Types of Tennis Strings | Exclusively Explained By 2021 Experts

The major types of tennis strings include natural gut, synthetic strings, nylon, multifilament, and polyester, etc. What type of string is best suitable for your playing style, power level, body strength? Each string has its pros and cons.

This is where things start getting confusing for a beginner or tweener-level player. So, you need an expert opinion to choose the right types of strings to avoid any future injuries like tennis elbow, etc. Moreover, the right string helps you improve your performance and skill as well.

So, to make your decision easy, we have explained all kinds of tennis strings in detail including pros and cons with our expert opinion under each string. We have also explained the features and technologies of each string as well.

Our Goal: By the end of this article, you will be able to select the right type of string right according to your needs confidently by narrowing down your options.

Furthermore, teaching you everything that goes behind a tennis string is also part of our goal.

So let’s get started without any further delay!

Before we go there, knowing the history of tennis strings can be quite interesting. If you are not interested, you can skip to the types of the strings section.

History of Tennis Strings

The history of tennis is quite interesting. It was first introduced in Greece, but similar types of games took over it and were named “jeu de Paume (Game of the palm)”. During this game, players used to hit the balls with their hands and flag them toward their opponent’s side.

Later on, tennis gloves were introduced to this game to avoid bare hand injuries. By the late 17th century, paddles were added to this game instead of hands. After paddles, finally, racquets were invented where strings were tightly strung into the head of the racket.

This is where the history of tennis strings starts and different tennis brands started making strings under their names. Babolat is one of those oldest companies.

The very first tennis string was developed in 1875 using the sheep’s intestine. Over time, the tennis string started making with the cow intestines.

From there, tennis strings entered into an even evolving period and they are still being improved day by day.

Although tennis racquets replaced bare hands, the name “tennis” didn’t change. So, today we know two versions of tennis. One, the very initial version, as lawn tennis, and the one, today’s version, as the real tennis or royal tennis.

Tennis String Construction

Tennis String Construction

Anyone can go to the market and buy the tennis string, but choosing the right type is quite an interesting process. It is interesting only when you have a deep knowledge of how strings are constructed and what material is used?

So, let’s see what is inside the tennis string and what makes it the right string?

1. Solid Core with Outer Wrap

As the name suggests, this type of tennis string is made of a solid core with a thin layer of an outer wrap. The quality of this string depends on the type of material used inside the core.

Generally, nylon is used as the core material in the major type of strings. With struck with the ball, this string gives a crisp and solid feel to the player’s hand.

When added more layers to the inner core, this string enhances the power and control. To increase durability, extra layers are added to the outer wrap.

2. Monofilament

As the name says it all, this type of string is made up of a single filament. In this construction, polymer filament and polyester material join together to create a durable string.

When it comes to the power, the monofilament (or monofiber) string is not much reliable, but none of the others can beat its durability, comfort, and feel. Generally, advanced players prefer these strings.

Note: Monofilament transmits more vibration to the arm,  so beware when choosing this string if you feel pain in your arm or shoulder. In this case, refer to multifilament, synthetic, or gut.

3. Multifilament:

In this type of string construction, hundreds and thousands of microfibers join to create a microfilament. Then these micro-filaments are twisted together and wrapped in a protective cover to form a final single string. Generally, nylon or polyurethane material is used in this construction.

This construction offers incredible power, control, and playability. That makes it the best choice for the injury-armed or senior tennis players so they don’t have to exert much burden on their arm and shoulder.

In general, these types of strings are cheap when comes to pricing. But the pricing varies from string to string because each string offers a different level of control and playability.

As there is no central core, multifilament strings lose their power with time. Moreover, the lifespan of multifilament is less because when the protective wrap is damaged, the whole string becomes useless.

Advantages of Multifilament

  1. Best Strings for Power
  2. Elasticity
  3. Arm friendly
  4. Playability
  5. Decent Control
  6. Ball Acceleration

Disadvantages of Multifilament

  1. Expensive
  2. Less Durable
  3. Less Tension Holder

4. Textured

In this tennis string construction, multiple layers are added to the outer wrap to achieve maximum spin potential. This string is the best choice for the players fond of topspin or underspin.

It means these types of tennis strings are best for experienced players, and not for beginners.

5. Composite

As the name suggests, composite tennis strings are manufactured with more than one material, including polyester, nylon, etc. The beauty of these tennis strings is that the characteristics of all used materials are present in a single string, which makes them more robust and durable.

Some of the composite strings are constructed in such a way that there is one solid core wrapped with multiple layers similar to “solid core with outer wrap” construction.

Not all composite strings offer all features, they are designed to achieve a particular playing characteristic.

Characteristic of Tennis Strings

Characteristic of Tennis Strings

By now, you know what goes inside the string at a micro-level. Let’s look at those features that you actually need to pay attention to when choosing the right types of tennis strings.

1. Power

Power is a prime characteristic every string should possess since it is the most crucial part of the game. We recommend purchasing strings that do not require much effort from you. In other words, a string that does not tire you while playing.

So the string must be powerful enough to throw the ball at a faster pace with just a little effort.

The ability of a string to generate power is related to its elasticity. The stiffer the string is, the more power can be generated.

2. Control

Having perfect and consistent control over the tennis ball while hitting is important for a tennis player, which is possible when you have the right type of tennis installed in your racket.

Only those strings offer ideal control that doesn’t shift when hitting the ball. This gives the ball a direction where you want it to land on the court.

Having played a few times, the player can easily judge the string’s control level and adjust the power accordingly.

3. Comfort

No one wants to compromise on the comfort, right?

During the game of tennis, it is always ideal to have a comfortable string. Everyone desires to buy a string that feels comfortable and does not impose strain on their shoulders and arms even if they play for the entire day.

Most of the time, senior players or the players affected by injuries like tennis elbow demand comfortable strings.

Pro Tip: These types of strings give an ideal feel when strung less tightly.

4. Playability

When we talk about playability, it means the combined characteristics of the tennis string. Generally, we consider elasticity (the ability to stretch) as playability which results in something we call “Feel”.

In other words, using these strings, you can control the ball the way you want to do, during the ball contact.

Due to the nature of elasticity, these strings provide more power. So, this type of string is best for beginner and intermediate level players.

Types of Tennis Strings

major types of tennis strings

So, finally, we are there where you wanted to be from the start of this article.

But understanding the chemistry and what goes inside the string is very important. That’s why I explained the materials and tennis strings construction before.

There are various types of racquet strings available on the market. Let’s discuss each in detail, defining its benefits and drawbacks.

1. Natural Gut

The process of making a natural gut tennis string is quite tricky. It is created with the cow or sheep intestine.

The high control and power, this string has to offer, make it popular among many of the world’s best tennis players, including Roger Federer.

Moreover, the natural gut string can maintain the tension for a long time, so it is perfect for playing all day. In addition to that, it is also ideal for the injured armed players as it does not impose too much pressure on their shoulders.

The downside of natural gut tennis strings is that they catch moisture quickly and are much more expensive than other traditional tennis strings.

On the contrary, Only top professional players who can afford its price and maintenance use these strings.

PROS

  • Comfortable
  • Constant Tension
  • Better Stability
  • Best Control
  • Spin Friendly
  • Arm Friendly

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Less Durable
  • Weather Sensitive

2. Synthetic Gut

If you can’t afford the Natural Gut, then Synthetic Gut(aka solid core synthetic gut string) tennis string is the ideal choice for you in terms of performance, quality, and price.

There are several varieties of Synthetic Gut available on the market.

Most of the synthetic gut strings are made up of a solid core with an outer wrap of a single layer, think solid core with outer layer construction.

But this is not ideal for the big games. If you want to purchase a more robust, budget-friendly, and stable control synthetic gut, then go for a synthetic gut.

Multiple layers, inside this string, increase the comfort, performance, and durability of the Synthetic Gut.

If we adjust the string tension correctly, it becomes an ideal tennis racket to make the ball go as fast as possible with a little effort.

In simple words, it is an excellent option for low-budget tennis players who want to get their game going in comfort.

PROS

  • Arm-Friendly
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfortable
  • Durable Tennis String

CONS

  • Lacks Control

3. Multifilament

The multifilament tennis string is more like a synthetic gut, in terms of features. The major drawback of these types of strings is less durability.

In this type of tennis string, hundreds of micro-filaments twist together to form a single string.

As a result, a strong, stable, reliable, and powerful multifilament string is obtained. The quality of string determines the quality of the materials used, and it can also vary according to the materials used.

PROS

  • Solid
  • Comfortable
  • Powerful

CONS

  • Lose the control at some points

4. Tournament Nylon

Tournament Nylon, aka simple nylon, is one of the cheapest tennis strings that come as pre-strung in most tennis racquets and is suitable for beginner-level players only.

If you are new to tennis, we recommend tournament nylon strings because with this string you won’t have to worry about the string tension. All you can do is continue playing and practice tennis.

Moreover, these strings are durable and easy on the arm so you can practice as long as you want. These characteristics make it best for all styles of play.

PROS

  • Easy to play
  • Easy on arm
  • Best for beginners

CONS

  • Fewer playability characteristics

5. Polyester

If you are searching for a high-quality tennis string that offers more topspin potential, then Polyester (or simply “poly”) tennis string should be your choice.

Polyester strings are durable but less-powered. In this type of string, there is only one polyester core, available in different gauges.

What does it mean to you?

It means that these strings are more suitable for intermediate and advanced players who can generate enough body power for a powerful shot.

Using the same string, Gustavo Kuerten won the French Open in 1997.

During the ball contact, polyester string adds more cut to the ball, As a result, it introduces more topspin to the ball.

Polyester strings are stiff and rigid, so beware when choosing this string. Because it can have hard feelings on your arm and shoulder, especially when you are feeling any soreness in your muscles. That’s why it is not suitable for the injured players.

Pro Tip: Combine polyester with multifilament or natural gut strings to reduce rigidity and to increase playability.

PROS

  • Better Power
  • Durable
  • When combined with the gut, gives the comfortable performance

CONS

  • Stiff & Not arm-friendly

6. Kevlar

Kevlar is the most hardest and rigid string available on the market. It means the power level of this string is extraordinary. Plus, this string is more durable and controllable.

Due to its hardness, this string is not suitable for entry-level players or players with arm injuries.

Pro Tip: If you are impressed by the power of this string, we can modify it a little bit. Combine it with softer nylon to reduce its rigidity while maintaining the power. By doing so, intermediate players can take advantage but still not suitable for beginner players.

Even though it is a very rigid string, it is still most widely used by top tennis players. The major drawback of kevlar is that it loses tension quicker which makes it dead.

What does it mean?

It means it requires a high level of maintenance which is quite expensive. So, only top and professional players can afford this type of string.

PROS

  • Fabolous Power
  • Best Durability

CONS

  • Loses tension a little quicker
  • Requires expensive maintenance
  • Tough on arms

Here is the tennis string comparison chart, created base on the most commonly used string materials.

String Material Power Control Comfort Durability Cost
Polyester High Medium Low High Medium
Kevlar High Medium Low High High
Natural Gut Medium High High Low High
Synthetic Gut Medium Medium Medium High Low
Multifilament Medium High High Medium Medium

I am keeping track of your reading 😉 So, by now you know the tennis string types, materials, and construction. There are a few more important things you need to know before we move further. Here is it!

String Tension

The string tension is the stretchiness of the string inside the tennis racquet. Or in other words, how loose or how tight the strings are strung inside the racket frame.

String tension is measured in either pound (in the United States) or kilogram.

Generally, each racket manufacturer mentions the recommended string tension on the shaft. This recommended tension can be modified to adjust your comfort and playability level.

The tighter strings are, the more ball control it offers. The loose strings are, the more power it can generate.

This is the rule of tension string tension. If you are an entry-level or tweener-level player, do not go to any extreme, rather stay in the middle range to enjoy both power and control.

When you set the string’s tension, you have to ensure that the same force applies to all other strings if you set a specific tension on one line.

In addition to that, the best practice of stringing is that you analyze your racquet first and start it from one corner. If you still confuse about balancing the tension, try to start from the racquet center.

Here is the tennis string tension chart for recommended ranges.

Head Size (Square Inches) Recommended String Tension (Pounds)
85 – 90 48 – 58
91 – 95 53 – 63
96 – 100 55 – 68
101 – 110 65 – 72
111 – 115 68 – 78

Here is the string tension chart based on power, control, and comfort.

String Tension Power Control Comfort Durability
Loose High Low High High
Tight Low High Low Low

String Gauge

The string gauge is measured by the diameter of the string. In simple words, the thickness of the string is called a string gauge. There are several different types of tennis strings available, each with different thicknesses.

If you are looking to generate more spin, then go for strings of thinner gauge. Because the thinner string offers more cuts to the ball which results in more spin and control. This type of string is more suitable for experienced players.

The drawback of the thinner string is, it’s not much durable.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a durable string, then go for thick strings. The major drawback of the thick string is, it lacks control as compared to a thinner string. This string is the best choice for beginner players who want a string to keep it for the long term.

The string gauge varies on a scale from 15(thick) to 19(thin), while the letter “L” denotes the half gauge. For example, 17L.

The major characteristics of a thick string are:

  1. Generates More Power
  2. Spin-Friendly
  3. Comfortable
  4. Quickly loses tension
  5. Durable
  6. Less Resistance

While the main characteristics of a thin string are:

  1. Better Control
  2. More Resistance
  3. Less Comfortable
  4. Less Spin-Friendly

So, besides string tension, the string gauge is also an important factor to consider while buying new tennis strings.

Here is the table of tennis string gauges available on the market with lower and upper boundaries (in mm) mentioned.

Gauge (Thicker to Thinner) Lower Boundry (mm) Upper Boundry (mm)
15 1.41 1.49
15L 1.34 1.40
16 1.26 1.33
16L 1.22 1.26
17 1.20 1.24
17L 1.16 1.20
18 1.10 1.16
19 1.00 1.10

How to Choose Tennis Strings

After explaining the types of tennis strings, string material, and construction, the question that now arises is how to choose a tennis string.

If you have no idea about selecting the correct tennis string, then read the following guide attentively and learn what factors need to be considered while purchasing a tennis string.

1. Play Level

When I say play level, I am referring to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The level of playing matters a lot while choosing the correct tennis string.

If you are an entry-level player, you don’t need to purchase expensive strings like natural guts.  It is enough to buy an affordable string with good power and control. On top of that, a string that is durable so you can practice for long terms.

In short, synthetic strings with single or multiple outer layers are enough for beginners.

Nylon and natural gut strings are the best choices for both beginner and intermediate players. Because these strings offer better control and power, all required by the players of these levels.

On the other hand, professional and advanced players prefer a stiffer string because players at this level can easily generate enough body power, all they need is a control-oriented string.

So, polyester is the best choice for advanced-level players.

2. Frequency of Play

Here we are going to relate the string tension with the amount of time you play in a week. Generally, the longer you play, the quicker the string loses tension. Or it may break as well.

So, for the players who hit the court most frequently, a string with better durability is required.

In other words, for beginners and frequent players, the string’s tension should remain constant throughout the game session without breaking.

To summarize, for the big play, the hybrid, and multifilament string should be your choice.

3. Arm Injuries

Another important factor is to keep all types of injuries(if any) in mind when buying new tennis strings. Otherwise, a wrong choice can turn into bad for injuries.

If you have a tennis elbow or any other muscle soreness, choose the string that is most comfortable and absorbs most of the vibration during the ball contact.

For this purpose, you should choose the multifilament and natural guts strings for your racquet.

4. Playing Style

Playing style varies from player to player, so when it comes to playing preferences, string recommendations are not the same for all players.

So, it is also essential to consider the playing style when choosing the types of tennis strings. If you are a baseliner (a player who prefers to play at the baseline), polyester string with a low gauge is ideal for you.

Moreover, if you are spin love (either topspin or underspin), then hybrid string should be your choice.

Basically, it is hard to answer what string you should choose for your playing style.

It is easy to find out what string is perfect for you when testing various string types and playing on the court. In short, you have to spend time, keep playing and gain experience to get the exact idea about which string is suitable for you.

5. Experiment

As we can’t predict your personal preference, it varies from player to player, it becomes quite tricky to recommend a string that will fit according to your playing style.

In this case, what you can do is use our tennis strings guide (we just discussed above) and then narrow down your options. When you selected 2-3 strings that you think are best for you, now it’s time to experiment.

Another least expensive way to judge which string is suitable is to take the racquet from your friend or game partner and start using it for some time. Once you have checked one string after another, you will be successful to obtain your dream string.

Although it’s a quite time-consuming process, it is worth trying for longer-term benefits.

Conclusion: Our Final Thoughts on the Types of Tennis Strings

There are hundreds of tennis strings available on the market, with each string has its pros and cons. It makes it quite tricky to choose the right string that fits your needs, playing style, frequency of playing, and other injuries (if any).

To make this process easy, there are some important factors that you must consider before choosing any string. For example, power, control, playability, comfort, and string tension, etc.

Durability and power are the important factors for a beginner player, while control and feel are important for professional players.

So, what we recommend is to use our tennis string guide, narrow down your options and then choose a tennis string for your playing style.

Generally, we recommend nylon for beginners, polyester for all-court, and natural gut for advanced players.

Are you confident now to choose the right types of tennis strings? 

If you still have any doubt or questions, do share with us in the comments section below.

FAQs

1. What are the different types of tennis strings?

There are two major types of racquet strings, Natural Gut and Synthetic Gut. However, we divide strings into further 5 types that include: Multifilament, Polyester, Hybrid, Synthetic Gut, and Natural Gut.

2. What is a tennis string gauge?

A string gauge means the thickness of the string or diameter of the string in other words. Generally, string gauge is measured on a scale from 15 to 19, while 15 being the ticker side and 19 thinner.

3. What is the most powerful tennis string?

Natural guts are the most powerful tennis strings available on the market. However, these strings are very expensive and require expensive maintenance.

4. What tennis string professional players use?

At a professional level, a tennis player needs a string that gives ultimate control. So, professional players use Polyester strings. 

5. What is the recommended string tension?

The recommended string tension for natural gut strings is 53-63 pounds if the head size of your racquet is in the range of 91-95 square inches.

6. What is the best tennis string for spin?

Textured, Natural Gut, and Synthetic gut are the best strings for spin.

7. Do tennis strings make a difference?

Definitely Yes. No matter how good your tennis racquet is, tennis string has a great impact on your overall performance. For example, if you choose an arm-friendly racket with a stiffer string, you may end up hurting your tennis elbow more.

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