Living in an apartment under a bunch of barbarians can be equal parts frustrating and infuriating. It’s too bad we can’t return the ceiling-shaking attacks they uncaringly point at us! Could we ever make an impact on a surface that’s designed to be strong and sturdy? Well, if you want to give your noisy neighbors a piece of your mind, you could get a ceiling vibrator or thumper.
These devices are the perfect way to emphasize your anger. They’ll certainly shake the ground under your neighbors’ feet — and without making a huge mess.
What Is a Ceiling Vibrator?
As you might imagine, a ceiling vibrator is a motorized device that should alert the people living above the user when they’re being particularly obnoxious. It really is that simple! It saves you from having to bang on the ceiling manually.
Apparently, the invention took off in 2017, when a Beijing resident identified only by his surname — Zhang — decided that he just couldn’t take the sounds of the noisy children living above him anymore. The noise wasn’t only driving him crazy — it was also preventing his parents from sleeping. With that in mind, the man decided to whip up a machine that has since found its way to apartments across China and beyond.
How Does It Work?
All things considered, ceiling thumpers are fairly simple machines. They have a long rod that extends between the floor and ceiling. You can even adjust its height by a few inches by unscrewing the foot at the bottom end. So it accounts for varying ceiling heights in different apartment buildings.
The top of the rod is connected to a square or cylinder-shaped device that is firmly pressed against the ceiling. The motor that vibrates the ceiling is inside that case. It’s powered by a long cord that hangs from the device, connecting it to the nearest outlet. Generally, these machines also come with wireless remote control devices that allow users to turn them on at the first sign of trouble.
At this point, there may even be different versions of this product on the market:
- Beat thumpers, which rhythmically hit the surface of the ceiling
- Shock vibrators, which send vibrations through, instead
- Shock and beat machines, which are a combination of both
Most of them have different speed and vibration mode settings incorporated into the remote. So you might have to study the instructions before you can get to the fun part.
What Are the Effects of the Device?
So why is this device more effective than the various tools you’ve used to annoy your upstairs neighbors? Simply put, the amount of force you’re able to exert is nothing compared to the vibrations of a powerful motor.
Remember, the ceiling was designed to withstand any kind of movement on the floor above. But even though airborne noise may not make it through, you’ll probably still have problems with impact sounds like footsteps.
That’s the very vulnerability this machine exploits! The vibrations the motor sends into the ceiling joists transfer to the flooring above. If the floor isn’t unreasonably thick, the machine may even shake some of the neighbors’ things. But don’t worry — it’s not as strong as an earthquake might be.
At most, it may shake small, light objects loose from the furniture pieces closest to the source of vibrations. Other than that, the machine should be just strong enough to get your neighbors’ attention.
How to Set Up a Ceiling Vibrator or Thumper
If you decide to try out one of these devices, you’ll have to get it off Chinese retail sites or US-based distributors. When it ships to you, you’ll just have to put it all together before setting it up against your ceiling. While building shakers — or ceiling thumpers — come in all shapes and sizes, most of them will look approximately the same.
With that in mind, the first step to setting up your device will be connecting the separate pieces. As shown in the video, you’ll first want to connect the cord to the motor box and splice together the metal rod. After inserting one side of the rod into the slot on the motor box, screw in the foot that will go on your floor.
Put the motorized side up against the ceiling and adjust the bottom side of the rod, extending the foot at the bottom. Finally, plug in the machine and set up the remote.
Making a DIY Ceiling Stomper
If you prefer using the fruit of your labor to annoy your neighbors, you could make one of these devices. You’ll just need a motorized box that will transfer vibrations through the surface as well as a rod to support it against the ceiling. Alternatively, you could attach the device to the ceiling permanently by screwing it in at the sides.
Whatever you do, try not to replicate the following experiment. Ryan and David of the eponymous YouTube channel wanted to make a literal ceiling stomper with two rods connected to two boots. However, you’d need at least two people to operate such a device. I recommend taking the moving parts out of the equation if you’re not an experienced tinkerer.
Instead, you can just take a long rod or broomstick and pad one end to prevent it from cracking the ceiling. With that in mind, you can use anti-vibration pads, socks, and duct tape to secure everything. Then, whenever you want to discipline your loud neighbors, you can just manually slam the rod against it.
Other Ways to Annoy Noisy Neighbors
If you’re not enthused by this idea, there are other ways to annoy your upstairs neighbors. On the one hand, you can simply do your loudest chores or practice musical instruments when your neighbors are relaxing. That would be the passive-aggressive route.
Alternatively, you can take on a more active role by knocking on your neighbor’s door or playing doorbell ditch. Singing your neighbors up for random junk mail and spam calls can be another great way to annoy them.
But if you want to focus your efforts on the ceiling, you could:
- Put speakers (and subwoofers) up against the ceiling and blast music through it
- Tap on the radiator pipes that lead up into your upstairs neighbors’ apartment with a metal spoon (just keep in mind that your downstairs neighbors may hear the noise too)
- Bounce a ball against the ceiling
Of course, these tricks would make it obvious that you’re behind your neighbors’ torment. They’d be able to tell that the sounds are coming from below. So you should make sure they can’t retaliate by making your life even more difficult.
Or You Can Just Tell Them to Be Quiet
If your neighbors are reasonable people, there’s no reason to engage in childish pranks right off the bat. Try discussing the matter like mature people before you order your ceiling thumper. And even if that fails, the law is likely on your side. Still, if your landlord doesn’t want to intervene, feel free to do your worst — your neighbors started it, anyway!