Difference Between 16 And 17 Gauge Tennis String for 2023

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Robert A. Foreman

Tennis is largely a game of precision and power. Selecting the right tennis string will greatly affect your overall power and control. And for strings, two popular options are 16 and 17-gauge tennis strings. At a glance, beginners will hardly find any difference in 16 and 17-gauge strings and will likely use anyone they get quickly.

Well, that’s not right. Before you choose the string, you must know the difference between 16 and 17-gauge tennis strings. It will help you quickly select the string that suits your gameplay and strategies on the tennis court.

Typically, you will see the difference between 16-gauge and 17-gauge tennis strings in strength, responsiveness, longevity, feel, and tension on the strings. Also, aggressive players find 16 gauge strings better, whereas players who prefer finesse will like the 17 gauge strings more.

So, let’s take this discussion further to see which string is suitable for your tennis strategies. You will also learn about the right uses of both string types in real life.

Difference between 16 And 17 Gauge Tennis String

When choosing the right string, tennis players often ask, “Is 16 or 17-gauge tennis string better?” This question has no direct answer since you have to know their difference in uses, strengths, and preferences to finalize which one you should choose.

What is 16 Tennis Gauge

16 Gauge refers to a specific thickness of tennis string. It is approximately 1.30 millimeters in diameter. Advanced players commonly use 16-gauge tennis strings and look for a balance between durability and feel.

What is 17 Tennis Gauge

17 Gauge refers to approximately 1.25 millimeters of the thickness of the tennis string in diameter. It is thinner than 16 gauge. So, those who prefer and prioritize feel and spin over durability will use 17-gauge tennis strings.

The difference in string thickness: (Gauge tennis strings chart)

The thickness of the 16 gauge strings varies between 1.25mm to 1.34mm, while another version, the 16L gauge string, has 1.22mm to 1.30mm thickness. On the contrary, 17 gauge strings are 1.16mm to 1.24mm thick.

It shows that 16-gauge strings are thicker than 17-gauge ones. Its string thickness increases its tension and strength. The following table will help you know the difference in the thickness of different string gauges.

String GaugeMeasurement according to US Specification
Gauge 131.65 – 1.80mm
Gauge 141.50 – 1.65mm
Gauge 151.41 – 1.49mm
Gauge 15L1.33 – 1.41mm
Gauge 161.25 – 1.34mm
Gauge 16L1.22 – 1.30mm
Gauge 171.16 – 1.24mm
Gauge 181.06 – 1.16mm
Gauge 190.90 – 1.06mm
Gauge 200.80 – 0.90mm
Gauge 210.70 – 0.80mm
Gauge 220.60 – 0.70mm

The difference in strength:

Generally speaking, 17-gauge strings are stronger than 16-gauge strings. They are less likely to break during gameplay or over time with regular use. Also, with added strength, 17 gauge strings suit more powerful shots than the 16 gauge strings. It happens because of its enhanced tension on the string.

The difference in tension:

17-gauge strings have higher tension than 16-gauge strings. It can affect how much power and control you have over your shots and how fast the ball travels across the court. With more strength, 17 gauge strings give your shots more spin and power.

That’s why you will find that the manufacturers use 17 gauge as the best tennis strings for intermediate players by default. The stretchiness also influences its uses in power rackets that pros often prefer.

The difference in responsiveness:

In addition to strength and tension, responsiveness is another key consideration when choosing a tennis string. 17-gauge strings are more responsive than 16-gauge strings. It can provide a better feel and feedback when hitting the ball, allowing for more precise shots. Also, with added responsiveness, you will find 17 strings preferable for shot accuracy and speed.

Durability and overall lifespan:

16-gauge strings tend to last longer than 17-gauge strings. Its tension and stretchiness often result in better longevity. It saves you from replacing the 16 strings frequently. It will, thus, save you money and time simultaneously.

Different uses for different tennis shots:

16-gauge strings are better for players who prefer a more powerful game, as they provide greater durability and control. Aggressive players will love such power in their tennis racket. On the other hand, 17-gauge strings are ideal for players who prioritize precision and feel power.

16-gauge string pros:

  • It provides greater durability and control
  • Better suited for players who prefer a more powerful game

16-gauge string cons:

  • Less responsive than 17-gauge strings
  • Shorter lifespan compared to 17-gauge strings

17-gauge string pros:

  • More responsive than 16-gauge strings
  • Ideal for players who prioritize precision and feel over power

17-gauge string cons:

  • Lower durability compared to 16-gauge strings
  • Typically comes at a higher cost

Should I get a 16 or 17-gauge tennis string?

You will enjoy a better touch and responsiveness with 17 strings on the tennis court. Also, its finesse is exceptional, and delicate players will love it. So, you should get 17 gauge strings if you need better shot accuracy with improved control.

On the contrary, aggressive players who look for power over accuracy in their shots might choose 16-gauge strings. Also, it is more durable than 17 strings which adds to its overall advantage.

Comparing Features16 gauge17 gauge
String TensionHigherLower
Suitable ForAggressive PlayersFinesse Players

Difference between 16L and 16 Strings:

The difference between 16L and 16 string lies in their respective diameters. 16L gauge string has a slightly smaller diameter than 16-gauge string. Specifically, the 16L gauge string is approximately 1.25 millimeters, while the 16-gauge string is approximately 1.30 millimeters.

This gives the 16L string a slightly softer feel and more potential for a spin. Also, the 16-gauge string may be better suited for players who value durability.

Here’s a table summarizing the differences:

String GaugeDiameter (mm)Characteristics
16L1.25Softer feel, good for spin
161.30 More durable, less spin

What String Gauge Do Pros Use?

The string gauge that professional tennis players use varies widely depending on their individual preferences and playing styles. Some players prefer thicker strings for added durability. So, they will choose 16-gauge or 16L tennis string.

On the other hand, others opt for thinner strings for increased feel and spin potential. They may prefer 17-gauge tennis strings for a better feel and consistency. It’s worth noting that pros often have access to custom string setups that may not be available to recreational players.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does gauge mean in tennis strings?

Gauge refers to the thickness of a tennis string. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the string. For instance, 16 gauge strings have 1.25 – 1.34mm string thickness, whereas 22 gauge strings have only 0.70mm to 0.80mm.

Do professional players use 16 or 17-gauge tennis strings?

Many professional players use 16 gauge tennis strings because they prefer added control and durability. For instance, Roger Federer generally uses 16 gauge string from Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough. Novak Djokovic also used the same string in his ATP tours. On the other side, Ashleigh Barty, in his World Tour, used 17 gauge strings.

Do heavier gauge strings sound better?

Not necessarily. While heavier gauge strings may offer increased durability, they can also feel stiffer and produce less spin than thinner gauges. Ultimately, the “best” string gauge for an individual player depends on a variety of factors, including playing style and personal preferences.

Should I get thinner or thicker strings?

Again, this depends on your individual playing style and preferences. Thinner strings generally offer more feel and spin potential, while thicker strings may be more durable and produce a firmer feel. Experimenting with different gauges is a good idea to see what works best for you.

What gauge tennis string should I use?

The ideal string gauge for you depends on your individual playing style and preferences. Generally speaking, thinner strings offer more feel and spin potential, while thicker strings provide added durability. If you’re not sure where to start, try a 16 or 17-gauge string and adjust from there based on your experience.


The difference between 16 and 17-gauge tennis strings shows you can use both string types for different tennis strategies. If you love aggressiveness on the court, you may choose 16 gauge strings with added strength and shot speed. It will help the tennis ball travel faster.

Nonetheless, you should opt for 17 gauge strings if you prefer finesse and accuracy. Its improved spin on the ball will make it difficult for the opponent to guess which side it will turn. It will likely increase your points during tough games.

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