Best Practice Pad For Drums
As someone that has grown up with drums my whole life, something I wish I got into earlier was practicing on a drum pad. Nowadays, there isn’t a day that goes without me practicing something on my drum pad. This is such an essential piece of gear to improve your drumming skills, technique and to keep your chops up. I’d like to review some the best practice pad for drums as I have tried so many out there that I feel I am now able to give the best possible advice to drummers looking for a good drum practice pad.
|Vic Firth Heavy Hitter||Evans 2-Sided 12 Inch||Portable 6''||Remo 10"||Drumeo P4|
|Top Choice||Double-Sided||Portable Pad||Can Be Tightened||Most Versatile Pad|
There are two common types of drum practice pads being sold today. They are “Gummi-Rubber” drum practice pads & “Headed” practice pads. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the rubber practice pads first as I think these are the best type and I believe are the right choice especially if you are not sure which one is best for you. So, the FIRST is what I call “gummi-rubber” pads. This is the type of drum practice pad I recommend you get for the best practice experience. These pads all have one thing in common. A slab of wood with a thin piece of bouncy rubber glued to them. There are several reasons why this type of pad works so well.
- The surface response is very much like a drum and allows you to develop great control over rebound and other essential skills.
- The surface is quiet to play on, saving your ears, as well as your neighbor’s.
- It is soft enough to not cause stress on your wrists and hands through hours of practice.
The type, thickness, and quality of the rubber is the most important factor when selecting one of these pads so let’s talk about some of the top manufacturers and models available that will serve your needs well.
1) Heavy Hitter Pads by Vic Firth
The two most popular models in this Heavy Hitter series by Vic Firth are the “Stock Pad” and “Slim Pad.” I have used both extensively. Each is a 12″ diameter wood disc and the only difference between the two is the thickness of rubber. I prefer the “Stock Pad” which has a 3/16″ piece of rubber. The response is better and it is not as loud to play on. The “Slim Pad” has thinner rubber (1/8″ thick), is much louder, and feels more like drumming on a tabletop, which might be desirable for preparing to play on a kevlar marching snare drum head.
In my experience, after hours of practice, the louder “Slim Pad” starts to get on my nerves. It should be said that these last forever and I still have mine from years ago. The surface seems to last no matter how much I have smashed it over the years. There are so many good reasons why I have chosen this as my number one spot. But the reason that convinced me the most is the durability of this product. Other drummers, I speak to seem to be torn between both Vic Firths on this list as well as the Evans Real Feel. It is hard to say which one is better other than the fact that it really comes down to personal preference.
2) Drumeo Practice Pad
The manufacturers (Drumeo) of this awesome piece of gear claim that this is the world’s best practice pad and to be honest, I’d probably have to agree with them. Whilst I prefer a more traditional pad such as the Vic Firth above, this Drumeo version is exceptionally versatile and has features that other drum pads don’t have. You’ll notice different sections on this, each is a different surface with a different feel. Ultimately, this pad is supposed to feel like the closest thing to practicing on a real kit. It might be an expensive item but it is most definitely an investment for improving your drumming skills and technique.
3) Real Feel Pads by Evans
This series of drum practice pads by Evans has several different options and sizes, and are quality pieces of kit. The rubber used by Evans is more foam-like, and not as dense as the Vic Firth product and other silicon or rubber surfaces. It has a good response but is much “softer” in the way that it feels. Especially when compared to the other pads on this list. I personally prefer the denser rubber used in other practice drum pads, but I know a lot of players who use this pad and like the softer feel.
It is a bit more like the response you would get from a medium tension snare drum on a drum set, and that is appealing for many reasons. It is a great pad, and probably the quietest of the options I have mentioned in this review. I think the fact that the Real Feel sounds so soft is another reason why it is so popular among drummers around the world. Besides the Vic Firth pad, I’d say this is quickly becoming somewhat of an industry standard. As I keep seeing these pop up at various concerts backstage when drummers are warming up. I should point out that Evans makes a kick drum pad that pairs exceptionally well with this product. It was, in fact, seeing another drummer warm up with one that I even knew that made kick drum pads.
4) Movement Drum Co. Portable
I featured this particular practice pad on this list because of its portability and the fact that it a good budget pad. You can take it with you in your backpack and practice wherever you wish. It is quite small at only 6 inches but that is the compromise for portability. The best feature about the portable practice pad by Movement co. is that it has a sticky part on the back so that it can be stuck to, most surfaces. Once the sticky part gets dirty, simply clean it and replace it. For my liking, this isn’t quite up to par but for travel purposes, it does the trick and won’t cost you a lot. I would definitely recommend the Gibraltar pocket pad over this one. Although the Gibraltar model has a smaller surface by two inches, I feel it sticks to my legs better than this one. This is due to the fact that the Gibraltar has a strap that can be tightened or loosened. Whereas this pad only has a sticky surface that needs to be cleaned.
5) Gibraltar Pocket Practice Drum Pad
This Gibraltar product is the most portable drum practice pad I have come across yet. With a small 4″ gummed rubber pad, this practice accessory will deliver nice bounce and response. The best feature, however, is definitely the strap that allows you to attach this pad onto your knee. It is this feature along with the size that makes this a portable dream.
The base is made from steel so it is really durable which is essential for any portable hardware. however, the steel base could result in a less authentic feel when compared to a rubber base for example.
Having said that, the base will not skid so you can also use the Gibraltar pad on a surface such as a table. Unfortunately, as far as I’m awarer, it does not have the ability to attach to a cymbal stand.
6) Vic Firth PAD6
This is one of the most popular practice pads on the market. I have chosen my favorite version of this pad. However, it is actually offered in a few different versions which I will outline below. This version is the 6″ one with a pad only on one side. But, these are available in 12″ as well as single or double-sided in both sizes. I like Vic Firth’s pad because it reduces skid and also has the ability to be attached to a cymbal stand. Furthermore, the base is made from wood so it feels very natural and organic. The sound is quiet and the bounce along with response is also good too.
7) Vater Chop Builder
The Vater Chop builder is quite a new product to me as I have only just managed to get my hands on one. I must admit that at first play, I was very impressed by this pad. In fact, I still have yet to find anything wrong with it. What I like about this pad, in particular, is that it is double-sided. With one side being soft and the other being harder. This means that you can have a different feel or a quieter sound simply by turning the pad around.
The downside to having a double-sided drum practice pad is that it can’t be attached to a stand. However, I have found a way to use a snare stand to hold my pads that don’t have the necessary attachment. This is a good accessory however I struggle to find anything about it that makes it any more or less unique when compared to the others on this list.
8) Sunyn Drum Training Pad
Sunyin’s practice pad for practicing drums is everything I’ve ever looked for in one of these. Furthermore, it solves one major problem I’ve always found in other pads. Let me now explain the problem and you’ll see how the Sunyin solves it. The problem is that pretty much all drum pads allow you to practice on one surface at a time. This essentially allows you to only practice pretending you’re using the snare for example. However, Sunyin pads come with three different surfaces that each replicate a different drum.
Another thing that separates this from others is that it has a silicon surface instead of a rubber surface. I do not prefer one over the other and actually, find them to be quite similar and consistent with one another. It produces a quiet sound and whilst it does not have a stand attachment, it can easily fit into any snare drum stand. Also, you can use this on a tabletop should you desire.
This is probably the best practice drum pad for beginners. Especially for those who are just starting out and do not have a drumkit of their own.
9) SoundOff Drum Mute Pads by Evans
I know what you’re thinking, these are not necessarily drum pads, are they? Well, my answer to this question would be yes, they are. The reason is that they serve the exact same function that a drum pad does. In fact, you can achieve more from the drum mute pads than you can with a single practice pad.
These work by fitting on top of your existing drum kit skins. So for this reason, you’d have to first own a drum kit for these to be of use. Once they’re on your drum kit, you can play the drums at a significantly lower volume. This allows one to practice on a proper drumkit without disturbing neighbors or housemates.
Someone pointed out to me that if one wanted to, one could use one of these pads on a tabletop and achieve a similar effect to a regular practice pad. There are quite a lot of cheaper alternatives made by other manufacturers. However, I have found them to be of much lower quality when compared to the Evans Soundoff pads. I also prefer the feel of these Evans versions instead of the cheaper alternatives.
***HEADED Drum Practice Pads***
This is the SECOND type of drum practice pad you should be aware of is what I call a “headed” drum pad.
These have a mylar plastic playing surface, just like a drum head. They are stretched inside a plastic or metal frame and typically have a piece of foam below the head to deaden the sound.
Remo makes a pad of this type that has been around for a very long time. You will often find this type of pad in the percussion/drum kits sold for elementary or middle school beginning band programs. It is still quite common.
10) Ahead AHSHP
This is one of the only pads I have come across that actually sounds like a real snare. I wouldn’t say it feels just like one. However, it gets pretty darn close to the feel of a real snare. Also, these can be tightened or loosened similar to that of an actual drum because they come loaded with lugs. The lugs simply require any drum key to adjust.
What makes this pad different from other adjustable ones is the fact that its surface is carbon fiber and not mesh-like other pads in its category. Despite sounding like a real drum, these are surprisingly quiet for what they are and can definitely be used without disturbing others nearby. Lastly, they come in a choice of two colors being white or black.
I have read some people have complained that their carbon-fiber surface broke and got damaged. However, I have had mine for a while and have yet to experience any damage. Despite having used this pad quite extensively over the past couple of months.
11) Remo Drum Practice Pad
These pads are pretty loud as far as drum practice pads go. They have to be tightened regularly, and the head can be damaged and wear out. Before rubber surface pads came on the scene, these were very common and one of the best choices for a drum practice pad. If you already have one of these pads it can certainly work for you, but I would not recommend purchasing one. One of the advantages of these pads is it is probably the most like a concert or drum set snare drum in its feel and response. They have a mesh surface, much like that of an electronic drumset. I do however find that the rebound and bounce are quite exaggerated with these types of pads. As you receive almost too much bounce. Which actually feels great in my opinion, but, does not replicate the feel of a real snare drum.
12) Electronic Practice Drum Pads
There are quite a few electronic pads for practicing drums out there. The electronic versions offer many more features than regular drum pads as one would expect. However, I always say rather go for a good one when it comes to electronic pads because often, quality is sacrificed over features. But, this is not always the case.
Best Practice Pad For Drums: Tips & Warnings
- You will be spending many hours on your pad – get a quality pad by a reputable manufacturer.
- The larger 12″ diameter pads are best, especially if you will be practicing with larger “rudimental/marching” snare drum sticks.
- Stay away from “electronic drum” type practice pads, they are usually more like toys than a real practice tool – just get a real drum practice pad, you will be glad you did.
- Thick rubber pads deliver a kind of bouncy feel which helps in simulating the feel of hitting a drum virtually eliminating any sound
What Are Drum Practice Pads
A drum pad or a practice pad is basically a percussion implement used by percussionists and drummers for warming up. Or, used for quietly practicing prior to a performance. There are different varieties of drum pads available throughout the market. These varieties depend on the ease of use and subtler levels of volume. These implements commonly include the utilization of an actual Mylar disk or any kind of similar elements.
Drum pad implements are constructed in different sizes and shapes. By characteristic design, these pads might be sufficiently thin or compact, and lightweight. Most varieties include softer or harder playing surfaces, receivers embedded or affixed onto implement base, and non-skid bases.
A percussion practice pad or a drum pad is normally less expensive in comparison to the standard drum sets available in the market these days. They also seem to be much quieter in comparison to drum sets and this is the main reason why they are in very good demand among people or drumming enthusiasts.
The percussion pads are also small enough and lightweight which makes them easier to be carried from one place to another without going through a lot of hassle. They are quite convenient for people as they can easily be used for practice whenever an individual has some extra time. Therefore, it can rightly be said that a drum pad serves as an excellent choice when it comes to practicing drums for beginners into drumming taking the special features into account.
The Portability Factor
Portability is a very essential element to look out for when purchasing one of these practice drum pads. The reason is that you will want to take your pad around with you when you are on the move. Therefore you will have no need to carry large pieces of drum gear just to get your practice on. Having said that, you will find bigger practice drums accessories that will have less portability than some others. So if you are a drummer that is on the move a lot and would like to practice, then a portable one is definitely recommended. But, if you are just a drummer that practices at home, then perhaps you could opt for something bigger and less portable.
Many drummers often forget to take into account that even practice pads have a sound. And whilst this sound is not meant to be musical, it still exists. Some drum pads are louder than others. This is inevitable because many are made from different materials as well as thicknesses. For example, a thin rubber pad will be louder than a thicker rubber pad. It just depends on the model. However, if the sound is an issue for you, for example wanting to practice late at night. Then, there are definitely quiet drum practice pads available.
Practice Pads For Beginner Drummers
As a drum teacher, I always recommend that my students make use of a practice pad. This is the best way to practice your paradiddles and improve your chops. There are elaborate drum practice set-ups. However, I would opt for a simple pad if you are a beginner. For example, all the pads above would be suitable for those just starting out on the drums.
These pads are also of good help for newbies or beginners into drumming. Especially for those who are self-conscious about the drum sound that they create. The pads help by reducing the drum sound to a minimum which further helps other people. This is due to the fact that they do not get disturbed by the loud sound coming out of an acoustic drum.
I have outlined the idea of ‘personal preference’ here when it comes to drumming practice pads. The reason I have done so is that it is really hard to come up with an exact order for my list. This is because my personal preferences have dictated which pads have made this list. The fact that I like softer surfaces may have influenced the list. Whereas another drummer might prefer a harder surface and therefore, their list would look completely different from mine.
Consider all the points I have mentioned throughout the review to determine which product you think you’ll find the most suitable for yourself. It might take you a while of experimenting with different pads to really know which ones are your favorites. But the one piece of advice that I can give is to definitely invest in one of these as they are an important tool for any drummer too. All levels of drummers from beginners to professionals, even rockstars, use these to practice and warm-up.
Types Of Practice Pads
There are basically two varieties of Drum Pads. There are the rubber top varieties and the standard drum head varieties. The rubber top varieties are designed for offering quiet sound and they tend to be less expensive. They feature wooden bases but they can be a little heavy-weighted. Popular models of these varieties include Vic Firth, Pro-Mark, MadPadz, REMO, and real Feel. The standard drum head varieties are louder and they offer a completely different feel. They also tend to be a little more expensive and are generally secured using screws. Popular brands in this category include Yamaha, Roland, and Vic Firth.