Billed as the only truly reliable, truly portable tennis stringing machine available on the market today, the MiStringer is a lightweight stringing machine with a small footprint designed for self stringers who want to string their racquets accurately.
I've been looking for a more portable option that I can travel with. After searching around and finding a couple of solutions, I settled on the MiStringer due to some other positive reviews I'd read on Amazon. It also looked a more complete, reliable package than some of its competitors.
In this full MiStringer review, I'll take a closer look at the MiStringer, how I got on using it for the first time, the pros and cons of stringing with it compared to a traditional stringing machine and who I think this product is well suited to.
Let's take a look.
What's Different About the MiStringer to a Traditional Stringing Machine?
For those of you that haven't strung a racquet before, here's a quick primer on the various types of stringing machines out there. While they all fulfil the same purpose, some have different use cases than others.
The Tecnifibre Ergo One, pictured below, for example, is the type of machine you'd see in a stringing room at a tournament.
The Ergo one has a high-quality build, electrically powered, and has several features designed for stringers who are stood behind the machine for several hours a day.
Assuming you had space, a machine like this is excellent to use, but given it costs around $5000/£4000 to buy, it is complete overkill for anyone who isn't stringing as a source of income.
Moving down in price we then get to the mid-range stringing machines, these can also be motor powered and have bases, but are often crank-operated to pull tension and in a tabletop design. This is the type of machine I learnt to string on and is pictured below:
The crank machines are solid, bulky pieces of kit and are reliable. While not as quick (and potentially not as accurate as an electric machine) they do a good job and are suited to a club stringer who does a couple of racquets a week.
Going down a further notch in the price, you then get something called a drop weight machine. This is more for the home stringer or someone stringing their racquets in infrequently. They are often the first machine customers buy when they are learning to string.
As you can see, all the above stringing machines have relatively large footprints and are mainly designed for people who string racquets very often.
They're also not that portable, the Ergo One does break down quickly to be moved in a car boot or sent as checked baggage, but it's still not something you can pack up and take with you anywhere.
The MiStringer, on the other hand, sits somewhere in between the drop weight stringing machines and the electric stringing machines.
It's much smaller in size, and far more portable yet has the same features as some of the bulkier, heavier machines out there.
The question is, can it replace any of the above, or does it merely complement them as an additional way to string a racquet should you need it? Let's find out.
What Do You Get With the MiStringer?
When I first unboxed the MiStringer, I was shocked at how small the package was. Of course, I knew it was portable, but the bag it came in was smaller than I expected, making it easy to put in a tennis bag or carry onto a plane.
Included with the MiStringer is as follows:
- Six mounting point table
- Base and tensioning arm
- Two clamps
- String weaving tool
- C Clamp
- Two alan keys
- Instruction manual
- Pack of string
- Carry case
I also got the additional string weaving tool (sold separately) to speed up the crosses which is at the top of the picture.
Installation / Assembly
The MiStringer is designed to clamp onto the corner of a table and installation is simply a matter of lining it up, threading the top of the g clamp through the base, and then tightening it up underneath the table. The base has rubber strips running along, so it's not bare metal on your tabletop.
You then put the frame onto the base and tighten that up too with an alan key, and you're ready to mount the racquet.
The team behind MiStringer have also made several tutorial videos showing you how it is done which make it easy to follow along. One criticism is the robotic narration gets a bit annoying, and it'd be nice to see a full tutorial from start to finish with real audio, but they do the job:
Stringing a Racquet with the MiStringer
For my first attempt at using the MiStringer, I dug out an old Wilson nTour Two 105 racquet.
Mounting the frame was simple and only slightly more time consuming than using a standard stringing machine.
Rather than twisting knobs to tighten the frame, you are using an alan key from underneath, but once you get familiar with the whereabouts of the bolts, you can do it without looking.
The racquet felt snug once everything was tightened, and it was ready to start with the mains.
Stringing the Mains
I'm a fairly competent stringer and also own a lockout crank machine, so stringing the main strings with the MiStringer was very simple.
The only real difference is the clamps which are a forked design that slot into the holes rather than ones with a base that locks or floating clamps.
It took me a bit of trial and error to figure out exactly which holes the clamps should go in for the best location and I didn't always get as close to the frame as I'd like (this is a 105 sq” frame so quite large). I will need to see if I can get closer when I string a 95 sq ” inch frame.
Overall though I'm a big fan of this clamp design, and I didn't get any slippage. Once they're firmly in the holes, the whole thing is rock solid, and I'd say they are more reliable than the clamps on my Pro's Pro crank-operated stringing machine which need adjusting frequently.
One other small learning curve is looping the string before you pull tension, but I quickly got used to this (again thanks to the helpful videos).
The tensioning arm is a very neat design and worked well. I had a couple of issues releasing the break, but I believe this was from being too gentle with it. You need to take the break off quite firmly in one motion, but then gently let the arm back up rather than letting it spring back with force.
From there, it was plane sailing, and I completed the main strings in a similar time frame to my lockout machine.
Stringing the Crosses
Onto the crosses and this is the biggest difference in compared to most stringing machines out there. Because the racquet sits close to the mounting frame, it's not possible to use the same weaving technique as you would with a traditional stringing machine.
To compensate for this, a string weaving tool is included as standard which lets you thread the string over and under. This works well, and while it will never be as quick for stringers who have the weaving technique nailed on, once I got into a groove, I was able to get the crosses done reasonably quickly.
I also got their new String Weaving Tool which you can see pictured above. This works by lifting a string and pushing the other down across the string bed, you can thread the string through the tool, and you have a perfectly weaved cross.
I did the first few crosses using this tool, and it took me a while to get used to it, primarily because I hadn't set it up correctly at first.
Different sized pieces are provided which you then allocate to sections on the stringbed; wider parts are used on the outer mains where the gaps between the strings are wider.
Once I'd got the setup correct, it was a case of pushing the string from one end to the other, moving the tool away, and bingo, a fully weaved cross.
I then tested the standard weaving tool on the rest of the crosses, and on first impressions, I liked this method more as I could get into a nice rhythm.
In terms of which tool I'll use ongoing, I haven't entirely decided, but I think I'll stick with one to master that thoroughly first, then do the same with the other so I can fully compare the two.
The Finished Article
My first racquet on the MiStringer took me around 90 minutes total along with a couple of breaks to watch the help videos if I was unsure about anything.
Not quite Ron Yu or Richard Parnell speeds but not terrible either, and I was happy with the result. I also tested the frame with the TennisTension app, and it came in at 54lbs. I'd strung the racquet at 55lbs.
Is the MiStringer the complete package?
Essentially yes, it has everything you need to string a racquet. However, a few additional tools will help you like with any stringing machine. If you purchase the MiStringer I would also recommend the following:
- An awl – useful for enlarging grommets, finding the correct pathway for the string, and avoiding any cross overs on blocked grommets.
- Needle nosed pliers
- Clippers / String cutters
- A starting clamp – not essential but useful if you like to start the crosses on a two-piece job with one rather than using a starting knot.
It may even be worth the guys at MiStringer putting together a little accessories pack to sell separately.
Who is the MiStringer for?
I think the MiStringer has several use cases.
Firstly, it's excellent for travelling tennis players. If you go abroad for a month and want to restring your racquets on the move, then you can't beat this option. It's small enough to fit under the front seat of an aeroplane, and will also slip into a checked bag.
It's also an excellent choice for players trying to make their way on tour. Racquet stringing is a significant expense for players on the Futures and Challenger circuit, and many of them choose to string their racquets.
The Pro Stringer is often their product of choice, but the MiStringer is clearly on a par as far as I can tell. I've not used the Pro Stringer to give you an accurate comparison, but I've seen various video reviews, and I do prefer the 6 point mounting system for keeping the frame secure in the MiStringer.
Outside of the portability angle, the MiStringer is also ideal for city dwellers who live in apartments. A standard stringing machine is a permanent fixture. But with the MiStringer, you can pack it away and keep it in a draw. So if space is at a premium or you don't want your living room permanently hosting a Wilson Baiardo, then it's an excellent solution.
Finally, it's easily a worthy competitor to any larger drop weight machine or a larger crank lock out machine. My crank machine is a hefty unit that weighs over 20kg, but I don't think it necessarily does a better job.
It's probably slightly more comfortable to use and marginally quicker but had I used the MiStringer for two years, then reviewed the crank machine, I'd probably think the reverse.
The more adept I become with the MiStringer, the better I will be able to compare to the two in terms of reliability, speed, tension and ease of use.
I'm also interested to see which machine I gravitate to next time I restring a racquet, and I will update this review the more I use (or don't use) the MiStringer.
Final Thoughts on the MiStringer
After doing my first racquet, I'm already a fan of this unique approach to stringing. Yes, there's a small learning curve because it's a different setup, but I quickly picked up how to use it.
I'd say having previous stringing experience is beneficial, but the videos (and additional guides on stringing in general) will help someone without any prior knowledge get to grips with it.
The tensioner is a very innovative design and works great. It feels robustly made and does an excellent job at pulling tension.
The clamp/peg design is something I've never seen before, and it's essentially turned flying clamps into secure solid clamps which are very clever.
Overall it's a very well thought out and well-made machine that feels excellent quality.
While you'll never see Priority 1 doing 12 racquets for Federer on a MiStringer, if you string your racquets once a week or once a month, then this is a smart buy.
Even if you're a club stringer and do a couple of frames a week for other members, I see no reason why you couldn't use this machine for the job.
- Unique ultra-portable design
- Weighs just 2.7kg (6lbs)
- Clever and reliable clamps
- Pulls consistent and accurate tension
- Crosses slightly tricky to do if you are used to weaving
- The top layer of paint on the mounting frame does come off around the holes due to the metal on metal from the clamps. This leaves a little bit of dust. No impact on function, just cosmetic and some vacuuming required.
The MiStringer costs $379 and is available to buy from MiStringer.com. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty and 60-day money-back guarantee.
Have you used the MiStringer? Got any questions or opinions about the product? Let me know in the comments.