Luxilon Alu Power is one of the most popular polyester strings on the pro tour today – and for good reason! Available in both silver and ice blue, it is used by players such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils, amongst countless others.
This string embodies the next stage of evolution in the Luxilon Big Banger range and features a unique co-polyester construction with aluminium. This creates an increase in elasticity without sacrificing the trademark control aspect of the string. All of this lends itself to a truly sensational hitting experience which allow the advanced tennis player to take huge cuts at the ball and still find the court!
I (Tom) personally use this string in the crosses as part of my hybrid string setup in my Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph. As I’m sure you can imagine, given the love I already have for this string, I was delighted to be given Alu Power to try out in a full bed for this playtest!
Power – 6/10
As with any of the Luxilon Big Banger range, Luxilon Alu Power is actually (and this may surprise some of you given the Big Banger Title!) a relatively low powered string. To those of you beginning tennis players, that might sound like a bad thing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This type of string is designed for tennis players who can already supply a lot of their own power and don’t need any further help from an elastic style of string, like a multifilament or natural gut string.
However, as far as polyester strings go, Luxilon Alu Power did have some decent pop! I strung it at a mid-tension of 55lbs in my Wilson RF 97, so I was not using a looser, more powerful tension by any means. The string was certainly more powerful than Luxilon’s older cousin, Big Banger Original, and offered a delightful, crisp response off the string bed.
On my flat serve, I was still generating very good pace. Normally, I use a powerful, elastic string like Babolat VS Team in my main strings to complement the low powered response of my Wilson Pro Staff. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t lose as much speed as I was expecting on the serve. I only noticed a small drop off of 5-7mph, and I have a lot of natural velocity on the serve anyway, so this was not an issue for me. Depending on your level and what kind of player you are, less power can actually be a good thing. It can help you find the court more often, rather than the back fence!
Luxilon Alu Power got a 6/10 from me for power as it has around medium power when taking into consideration all the various types of strings out there.
Control – 8/10
There aren’t any strings that offer that perfect blend of control and power, but this one has to be getting close. No matter which shot I was playing, I absolutely loved the control aspect of Luxilon Alu Power. My racket had been freshly strung that morning and I’m really glad that I resisted the temptation to have a hit with this setup the evening before, as this would have taken away some of the magic that I experienced on my playtest.
On groundstrokes, I genuinely struggled to hit a ball long with this string. I was delivering a heavy ball on the forehand and an accurate, consistent, flatter backhand. I play a double handed backhand and like to use this to grind from the back of the court to either set up my forehand or look for the opportunity to run around it.
Even when I didn’t connect with the ball perfectly (if my racket face wasn’t quite square on impact, for instance), I still found the court more often than I missed.
Although Alu Power is designed to be a very control orientated string anyway, I found I could access extra power when needed, once I ramped up my swing speed.
If I had a personal criticism, it would be that I prefer a string with offers a little more velocity out of my string bed as my racket is quite low powered. However, this would really suit someone swinging a powerhouse racket from something like the Babolat Pure Drive Range. This would help to reign in some of the easy power that these sledgehammers provide in spades!
Luxilon Alu Power gets an 8/10 from me for control. It really excels in this aspect and would be the perfect complement, strung at a mid to high tension, in a powerful racket.
Touch – 5/10
Sensitivity of touch is not really any polyester string’s forte, so to speak. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Luxilon Alu Power only has adequate levels of touch. If you’re a net rusher like Pat Rafter or Tim Henman, then I would probably move on to our next review!
Although this string was never designed exclusively for sensitive net play, it could work very well in a hybrid with a natural gut or multifilament in the mains. In this situation the Alu Power would effectively reduce some of the huge elasticity that the natural gut boasts and save you having to string the gut ridiculously high like they did 30 years ago! Back then, that was the only way to control its trampoline effect as there were no polyester strings like we have today!
That’s not to say you can’t play with this string at the net. It worked fine for me and offered a predictable response off the string bed for consistent volleying. It would just work better if your relationship with the net is purely to finish the point off rather than camping out there…
Luxilon Alu Power would be most suitable for a baseline grinder like David Ferrer rather than a Pete Sampras, so I gave it a 5/10 for touch.
Spin – 7/10
Luxilon Alu Power has great spin potential for a round, polyester string. With the enormous amount of shaped strings on the market now, you may be wondering if it’s still worth bothering with your more traditional, rounder type of string.
One thing worth mentioning, here, is that the shaped strings don’t have quite the RPM effect on the ball that the manufacturers claim. It’s more of a marketing ploy. Everyone wants to sell you the “holy grail” of strings, but if you look at the research done during case studies in the lab, there isn’t a huge amount of difference in spin production between the two. There is a difference, but it’s not game changing.
You may be thinking that an aggressively shaped string will grab the ball more and hold it on the string bed longer, thus increasing the dwell time on the string bed and therefore spin. Yes, that is true. But only slightly. True spin happens from the main strings sliding against the cross strings and snapping back; imparting spin.
“But surely, an octagonal shaped RPM Blast String is going to give more spin more than Big Banger Original”, I hear you say! My answer would be – probably. Yes. But not by as much as you may think. You would be far better worrying about improving your technique and getting top spin this way than which shaped string is the best.
With that being said, the spin potential of Luxilon Alu Power wasn’t quite RPM Blast Level, but it was very good indeed and gets a 7/10 from me. For those of you that love your round, more classic, polyester strings, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Durability – 8/10
Luxilon strings are famous for their extreme durability. The modern game and rackets are now geared towards big, powerhouse hitting, so it’s important that there is a string out there to fit the bill.
I am aware that most of you reading this probably won’t be playing on the tour though… You must ask yourself, honestly, what kind and level of tennis player you are in order to benefit from this string.
If you love to pound the ball, then this string could be for you. With hard hitting comes the inevitable tension loss, so you’ll be pleased to know that I found Alu Power to hold its tension pretty well throughout the play test. I also found it to be very playable throughout the week after the initial hitting session I had with it. It’s a 16-gauge string, so obviously this one won’t break quite as quickly as a 17-gauge or 18-gauge thickness of string.
It gets an 8/10 from me in terms of durability, which is almost perfect. If a string was rated at 10/10 then that would be like barbed wire and unplayable!
Comfort – 6/10
No polyester string is going to feel exceptionally comfortable as all polys are inherently stiff in comparison to a natural gut string or multifilament. Luxilon Alu Power felt very middle of the road in terms of comfort. It’s certainly not one of the stiffest polys out there, but it would still be classified as a “hard string”. I strung the Alu Power at 55lbs – so not extremely tight, but players who enjoy the string’s performance but not its stiffness should consider lowering their tension. This string will feel very different indeed at 45lbs compared to 55lbs. Although I personally wouldn’t recommend going that low, unless you are Jack Sock, you will find lowering the string’s tension alleviates the perceived “harshness” of the string and also provides some welcome additional power.
I gave a 6/10 for Alu Power’s comfort levels. Not bad at all for a polyester string!
Overall – 8/10
Luxilon Alu Power is an exceptional polyester string suitable for the high intermediate and advanced tennis players. It delivers a unique blend of power, spin and control and will send your shots kicking maliciously into your opponent.
Although I do prefer a natural gut string in the mains for the extra power, I could happily play with this in a full bed set up. In fact, I’ve made the decision to do this when playing outdoors this winter! We don’t always have access to indoor courts where I play tennis, so this would make for a welcome alternative to my expensive gut strings disintegrating in minutes during the damp winter weather!
I would not recommend this string for the lower level club player who doesn’t yet have excellent technique. Using Luxilon Alu Power for such a person would more than likely result in frustration from the lack of power, and even worse, injury, due to the inability to handle the string’s stiffness.
So, if you’re a good level player and you enjoy bullying your opponent from the baseline with a heavy ball, then look no further than this string. You may also want to consider stringing it in a hybrid setup, like I do! Obviously, this will depend on how you are looking for your racket to perform and your preference of feel, but it’s certainly worth a thought.
Overall it gets an 8/10 from me. In the right hands and the right racket, Luxilon Alu Power really lives up to Pete Sampras’ comment of “cheatalon”!
Review by: Tom