The game of tennis is already hard enough. Your goal is to hit a relatively small ball into a fairly small box, sometimes having to do so against someone who is pelting it at you at a speed of over 100 MPH. As if that wasn’t hard enough for you, you’ve also got to pick out the best equipment in order to get this job done. Part of this equation is having a good racquet that suits your needs, and to go one step further, the strings are a major part of this. That’s where a stringing machine comes into the picture. When you are in need of replacing your strings, you’ll be encountering this. Rather than just throwing the whole racquet away, you can replace them, saving you money. Today, we’ll be looking at the most popular tennis stringing machines on the market in our buying guide and reviews. So, let’s get to it!
Top Tennis Stringing Machines Comparison Chart
|Name||Type||Portability||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Gamma X-Stringer Tabletop Machine||Drop-Weight||Portable||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Klippermate Tennis Stringing Machine||Non-portable||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Gamma Progression Tennis Racquet Stringing Machine||Electric||Portable||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|MiStringer Portable Tennis Stringing Machine||Portable||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Tourna 3000-CS Crank Stringing Machine||Crank||Non-portable||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Tennis Stringing Machines Buying Guide
Why Do Strings Matter?
A few people might be asking if the strings matter all that much. If you are one of those people, it’s likely because you are new to the game and haven’t experienced a lot on the court as of yet. Part of the problem with not having your strings replaced regularly is that it seriously hampers performance. You might think that as long as the strings aren’t noticeably loose that it’s ‘OK,’ but this is not the case at all. Rather, worn out strings make you work harder. The ball doesn’t bounce off of the racquet as well as before, forcing you to put more torque into it. This might not seem like a big problem to you, but for a lot of players this is a serious issue. And it’s altogether avoidable. So, it’s very important that you restring your racquet periodically to get the utmost out of your performance. Remember, racquets, especially as you improve, are going to cost quite a bit of money. No one wants to take their money and throw it in the trash. You have to take care of your stuff, and a very big part of doing that with racquets is to make sure you have them strung properly. Not doing so can not only hinder the way you play, but it can also end up destroying your equipment as well.
Why Would You Want To Buy A Machine?
Another group of people will ask just why you’d want to buy your own machine. The answer is pretty simple: ease of access. Instead of having to go to a tennis shop, which there is nothing inherently wrong with, each and every time that you need some maintenance, you can do it yourself. Not only will this save you money in the long run since you are going to be cutting out the middle man (though you will have to float more out there initially) but you will also save time going and then waiting for the job to be done. Another reason you might be looking to buy a machine is to do a sort of business for yourself. Maybe you’d like to make a dollar or two off of other people. Either way, there are viable options for you to find that will fit your budget and keep you from getting ultra frustrated in the process.
When to Restring
While it’s tough to pinpoint exactly when you need to restring your racquet, it should go without saying that no one wants to wait too long and see theirs come loose. So, in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, there is a good, common sense method to go by. Take the number of times you play per week on average and then calculate that up to year. So, if you play twice a week every week, you should probably restring twice a year. This way, you get the most mileage out of your racquet without going overboard with it. For ultra serious players, and those that are playing great competition, however, you will want to do it much more. Not only are you playing more, but you will be facing very tough opponents that put a lot of strain on your equipment. On top of that, you will want ‘fresh’ strings as often as you can have them so that you can be as good as you can be on the court.
Types of Machines
As far as restringing machines go for tennis, there are three main types to look at. There is the drop-weight, the electronic, and the crank. We’re going to explore each of them briefly to give you an idea of what they are all about so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Drop-Weight Stringing Machine
This type is super easy to setup and is also fairly cheap, making it a favorite choice of many a tennis player. This type, though, is not for the uncoordinated. If you are unable to work with your hands very well (a bit of an oxymoron given that you are a tennis player!) then you might have issues since this type is going to require manual adjustment. A weighted bar is used to set the tension of the strings, but you will have to do that manually. So, if that’s not your kind of thing, then you’ll want to have a look at the other couple of choices.
If you are looking for something that is fast to use and also quite accurate to set up, then the crank system is the way to go. It’s not as demanding on you from a personal standpoint as the drop-weight is, but you still have to put in the effort by turning the crank. With that said, you don’t have to manually adjust for the tension since the crank will be doing that for you, so it can be much easier for some people to go with. This kind of machine is more accurate than the drop-weight and is a little bit more expensive but can still be found for a reasonable price.
Electric Stringing Machine
This type is what you will see at the local club or tennis shop. It uses a motor as well as a computer to set up your racquet with the necessary tension. This type is extremely accurate, since it does work with a computer, but it does come with a trade off. This type of machine is going to cost you quite a bit more, so it’s something you will have to keep in your mind and consider. If you are going to be doing a lot of stringing, it might be the best choice for you. Or, if you just want to have the absolute best feel, then it’s a good idea as well.
The want and need to carry around your machine easily and efficiently is going to depend on how portable it is. Some machines are made to be housed in one specific area, whereas others are made to be on the road, so to speak. In this regard, there are two types to have a look at: standalone and tabletop. The latter, the tabletop, is self explanatory. This type will fit onto a table, which means you can carry them around virtually anywhere. You are able to move around them easily and freely in order to restring your racquet. This type does not work well if you don’t have a lot of space. Which leads us to standalone machines. Standalone machines are more expensive and are going to be set in one place. They are heavier and more sturdy, however, so you aren’t paying a ton of money that will be wasted. If you are looking to take your machine to the court, then you will want to pick a tabletop one. But if you are working from home, the standalone might just be the way to go. It’s all about what you want and need, above all else!
What About String Tension?
String tension is a very important aspect to your racquet, and ultimately, to your success on the court. Tennis string is measured by pounds. More specifically, this weight tells you how much pressure was applied to that string as the machine pulled it. Racquets that have a lower level of tension to them will produce more power. If you are a player that is smaller, for example, this would be a good idea for you so that you can make up for it a little bit. This tension level means you don’t have to necessarily get a bigger, longer racquet to produce the power you crave. Likewise, racquets that have a lot of tension to them aren’t going to be as powerful. Instead, they will allow a player to have more control over their shots. This produces spin, which makes it possible to not only overpower your opponent but to also keep them firmly on the back foot. If you are already quite a good player and can hit the ball fairly hard, then you will likely want to go with this option since you will want to be working on placing the ball in addition to just hammering the stuffing out of it. Be careful here, though. All tennis racquets have a range that you must stay within. If you go too high or too low, the racquet itself could become compromised and leave you disappointed.
We talked about the three different types of machines earlier, but now is where we look at the clamps. This is a fairly simple section, but it’s still worth noting. Clamp can either come with in the floating variety or the fixed variety. Fixed clamps are preferred if you want the utmost in accuracy since the tension is set more consistently. However, this type is only found on products that cost a little bit more than average, so you will have to look out for that. The reason a floating (or flying) clamp isn’t as accurate is because it uses one string to hold tension to the next. This makes them cheaper because there is less machinery going on but it also means that if one thing goes wrong the whole thing does. There is nothing wrong with a floating clamp, it just won’t be quite as accurate. If you are one of those looking to save a little bit of money, it could be just what you have been looking for.
How you fit your racquet to the machine is another part of the puzzle that has to be examined. The mounting system you pick is going to have to weigh all kinds of decisions, such as speed, accuracy, and price. With a mount that has just two points of contact, you will be getting a very fast process as you string your racquet. You also will have a machine that is relatively inexpensive, too. However, your frame can be twisted a little bit since there are so few points of contact. That’s why, for many, a system that has four, or even six, points of contact, is preferable. This type is going to take longer to string up, and it will probably set you back a little bit more than two points of contact, but it will be more stable for you and the frame while you are using it.
Tips for Stringing
When you get in the process of stringing, there are a few things to know to help you along the way. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the racquet is under as little stress as possible. A lot of people just put the racquet in any old way or push down on it. This can be destructive, though, and can cause mini cracks to form in it. It’s hard to see these, but they can develop, and like we have talked about before with loose strings, can hamper performance over time.
A second great idea for you is to go and buy a reel of cheap string. It might sound crazy, but if you are just starting out with your stringing machine, you won’t be wanting to waste the real thing while learning what you are doing. With cheap string you will be able to make all kinds of mistakes without wasting a ton of money in the process. This way you can practice without a bunch of worrying.
As far as your machine goes, you can always seek to protect it and its lifespan by making some preparations for it. You can wrap the clamps that we talked about before in electrical tape so that they have extra support and can work as intended for longer. This will make sure you don’t have to get online and try to find new clamps after they broke down and fell apart.
Pricing is always something you have to consider, and that’s going to be the case with this machine for sure. A good general rule of thumb here is to pick out a budget and then stick with it. Everyone likes to save money, sure, but if you are going to be spending money on a machine and have allocated funds for it, then you should be looking to buy a machine that is near that price range. By doing that, you will make sure you get as much quality as you can get. Quality isn’t about speed but it’s also about accuracy. The more options you have, the better, and with a high quality machine, that’s what you will be getting.
Aesthetics are also a consideration for you to have a think about. If you are going to be working in a shop setting, then you will want a machine that is going to look nice. If it’s the central part of your work, then you will want something that catches the eye nicely. Even if this isn’t the case, you might be looking for something that pleases the eye. This is by no means a requirement for you to have, but it’s nice to consider just what you want it to look like. Some machines will be a bit of an eyesore, for sure, while others will look much better and more professional. If you are a professional at your craft, you should definitely not skimp on the looks as it could possibly drive potential customers away from you.
Support and Warranties
A part of any machine has to be its warranty. Without confidence in a machine, whether it’s a car or a phone, you are going to face a lot of uphill battles. Companies that back their products with warranties are very much preferable. This way, if you have any issues with them, you can send it back to them. In the same vein is customer support. If you are making a large purchase, you want as much quality as you can get. This also pertains to the experience you get when you talk to people in the event that something was a tad bit off. We’ll make sure to note any problems with customer service and will also make note of warranty information. If a product doesn’t have a warranty, it doesn’t mean it is bad, but it will make you worry a little bit more, certainly, than you otherwise would have done. Other things to think about include the cost of shipping and how long it will take to get to you. Some people are very itchy to have things immediately, while others are a little bit more lax and chill on the issue. If you feel you need it right away, then you will have to pay for it in all likelihood. As far as the warranty goes, it’s also very wise to get the entire manual and read it fully. Some warranties can be voided if you replace or try to tinker with the equipment, so you should try and refrain from doing so by doing your due diligence on the matter.
Reviewing The Top 5 Tennis Stringing Machines of 2019
Gamma X-Stringer Tabletop Machine
Kicking off the list is a machine with nearly endless options. Instead of giving you just once choice, this portable tabletop comes in six varieties- with them ranging from fairly inexpensive to very expensive. Using a drop weight method for tension, it has a range between nine and 90 lbs, which should serve everyone well. The less expensive machine uses just two points of control, but as the price goes up the number goes up and the device gets more premium while still remaining basically the same machine. Another helpful thing is that this machine comes with tools to help you get the job done, such as pliers, wrenches, and the such. All of the machines, whether you get the cheapest or highest priced one, have a lifetime (limited) warranty, helping give you the confidence that is needed to buy one. One thing to take note of is that not all string types are equal and that it doesn’t do well for all types. Also, some don’t like that the clamps are bigger than most, so that has created one or two small issues for some users.
- Huge range in tension
- Lots of choices to make
- Not for all types of string
- Clamps are bigger than most
Klippermate Tennis Stringing Machine
If you are looking to save a little bit of money, then this is a fine budget choice to go with. This machine is very accurate and is ideal for someone that will be working on his or her own racquet occasionally. It uses the drop weight method, making it fast, quite cheap compared to most, and still remaining accurate in so doing. The level of service they provide is astonishing, with a full lifetime guarantee and a 30 day no questions asked money back promise. They also are made in the USA and have some of the lowest prices on the market. So that’s a massive bonus, as you’d expect them to cost more being made in America and all. With that said, just because the price is cheap doesn’t mean it is made cheap. It uses actual steel, making it well built and able to be shown off. It’s going to save you a lot of money on the long haul, but just keep in mind that it does have to be mounted to something as it’s not a portable machine.
- Very good price
- Very accurate
- Great customer service
- Not all that portable
Gamma Progression Tennis Racquet Stringing Machine
Much like the Gamma before, this one also offers the consumer a choice between three different subsets of machines. It’s the same basic machine, but there are tiers to it. With that said, this one is going to be much more expensive than the first item on the list was. This is also a tabletop machine, using six points in the mounting. Because of this, less pressure will be applied to the racquet, decreasing the chances of it forming cracks. The set comes along with tools and has a tool tray built in to it to make it easier to store them so you don’t lose them and end up going on a hunt for them. It’s also a versatile option because you can use it in conjunction with other racquet sports and their strings, too. The steel bar has a turntable that will allow you to move it in all directions, too, further helping your mobility with it. The range of the tension can be set anywhere between nine and 90 lbs, too, providing a lot of options. One of the major gripes with this set is that the instructions aren’t very clear, holding back a lot of people from using it.
- Cheaper than the X-Stringer
- Very mobile
- Can be used for other racquet sports, too
- Instructions are lacking
MiStringer Portable Tennis Stringing Machine
This item claims to be the only truly portable machine in the world, and while that might be a bit of a stretch, it’s still on the list because it packs quite the punch. Featuring a weight of just six pounds, it’s easy to see why they market it as such. It even comes with a bag that easily fits it for the go. It has uniquely made clamps that are designed to be light but still firm when the racquet needs to be at the highest of tensions. Using a ‘tension puller,’ it makes sure that your string is accurate and reliable. The cost is slightly higher than other entry level ones are, but that can be made up for if you are on the go and have to have one to take with you at a moment’s notice. Service is a big plus that you get with them, with MiStringer taking the time to respond and make sure customers are happy with it. Free shipping is part of that, which is huge but still expected due to the low weight! It’s not super accurate, as you’d probably expect given the price and the lack of size, so you will have to weigh that with the positives.
- Very mobile machine
- Bag makes it easier to deal with
- Great service given
- Not as consistent as others
Tourna 3000-CS Crank Stringing Machine
If you are looking for a good mid-range machine that isn’t exactly a portable one, then this could be just what you are looking for. This machine has six points to give you maximum control, a knob that is adjustable, and a mount that makes it quick and easy to run. The table will turn 360 degrees, allowing you to have the proper angle anywhere you are, all while being stationed right on the floor thanks to the adjustable stand that it comes with. The clamps are made so that they reduce the amount of tiredness you have, making it easier to get the job done without giving up. Because of its construction, it will not only be super durable but is also very attractive to the eye and would definitely be a good center piece in a room. You will look professional with it, no matter if you are or not! It also comes with plenty of tools to help you get the job done and can be used for other racquet sports as well. The biggest knock on it is is the lack of mobility, but other than that, it’s an excellent machine.
- Very adjustable
- Excellent, professional look
- Extremely durable
- Not easy to move
Conclusion And Final Tennis Stringing Machines Recommendations
No matter if you are a person that is looking to run his or own shop or your just looking to string some racquets for yourself and maybe a couple of friends, a stringing machine is just what you need. With the influx of tennis today and the internet combined, the options can seem limitless and can confuse you. Thanks to our guide, however, you have a much better understanding of the ins and out of tennis stringing machines. If you have any lingering questions, then you can look below at our FAQ’s. If not, then see you on the court. Or in your shop!
FAQ’s About Tennis Stringing Machines
Do I Need To Calibrate My Machine?
Yes, you do. All machines need to have maintenance done on them regularly, whether they look like they need it or not. Your car, for example, might look all shiny and perfect on the outside, but if you have gone six months without an oil change, there are going to be some residual problems that unfold from it. So, you have to take care of your restringing machine, too. By calibrating every so often, you will ensure that the machine works as it was intended to. Some machines come with a calibrator, but not all of them do. If they don’t, you’ll need to buy separately.
Which Strings Last The Longest?
There are four types of tennis strings that you can pick from. There are natural ‘gut’ strings, which are the most premium ones. They are expensive due to being best for players that are really good at what they do. This type does wear out faster, but that’s just a trade off you have to accept. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the synthetic gut. Synthetics mimic the properties of natural strings and are a whole lot cheaper. They won’t feel as good or be quite as effective, but they will hold up longer than the natural ones, which do tend to take quite the beating early on. Then you have Nylon and polyester in the middle, which offer some of both options. They aren’t the best at any one thing in particular, but they are good all-around.
What Are Some Other Tools I Might Need Or Want?
There’s always a thing or two more that you could add to the mix, but you don’t have to in. In regards to stringing your tennis racquet, you might make good use out of string meter. It sounds a little confusing, but it’s just a way to check the tension of your string. This is definitely the way to go if you have gone with a cheaper choice, since those aren’t quite as accurate as others on the market. This will give you a good double check just to make sure you are getting the best feel out of your racquet. Once you have graduated to being a pro at stringing, you will be able to stop using one, but until then it’s an excellent idea. A set of extra clamps is also a good idea to have around. The recommended amount of clamps to have is four pairs, so that way you never run out of them. If yours doesn’t come with enough, you can always buy some more to ensure your satisfaction.
Which Machines String The Fastest?
If you are looking for pure speed and nothing else, then the way to go is the manual crank system. This will allow you to go at your own speed, but it does sometimes come at the cost of some accuracy, so you will have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to go with this option. It’s also quite easy to use, too, so there is that as well.
How Long Does It Takes To String a Racquet?
This all depends on what type of machine it is that you have. Some machines will move much faster than others. Ones that emphasize quickness, however, do have a tendency to be less accurate, so that should be noted and acknowledged. Some can take up to half an hour to string. It’s also worth pointing out that you will see that it takes less time to string a racquet after you have gotten use to doing it. If you are new to doing it, it will take some time to master the learning curve, so that has to be accounted for, too.
How Much Tension Should I Have?
This, too, is just a matter of your playing style. If you are a player that has already mastered the game to a degree, then you will want something that has more tension. This will give you more spin and control, allowing you to shape shots all over the court. If you don’t have much power, though, you can go with a looser tension. This way, you get more power and can start to make up for a lack of experience in this manner. If you find that power isn’t your problem, then you will need to work on increasing your control level. And adjusting the tension is one such way to do just that.
Wouldn’t It Be Cheaper To Just Get Another Racquet?
In most cases, yes and no. While a machine is going to cost more than a racquet would most of the time, it would be a wise investment to get a machine if you are playing a whole lot. This way you don’t have to throw your racquet out each and every time the strings go bad. The ‘yes’ answer goes toward those of you that are newer players. If you are buying cheap racquets that are in the lower double figures, then yes, it probably would be better for you to just get a new racquet rather than going to the shop or buying your own machine to string with. It’s just a matter of your skill level, and more importantly, the level you want to obtain. If you don’t want to be very good, then you won’t have high quality equipment. But once you do, you’ll definitely want to protect it and get the very most out of it.
How Can I Learn To String A Racquet?
There are all kinds of options for you to learn how to string one up. One way to do so is to watch videos and read articles online. This is free essentially and can help you get a grasp on it. You can do this and do it along with the videos with cheap string if you like, too, making it a better experience for you. You can also take classes, as some places will offer workshops to learn this sort of thing. Some websites even offer DVD’s for sale to teach you, so there is no lack of chances for you to learn how to string one up.
How Do You Know When To Replace Your Strings?
A good, easy indication that you need to replace your strings is to recognize that your racquet doesn’t feel the same when you strike the ball any longer. If the vibration is vastly different from what you are used to feeling, or the sound is off, then you should be looking at replacing your strings. Some refer to this as the ‘strings getting ‘tired.’” So it’s important that you take note and take action to prevent it.