Just want to find the best drum practice pad? Our top pick is the Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slim Pad.
To become a better drummer, you’ll need a lot of practice, preferably every day. With the best drum practice pad, you’ll be able to take your practice just about anywhere.
And they’re affordable!
We found the best pads for drum practice so you don’t have to look any further. Also, check out our tips for picking the best model for your needs below.
These are the best drum practice pads right now:
- Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slim Pad
- Evans Realfeel 2-Sided Practice Pad
- Movement Drum Co. 2-Sided Practice Drum Pad
- Remo RT-0008-00 Tunable Practice Pad
- Slint Practice Pad & Snare Stand
- The Drumeo P4 Practice Pad
- Drum Workshop Go Anywhere 5-Piece Set Practice Pad
Reviews of the Best Drum Practice Pads
Remember to check out our tips for finding the best drum practice pad for your needs after you’ve finished with these reviews!
This Vic Firth Heavy Hitter double-sided practice pad is a classic and a relatively inexpensive all-rounder. It’s useful for drummers of all styles, but we recommend it especially for marching drummers due to the snare drum feel. However, the adaptability and excellent quality are why we picked it as our best overall drum practice pad.
It has a natural gum rubber surface with a low bounce and a natural feel, and the base is made of sturdy, durable wood. The reverse is much softer, which is great for lower volume drumming. This side has a little more bounce, so you can use it to train rebounds without tiring out your wrists and arms.
The feel is really close to a real snare drum, which is why marching drummers who bought this drum love it. Some comment that the tension is the closest they’ve found to a marching snare on drum practice pads. This helps you really practice your skills when you don’t have access to drums.
It’s not quiet, but drummers who bought it find that the sound helps fine-tune their skills and tone well.
For portability, drummers who bought it use this model as a portable practice pad because of its light, 1-pound weight. You have 12 inches of usable surface, but the full size, including the borders, is 13 inches, so it does take up quite a lot of space.
Customers also love the solid and durable feel. It’s well-built, and the rubber on the base is of great quality. It’s not the cheapest, but most customers feel that the price is reasonable for the tough quality that many happy drummers feel will last forever.
Best Low-Volume Pad
The Evans Realfeel offers great value for its price and, thanks to its fabric cover, is a great companion for low-volume practice.
On one side, it features a textured natural gum rubber covered with gray fabric to give you a good rebound. This side is more bouncy, with a marching snare drum feel, but it’s also low-volume for practicing at home. The other side is a recycled rubber with a tougher feel, which is ideal for improving your arm strength.
The practice pad weighs 3.54 pounds, so it’s more than three times the Vic Firth Heavy Hitter’s weight. It’ll be harder to transport, but the weight gives the pad more stability when you’re playing.
When it comes to compatibility, this drum practice pad works with most standard snare drum stand models, so it’ll likely adjust well to your equipment.
Note that the fabric can be less durable than just rubber if you practice a lot. Still, customers are generally happy with this practice pad’s tough quality.
Be aware that some customers mention the rubber pads don’t align to the wood borders completely. It doesn’t really affect the sound unless the pad is poorly glued on, so it’s best to check your drum pad when you receive it. Others note that the wood had suffered damage in shipping, but this isn’t too common.
Best Drum Practice Pad With Rim
The Movement Drum Co. pad is a well-rounded practice pad that has three different playing surfaces. It’s a bit more expensive than other options, but customers who bought this pad consider the value to be great for this price range.
This practice pad has two sides, with one harder than the other, and plastic rims that emulate those of a marching snare drum. While it works for all styles, we especially recommend it for marching drummers.
On the top, the drum practice pad has a nice, bouncy feel that’s close to a real drum. This will help you get back to the real thing without having to unlearn what you’ve rehearsed on the pad. The top is also the louder side, so you’ll be able to hear what you’re doing, both your mistakes and what you’ve learned.
The bottom of this double-sided practice pad is hard neoprene, providing a tighter sound and feel with less rebound. This gives your wrists and arms some exercise when practicing. It’s also quiet, so it’s ideal for practicing with others around.
On top of the two playing surfaces, it also comes with a separate plastic insert for shock-absorption. Adding this conditioning surface gives you a better workout for your arms while keeping your practice silent.
At 4.24 pounds, it’s not the lightest practice pad to carry around with you. Also, the conditioning surface gets beat up faster than the rest of the pad, so some customers have had to replace theirs or throw it out.
Best Cheap Drum Practice Pad
This 8-inch single-sided practice pad from Remo is an affordable classic that’s often used in schools. It’s also the best drum practice pad for beginners and intermediate drummers, but customers comment that the feel is closest to a concert snare. It doesn’t have a lot of rebound, so it’s especially useful for practicing power accuracy.
It’s small and also lightweight at 1.24 pounds, so it’s ideal for younger drummers to carry around for school. It fits nicely inside a backpack, so you won’t be taking up much space from their books. If you need more, this single-sided drum pad also comes in two other sizes—6 and 10 inches.
What sets this drum practice pad apart is that instead of having multiple playing surfaces, it’s tunable. You can adjust the tension depending on what kind of sound and rebound you prefer. Even so, it doesn’t rebound or sound as natural as many other models.
The playing surface isn’t rubber but rather a plastic material that’s stretched over a hollow drum-like chamber. This makes it far from quiet. If you’re looking for a practice pad that will keep your kid occupied and your home more silent, this isn’t the one.
Another negative is that the screws can come loose when you’re playing. But it only takes a couple of easy adjustments with a screwdriver to get it back together.
However, this is a good option for parents looking to buy a cheap practice pad before investing in a child’s drum set. There’s non-slip rubber on the bottom, so you can play it on any solid surface without having to invest in a stand.
Best Drum Practice Pad Kit
If you want to buy a snare stand and pad together, we recommend this Slint 12-inch drum practice pad set. Stands can be costly, but this bundle keeps the cost relatively low while giving you everything you need to start practicing.
Customers generally like the sturdy and versatile pad, which has a solid wood base with two sides for different practice experiences. The main side is an orange, textured gum rubber with a normal drum set’s rebound feel. On the other, there’s a softer pad with less rebound for versatility.
The stand is easy to set up and adjustable for different snare drum sizes, from 8 to 15 inches. It also has rubber clamps that don’t leave marks on your drum and rubber on the feet, so it won’t damage your floor. The rubber also keeps everything in place, so your drum pad doesn’t move around.
You also get gel pads with your purchase for muffling the drumming sound. However, the practice pad’s natural gum rubber does a pretty good job keeping the volume low anyway.
The bundle also includes three pairs of drum sticks and waterproof carry bags for your drumsticks and the stand. Additionally, you get access to a beginners’ audio and e-book to help you practice.
For this price, you wouldn’t expect as high of a quality from a set, so most customers are happy with their purchase. However, some pieces, like the drumsticks, aren’t as tough as the practice pad and can break easily. Another negative is that the stand is only tall enough to use when sitting down.
This Drumeo practice pad is an interesting pick because it has so much versatility in just one pad.
The pad includes four different playing surfaces marked with different colors:
You don’t have to flip it around or add another layer of plastic or gel to change the sound; just hit on another spot. You’ll also improve your accuracy when aiming for the right spot on the pad.
The idea behind the pad is that it’ll prepare you better for playing a full drum set. However, note that even the best drum practice pads won’t feel exactly like a drum. It’s always a different experience getting four different feels and sounds from one 12-inch drum practice pad than a full, spread-out set.
Note that this practice pad is more expensive than other models on our list. This doesn’t make it ideal as your kid’s first practice pad. Instead, it’s a great purchase for more advanced drummers and those who don’t mind spending a little extra.
Overall, customers love the different possibilities this pad offers in a small space. The 3.5-pound weight is relatively low for all it offers since you won’t have to lug around several pads to get the same variety.
Best Full Drum Pad Set
If you want a stand that’s closer to a full drum set, this one from Drum Workshop might be the ideal pick. It’s a more expensive purchase than the other models in our review, but it helps emulate a real drum set better than just one pad.
The set includes:
You can also add a bass drum pedal or a hi-hat to the set, but they’re not included in the package.
If you live in an apartment and have to cram your practices into a small space, this stand is ideal. It has a relatively small footprint, and it really helps you make the most out of every square inch of space you’ve got. It’s also relatively quiet to play on.
Even a full set like this is much smaller than a full drum set, so you’ll still need to adjust your playing style when you get to the real thing. But for practice pads, this one is an excellent choice.
According to customers, the pads are a little hard to play on. They don’t have a lot of bounce, either, so they can tire out your arms when playing.
Drummers generally find the setup easy and the overall quality sturdy, so you can trust the stand to handle your rehearsing. However, it weighs about 20 pounds, so it’s not portable. If you’re looking for a lightweight drum practice pad, we recommend our top pick, the Vic Firth.
What to Look for in the Best Drum Practice Pads
Drum practice pads are useful for both pros and newbies. But, if it’s your first time buying one, check out the below features to help you decide from the products above.
Most drum practice pads are made of durable rubber with a wooden core. This helps absorb the noise while giving you a close-to-natural playing feel. Natural gum rubber, especially, is a common option for drum practice pads.
Other pads are made from plastic, which is ideal for making lightweight pads. However, it can get a little moisier than a rubber pad.
Size and Weight
First of all, think about where you’ll be using your practice pad. If you want to keep it truly portable, opt for a small, lightweight one, like the Remo practice pad. This way, you can slip it in your bag and practice whenever you’re able to sit down for a while.
A small, lightweight practice pad is also ideal for kid drummers who need to carry their books to school. You don‘t want to add much more weight to their bags with a massive drum practice pad, even if it’s the most popular model available. 12-inch gum rubber pads can get heavy, so they might not be the best option in these cases.
For drummers who only use their practice pad at home, this feature might not be too important. You can even try a full five-piece set like the Drum Workshop Go Anywhere.
The most important thing is to buy the practice pad that best fits your habits. A heavy, uncomfortable practice pad might go unused.
Many buy a drum practice pad to practice without bothering others. Whether you can only practice when everybody is sleeping, or you want to keep your kids quiet, noise emission is key.
Softer rubbers usually help you keep the noise down and are more apartment-friendly. This does take a little bit away from the sound and bounce, but you can still practice technique and strength. The Vic Firth and Evans models are great options for keeping the noise down.
You can make your practice pad quieter with an additional plastic or gel insert. This way, even if your practice pad is a little quiet, you can tone the noise down.
One of the most important reasons for drummers to buy practice pads is to build their arm strength. Since more power output from your biceps and triceps produces a bigger sound, building strength in these areas affects your skills.
When you’re buying a practice drum pad, you can find options with less bounce than your normal drum set. One good example is the Drumeo P4 Practice Pad’s orange surface. This will help you develop strength in your arms, so you’ll be more prepared when you get to actually playing.
For those wanting to maximize their return on investment, a drum practice pad with more playing surfaces than one or two is ideal.
The two-sided practice pad models we included on our list, like the Evans Realfeel, have different materials on both sides. You can easily turn the pad around for sound versatility.
Some, like the Movement Drum Co. pad, also include a rim, which is often necessary for marching drummers to get that metallic sound.
The Drumeo P4 has four different playing surfaces. This way, you can pick a bouncier rubber, a super hard surface, or a silent one for late-night practices. A practice pad like this one also lets you rehearse coordination better.
Stand vs. No Stand
Do you already have a snare drum stand, or will you need to buy one separately?
If you don’t have a stand and don’t want to buy a stand, many practice pads, including the Vic Firth model, have a non-slip rubber base. You can use them over any solid surface, a desk or even your legs when sitting down. However, on a stand, you’ll likely get the best sound.
For drummers who already have a practice stand, make sure the pad you’re buying fits. Most of the models we included on our list are 12-inch models and fit most snare stands, but check each practice pad’s specifications before you buy.
Value is always key, and it comes down to quality and price, as well as your playing level and expectations.
A poorly made pad can be a pain, especially for experienced drummers. If the rubber is poorly glued to the base, it can leave air pockets between the two layers. This can alter your drumming’s feel and sound, depending on where you hit the pad.
The higher-end drum pads are generally well-made from quality rubber and wood, with attention to detail. Lower-priced models might not last forever and can have a more uneven sound, but they can still be a great buy for beginners and kids.
Drum Practice Pads vs. Electric Drum Sets
Keep in mind that this review is of only drum practice pads, which are fully acoustic. An electric drum set is silent for the outside but can produce sound through a PA system. You can then listen to it on headphones or even record it.
Electric drum sets can be a great option for those who don’t have access to a full drum set, such as living in an apartment. They’re a good full-time replacement for a drum set but are usually much more expensive.
A practice pad is just that: rehearsing at home or outside. It does a poorer job at replacing a drum set, so we recommend them for in-between your classes or rehearsing with a drum.
After going through the best drum practice pads on the market, we found the Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slim Pad to be the best option. It’s tough and well-made, but very reasonably priced for the quality.
This double-sided pad also has a great bounce on the top playing surface, much like a real drum. If you want a more silent drum practice, you can use the softer side.
For those looking to buy a quality pad for an even lower price, the Evans Realfeel double-sided practice pad is a great option. If you want an option with a rim, the Movement Drum Co. practice pad could be the best one for you.