Tennis is a sound sport for couples and families on a budget. Beginner rackets can cost as little as $20 to $40, and they will last a long time with proper maintenance. However, no sporting equipment is indestructible. While the cost of racket strings is fairly low, the amount you spend depends several factors. You'll need to examine the way you use and treat your racket to determine your total string expenses over the course the year.
The average cost of stringing a tennis racket varies by brand. In some cases, a sporting good store will give you a discount on installation if you buy the strings from that store. Prices change as models become obsolete, but, as of 2012, string for a basic racket cost about $10 to $15. Professional strings, however, can cost more than $100. Installation charges vary depending on the store, but you can expect to spend an average of $10 for the labor.
Obviously, the cost will go up if you use the racket a lot. If you're a casual player putting in court time once or twice a week, you should need to string your racket once a year. If you're more experienced and play frequently -- perhaps three to five times a week -- you should replace the strings three to five times per year to maintain top performance.
Signs of Wear
Although you may want to change strings as part of a regular racket maintenance plan, you'll save money if you replace the strings only when needed. Naturally, loose or broken strings are a conclusive indication that it's time for a change. Less obvious but more important is the shape of the "sweet spot" at the center of the strings. If you notice issues with speed or accuracy, feel the strings around the sweet spot. The strings should be tense with little if any slack. Also, look for thin or moving strings at the center and the inner edge. If any of these issues affect your performance, investing some extra money on new strings can save you a lot of frustration.
You can save even more money on strings if you properly maintain your equipment. Keep it in its cover at all times so dirt won't clog the string holes or scrape the racket. Also, don't store your equipment in basements, attics or car trunks that can get very cold or hot. Exposure to such extremes causes the strings to expand and contract, which effectively ruins them. The amount of damage varies based on the quality of your strings and the temperature, but even three to four hours of exposure in an uncontrolled climate -- such as a shed or garage -- can increase the rate of deterioration.
Alex Saez is a writer who draws much of his information from his professional and academic experience. Saez holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Queen's University and an advanced diploma in business administration, with a focus on human resources, from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario.