When you bring up practice pads to a professional drummer, most of them will point you in the direction of electronic drum sets. While those are great for practicing, live performance, and studio use, they can cost a bit much if you want to use them solely for practice purposes.
This is where drum practice pads come in handy!
Using practice pads can significantly enhance your drumming skills and abilities without the need for an entire kit. They’re also perfect for drummers who want to practice while travelling or drummers who live in apartments and can’t play due to unfriendly neighbors.
The issue is, there are HUNDREDS of practice pads on the market today and most of them look pretty similar. We’re going to help break it down and give you all the info you need so that you can get the best drum practice pad for your needs and budget.
- 1 Portability
- 2 Feel
- 3 Noise
- 4 Type of Practice
- 5 Full Drum Practice Pad Kits
- 6 Top 10 Drum Pads for Practice
- 6.1 Movement Drum 12” Double-Sided Practice Pad
- 6.2 Drumeo P4
- 6.3 Vic Firth 12” Double-Sided Practice Pad
- 6.4 Evans 2-Sided RealFeel
- 6.5 Tromme Drum Practice Pad
- 6.6 Ammoon 10” Practice Pad
- 6.7 Remo 8” Gray Tunable Practice Pad
- 6.8 Tosnail 8” Silent Practice Pad
- 6.9 Rudi Pad
- 6.10 DW Drum Workshop Go Anywhere Pad Set
- 7 Drum Roll Please…
The main reason why drummers decide to get practice pads is because actual drum sets are bulky and take up quite a bit of space.
The leading characteristic of drum practice pads is their portability. Obviously, you’ll never take this thing out on stage to play with, but having the ability to practice in just about any room is valuable.
That being said, some pads are more portable than others. You have to decide whether transportation is one of your prominent needs.
There are drum practice pads that reflect the size of standard snare drums (14 inches in diameter), as well as those that are manufactured to be stuck inside a backpack. These tiny ones can even go down to 4 inches. There are pros and cons to each though.
A larger pad won’t be as portable, though will be much easier to practice with
A smaller pad can save you a ton of room, though won’t give you the same feel as a typical snare drum.
With portability, you must consider weight as well. Some companies will hype up the lightweight characteristic of their pads, and though that might be great for travel, can leave the pad more susceptible to shifting around while practicing.
You also must consider how the pad feels when you play it.
Do you want the feel of a real, acoustic drum?
Expect to pay a bit more…
Some practice pads out there have multiple sides with different resistance levels, giving you the feel of different types of drums.
Some practice pads have more rebound and can give you a bit of bounce with each hit, while some have soft, mesh surfaces, that can help you to really dig in.
Just like with electronic drums, practice pads are manufactured with everything from rubber to wood to neoprene and beyond. These all have different levels of resistance and can be better or worse depending on the players.
You might consider a soft pad if you need to keep your practice silent or a hard pad if you’re trying to get the sharp marching snare sound.
Speaking of noise, another huge reason to whip out your practice pad is when you need to keep the noise down.
Not all pads are made equal in this regard though.
Do you live in a small apartment with neighbors with neighbors who love to spoil a party no matter what time of day?
If the answer is yes, you NEED a soft-top pad, as rubber pads will get annoying fast, especially with the incessant pounding. Just about every practice pad is quieter than a regular drum set, though looking into materials like gum rubber.
Type of Practice
We all know that having a drum pad for practice will never actually replace a real drum set, and because of that, you need to consider what type of drumming you want to practice.
Are you looking to get some solid rudiment practice in?
Are there specific techniques that you’re looking to progress in?
Maybe you just want to bang around on your pad while the rest of the family watches TV?
Whatever it may be, try and look for the correct pad to practice your specific skills on. Buying a little rudiment practice pad may not give you what you want regarding gaining strength and muscle.
Full Drum Practice Pad Kits
Beyond one-piece sets, some manufacturers like DW are beginning to make full-kit practice sets. If you have the room for one of these but still need to keep the noise down, they’ll give you the most realistic drum practice experience that you can get without a kit.
These kits are very similar to traditional drum sets and come with kick pads, as well as multiple pieces to mimic toms and snares. The DW Drum Workshop Anywhere Pad Set even allow you to rearrange your set anyway you want to best fit your feel!
Top 10 Drum Pads for Practice
Our #1 Pick
The guys over at Movement Drums created a beautiful 12” practice pad that gives you the ability to play on four different playing surfaces. This means that whether you’re a kit player, marching drummer, or concert snare player, this practice pad will fit your needs.
The pad is incredibly realistic and also very easy to transport because of its slim, less-than-standard size design. The top side of the snare features a durable silicone rubber and is fully rimmed. You can even insert their included laminated insert if you need a more articulate feel or the conditioning surface for a low-rebound feel and quieter noise level.
This drum pad is pretty much the closest thing to a perfect drum pad and works for drummers at all skill levels. Unlike with some pads, you also have the ability to practice cross-sticking and back sticking.
Bottom Line: This is our #1 drum practice pad for many reasons. You have multiple playing surfaces, making it more versatile than most pads, and it features a durable construction with a standard rim and multiple inserts. For beginners and experts alike, this might be the best pad for the value.
There is no question that this is one of the more interesting looking drum practice pads out there, but what are all these pads for?
Well, Drumeo decided to take the practice pad one step further and divided it into 4 unique sections that represent a snare, high tom, floor tom, and cymbal, respectively. This makes it one of the most versatile pads on our list.
The blue pad is a standard gum-rubber pad that represents the snare, the black pad is a neoprene-rubber with similar responsiveness to high toms, the cream pad has similar responsiveness to a floor tom and is excellent for strength building, and the red surface is the hardest and represents the ride.
The pads on here are very quiet as well, are made to last and are made in the USA, giving you the best in quality. Now apparently you won’t get the sounds of the different drums listed, but you do get a realistic drum set feel in relativity to other practice pads.
Bottom Line: If you’re serious about accuracy and versatility, the Drum P4 Practice Pad can help you hone your skills in detail. There isn’t another practice pad quite like this one on the market.
Just like the Movement Drum, the Vic Firth 12” pad has two sides for soft and loud practicing. You only need one pad to get the best of both worlds. Both sides are made of Vic Firth’s premium rubber that is strong and will last you quite some time.
Some won’t like the bouncy feel on the top, though we think it’s perfect for those who are trying to practice speed and control simultaneously, as well as those who want to practice drop/catch strokes.
One thing that is unique to Vic Firth’s practice pad is that it is made with a dense wooden base. This gives it the same ‘heavy’ feel as an acoustic snare. Obviously, you sacrifice the portability because of the weight, though you do get the realism that many people desire with these pads.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an authentic feel practice pad with a little bit of bounce for better control practice, the Vic Firth 12” may be right up your alley. The wooden base is unique and helps to mimic the weight and volume of a traditional snare.
This 12” practice pad is just big enough to replicate the size of a traditional snare but small enough to stick in your bag and take with you on the go. Because it’s two-sided, you get a versatile practice experience.
The grey gum rubber on one side is much quieter and has a bit more rebound while the black neoprene on the other side is louder, has less rebound, and is great for a practice workout. Both are made with high standards and are resistant to marks or wear-and-tear.
The bottom of the drum features a weighty sanded wood to give you that traditional volume we were talking about earlier. One of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about this drum is the chemical smell that it comes with straight out of the factory. It’s not a huge deal, however, as this smell is common and typically goes away after a few days of use.
Bottom Line:The Evans 2-Sided RealFeel Practice Pad is perfect for those who need a pad that is close to traditional size and has multiple, durable sides for versatility.
Almost all of the drum pads in this article are made with some type of rubber. Tromme decided to think outside of the box and create their practice pad with silicone instead. The prime characteristics of silicone is that it is non-toxic and doesn’t wear out as quickly, giving you more longevity.
At 12”, you can easily stick this pad in a traditional snare basket and practice at your kit. Available in blue, red, or grey, each of these pads are soft and bouncy, giving you a very similar feel to a traditional drum set. The pads are also super quiet.
Travelling a lot? Don’t worry, Tromme was thinking of you and made a sweet little carrying case for easy transport.
Bottom Line: Silicone pads are some of the best quality, and we don’t understand why more companies aren’t following in Tromme’s footsteps. If you need a quiet, responsive, and all-around excellent one-sided pad that is easy to transport, do yourself a favor and get a Tromme pad
The Ammoon 10” practice pad is probably the most classic looking pad on our list and has a design that is likely what most people think of when you mention drum practice pads.
It is tunable to give you different tension in your playing and has an overall solid bounce with the plastic top.
The plastic rim is included to make it more like a traditional snare, and it comes with an anti-slip bottom so you can play without the pad sliding all over the place. It’s a perfect practice pad for beginners or drummers on the go, as it comes with a pair of sticks and a little carrying case. On the bottom, you’ll find a small screw hole that makes it so you can easily prop it up onto a stand.
Bottom Line: The Ammoon 10” Practice Pad is all about simplicity. If you can do without all the frills of other pads or you’re just getting into drumming, this pad does exactly what it is made to do at a great price!
The biggest feature on the Remo 8” practice pad is that it is tunable, meaning you have different options for tension built in. This gives it versatility, even though it only comes with one head.
It’s an excellent practice pad for beginners because of the size, though also works for the traveling drummer who doesn’t have room to store a 12” pad away in his or her suitcase.
The bottom is made out of non-slip rubber, making it stable and easy to mount on just about any surface you can think of.
As for the feel, many praise its bounce in noting that it’s just right. When you consider the fact that it’s made by one of the most reputable drum companies around, it makes sense. One thing you should note is that it is a bit louder than other pads so it’s not the best for those who need to practice quietly at night with the family in the house.
Bottom Line: If you don’t mind the added noise, the Remo Tunable Pad is incredibly affordable, is tunable for tension versatility, and has the perfect amount of bounce and stability.
I would only recommend this practice pad to beginners or those who are on a seriously tight budget. It is probably one of the least expensive practice pads out there.
The cool thing is, it boasts some pretty cool features for the price. To begin, it looks fantastic. The ocean blue rubber is on the top side with the Tosnail logo and honestly looks like something you would find in Urban Outfitters.
It is also made with durable, eco-friendly gum rubber that Tosnail claims is entirely odorless. If you’ve smelled the chemical stench of a new drum pad, you’ll know how great this is.
With all that said, it doesn’t have the “most real” feel to it, though it does provide a fun, rebound-heavy practice experience and stays stable when you play it. It evens comes with a screw hole on the back for an easy stand fix.
Bottom Line: This may just be the best drum practice pad on the market concerning affordability. Anything cheaper than the Tosnail 8” and you’re dealing with toys. It’s an excellent practice pad for newbies!
More like a mouse pad than a drum pad, though extremely helpful for beginner drummer who wants to practice their rudiments without spending a ton of money of hauling around a hefty pad. You can quickly roll this bad boy up and stick it in your pocket.
The cool thing about the Rudi Pad is you have pretty much every standard rudiment pattern you can think of dyed onto the surface. This way you can learn new patterns and stay familiar with them as you progress and explore new ones.
For what it is, the Rudi Pad is pretty durable. You can even toss it in the washing machine if it gets a little dirty, and since the pads are dyed on, they won’t fade off. This little mouse pad is near indestructible as well and is a true classic for drummers all over the world.
Bottom Line: If you’re a marching band student or just want a pad that you can literally carry everywhere for your bouts of spontaneous drumming, the Rudi Pad is an excellent and inexpensive choice.
We’ve saved this one for last because it has a pretty apparent unique feature about it. It’s built like a full drum kit!
Like DW drums, their Go Anywhere Pad Set is sturdy and durable and feels more like a traditional drum set regarding shape.
You can also easily adjust the arms and pedal attachment to get the right height. Unfortunately, you will need a kick pedal, as this set doesn’t come with one, though if you can swing that it’s not a huge deal.
The other great thing about this drum practice pad kit is you can add and remove the pieces as you choose. If you don’t need a three tom set-up, you can unlatch them with ease. It’s even quicker to put it back together because of the included memory locks. They can also be used as separate pads, as they’re made with little rubber feet on the bottom.
Bottom Line: If you want a solid practice set that can help you bring your practice routine straight to the kit without any adjustments, this is the one for you.
Drum Roll Please…
So now you probably understand why it is so difficult to choose a drum pad for practice, as there is genuinely an extensive list out there.
Some are suited to different uses than others, some have different feels, and some are easier to travel with.
Now obviously we haven’t listed all the drum practice pads on the market, though the list we have made has been narrowed down carefully to what we consider to be the best in terms of versatility, budget, and overall value.
If you’re serious about getting a great all-around drum practice pad, we highly recommend checking out the Movement Drum 12” Double-Sided Practice Pad. It has everything you need in a compact and high-quality design.
We hope you feel motivated now to become the best drummer you can be. Like the great rock wizard Drumbledore once said, “Life is about Rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts pump blood, and so it is, we must drum on”.