Once you’ve got some brand new tennis string and an awesome racquet to use it with, your next task is to set to work stringing your hitter. Fortunately with the technology available today there’s plenty of products on the market that’ll make this process fairly easy.
In this guide we’ll review some of the best tennis stringing machines available in 2019, looking at the features of each and the overall value for money of each device.
- Quick comparison table
- How to choose a tennis stringing machine
- Best tennis stringing machines
Quick comparison table
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Fixed clamps (swivel)
How to choose a tennis stringing machine: a buyer’s guide
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When browsing you’ve probably noticed the massive price difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tennis stringing machines on the market. Is it worth paying more?
It really depends how often you’ll be using the stringer and what you’ll be using it for. Costlier options will have more features, which you may or may not need or want. These components can be a real help, for example having an electric tension device means you don’t have to hand-crank the machine to achieve string tension.
We’ll have a look at some of these features below.
To hold the string in place while you’re installing it, you’ve got two options when it comes to clamps:
- Floating clamps – lower quality (not as good at maintaining a consistent string tension) but less expensive. You use them by clipping them on to the underside of the string bed as the machine holds your racquet in place. Therefore they can be a bit tricky to reposition.
- Fixed clamps – much better at holding string tension but more expensive. With most tennis racquet stringers you’ll have to reposition them for the cross strings as they’re attached to a fixed glide bar. However, other fixed clamps can swivel which is useful for stringing fan patterns.
Stringing machines have clamps to keep your racquet still while you string it. Cheaper machines will have 2-4 mounts while more expensive devices will have 5-6 mounts.
The less mounting points the simpler it is to string your racquet, as there will be less blocked grommet holes and less opportunity for strings to become tangled. However, more points of contact will result in greater racquet stability. This makes it less likely you’ll damage your racquet when stringing.
Ways of setting the string tension
All machines have a way for you to define how tight you want your strings. However, some methods are more accurate and are easier to use than others. Your options are as follows, ordered from least expensive to most expensive:
- Drop weight machines – a weighted bar is used to set the required string tension, but you must adjust it manually. These systems are easy to set up and are relatively cheap, which is why people love to use them.
- Crank systems – you have to crank a handle to set the tension until the system locks into place. Although some extra effort is required these stringers are very quick and are quite accurate.
- Electric stringing machines – this is what your local shop or club probably has. A motor is used in conjunction with a computer to set your desired string tension with exceptional accuracy. If you’re looking for the best possible stringing machine and don’t mind paying a bit extra, this is your best bet.
Drop weight tennis stringing machine
Electric tennis stringing machine
Standalone vs tabletop
The more expensive option is standalone, as it allows you to very easily walk around your racquet as you string it. On the other hand, tabletop stringing machines are much cheaper. You’ll have to find a suitable surface to put it on that you can maneuver yourself around quite easily. If you don’t have an appropriate table or desk you might be better off investing in a standalone tennis stringing machine.
Standalone machines are generally more sturdy, allowing for easier stringing. However they’re not very portable. If you’re looking to take your machine to the court on a regular basis a tabletop model might be your best bet.
Calibrating a tennis stringing machine
To ensure your machine is producing the desired string tension, you’ll need to calibrate it every so often unless you buy a device with an electric tension system. Some machines come with a calibrator but most don’t. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to buy one separately or use a luggage scale.
Check out this video to see how it’s done:
Using your tennis stringing machine
You should restring your racquet every 2-4 weeks (even if the strings are still intact) depending on how much you play to ensure peak racquet performance. Worn out strings will lose some of their oomph and are more likely to break or lose tension when playing.
See the video below to find out how to use your brand new stringing machine:
When stringing a tennis racquet, you’ve got to consider how tight you want the strings. Manufacturers normally specify an optimal tension on the throat of the racquet. However, you can go higher than this for greater control, or lower than this for greater power. The looser the strings the more opportunity they have to get pushed back and then trampoline the ball forward.
You’ve also got to decide what type of tennis string to use, and whether to go for a hybrid layout to create a balanced string bed. Check out our buyer’s guide on the subject to learn all about the different types of tennis string. Typically some string is included with the stringing machine but it’s often not the best – try and get a specialized string from a brand such as Babolat or Wilson.
Best tennis stringing machines
Now onto the reviews! We’ve looked at 6 of the best tennis stringing machines on the market right now. We’ll start with cheaper drop weight options before working our way up to premium models.
1. Klippermate Tennis Stringing Machine (drop weight)
Klippermate’s stringing machine is an excellent basic option if you’re only stringing the occasional racquet. Featuring a two-point mounting system and requiring no set up, this system is a nice simple option for beginner stringers. You get sturdy metal floating clamps which are easy to use and do an OK job of maintaining string tension. Plus, this machine comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and is made in the USA, meaning the build quality is excellent considering the price.
This device also comes with some string for testing and all the tools you’ll need to string your racquet. As a relatively light table-top machine it’s a pretty portable option, perfect for if you’re only using it every few months or so and want to store it away in the interim.
Overall this stringing machine is an excellent beginners’ model. The build quality and features offered are outstanding considering the price.
2. Gamma Sports Progression X-2 (drop weight)
Another beginners’ option is the Gamma Sports X-2 model. Like Klippermate’s tennis stringing machine, the X-2 is a simple to use drop weight machine with a two-point racquet mounting system and floating clamps. The tennis racquet holder rotates 360 degrees and the machine itself has a tool tray to make your life easier when stringing. Also, it comes with a few extra tools including a razor cutter. This is essentially the difference between the X-2 and the Klippermate – you get a few more features for easier stringing.
The X-2 is also a tabletop option, but it’s a bit heavier than the Klippermate. As a result, it’s harder to carry around, but on the other hand it’s more sturdy when in position which makes stringing a bit easier. Gamma Sports also offer a “limited lifetime” warranty on this product for extra peace of mind when buying and the company promises to answer your questions about operating the machine after you buy.
So, is the extra cost worth it over the Klippermate? If you don’t mind the fact that it’s a bit heavier, the answer is a resounding yes. The only downside with the X-2 is you might have to resort to YouTube or the Gamma support staff for help as the included instructions aren’t very helpful.
3. Gamma Sports Progression II 602 (drop weight)
If you’re looking for a bit more stability in a drop weight tennis stringing machine the Progression II 602 is a great option. It’s essentially a more expensive version of the X-2, featuring a similar tool tray, and 360-degree rotating turntable.
For the extra cost you get a 6-point mounting system for greater stability and a lower chance of bending your racquet when stringing. You also get a 5-year limited warranty as opposed to the basic “limited lifetime” warranty of the X-2. In addition, this device is heavier, meaning less chance of slippage when stringing. However as a tabletop option it’s still relatively portable.
Overall, for a drop weight machine on a mid-range budget the Progression II 602 is a good deal. However, as you’ll see with our next picks, if you pay a bit more you can progress from drop weight systems on to crank & electric tension devices to improve the efficiency and quality of your stringing jobs.
4. Gamma X-ST (crank/manual)
If you’re stringing racquets quite often or you’re a serious tennis player, it pays to have the best stringing machine for maximum efficiency and optimal string tension. The X-ST is one such premium product, coming in at a considerable cost compared to the drop weight models we’ve reviewed so far.
So what do you get for the extra money? Here are the benefits of this machine:
- Manual (crank) tension winder for greater precision and efficiency when stringing. Although you have to go to the effort of cranking, you’ll be able to create awesome string beds more quickly which is why they’ve been used for decades.
- Fixed clamps coupled with a 6-point mounting system offer exceptional stability, making stringing to your desired string tension easier.
- A 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty is included to back up the build quality and durability of this machine.
Overall the Gamma X-ST is a great option if you’re serious about stringing racquets and on a mid to high range budget. Although it’s not cheap, there’s definitely benefits to be had over a drop weight tennis stringing machine. It’s also a tabletop option unlike the two top of the line models we’ve looked at (below), meaning you can string racquets very efficiently at home or at the court.
5. Tourna 300-CS Crank Stringing Machine (crank/manual)
These days if you’re looking for a stable standalone tennis stringing machine you’ll need to pay top dollar. Such devices are normally used in sports stores or by tennis associations rather than by individual players. So they’re designed for super efficient stringing but aren’t usually very portable.
To facilitate the fast creation of awesome string beds, you get a hand crank to set the tension and rotating fixed clamps for easy adjustment. The 6-point racquet mounting system is pretty secure, meaning you won’t have to worry about slippage or warping of the frame. However you’ll have to be careful to avoid blocking grommet holes with the mount points.
So for the extra cost you get similar mounting/clamping features as you do with the Gamma X-ST, but with the extra stability of the metal 4-foot stand. This frame is height adjustable which is super convenient for all you 6′ 6″ power hitters out there, and it comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
6. Gamma Sports 6900 ELS Electric Stringing Machine (electric)
Here it is folks: the best tennis stringing machine on the market right now for under $2000.
Grab this machine and you’ll never have to crank a handle or fiddle with drop weight again. An electronic motor pulls the string taut when you tell it to, setting it just how you want it every single time. You can specify your desired tension with a digital control panel in increments of 0.1 of a pound, so you can make your string bed as tight or as loose as you want it.
As you’d expect for a machine this price you get fixed clamps and a 6-point mounting system to make your life easier when stringing. Another feature that further enhances the ease-of-use of this device is the height-adjustable stand. You can even take it off the stand and use it on a table if you’d prefer.
The only downside to this stringer is the clamps have to be refastened at the bottom with each movement, however you do get used to this quite quickly we’ve found.
Check out the video below to get an idea of how efficient this product is for stringing tennis racquets. If you invest in such an awesome machine you might even be able to charge other players a few bucks to do their stringing for them, as this model produces incredible string beds in no time at all.
Hopefully you found this buyer’s guide useful!
It can be hard to decide whether to splurge and go for a proper electric/crank tennis stringing machine or opt for something a bit cheaper.
- If you’re an intermediate or beginner player and you don’t string racquets more than once a month, a cheaper drop weight option is probably your best bet.
- On the other hand, if you’re a serious player who strings racquets often OR wants to do stringing for other people on a regular basis, it’s worth getting a more expensive machine that’s a) more efficient and b) will enable you to achieve the perfect string tension.
Still unsure? Ask us anything in the comments and we’ll get right back to you!