For drummers, as well as any other musician, practicing is essential. Most drummers know what a drum pad is: It's a pad that mimics the feeling of a drum head so that musicians can practice while not at a full drum kit. Practice drum pads are an excellent investment for drummers who need to practice quietly, or even for those to just warm-up before a performance. They're convenient because they can be taken almost everywhere, and they're far quieter for practicing than a full drum set. If you're looking into purchasing a practice drum pad and don't know where to start, let us here at Drum Center of Portsmouth help you. Here are our picks (in no particular order) for the eight best drum practice pads of 2020.
1 Ahead Compact Stick-On Practice Pad - AHSOPP
- Stick-on for easy use
- Compact enough for travel and storage
- Good for beginners
- Sticky backing can get stuck to surfaces
This stick-on drumming pad by Ahead is small enough to be transported in a backpack or messenger bag without compromising on responsiveness or quality. It feels like a tight snare drum head, and it comes with a reusable adhesive that keeps it in one place while using it for practice.
This drum pad is six inches in diameter with a black interior. It's got a rebound that mimics that of a snare drum head, and the back has a reusable adhesive that can keep the drum in place while in use.
All in all, the Ahead Compact Stick-On Practice Pad is a fantastic option for beginners who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a practice drum pad. It's compact and can be transported easily for drummers on-the-go, and the sticky backing makes it super simple to practice without worrying about it falling or slipping. The feeling of this drum pad is so similar to the real thing, transitioning to the actual drum will be smooth and easy.
2 Ahead Wicked Chops Practice Pad Red Aluminum Finish
- Lightweight aluminum body
- Small size builds accuracy and power
- Ultra-portable and can fit anywhere
- Conveniently mounts to a standard cymbal stand
- Small size may make it easy to misplace or lose
A simple glance at this tiny but powerful drum pad will show that it's elegant while still staying functional. It's small, but its size can help you master accuracy and power. It fits in your pocket, and it's an excellent choice for drummers who want or need something portable.
This practice pad is 1.75 inches in diameter, has a depth of 2 inches, and weighs 0.4lb (0.18 kg). It has a gum rubber pad surface and an aircraft aluminum exterior. This practice drum pad can mount to any 8mm cymbal stand.
Some drummers may be turned off by the size of this practice drumming pad, but they definitely shouldn't be–it's a powerful tool that can help you increase accuracy and power without breaking the bank. The soft gum rubber playing surface mimics a medium-toned drum head, and it's quiet enough to be used anywhere.
3 Aquarian Tru-Bounce Practice Pad w/ Power Sleeve 5A Sticks
- The surface is easy to clean
- Great for beginners
- Comes with free 5A Power Sleeve drum sticks
- Responsive without being springy
- Slightly more expensive than other options
This practice pad by Aquariun is comfortable to play with its soft neoprene surface. The surface is hard enough to hear each hit but sufficiently soft to develop control and strength of the drummer.
This drum pad is 12 inches in diameter with a neoprene surface. It is single-sided and provides enough rebound to build up the drummer's strength. Notes are articulated and audible at even the softest hit, and the rebound is incredibly articulate.
The Tru-Bounce practice pad by Aquarian is a genuinely professional practice pad. It's responsive without being springy or too absorbent, and the fact that it comes with free sticks included is just icing on the cake. Drummers can benefit from the large size of this drumming practice pad and can work on their strength without worrying too much about accuracy.
4 Gretsch Round Badge Practice Pad Orange 12
- Silica gel surface for a realistic rebound
- Rubber backing for non-slip condition
- 8mm mount for universal mounting
- Attractive design
- Slightly expensive
Gretsch has outdone themselves once more with this attractive drum practice pad. The surface is made of a unique material that feels responsive and imitates a realistic rebound. It can even mount on any standard practice pad or cymbal stand.
This drum pad features a silica gel surface that allows the drum stick to rebound realistically. The badge is made of dense wood, making it super durable, and the 8mm pad inset makes this mountable to any standard 8mm mount. The backing is also equipped with a foam rubber that allows for extra stability if used on a flat surface.
This practice drum pad is one of our favorite contenders for "Best Drum Practice Pads for 2020" because it's not just lovely to look at, it's uniquely engineered to help drummers reach their fullest potential. The unique surface makes hitting it realistic without the noise. It's small enough to be relatively portable, and the fact that Gretsch makes it ensures that it's reliable and the quality is of the highest standard.
5 Keo Percussion Nicko McBrain Boomer Pad 10
- Made by Keo, a popular name in percussion
- Responsive but quiet
- Perfect size for beginners
- Collaboration with Nicko McBrain ensures quality
- Slightly expensive
As one of the most expensive drumming pads on this list, this result of a collaboration between Nicko McBrain and Keo is of the highest standard while staying affordable and stylish. It's also portable, making it an excellent pad for drummers on the go.
With a 10 inch diameter and a width of only 0.8 inches, this lightweight but sturdy drumming pad is made of a gum rubber surface and a sponge rubber base. It weighs only 1.3lb (0.59kg) and features Scandinavian birch wood.
Keo has outdone themselves once again with this practice drumming pad. Nicko McBrain, the drummer of Iron Maiden, has put his face and name on this product, which says something about how he feels about it. With its sturdy rubber surface, it absorbs just enough sound that it's not disruptive, but while allowing you to hear what you're doing so, you can practice proudly.
6 Remo Silent Stroke Practice Pad
- Rubber backing for tabletop use
- Mountable on a stand
- 80% reduction in volume
- Feel, and response is amazing
- Great price
- Looks sort of plain
This practice pad by Remo is as the name implies, quiet and discreet, but that doesn't mean it compromises on feel and response. It can be used on the tabletop, but it can also be mounted on a stand for convenience.
The Remo Silent Stroke Practice Pad is 8 inches in diameter and has a matte black finish. The backing is made of rubber for those who want to play tabletop, but it can be mounted on an 8mm cymbal or drum stand if desired.
The only thing we can find wrong with this practice pad is that it looks semi-basic. Other than that, it's fantastic value for money; it's practically silent, very versatile for stand and tabletop drummers, and reduces noise 80% while having a great feel and response. It's perfect for drummers that need to practice in quiet conditions like a dorm room or apartment, but it's versatile enough that almost anyone can get benefit out of it.
7 RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad, 6 Inch
- Realistic rebound surface
- Foam bottom that resists movement and won't damage surfaces
- Amazing price
- Reviews state that the color on the surface fades over time
A great balance between a larger practice pad and a tiny one, the RealFeel by Evans practice pad allows drummers to practice at any time of day, wherever, and to their hearts desire. It's durable and nicely sanded while being thick enough to provide excellent rebound.
The RealFeel by Evans practice pad is six inches in diameter, single-sided, and features a gum rubber surface. It has an 8mm threaded insert for mounting on a stand, and it weighs a light 0.83 lb (0.38 kg). The dark grey fabric finish resists wear.
It was challenging to find something negative to say about the RealFeel by Evans practice pad. Even reviews online rave about its performance, from its responsiveness to its versatility and sleekness. It's quiet and soft, has an impressive rebound, and works with any drum stick to allow drummers to practice their skills quietly and efficiently. Overall, this is one of the best drum practice pads for 2020.
8 Vic Firth Single-Sided Practice Pad, 12
- Non-skid rubber backing
- Vic Firth brand is reliable
- Reasonable price for the name brand
- Doesn't mount to stands
You can't think of drums without thinking of Vic Firth. Although one of the more pricey options, this soft rubber single-sided pad is highly rated by drummers around the world.
The surface of this drum pad is made of soft rubber and has an excellent rebound. It weighs only 2.2 lb (1 kg) and a non-skid rubber backing for tabletop playing to minimize surface damage. It fits in most snare baskets.
Vic Firth knows the drumming trade, which is why this practice drumming pad is on this list. It's durable, lightweight, and performs well with fantastic response and rebound. It's not as versatile as we'd like, but it's great for drummers who prefer to drum on the tabletop rather than on a stand. Further, the Vic Firth name is a typically expensive one, but the deal you can get on this drumming pad is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
Buyers Guide: What to Look For When Purchasing a Drum Practice Pad
Knowing what to look for in a practice drumming pad is difficult for beginners and experienced drummers alike. This is why we've put together this comprehensive buyers guide to help you! Read on to learn about drum practice pads and what you should be looking for when browsing.
Versatility is essential in two aspects: Sound and Compatibility.
Sound-wise, the best drum practice pad will be versatile enough to be able to produce multiple drum kit sounds so that drummers may practice with a whole set. This benefits drummers because it ensures that they'll be performance-ready for any genre of music. If you're a beginner, knowing these different genres can help you become a more versatile artist. This, in turn, can make you more attractive to bands scouting for a new drummer! Look for drumming two-sided pads; one side will be softer, and one side will be harder, producing different sounds and levels of playing difficulty.
Compatibility-wise, the best drum practice pad will also be versatile enough to be mounted on both a stand and placed on a tabletop. Playing the drum pad on a stand allows you to mimic the real-life drumming experience, but playing on a tabletop will enable you to focus more on the basic sound. You can work on both with some drumming practice pads, which is excellent! Look for a practice pad that has not only an 8mm threaded insert or mount but also a non-skid backing that will allow you to play on a tabletop without the pad going flying.
The best practice drum pad will be portable enough to be taken anywhere quickly. After all, acoustic drum sets can't be brought with you everywhere, but drum pads can! Practice drum pads can be anywhere from 1.75 inches in diameter like the Ahead Wicked Chops drum pad to 12 inches in diameter like the Vic Firth at the end of the list. Pretty much all practice drum sets are portable, thin, and lightweight, so it's up to you how heavy you're willing to go for one.
Noise Reduction and Materials
These two factors go hand in hand, which is why they're together in this portion of the guide. The material of the drum pad has a tremendous impact on the feel and volume of it. Some pads can imitate the feeling of a real drum. Others may just create differing levels of resistance so that you may practice. Most drum pad surfaces will be made of rubber, but as read in the reviews, some will be made of unique materials such as silica gel. Some of the other elements include plastic, rubber, or wood that can all produce different sounds.
If noise reduction is paramount, look for very soft rubber and wood drum pad. If you want to imitate the feeling of the drums, look into a harder rubber with a plastic encasing. Do some research and talk to other drummers to figure out what kind of feel you want from your drum pads!
Pricing can vary from drum pad to drum pad, but the most average ones will run you between $20-40. Professional pads will be more expensive, around $60, but the price can go up to over $100. The options on this list are all under $60 and of high quality. Drum pads are an amazingly affordable way to get your drum practice in without spending too much money. Again, shop around and determine what your budget is so that you can get the highest quality drum pads for your budget.
It's clear that there are so many drum pads available out there with plenty of materials, volumes, and feels. We recognize that the number of options can be overwhelming. This is simply a list of the best ones on the market right now. We at Drum Center of Portsmouth hope you've enjoyed reading our reviews and buyers guide, and we hope it helps you make informed decisions about purchasing drum pads in the future. Don't forget to let us know if you have any questions about drum pads or any other drumming equipment!