In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the best tennis dampeners for your racket in 2020.
We’ll look at 7 different options, including button, worm, and hybrid-shaped dampeners.
We’ve also outlined some key things to consider when buying, helping you pick the perfect dampener for your specific needs.
Djokovic Tennis Dampener
Shock Trap Tennis Dampener
Best Tennis Dampeners
Let’s begin our reviews.
Below, we’ve looked at 7 of the best tennis dampeners you can buy in 2020.
- ADV Tennis Vibration Dampener
- 21K Sports Tennis Vibration Dampener
- TOURNA Sampras Vibration Dampener
- HEAD Djokovic Vibration Dampener
- Wilson Pro Feel Tennis Vibration Dampener
- Vibra Worm Tennis Vibration Dampener
- Wilson Shock Trap Vibration Dampener
1. ADV Tennis Vibration Dampener
If you aren’t sure what level of dampening you want, this three-pack from ADV is the best way to go.
Each of the three poly-silicone dampeners is a different size, shape and density. This lets you customize the level of vibration dampening at any time you like. Even better, all three sizes are compatible with all tennis rackets and string patterns. You only get one of each style in a pack by default, but you can choose to buy 3-packs of a single style if you find one you like.
Another great thing about this dampener is the fact that it sticks so well – meaning no mid-game adjustments, and no worrying about it flying off mid-shot. ADV use a really well-engineered groove-based locking system, which does its job nicely.
You’ll pay a bit more for these dampeners, but since they’re covered by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can return them for a full refund if you aren’t completely satisfied.
2. 21K Sports Tennis Vibration Dampener
Spanning six strings to provide better dampening, this product is ideal for those who want to minimize vibration above all else. It can even help to reduce fatigue as you play due to the reduced reverberation, helping you impart more power on the ball.
While it’s most effective on dense-strung rackets, this dampener works well on any density. However, it can be a little tricky to install, and with some strings it can slip a little. There’s a no-questions-asked refund policy within 30 days of buying though, meaning you can always return it if it’s not a good fit.
But whether you’re a casual player or a hard hitter, these dampeners are built to last. Incredibly durable, they’re designed to carry you through over 100 hours of playing time. Plus, since they come in a three-pack, you won’t have to worry about replacing them for quite a while unless you own multiple rackets.
Although they’re another slightly expensive option, they also do a great job eliminating that annoying ping noise from your racket, if this is something you’re trying to achieve.
3. TOURNA Sampras Vibration Dampener
Pete Sampras is a fan of this dampener, and so are we.
This option from TOURNA is a professional-grade dampener that comes at a bargain price. Made of soft rubber, it provides great vibration dampening and noise reduction, ideal for those who want to reduce as much strain as possible from the elbow and shoulder.
As a result, if you’re looking for a little less dampening, you may want to consider the Wilson Pro Feel (below) instead, as it provides better feedback. But if you want a strong dampener you can easily install, the TOURNA Sampras is a great choice.
This button dampener also stays put really well – but what really sets it apart is its unique O-ring design. The hole in the middle of the ring allows air to pass through the center, minimizing air resistance while also making the Sampras lighter than most other dampeners.
All in all, you get unmatched vibration and noise reduction without impeding your game, meaning you can spend your time focusing on topping Sampras’s 14 grand slams.
4. HEAD Djokovic Vibration Dampener
This dampener is essentially your basic button option. It easily installs between the central two vertical strings to reduce vibrations and muffle the “ping” noise of the ball hitting the racket.
You basically get a medium-level amount of dampening. This option doesn’t quite dampen as much as the TOURNA Sampras, but still does a good job minimizing vibration.
Made of an elastomer rubber material, the Djokovic dampener is flexible enough to slide up and down the strings, allowing you to adjust the feel of your racket mid-match if necessary.
Thanks to its grooved sides, it hugs the strings and doesn’t pop out, even when you’re slamming aces. It’s also very easy to install.
This is a solid, dependable dampener. You won’t get any fancy features with this option, but you can trust it to perform reliably for seasons to come.
5. Wilson Pro Feel Tennis Vibration Dampener
Wilson is one of the premier tennis brands, so it’s no surprise that their dampeners tend to be quite popular.
As a round button dampener, the Pro Feel is very easy to install. You won’t waste time trying to get this dampener onto your racket strings. However, there’s a downside to this – it can come off occasionally if you absolutely smash the ball.
Despite this, this dampener is extremely durable, and its small size means it won’t interfere with your backhands. It also won’t dampen your shots too much – you’ll get the perfect amount of feedback and feel without the distracting vibrations.
In addition, the Pro Feel is good value for money – it comes in an affordable two-pack, and is available in various colors to match your racket.
6. Vibra Worm Tennis Vibration Dampener
This dampener is an alternative to traditional worm dampeners. It’s basically a gel-filled tube that can be stretched to cover five or six strings.
Since it’s not made of rubber, the Vibra Worm is flexible enough to be woven between the strings of the racket. You’ll have to be careful not to overstretch it during installation, but once it’s on, it stays put, thanks to the strong plastic hooks on each end.
The hooks are easy to attach and hard to crack – unless you take a direct hit from a real power player, these dampeners won’t break or fall off. They won’t chew through your strings either, despite the hook design.
They also come in a variety of colors – each six-pack comes with three black, one red, one blue, and one yellow dampener, allowing you to pick the one that best matches your style.
It’s worth noting that worm dampeners that cover this many strings reduce vibrations quite dramatically. Therefore, if you want more feel in your racket, you might want to consider a button dampener instead.
7. Wilson Shock Trap Vibration Dampener
The second Wilson dampener on our list, the Shock Trap is essentially a cross between a worm and a button dampener. Although it covers four strings, it’s made up of four individual rectangles that slot between the strings like a button dampener.
Because it wraps around the strings, the Shock Traps provides superb shock dampening without impeding your game – all for a quite reasonable price.
The thing that really sets this dampener apart though is how low-profile the design is. It’s incredibly light, and you could even hit the ball dead-on the dampener and not notice anything.
This design does make it tricky to install, and since they’re sold individually, you may want to invest in a few if you have more than one racket. However, once it’s on the strings, this dampener’s not going anywhere.
Tennis Dampener Buyer’s Guide
Now we’ll discuss some key things to look for in a tennis dampener.
Remember, you need to achieve the right balance between dampening and feedback. Too much dampening and the racket won’t feel right, too little and you won’t be reducing enough vibration (or noise) for your liking.
How do tennis dampeners work?
Dampeners are small pieces of rubber that are inserted between or onto the strings of a tennis racket. Their main purpose is to reduce the vibration of the racket’s strings, since many players don’t like the feel or the sound of the ball’s impact.
A dampener does this by dispersing the energy of the ball when it hits the racket, partially absorbing the shock of the impact. This subsequently reduces the pinging noise the racket makes when it strikes a ball, as well as reducing the feel of vibration.
What other effects do tennis dampeners have?
A common misconception is that dampeners will help with tennis elbow. While they may lessen the shock of some of the vibrations caused by the ball hitting the strings, a dampener will not actually protect your arm from injury.
Also, dampeners won’t affect a racket’s power level. Since most dampeners are quite small, they generally do not have a significant effect on the way a racket plays. In fact, many rackets already have dampening properties built into the frames, and so are designed to accommodate dampening without it affecting play.
However, some types of dampeners may affect the amount of feedback (or feel for the ball) your racket offers. More on this below.
What types of dampeners are there?
Dampeners come in two main types:
Button dampeners are small, round/triangular options with grooved edges, which slide between two vertical strings on the tennis racket. Some button dampeners are shaped like doughnuts, with the center cut out to maximize airflow. They tend to be quite lightweight.
These types of dampeners are popular because they’re small, reducing the chance of the ball striking the dampener, which could affect its flight. However, button dampeners are more likely to fall off the racket – particularly if they are hit directly.
Worm dampeners are longer than button dampeners and normally attach to more than two strings. They’re either woven through the racket and held in place by hooks on the ends, or clip on to the strings.
Some people (including Andre Agassi) have created their own version of a worm dampener by simply wrapping rubber bands around the bottom of the string bed. In time, however, a homemade rubber-band dampener will stretch out or degrade, rendering it quite useless.
Which type of dampener should I choose?
First, you’ll want to think about how much you want to reduce vibrations. When vibrations are greatly muted, you reduce the amount of feedback as the ball hits the racket, which may feel strange.
Worm dampeners reduce vibrations more than button dampeners, since they cover more strings. Therefore, if you want a better feel, a smaller button dampener, which won’t cover as many strings, will be your best option.
Second, consider durability and longevity. As mentioned before, worm dampeners are more secure and less likely to detach from the racket, meaning you won’t waste time trying to track them down if they pop loose.
However, button dampeners are less likely to crack or break, since they don’t have hooks or hard surfaces. And while they may fall off and get lost more easily, they’re generally cheaper to replace.
It’s always a good idea to have more than one dampener, so if you find something you like, try to find it in bulk packs. Many dampeners are available in packs of two, three, or even six, so you’ll be covered if one gets lost or broken (or if you have multiple rackets).
In the end, it comes down to how much dampening you want, and how secure you need the dampener to be.
Where do you install a racket dampener?
The dampener usually goes at the bottom of the racket, right above the throat. If you’re playing in official competitions, there are rules about exactly where it can be placed.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) allows vibration dampeners to be placed anywhere outside the cross-string pattern. Although this technically means you can put a dampener on any of the outer edges, players typically install the dampener at the bottom of the racket where the center main string and bottom cross string meet.
The rules don’t allow the dampener to be placed inside the string bed, to reduce the likelihood of the ball hitting the dampener during play. If a ball does hit the dampener, this can change its trajectory quite drastically.
How a dampener is installed depends on the type you choose – normally the package should have instructions for installation. Button dampeners are the easiest to install, since they just slide between two strings, while the worm variety needs to be woven through or clipped onto the strings.
Dampeners are probably one of the cheapest things you’ll ever spend money on as a tennis player!
The more expensive ones won’t set you back much money at all. Meaning, if you find something that looks like it’ll suit you, don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks for it.
Most dampeners have a decent return policy nowadays, meaning if your purchase doesn’t stay on your racket for whatever reason, you should be able to swap it for something else.
About the author
Matt is the newest face on the Lift Your Game team.
He’s a former college football player, and also played soccer and tennis in high school.
In his spare time, you’ll either find him at the gym, or on the couch playing Madden!