There are three crucial elements that need to be considered when you are playing the game of tennis, at least from an equipment perspective. Putting clothes and shoes aside, your racket is where all the magic happens. This is the tool that you use to wield your strokes and dominate the court, and the racket itself consists of three main elements.
1) First of all, we have the grip, which is the direct point of contact between your hand and the racket, of course.
2) Secondly, we have the racket itself, where the specifications and characteristics can differ greatly between brands and models.
3) Finally, and most importantly for the focus of this article, we have the strings of the racket.
There are so many options for these three elements that the market can seem saturated, not to mention the overwhelming feelings you can get when searching for the products. This is precisely why I’ve chosen to craft this article, with the focus on what strings are right for you.
I have broken down several different categories of tennis strings throughout this piece, and I really hope you find some value from the information given.
It’s always amazed me throughout my career that people don’t tend to pay as much attention to strings as they do to the other two racket elements - the frame and the grip.
Choosing the right strings can prove to be so beneficial for your game, however, and I really want to guide you with your decision to the right strings for you.
Whether you want to find strings for power, control, spin, or combinations of these variations, I’ve tried to cover it all to give you the best insight possible. Having played the sport for more than 20 years, I like to think that I’ve developed solid knowledge around this area, and I’ve coached literally hundreds of players with different requirements for their string than me.
So without wasting any more time, please browse the categories below and take the time to digest the information given. I hope you enjoy, and as always, if you find some information that you find particularly valuable, please share with friends and family so that we can all continue enjoying the game of tennis for many years to come!
If you want to learn all of the ins and outs about tennis strings, I highly recommend you check out this page below by the tennis equipment giant - Tennis Warehouse.
How To Choose The Best Tennis Racquet Strings
While the information that I will provide throughout this piece is designed to help you as much as possible, the fact remains, there is no correct answer for what string is right for you. There are several different reasons that will no doubt dictate your decision, and this can range from playing style, what you want to get from the string (power/control), and what your preferred brands are.
I will get to all of this throughout the ongoing categories, but for now, I can help to narrow down your choice according to several generalized things to look for. In the past when I’ve searched for tennis strings, I have often been skewed by price and appearance, but I don’t want you to make this mistake.
It can be tempting to choose strings that are cheap or even supplied by an unproven brand. Here’s the issue with that - you will break strings all the time and it will end up costing you more in the long run. Combined with this, the string won’t give you a good feel or performance when hitting the ball.
I don’t want you to experience this, so please read the advice below.
What to look for
Now we are getting into the real meat of how to select the best tennis strings for you. I’ll get into specifics for your playing style and requirements in the ongoing sections, but stick to these guidelines for now, and always use them as a general guide.
First of all, and this may seem obvious, but don’t invest heavily in a tennis string if you aren’t a top-level player. There is simply no need to do this, as the demands placed on your string will be far less than a top-level junior or professional player. Please note that this doesn’t mean choose the cheapest string possible, but don’t spend tons if you don’t have to.
In addition to this, choose a string that doesn’t let you down in any of the four key areas. In my experience, I have found that there are four main areas that I can base the string quality on - power, control, durability, and feel. If a string scores super low for any of these features, don’t even consider purchasing it, as you will ultimately regret your choice and you will try to overcompensate in your game.
The final thing I look for may seem a little harsh, but it’s just the reality when investing money in tennis products. I’m always one to give new companies a shot and see if their products are any good, but for a category as important as tennis string, I’d stick to established brands. This is because they usually have a proven track record of quality, meaning that the money you spend will be worth it.
Recommendation For you- Babolat RPM Blast
This is a string that I’ve used ever since my late tennis, through college tennis, and it is a string that I continue to use while I coach - although I now blend it with a synthetic gut so that it is softer on my arm. For me, this string just ticks all of the boxes in terms of power, feel, control, and as an added bonus, you can generate tons of spin with this string.
It’s also fairly durable for a string that provides so much power and spin too, and let’s face it - if it’s good enough for Rafael Nadal, it’s going to be good enough for the rest of us! It is slightly on the pricier side at over $100 per reel, but trust me, it is worth it. You can even see why Nadal prefers this string, as well as the reasons why other pro players love this string right here:
If you are an advanced player I’d recommend that you string your entire racket with it, and it’s always good to string using a slightly lower tension than you usually would. If you are a beginner or an intermediate, or even a coach, I’d suggest using it in the mains and putting a softer string in the crosses.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Spin
This section is for all of you players (like me) who love to sit at the back of the court and try to grind your opponent off the court. Don’t worry guys - no matter how many times they may call us ‘hackers’ or ‘grinders’, it’s still a sweet feeling to run the other person from corner to corner and let the fitness shine through! All jokes aside, the benefits of using a string that provides you with the ability to generate more spin is truly an asset for your game.
Tennis strings have evolved these days into different shapes and sizes, and there are strings out there now that are hexagonal, square, octagonal, and any other ‘agonal’ that you can think of. I do know that these strings provide a much better bite on the ball, and depending on how your technical ability is, you can whip up topspin as you have never done before once you get your hands on the right string.
Understanding the shapes on tennis strings can be a bit confusing, therefore I’d suggest that you check out this comprehensive explanation concerning the shapes here:
What To Look for
I’ve talked about the shapes of the string in the introduction above, but now, please allow me to explain why it is important to get a string that compensates spin. To emphasize this, I can give you an example of my own game - I’m sure that many of you will be able to relate.
I’ve never been the tallest guy in the world, or the strongest for that matter, which is obviously not ideal for the game of tennis. What I have always had on my side however is speed and fitness, which ultimately lead to the development of a ‘grinder game style’. To be an effective grinder or baseline player, being able to hit masses of topspin on the ball allows you to open up the court and maneuver your opponent around to win the point.
Let’s face facts - we will never be the type of players to blast somebody off the court through enormous power and presence. With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial to find a string that will allow you to generate added levels of topspin, as this is our main advantage! I’ve spent years trying different tennis strings in search of this, and I recently came across an absolute gem of a string.
My Recommendation - Solinco Hyper G Heaven
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first of all - the bright green color won’t be for everyone, and it certainly doesn’t fit in aesthetically depending on the color of your frame. With that in mind, how your racket looks won’t improve the way that you play, but the string itself will.
Solinco is quite a new brand in the tennis world, and I first started to experiment with their strings back in 2018. Out of all the strings I tried, I found that this string provided a fantastic feel combined with an awesome bite on the ball. This bite is what allows you to hit with masses of topspin shot after shot, and the square ship means that the ball really reacts well on contact.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Control
There are many different game styles in the world of tennis. There are players out there who love to hit every ball at 100mph to try and out-power opponents. There are players who love to sit at the back and defend, and even players that love to rush the net after a serve - yes, the days of the ‘Tim Henman ‘style’ aren’t dead and buried yet!
Regardless of your chosen playing style, however, there is a fundamental reality that we all must face in tennis. This is something that I tell my players time and time again, and that is the fact that without control of the ball, you aren’t going to get far in tennis.
For example, if you hit the ball at 100mph but you are simply unable to keep the ball in, you won’t win many points. If you like to defend from the back but you will miss after two or three shots, you won’t be effective out there on the court. Control is everything, which is why I’ve taken the time to look at this category.
what to look for
There is something that I learned about many years ago while sitting in my economics classes in college, and I feel that it applies to this category. There is something referred to as ‘opportunity cost’ in economics, which simply put, means what must be sacrificed or given up in exchange for something else. Stay with me here - I promise it isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
When you choose a string that is designed with control as the main objective, the string is not going to provide you with a wealth of power or spin. This is what must be given up if you will in exchange for such control on the ball, but this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. If you really think about it, if you are able to hit the ball from corner to corner with amazing accuracy, your opponent won’t be able to attack the ball.
This is something that I learned very early on in my junior career, which is why I value control as one of the most desirable characteristics of any string. Strings that are designed for control will typically have an excellent feel on the ball, although they will break more often - that’s just the way it is.
Recommendation for you - Head Hawk
Head has produced some great tennis strings in the past, but this string really has taken me by surprise. To get things started, it’s a string that is perfectly round, so it doesn’t grip the ball intensely and put any unwanted spin on the ball. It’s also a co-polyester string, so you are getting the best out of both worlds really in terms of durability and comfort.
The main reason that I’ve chosen this over other control strings is that you can actually string your whole racket with this string and it still feels great. This means there is no need to go and purchase a separate string to put in the crosses, which ultimately saves you money while providing you with a top-level string.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Power
The funny thing about choosing a string for power is that it’s rare you will find a powerful string that also gives comfort with durability. That is why this category, in particular, can be quite tricky to navigate, which can often cause turmoil for those of you trying to find the right power string. There are loads of brands and strings out there that claim to give you this, that, and the other, but it’s rare that they follow up on these claims.
I’m personally not what you would call a power player, but I sure know what makes an impressive power string. If you are a power player, and you are ready to find the right string that will complement the attributes of your game, read on for full details.
What to look for
Oftentimes, when you choose to purchase a string designed for power, it is because you need to add this element to your game to reach the next level. I completely get it, and I’ve experimented with several types of tennis strings through the years that really give that catapult effect on contact with the ball.
There’s a major problem within the industry for power strings however, which is the connection of getting that dead feel with power strings. This is why I always look for strings that have been manufactured by those bigger brands, and even though they can be expensive, it’s worth the investment.
I look for strings with a slightly thicker gauge than most, as this naturally improves the durability of the string. As well as this, if a string holds its position during play, you can be sure that the quality is up there. Any strings that move around and lose tension quickly are simply not worth it.
For me, there is one particular string that rises above all others for this category.
Recommendation For You- Luxilon Alu Power Rough
Luxilon as a brand has been around for years, and they’ve been a string of choice for many top professionals throughout this period. This is because they are well known for their power strings, although they do come at a price. You can expect to pay well over $100 for a reel of this string, but for me, it is unrivaled in terms of the quality that it offers for power.
I would always put this string in the mains and crosses if you are an intermediate/advanced player looking for power. If you are a beginner, however, I would always put a much softer string in the crosses, and only use this string if you already have the fundamentals of your technique in place.
The reason I chose this string out of the entire Luxilon range is due to the fact that the string really grips the ball too, hence the ‘rough’ title. This creates added feel and a bit of extra spin on the ball too, which goes well with the increase in power too.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Spin And Power
If you are unsure of your exact game style, or you don’t really want to go all-in on a string for any specific category, I’d recommend going for a string that provides a blend of benefits. This is the reason that I’ve put together a category for spin and power, as these two elements combined can add plenty of benefits to your game.
Finding a string that gives you a greater spin, of course, means that you can really get some bite on the ball and generate spins such as topspin and slice to great effect. There are strings out there that offer more of a ‘meet in the middle’ solution for these features too, which essentially gives you the best of both worlds - adequate power with an increased ability to whip up some spin.
What you need to know
As I mentioned above, finding a string that gives you both of these benefits is ideal for those of you who are unsure of what your game style may be. It’s also beneficial for those of you who wouldn’t classify as a power player or a spin/control player, so why not choose a string that gives you a broader range of benefits?
It’s perfectly normal for players to choose a string that doesn’t have just one exact benefit. For example, if you choose a string that is purely designed for power, you are likely going to sacrifice on feel and control. The good news is that there are strings in the industry that give you more of an all-round solution to enhance your game - you just need to know where to look!
Usually, to source strings that meet this description, you will need to look at full polyester or co-polyester strings, and the gauge can vary. Personally, I prefer to check out strings that are middle of the range in terms of the gauge, as this means that the string will be durable enough and provide enough feel on the ball. That isn’t always the case, but I’ve looked into this category for a long time and done my research to bring to you the best fit - in my opinion.
Recommendation For You - Tecnifibre Black Code
If I ran out of my all-time favorite string, Babolat RPM Blast, this was my go-to string during my college playing days. I guess it helped that my college was also sponsored by Tecnifibre, but that’s another story. For me, the Tecnifibre Black Code gives a string that is not only durable, but it also offers a decent level of power along with a reasonable amount of bite on the ball.
It’s true that this string won’t give you as much power as Luxilon, and it won’t give you as much spin as the Solinco mentioned earlier, but it gives a great level for each of these features. Always remember, this is a category where we are trying to get the best-blended benefits that we can, and I believe that this string is the best on the market right now.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For An Intermediate Player
As an intermediate tennis player, you have no doubt spent plenty of hours learning the strokes of the game, and you may have even started to play in a few competitive events. You may not yet be classified as an advanced player, and there may be a few kinks to work out in your game, which means that there is a specific kind of string you should be looking for.
Given your playing level, it would be too adventurous to use a full polyester string due to the tennis elbow risks and the price of these products. With that said, you’d also be doing yourself an injustice if you settled for a synthetic gut string, as you’d be losing out on power and spin.
That is why I like to suggest co-polyester strings for intermediate players, but the filtering process doesn’t end there.
What to look for
Before I even get into the specifics of intermediate level appropriate string, I’d like to quickly congratulate you. I know that the game of tennis is difficult to learn, and given that you’ve stuck with it and reached an intermediate level is already very commendable - so well done. Now, let’s get to finding you the right string.
Given that you are still in the process of working on your game, I don’t believe that it is necessary to choose a string with enormous amounts of spin and power just yet. I feel that it is far more beneficial to source a string that gives you control along with moderate levels of power. This is because you are still in the learning process, and you must first understand how to control the ball and apply the relevant spins to prepare yourself for that next jump up.
Incorporating more power and masses of spin into your game will come with time, and there is no rush. Everybody develops this awesome game at their own pace, as did I all those years ago. With that in mind, there is also no need to go out and buy the best string on the market, as you just don’t require it as of yet.
It’s much more important to control the ball and continue enjoying your development at this stage, and I’ve got just the string in mind.
Recommendation for you - Wilson Revolve
I first experimented with the revolve string a few years back, while I was coaching tennis in the USA. This string was a huge hit with the kids, given that it is available in a range of bright colors, but it’s also a great string for intermediate level adults too. Wilson has designed it in such a way that the string performs like polyester, but it is nowhere near as harsh on the arm.
It is incredibly forgiving if you don’t quite catch the ball right either, for the strings have a tri-polymer shape that enables a moderate level of spin. Personally, I love that these strings don’t move around all over the place when you play too, as that drives me crazy out there on the court!
You can buy these strings in individual sets or as a reel, so the choice is yours.
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Beginner
Choosing the right string if you are brand new to this wonderful game is crucial, but nobody really emphasizes just how crucial it actually is. First of all, if you use the wrong strings to start with you can soon after encounter injury problems such as tennis elbow. Secondly, if you choose strings that are difficult to play with you will have a much harder time learning the game, which can lead to frustration.
The bottom line is that when you start playing the game, you want a string that is very soft on the arm, has a good feel on the ball and doesn’t overload the ball with power. To enjoy the game, you need to learn how to rally and build on the fundamentals of your technique, all without worrying whether you have the right string in your racket, to begin with!
What to look for
There is some really good news if you are brand new to the sport of tennis - the strings and rackets that are suitable for your game are often much cheaper as a beginner. This will already save you money on your initial equipment, and it will give you more money to invest in lessons and practicing the sport itself.
When I am coaching any new player and they ask about strings, I always give the same answer - you need to get a synthetic gut string to begin with. You can pick up some awesome synthetic gut reels for well under $50, and they provide some of the best feel that you could ask for on the ball.
Synthetic gut strings won’t provide you with heaps of power or tons of spin, but this isn't your goal here. Your goal is to find an affordable string that will assist you along your journey of learning to play tennis and let me tell you - tennis really is a sport for life. Once you learn, you will enjoy decades of fun with family and friends.
Recommendation for you- Babolat Synthetic Gut
I’ve been using Babolat products for as long as I can remember, but there is a specific reason for this. I believe that the quality of the products that they create is simply awesome, and they are on a par if not above Wilson, in my humble opinion.
For beginner players, the lightning blue synthetic gut string will give you everything that you need to kick off your learning journey. The string gives great feel on the ball, whether you are hitting forehands and backhands from the back of the court or coming up to hit some volleys. It’s an extremely versatile string, and it doesn’t break as frequently as other strings that are made from synthetic gut.
To fully understand the reasons of using synthetic gut string, as well as gain an understanding of why it is perfect for beginners, please watch the video from the tennis equipment gurus, Tennis Warehouse, right here:
How To Choose The Best Tennis String For Topspin And Control
Spin and control are two features that really do complement each other, as it’s tough to have one without the other. The one and only exception would be if you love to hit flat from all areas of the court, although I haven’t seen many players that play this way without a boatload of unforced errors.
When it comes to selecting a string that helps you to hit with control as well as spin, I like to source strings that have an edged shape as well as those that aren’t over lively. By this, I mean that you don’t want a string that makes the ball absolutely zip off the spring bed, not if control is your goal anyway.
what to look for
Just for a little added clarification, it is possible to control the ball without hitting topspin. However, this is reserved for lower intermediates, as well as those advanced players that hit the ball completely flat. Once your game reaches a certain level, topspin really is your friend, and it is this spin that allows you to control the ball.
Therefore it goes without saying that finding a string that blends these features together can be highly advantageous. By hitting heavy spin on the ball you can make the ball dip down at the last second, which enables you to hit acute angles as well as maintain good depth when trading from baseline to baseline.
It is this reality that leads me onto the next focus, what the specifications should be. I believe that the string needs to follow an irregular shape to get this topspin on the ball and that the stringbed needs to be quite firm to avoid too much flex, therefore avoiding any unwanted power on the ball.
For me, I’ve found that this can usually be seen with co-polyester strings or even multifilament strings. To suit players of all levels, I would go with a multifilament string as it is softer as well as cheaper. This makes it much more friendly on your bank balance, and it gives you that added feeling on contact with the ball.
Recommendation for you- Wilson NXT
Wilson is no doubt my second favorite tennis brand after Babolat, and the strings that they produce year after year really are top-drawer. NXT is a multifilament string that scores highly in many key areas for me, and specifically for this category, the string is perfect for those in search of extra spin and control.
I like that it is tougher than synthetic gut but much more forgiving than a polyester, therefore providing the ideal blend for these two features. You can even string your whole racket with this without losing too much power, although if you do decide to do this, just be warned that the strings may move around a bit more than usual.
When I’ve used this string in the past, I’ve also enjoyed putting it in the crosses and following up with a full polyester in the mains.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this article, and I commend you on taking the steps towards finding your ideal tennis strings. Most players just take the advice of their local club or tennis stringer, but you have now enhanced your own understanding of what makes a good string. Regardless of whether you choose a string from these categories or not, I’m really glad that you will now know what strings you should consider, and what you need to look for.
I’ve had more than my fair share of bad experiences with tennis strings over the years. I’ve often made decisions based on string color, price, what a friend had told me, and basically any reason under the sun to justify my purchase. However, there was always something missing. I never had access to an unbiased source of information, one that would help me rather than try to push products onto me that wouldn’t help my game and certainly wouldn’t help my bank account.
I am very pleased that through articles like this one, I can now give back to the tennis community and help you all with your tennis. I really don’t mind if you want to be a top-level professional or if you are just happy messing with friends once a week - I just care that the game of tennis is enjoyed by all and that you have the right equipment for your needs.
Thanks again for reading this piece, and if you would like to share your comments with our community, please do so in the available space below.
Good luck with your tennis strings search!