Bacteria adhering to surfaces demonstrate random, nanoscopic vibrations around their equilibrium positions. This paper compares vibrational amplitudes of bacteria adhering to glass. Spring constants of the bond are derived from vibrational amplitudes and related to the electrophoretic softness of the cell surfaces and dissipation shifts measured upon bacterial adhesion in a quartz-crystal-microbalance (QCM-D). Experiments were conducted with six bacterial strains with pairwise differences in cell surface characteristics. Vibrational amplitudes were highest in low ionic strength suspensions. Under fluid flow, vibrational amplitudes were lower in the direction of flow than perpendicular to it because stretching of cell surface polymers in the direction of flow causes stiffening of the polyelectrolyte network surrounding a bacterium. Under static conditions (0.57 mM), vibrational amplitudes of fibrillated Streptococcus salivarius HB7 (145 nm) were higher than that of a bald mutant HB-C12 (76 nm). Amplitudes of moderately extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) producing Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC35983 (47 nm) were more than twice the amplitudes of strongly EPS producing S. epidermidis ATCC35984 (21 nm). No differences were found between Staphylococcus aureus strains differing in membrane cross-linking. High vibrational amplitudes corresponded with low dissipation shifts in QCM-D. In streptococci, the polyelectrolyte network surrounding a bacterium is formed by fibrillar surface appendages and spring constants derived from vibrational amplitudes decreased with increasing fibrillar density. In staphylococci, EPS constitutes the main network component, and larger amounts of EPS yielded higher spring constants. Spring constants increased with increasing ionic strength and strains with smaller electrophoretically derived bacterial cell surface softnesses possessed the highest spring constants.