Lemonade, shade trees and stringing machines

August 8th, 2011

filed in Tennis Product Reviews

I have been stringing tennis racquets for 6 years, about as long as I've been playing “serious” tennis (in local leagues, as a Tennis Club Member, etc.) and I have a bit of experience with stringing machines.  I've always been one to dig deep into the technical side of my activities and tennis is no different.  In fact, it's a great sport to test new products and learn the technology that makes racquets work! And by stringing my own racquets I get to “play” with all the latest strings at minimal cost!

I am a USRSA member and string for my club members and those of several other clubs.

There are about 13 tennis stringing machine manufacturers who make about 75 different models (RSi, Aug. 2011).  Prices range from $ 150 to $ 10,000 (whew!).  They come in table-top, on a stand, hand-crank, and electric.  They offer 2, 4, 5, & 6 point mounting systems.  They have a couple types of clamping systems and some are more ergonomically-correct than others (& some are rather impressive in appearance).

My favorite stringing machine is the stand-alone, hand-crank (lockout) style with swivel clamps.  I like the 6 point mounting system the best—it really supports the racquet during the extreme pressure it must endure!   The swivel clamps are a bit slower than glide-bar styles, but the swivel action makes it easier to work on racquets with unusual shapes (fan pattern, for example).

I've never been interested in an electric stringing machine.  I'm able to use my lockout machine anywhere—in the house, in the garage, and heck—even in my back yard under a shade tree sipping lemonade!!  It is easily transported to events.  Non-electric machines, like mine, weigh less and also only use “human energy”.  And I paid under $1,000 for my stringer.

As a final point, stand-alone lock-out stringing machines are accurate and relatively simple to work with, repair, and calibrate.  I sometimes question the need for the very expensive electric units.  But I guess if one is stringing 100's of racquets a week, it may be the correct choice in that situation.