look brand new.
Minor beauty marks mean major savings. Keep eyes peeled for clearance heads with strictly superficial flaws and score awesome performing gear on the cheap.
Prioritize Heads With Proven Reputations for Quality
When evaluating budget lacrosse heads, stick with models from reputable brands boasting proven track records of performance and durability.
Trusted companies like STX, Maverik, Brine, and Warrior engineer even their most affordable heads to play consistently well over time. They have decades perfecting head design to get it right.
Lesser known or generic brands cut more corners and lack engineering sophistication. Their budget heads seem like deals upfront but break down faster.
Read player reviews and ask teammates about their experiences with various head brands and models. Word-of-mouth credibility goes a long way.
Also look for budget heads endorsed by pro players. If an elite LXM or NLL player trusts a lower-cost model, it’s sure to deliver.
You want a head built to last seasons, not just games. Spending a bit more upfront with major brands that nail the fundamentals prevents untimely breakdowns.
Don’t Pay Extra for Premium Brand Names Alone
When shopping for budget lacrosse heads, don’t overpay purely because of brand name recognition and hype. Lesser-known brands offer comparable quality at lower price points.
For example, heads from upstarts like StringKing andEpoch cost significantly less than powerhouses like STX and Maverik but play just as well. Their innovative engineering and simpler branding keep costs down.
Newer brands also must earn your business directly rather than relying on reputation. They pack performance and durability into heads at affordable prices to attract customers.
Of course, stick with reputable companies making heads for years, not fly-by-night no-names. But don’t limit options to just the absolute biggest names either.
Evaluate heads based on real-world reviews, materials, and design. Unique technologies like StringKing’s ball stop stringing system perform excellently despite lower cost. Stay open minded.
Lacrosse gear innovation happens across brands old and new. Avoid overpaying purely for familiar logos. Judge heads by merit first and foremost.
Evaluate Warranty Coverage on Cheaper Models
When buying more affordable lacrosse heads, make sure to consider warranty coverage. Less expensive heads tend to have more limited protection.
Many premium heads from leading brands carry 1-2 year comprehensive warranties against breakage, defects, and other damage scenarios. But cheaper heads aimed at beginners might only have basic defects-only coverage.
Read warranty terms closely before purchasing budget heads. See what damage cases are covered, for how long, and what proof is required. Then decide if the coverage adequately protects your investment.
Also research the warranty claim process for the brand. Easy online claim filing and responsive customer service make getting replacements far less painful.
For heads with skimpier warranties, consider third-party coverage like eBay’s Buyer Protection program. This adds extra peace of mind when buying used or closeout gear.
While saving money upfront, cheaper heads leave you more exposed down the road. Weigh warranty protection as part of the overall value calculation when buying.
Look for Heads With Adjustable Features to Customize
When buying lacrosse heads on a budget, seek out models with adjustable features that let you customize performance and extend usefulness.
Heads with removable and interchangeable sidewall panels allow tweaking stiffness and pocket channel shape. Swap high and low sidewalls to create unique pocket geometries dialed to your preferences.
Adjustable middle rail designs are ideal too. Quickly swap rail inserts to alter overall flex profile and shooting channel performance for different scenarios.
Even basic features like adjustable stringing holes give you more pocket stringing options. Maximize placement combinations to create exactly the channel and ball control you desire.
While adjustable features do add cost, they ultimately provide more customization for your money. Heads feel fresh longer when able to revamp stiffness, pocket shape, and stringing on the fly.
Seeking out adjustability, even in small doses, helps affordable heads grow with you. Don’t settle for one-size-fits-all designs unable to adapt to your evolving game.