If there is anything that rings true in the world of sports, it’s that when you play poorly, it is 100 percent the fault of the equipment you are using. This has been proven through temper tantrums and tested with science dating back to the earliest competitive events. Except… the truth of the matter is that technology is getting a lot better and therapy is more accessible, so there are fewer excusable chances to do a full John McEnroe.
After reading this, you’ll have even less of a reason to blame your equipment. On the other hand, you’ll have plenty of reason to be optimistic about your tennis game! Whether you are looking for that little bit of extra spin, or need something that will be kind to your tennis elbow, we’ve got you covered.
If you are a novice player, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, but as you fine tune your skills, you’ll see that the strings you put on your racket are almost as important as the racquet itself. There are several different kinds of strings, and the type you’ll want will depend on your skill level and playing style. Let’s take a look at some of those now.
- So What Am I Looking for Here?
- Top 10 Best Tennis Strings 2021
- 1. Best Tennis Strings for Spin – Solinco Hyper-G
- 2. Best Tennis Strings for Topspin – Babolat RPM Blast
- 3. Best Tennis Strings for Control – Luxilon Big Banger
- 4. Best Tennis Strings for Power – Wilson NXT
- 5. Best Tennis Strings for Spin and Power – Prince Duraflex
- 6. Best Tennis Strings for Beginners: Head Rip Control
- 7. Wilson Synthetic Gut Power
- 8. Luxilon 4G
- 9. Wilson Revolve
- 10. Tourna Premium Poly
- Guide to Buying the Best Tennis Strings
- Game, Set, Match
So What Am I Looking for Here?
As you progress and hone your skills, the type of strings you use will most likely change. When you first start off, you’re going to want something that is friendly for beginners. The strings recommended for that are called synthetic gut strings. These are going to offer you a nice combination of responsiveness while still being able to get a good amount of pop and spin on the ball.
Once you are ready to play Serena Williams on the big stage, you would more than likely be using polyester strings. These can be wound tighter and are harder on the hands, producing less bounce off the racquet, but you are able to completely feel the shot. These break more easily, but the precision you get with them more than makes up for it.
There are even more kinds of strings out there. In fact, there are so many that it is hard to know where to start! Daunting as it may be, help is on the way. As a beginner, you certainly don’t want to be spending all your time and effort worrying about whether or not you have the right string while also worrying about more important considerations like proper footwork. The trick to picking out the perfect strings for you will come down to how honest you are with yourself about where your game is at. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Roger Federer wasn’t launching 145-mile-per-hour serves when he first started playing.
Top 10 Best Tennis Strings 2021
The square design of the string gives you a huge amount of control over the spin of the ball, but the flexibility of the string is really where it shines. Most polyester strings can feel very stiff—as they should, they’re designed thatway—but the Solinco Hyper-G string has a bit of give that allows for a larger sweet spot on the racquet and a softer feel for those who have tennis elbow.
Another plus with this product is that these strings don’t easily lose tension. Instead of worrying about switching racquets or tightening your strings in between sets, you can worry about dropping dimes on the baseline. Because of the design of these strings, you’ll never have to overhit, giving your game more control and frustrating your competitors to no end. Simply put, it is hard to find a string on the market that has this much versatility for all players. It’s also hard to find a string that gives you this much spin on the ball, which is why we think of these as the best tennis strings for spin.
If you have made big leaps in your game and are curious about trying out polyester strings, this is the place to start. They won’t feel like your synthetic strings, but the transition won’t be as difficult as some less forgiving polyester products. This is also a really great string for those who suffer from tennis elbow but want to be able to stay in the game. Because there is a little extra give with these, you won’t feel the harsh vibrations hit after hit, allowing you to play longer and better.
With all that said, these are still polyester strings, so while they exhibit flexibility and a good amount of tension retention, they do so with the caveat for polyester strings. If you are looking to add power to your game, this is not the string for you. There are other strings we would recommend for beginners or weekend players, though these won’t be as hard to play with as other polyester strings.
This is another polyester string that offers exceptional feel and spin. The really cool thing about the Babolat RPM Blast is that while you get all the spin in the world, you aren’t sacrificing that much power to get it. These strings are shaped octagonally, which can make the ball do some pretty wild stuff. These offer so much spin that even a novice can step out on the court and make their opponent look like they just got crossed up by Allen Iverson.
While not as forgiving as the Solinco Hyper-G, these strings still offer a good amount of cushion when you consider that they are polyester. That cushion doesn’t necessarily translate to power, as the word “blast” in the name might lead you to believe. You will also have to tighten these more often than most strings, and breakage will be more common than with others.
We recommend these strings for players who already have a lot of zip in their stroke, but are looking to gain an edge with spin. Not only are these great for all sorts of eye-popping ball reactions, but they are especially useful for powerful players with a lot of topspin. If you’ve had trouble keeping it in bounds because you keep trying to do your best Mark McGwire impression, these might just be the right fit for you. Sure, a novice can use these and see immediate results, but where they really shine are with players with strong arms. While there are a myriad of virtues to espouse, we particularly think that these are the best tennis strings for topspin. For those seeking more control and a string to help harness their power, follow in Rafa’s footsteps and give the Babolat’s a shot.
There are two versions of this string; the Luxilion Big Banger and the Luxilon Big Banger Rough. We decided to go with the Big Bangr Rough because the added spin the extra roughness in the string gives you. This is a durable string with a polyester composition that gives you an awesome amount of control. You might become so confident that you even try between the leg shots!
This is the first polyester string on our list that doesn’t make up for the lack of feel with an extra bit of cushion, so if you decide to use this string, be aware that you feel every bit of every shot you take. The trade-off is a wonderful awareness of where you are hitting the ball on your racquet face, as well as the aforementioned spin.
This is a string that is best suited for advanced players, as evidenced by the popularity on the pro tour. Beginners will find these frustrating with very little room for error, which advanced players will revel in the feel and the control. It’s no secret that most people consider Luxilon strings the best tennis strings for control, and that is because of how much feel they give you. They may lose tension quickly, but they hold up for a surprisingly long time. Those with tennis elbow should steer clear, and those looking to add extra power to their game should also look elsewhere.
Even though they are among the best, they aren’t going to cost you millions. Expect to find these Big Bangers for just around $20.
Wilson is a huge name in tennis, and the NXT is a monster of a string. If you haven’t heard of these strings, it’s because they are more for beginners, so there aren’t really any pros using them. What makes them so good for beginners?
Made of microfilament, these strings are meant to give the player as much room for error as possible. When compared to polyester strings, the sweet spot on your racquet is going to be much bigger with a set of microfilaments tightened to your frame. This is because they have more give, so even if you are just a little bit off, you’ll still feel like you hit a perfect shot. Wilson’s NXT strings are also known for their durability, but that is mostly because they are meant to be used by players who don’t play that often or don’t have the power to be frequently breaking strings.
For the most part, we recommend these to beginners, but players with a bad case of tennis elbow might find themselves enjoying the soft and smooth stroke that the NXT’s allow. These could also be really good for aging players who want to add a little pop in their hit that they may have lost over time. Advanced players will find these strings frustrating, as they offer very little precision and tight spin. We recommend these strings for players who want to absolutely smash the ball. In fact, we’re comfortable in saying that of all the tennis strings listed here, these are the best tennis strings for power. So, when you accidentally smoke your buddy with an errant serve, you can blame the string and not your skill.
The elasticity of the NXT does make for a quick loosening string, but if you think about it positively you’ll get plenty of practice on how to tighten your racquet.
Synthetic gut is known for being a material best suited for beginners, but there is a reason that Duraflex strings are considered a true classic, and it isn’t because only beginners use them. While newer strings have little bells and whistles that are made for specific parts and types of game, Duraflex are made to be an all around great string. For example, the Babolat RPM Blast is coated with silicon fibers to help give you just a little bit of added spin. Duraflex doesn’t mess around with that.
It’s a good string that gives you good feel, doesn’t zap your power, and won’t flatten out your shots. You can play with them with different levels of tension, and they will act accordingly. Want big power shots? Loosen the tension. Looking for lots of spin to really feel the shot? Tighten that bad boy up. One of the other great things about Prince’s Duraflex strings is the price. These have long been considered one of if not the best value of any tennis string on the market.
While synthetic gut is seen as a product for beginners, a whole lot of tennis players who start out with Duraflex end up never switching to different types of strings. This is because of the versatility Duraflex offers for both newbies and experienced players alike. So, who are these best for? The answer is simple; everybody! Because you can play around with tension to customize how these feel, even the most experienced players can get an experience that feels close to polyester strings. Duraflex can be a great training tool for serving as well, as you won’t have to overpower your shot because of the power that these afford. If you talked to tennis experts, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear them claim that these strings are the best tennis strings for spin and power.
The multifilament core would immediately tell you that this is a string that is designed to have you booming shots. You shouldn’t be so quick to judge, though. Head Rip Control strings certainly allow you to hit big shots, but where the product really shines is in how much control you will feel you have over the ball. Of course, this comes with a drawback, as you don’t get as much power as you would expect out of these strings. The multifilaments are wrapped with polyolefin ribbon, which adds to the comfort of these strings. The drawback here is that the shots you take with these can feel detached or muted. These strings lose tension easily, but you could use that to your advantage as they gain more and more power as they lose tension.
We would recommend these for beginners who are starting to have an idea of the game or players of moderate skill level. We also think that the Head RIP Control could be really good for players with tennis elbow. The players we wouldn’t recommend them for are players who like to feel every last bit of the ball as it hits the racquet. Head has made a product that is made to give you some wiggle room for error, but not as much as a string like the Wilson NXT. Players who buy these thinking that they will have an increase in power might find themselves disappointed, though you won’t lose any power by switching to these. These strings make spinning the ball a little bit harder than some other strings, as you could see a lot of shots fall flat. This is a perfect middle ground tennis string.
This is a solid core nylon string with no frills meant simply to give your game a little boost in the power department. If you have been struggling to get aces off your defensive-minded playing partner, give these strings a try. The nylon core is wrapped with a dynamic high energy wrap that helps these strings act unlike other synthetic gut strings. Where other synthetic gut strings can feel lifeless to an experienced player, these give you immediate feedback as the ball will jump off the face of your racquet.
This string will allow you to spin the ball, but don’t expect jaw-dropping changes of direction. Another plus from these strings is that they are friendly for those who have tennis elbow. The downside of that is that players who really like to feel every shot will find something missing with these strings. They hold their tension surprisingly well, and are rather durable, making them a steal at their price point.
We would typically recommend these for beginners, but also to more experienced players who can put a whole bunch of spin on the ball but are looking for that extra little bit of “umph.” These are also great for players who need a hit that is softer on their elbow. You probably won’t find many pros using these strings from Wilson, but you wouldn’t be surprised to see them in recreational tennis settings all over.
8. Luxilon 4G
This is another polyester string from Luxilion. While other strings in their lineup are made with spin or power in mind, this is a no-frills offering that will have you playing for a long time, but might not wow you when it comes to performance. The spin offered is decent, but not eye-popping, and same with the power. The real benefit of the 4G from Luxilon is that you won’t have to worry about tightening your strings or worry about them breaking. As far as polyester strings go, these are really stiff, which is saying something. This means that advanced players will be able to really feel where they are hitting the ball, though these aren’t as precise as previous polyester strings on our list.
Luxilon 4G are best for players who play a whole bunch but have little to zero aspirations of making it on the pro tour. For beginning players, these might be a bit too finicky and hard to control, while advanced players will find that they aren’t quite responsive enough. Players with sensitive elbows or lingering injuries will find these strings to be downright painful, as they offer no cushion whatsoever. If you are the type to go out to the courts and play for hours on end just for the sake of fun or a good workout, these are the perfect strings for you.
The Wilson Revolve has a special molecular makeup that allows players to really feel what is going on with their shot without really feeling pain in their elbow. While you won’t get any extra power with this string—in fact, you might notice a loss of power—you will get loads of spin.
Another striking feature of this product from Wilson is how long these maintain their tension once set. Polyester strings are known for loosening up pretty quickly, but with these co-poly strings, you won’t have to worry about bringing the tennis shop to the court with you. You might not be hammering 100 mile per hour serves, but drop shots with these strings are a dream.
These are great for players who already have a ton of power but want more control and spin in their game. Though definitely not recommended for beginners, players with long swings and big shots will see improvement with accuracy and feel.
This is an especially good string for advanced players with tennis elbow, though one of the reasons for the softness is an initial loss of tension with the Wilson Revolve. Our recommendation is to tighten these a little more than you normally would, and let them settle exactly where you like them. Once they settle, they stay there for a long time.
With the Tourna Premium Poly, you are going to get what you would expect out of a polyester string. It has pretty decent control, decent spin, and you can really feel every shot that you hit. Those looking for added power won’t find it here, and there are certainly other polyester strings that offer even more control than this product. The real draw here is just how much you are getting. For not much more than you would spend on 40 feet of string, you are getting 660 feet of string. The bummer about these strings is that you might need all 660 feet eventually, as these tend to break rather easily. If they don’t break on you, they are sure to lose their tension within an hour or two of hitting.
This product is best for someone who is really seriously getting into tennis and plans on putting a lot of time into playing and getting better. Tourna Premium Poly could also be really great for someone or a group teaching a tennis clinic. Maybe you are an apprentice in a tennis shop and need to practice your stringing skills? These could be great for that as well.
Guide to Buying the Best Tennis Strings
Unless you are using your tennis racquet for a home run derby, the type of string you use will coincide with the type of game you play. So, how do you know what string is right for you? The simple answer is honesty. If you are a beginning player, you need to know that you shouldn’t be stringing your racquet up with the same strings that top pros use.
Not only will this hurt your game, but it can lead to bad habits down the road. If you learn bad habits, they are much harder to fix once you have the muscle memory of doing them. It’s not a perfect science, but we can attribute a type of string to a type of player. Here are some of the string types you’ll find on the market.
Synthetic Gut strings are made of nylon and are inexpensive to produce. These are generally geared towards beginners, as they offer the most forgiveness for shots hit outside of the sweet spot on the racquet. Because of the added forgiveness, there is a lack of responsiveness to the feel of these strings. These strings also have a little added bounce, which makes them even more desirable for less skilled players seeking to hit the ball with a little bit more authority.
Polyester strings were originally pretty unpopular when they first came out, but because of their stiffness and added feel, they became the go-to strings for advanced players and touring pros. These strings can give a player extra spin, and many of them are shaped to do so by incorporating square, octagonal, or other odd geometric shapes. The downside to polyester strings is that they require much more maintenance, as they lose tension quickly and break more easily than any other type of string. These are ideal for players who already have a lot of power and are looking for more overall control in their game.
Multifilament strings are a complex series of tiny strings wrapped all together to make one string. Especially useful for those who suffer from tennis elbow, these take away bad vibrations from missed hits while still allowing players to have a decent sense of where they are hitting the ball. These are less precise than polyester strings, but more refined than synthetic gut strings. While great for those with tennis elbow, these are also ideal for players who have moved past the beginner level of play and are looking for a little added control in their game.
Other Things to Consider
You will also have to select the gauge you want to use with your tennis string. Most commonly, you’ll find strings that are in a 16 or 17 gauge. For those who seek more spin and control, 16-gauge strings are the way to go, but you can expect them to break at a quicker rate than thicker strings. Thicker 17-gauge strings can be used for those who are seeking more power. Many of the strings on our list come in multiple gauges, so be sure to order the selection that best matches your needs.
Once you’ve purchased your strings, you’ll notice a weight rating on the package. This isn’t how heavy the string is, but how tightly the manufacturer recommends that you string up your racquet. More tension equals better control and more spin, while less tension gives you more power and room for error. This number will generally be between 50 and 60 pounds of pressure. The correct tension will depend on the specs of your racket, too, so make sure you choose a well-built racket that can handle the type of string that you buy.
Game, Set, Match
If you are just starting out in the great game of tennis, choosing the right string can be tough to figure out. Chances are you’ll be fine with whatever you have on the first racquet you buy, but if you stick with it, eventually you’ll need to do some research. With everything outlined in this article, you should have a good idea of at least where to begin. Once you are more advanced, you can experiment not only with different strings, but with different tensions and gauges.
There’s no one set in stone combination for even the best players, so as your game evolves, your string choice will too. Have fun experimenting! Tennis may seem simple at the start, but the more you dive into it, the more you’ll realize that it is a highly nuanced and specialized game. The best thing you can do is play with others who are better than you, pay attention to technique, and don’t try to overhit. If you do this, you’ll smashing aces and wowing with drop shots before you know it.