11 Best Tennis Racquet Vibration Dampeners - Buyers Guide

The 11 Best Tennis Racquet Vibration Dampeners

A detailed guide on vibration dampeners

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If you’re just getting started with tennis, you may be asking, “Should I use a tennis dampener in my racquet?” The truth is, it’s not a simple yes or no answer – instead, it’s a subjective preference.

If you were to ask ten different tennis players whether or not they like them or not, you’d likely get ten different answers.

Regardless, many players can’t live without them, so in this article, we’re going to dive deep into the topic. We’ll cover everything from why they exist to installation and their impact on racquet performance.

We’ve also handpicked the following selection of the best tennis vibration dampeners from the top brands, and as part of our guide, we’ll dive into a review of each dampener and why we selected it as part of this article.

RankVibration Dampener
#1ADV Tennis
#2Tourna Sampras
#3Wilson Pro Feel
#421k Sports
#5Head Djokovic
#6Sorbz Dampeners
#7Muzitao Emoji Dampeners
#8Babolat Custom Damp
#9Head Smartsorb
#10Vibra Worm
#11Gamma Shockbuster II
Bonus: DIY#64 Rubber Bands

Article Contents

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Tennis Dampener Index

Here are favorite picks for the best vibration dampeners on the market. Click the following links to jump to that section and learn more:

  1. ADV Tennis
  2. Tourna Sampras
  3. Wilson Pro Feel
  4. 21k Sports
  5. Head Djokovic
  6. Sorbz Dampeners
  7. Muzitao Emoji Dampeners
  8. Babolat Custom Damp
  9. Head Smartsorb
  10. Vibra Worm
  11. Gamma Shockbuster II
  12. Bonus: DIY #64 Rubber Bands

Next up, let’s dive into the details.

What is a Tennis Racquet Vibration Dampener?

Let’s rewind for a moment. Back in 1964, Rene Lacoste developed the very first vibration dampener called the Tanti-Vibration Dampener to help with the vibration that occurs when a player strikes the ball.

At the time, the intention was for the dampener to reduce the risk of injury – more on this to follow. Today, Lacoste no longer makes this particular dampener, but many other brands followed suit and created dampeners, which have become a staple tennis accessory.

For the sake of this article, let’s assume they are small devices, typically made of rubber or similar synthetic material. Vibration dampeners insert into a racquet’s stringbed outside the pattern of crossed strings and below the lowest cross string of a racquet, directly above the throat of a tennis racquet.

What’s the Purpose of a Vibration Dampener?

Originally, vibration dampeners were intended to reduce vibration and prevent injury. However, research has shown that they do little more than mute the audible “ping” you hear when striking a ball, particularly with a freshly strung racquet.

In 2004 Dr. François-Xavier Li released a study in the Journal of Sport Sciences with the following remarks.

“String vibration dampers do not reduce racket frame vibration transfer to the forearm.”

The study’s ultimate conclusion on why they remain popular:

“We suggest that string dampers remain a popular accessory among tennis players because of their acoustic effects and psychological support rather than any mechanical advantage.”

Despite this research, the myth of vibration dampeners reducing vibration and shock generated when hitting a tennis ball persists mainly due to how manufacturers market them.

Speaking from personal experience, I agree with their primary finding that despite the fact they don’t increase comfort, they do a great job at muting the “ping” sound you hear when striking the ball.

Shock & Tennis Elbow

Some players suffer from tennis elbow, due to the repetitive motion associated with swinging a racquet combined with the shock your forearm sustains each time you hit a ball and the subsequent vibrations that travel to your arm as well.

The pain can be anywhere from slightly uncomfortable to excruciatingly painful. As you’d expect, players are always on the lookout for products that can help reduce the pain and keep them on the court, and vibration dampeners are one of those accessories.

Unfortunately, as shown in the previous section, vibration dampeners do not have a material impact on vibration. They certainly don’t reduce the impact of swinging a racquet and hitting a tennis ball.

Recognizing this, placing a vibration dampener on your racquet would serve more as a mental Band-Aid to a deeper issue that may involve your tennis equipment.

If you’re suffering from tennis elbow, I’d first recommend you spend some time with your doctor. However, I’d also recommend you consider the type of tennis racquet and the type of tennis string you’re using.

A racquet that’s too heavy, a frame that’s too stiff or a string that’s too rigid and harsh like polyester or Kevlar can have a significant impact on the shock and vibration a player endures.

Racquet Peformance Impact

Now that you know why you might consider using a vibration dampener, let’s talk about their effect on racquet performance.

Frequently, players consider the following attributes when evaluating the performance of a tennis racquet, because the specs (length, weight, balance, head size, stiffness, etc.) contribute to them.

  • Power
  • Control
  • Maneuverability
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Feel
  • Spin

Ultimately, vibration dampeners aren’t significant enough to have a material impact on most of these attributes.

However, there is one exception I’d argue, and that’s feel. While research proved dampeners don’t reduce frame vibration to the forearm, I do believe they have a noticeable impact on the feel of a racquet. Of course, feel is highly subjective, but psychological or not, it matters in tennis, so I think it’s worth mentioning.

With that said, I think it’s safe to say vibration dampeners do have an impact on racquet performance, but it’s subtle and will be perceived differently from player to player.

Types of Vibration Dampeners

There are two primary types of tennis racquet vibration dampeners.

  • Button
  • Worm

Button dampeners are the most common type of vibration dampener and referred to as such because they’re circular and roughly the size of a large button. Popular button dampeners include the custom Novak Djokovic vibration dampener from Head and classic Pete Sampras dampener from Tourna.

The other common type of vibration dampener is as a “worm” dampener. Aptly named, these dampeners are long and thin, roughly in the shape of a worm. Popular worm dampeners include the Gamma Shockbuster and the Head Smartsorb.

The main difference between the two is that worm dampeners come in contact with more strings and therefore has a more substantial impact on reducing the sound of your strings when hitting.

Dampener Placement

Vibration dampeners are placed or woven between the main strings of a racquet’s stringbed outside of the cross strings of a tennis racquet.

There are two key reasons for this placement. First, when you’re hitting, you don’t want the tennis ball to accidentally come in contact with the vibration dampener and lead to a mishit.

However, the second and lesser-known reason for this particular placement is that it’s in the rules.

In section 4 of the ITF Rules of Tennis, the use of vibration dampeners is address head-on as a part of five common cases they encounter:

Case 3: Can vibration damping devices be placed on the strings of a racket? If so, where can they be placed?

Decision: Yes, but these devices may only be placed outside the pattern of the crossed strings.

That means you can place dampeners on the bottom, top, left, or right, of the stringbed. Of course, back to reason one, players typically place them at the bottom of the stringbed above the racquet’s throat to prevent them from interfering when hitting.

It’s worth noting that the rules don’t explicitly prevent players from using multiple vibration dampeners as long as they don’t violate the above rule. Still, it’s entirely unnecessary to do so.

How to Install a Dampener

Overall, installing vibration dampeners is pretty painless.

Button vibration dampeners are the easiest to install, as they simply need to be inserted in between the two center main or vertical strings.

First, push the slotted edge of the dampener against one of the main strings until it’s sung. Then holding the opposite side of the dampener, pull the dampener and second main string away from each other until you can align it with that string. Once it’s between the main strings, push it up against the lowest cross or horizontal string, and you’re done.

Worm dampeners come in a few different shapes and sizes, but generally, they weave between the main strings, which helps reduce vibration across more of the strings that frequently come in contact with the ball. Some tend to be a pain to install, but once inserted, they’re not going anywhere until you need to restring.

Two things that can make dampeners more challenging to install are the size of the dampener and how dense the string pattern of your racquet happens to be. Anything above a 16×18 string pattern can start to get tricky, or the dampener may end up looking scrunched. Consider this factor before making your purchase.

When in doubt, refer to the instructions.

Should You Use a Vibration Dampener?

Unfortunately, this is a question only you can answer.

Luckily, they’re inexpensive. Our recommendation is to purchase one or two and see how you like the feel, or if a friend uses one, ask them to borrow it for a few minutes the next time you’re on the court.

Many players have a relatively strong reaction to them, and either love or hate them, and it only takes a few minutes to come to that conclusion.

When I was younger, I disliked the “ping” sound and didn’t feel like I was hitting solid without a dampener in my racquet. Then, in high school, when I moved to a new type of string, I tried hitting again without a vibration dampener and never looked back.

Just remember that the only benefits you’re going to gain by using one are a reduction in the “ping” noise when hitting and a subtle change in feel that you may or may not detect.

Best Vibration Dampeners Guide

These days, there are thousands of different styles and colors of vibration dampeners available, but some are better than others.

Keep reading to check out reviews of the best available.

ADV Tennis

Despite lacking a familiar brand name, the vibration dampeners from ADV Tennis receives our pick for the best vibration dampener.

Beyond doing their job well and staying securely in place, they’re at the top of our list because they offer three different dampeners of varying sizes so you can choose whatever level of dampening you’d like.

  • Max Sorb: covers six strings
  • Sorb: covers four strings
  • Touch: covers two strings

This option is perfect for players looking to experiment with dampeners for the first time and doesn’t already have a preference.

Tourna Sampras

The Tourna Sampras is a classic vibration dampener that’s simple, yet effective. While we love what ADV Tennis has done with their dampeners, at times, they feel overcomplicated.

Each dampener is in the shape of a circle that’s hallow like a donut and features “Pete Sampras” printed along the sides. Your pack will come with two of them, which comes in handy because you’ll invariably misplace them from time to time.

Wilson Pro Feel

Another classic vibration dampener on our list comes from none other than Wilson, one of the most well known and respected sporting brands in the world. The Pro Feel takes the shape of the iconic “W” in Wilson and stays locked in place as long as you push it snug with the bottom-most cross string.

Like the Tourna Sampras, it’s simple, uncomplicated, and drop-dead-easy to install. It also comes in a few different colors, including blue, yellow, red, and silver. Each pack comes with two.

21k Sports

If you’re on the hunt for maximum dampening, then you should check out this three-pack from 21k Sports. Each dampener will cover six strings giving you that ultra muted feel.

The team over at 21k Sports also offers up their vibration dampeners in nine different colors, including a multi-colored option. Whether you have multiple racquets to equip or you always want a few backups on hand, they have you covered.

Helpful Tip
If your tennis racquet features a string pattern that’s denser than 16×18, you may want to consider an alternative or go into the purchase knowing that they might not fit. It’s, unfortunately, one of the main downsides we’ve experienced with this particular model.

Head Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s signature vibration dampener model is a popular choice that’s simple yet effective.

It’s a circle in shape and comes in white with the Head logo on one side and the stylish Djokovic “D” on the opposite. Each pack comes with two dampeners and is a great all-around option.

Sorbz Dampeners

If the other vibration dampeners on our list are a little bland for your taste, then these expressive dampeners might be right up your alley.

From the team over at ADV Tennis, each pack comes with a generous variety of 12 vibration fun and unique dampers. Our personal favorite is the “Winners” pack that includes a cute frog, panda, and cow, among others. Regardless of which package you select, these are sure not to disappoint and make a great idea for a tennis gift.

Muzitao Emoji Dampeners

Sometimes all you need to express yourself is an emoji, and the makers over at Muzitao totally get it. They sell two separate packs of these with slightly different styles and emotions, and they’ll fit most tennis racquets without any issues.

These are particularly popular with parents and young children and also make great gifts and stocking stuffers.

Babolat Custom Damp

If you’re a huge Rafa fan, then look no further than the Babolat Custom vibration dampener, which he uses in his racquet. Each pack comes with two dampeners, and they’re available in black, white, and yellow.

What makes them custom? You can use them hollow without anything in the center similar to the Tourna Sampras, or you can insert a small capsule that contains three steel beads and fits securely within the center to adjust the level of dampening.

Head Smartsorb

A worm style dampener from Head, the Smartsorb, will weave through 6 strings on your racquet for maximum coverage, with small clasps at either end to help keep it secure.

It comes in a variety of colors, including grey, silver, black, yellow, red, and blue. This style dampener is one that many players enjoy when they find some of the smaller dampeners fly out of their strings from time to time.

Vibra Worm

The Vibra Worm is another popular vibration dampener that will cover up to six strings on your racquet with clasps at either end to prevent it from coming loose during play.

Each pack comes with six, including three black and then one each in blue, red, and yellow. Like many worm style dampeners, be careful not to pull too hard on these because their clasps are known to break under pressure.

If you’re looking at the Gamma Shockbuster, which has a near-identical design, then these are worth checking out for the price.

Gamma Shockbuster II

For those of you that can’t get enough dampening goodness in your racquet, there’s the Gamma Shockbuster II, which is the big brother to the original Shockbuster. The first generation featured a single gel strip to reduce shock, but apparently, that wasn’t enough for some players.

Enter the Shockbster II with two strips instead of one. Like the original, it features clasps on either side to keep it secure. Be careful not to overstretch it to prevent having one of the clasps break.

Bonus: DIY #64 Rubber Band Dampener

If you were an Andre Agassi fan, then you’re likely familiar with the rubber band dampner that he made famous. The best part about this do it yourself vibration dampener? They work super well.

If you’re frustrated with your current vibration dampener or perhaps can’t get over paying the price of specialty model, then you should give rubber bands a try.

Any rubber band will do, but different sizes will have varying degrees of impact on the noise and feel of your racquet. If you’re looking to emulate Agassi, then you’ll be looking for size 64 rubber bands.

For the price of most of the dampeners on our list, you can get a few hundred these DIY dampeners that you can stash in your bag and have for years. What’s not to love about that?

Wrapping Up

Love them or hate them, vibration dampeners are here to stay, and will likely remain one of the most popular tennis accessories for decades to come.

If you haven’t had a chance to use a vibration dampener before, then give them a try. Whether you dig up a spare rubber band in that random kitchen drawer or pick from our list, you may find you enjoy the reduction in noise and change in feel.

Have any lingering questions? Let us know in the comments below or share which vibration dampener is your favorite.

Home > Gear > Accessories > Vibration Dampeners

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