Best Tennis Vibration Dampeners
Tennis rackets are very personal things. The way they are set up needs to be in tune with how you play the game, complimenting your needs as a player. A tennis racket should feel like an extension of your arm. Striking the tennis ball should be a comfortable experience if the racket suits you well, rather than a jarring one.
However, there are a lot of factors that go into a tennis racket you own. The weight, balance, grip size, string pattern, beam width and length all play into the feel of a racket, not to mention the strings and tension you decide to go with.
If you need support choosing a racket and string combination then you may benefit from giving our custom fitting service. However, one thing that can sometimes confuse players and be an even more personal touch is whether to use a vibration dampener.
With all the other elements of making your racket feel right this can sometimes add another level of complication to the process. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand whether a vibration dampener is right for you and which the best ones out there are.
So, if you want to learn more, carry on reading!
Popular Vibration Dampeners
Babolat Custom Feel Dampener
Yonex Vibration Stopper
Great Shock Absorption
Spans Multiple Strings
Wilson Shock Trap
4 Individual Shock Absorbers
A Real Classic!
Choice of Andre Agassi
Why Use a Vibration Dampener?
Vibration dampeners reduce the noise, vibrations and harshness from the racket and give a more uniform feel to your string bed. There is debate as to how much noise reduction vibration dampeners (or shock absorbers) are responsible for, but there is always an audible difference when you use one so they clearly have their part to play.
Now, it is generally thought that a shock absorber will give you a more plush feel, meaning the contact will feel smoother as the strings hit the ball. This is because there are less vibrations travelling from the ball, down the racket and into your arm, therefore making the experience less jarring.
You can definitely notice a difference between using a dampener in your racket and not, regardless of your racket and string setup. Not only is there more of a pinging sound when you play without a dampener, but it can also make the racket feel a little more ‘dead’. By this I mean a little less responsive.
Playing with a vibration dampener can make the racket feel like it has a larger sweet spot, since there is less feedback when you hit a shot outside of the centre of the racket.
By contrast, if you hit a ball outside of this comfortable zone when not using a vibration dampener, you will feel a significant difference through your arm, much like shanking a golf shot.
With all that being said, the extent to which you may benefit from using a vibration dampener will depend on your racket and string of choice. If you are already using very soft strings and a very forgiving racket, with a thick beam, low stiffness rating and a lot of shock absorbing technology, then using a shock absorber will make less of a difference to your overall feel.
Whereas, if you are using a very stiff racket with a high gauge, stiff string that has more of an old school thin frame, you could notice a massive difference by using a shock absorber. This could make the difference between a racket feeling solid and unplayable!
So, the call of whether to use a vibration dampener is of course up to you, but bear in mind that you will likely have a more arm friendly experience using a vibration dampener unless your racket and string setup is already very soft.
If this is the case and you don’t tend to suffer from arm related niggles, playing without a vibration dampener can give you a more ‘connected’ feel, as the strings hitting the ball will be a more tactile experience thanks to the lack of interference with the vibrations.
What to Look for in a Dampener
Now, whilst vibration dampeners may look similar to the naked eye, there are a few key things to consider when deciding which one to go for. The size and number of shock absorbers you use will also depend on whether you are competing or not, so it may be worth getting into good habits before making the switch to a different dampener.
Most shock absorbers are similarly sized and will fit snugly between two strings on your tennis racket. They are generally made to fit all rackets regardless of head size or string pattern so don’t worry too much about the dampener slipping out whilst you are playing.
The tennis rules state that a shock absorber should be of a reasonable size and position and they must be placed outside of the crosses and mains of the string bed. In reality, this means that you should use one dampener below the bottom cross string of your racket. This should provide enough coverage for a noticeable reduction in vibrations.
The design of a vibration dampener can make a difference to how it feels and how much shock it actually absorbs. On the more simple end of the spectrum, there are hollow, circular dampeners that fit between two strings and provide a good level of shock absorption but are less intrusive.
Then, there are more substantial, thicker dampeners that still sit between just two strings but may have additional grooves in them and be made from more robust materials. This tends to mean they offer more comfort and better shock absorption.
Some vibrations dampeners will actually span across multiple strings, offering a highly cushioned feel.
Design also comes down to the colour and patterns on the dampener. You may want an understated, brand specific dampener to go under the radar. Or, if you want to stand out from the crowd you could go for a brightly coloured or emoji designed dampener!
The Best Tennis Vibration Dampeners
Babolat Custom Feel Dampener
- Minimalist Style
- Removable Plug
One of the most minimalist vibration dampeners out there, the Babolat Custom Feel dampener offers a lightweight design that won’t intrude too much on your feel of the ball. It comes with a removable plug so you can adjust the feel of the dampener to your liking, ideal for the Babolat player that doesn’t want to stand out too much.
Yonex Vibration Stopper
- Multiple Colors
- Great Shock Absorption
- Deadened Response
The Yonex Vibration Stopper is a substantial dampener that punches above its weight in terms of shock absorption. It is a robust dampener that does a good job of deadening the feel
- Arm Friendly
- Spans Multiple Strings
One of the most famous and well received dampeners out there is the Babolat Vibrakill. It spans across multiple strings and has small beads inside that are specifically designed to get rid of any excess vibrations from the racket. It is a very dampener that will leave you with the most comfortable and arm friendly feel possible!
Wilson Shock Trap
- Four Individual Shock Absorbers
- Absorbent Rubber
- A Real Classic!
The Wilson Shock Trap has been around for a number of years now and for good reason. It is a well designed dampener that has four individual shock absorbers that sit between multiple strings that are connected by absorbent rubber.
This dampener really takes the sting out of any shot and gives you a very plush sensation as you hit the ball.
- Choice of Andre Agassi
- Quick Solution
We couldn’t end a review about the best vibration dampeners out there without giving the good old fashioned rubber band an honourable mention! It was made famous by Brad Gilbert and Andre Agassi and is the most traditional and simplisting vibration dampener out there.
Simply tie a thick rubber band around the bottom cross string of your racket to keep it in place and there you have it, your very own shock absorbing dampener! It will not leave your racket feeling as well dampened as a more sophisticated option that spans across multiple strings, but for a quick and simple solution it does the trick.
There is a lot more that goes into picking the perfect vibration dampener than you might think. Different sizes, designs and brands can vary the feel of your racket depending on how much shock absorption takes place.
Whether you use a vibration dampener or not is totally up to you, but we hope this guide has helped you understand the process behind this decision more clearly. Whilst we have recommended our favourite dampeners, there are plenty more out there to choose from, so go ahead and give a few of them a go!
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