Tennis String Gauge : How To Choose (Easy Guide)

Do you know the thickness of your tennis string can either make you the winner or loser of the game? How a tennis gauge affects performance, and what are the key factors in choosing a tennis string? If you are a tennis player and confused about which tennis string will be your best partner, worry not. We are here to discuss everything you need to know about tennis string gauges.

So let’s start. 

It is said that the strings serve as the heart of your tennis racket. This implies that when you play a shot, the way your racket feels, and your racket feels and how the ball reacts is largely determined by your racquet’s string. Therefore, choosing the right type of thickness and type for your play is crucial. Most players use the strings recommended by their coaches or their stringer. They tend to give less importance to the matter when choosing the right string gauge for your racquet can bring tremendous change in your gameplay. Also, check the Tennis Court Dimensions.

We have covered everything regarding various gauges with their aspects and purposes in this article. Make sure to stick together up to the very end.

Tennis String Gauge Explained:

The thickness of the strings is generally called gauge. A thicker gauge provides more durability and control. While the thinner gauges offer more power, spin, and comfort but are less durable.

Professionals tend to go for thinner strings because durability is unessential to them. Whereas beginners choose something more durable.

When opting for a tennis racket string gauge, the important thing to assess is its playability and durability.

Meaning a thicker string or lower gauge will be more durable. Thinner or higher gauges will give you power but result in strings breaking. This happens due to friction when you hit the ball with power.

The more friction, the more frequent your strings break.

Tennis string gauge chart

String gauges normally range from 0.6 mm to 1.8mm. And gauge numbers range from 15 to 19. That is, 15 gauge is the thickest, while 19 is the thinnest. You usually see gauge numbers with ‘L’ letters; these are half-gauges, and ‘L’ denotes lightness.

You will find the gauge printed on the package of your tennis strings. The most typical measurements and the broadest preferences of strings that you normally find are 17, 16L, and 16. Though there are other strings outside this range as well, most players, when choosing gauge for their racquet, often select from these ranges.

Gauge Millimeter (minimum) Millimeter (maximum)
15 1.41mm 1.49mm
15L 1.34mm 1.40mm
16 1.29mm 1.33mm
16L 1.26mm 1.28mm
17 1.23mm 1.25mm
17L 1.19mm 1.22mm
18 1.13mm 1.18mm
18L 1.08mm 1.12mm
19 1.02mm 1.07mm

How does string gauge affect performance?

There are primary characteristics most players consider when determining a string gauge, like durability, spin, power and feel.

Spin and power are generated from the elastic and flexible snap of strings. You will be taught an effect called the ‘trampoline analogy’ means on impact, how deep a tennis ball can go into the racket. Thinner strings tend to go deep into the ball, which generates more spin. A thicker string will not provide you with spin potential. Besides strings, your gripping technique and racquet speed will also influence spin.

Durability is something often overlooked by professionals as they care more about power and control. Comparing various gauges for the string, thicker and heavy gauges will be more durable. While playing tennis, strings tend to overlap each other, which with time results in the breaking of strings. This is often faced by players using a lower gauge or thinner strings. Also, check the Types of Tennis Courts.

Feel is where note differences with a different gauge. Most players talk about enhanced feel with thinner strings. 17L gauge is your option if you are looking for more feel and touch.

String gauge and tension 

String tension is the conclusive deciding element, and also the least understood. Lower tensions offer power while tighter tensions provide additional control. Beginners often need better control but they tend to go for tighter string tensions. Beginners require a soft string bed that offers them lower tensions due to the frequency of off-center shots. Advanced and intermediate players swing fast and generally hit strong and hard shorts. They need more control and thus, tighter tensions will benefit them. Each racquet comes with a recommended range of tension. This range is specified by racket manufacturers as a result of comprehensive play testing by real players. If a player does not have a distinct requirement, for instance, power, control, or arm problems then he should begin at mid-range and should make adjustments from there. Players aiming for power from their racquet then ought to try lowering tension a few pounds.

 16 vs 17 gauge string

One of the most ordinary and commonly utilized string gauges is16 the gauge. It has a diameter of 1.25mm to 1.34mm. 16 gauge is a little denser than 17 gauge and offers a more substantial feel and adequate durability as well as control.

Moreover, a 17 gauge string provides a more responsive feel than a 16 gauge. It has a thinner 1.16mm to 1.24mm diameter. 17 gauge strings are effective and powerful. It provides spin and transfers oscillations better of the ball to your hand.

Conclusively, the same strings with 17 gauges tend to provide power, feel and spin due to their thin structure than a 16 gauge.

For players desiring a comfortable, powerful, and responsive gauge than 17 gauge should be your choice.

Which gauge should I choose?  

String gauges mostly depend on what you expect from your game as well as the type of string. 16 and 17 gauges are popular gauges and have their own advantages.

17 is your answer if you desire power, feel and comfort and polyester is the recommended string.

Contrarily, if you want to control and durability doesn’t matter what string you are using then 16 is your answer.


The string gauge is the deciding factor in your racquet’s performance. Most of the players ignore this factor, although it has a high impact on performance. Though, choosing gauges can be complicated as there is a wide range available in the markets. We have tried to narrow down the important things for you to help you out in choosing the best gauge for your strings. Also, read How to Choose a Tennis Racket?


  • Which tennis string gauge is best and most popular?

17 and 17L are popular gauges and widely used by players due to its thinner profile that offers great power, feel and control.

  • Are thicker gauges better than thinner?

Thicker gauges offer control and durability and are long-lasting. While thinner gauges are prone to breaking frequently.

  • Thinner gauges provide more power and spin.

Yes, thinner gauges provide power and spin potential but tend to break more quickly.

  • Is it true that thicker strings hold tension better?

Thicker strings hold tension better and longer. This is due to the least stretching as compared to thinner strings.

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