Tennis strings and stringing together are one of the most underestimated things between recreational tennis players. Many of them devote a lot of time 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 among 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.
Type: Blend of Natural Gut + Luxilon Alu Power Rough
Type: Natural Gut with Thermogut Technology; Gauge: 17
Type: Unique coating and organic raw materials provide ultimate touch; Gauge: 16
Synthetic Tennis Strings are a popular choice among 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 the 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 on 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 a combination fo hundreds or thousands of microfibers together. Multifilament is a good option for players suffering from arm injuries.
Textured – using more layers of outer wraps.
Composites – a 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 the advantages of two types of strings.
Natural Gut versus Synthetic Strings
|NATURAL GUT STRINGS||Tension Stability|
Sensitive to Moisture
|SYNTHETIC STRINGS||Wide selection|
Less expensive (more pricing options)
Hard to choose
Polyester and Kevlar are not suitable for players with arm injuries
The 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 the 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.
— Luxilon Tennis (@LuxilonTennis) April 24, 2017
Solinco, the other main producer of quality tennis strings, added a new co-polyester string to its product line. Solinco Confidential tennis string was developed and used by top pro tennis players until now. However, after strong interest from the general public, Solinco releases this string for retail sales. Solinco confidential is available in 16, 16L, 17 and 18 gauges in individual sets or in big reels. Check them on Amazon here.
The US Racket Stringers Association makes blind tests every year to rank the quality of the tennis strings. They playtest over 200 samples from main manufacturers and register the marks in the ranking. Here is the latest ranking from the association.
Tennis Strings Ranking made by The US Racket Stringers Association
- Wilson Natural 16 – check on Amazon here
- Ytex Quadro Twist 16L – check on Amazon here
- Head Sonic Pro Edge 16 – check on Amazon here
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.
Type: Monofilament with octogonal profile; Gauge: 16,17,18
Type: Monofilament with octogonal profile; Gauge: 15,16,17
Type: Synthetic Textured; Gauge: 15
Type: Synthetic, Square shaped co-poly; Gauge: 16,17,18
Type: Mutlifilament; Gauge: 16,17
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 the 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 the ball will deflect more. The ball gets less energy and you will have more control over 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 every racquet you use. There is no point in having the same tension at different racquets you use.
360 Degree Rotation Base with 64 sq. Inch tool tray Drop weight tensioning mechanism (9 to 90 lb/ 4 to 41 kg)
Tension range 20 - 90 lb Strings set included Made in USA
Provides a "String Tension Index" to determine relative tension loss of strings over time STT Lets you know when it`s time to restring
Water Based Racquet Stencil Ink for all racquet types and all string types