The racket string buying guide simplified – by Racketlon SA

Consider your budget, playing style, level of play, what you would like to achieve in your game ie; more power, more control or a mix of both. Once you’ve answered these questions you will be closer to choosing your ideal string type and tension.

Budget: Prices vary but not considerably, The small price difference should not deter you from getting the string that best suits your game or gives you the desired effect.

Level of play: Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced, do you play once a week or 5 times a week. Do you play socially or competitively?. If you not going to play often, don’t waste too much money on a expensive strings, but if you are playing more, then you need to get the best possible strings to suit your game, no expense spared, you are worth it.

What are you looking for: More power, more control or more durability?. Are your arms not as strong as the next, maybe softer strings will suit you best which is easier on the arms, but you need to get some power as well. These questions need answering so that we/you can best choose the closest possible setup for you. Of course this can then be fine tunes exactly or as close as possible. Variations in hybrids stringing, different tensions for mains and crosses are also possible but lets leave that for now and get you started with the basics first.

We have standardized the categories for each string model with:

Gauge

Color

Length

Durability

Power

Touch/Feel

Composition

Texture

Gauge:

This is a unit of measurement for thickness of string.

Thinnest to thickest selections. The basic rule is as follows.

Thinner strings give you more power and spin,

Thicker strings give you more control and durability.

Badminton:

22g or 0.60mm

21g or 0.70mm

Squash:

19g or 1.10mm

18g or 1.15mm

17g or 1.20mm

16g or 1.25/30mm

Tennis:

17g or 1.20mm

16L or 1.25mm

16 or 1.30mm

16L or 1.35mm

15 or 1.40mm

15L or 1.45mm

Color:

Colors range and do not effect the string characteristic at all, merely personal choice and string identification with manufacturers.

Length:

This is just so you know how much string you are getting when you purchase online. General a set is 9/10mtrs for badminton and squash, 12mtrs for tennis. You will get it cut from a reel or in a package. A reel is between 100mtrs and 200mtrs long to cover 12-22 stringings and more budget friendly for regular stringers.

Durability:

On a scale from 1 to 10 on durability with 10 being very durable. You will want one of these if you break strings often.

Power:

On a scale from 1 to 10 on durability with 10 being very powerful. If you need that extra boost in power go for high value here.

Touch/Feel:

On a scale from 1 to 10 on durability with 10 being very feel orientated. Need touch for delicate shots this should be your priority.

Composition:

Texture:

We will identify the texture of the string with some being a smooth silicon type string ideal for power or a rough textured type string which give you bite on the ball enhancing touch and spin. Tennis strings are also developed with various shapes like hexagon which further grab the ball thereby spinning even more. remember strings like these also tend to cut into each other and reduce durability.

What about tension?.

Once you have identified what your game plan is your stringer can advise you on best tension as well. The general rule is.

Tighter strings give more control but less durability and less power.

Looser strings give more power but less control.

If you unsure you can always start in the middle/average and work your way down or up the LB (pound)/KG.

Badminton between 16-28lb. 16lb being very loose, 28lb being very tight. Average 22-24lb.

Squash between 18-30lb. 18lb being very loose, 30lb very tight. Average 24-26.

Tennis between 45-60lb. 45lb being very loose, 60lb being very tight. Average 52-56.

Other factors influencing characteristics:

String patterns (More strings = more control, less string equals more power).

Head shape (Larger heads = longer strings therefore more power, smaller heads, shorter strings therefore more control).

In closing, we believe that the strings are of utmost importance on your racket, even more so than the racket itself. The type of game you play or want to play is highly influenced by the type of string and the tension of the string. So experiment, have fun and see what suits your game best. Remember also that all  stringers are not equal and string differently with techniques and with equipment so these could also be factors to consider. Its no wonder the tour pros have their personal stringers and machines travelling with them.