Wouldn’t it be a total disaster that after you have proudly strung your first racket, you would find out that just as your try to weave and knot your last cross you would come up short… meaning you’ll have to start over. Obviously, a total waste of time! So, is there a way to know how much string you specifically need? Luckily, there is (and also some rule of thumb).

You’ll need approximately 12 meter string in order to string a tennis racket correctly and with some margin. For a badminton racket, you’ll actually need a little less string with approximately 11 meter. And last and in this case also least, for a squash racket you are going to need approximately 10 meters of string. The main reason we included some margin in these numbers is that some stringing machines have tensioning mechanisms that require a bit extra. Also, in order to make a proper tie-off knot, you’ll want to be on the safe side of the average numbers. 

Of course, the numbers above are averages with some proper margin and the real numbers will vary per racket brand and racket type. However, if you become a more experienced stringer you’ll probably want to start trimming down some of these numbers as you find you’re way around different machines easier and thus know what to expect with each machine. In this post I’ll explain some things in more detail to help you on your way to be aware of some common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

The length of string you’ll need to string a tennis racket

The length of string you’ll need in order to string a tennis racket will depend on the specific model you’ll be stringing. Of course, there are over sized frames or frames with a really small head size, like Pete Sampras‘ Wilson Pro Staff 85. Furthermore, there are string patterns designed for control (18×20) or for enhancing your spin potential (16×19), diverging string patterns (squash players refer to these as ‘power fans’) or special requirements of your customer like hybrid stringing or two piece stringing. Even your own machine may require a bit extra or a bit less. That is normally just a matter of testing a bit.

Luckily, there are some rules of thumb that can help out a bit. A tennis racket will need approximately 12 meters of string with two piece stringing or 4 tie-off knots. With one piece stringing you can take the same, but you’ll just keep a bit more margin. Some stringing machines come with a measurement tape included, but most don’t. Of course, you can actually add some adhesive measuring tape to your work bench or machine, so you can easily measure the string. One measuring tape I really like is the Win Tape Workbench Ruler (link to check it’s current price at Amazon), because it measures just around one meter, which makes for easy and precise measuring of string.

Stringers usually also have some other tricks for this, like measuring the total width span of your upper body for example and then calculate back how many spans you’ll need in order to make 12 meter.

My personal rule of thumb for tennis string measurement

I usually just account for normal racket head sizes up till 645 squared centimeters (or 100 squared inches) and the ones that are bigger than that, over sized. With normal head sizes I’ll measure 17.5 times the length of a racket and with over sized frames I’ll take 18, just to give me some margin. Actually, I have strung thousands of rackets this way and have never ran into trouble like that.

Here you’ll find some popular models with recommended string lengths.

Frame Length – meter SS (short side) – meter 2 piece M X C (mains x crosses)
Blade 98 16×19 11,1 3,1 6×5,1
Pure Aero Tour 11,9 3 6,1×5,8
Pure Drive 11,7 3,3 6×5,7
Head Flexpoint Radical Tour 11,7 3 6×5,1
Average 11,6 3,1 6×5,4

The length of string you’ll need to string a badminton racket

A string for a badminton racket follows much of the same theory mentioned above but string patters will vary a bit. The usual pattern is 22 mains and 22 crosses.

Frame Length – meter SS (short side) – meter 2 piece M X C (mains x crosses)
Yonex Voltric 3 5,1×4,8
Yonex Arc Saber 7 5,1×4,8
Prince Hornet 5,7×5,1
Wilson BLX Force 9,9 2,7 5,4×4,5
Average 5,3×4,8

The length of string you’ll need to string a squash racket

Squashrackets will need the least amount of string length. Here you’ll find some popular models and actual recommend lengths.

Frame Length – meter SS (short side) – meter 2 piece M X C (mains x crosses)
Tecnifibre Carboflex Basaltex 130 9,0 2,6 4,6×3,4
Head Metallix 140 8,1 2,3 4,5×3,4
Dunlop Biomimetic Max 9,1 2,6 5,2×4,3
Wilson Blade BLX 10,7 2,7 5,5×5,2
Average 9,2 2,6 5×4,1

The difference between a ‘set’ and a ‘reel’ or ‘coil’

Allright, so what to do with these numbers? You might wonder why this poses a question at all as you may have bought all your strings in your local shop and considered they probably should always be delivered with enough string. And maybe you wish to do so in the future. However, did you know you could actually save quite a bit of money if you are prepared to buy your strings in bulk?

In fact, strings can be bought in ‘sets’ of 12 meter or in ‘reels’ of 100 or 200 meter for a long time now. Of course, 200 meter will feel like a huge number, especially if you’re just looking to replace your current string, but buying one might actually be an interesting option for you, depending on the frequency of playing (and breaking your strings). Personally, I’ve been able to save quite a bit of money by buying one of my favourite string’s, the Signum Pro Poly Plasma 1.28m 200m (link to check it’s current price at Amazon) on a 200 meter reel.

If you divide 200 meters by 12 meters, you’ll know you will be able to string roughly 17 rackets with a reel. If you know or can guesstimate how many times you’ll break your strings (or just simply want to replace them), you’ll be able to tell if this is an investment for you. Let’s try an example with one of the strings I have sold the most in my shop: the Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 (link to check it’s current price at Amazon). This string costs around 17.99 euro (or $ 17.95) a set and 101.99 (or $ 158) a reel (of 200 meter) – at the time of writing this post.

Let’s divide and you’ll get to a cost price of 5.66 euro per racket. That’ll save you more than 12 euro on every restrung racket! And a total save of more than 200 euro! Not bad for a quick calculation…

For whom might reels be interesting?

Now, hold on… please don’t run to the store right away to get your first reel. Let’s just pause a minute an think for whom this actually might be interesting. Aren’t you sure of your current setup and string choice? Then I would definitely advise you to keep buying sets for now while your still in the experimenting phase. If you don’t like the next string you’ll test, you’ll just move on to the next one. Also, you’ll may find that if you’re switching strings you all of a sudden don’t experience string breakage that much anymore. Finally, from experience I know that reels of string can dry out in the course of time, especially if you happen to put the reels in warm and sunny storage space. This can in the end cause premature breakage of strings, even while stringing. I think you should try using all of your stock within a season or two or three.

On the other hand, are you a true string breaker? A power player? A true combination of Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal? Have you actually tested quite a few strings and are you confident with your current set up? Than it would be crazy for you not to be buying strings from a reel! You would be actually stealing money from yourself! Well, no, but you’ll get the idea… Also, often you’ll find that you can even increase a bit of savings if you can buy even a couple of reels all at once. Though, not every business offers these discounts and always keep the safeguards mentioned above in your thoughts.

To measure is to know for sure

Of course, we stringers make an art of tweaking our savings and with good reason. But you can do this to. The rules of thumb are good to get you going, but you’ll find that it might depend a bit on your specific stringing technique (one piece vs two piece stringing, around the world). On tip is to make some notes of you’re work while you’re stringing. I did the same when I started. You’ll probably start out with just a few rackets so you can easily keep track of it. You can do this in a simple notebook, Excel-sheet or even just write it down on some adhesive labels and stick it to the racket and write down some extra info too, like the string type and the preferred racket tension. I’ve found these waterproof kitchen labels (link to check it’s current price at Amazon) but you can easily find ones that work for you by searching a bit. Of course, if you’re stringing a racket for clients, be sure to check with them if adding a label works for them.

As a final thought, I just would like to emphasise that making a few mistakes here and there is no problem at all actually. Just remember that by stringing yourself and buying your strings in bulk, you’ll already be saving enough to account for some minor losses. Losing a bit, in stringing and in racket sports, are just part of life.

So what about you? Do you ever run into string shortages on your final weave? And how do you prevent it from happening again? Please let us know by placing a comment down below and help out your fellow stringers with your experience.  

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