Getting the best drum practice pad for your needs can be an extremely important thing. Whilst it can be fun to just get onto a drum set and just start beating away, there is far more to drumming than a beginner would recognize. Investing in a good drum practice pad is great for learning the difference between different notes.
For example, it’s a great way to learn the difference between quarter notes and eighth notes. Another of the main advantages of using a practice pad is to be able to increase your stick control and speed. Probably the main advantage of using a practice pad though is the ability to identify where your weak spots lay. You’ll notice whilst using a practice pad, whilst if you’re on a full drum set, it can be difficult to identify where you are going wrong. By using your practice pad with a metronome, you can easily hear the tempo that you should follow and practice keeping in line with it.
Whilst it isn’t an essential to have a practice pad to learn how to play the drums, most drummers will have used a practice pad to perfect their technique. Here, we compare 6 of the best practice pads around right now.
Evans 2-Sided Practice Pad, 12 Inch
It’s two sided; one side is made from Neoprene rubber, the other gum rubber. The neoprene rubber is the more realistic feeling, and has a similar feeling that you would get out of the toms on your drum set. The gum rubber side is a bit more reactive, with heavy bounce back and a hard surface. Between the two surfaces, you’ll find one that you prefer to use. But, you should try and get used to using both sides equally. Every great drummer can adjust accordingly!
By using the gum rubber side, you can also minimize the amount of noise that you’re creating with your practice pad. It’s great for working on your tempo and help you to improve your overall drumming skills. Alternatively, by using the neoprene side, you can work on your rudiments as you won’t get the same bounce back that you get off the gum rubber side.
The pad itself is certainly of a high quality. The edges are all sanded wood. This makes the pad feel like it’s a decent and quality option as opposed to some of the cheaper practice pads that are available. It’s also fairly thick when compared to other practice pads, which only adds to its sturdiness and thorough build.
Vic Firth 12″ Double sided Practice Pad
Vic Firth are probably the most prestigious name when it comes to drumming accessories, especially practice pads. They’ve made some of the best practice pads in recent years, and this option is no different.
The Vic Firth practice pad is two sided, which is a great option that sets this practice pad aside from the others. On their website, Vic Firth states that the soft side of the pad is for a quieter practice session, whilst the heavy size is targeted at those heavy, invigorating drumming sessions. Though it could be comprehended this way, we prefer to think of it differently. We think of the harder size as the expert side; it has a hard bounce and gives the effect of a real drum set.
But the soft side is perfect for beginners that are new to drumming who won’t want to experience the feeling of a real drum set yet. It is important to spend time practicing to get the best out of your drum set, and this model would be a great option for the beginner to practice with.
Although this isn’t a full 12 inch practice pad, we just had to include this practice pad in our list due to its innovative design. The Neewer Metronome drummer has a metronome inbuilt into the practice pad. This makes it a great option for those looking for their first practice pad. This practice pad is great for developing a decent tempo by using it with the metronome and learn the very basics of drumming.
The pad itself is very responsive to the beat of the stick, which shows that the material it’s made from is of a good quality. Although you might be looking at a 12 inch drum practice pad ideally, it might be worth looking at 10 inch practice pads like this once. This is because it’s extremely portable and easy to carry around with you; it fits easily into a handbag or a rucksack. Also, it helps maintain a level of accuracy in a beginner learning to play the drums. It’s easy to get lazy and not concern yourself where you’re beating the drum, though this is a necessity of learning how to play the drums properly.
Whilst the instructions aren’t fantastic, it is not difficult to get this practice pad to work properly. We love that it comes with an aux cable for using with headphones so that you can keep a limit on the noise! This really is a clever practice pad that you should consider if you’re looking to improve your drumming fundamentals.
RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad
What makes this practice pad different than the other Evans practice pad that we have listed? Well, this is from Evans ‘RealFeel’ line. This is specifically targeted at those who are familiar with drums, so if you’re a beginner, we strongly recommend the regular Evans practice pad over this one. This is because this model is designed with a realistic drum set in mind. It’s a one-sided practice pad, with the surface made of gum rubber. This is another reason we recommend the two-sided Evans practice pad over this one. Gum rubber isn’t ideal for complete beginners.
This isn’t some flimsy practice pad that’s going to fall apart within a few weeks; this is a heavy-duty practice pad that will likely last you a long, long time.
This practice pad is also available in both a 6 and 7 inch size for those looking for a smaller pad. Though if you aren’t an experienced drummer, we don’t recommend you go for a practice pad that is too small. A 12 inch practice pad is usually recommended for beginners, and they aren’t much more expensive to boot. 6 inch pads aren’t much harder to use once you get use to them though, and they are ideal to travel with. So, if you must, the 6 inch option is also a good choice.
Tromme Drum Practice Pad
Yes, you read correctly, this is a two-sided silicone drum practice pad. Going against the regular rubber surface used by the most prestigious brands like Vic Firth, you wouldn’t be wrong in questioning whether a silicone surface would be able to compete with a rubber surface. Is this silicone surface a viable alternative to the more popular rubber option?
Well yes, we certainly think so. Whilst you might think that a silicone surface cannot truly replicate that of a real drum set, Tromme have proven this to be incorrect. This silicone practice pad gives as good, if not a better replication of playing a real drum set. One side is harder like a real drum set, whereas the other is slightly softer. This is ideal for practicing some more advanced techniques.
It’s extremely responsive and can handle a good thrashing, though this isn’t how you should use a practice pad. The silicone surface will certainly be more durable than its rubber counterpart, which is a valid reason that is should be considered the best drum practice pad. It’s overall of a higher quality, which is why we would certainly recommend it as an alternative to a rubber practice pad.
Artempo 12 Inch Silent Drum Practice Pad
Whilst you might not have heard of Artempo, they have certainly produced some pretty great products. This practice pad is a good example of that. It’s 12 inch like the other practice pads that we have featured so far. The reason that 12 inch is the size that most practice pads are is that this is the surface size of the snare drum. This means that this pad will fit on top of a snare drum easily, which is great. Though many people don’t use their practice pad like this. They believe that kinda defeats one of the benefits of using a practice pad – you can use it anywhere!
Once you get a decent height set up for your practice pad, you’re good to go. The Artempo is a good choice for both advanced drummers and beginners. Even though it is only one sided, there are benefits to this. The other side is specifically designed to stop from sliding, so you don’t need to worry about your practice pad falling off wherever you place it. Is it the best practice pad? Well, we’d certainly put it up there as a competitor.
Tips on using a practice pad
To really help you perfect your drumming, check out this short list of tips to really help you excel to the next level.
1. Make sure it’s at the right height for you
It’s definitely important to make sure that the drum is at the right height. If it’s too low, you’ll find yourself cowering over the drum set and in an unnatural angle. If it’s too high, your elbows will rise and you win’t be able to play the drum due to your wrist action. You should try and get the pad directly in front of you, just above your knees. Make sure it’s a few inches in front of you, and hey presto!
2. Use a metronome
Let’s face it; not all of us are gifted as having the strongest internal clock. Using a metronome will help you to keep the pulse of the beat. You don’t need to buy a metronome. You can download an app and use it for free. It will help your internal clock, so don’t sleep on metronomes!
3. Use it for the basics
You don’t need to go all out on your practice pad. It’s a great place to work on your singles and doubles, and it’s definitely great when you feel comfortable to start working on your paradiddles.
4. Try and use it as much as your drum set
Whilst you should still use your drum set to practice, a good rule is to use your practice pad as much as you use your set. Whilst it might not be as fun, it definitely
5. Record yourself and watch it back
A great idea is to film yourself practising and then go back and watch your technique. This way, you can highlight any weaknesses in your drumming and improve on them. Try and get it from a different angle than usual. If you film from the side, you can check if your elbows are in the correct position.
6. Check YouTube
If you’re completely new to drumming, YouTube can be a great place to start checking out how to use a practice pad. Videos like this one are super helpful;
You might not think you need a practice pad, and technically that’s true. You could just learn to play the drums by using a set. But, you can’t put a price on the convenience that a practice pad will give you. Going on holiday? Pack it in your suitcase. Visiting friends? Whack it in the back of your car. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with a drum set, which is the only frustrating thing about playing the drums (it’s awesome otherwise!).
If you’re a beginner, any of the drum practice pads that we’ve listed might be the best drum practice pad for you. In all honesty, they are all fairly similar. Opt for a two sided practice pad if you’re not sure. But whichever practice pad you go for, we can assure you that you won’t regret it.