17 vs. 16 Gauge Tennis String: A Comparative Guide

Gauge in tennis strings is a term used to refer to the thickness of the string.

In the world of tennis, the debate of 17 vs 16 gauge tennis string is a common topic among players, both amateurs and professionals.

The gauge of the string can significantly influence the feel of the racquet, the power it produces, the level of control it allows, and its durability.

Understanding Gauge

Tennis string gauges typically range from 15 to 19, with the smaller numbers indicating thicker strings and the larger numbers indicating thinner strings.

Thus, a 16-gauge string is thicker than a 17-gauge string.

The difference may seem minute, but it can have a significant impact on a player’s game.

Performance Characteristics of 16 Gauge Tennis Strings

16 gauge tennis strings, being thicker, are typically more durable than their thinner counterparts.

They are less likely to break, making them a favorite among heavy hitters and players who use a lot of topspin, which can wear down and break strings more quickly.

The thicker gauge also provides more power. This is because thicker strings tend to be stiffer and therefore transfer more energy to the ball, resulting in harder hits.

However, these strings often offer less control and feel.

As the strings are thicker, they tend to have less bite on the ball, which can reduce precision.

Performance Characteristics of 17 Gauge Tennis Strings

On the other hand, 17 gauge tennis strings are thinner and offer more control and feel.

These strings can dig into the ball more, allowing for greater precision on shots.

However, these strings are typically less durable than 16 gauge strings.

The thinner profile means they are more prone to wear and tear and may break more frequently, particularly for heavy hitters or players who use a lot of topspin.

Despite being less durable, these strings offer more feel, which can be beneficial for players who prioritize touch and precision over power.

Choosing Between 16 and 17 Gauge Tennis Strings

The choice between 16 and 17 gauge strings largely depends on a player’s style of play and personal preferences.

Players who prefer power and durability may opt for 16 gauge strings, while those who prioritize control, spin, and feel may choose 17 gauge strings.

It’s important to note that the choice of string gauge is not the only factor that affects a racquet’s performance.

The type of string material, tension, and the racquet’s design also play significant roles.

Tennis String Gauge Explained: Guide + Chart


In the debate of 17 vs 16 gauge tennis strings, there is no clear winner.

Each gauge offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on the individual player’s needs and style of play.

Experimenting with different string gauges can be beneficial in finding the perfect balance of power, control, durability, and feel.

After all, the ultimate goal is to find a string that enhances your performance on the court.

FAQs – 17 vs. 16 Gauge Tennis String

1. What is the difference between 17 and 16 gauge tennis strings?

Tennis strings are typically categorized by their gauge, which refers to the thickness or diameter of the string.

The primary difference between 17 and 16 gauge tennis strings lies in their thickness.

The gauge number indicates the size of the string, with a lower gauge number representing a thicker string and a higher gauge number indicating a thinner string.

2. Which gauge is thicker, 17 or 16?

In terms of thickness, a 16 gauge tennis string is thicker than a 17 gauge string.

The gauge numbers are inversely proportional to the thickness, meaning that a higher gauge number indicates a thinner string, while a lower gauge number signifies a thicker string.

3. What are the advantages of using a 17 gauge tennis string?

Using a 17 gauge tennis string has its own advantages. Since it is thinner compared to a 16 gauge string, it typically offers more playability and better feel.

The thinner gauge allows for increased spin potential, which can be advantageous for players who rely on spin shots in their game.

Additionally, a 17 gauge string can provide slightly more power due to its increased string movement during ball impact.

4. What are the advantages of using a 16 gauge tennis string?

Opting for a 16 gauge tennis string also comes with its own set of advantages.

A thicker string generally offers enhanced durability, making it less prone to breaking or wearing out quickly.

It can provide more control over the ball, particularly for players who prefer a flatter hitting style.

Additionally, a 16 gauge string tends to produce a crisper and more precise feel, allowing for better shot placement.

5. Does the gauge of the tennis string affect power and control?

Yes, the gauge of a tennis string can influence both power and control.

Thinner strings, such as a 17 gauge, tend to provide more power due to increased string movement and trampoline effect upon ball impact.

Thicker strings, like a 16 gauge, offer more control by reducing string movement and providing a more solid feel when hitting the ball.

However, it’s important to note that individual playing style and preferences can also influence the perceived power and control obtained from different gauges.

6. Are there any drawbacks to using a 17 gauge tennis string?

While a 17 gauge tennis string offers benefits in terms of playability and spin potential, it may have some drawbacks.

Thinner strings are generally less durable compared to thicker ones, and they are more susceptible to breaking or losing tension over time.

Players who frequently hit with heavy topspin or generate a lot of power may find that a 17 gauge string doesn’t hold up as well under intense playing conditions.

7. Are there any drawbacks to using a 16 gauge tennis string?

Using a 16 gauge tennis string has certain drawbacks to consider.

Thicker strings tend to provide slightly less playability and feel compared to thinner strings.

They may offer reduced spin potential and require more effort to generate power due to decreased string movement.

Additionally, thicker strings can transmit more vibrations, potentially leading to increased arm fatigue or discomfort for players with sensitive arms.

8. Can I mix different gauge strings in my tennis racket?

Yes, it is possible to mix different gauge strings in your tennis racket.

This is known as hybrid stringing, where you use one gauge string for the main strings (longer vertical strings) and a different gauge for the cross strings (shorter horizontal strings).

Hybrid stringing allows you to combine the benefits of both gauges, such as improved playability from a thinner string in the mains and increased durability from a thicker string in the crosses.

9. How does the choice of gauge impact string tension?

The choice of gauge can have an impact on string tension. Thinner strings generally require higher tension to maintain control and prevent excessive string movement.

Thicker strings, on the other hand, can be strung at lower tensions to achieve the desired level of control and feel.

It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or seek advice from a professional stringer to determine the appropriate tension range for your chosen gauge.

10. Are there any other factors to consider when choosing between 17 and 16 gauge tennis strings?

While gauge is an important factor to consider when selecting tennis strings, it’s not the only one.

Other factors, such as the material composition of the string, your playing style, court surface, and personal preferences, should also be taken into account.

It’s advisable to experiment with different strings and gauges to find the combination that suits your game the best.

Consulting with a tennis coach or a professional stringer can provide valuable insights and guidance in making an informed decision.

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