Best 8: Polyester strings

If you are an intermediate or advanced player that swings big, then beyond selecting the right racquet, choosing the best polyester string (at the optimum tension) is an incredibly important decision. Polyester strings have transformed the way tennis is played over the last 20 years providing previously unattainable levels of spin and great control in a low-powered package. Because of the low power, polyester strings typically need to be strung 5-10% lower than natural gut or multifilament strings.

As a general rule, polyester strings, because of the stiffness, are definitely not 'arm friendly' and should not be used by players with tennis elbow conditions. However, these strings have varying levels of stiffness, so they may be able to be used on their own or in a hybrid with natural gut or a multifilament.

Like the majority of string types, typically polyester strings come in different gauges (thicknesses) and colors and are available in 39ft or 40ft length packs (to string a complete racquet) or longer reels (which provide modest cost savings). Generally, thicker gauges are stiffer, more durable and provide more control - and, in contrast, thinner gauges stretch more to provide more spin and feel, but can be prone to break more often.

Players are encouraged to experiment with different string gauges to find the optimum setup for their strokes and game. For each string, we provide the 'scientifically' stated stiffness in lb/in for the gauge shown in (brackets). A 2019 new version of this article is available at Best 8: Polyester Strings 2019.

Best 8 Polyester Strings

Babolat RPM Blast

Babolat RPM Blast

Made in: France
Manufactured by: Babolat
Profile: Octagonal
Material: Co-polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 233 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 15L, 16, 17, 18
Colors: Black
Tension: Recommended 48 lbs (22 kgs) to 62 lbs (28 kgs)

Babolat's RPM Blast is a widely popular high-density co-polyester monofilament string for good reason. It is available is a variety of gauges and colors. RPM Blast offers a solid, firm feel and response at around $18/pack. The octagonal section and cross-linked silicone coating allow the strings to quickly return to their original positions and “bite” the ball better for high levels of spin. RPM Blast both performs well on its own and plays really well with natural gut in a hybrid as either the mains or crosses.

Pros that use it (gauge used): Rafael Nadal (15L), Fabio Fognini (16), Stan Wawrinka (16), Julia Goerges (17).

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Luxilon Alu Power Rough

Luxilon Alu Power Rough

Made in: Belgium
Manufactured by: Luxilon Industries NV
Profile: Round
Material: Co-polymer nylon, fluocarbon, aluminum fibers
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 202 lb/in (16L)
Gauges: 16L
Colors: Grey
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 60 lbs (27 kgs)

The Luxilon Alu Power Rough is a textured version of Alu Power with a 'rough' finish to grab the ball and provide string levels of spin. Part of a stable of strings under the BigBanger™ collection, Luxilon's Alu Power Rough is slightly softer but still firm, low-powered string with good levels of feel and high levels of control and precision. You can pick one up at $18/pack. Alu Power Rough is an excellent choice for hybrid stringing in either mains or crosses. So much so, that it is the polyester used alongside natural gut in Wilson's Champion Choice hybrid pack used by perhaps the greatest player of all time (GOAT), Roger Federer.

Pros that use it (gauge used): Roger Federer (Hybrid crosses), Kevin Anderson (16L), Kyle Edmund (16L).

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Wilson Revolve

Wilson Revolve

Made in: China
Manufactured by: Wilson Sporting Goods
Profile: Pentagonal (5-sided)
Material: Co-polyester (Crosslink ester polymer and UHMW, a low friction material)
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 184 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 15, 16, 17
Colors: Black, Orange, White
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

Wilson Revolve is a good value at around $10/pack. It is one of the softer and more comfortable polyester strings available. The five-sided profile grabs the ball, and the slippery UHMW materials allow the strings to slide and snapback, to deliver high levels of spin. Revolve is a strong choice for intermediate and advanced players providing a good feel. The only downside with this string, like all polyester strings, is the loss of tension experienced.

Pros that use it (gauge used): None known.

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Yonex Tour Fire

Yonex Poly Tour Fire

Made in: Japan
Manufactured by: Yonex Company
Profile: Round
Material: Co-polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 195 lb/in (16L)
Gauges: 16L, 17
Colors: Red
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

Yonex has a number of great polyester strings that could be featured in this Best 8 list. Yonex Tour Fire is a truly under-rated polyester string at around $15/pack. The round profile and silicon oil-infused filament (SIF) technology provide a really slippery string that snaps back to deliver greater spin on the ball. Added to that, this string is really comfortable and provides strong stability and durability. Tour Fire is good for an entire racquet but is exceptional as a cross string to either balance natural gut or another polyester like Luxilon's Alu Power Rough or a multifilament. If you use it as a hybrid in the crosses, remember to reduce the tension by 2-4 lbs to open up the sweet spot and get the full benefit of the string.

Pros that use it: Angelique Kerber (Hybrid in crosses).

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Volkl Cyclone

Volkl Cyclone

Made in: Taiwan
Manufactured by: Volkl Tennis
Profile: Gear-shaped
Material: Co-polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 197 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 16, 17, 18, 18L, 19
Colors: Black, Pink, Orange, Yellow
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

Volkl Cyclone gear-shaped profile delivers high levels of spin and pocketing yet has good levels of comfort. Cyclone is especially suited to aggressive baseline players who deliver heavy topspin under control to dictate play. Cyclone is available in black, and distinctive bright colors. Thinner gauges (especially 18 and 19 gauges) provide even greater access to spin while sacrificing durability. So, if you a 'string breaker' then stick to the thicker strings. With the gear shape, Cyclone is not really a great candidate for a hybrid set-up as will destroy another string (like natural gut) or struggle to effectively slide across another string. And, if you need further encouragement, Volkl Cyclone is great value at only $8/pack.

Pros that use it: None known.

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Solinco Hyper-G

Solinco Hyper-G

Made in: Taiwan
Manufactured by: Solinco, LLC
Profile: Square
Material: Polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 216 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 16, 16L, 17, 18, 19, 20
Colors: Green
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

The (relatively new) Solinco Hyper-G string has rapidly won an army of followers for its impressive qualities of spin and precision derived from its square-shaped profile. Not too firm and not too soft, this $12/pack string enables those aggressive players to hit big without worrying about overhitting. Hyper-G is easily recognizable for its bright green color and, for pros that use it, the distinctive circular donut marking on the strings. Heavy topspin players rejoice in the ball diving steeply and jump off the court. Ultra-thin versions of this string are particularly impressive but will not have the durability of thicker strings.

Pros that use it: Bryan Brothers, Sam Querrey, Donald Young.

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Luxilon 4G

Luxilon 4G

Made in: Belgium
Manufactured by: Luxilon Industries NV
Profile: Round
Material: Polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 287 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 16, 16L
Colors: Gold
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

Luxilon 4G is a popular, very durable string that provides enhanced levels of tension maintenance than many other polyester strings. At $18/pack, 4G is a user-friendly polyester string that provides higher than typical comfort levels and control.

Pros that use it: Jelena Ostapenko, Serena Williams.

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Solinco Tour Bite

Solinco Tour Bite

Made in: Taiwan
Manufactured by: Solinco LLC
Profile: Square
Material: Polyester
Construction: Monofilament
Stiffness (gauge): 203 lb/in (16)
Gauges: 16, 16L, 17, 18, 19, 20
Colors: Grey
Tension: Typically 45 lbs (20 kgs) to 55 lbs (25 kgs)

Solinco's Tour Bite is popular at the college level due to high levels of control and spin. The square-shaped profile of this string bites into the ball at contact and snaps back to deliver a heavy ball to those players that swing fast. This $12/pack string in mid-range for firmness and provides decent feel and durability. With the selection of gauges available and loyal following, this string is well worth recreational players checking out in their racquet.

Pros that use it: Sloane Stephens (16L).

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Summary

Frankly, there is no bad choice in the best eight polyester strings. Each one offers a blend of attributes, that in the right hands, can transform a players game. If we are pressed to pick three to check out, then we'd select (in no particular order) Solinco Hyper-G, Volkl Cyclone, and Luxilon Alu Power Rough because they are all interesting and can be bought for around $38 total.

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