10 Best Multifilament Tennis Strings
A Comprehensive Guide
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Well known for their power, comfort, and feel, multifilament tennis strings are a popular option with varying price points and performance qualities that suit a wide range of player needs and preferences.
However, instead of simply making a few recommendations, I’ll help you get to know multifilaments, including their pros and cons, how they stack up against other types of strings, stringing considerations, and more.
Of course, I’ll also review my hand-picked selection of the ten best multifilament tennis strings, so you can confidently purchase a set that will perform well at a price that makes sense for you.
|#1||Head Velocity MLT||$$|
|#2||Tecnifibre X-One Biphase||$$$$|
|#3||Wilson NXT Comfort||$$$$|
|#5||Wilson NXT Control||$$$$|
|#6||Gamma TNT2 Touch||$$$|
|#8||Head RIP Control||$$|
|#9||Gamma Live Wire Professional||$$$$|
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Multifilament String Video
Multifilament vs. Other Strings
When to Replace
10 Best Multifilament Strings
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Multifilament String Video Guide
For a more visual walkthrough of multifilament tennis strings, including their advantages, disadvantages, and comparisons to other popular strings, check out my video below.
For an overview of the video’s contents, check out the timestamps below, which are also useful for jumping to a specific section.
0:00 – Start
0:24 – What is Multifilament Tennis String?
1:00 – Advantages of Multifilaments
1:54 – Disadvantages of Multifilaments
3:13 – Multifilaments vs. Polyester Monofilament
3:45 – Multifilaments vs. Synthetic Gut
4:07 – Multifilaments vs. Natural Gut
4:51 – Stringing with Multifilaments
5:37 – Hybrid Stringing with Multifilaments
6:12 – When to Replace Multifilaments
The video serves as a companion to this guide, but I’m a bit more detailed in the written version, so keep scrolling to learn everything you need to know about multifilament strings.
What is Multifilament Tennis String?
Although the exact construction and materials can differ, multifilament tennis strings are one of four primary types of tennis strings produced by weaving together hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of tiny synthetic microfibers or filaments to form a single strand.
The result is a softer, more forgiving string that mimics natural gut’s performance characteristics, including power, comfort, and feel, at a reduced price afforded by synthetic materials and reduced labor costs.
As far as materials go, nylon is the most common and typically serves as the string’s foundation. However, you’ll also find the integration of other materials, such as polyester, to modify a particular string’s performance.
Advantages of Multifilaments
Although rarely used at the professional level, where the higher-priced natural gut is preferred second to polyester, multifilament tennis strings are hugely popular for players of all skill levels and styles of play.
Let’s review a few of the pros or top reasons players seek out this kind fo string. However, keep in mind that these are the general characteristics you can expect, and some deliver better performance in a specific area.
If you’re looking to add some extra power to your game, then multifilaments are an excellent option to consider.
The materials, which often include nylon fibers and polyurethane for bonding, combined with their construction style, results in an ultra-responsive string that’s elastic and returns energy to the ball.
Unfortunately, arm discomfort and injuries like tennis elbow are prevalent in our sport, often exacerbated by stiffer, less forgiving tennis racquets.
As a result, one of the most significant reasons players gravitate toward multifilament tennis strings is for comfort.
Their unique construction that weaves together many fibers lends itself to a soft, more forgiving response that can also help absorb shock and is easier on a player’s arm.
Feel can be a tricky sensation to describe, especially if you haven’t experienced varying degrees of it. One way to think of it is how well the strings translate feedback to a player’s hand and arm when striking a ball.
Relative to other strings, such as synthetic gut or polyester, multifilaments tend to deliver added feedback, which some players appreciate. In contrast, others might prefer the muted feel of a stiffer string like polyester.
Another area where multifilament tennis strings tend to outshine other synthetic alternatives is how well they maintain their tension. After stringing, all strings lose tension. However, some lose it at a higher rate or experience more significant overall tension loss.
The material and construction of multifilament tennis strings help reduce tension loss, which means you generally won’t have to restring as frequently and can subsequently save yourself time and money.
Disadvantages of Multifilaments
Unfortunately, no strings are perfect, and the same is true of multifilaments. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides or cons associated with them.
As you review these, keep in mind that these comments are relative to other types of strings, so as an example, it’s not that you can’t or won’t experience control with them. However, if that was a top priority, you might want to look to a different string type.
On the one hand, multifilaments deliver power, but a subsequent tradeoff is that many players who swing hard will find they lack control and subsequently prefer a stiffer lower-powered string.
Although not necessary, especially if you desire the extra power, many players who use multifilaments will compensate by increasing their strings’ tension, which lowers the ball’s trajectory, i.e., more control.
Due to their materials and construction, multifilament tennis strings are more susceptible to string breaks under a large amount of stress.
However, your skill level, grip type, swing speed, and the type of racquet can also contribute to a strings durability. As a result, these strings offer more than sufficient durability for many players. Higher-level intermediate to advanced players that swing hard will experience more issues here.
Of course, one way to improve a multifilament tennis string’s durability is to increase the gauge or thickness. Another route you can take is to use string savers.
Topspin is primarily a result of a player’s technique and grip, combined with sufficient racquet head speed. However, with that said, some strings are better at enhancing the spin a player can generate than others.
When you strike a ball, the strings deform or move within the racquet’s head, and some like polyester, quickly snap into place and aid topspin. On the other hand, multifilaments tend to move less, and when they do move, they won’t snap back nearly as much and will often stick.
This effect results from the materials used and the stickier outer coatings that usually bond and support the string’s power. Again, it’s not that you can’t generate topspin with multifilaments, you absolutely can, but if this is a higher priority, then another string like polyester might be a better fit.
As mentioned in the prior section, when multifilament tennis strings deform and move out of place, they tend to stick, so your strings will move out of place, and you might be inclined to straighten them continually. Some players find this annoying, while others don’t mind.
Of course, you have to swing hard enough for the strings to deform and move out of place, so it’s not an issue for all players.
Multifilament vs. Other Types of Strings
There are four core or primary types of tennis strings, including multifilaments, polyester, synthetic gut, and natural gut.
Each type of string can be a perfect or ideal fit for different players, so it depends on an individual’s needs and preferences. Since we’re talking about multifilaments, let’s review how they compare to the others.
Multifilament vs. Monofilament Polyester
Construction and materials are two distinct variables that separate multifilaments from monofilaments.
First, multifilaments are composed of many smaller fibers, while monofilaments are one single thicker solid strand or filament. Second, while multis usually consist of softer nylon, monofilaments get produced with stiffer polyester.
As a result, these strings have drastically different performance characteristics with multifilaments delivering high power, comfort, and tension maintenance. On the other hand, polyester strings deliver low power, spin, control, and durability.
Multifilament vs. Synthetic Gut
In terms of materials and performance, there’s a bit of overlap between multifilaments and synthetic gut.
First, nylon is the dominant material for both. However, while multifilaments usually consist of many fibers to produce the final string, synthetic gut usually has one larger nylon filament at the core with one or more additional wraps or layers of smaller nylon fibers. Furthermore, the quality of nylon fibers is often superior in multifilaments.
In terms of performance, they offer roughly the same pros and cons as we cover earlier, but multifilaments outperform synthetic gut more often than not. The price usually reflects the difference in performance, with multifilaments being the premium option.
Multifilament vs. Natural Gut
If you’re looking to step up a notch in performance and quality from multifilaments, then natural gut would be the solution.
Once again, these strings offer similar performance characteristics. However, multifilaments are synthetic, while natural gut comes from a labor-intensive process that transforms the outer fibrous layer or serosa of cow intestine into tennis strings.
Although the manufacture of multifilaments has come a long way and fantastic multis exist, natural gut remains the gold standard for power, comfort, feel, and tension maintenance.
Of course, there’s a catch. The top-rated natural gut is more than twice the cost of the best multifilament tennis strings, so they remain incredibly popular among amateur players.
Stringing with Multifilaments
When considering the use of multifilament tennis strings, two topics often come to the forefront. First, which gauge or thickness should you purchase, and second, what’s the ideal tension.
Let’s quickly review each of these topics.
When you purchase a set of multifilaments, you’ll need to decide on your preferred thickness or gauge. Most will have a gauge of 16 or 17.
There’s no right or wrong answer, but all else equal, a thicker string will be more durable, while a thinner option will offer greater topspin.
If you’re new to the sport, then the extra durability provided by 16 gauge is an excellent starting point to prolong the life of your strings.
After you decide on a gauge, you’ll need to select a tension you’ll ask your stringer to use when installing them.
Lower tensions enhance perceived power by increasing the ball’s trajectory when it leaves your strings, while higher tensions have the opposite result, which translates to greater control.
If you’re stringing a racquet for the first time, then a great place to start is in the middle of your racquet’s recommended string tension. You’ll find this printed on the frame, packaging, or manufacturer’s website. Then, based on your experience, you can adjust up or down to your preference.
With that said, it’s relatively common for players to string multifilaments a bit tighter because of the power they offer. It’s not a hard and fast rule, and results will vary depending on the exact multifilament you choose and your racquet, but it’s something to consider.
Hybrid Stringing with Multifilaments
Hybrid stringing involves the combination of two different strings. Anything from combining varying gauges of the same string to entirely different types of strings constitutes a hybrid. However, more often than not, it involves two separate kinds of strings.
If you’ve read about the pros and cons of different string types and unsure which to go with, this is another route you can take.
Keep in mind that the string you use in the mains (running from top to bottom) will dominate the racquet’s overall feel. For example, if you’re stringing a multifilament with polyester and you’d like to air on the side of comfort, then you’d want to use the multi in the mains. However, if spin is your priority, poly would be ideal in the mains.
As for tension, you may choose to vary it for each string. If that’s the case, I’d encourage you to stay within 5 lbs (2.3 kg) for each string. Anything over that can tend to lead to erratic or inconsistent performance.
When to Replace Multifilament Strings
Apart from the obvious break of a string that requires you to restring, there are a few signs you can keep an eye on to determine when it’s time.
First, as your strings wear, you’ll notice they begin to form notches at the intersections between strings. These are helpful to keep an eye on because as they get deeper, they’ll be more likely to break.
Another sign to watch out for is fraying, a natural part of the wear process for multifilaments. As the strings rub against each other, some of the tiny fibers will begin to break or fray.
Of course, you don’t need to restring your racquet at the first sign of fraying, but as it becomes more prevalent, it’s a good sign that you’re getting close to needing a refresh.
Beyond those visual indicators, if you begin to notice a drop in the control, spin, power, or comfort of your strings, it may also be time.
Although it can be easy to blame your strings for a bad day at the court, if it’s been a few weeks since your last string job and you have three or more off days, it might be a great time to restring. Even if you’re slightly premature, restringing can offer a helpful mental boost.
10 Best Multifilament Strings
The following are my picks for the best multifilament tennis strings in the business. I’ve played with each of them on multiple occasions and can speak to their quality and performance.
I’ve ranked them in order of my favorite, but every string on this list is here for a reason, and some perform better or worse in different areas.
With that in mind, here’s a few popular criteria I often get questions about when it comes to multifilaments, and my picks for which string on this list takes the top spot.
- Best Overall: Head Velocity MLT
- Best for Power: Tecnifibre X-One Biphase
- Best for Comfort: Wilson NXT
- Best for Spin: Tecnifibre NRG2
- Best for Durability: Head RIP Control
- Best for Control: Head RIP Control
- Best Price: Head Velocity MLT
Keep reading to learn more about each of the ten different strings.
Head Velocity MLT
As far as this list goes, Head Velocity MLT is a bit of a sleeper. Although some of the other strings on this list outperform it in certain areas, none of them strike as good a balance between quality and price.
It’s everything you’d expect from a premium multifilament with a wonderfully crisp response and above-average topspin.
Plus, it’s available in three different gauges, which include 15L (1.40 mm), 16 (1.30 mm), and 17 (1.24 mm). You’ll also get to choose between various colors, including black, blue, natural, pink, and yellow.
Head Velocity MLT is my pick for the best overall multifilament.
Tecnifibre X-One Biphase
A long-standing favorite in the world of multifilaments, Tecnifibre makes some of the best in the business. Although it’s one of the pricier options on my list, X-One Biphase produces excellent results.
Its standout features include explosive power and comfort, while also maintaining a crisp feel. As for tension maintenance, it offers some of the best performance in this category of strings.
It comes in 16 (1.30 mm), 17 (1.24 mm), and 18 (1.18 mm) gauges. Plus, it’s available in natural and red colors.
Wilson NXT Comfort
Perhaps the most popular multifilament on our list, Wilson NXT Comfort, is a time-tested option that delivers the goods. You’ll pay a premium for it, but you can also expect high-end performance.
My only gripe with the string relative to its price is durability. If you like how multifilaments perform and you’re looking for a durable option, this is not the string for you. Otherwise, it’s excellent.
You can pick Wilson NXT Comfort in 16 (1.30 mm) and 17 (1.24 mm) gauge. Plus, it’s available in natural or black.
Helpful Tip: It’s worth noting they do offer Wilson DuraMax as an alternative, which provides extra durability, but in my opinion, it gives up a bit too much on the power and comfort side.
A predecessor to X-One Biphase, Tecnifibre NRG2, is another long-standing favorite in the world of multifilament tennis strings.
NRG2 offers excellent power and comfort, as well as highly respectable tension maintenance. However, in my experience, better spin, and a bit less durability when compared to X-One.
It’s available in natural and black color and comes in three different gauges, which include 16 (1.32 mm), 17 (1.24 mm), and 18 (1.18 mm).
Wilson NXT Control
If you like the sound of Wilson NXT, but you’re looking for extra durability, I’d turn to NXT Control instead of NXT DuraMax.
What makes this string unique is that it blends nylon and polyester fibers to improve the string’s durability without completely sacrificing comfort. You will give up some comfort and power, but it’s a worthy option for those seeking that extra durability and, of course, control.
In some ways, it’s a bit of a niche string among the multifilament crowd, so your options are limited to its natural color and 16 guage (1.32 mm).
Although Head RIP Control has the edge in the control department, Wilson NXT Control is a close second.
Gamma TNT2 Touch
Another excellent multifilament offering, Gamma TNT2 Touch, offers everything you’d expect from a premium multifilament.
Gamma’s TNT2 technology enhances the string’s elasticity and resilience for power and above-average control for a multifilament.
Of course, as you’d expect, the string still delivers high-end comfort too. Overall, it’s an excellent multifilament that’s worth checking out.
TNT2 Touch comes in 16 (1.32 mm) and 17 (1.27 mm), but you’ll only find it in its natural color.
Although better known for their polyester tennis strings that pair well with their spin-friendly tennis racquets, Xcel is a multifilament offering from Babolat that’s worth checking out.
As far as features go, I give it the nod for comfort and feel, and it will work well for players looking for an arm-friendly solution but don’t want or need the extra power offered by some of the other multis on this list.
Babolat Xcel comes in three gages: 15L (1.35 mm), 16 (1.30 mm), and 17 (1.25 mm). It’s also available in natural and blue colors.
Head RIP Control
Although multifilaments aren’t the first you’d consider when thinking about control-centric tennis strings, Head RIP Control is a standout.
By combining nylon fibers found in most multifilaments with polyolefine ribbons, the string takes on added control and a bit extra durability while retaining reliable comfort. As you might expect, the net result is less power, which you’d desire if you were looking for control.
Head offers RIP Control in three different gauges, which include 16 (1.30 mm), 17 (1.25 mm), and 18 (1.20 mm). As for colors, it’s available in natural, orange, white, and black.
Gamma Live Wire Professional
Like Head Velocity MLT, Gamma Live Wire is one of the less expensive or budget-friendly multifilaments available.
It’s one of the older multifilaments on our list, but it still holds its own as an excellent option that offers the same great power, comfort, and feel you’d expect from this category of strings.
If you don’t have access to Head Velocity MLT or your stringer doesn’t carry it, but you want a string that performs at a great price, then Live Wire Professional is a fantastic option.
Gamma offers it in natural color with 16 (1.32 mm), 17 (1.27 mm), and 18 (1.22 mm) for gauges.
Hands down, Solinco is best known for its polyester strings, which are some of my favorites. However, Vanquish is a respect-worthy multifilament that’s high on comfort without being overbearing on power.
I find it to perform a lot like Babolat Xcel in many ways but at a fraction of the price, so worth checking out if that multifilament style appeals to you.
It’s only available in natural color, but you’ll have three gauges to choose from with 15L (1.35 mm), 16 (1.30 mm), and 17 (1.20 mm).
Although polyester has taken a dominant position in the world of tennis strings, multifilaments continue to play a crucial role, especially among players suffering from arm injuries or discomfort.
Like any category of strings, you’ll find varying degrees of quality and performance with multifilament tennis strings, and they have their pros and cons, but well worth considering.
Hopefully, through this guide, you feel confident in selecting a multifilament that suits your needs, or at the very least, it helps point you in the right direction. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below – I’d be happy to help.
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Your quote, Jon “As for tension, you may choose to vary it for each string. If that’s the case, I’d encourage you not to stay within 5 lbs for each string. Anything over that can tend to lead to erratic or inconsistent performance.” very unclear to me and, I think, contradictory. Please clarify. Thank you.
Hi Mike – thanks for the note and picking up on that mistype. It looks like I had a rogue ‘not’ in that sentence. It should read:
“As for tension, you may choose to vary it for each string. If that’s the case, I’d encourage you to stay within 5 lbs (2.3 kg) for each string. Anything over that can tend to lead to erratic or inconsistent performance.”
Which one of these multifilaments would work best on a 2019 Pure Aero? Thanks!
Hi Scott! In my experience, string durability can be an issue with the Pure Aero, so my recommendation would go with Head RIP Control or Wilson NXT Control at 16 gauge. They’ll also both help reign in a bit of the raw power the Pure Aero offers.
Thanks for the reply. What are your thoughts on a hybrid setup for this racquet with one of these multifilaments in the mains and a polyester in the crosses. I’m 56 so comfort is a concern but also durability since I don’t get a chance to restring very often. BTW, I purchased your serve essentials course and it has been very helpful so far.
Hi Scott! I’ve hit with a hybrid setup and the Pure Aero on several occasions, and it’s a great option. The string you choose for the mains will dominate the overall feel, so going with a multifilament in the mains is the right call for your comfort preference.
The durability of this setup will depend on your style of play and swing. I’ve been a chronic string breaker since I was a teenager – it’s always been a struggle, so I have to consider that any time I string. For that reason, my default string setup with the Pure Aero is poly because I know I’d be restringing too often otherwise.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to say how durable a string setup will be until you give it a go, but I think it’s worth a try. If you’re not snapping your poly setup regularly, then there’s a good chance you’ll be fine. Also, keep in mind that there’s another upside with the multi, which is better tension maintenance. Polys die fairly quickly, so pairing it with a multi, I find I get a bit of extended life out of the strings.
Another suggestion would be to first string the multi in the mains and if you have a durability issue, swap it for the crosses. Yes, you’ll get a bit less comfort this way, but you’ll also get a bit more durability, and it will still play more comfortable than a full bed of poly.
Thank you for giving my serve course a try; I really appreciate it and happy to hear you’re finding it helpful :)