There are two categories of tennis players when it comes to discussions about tennis strings. Either you don’t care at all, or you care passionately, deeply and non negotiable about what kind of stings belong in a tennis racquet. This Buying Guide for Tennis Strings will help you get through the mine field of terminology and help you find the right tennis string for you.

Then there are discussions about relative quality of brands. You can even stir up a discussion about color if you want to.

What about the gauge for tennis string? And then there is the debate on string tension. This discussion might be great for a post match beverage or two, but the answer ultimately falls on you.

All of this can generate confusion about what type of string is the right string for your tennis racquet. Understanding how strings are made is a great place to start.

Types of Tennis Strings

Nylon, polyester, and animal intestines (natural gut) are the three main materials - each with their own strengths

Synthetic Gut Strings

Synthetic gut strings are also called "Syngut" are are typically the lowest cost tennis strings and are also the most widely used. Synthetic tennis strings are the norm for tennis racquets that come pre-strung.

As these are a nylon string material, they are durable for many matches. These tennis strings are good for all around playability but are criticized by some advanced players for creating less power than other types.

Multifilament Tennis String

Multifilament strings are also synthetic strings made from nylon but instead of being a single string, this category is made up of many tiny strands of nylon strings twisted together. While multifilament strings are a bit more expensive and tend to be less durable, they do have some major advantages.

As a tennis string, they are great for tennis elbow as they are better at absorbing shock especially on shots that hit outside of the sweet spot of the tennis racquet. These types of strings generate more power too.

Polyester Strings

Polyester strings also called "Co-poly" are really only for advanced players who can generate their own power. They are considered very hard and therefore tough on tennis elbow.

The big advantage to this tennis string is that it is a durable string type. For the big hitter who is always breaking strings, a polyester string can save some money. As part of a group of monofilament strings (including Kevlar strings) with a solid core they have different shapes with some spin potential.

Natural Gut Tennis Strings

Made from sheep intestines (not cat) natural gut has the deserved reputation as the "do it all" string. But it comes with a stiffer price than other string.

These are the best tennis strings for power, spin potential, control and overall playability. Despite improvements, they still are prone to popping in damp conditions.

What is the Right Tennis String Tension?

Right on your tennis racquet is the manufacturer's specific tension range they recommend. The range is measured in pounds.

All strings lose tension as you play with them which means regular replacement is called for. The debate on the physics of what happens when the ball strikes the string bed is passionate and ongoing.

A lower string tension though, means the ball stays on the string bed for milliseconds longer. This is thought to increase spin potential and may improve control.

The debate is over the "rebound effect" which is what happens as the racquet and the string instantly move back to their original position as the ball comes into contact with the string. Some believe a lower string tension means the rebound creates power while the other side believes a higher tension range forces the ball to react more quickly generating more pace than a lower tension.

5 Things to Consider when Choosing Strings

Not all strings are made for every player. Consider that different strings will impact your tennis game in many ways.

1. Your Overall Ability

  • If you are just getting going in tennis, quality synthetic gut strings are usually the best tennis strings. It gives you the best overall playability and is reasonably priced. If you are starving for increased power, spend a few dollars more for a multi-filament.

  • More experienced players on the intermediate level or those who are trying hard to get there, choose tennis strings like a multifilament to get more power. It will also help you if some tenderness is popping up in your elbow or if you are recovering from other arm injuries. If your budget allows, natural gut is a great way to make your arm happy and allow you to hit just about any shot in your arsenal.

  • Many intermediate and advanced players prefer either a polyester or natural gut string type as the right strings. Lean to the natural gut if your game is more control oriented.

2. More Power, More Control, or Arm Comfort?

  • Of course you want it all, but by prioritizing your needs you can get the best string for you.

  • If you are playing with constant arm injuries, then it is probably worth it for you to step all the way up to natural gut.

3. What string can you afford?

  • While it is a good assumption that natural gut will be the most expensive, it may pay off for you in the long run. It will retain its tension longer if kept dry.

  • Synthetic gut is the most value priced.

4. What about the weather or my playing style?

  • If you are playing in highly humid conditions or if you play on damp, clay courts, you may find that natural gut strings break too easily. While advances have been made to improve their longevity in dampness, other strings are definitely better if things get damp.

  • If you are a real basher, and your game is relatively advanced, poly strings (or sometimes called co-polyester) will really be the string for you. Polyester string won’t generate power - you have to do the work.

5. What color is best?

  • It really doesn’t matter. Given the same brand, model and gauge, the color of a tennis string will not impact playability.

  • There are some players who believe if you use a color similar to the ball it makes it tougher for your opponent to see the ball leaving the strings.

  • Others think black or darker colors make it easier for you to disguise the type of shot you are hitting.

What Strings do Pros use?

At the highest levels of competition, many pros will combine natural gut strings going one way and poly strings going across. This is called hybrid strings.

This method is available to all players and is getting more popular among intermediate players although it can be expensive. See our Guide to Tennis Hybrid Stringing for details.

Where can I get my racquet strung?

Tennisracquets.com is fully equipped to take care of your stringing services. When purchasing a new racquet use the custom stringing options on the racquet page to make your string selection.

If you’re local to Michigan and need your racquet re-strung, use our online stringing service and simply drop off your racquet at your convenience. We work fast!

Some people have purchased their own stringing machines and tools and successfully string on their own. Most clubs have stringing professionals on staff. Hybrid stringing, in particular, is generally done by professionals and can be expensive.

So How Do I Decide?

The best course of action is to experiment. Now that you have a good grounding in the terminology, you are ready to try different options.

The best way to experiment is take two identical racquets and put two different options in that you think might work. Then go hit with them both.

Then experiment with tensions and gauges. You will definitely feel and see the differences. Your decision about what is right for you, in fact, is the right string for you.

Whether it is a simple synthetic gut or a high end natural gut, once you find the right one, stick with that same string but keep your eye out for new innovations and new materials. This is a very dynamic and competitive business so new options are appearing all the time.

Tennisracquets.com stocks a wide variety of strings, bumpers, and of course racquets all at competitive prices. You can also count on us to carry all the best brands in apparel, shoes and of course, bags to carry all your gear.

Everything we do is dedicated to helping you be the best player you can be. It’s a great game and fun for a lifetime.

Call us with questions. We love to help.

Ready to find your string?