When it comes to picking the best defensive heads, I tend to evaluate and look for different qualities versus when I evaluate attack or middie heads.
What do I mean? Well, defensive players are hustling for hard checks, going for ground balls and blocking passes. All of which demands a stiff and durable material that can withstand pressure and warping.
After doing extensive research, I am happy to find some great quality lacrosse heads that are up for the task. By compiling all the info and details together, I created this guide in the hope of helping you find best lacrosse heads for defense in 2022.
Best Lacrosse Heads For Defense
Although it was great to see how many solid options there are specifically for defensive heads now, it does make the selection process a little more challenging.
Luckily, I had lots of experience back in college playing defense, so I am confident to say these 7 heads you see below are the best heads for defense to consider today.
- Super stiff
- Great durability
- Nice scoop
- Skews towards the heavier side of the spectrum
- Wide face shape
Talking about how stiff and durable a head could be, ECD DNA definitely has a seat at the table. Needless to say, DNA is the stiffest defensive head out on the market.
DNA is marketed to be suitable for all positions, but it has become extremely popular among defensemen and LSMs for its great warp resistance and shape retention. If you tend to go for hard checks, you can’t really go wrong with this head.
It also has a decent scoop and great face shape for passing although I did see some players report it’s a little too wide as an attack head.
All in all, DNA is a no-brainer defensive head to consider.
Maverik Tank 2.0
- Very stiff
- Great durability
- Improved scooping
- Wide face shape provides less control
- Stringing could be an issue
A 2021 release of Maverik’s Tank line, Tank 2.0 kept most of the designs from Tank 1.0 as well as improved upon it.
Right off the bat, this head is super stiff, as the name suggests, like a tank. Six struts on each side make this head very warp resistance and durable. Again, defensive players need that extra stiffness to deliver solid hard checks.
They redesigned the scoop by adding more roundness on the back that definitely improves the ability to pick up groundballs. In terms of face shape, Maverik is very generous with making it a wide face shape head. Therefore, it is more preferable for pure defense players, not necessarily preferable for LSMs.
One potential issue you might run into is stringing. Since it’s so wide, it will be tough to get the high pocket to match up with the head.
- Pinched face shape
- Good scoop
- Lighter than most D heads
- Not as durable as most D heads
- Unlike traditional wide defense heads, could be something to get used
Next in line, Maverik Havok is a defense head that is more geared toward LSMs. Unlike the Tank, Havok has a much tighter pinched face shape as LSMs are more involved in passing as transition players. A tighter face shape also allows you to string a narrow channel and a quite perfect defensive pocket.
As far as the scoop goes, Havok uses the ground control scoop with a nice angle that makes picking up groundballs super easy. Stiffness is good but not as stiff as the traditional D heads for Havok is positioning itself more as a transition head.
For defensive players who like to gain more control and accuracy, Havok is definitely a great choice.
ECD Rebel Defense
- Pinched face shape
- Good scoop
- Potential issue with breaking
ECD Rebel Defense version is another popular option for defensive players. Although it’s lighter than some other heads you see on the market, Rebel Defense is still pretty stiff and warp resistant.
Similar to Rebel Offensive face shape, Rebel Defense has a narrow pinch towards the throat and flares out towards the top to create a nice and wide scoop. The face shape design makes it another great option for LSMs and Defensive middies.
While doing my research, I do see some sprinkled reviews about Rebel Defense breaking and lasting shorter than other heads, so this might be something to keep in mind of.
- Good durability
- Speed Scoop
- A good track record
- Not great for people who aren’t used to wide face shape
A much anticipated release from STX after a long time, STX X20 has lived up to its hype. Part of the reason why it took STX a while to do an upgrade could be that X10 continues to be widely popular and successful among defensemen.
Design wise, X20 resembles X10 to a large degree. It shares the classic wide face shape with previous versions, with no/tiny pinch and heading straight out to the top. If you are used to X10 and are a fan of covering a wide surface area, X20 is your defensive head.
This is probably one of the lightest defensive heads on the market in the meantime maintains a good stiffness. It also features the signature speed scoop people rave about.
Overall, X20 is a solid and classic choice many people are excited about.
StringKing Mark 2T
- Good stiffness
- Great scoop
- Not the best option if looking for bulky offense head
StringKing Mark 2T is a great LSM defensive head as the “T” here stands for transition. It has a pretty nice stiff and warp resistance profile that many defensive players use it as well.
Unlike the aggressive and sharp angle scoop on 2D, 2T adopts a more reserved mid flare that is preferred by many defense players and it has that nicely rounded scoop.
As this is built for transition players, 2T isn’t as stiff as the 2D but still holds its shape very nicely with a lighter weight. It also features a pinched face shape to improve ball control.
All in all, 2T is a dream offense head for LSM and defense middie for its hybrid profile.
STX Hammer Omega
- Super stiff
- Speed Scoop
- Pinched face shape
- More expensive than other alternatives
To make a great defense head, first thing you do is to give it a heavy and powerful name. Maverik has tank; STX has hammer. Jokes aside, Hammer Omega is definitely one of the stiffest and most durable defense heads out there.
Its proprietary Omega plastic has taken the head game up a notch by increasing stiffness without adding weight. Noticeably, the new Hammer version is a complete makeover from the last one.
Besides the new Omega material, Hammer Omega has a tighter face shape to gain ball control and string a good pocket. Again it features STX signature speed scoop which I also love.
Overall, a great and ideal defense head for not only pure defense players and also LSMs and defense middie.
How To Choose A Defensive Lacrosse Head?
First, let’s establish what responsibilities a defense player carries: on man-to-man defense, the defensive player is doing checks, picking up groundballs and deflecting shots; on a zone defense, the defensive player is looking for gaps and weaknesses for interceptions.
To successfully carry out these actions, the heads players use play an important role. Hence, here are the characteristics that make a good head for defense.
- High Pockets:
What you notice from most defense heads is that they all come with high or mid/high pockets in order to pick up ground balls nice and easy. To determine the position of the pocket, you first identify where the largest offset is situated and the pocket should be right below it.
A High pocket gives players more hold and whip which are crucial within the defense zone.
- Wide & Pinched Face Shape:
For pure defense, you want the face shape to be wide so that it can cover more areas to intercept passing and shooting. For a long time, defense heads are often designed to be wide.
That said, there is an up-and-coming trend toward making more pinched defense heads for skilled LSMs and defense middies since a tighter head creates much better control.
What this means is that there’s no right or wrong here. It comes down to what position you play and what you are more comfortable with.
- Great Stiffness and Durability:
Defense heads have to be stiff and durable. Like I mentioned several times, a great defense head should give you the confidence of doing hard checks and aggressive contact with your opponent’s head.
I have included many great options above for you that could endure a great level of stress, power and hold up their shapes for a long period of time. Usually, defense heads should feel heavier than attack and middie heads.
- Great Scoop:
Don’t overlook the importance of a great scoop. As a defensive player, you will often run to pick up groundballs, which means having a nice angled scoop lets you accurately and smoothly scoop a ball without losing speed.
- Strung vs. Unstrung Head
Most lacrosse heads give you the option of strung or unstrung version.
Preferably, if you know how to string it yourself, you should choose an unstrung head to string your own pocket; plus, it’s usually cheaper.
Strung heads are pre-strung in factories, meaning that all pockets will be similar in position and style. Such heads aren’t bad as they are made to ensure good enough catching and passing qualities. However, if you have a specific preference, stringing your own pocket is highly recommended.
Looking for a defense shaft as well?
How To Become A Great Defense Player?
Becoming a great defensive player requires great footwork, the ability to read the game and communication. Defense is played with your feet, not checks. The primary job of a defensive player is to frustrate and slow down opponents so that they make mistakes. Therefore, first and foremost, you have to nail your footwork. Watch this footwork drills video and then practice, practice, practice.
I hope this guide has served you with helpful tips and reviews with respect to learning the best heads for defense on the market and how to choose and determine a good head yourself.
Make sure you have a general idea of your preferences, which can guide you to find the best one for yourself.
Drop a comment below on which head you ended up buying. Also, feel free to let me know what other options you wish to see on the list.
For best players, check out Best Lacrosse Heads in 2022
For Your Unstrung Defense Head, check out Best Mesh To Buy In 2022
To Pair With Your Defense Head, check out Best Defense Shafts In 2022