Justin, I am an amateur player who doesn't want to spend too much money stringing my racquets often. I heard about string savers, but it doesn't seem to be a very popular accessory among recreational players. What can you tell me about these string savers? How effective are they? Do you even recommend using them?—Kevin Nguyen
Regular string breakage and restringing can indeed be expensive, Kevin, especially if you don’t own a machine and string yourself. One remedy to this are string savers—small pieces of material, plastic or otherwise, which are slipped in between the strings in high-wear areas. Ultimately, string savers prevent cross and main strings from rubbing against one another, increasing their durability.
But while string savers are very effective at extending string life, they’re not a flawless panacea. For starters, they can really stiffen the string bed and deaden shots’ feel. (The ball’s rebounding off of plastic, remember.) This isn’t so much a problem when string savers are installed in natural gut, because it’s already such a pliable, lively string. In fact, it may even be advisable to use string savers to curb fraying in uncoated gut. But when string savers are placed in a nylon, multifilament, or, God forbid, monofilament string bed, the feel can be less than desirable.
What’s more, string savers may decrease spin potential, insomuch as they reduce string movement. And with spin being so important in today’s game—not only for professionals, but for many recreational players as well—string savers may put players at a slight disadvantage.
If you’re worried about durability, Kevin, I’d recommend you try out a co-polyester strung in the high 40s to low 50s (lbs.). Unlike string savers, co-polys will allow you to strike a better balance between playability and durability. For greater context on extending your strings' durability, read this recent Question of the Day.