Vibration dampeners are so inexpensive making it easy to buy a ton and have some fun with 'em. I've had play time figuring out which were a waste of money, average, or even fantastic. Although I'm pretty meticulous in my testing, your mileage may vary since what works for me may not suit your taste.
- The "ping" you hear from the strings when not using a dampener is high frequency vibration
- High frequency vibration is suppressed significantly when using a dampener
- Vibration dampeners do very little to lessen the low frequency frame shock that travels up the arm
- Dampeners don’t really help your game per se but may keep your mind off the agitating ping and more on your game
Below I've listed dampeners in alphabetical order within each category. Traditional dampeners cover just 2 main strings. Worm damps are long "strings" that usually cover 6-12 main strings. Just click on the damp name (in blue letters
) to view vendor description & price.
TRADITIONAL (covers 2 strings)
Babolat Custom II - square
It is an improvement over the circular ones they used to sell as this square one stays in better. It’s soft rubber, medium weight, expensive but good.
Babolat Custom - circle
One of my favorites. Made of soft rubber, medium weight, only downfall is it costs double most others.
Dunlop - square
Looks cool and the rubber is soft but still harder than most other damps I’ve tested so not recommended.
Interesting having six sides. A nice damp for medium weight and made of soft rubber.
McMaster-Carr ½” Grommet - item 9600K22 (My pick -- best traditional damp)
A buddy gave me some to try and I was hooked. They’re taller, fatter, and weight more than other “O” ring damps and remarkably flexible. That squishiness coupled with being gummy (not sticky though) grips the strings so well. I don’t understand why this one works so well but it’s on all my racquets.
Menard's Grommets - 1/2" ID (4 pack)
At under 30 cents each it’s extremely cheap. It’s soft, flexy, has thin walls and a low weight. It's for those who want a light to medium damp feel for very little added weight and perfect for those on a shoestring budget.
Made of a plastic and harder than all other damps. Not recommended.
Pete Sampras Tourna
I bought this from two different vendors and had mixed results. In the first package, the black was soft flexy rubber while the red was stiffer and like more a mix of rubber and plastic. In the second purchase from another vendor, both red and black damps were quite hard so had to toss 'em.
Very small and shaped like a multivitamin. I was skeptical at first at such a small damp with almost no weight. It’s made of soft rubber and is perfect for those who want low damp and very low weight. This is certainly a step up for the rubber band users and more elegant to boot.
Tecnifibre Vibra Clip
Very small and shaped like a multivitamin. Very similar to the Prince Tour but not as flexy. Like a rubber / plastic mix and has almost no weight. Interesting hard clip built in under the soft rubber. Good for those who want low damp and very low weight but I still like the Prince Tour ones slightly better. Get rid of the rubber band and try them both.
Tourna Shock Off
Good luck on getting it installed! Once you get this thing on you won't be taking it off to try new ones quickly. It’s like a giant rubber band with a fat brass dumbbell in it which makes it heavier than most damps. I love the design and works well.
Yonex Vibration Stopper
My favorite for the traditional category. It's soft rubber, flexy, and heavy weight because it is big. I’ve even customized these so the bottom “V” slides down slightly into the port of my frames.
WORM STYLE (covers 6-12 strings)
Babolat Racquet Vibration System (1.75")
Even though I didn't notice a big change in low frequency frame shock, it's good to try out. It does damp a little and may help, albeit ever so slightly, those who have tennis elbow.
Forten Spectra Worm
Covers 6 to 8 strings and made of soft rubber. It has tiny "fins" that grab the strings so it has a little more string contact than tube worm damps. Other damps are better.
Gamma Shockbuster (4")
Covers 8 strings and made of soft rubber. If a ball hits a plastic clips on the end it will come off and flap around. But the whole damp will never fly off. Although it works very well, eventually it'll rupture and the gel will leak all over your strings so not recommended.
Gamma TNT Core (2.5")
Only seeing it online I was prejudiced against this from the start figuring the name is a joke. When I got it in on the strings I liked its soft rubber as it is the softest of all I’ve ever tested. It applies to the racquet nicely and looks good. Yea Gamma.
Head Smartsorb (4.25")
I swap back and forth with this and the generic TW damp. The Head is flatter, shorter and has very short “fingers” to grip the strings. This one compares much to the TW generic damp and, between the two, I still like the TW damp slightly better.
Prince / Ektelon Silencer (4.5")
Nice damp across 10 strings. Its has fairly low weight, great damp-to-weight ratio, and a very clever way to adhere to the racquet so will never fall off. Have a friend push/pull the a main/cross apart, slide the O end between, he lets go, done. If you do it alone take your time or you may cut the end open like I did only on my first try. Illegal to use in USTA.
Serpent Dampener (4”) (My pick -- best worm damp)
Essentially a super fat black rubberband that has an intelligent way of attaching. It’s extremely soft which is good and it seems to do a nice job dampening. Still it is the heaviest of all worms at 3.1g but it's really quite nice (and also my favorite for the category). Comes in a pack of two for just $2 so icing on the cake.
Tennis Warehouse Worm (3.75")
Soft rubber has tiny "fins" to grab the strings, fatter in middle and tapers near the end which is a smart touch having more damp near the middle. As with all conventional worm damps, the rubber connecting the end plastic clips will ultimately weaken and tear even if it takes a couple of years. Hey, but for only a buck you can’t go wrong.