A magnetorheological (MR) damper can adapt its dynamic performance to the vibration environment by controlling the current applied. Compared to other types of dampers, the MR damper has a wider range of dynamic characteristics. Two different dampers: hydraulic, and MR dampers were tested under forced sinusoidal excitations of low to high frequencies. Also, different currents were applied on the MR damper to investigate its performance under varying electromagnetic fields. The results reveal that the two dampers have nonlinear dynamic characteristics and that characteristics of the hydraulic damper are different from those of the MR damper. The hydraulic damper provides slight nonlinear damping force whereas the MR damper shows a strong nonlinear property. In addition, the hydraulic damper is designed to provide an asymmetric damping force of rebound and compression whereas the MR damper provides a symmetric damping force. In the experiments conducted, the excitation frequency was varied from 3 Hz to 11 Hz and the amplitude from 2.5 mm to 12 mm. For the hydraulic damper, the lowest compression damping force only increases by about 0.54 kN while the rebound force increases by about 1.9 kN. In contrast, the variations of compression and rebound forces of the MR damper are 1.9 and 2.0 kN, respectively. Furthermore, the damping force of the MR damper increases as the current increases from 0 to 0.75 A.