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I’ve been very pleased with my Mantis Pro III tennis racket I bought several months ago.
It’s a great overall racket for control, feel and giving me sufficient power.
We all know racket design is a big factor in determining how well a racket ‘feels’ when you hit your shots.
However, tennis strings are also extremely important.
So when you’re choosing a racket, you need to think about what string best suits your game.
You can have polyester strings, natural gut, nylon or even a hybrid.
However, you also need to think about what gauge you should have for your tennis string.
What is tennis string gauge?
This is essentially the thickness of the string.
If you look at the market, the range is between 15 gauge (which is the thickest) to 18 gauge (which is the thinnest)
A thinner gauge will give you a lot more feel and control, but the string won’t be as durable and it can snap more easily.
A thicker gauge will be very tough and will suit you if you have a power game. But your control and feel won’t be as good.
Should I have 16 or 17 gauge?
As you can see, both 15 and 18 gauge are at more of the extreme ends of the spectrum.
If you love playing big shots, with fast swings from the baseline, then a 15 gauge might be right for you.
If you don’t have a ‘power’ game and enjoy being around the net, playing drop shots and volleys often, then an 18 gauge could be right for you.
However, for most players, you want something inbetween i.e. 16 or 17 gauge, and most strings on the market fall into either camp.
So which is better?
You know your game best, but I would also get the advice from a tennis coach if you can, who can assess your game and see what is right for you.
The advice I got from my tennis coach was to start with a 17 gauge. This should be the right thickness for the majority of recreational to club players.
However, he said if the string snaps within the first month of using it (if you’re playing 1 or 2 times a week) then you’ll need a thicker string, so drop to a 16 gauge.
If the tennis string lasts longer than a month, then you might want to consider going the other way and switching to an 18 gauge.
Of course, this method means you might need to buy 2 lots of strings, but you’ll find the right one for you, which will suit your game.
Fortunately for me, my strings haven’t snapped and I’ve been using them for 5 months now.
So 17 gauge is the right fit for me.
Having the right string can enhance your game.
So next time you’re thinking about what racket to buy, don’t forget to give due care to what string gauge you should be using
What about 16 vs 18 gauge for tennis strings?
Most recreational players have a tennis gauge of either 16 or 17, and make tweaks between the two, but obviously the difference between 16 or 18 will be greater and have a bigger impact on your game if you try either option.
A gauge of 18 will give you some great feel on your shots, but you’ll be more prone to breaking a string, especially if you have a fast swing. Consider this gauge carefully, as if you’re breaking strings often it’ll also make a dent in your wallet! It’s only really suitable if you have a slower swing and play more delicate shots and volleys around the net.
A 16 gauge will be more durable, and you’ll be able to take bigger swings with your racket at the ball.
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.