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Play lots of tennis and want to save some money? You’d be surprised at how easy it is to string a racket once you’ve learned how to do so. If you’re a somewhat regular tennis player (ie. a couple times a month or more), it will be worth the investment for you to look into getting a stringing machine that will help you string your own rackets.
How Much Can I Save Stringing My Own Racket?
Some quick math shows that, depending on how often you play and how much you pay for your string, you should, on average, be able to pay off your stringing machine in a year. From then on out, your saving money. Look at it this way – every time you roll into the tennis shop to get your racket strung, you’re shelling out $20+ to get your racket strung.
On the low end, you might be stringing your entire racket with synthetic gut (one of the most common, least expensive, but also least durable strings). A pack of synthetic gut, purchased online, typically costs $4, give or take a few cents. The tennis shop is charging you about $15 labor each time they string a racket for you. And the way they get around selling you only the string is by simply factoring in the stringing cost.
In other words, a pack of synthetic gut at a tennis shop that offers a stringing service will usually run you around $15 – $20. You can save even more by buying a reel of string (reels typically come in lengths of 660 feet or so, and since one racket should take no more than 40 feet of string, you should be able to get at least 17 rackets out of a reel).
How Long Does it Take to String a Tennis Racket?
The length of time it takes you to string your racket will depend largely on the experience you gain stringing for the first few months, but also on the type of string you have.
What Types of Stringing Machines Are There?
There are two main types of tennis stringing machines:
- Drop-weight – a drop-weight stringing machine pulls tension in the string via a weight that you have to let drop and balance out between the tensioning of each string. Drop-weight stringing machines are known to be very accurate (in terms of the pounds of tension you get on the strings), but it will also take you longer to string your racket (ie. they are slower).
- Crank – a crank stringing machine uses a crank to quickly apply tension to a string via a loaded spring. You can typically string a racket faster with a crank-based stringing machine, but you will also lose some accuracy as far as your tension goes. However – in our experience, once you find a comfortable weight for your racket – just leave it on that setting, and even if it’s not the exact poundage indicated on the crank dial, you’ll be getting consistently the same amount of tension – which is what’s really important (otherwise your racket would feel different everytime you play and you’d have to make all kinds of adjustments).
What is the Best Stringing Machine for Tennis?
Your tennis stringing machine will not necessarily get better with price, although a crank-based stringer tends to be more expensive than a drop weight. A stand-alone stringing machine also tends to add some cost over one that you set on a table (ie. a table top stringing machine).
Tennis Stringing Video
Here’s a video of tennis stringing in action.
Okay, How do I Go About Selecting a Good Stringer?
Here’s some tennis stringing machines we recommend based on your budget:
Under $200: Gamma X-2 Stringing Machine
The Gamma X-2 is a table top model with 2 point mounting system and drop-weight tensioning that features:
- Drop weight ratcheting tension mechanism (8-90 lb. range)
- Patented diamond coated, ratchet gripper
- 2 point racquet mounting system
- Nickel chrome plated steel bar turntable
- Strong, light-weight aluminum extrusion construction.
- String Package Included ( 3 set of Gamma String, USRSA Stringing Tutorial and RSI Magazine )
- 5 Year Limited Warranty
- Tools included (Gamma Pathfinder Awl, Awl, Pliers, Razor Cutter)
- Optional floor stand sold separately
- Price: $251.77
Under $550: Gamma Progression 602FC
The Gamma Progression 602FC is a table top model with 6 point mounting system and drop-weight tensioning that features:
- Drop weight tensioning mechanism
- Patented diamond coated, ratchet gripper
- 6 point Quick Mount System
- Dual action, diamond coated swivel string clamps with self locking adjustment knob
- Base with tool tray
- 6 sets of Gamma Strings
- 1 Gamma Overgrip
- USRSA Stringing Tutorial
- USRSA Racquetech Magazine
- Price: Check on Amazon
Under $1,000: Gamma X-ST Stringing Machine
The Gamma X-ST comes with a 6 point mounting system and crank tensioning that features:
- Manual spring tension winder (9-90lbs/4-43kg) tension range.
- Patented rotational string guide.
- Diamond coated string gripper.
- 6 point Quick Mount System featuring a top-side clamp down system to minimize obstructions that can snag string.
- Quick action rotating swivel string clamp bases.
- Slim profile all metal diamond coated string clamps with a unique self locking adjustment knob to hold strings with less clamping pressure.
- 360 degree turntable rotation.
- Built in tool tray.
- Floor stand and custom cover sold separately.
- 5 year limited warranty.
- Price: Check on Amazon
Under $10,000: Tecnifibre TF 8000
The Tecnifibre TF 8000 is the cream of the crop and choice for touring professionals, the French Open, and various ATP and WTA level tournaments. This 6 point stand alone model features everything you need in a stringing machine, from electronic tensioning to self calibration and more:
- 6-point mounting.
- 360 degree rotation turntable with lock.
- Single Action Clamp System:
- Dual 360 degree swivel clamps.
- 6-teeth string clamps with dial adjustments.
- Glide bar mechanisms located under the turntable decreases dust build-up.
- Linear constant pull.
- 5 tension speeds.
- Kilos and Pounds tension settings.
- +/- touch pad tension setting.
- Knot tensioning.
- Clutchable tension head: allows you to pull a very short string. Adjustable height for convenience.
- Pre-stretch: pre-stretches the string during tensioning. A very attractive function for professional stringing services.
Thinking about purchasing a tennis racker stringer or already own one? Ask your questions below or share your insights!
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