Finding a drum practice pad can be difficult, and it is very easy to make a mistake and purchase a pad that really doesn’t do the job you want it to. Some of the pads on the market are powerful tools for drummers, but others are just pieces of plastic.
In our list of the best drum practice pad options, we’ve looked at all the most vital features of drum pads, the size (you need something that is suitable for the drum you are trying to mimic) the material, inserts, and the rim. All these aspects of the drum pad makeup are important. We’ve also reviewed the weight for the sake of portability, and the warranty that some drum pads offer, so you can rest assured of their quality and not worry too much about them breaking when you start to use the pad.
This pad is designed to mimic the feel of a snare drum more than anything else, but it passes as toms too. It can fit within a standard snare drum basket, comes with a carrying case and has awesome design.
For the complete drummer looking to work on their skills without making too much noise, this model is hard to argue with. Without the inserts, it is one of the best snare drum practice pad options. With the inserts, it mimics other types of drums.
The RealFeel by Evans is a great option, and deserves its place at the top of our list of drum practice pad options. It has a very realistic feel, and though it comes in a lot of different sizes, we’ve focussed on the most affordable option, the six inch pad.
In terms of mounting, it is easy to mount on a standard cymbal stand or a specific Evans practice pad stand. If you are looking to build a practice drum pad kit then it is important that you get stands for your pads.
The gum rubber insert gives a rebound that feels quite similar to a lot of drums such as snare drums and some toms. This means that you get used to the feel of the drum without having to be playing it. As far as substitutes for acoustic drums go, this is one of the best.
The 8mm threaded insert is where the pad can be easily mounted to a stand. It is pretty quiet when played, making it perfect for solo practice when you don’t want to disturb.
Naturally, the small and lightweight design makes it very good for taking out and about with you. You can buy this as a set with drumsticks too if you want to get everything you need to start practicing on the go. This is also a very affordable drum pad, so you don’t have to break the bank to get the quality Evans offers.
Professional feel with a realistic rebound.
Easy to mount on stands if needed.
Six inch design might be too small for some people.
For the very best value, we recommend the Remo RT-0010-00 10″ Gray Tunable Practice Pad, which not only has lots of brilliant features, but it is also one of the most affordable options and even comes with a replacement warranty if anything on this should break.
Breaking is not likely though, as it is made out of flexible but rugged plastic and a protective rubber surface to keep this going for a number of years.
The model in our review is a 10” drum pad, but Remo manufactures 6 and 8 inch models of the same type of drum pad so you can choose the size best suited to your own needs.
This is also available in a variety of different colors, but for most drummers this doesn’t really make too much of an impact, as they’re not likely to care what color their drum pad is.
You can mount the Remo on a stand, but it is also non-slip in its design, this means that you can just as easily put it on a tabletop to practice those chops and drum rhythms. This is another reason why this is good for beginners to use, as it can be an easy way to practice pretty much wherever you are.
The replacement warranty combined with the great price make this the best value you can find on our list.
As a budget pick, for people who want to save some money but still get a good quality drum practice pad, you might not expect such a huge drum brand. The Vic Firth drum pads are pretty affordable but the features on offer are still impressive, so we’re happy to recommend this drum pad to anyone who wants to save a bit of money. Like some of the other drum pads on the market, it is available in different sizes so if you don’t think the six inch design is going to cut it, why not try a bigger option?
Mounting is pretty simple, you can mount this Vic Firth model straight onto a cymbal stand with virtually no difficulty at all.
The soft rubber material gives a good bounce and rebound to this drum practice pad, but this might not be exactly what you want, it has a little bit more bounce than a snare would, for example. It really depends what you are looking for from your drum practice pad.
The solid wooden bottom means you can use this on a tabletop if you want to but it isn’t specifically “anti-skid” so it might move around a little.
This is only a one-sided model so you might need to replace it more quickly than some of the other drum practice pads on the market.
Available at a good price.
Can easily be mounted to a cymbal stand.
Solid and bouncy design.
Too much rebound for some drummers preference, meaning not the most realistic feel.
When we started doing the research for this article we were surprised to see a brand that is not actually very well known in the world of drumming, with one of the very best options on the whole list. The design of the Tromme Drum Practice Pad really impressed us. Though this is a large model it comes with a lot of features that aid portability, too. If you are looking for the best kick drum practice pad then this still won’t be the ideal option. It’s designed to mimic the feel of a snare drum more than anything else, but it passes as toms too.
Two of the things that make this a truly fantastic option are the fact that it can fit within a standard snare drum basket, so you can play it as if it were the snare drum sitting in your drum set, and also the fact that it comes with a carrying case, making it a truly portable drum practice pad.
It’s available in a load of different sizes and colors. This doesn’t matter too much but it is a nice bonus. One of the fantastic things about the drum is the high build-quality with a fantastic natural silicone giving protection.
You may not have heard too much about the brand before, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth exploring. If you want a convenient case to carry your drum pad around in then this can definitely be one of the best ways to get this included in the price of your purchase.
This is another option from a brand not all drummers have heard of. It is a large drum practice pad (12 inches in size and 3 lbs in weight) but it offers so much functionality to allow you to practice to the best of your ability and feel like you are playing real drums as much as you possibly can with a drum pad.
The Movement drum co is not the best known brand out there for drums, but don’t be put off by that as they clearly specialize in practice pads such as this model.
It is fully rimmed, meaning that you can learn how to play using the rims of a drum with this practice pad, something that is common in a lot of genres. It also has two inserts which are double-sided, which means in total there are four playing surfaces, some of which have a lot of bounce, some which don’t have quite so much rebound. Choose the one that is ideal for the drum you want to practice.
If you don’t add the inserts then the feel of the drum is the same as a snare. The other surfaces include a brush-style surface to help you to practice brush play, and a softer rubber which can help people who want to work on playing harder in the future or developing the muscles they use to play drums.
For the complete drummer looking to work on their skills without making too much noise, the Movement Drum co practice pad is hard to argue with. Without the inserts, it is one of the best snare drum practice pad options. With the inserts, it mimics other types of drums.
Multiple playing modes and lots of functionality.
Very durable and hard-wearing.
No carry case.
Quite a lot heavier than some other options.
Even if you know a lot about drums and drumming, there might be some questions remaining about what the best drum practice pads are, and how you can get the most out of yours. Making this decision isn’t easy, finding a kick drum practice pad or marching bass drum practice pad is very difficult, and most are created as replicas of snares and toms rather than as other parts of the drum kit. Our buying guide is essential reading if you need to break down the precise features of drum practice pads and what they are useful for. We often see them bought and used incorrectly, so it is important to ensure you fully understand practice pads.
What is actually a drum practice pad and why use it?
Probably the most important question to consider if you are totally new to drum practice pads. What are they? What can they do? Why do you need one if you are an aspiring drummer?
Logically, practicing the drums is quite a difficult thing to do. If you are going to play an acoustic drum kit then you will probably be playing loud, and this limits the locations and the times when you can realistically play. A drum practice pad is designed to be a way to play with virtually no noise.
Another way to do this would be to get an electronic drum kit and to play it with headphones on, but this is a very expensive way to do things, and still doesn’t really bring us the main benefit of a drum practice pad – portability.
All of the options on our list of top drum practice pad options can be easily stored and taken in a backpack to practices or to gigs, for warming up before playing the real thing or just for getting used to playing different drum patterns. Drumming is largely about rhythm and keeping time, and you don’t always need a drum kit in front of you to practice that. A tiny practice pad can do the job.
As well as being great for keeping the noise down, some of the drum pads allow you to practice in new ways with different surfaces to give the feeling of brush playing or other techniques.
Drum pads are popular among beginners and experienced drummers alike. Some beginners only have access to a drum set during their lessons. For example, if you are learning at a studio, or at school. Buying a practice pad can be a way to ensure that you can play at home.
Features to consider while choosing a drum practice pad
What should you think about when buying a practice pad? What are the key features and how can you make sure you are happy with your purchase? Below, we’ve talked about the different features of drum practice pads, these are the features we have largely used when creating our reviews, and those that you should think about.
It is natural that people think more about one type of feature rather than another, for example, you might prioritize the size of your practice pad, whereas other people might want a realistic feel.
There will be some sound that comes from a practice pad, likely to be pretty quiet. A well-rounded and versatile sound that has some similarity to drum sets, such as snares and toms, can be a good way to ensure you have an ideal practice pad for your own needs.
The sound should be enjoyable as you are going to be hearing a lot of it if you want to practice to a good standard.
Size, weight and portability
The size and weight contribute to how portable your drum practice pad is. For many people, this is one of the key factors, as you will probably want to take your practice pad out and about with you. Some people are looking for the best practice pad with stand so that they can play at home, but others want something they can put in their bag and practice anywhere. There are a variety of different sizes and sounds in the list we’ve created. The Tromme Drum Practice Pad even comes with its own carry case.
Silence is golden. Well, not total silence, of course, you still need to be able to hear what you are doing. A lot of people who are playing and practicing on drum practice pad sets are looking for something to keep the noise down, so if it makes an awful noise then it is not ideal.
You don’t want it to be totally quiet, but pretty close to silent so that you can hear, but people in other rooms cannot. This is a key function for a lot of drummers.
What is the drum practice pad made out of? This is a vital feature for both the durability as well as the playability of your pad. Some are made out of silicone, for example the Movement Drum Co. model which has a clever silicone design that gives plenty of bounce and rebound, but also does a good job when it comes to durability. It is a product that can last a number of years if taken care of.
Other materials include rubber, which can have a natural bounce. For some people, this feels a bit too bouncy, and doesn’t do the best job of replicating the feel of some of the drums they will be playing.
Many of the drum practice pads offer multiple playing surfaces. This means they can replicate different drums, and different tightnesses or tunings. If you are looking for a lot of versatility, the Movement Drum Co. is top of our list as it has many different surfaces, aided by the inserts (more on this below).
If you want to practice snare rolls one day and rhythms for a tom the next, you might choose different playing surfaces.
Inserts are another way to alter the sound and the feel of a practice pad. Different inserts have very different feels and bounces to them, and some models include these inserts to give more versatility to their drums. For example, the RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad comes with a gum rubber insert that gives a realistic bounce and means that when you eventually move over to playing on a drum set, you won’t have to totally adjust your technique.
Some inserts are for more specialist use, for example, the Movement Drum Co. even has a soft rubber that can make it harder to play, and this can lead to building up your muscles.
What sort of base does the drum practice pad have? It is best to find a base that is non-slip if you are planning to practice on a surface such as a table. Otherwise, you will find you have to mount it solidly on a cymbal stand, something you might have to buy separately.
Some have a rim, some don’t. Playing using the rims is a skill a lot of genres utilize and many drummers love to learn. If you are looking to play using the rims then a model like the Remo RT-0010-00 can be a good way to get a feel for this. You simply hit the edge or rim of the drum rather than the middle section.
Added extras besides the inserts are rare, but it is possible to find them. The Tromme Drum Practice Pad has a carry case, and comes with drumsticks, as some of the other models do. This is a bonus feature.
Naturally, you will want a product that is built to last. As well as being portable, they should be able to stand up to taking a hammering on a regular basis. All of the models on the list are pretty durable, and can be played for a long time without being damaged.
If you are worried, you should look for a longer warranty…
Because these types of drum pads take a hell of a beating over time, it makes sense to get a longer warranty if you can. Some models give a 30-day return policy. The Tromme Drum Practice Pad is an example of a “satisfaction guarantee”.
Most products on the list are available under $50. You can find cheaper options for around $20, and our value choice and budget pick are good for those wanting to save some money. Naturally, for a bigger pad with more inserts, you might pay a bit more.
To clean your drum practice pad, you can simply use some soap and water or an antibacterial wipe. It is nowhere near as delicate as cleaning an actual drum or drum skin. Usually, you are just cleaning silicone or rubber. Make sure you check if the manufacturer has specific guidelines for your own drum pad and if it needs to be cleaned in a specific way, but most are very simple and straightforward.
For a realistic snare feel, you will need to get a 12 inch pad, but actually it doesn’t matter too much if you get a smaller drum practice pad as you will be able to practice hitting in the center, and when you get the point when you are playing a drum with a larger circumference then it is easier to play, rather than more difficult. Decide whether or not you need a drum size that is the same as your actual drum kit, or if you are happy to be a bit more versatile with sizings. If you want to stay consistent, check the size of your snare drum for reference.
Some drum practice pads actually include the sticks with them, but this is not always the norm. If you are looking for a specific drumstick to use on the pads, it should not be too much of an issue unless you are worried about durability. Use the sticks you normally like to use, as this will ensure that you get used to them.
Our editor’s choice is the RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad, this has a very realistic feeling design that gives a good simulation of playing the drums, it is also very affordable and hard-wearing, so it should last a number of years before needing replacement. The RealFeel really does live up to its name and we have rated it 9.8/10.
The best value choice is the Remo RT-0010-00, it is tuneable for different audio qualities and it is easy to place on a stand for use within the home. It’s also hard-wearing, and has rims for those who wish to practice forms of drum playing that utilize rims a lot, we’ve rated it 9.6/10 on our list of the best drum practice pad options.
The budget pick on the list is the Vic Firth, though small at 6 inches it has a good bounce and fairly realistic reverb, and naturally the price point is a big bonus. Vic Firth is a well-known drum brand and this practice pad is a good option for those looking to save a few dollars.