Shields on or off?

Hey guys, this is something I have heard different opinions on. Is it better to leave your bearing shields on or off? I have heard that keeping them on prevents debris getting into the ball bearings, and I have also heard that a lot of players just take them off. Are there advantages of leaving the shields off or dose it not do anything? Thanks.


I prefer them off.

Sure, it makes bearings more susceptible to dirt and debris, but they are much easier to clean and lube with the shields off, and cleaning/lubing bearings is common enough that I’d rather it be easy to do and have to do it a little more often, than the other way around.


You can clean and lube bearings with their shields on.

I leave them on unless I end up taking them off (because putting those c-clips back on is a royal PITA) or they came without them.

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Just leave them off. Everything’s easier that way and performance doesn’t take a hit.


Good to know it doesn’t interfere with performance. I lost shields to one of my bearings and was not sure if that was a bad thing or not.


I’m in the leave them on camp. I’ve gotten good at deshielding, cleaning, lubing and reshielding. To each their own regarding the shields, but, I try to leave equipment the way it comes, unless I have compelling reason to improve it.


yeah same, I know it doesn’t matter if you put them back on but I still do after every time I lube my bearing


I find it easier to lube a bearing without The shield. So if it needs lubing, I take it off. Otherwise, I leave it…

Well, there are a few ways to look at what is a better idea/

First… if you are going to run your bearing ‘dry’, then take or leave your shields off.
Now, the down side of no shields is that it is even easier for the bearing to get dirty.
The up side is that you can easily clean the bearing without having to waste time dealing with the shields. Put the bearing in a little bottle with 90 percent(thereabouts) alcohol. Rattle it around for just a minute. Take it out and spin the bearing on the end of a pencil. Or use canned air or a hair dryer and air it out. Install and get rocking/no shield PITA games.

Another down side of no shields is that debris can more easily enter the bearing. And, depending on the string you use. How fast the bearing accepts string dust, etc., will obviously depend on the string composition. Because strings vary in the amount and degree that they decompose and give off ‘fuzz’, that will slow the bearing.

Again, the upside is that it is easy to recognize when your yoyo starts getting sorta sluggish. And a quick alcohol dip and you are back on track. I personally feel the time saved from messing with shields and shield clips is worth the time saved by just running shield free.

Now… there is a catch. If you run without shields. And you like lubing your bearing. Then things can get a little messy. The level of messy will be directly related to what sort of lube or lubes you use. And how often you lube. Without shields, the lube will get thrown out of the bearing from the power of the spin. The lube will wet your string and could make a mess on the walls of your yoyo.
For those of you that try to make every string last 50 years. Things can get pretty sloppy.

If you love to have your yoyo as unresponsive as possible. And you recognize that the time you spend cleaning your unshielded bearing in alcohol is still time effective because of the time saved not messing with shields… no shields is the ‘way’ to go.

If you want a more responsive bearing, then keeping the shields on. To keep the lube in the bearing(where you want it) is gonna be the best option for you.

You can play responsive with a no shields bearing. But you will lube more often. And your yoyo will be come much more of a mess and end up taking time here and there to clean up.

I, personally remove shields as soon as I get a New yoyo. Seems lately I have been getting yoyos that come with no shields already. < Forward thinking in my opinion.

I would only keep shields on if I threw responsive.

Responsive looks really fun. I don’t have the skill set to play that way.

So, I am a firm believer in NO shields.

Good luck.


I came in here to say pretty much the same thing @yoyodoc just said, so my post is basically a +1 on his.

No lube/running dry = no shields needed
Using lube (thick or thin)= I prefer shields to keep lube inside the bearing better and less mess. Lube also attracts dirt.
No lube/dry but like to play outdoors and set your yoyo on the grass in the park or in sand on the beach frequently = I’d suggest shields.

When cleaning I feel it’s best to remove shields. Leaving the shields on while cleaning can trap larger bits of dirt/grim/string fuzz inside the bearing from getting out, which can defeat the purpose of cleaning. When lubing I feel it’s best to remove shields as well to get a good coating of lube inside. Sure, shields can be a pain but there’s a reason they are removable.

My dry bearings don’t have shields and my lubed bearings do have shields.


I used to dump the shields immediately after cleaning, but once I found how easy it actually is to put them back on (takes me like 5 seconds per side) I just put them back on every time now.


I’d take the shields off to try and “save” a bearing if it didn’t seem to be normal after regular maintenance. Otherwise, if it works fine, leave on. Once off, off forever.

I always leave them on. Shielding and deshielding them takes a minute to do.


When I get a new throw I de-shield the bearing, clean and lube it then silicone the response system within the week. The only exception is if I don’t care for a throw and plan to sell it.

Standardizing the process means that from then on I only need to change the string.

If you oppened alredy yoyo bering it will not make any difrent if you will put it on at my opinion.