Unless you’re an avid tennis player, you may not realize that your racket’s strings come in a variant of materials. As one would imagine, each string type has its own characteristics and, in turn, affects your shot differently.

Below we explore tennis strings, the materials that make them up, and the most popular brands on the market.

What Makes Strings so Important to the Player?

Think about it: You are going to create this masterpiece of a gourmet meal, and you would not just put any old ingredient in there without giving a thought as to how it would contribute to the flavor of your creation. No siree, you would pick the best available, so your dish would be just as perfect as can be.

Same with picking strings for your racquet, no different from the ingredients in the dish; strings are the key contributors to performance for your racquet. It’s the only part of the racquet in direct contact with the ball.

Strings, most of the time, are ignored until people really see the variety range from one place to another, not much unlike your picking of the ingredients.

Tennis Racket Being Restrung

String materials

There are different materials used for tennis strings. Here’s what they are and how they affect playability, a few string tension basics, and how often you should get your racquet restrung.

There are four main categories that tennis strings will fall under: synthetic gut, multifilament, natural gut, and polyester.

#1 Synthetic Gut

This is the most economical-grade string available. It is usually made of nylon and plays well for the price.

Pros:

  • Inexpensively priced
  • Good all-around performance

Cons:

  • Average playability
  • Doesn’t accel in any category

#2 Multifilament

Offers playability most similar to natural gut string. They are made from hundreds of tiny fibers wound together. EndangeredSpecies

Pros:

  • Good playability
  • Price points for all player levels
  • Soft impact
  • Good tension maintenance
  • Closest to natural gut

Cons:

  • Less control
  • Some products give a mushy feel
  • Has less durability

#3 Natural Gut

This is made from a cow’s intestines so this is the string multifilament strings try to emulate. Natural gut strings are the best at holding their tension, the most comfortable on the arm (great for players with arm problems), and the most expensive option.

Pros:

  • Best playability
  • Top choice for tension maintenance
  • Excellent arm comfort
  • Playable at very high tensions

Cons:

  • Most costly option on the market

#4 Polyester

This string type has taken over the market and the pro tour. This is a stiffer string that offers intermediate to advanced players with faster swing strokes control and spin. We wouldn’t typically recommend this type of string to most beginner-level players.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Plenty of control
  • Responsive spin

Cons:

  • Lacks power
  • Harsh on the arm
  • Fast to lose tension

Gauge

Gauges are essentially the thickness of a string. The higher the gauge, the thinner the string. The problem with gauges however, is there is not a standard and universal chart.

A 16 gauge for one company might be a 16L (L stands for “light,” which basically means it’s halfway between two gauges, think of a 16L as a 16.5) for another.

This is why we recommend referencing the actual millimeter sizing. In general, thinner string provides more power and spin, while thicker string delivers more control and durability.

Tension

Tension is referring to how tightly the strings are strung in the racquet. Each racquet will have a specific tension range that the manufacturer recommends you string within, usually around 50-60 pounds.

Even though you can request your racquet to be strung above the maximum tension, it could void the warranty by doing so. In general, the higher the tension, the more control and the lower the tension, the more power.

Typically, players who generate their own power will string with a higher tension and vice versa for a beginner. If you don’t know what tension to string with, we recommend you choose the middle tension and then you can make adjustments from there.

Need more power? Go down 2-3 pounds next time.

White Tennis Racket with New Strings Added

When to Restring

Contrary to popular belief, breaking a string isn’t the only time you should restring your racquet. For the casual recreational player, a good rule of thumb to follow is to restring as many times in a year as you play in a week.

For example, if you play five times a week, then you should restring at least five times a year. But if you use polyester string, we would recommend restringing your racket more often.

Top String Brands

While there are many companies that manufacture tennis racket strings, here are a few of the most popular:

1. Wilson

If someone is a power-thirsty player, he or she can look at the Wilson NXT Power and Wilson Synthetic Gut strings. A player that focuses on control attributes should be attracted to the Wilson NXT Control string. A player that really wants to enhance comfort should feel the Wilson Sensation or Wilson NXT string. Wilson Natural Gut is certainly of great value for control purposes and competitive players.

2. Prince

Engineered polyester string featuring a hexagonal shape to increase the player’s access to the highest levels of spin. The trifecta of great multifilament feel and added durability and added tension maintenance is now a reality with tri-core construction. Not nearly as spin-friendly as your typical polyester, Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex really pleased us with how well it responded to spin.

3. Tecnifibre

The multifilament is the historical construction of Tecnifibre. It brings us the best playability. Everything that is going to ensure respect for the player’s being comes through the scales of the best string brands, led by the hand of Tecnifibre, covering the entire levels and demands of players. The best players require that a long list of criteria be met.