Whether you’re just starting out with playing drums or you’re an experienced touring drummer getting your practice in is critical!
As with most musicians, practising our instruments can be a struggle with the amount of noise they produce.
And for drummers especially, the amount of space they take up!
Luckily, a lot of drum practice involves sticking patterns, syncopation and keeping time.
All of these can be done on a drum practice pad.
Drum Practice Pads Compared:
For ease here’s a quick summary of the 6 practice pads I cover later in the post.
Drum Practice Pads: What are they for?
Drum practice pads are great little portable surfaces that allow you to warm-up or practice at a low-volume and avoid annoying parents, neighbours and alike.
They come in a range of shapes, sizes and materials, the purpose of this article is to give you the information to choose the best drum practice pad for you.
What to look for in a practice pad?
Rebound: How does the stick bounce?
Most people want a realistic feeling on a practice pad. I personally feel a little less rebound is better so you can better develop your finger, wrist and forearm strength to play rudiments properly on all surfaces.
For example, playing doubles on a snare is infinitely easier than on a floor tom because there’s more tension in the snare head.
This means you can create to notes by applying a little pressure rather than moving your wrist to make two distinct strikes.
If you haven’t already, there’s a great clip on Youtube of Thomas Lang explaining why it’s important to accent the second note on your doubles. Check it out here.
Size: Where are you going to be practising most?
Depending on where you plan to practise, size can be an important factor.
If you’re touring and want to warm-up before a show, you might want to choose a smaller 6-8 inch pad that you can fit comfortably in your gear bag.
If you’re likely to be practising at home and don’t need the portability, you might want a slightly larger 10-12 inch practice pad to better recreate the size of drums you’ll be playing.
Sound: How much noise does it make?
Ideally, in any scenario, you want the quietest practice pad possible. This just makes it easier to play whenever and wherever you want without disturbing people around you.
Obviously, practice pads are much quieter than playing on a full drum kit, although it’s worth remembering that hitting anything with a wooden stick is going to make a bit of noise.
Some practice pads are quieter than others so it’s definitely another factor to consider!
6 Best Practice Pads for Drummers
This our absolute top pick!
Although it’s a pricier than other pads in the list there’s a good reason why…
It’s essentially four pads in one!
The P4 has been designed to mimic as many playing surfaces as possible in a single, small 12″ pad.
Not only that, it also combined small level changes like you’d find one real kit (i.e. moving up from a snare to a high tom).
The large blue pad is your standard ‘snare’ pad with the middle two layers replicating toms and the top red strip is to give you that tight hi-hat feel.
It’s worth noting that the middle tom pads don’t actually feel much like toms, they’re fairly tight so gives you the illusion that rebound on toms is high… when we all know it’s not.
If you can raise the cash, this is the best practice pad – period.
- 4 different sounding pads
- 4 different feeling pads
- Non-skid neoprene base
Vic Firth is a big name in the drum world and one of the most popular small practice pads available today is their Pad 6.
- 8mm thread for use on a cymbal stand
- Small form factor for portability
- Non-skid rubber base
- Wooden base for a realistic feel
This tiny practice pad is ideal for playing on-the-go. And when I say “on-the-go” I mean it. The pad comes with a strap and is designed to attach to your leg so you can get your practice in on the tour bus, pre-show, in the kitchen, anywhere! You don’t even need a table.
- The most portable practice pad in the list
- Very small, 4 inches in diameter
- Comes with a strap to attach to your leg
A no-frills, cheap practice pad that gets to the point. The Stagg DP-10 is simply a reinforced rubber pad designed to be thrown on any hard surface so you can get down to business.
- 10 inch diameter
- Cheap, usually under £10 / $10.
- Designed for a long-life!
Remo, famous for their drum heads, entered the practice pad market with their RT0010-00, a tunable drum practice pad. Available in 6 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch versions this really has a lot of bases covered. With the drum featuring an actual drum head, the feel is the most realistic of the pads featured in this article.
- Available in 6 / 8 / 10 inch versions.
- Tuneable to change tension and sound
- Mountable on a 6mm (M6) stand.
- Protective, non-slip, non-scratch rubber bottom.
One of the most popular drum practice pads out there, the Evans Real Feel pad is a great option for all drummers; from beginners to pros! This is another pad that is available in a range of sizes and comes single or double sided.
- Available in 6 / 7 / 12 inch versions.
- Single side or double sided versions available
- Gum rubber surface for a realistic rebound
- Best selling and top rated product on Amazon!