Tennis String Gauge & Tension [Ultimate Guide]

In the world of tennis, string gauge plays an integral role in determining a player’s performance.

This in-depth guide will offer you insights into the various aspects of tennis string gauge, its relevance to tension, how it influences play, materials used in tennis strings, and how to choose the perfect string gauge for your playing style and needs.

Understanding Tennis String Gauge

What is Tennis String Gauge?

Tennis string gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of the strings used on a tennis racket.

It’s typically measured in millimeters or sometimes classified by a numerical value.

The gauge numbers range from 15 (thickest) to 19 (thinnest).

There are also half sizes, such as 15L or 16L, where ‘L’ stands for ‘Light,’ indicating the string is slightly thinner than the standard size.

Tennis String Gauge Explained

Gauge significantly influences the power, control, spin potential, and durability of a string.

Generally, a thicker string (lower gauge) offers more durability and control, while a thinner string (higher gauge) provides more power and spin potential.

It’s important to note that the right choice of string gauge depends largely on your playing style, skill level, and personal preferences.

Tennis String Gauges Comparison

Comparing different string gauges can help players understand their differences and impact on the game.

Tennis String Gauge 16 vs 17

16 gauge strings are thicker and generally more durable than 17 gauge strings.

They offer better control but may lack the power and spin potential offered by 17 gauge strings.

Tennis String Gauge 16 vs 16L

16L gauge strings are slightly thinner than the standard 16 gauge strings, offering a blend of durability from 16 and the enhanced playability from 17.

Other Common Gauges

15 and 18 gauge strings represent the extremes of the spectrum. 15 gauge strings, being the thickest, provide maximum durability and control, whereas 18 gauge strings, the thinnest available, offer superior power and spin potential but compromise on durability.

Tennis String Gauge Explained: Guide + Chart

The Relationship Between Tennis String Gauge and Tension

The gauge of tennis string and its tension are interconnected.

Thinner strings (higher gauge) have more elasticity, allowing them to be strung at a higher tension without increasing the risk of breakage.

Conversely, thicker strings (lower gauge) need lower tension for optimal performance.

Tennis String Tension Explained

Tennis string tension refers to how tightly or loosely the strings are fastened onto the racket.

It’s usually measured in pounds (lbs) or kilograms (kg).

High tension provides better control but less power, while low tension offers more power but less control.

Tennis String Tension Chart

A tennis string tension chart can guide players to find their optimal string tension.

It usually ranges from 40 lbs (for maximum power) to 70 lbs (for maximum control).

The right tension depends on your skill level, style of play, and the type of string and its gauge.

Tools for String Gauge and Tension

There are various tools available to assist players in managing their string gauge and tension.

Tennis String Tension Meter

A tennis string tension meter is a device used to measure the tension in a strung racket.

This tool is crucial in maintaining consistent string tension, which significantly influences playing performance.

Tennis String Tension Tester

A tennis string tension tester is similar to a tension meter, but it typically measures relative tension across the entire string bed.

It can quickly indicate if the tension in your strings has significantly dropped, signaling it might be time for a restring.

Tennis String Tension Gauge

A tennis string tension gauge is another name for a tension meter.

It measures the precise tension in the strings, helping players keep their racket in optimal playing condition.

Tennis String Tension App

Some modern solutions include tennis string tension apps, which, while not as accurate as dedicated devices, can offer a rough estimate of the string tension and provide general recommendations.


Choosing the Right Tennis String Gauge and Tension

What Gauge Tennis String Should I Use?

Choosing the right string gauge is a decision based on your playing style, skill level, and personal preferences.

Beginners might prefer thicker strings (lower gauge) due to their durability, while advanced players might opt for thinner strings (higher gauge) for the increased power and spin potential.

Tennis Pro String Tension

Professional players typically have personalized string tension settings that match their unique playing styles.

These tensions often fall between 50 and 60 lbs but can vary greatly depending on the player.

Tennis String Tension for Beginners and Intermediate Players

Beginners should consider starting with a tension around 55 lbs, a balance between control and power.

As they develop their skills, they might adjust the tension to match their evolving style.

Intermediate players, having more knowledge about their preferences, can explore a broader tension range.

Tennis String Tension Recommendation

The optimal tension varies greatly between individuals.

It’s advisable to start from the middle of your string’s recommended tension range and adjust according to your preference.

Tennis String Tension for Arm Problems

For players with arm problems, it’s recommended to use lower tension and softer, thinner strings to reduce the impact shock and minimize potential discomfort.

Restringing a Tennis Racket

Restringing a tennis racket is an essential part of racket maintenance.

How Much to String a Tennis Racket

The cost of restringing a tennis racket can vary depending on the string quality, labor charges, and your location.

It usually ranges from $10 to $50.

How Much String to String a Tennis Racquet

The amount of string required to string a tennis racquet varies depending on the racquet’s size and the string pattern.

However, a standard reel is around 40 feet (12.2 meters), typically enough for one restring.

How Many Meters to String a Tennis Racket

In terms of meters, a standard tennis racket requires approximately 11-12 meters of string for a full restring.

Comparisons of Various Tennis String Materials

There are several different materials used in tennis strings, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages.

Here are comparisons of various tennis string materials:

Natural Gut

  • Natural gut strings are made from cow intestine fibers.
  • They provide excellent playability, feel, and power.
  • They offer great tension maintenance and are known for their arm-friendly nature.
  • However, they are expensive and less durable compared to other string materials.
  • Natural gut strings are popular among professional players and those seeking maximum performance.

Synthetic Gut

  • Synthetic gut strings are made of nylon or a combination of nylon and other materials.
  • They are cost-effective and widely available.
  • Synthetic gut strings provide a good balance of power, control, and durability.
  • They are suitable for players of all levels and playing styles.
  • They offer better durability than natural gut strings but may lack some of the feel and playability.


  • Polyester strings are made from a polyester monofilament.
  • They are known for their durability and control.
  • Polyester strings provide excellent spin potential due to their low elasticity.
  • They are suitable for players who generate their own power and prefer a firm feel.
  • However, polyester strings are generally stiffer and can be harsh on the arm, potentially causing discomfort or injury.


  • Multifilament strings are constructed by bundling multiple ultra-thin fibers together.
  • They aim to mimic the playability of natural gut strings.
  • Multifilament strings offer a soft and comfortable feel with good power and playability.
  • They are less durable than polyester strings but more arm-friendly.
  • Multifilament strings can be a good choice for players seeking a blend of performance and comfort.

Hybrid setups

  • Hybrid setups involve using different string materials for the main strings and cross strings.
  • For example, combining polyester strings in the mains for durability and control, and natural gut or multifilament strings in the crosses for added comfort and playability.
  • Hybrid setups allow players to customize their stringbed to suit their specific preferences.
  • They can offer a balance between durability, control, power, and feel.

It’s important to note that the choice of string material depends on factors such as playing style, skill level, personal preference, and any specific requirements or considerations regarding arm comfort and durability.

It’s recommended to experiment with different string materials and tensions to find the combination that works best for your game.

Final Word

By understanding the importance of tennis string gauge and tension, you can make informed decisions that enhance your playing performance and keep you at the top of your game.

FAQs – Tennis String Gauge

What is tennis string gauge?

Tennis string gauge refers to the diameter of the tennis string.

It is an important aspect of racket setup as it influences playability, feel, and durability.

The gauge number inversely relates to the string’s thickness, meaning a lower gauge number indicates a thicker string, and a higher gauge number indicates a thinner string.

How does tennis string gauge affect performance?

Thicker strings (lower gauge numbers) offer more durability and control, while thinner strings (higher gauge numbers) offer more power and spin due to increased string movement and elasticity.

However, thinner strings also tend to break more easily.

What does “tennis string tension” mean?

Tennis string tension refers to how tightly the strings are pulled when strung on the racquet.

The tension can significantly affect the playability of the racket.

Higher string tensions provide more control and lower string tensions yield more power.

How does string gauge relate to string tension?

Thicker strings (lower gauge) typically require a higher tension compared to thinner strings (higher gauge) to deliver the same degree of control.

This is because thicker strings have less elasticity.

What are common tennis string gauges and how do they differ?

The most common tennis string gauges are 15 (1.41-1.49 mm), 16 (1.26-1.34 mm), 17 (1.20-1.24 mm), and 18 (1.10-1.16 mm).

The difference between each gauge mainly impacts the durability, feel, and playability.

For instance, a 16-gauge string will be more durable and provide more control than a 17-gauge string, but it will offer less power and spin.

What is a tennis string tension chart?

A tennis string tension chart is a tool that provides suggested string tensions based on different factors like the player’s skill level, style of play, and string gauge.

It assists players in determining the optimal string tension for their specific needs.

What is the meaning of “tennis string gauge 16 vs 16l”?

A 16L gauge string is thinner than a 16 gauge but thicker than a 17 gauge. The “L” stands for “light.”

It is a half-size that allows for more nuanced customization of string setup.

What gauge of tennis string is best?

The best string gauge depends on a player’s style and needs.

If you’re a hard-hitter and break strings often, a thicker gauge (e.g., 15 or 16) might be best.

If you prioritize spin and power, a thinner string (e.g., 17 or 18) might be better.

How much string is required to string a tennis racquet?

Typically, around 40 feet (or approximately 12 meters) of string is required to string a tennis racquet.

What is a tennis string tension meter?

A tennis string tension meter is a tool used to measure the tension in a tennis string.

It’s useful for players who string their own rackets, as it ensures consistent tensioning across all strings.

What string tension should beginners use?

Beginners often benefit from a medium tension range, around 50-55 lbs.

Lower tensions (40-50 lbs) provide more power, which could be beneficial for beginners with slower swings, while higher tensions (55-65 lbs) provide more control, beneficial for players who already have power but need more precision.

What string tension should intermediate players use?

Intermediate players often start fine-tuning their string tension to their playing style.

Power players might decrease tension (45-55 lbs) for more rebound, while control players might increase tension (55-65 lbs) for more precision.

What is the recommended string tension for players with arm problems?

Players with arm problems should consider lower string tensions (40-50 lbs), as this results in a softer string bed and less shock transmitted to the arm.

Is there a difference in the tension between mains and crosses?

Yes, the tension between the main and cross strings can be varied, depending on player preference.

Generally, mains are strung at a higher tension for control, and crosses are strung at a lower tension for comfort and power.

This practice, however, is highly subjective and can differ based on the player’s style and needs.

Are there any tennis string tension apps or calculators?

Yes, there are several apps and online calculators that can assist players in determining the best string tension based on various factors like skill level, playing style, string gauge, and racket head size.

Examples of these include “RacketTune” and “Stringster.”

However, nothing replaces the advice of a seasoned stringer or coach who knows your game and your specific needs.

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