How to Choose the Best Tennis Strings for your Racquet

Tennis strings and stringing together are one of the most underestimated things between recreational tennis players. Many of them devote a lot of time to thinking about the best tennis racquet but do not take a minute to think about the tennis strings. Many tennis racquets are sold prestrung and recreational players use them without any changes for years. However, just the best tennis strings and regular restringing will improve and then keep the level of your tennis play on the court.

Types of Tennis Strings

There are just two basic categories of Tennis Strings. Natural Gut Strings and Synthetic Strings.

Natural Gut Strings

The name of strings says it all. They are actually made of cow gut. The cow gut goes through a complex process, but at the start, you have the natural gut. Natural gut strings are a popular choice between professional players.
They provide players with above average feel, control, and great spin. Natural Gut Strings are great in maintaining their tension. Unfortunately, they are not so durable as synthetic. This factor together with their high price makes them not popular among recreational players.

  • WILSON
  • CHAMPIONS CHOICE DUO
  • Type: Blend of Natural Gut+ Luxilon Alu Power Rough
  • BABOLAT
  • VS Team Natural Gut
  • Type: Natural Gut with Thermogut Technology; Gauge: 17
  • LUXILON
  • Natural Gut 125
  • Type: Unique coating and organic raw materials provide ultimate touch; Gauge: 16

Synthetic Strings

Synthetic Tennis Strings are a popular choice between recreational players. They can choose between a wide range of different materials, tension, and durability at affordable prices.

Synthetic Strings can be made of Nylon, Polyester or Kevlar.

Nylon is most common material and you often will find that in a world of tennis strings the word „synthetic“ is a synonym for „nylon“. Nylon strings are made from high-quality nylon fibers.
Polyester strings are special for their increased durability. However, the price for durability is their stiffness which can cause a lot of problems for people with elbow problems (for information how to avoid and prevent tennis elbow injuries see our article here).
Kevlar strings are even more durable than polyester ones, but also they are much harder on your arm, so they are not recommended for people with weaker elbows.

Construction of Synthetic Strings

Solid Core & Outer Wraps – one solid core with a single or multiple layers of outer wraps.
Monofilament – usually made from polyester or kevlar are known for higher durability and stiffness.
Multifilament – as opposed to monofilament, it uses combination fo hundreds or thousands of microfibers together. Multifilament are a good option for players suffering from arm injuries.
Textured – using more layers of outer wraps.
Composites – combination of more types of materials to get the best possible string.

Hybrid Tennis Strings

Hybrid means that you use two types of strings on the racquet. You will choose more durable strings as the mains (from the bottom to the top of racquet head) and softer strings as the crosses. Hybrid tennis strings offer a combination of advantages of two types of strings.

Natural Gut versus Synthetic Strings

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
NATURAL GUT STRINGS Tension Stability
Feel
Spin
Control
Expensive
Fragile
Sensitive to Moisture
SYNTHETIC STRINGS Wide selection
Less expensive (more pricing options)
Durable
Less feel
Hard to choose
Polyester and Kevlar are not suitable for players with arm injuries

Thickness of Strings or Tennis String Gauge

Last but not least important factor to consider when you choose new tennis strings is the gauge or thickness. The general rule says the thinner the string is the bigger potential for a spin you will get.

TYPE THICKNESS POTENTIAL FOR SPIN
19 1.00 – 1.10 mm The Most Spin Potential
18 1.10 – 1.16 mm
17L 1.16 – 1.20 mm
17 1.20 – 1.24 mm
16L 1.22 – 1.26 mm
16 1.26 – 1.33 mm
15L 1.34 – 1.40 mm
15 1.41 – 1.49 mm The Lowest Spin Potential

What strings are used by tennis pros?

When looking for the most known brand in tennis stringing industry you will see names known also from racquet manufacturing. Wilson, Babolat, and Head have their share of tennis strings market. However, the most used brand is Luxilon. Luxilon is part of Wilson corporation and according to their claim, 75 percent of ATP tennis pros use their strings.

How to choose the best tennis strings for you?

First of all do not be afraid to test different types of strings. That is the best way how to choose the right one with the right feel for you.

Generally, if you are a recreational player playing just occasionally try the cheaper synthetic strings with higher durability. If you are competing at a higher level than you should spend more on high- quality strings. Multifilament and Hybrid strings give you durability and feel you need.

Multifilament or hybrid strings are also preferable options when you tend to suffer from tennis elbow or arm injuries.

  • BABOLAT
  • RPM BLAST
  • Type: Monofilament with octogonal profile; Gauge: 16,17,18
  • BABOLAT
  • RPM BLAST ROUGH
  • Type: Monofilament with octogonal profile; Gauge: 15,16,17
  • LUXILON
  • Big Banger Alu Power Rough
  • Type: Synthetic Textured; Gauge: 15; #1 BESTSELLER
  • SOLINCO
  • Hyper-G Heaven High Spin poly string
  • Type: Synthetic, Square shaped co-poly; Gauge: 16,17,18
  • HEAD
  • Velocity MLT
  • Type: Mutlifilament; Gauge: 16,17

String tension

Even if you choose the best tennis strings, everything can be ruined with a bad tension of strings. String tension is the final piece in setting your racquet at right state for a game.

The general rule of tensioning says that lower tensions provide more power, tighter tensions provide less power and more control. However, beginners should use lower tensions because they do often hit off-center. Advanced players with fast and hard strokes usually prefer tighter tensions to get more control.

Each racquet has a recommended tension range. This range is set by a manufacturer. If a player does not have any specific need, he should start at mid-range and then try to adjust the tension if he does not have the right feel.

Here are a few guidelines for choosing the right string tension.

Lower tension means more power  – The strings will deflect more and ball less, returning greater energy back to the ball). Tighter tension means more control – The strings will deflect less and ball will deflect more. The ball gets less energy and you will have more control on the direction of the ball. Also, the spin ability is better with tighter tension). Lower tensions reduce the risk of arm injury as it did not transmit so much vibration and energy back to your elbow. Adjust the tension to the every racquet you use. There is no point to having the same tension at different racquets you use.

  • GAMMA
  • Progression II 602 FC
  • 360 Degree Rotation Base with 64 sq. Inch tool tray Drop weight tensioning mechanism (9 to 90 lb/ 4 to 41 kg) #1 AMAZON BESTSELLER
  • KLIPPERMATE
  • Tennis Racket Stringing Machine
  • Tension range 20 - 90 lb Strings set included Made in USA
  • GAMMA
  • Sports Racquet String Tension Tester
  • Provides a "String Tension Index" to determine relative tension loss of strings over time STT Lets you know when it`s time to restring
  • RACQUET ART
  • Premium Racquet Stencil Ink
  • Water Based Racquet Stencil Ink for all racquet types and all string types Made in USA
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