Tennis Replacement Grips: A Complete Guide for a Buyer
A tennis racket typically comes equipped with a grip. This grip provides comfort for the player while protecting the hand from chafing and racket grip.
However, with the constant racket use, the stock grip will wear out. Therefore, you will need to replace it.
The following guide discusses the replacement grip, when and what to consider when you change it, and some of the best replacement grips available.
In the end, you will able to decide if you need one, when you need it and which type to buy.
A Replacement Grip: What Is It?
A replacement grip is a cushiony, comfortable, and protective yet durable material laced over your racket handle’s hard surface.
Every experienced tennis player knows the value of using a comfortable racket.
Part of that comfort is the grip. Therefore, if the stock grip wears out and a replacement is needed, choosing the right one is highly important.
Fortunately, there are many reputable manufacturers to choose from. We will talk about some of them below and the advantages of each, so you select the best.
Do You Need a Replacement Grip?
If the grip that came with your tennis racket is worn, then you need a replacement grip.
Even if it is not yet worn, you can customize your racket for extra comfort. Besides, it can make the handle last longer.
Many top rackets come with superb grips. So it is easy to make light of or not understand the importance of a replacement grip.
However, it helps to know you don’t have to stick with the grip that came with your racket.
You can step it up to a better and more comfortable grip.
After all, it plays an important role in how well you control your racket.
Replacement Grips and Overgrips: Are They the Same?
Replacement grips are not the same as overgrips.
They are much better than overgrips.
For one, you don’t have to replace them often, unlike overgrips.
Besides, you can simply wrap an overgrip onto the handle of a racket, whereas you need effort and time to install a replacement grip properly.
A replacement grip is usually costlier than an overgrip.
This is because it generally performs better. And a replacement grip has more bounce because of its attending thickness and more durability than an overgrip.
In other words, a replacement grip sustains traction and absorbs sweat better than an overgrip.
Can You Use an Overgrip without a Replacement Grip?
It is not ideal to use an overgrip without a replacement grip, even though some players do it. We say this for a few reasons.
One, you got your racket with your grip size as part of the consideration. If you attempt to use the racket with only the overgrip and without the base grip, the handle will appear smaller. Hence, you may not have the control you need.
Two, you will find little or no comfort in using only an overgrip. This is mainly due to its thinness.
Finally, you will find the racket’s balance has changed because of the first two. Therefore, it is recommended to use an overgrip with a replacement grip.
Interestingly, an overgrip can prolong the life of a replacement grip.
See it this way: you won’t have direct contact with the base grip because of the overgrip.
Because of this, the sweat and pressure will fall on the overgrip. But you will still have the cushiony feel and bounce of the base grip.
So while you may have to replace the overgrip often, the base grip will last longer.
This is a cost-effective way to go because overgrips are generally less expensive.
When Do You Replace the Grip of Your racket?
Ask yourself the following questions. It will help determine when it is time to replace your racket’s grip:
Is It Wearing and Tearing?
If the grip starts to fall apart, showing this through tears in the material, it is time to get a new grip. At this point, it is urgent, and you have waited too long to replace it.
Is It Still Comfortable?
When the firmness of your racket’s handle starts to increase, it means the padding is worn out.
Constant and pressured use will reduce its padding. So please get a new one to replace it.
Has It Lost Traction?
Get a replacement grip if the current one does not absorb sweat or offer traction as before. It means the constant use has worn out the traction it had previously.
Types of Replacement Grips
There are two main types of replacement grips. In this section, you will learn what they are and why one or the other is better for you.
Leather Replacement Grips
This type of replacement grip was the way to go for many years. But brands started making grips in other materials as the sport evolved, and more people took an interest.
There was a need to reduce cost while increasing sweat absorption, traction, and comfort.
Therefore, even though leather is not the only go-to for replacement grips these days, it is still a favorite with many players.
This is because it offers a smooth and firm feel.
And if it is combined with a synthetic overgrip, the result is fantastic.
Synthetic Replacement Grips
Many replacement grips today are synthetic. And brands are opting to use this material for various reasons.
First, it is less expensive to manufacture synthetic grips than leather ones.
So players don’t have to spend so much while also getting the best out of their grips.
Second, there is a wide variety from which to choose, unlike the leather option.
You will find synthetic grips in varying degrees of thickness, control, tackiness, texture, and so much more.
Third, synthetic grips offer more comfort than their leather counterparts.
This is primarily due to their superior ability to absorb sweat and offer control. This is especially helpful for players just recovering from injuries to the arm.
Finally, you can use this type of grip without an overgrip. If you don’t exactly fancy having to replace the overgrip of your racket regularly, this is for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Replacement Grip
Making the correct choice of the type of replacement grip to get is a personal matter.
Nobody can say this is wrong or right for you; it is up to you. After all, you know what works best for you.
However, it is important to consider some crucial factors, like tackiness, thickness, and material, when choosing.
Let us look at the factors to keep in mind when buying a replacement grip.
Synthetic replacement grips tend to offer tack, unlike leather replacement grips.
You will find the tackiness on offer in different degrees, depending on what you want. But they all ensure the racket does not spin out of your control.
However, if you are going for a leather replacement grip, the tackiness will have to come from the overgrip you put over it. Leather replacement grips tend to be smooth to the touch.
While a leather replacement grip is comfortable, its thickness ranges between 1.42 mm and 1.50 mm.
However, a synthetic replacement grip has a thickness ranging between 1.19 mm and 2.10 mm.
In other words, you will get better thickness and comfort from a synthetic grip because of the higher range of thickness.
This should be one of the decisions to make before heading out to buy a replacement grip. Are you going for leather or synthetic? Thankfully, there are only two options to choose from so it shouldn’t be hard.
If you are in the market for the best feel and smoothness while using your racket, go for a leather replacement grip.
If you don’t have a problem replacing the overgrip, and don’t mind the price.
If you have to replace the grip regularly and want comfort, durability, and traction within a budget, go for synthetic replacement grip.
A number of replacement grips range between 19 mm and 29 mm. This is roughly 1 inch in width. So if you don’t mind a slight change in the thickness, considering every other benefit, go for this width.
Leather replacement grips tend to be heavier than their synthetic counterparts.
Leather grips can weigh up to 30 grams, while synthetic grips can weigh 25grams.
Therefore, it is important to note these grips will affect the weight of the racket and its balance. Keep this in mind.
But note you can achieve balance by changing the weight of the racket’s head.
Typically, a replacement grip should fit every 27-inch racket. So if your racket falls under this category, the length of the grip should not be a problem.
However, if your racket is outside this category, consider buying a replacement grip that fits the handle perfectly. This is to ensure no part is left unwrapped.
Installing a Replacement Grip: Steps to Follow
When you have chosen the best replacement grip, the next step is to install it correctly. If you are not going to have a professional fix it for you, here are the steps to follow:
Unwrap the finishing tape, which secures the grip to the handle.
Unwrap the grip from around the handle of your racket.
Take a look at the base of the handle. If you see a staple there, remove it using a pair of pliers or a flat blade screwdriver. The staple is used to hold the grip down on the base of the racket’s handle.
Check the handle to see if there is any residue from the grip you removed. If there is, remove it completely, leaving the handle bare. You can do this using a mild household cleaner.
Operative word: ‘mild’. A harsh one may cause damage to the handle of the racket.
Be sure to clean the handle thoroughly, drying the cleaning agent before installing the new grip.
Get the new replacement grip and take it out of its packet. Next, pick up the finishing tape that came with the grip and remove its sticker backing. Place this aside.
If the grip has some adhesive to help it adhere to the racket’s handle, do not remove the backing of the adhesive all at once.
Take it one foot at a time, at most, and start wrapping it around the handle.
If you play with your left hand, start wrapping from right to left. And if you play with your right hand, start wrapping from the left.
The slim end of the grip should align with the base of the racket. Hold it secure and steady as you begin wrapping.
Put enough pressure and tension on the grip to ensure it rests flat against the handle
When you complete one wrap around the handle, let the grip overlap itself.
Then, naturally, follow the angle laid out by the replacement grip until you wrap the entire handle.
While doing this, allow the grip to overlap itself as you go. This makes it rest flush to the handle.
Remember to keep applying some pressure to the grip to stick it entirely to the handle.
When you get to the top, wrap a little above it. Next, lay the racket on a flat surface and mark the point on the new grip that lines up with the handle’s top.
Do this with a marker or a pen.
Now, unravel the grip a little to show the line you drew on it earlier. Cut it using a pair of scissors following that line.
Wrap the finishing tape around the grip’s loose end.
Do this while applying some tension until the tape overlaps itself. Be sure that the adhesive part faces downwards onto the handle.
This is how to install a new replacement grip. The video below is a demonstration you can follow, step-by-step…
Best Replacement Grips
There are many superb replacement grips on the market. But let us take a look at just a few of them.
Wilson Micro-Dry Comfort Replacement Grip (Best for sweaty hands)
This is perhaps the synthetic replacement grip with some of the best absorbent features in the market. This is due to the tiny perforations all through the body. They help the grip ventilate while it is in use.
If you sweat a lot on the palm while playing, go for the Micro-dry Comfort option from Wilson.
Additionally, it is 2.20 mm thick, 0.32ounces heavy, and super soft.
But while it does so well in absorbing sweat, it lacks somewhat in tackiness and comfort. This is especially true if you have small palms.
So while you get the best in absorbing sweat, you may find that this replacement grip does not offer you the traction you need.
- Made of synthetic material
- Super absorbent
- Thick yet soft
- Not tacky or comfortable for some players
- May tear easily
Gamma Ultra Cushion Replacement Grip
The Gamma Ultra Cushion synthetic replacement grip offers a superb grip because of its tackiness. This offers you control as you handle the racket.
It is also cushioned because of its 1.90 mm thickness.
There’s a reason it is called an ultra cushion replacement grip. This means it is comfortable and highly durable; it won’t wear out quickly.
Thickness, tackiness, and comfort are not features you find all in one grip. So it goes to say that this replacement grip is worth a try.
Better still, you have the option of choosing a ribbed contour type or a standard textured type.
In all, it is one of the best synthetic replacement grips available because of its excellent tack, cushiony feel, and available options.
- It comes in ribbed contour and textured options
- This may be difficult to cut the finishing tape
- May leave a residue of dye on the hand
Yonex Tour Grip Replacement Grip
This synthetic leather option from Yonex gives great stability and control for an exceptional experience.
It is comfortable yet strong, holding up even under the strictest tension and pressure in many games.
Moreover, it is easy to install and sticks perfectly. Plus, it is suitable for extended and standard racket lengths; it fits your racket handle precisely the way you want it.
The downside is it is not super absorbent when it comes to sweat. You may have to use a grip towel with it.
- Made of synthetic leather
- This gives stability
- Offers control
- Durable yet comfortable
- Easy to install
- It does not absorb sweat easily
Wilson Cushion-Aire Perforated Replacement Grip
With 1.80 mm thickness, the Wilson Cushion-Aire Perforated replacement grip gives good support.
If you are not so crazy about vibration or shock up the playing arm, this is a good fit because of its thickness.
Additionally, it has perforations all through the body.
These perforations are for better sweat absorption and traction. So while it is easier to grip the racket, the sweat on your palm does not detract from your playtime.
Go for it if you are looking for balance, control, traction, and comfort, all within a budget.
Great sweat absorption
- This may be too short for the length of the handle
- It may not stick so well during installation
The least-priced replacement grip in our review is the Gamma Ultra Cushion, coming in at $5.39. This is a fantastic price for a replacement grip, considering it has excellent cushioning and great tack.
The Wilson Micro-Dry Comfort replacement grip is the highest priced on our list, coming in at $12.73. It is still decent-priced for a super-absorbent replacement grip from a trusted brand in the tennis world.
However, the average price for the replacement grips made to our list in this article is $9.95.
Therefore, it is safe to say that replacement grips, while they offer many benefits, are usually within budget. Even the priciest of them is still affordable for the average tennis enthusiast, considering how long they tend to last.
A lot of people think that a tennis racket restriction is a personal preference, while others take it more seriously and change them more often.
It also depends on how often you play and your play style. Aggressive players who play frequently will change strings more often.
Some advanced players want a restrung racket before every game becausetheir performance is affected by worn-out or low-tension strings.
There are always two things to keep in mind before restringing a tennis racket: first is the tension loss, and the other being string performance.
So, there is no exact scientific formula to tell you when to restring a tennis racket.
For more clarity and understanding, go check out this video on youtube.