A practice pad is an essential tool for any drummer. It allows you to perfect your rolls and rudiments quietly, consistently, and when you’re on the move.
Your drumming can improve after just a few weeks of practicing on one of these bad boys. Your drum kit fills will quickly improve after you practice your single or double stroke rolls consistently on one of these.
There are so many drum practice pads online that it can be confusing which ones to get.
For that reason, I have decided to make it easier by 5 of the best practice pads, in my opinion, and stating the reason why each is included on this list.
The 5 Best Practice Pads for Drummers
1. The Real Feel – Evan’s 2 Sided Drum Practice Pad
This is a fantastic practice pad, which comes in two versions (6-inch and 12-inch).
I’ve owned the 6-inch version of this for 13 years of pretty consistent practice (though they have changed the branding slightly on newer versions!).
I’ve given this drum practice pad a right beating. Including a large number of heavy hits!
That’s an large amount of value for the low price tag. This comes in two versions. The 12-inch model and the 6 inch one. If this is your first practice pad, I would recommend the smaller model.
However, the 12 inch is a great option if a bit of extra weight and space is not a problem for you. You also get a lot more space to play with for your drum strokes.
Editor’s Choice – For general use, this is our pick of the best drum practice pad.
This pad is double-sided. One side is made of a gum material, which gives solid rebound. This is great for practicing snare and cymbal strokes.
The other side is made from more of a rubber material. This is useful for putting your muscles to work. This is useful for practicing on deeper tuned drum heads that don’t give a lot of rebound.
Both of these practice options are very useful, as it allows for practice across different surfaces.
Also, Evan’s is one of the biggest names in drum head manufacturers.
2. The Drumeo P4 Practice Pad
The drumeo P4 practice pad consists of four different playing surfaces, and it allows you to quickly switch between surfaces at once. It can help you to develop the versatility required to move between different playing surfaces such as a drum set.
This is also a very quiet practice pad, so it’s useful for drumming practice situations where you can’t make much noise.
This drum practice pad was also created by Drumeo, one of the most popular online drum education websites online.
This pad is a little bit more expensive than the others, but you get a lot of value for your price. It’s certainly one of the best drum practice pads around.
Check out the video below. It will show not only the Drumeo practice pad in action, but it will also give you a flavor for what you can practice using one of these.
3. The Remo Tunable Practice Pad
This drum practice pad is a little different to the previous one mentioned. This one really simulates the bounce of a real drum, but at the expensive of being a little louder than the other drum practice pads.
It’s also tunable, which enables you to simulate drums of different tension.
This practice pad has one serious benefit. It’s tuning and slightly higher noise makes it a lot easier for you to listen out and observe your drum strokes.
Therefore, you should really consider this if ultra quiet practice is not a top priority of your drum practice pad.
It’s manufactured by Remo, one of the top drum head manufacturers. If you choose this pad, you’re going with an exceptional brand (It’s also the brand of drum heads that I have been fitting to my acoustic drums for years).
4. Movement Double Sided Practice Pad All-In-One
A useful drum practice pad has to be versatile and this one perfectly meets this criteria.
Not only it is compact and portable, but also offers a variety of pad surfaces. Practically, you get four practice pads in a single package and all of them are very useful.
On the first look, it seems like a typical two-sided practice pad, but it actually comes with two more inserts, so you practically get four different surfaces.
The upper surface is a kind of silicone rubber. In practice, it feels quite similar to a snare drum, both in terms of sound and rebound. The bottom side is almost quiet, as well as pretty soft and it seems like a perfect solution for late hours or any time you need to keep your practice at low volume.
As I’ve already mentioned, there are also two inserts. One of them is laminated and it sounds and feels quite articulated. The other insert features some kind of surface that is characterized by a pretty low rebound. However, it still has a small dose of rebound, while it is very quiet.
In terms of size, it measures 12 inches in diameter and weighs around 4 pounds, which makes it quite portable. It is also fully-rimmed, which promises decent durability as well. The price may be a little bit higher compared to other drum practice pads, but keep in mind all the versatility you get with this one.
5. Vic Firth Single Sided Practice Pad
Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple.
After all, these tools are designed for nothing more than to allow you to practice in situations when you can’t use your regular set.
Practically, all you need is a pad that features a rebound that resembles a typical drumhead. This one delivers it perfectly. The pad features a perfectly balanced design, which provides realistic rebound and overall feel while keeping it pretty quiet.
It is a single-sided pad, with hitting side that features a retractable rubber, which makes it very convenient if you need a portable pad. Moreover, it measures 12 inches in diameter, which fits pretty much every bag.
The bottom side features some kind of material that prevents the pad from slipping, no matter the surface. According to most reviews, it works very well in reality, so we could say that this Vic Firth practice pad is quite convenient to use.
Although it is quite simple, the quality is great.
That’s our round-up of the best drum practice pads. Though keep reading, we’ve got some more essential information for you:
Drum Practice Pads – Buyer’s Guide
Here are some important points to keep in mind before buying a practice pad:
Portability vs Sturdiness
This may have a lot of bearing on how often you use your drum practice pad. For example, if portability is important for you then I’d highly recommend a smaller pad as it could easily fit in a bag. I often carry around an Evan’s RealFeel 6 inch pad while traveling.
If you mostly want to plant your practice pad on top of a snare drum then a bigger one like the 12 inch Evan’s RealFeel would be a better option.
This might sound quite trivial at first, but there is quite a big difference in weight and bulkiness between a 6-inch practice and a 12-inch drum practice pad
Portability may come at the cost of sturdiness.
I personally have found that it’s a lot easier to just reach for the smaller pad if it’s on the side of a couch for example. If getting the smaller pad means you’re going to practice more often then go for it!
However, larger practice pads are generally more fun to play on and they are usually more sturdy. If you’re hitting a small practice pad pretty hard, then it might move a bit, so you might find yourself adjusting the position of a smaller practice pad quite a lot.
Not all practice pads are equal in the scale of noise. For example, the remo tunable practice pad is louder than the others mentioned above.
I often used my pad as a means of practicing when it was too late to play my drum set. Your practice pad is also a great way to work on your rudiments for long and consistent sessions. Doing this on a loud pad could get tedious if noise is a concern.
However, a slightly louder pad also has it’s positives. You can hear the difference in your strokes, which can be very helpful in getting your strokes just right.
Mounting the Practice Pad
Determine how you want your practice pod to be mounted. Do you want to mount it on a snare drum stand? Do you want to attach it to the top of a cymbal stand? Or do you want to just play it on your lap? There are a few different options.
Mounting to a Snare Drum Stand
If you want to mount your practice pad on a snare drums stand, then you will need to get a practice pad that suitably large. A 12-inch pad would be suitable for this.
Mounting on a Cymbal stand
Some smaller drum practice pads have the option to mounted at the top of the cymbal stand. This is usually the case for smaller drum practice pads.
This will almost never be available if you use a dual-sided practice pad, because both surfaces will be taken up with areas that should be hit with your drumstick.
Playing on your lap or on a table
If you want to just have your practice pad on your lap or on a table then any size pad will work for you.
Playing Surface Variety
Some drummers want a very basic one-sided pad so they can focus exactly on their practice material at hand.
Others prefer multiple playing surfaces like the Drumeo pad, as it can give them a better workout of varying different playing surfaces.
Tunable practice pads allow you to alter the bounce level of the playing surface, which can better simulate playing an actual snare drum.
If you want the most variety of your playing surfaces, then the Drumeo practice pad is a great option.
Otherwise, there are a few different dual-sided practice pads available.
Starting to Use Your Practice Pad
When you get your practice pad, you should identify what your weak spots are with your drumming. If you have a drum teacher, they may have already hinted at certain parts of your strokes and playing.
If you’re unsure, then work through some of the basic drum rudiments, such as single stroke rolls, double stroke rolls, paradiddles, flams, etc. I would also highly recommend practicing with a metronome.
You should quickly be able to identify which ones are uncomfortable or unfamiliar to play. This is especially the case at high or very low speed.
Practice pads are a great tool to try out new techniques. For example, try out the Moeller technique or perfect your rebound.
It’s a great idea to use your practice pad on front of a mirror, as you may quickly spot errors in your playing. If you use the matched grip (holding both sticks the same way), it’s easy to recognize discrepancies. I’d recommend that you get good feedback from a drum teacher, and then use a mirror to ensure that you’re following the correct directions.
When I initially bought my practice pad, I spent countless hours simply perfecting my stick bounce at very low speed to a metronome. It’s amazing how initially difficult it can be to play very slowly. This is also the case for playing drum beats or songs on your drum set. You might be able to play them at their normal tempo, but what happens if you decrease the tempo by 40 BPM? It really makes you ask yourself if you have really learned to play the beat. You can easily start to second guess yourself as there is a lot more space and time to make mistakes.
Your timing – Use a metronome!
The solid ability to stay in time and play at different tempos is your main objective as a drummer. A sure sign of a novice drummer is one who goes in and out of time often while playing.
I highly recommend that you practice to a drum metronome as much as possible while using your practice pad. I have found that improvements in timing can be noticed within a few weeks.
Getting comfortable playing with a metronome actually has two benefits. Firstly, many bands use metronomes for both recording and live performances (e.g. through in-ear monitors), you’re at a major disadvantage as a drummer if you can’t easily play to a metronome. Secondly, once you practice enough, your ability to stay in time substantially increases.
Some beginner drummers think that drumming to a metronome will make them dependent on it. The truth is actually the opposite of that. A metronome improves your timing and therefore will make you more confident in your ability to stay in time, even without using a metronome.
This improvement in timing will translate to playing on a drum set and playing on other musical instruments.
This one is pretty superficial, but some drummers and fans love it. Many stick tricks involve hitting the drum and working with your rebound. The practice pad is a perfect place to try these out.
What drum sticks to use
This is a matter of personal preference. I would recommend that you get a pair of heavier sticks for a real workout. These can be great for practicing your speed and endurance. You will notice the difference when you go back to using your lighter sticks.
Otherwise, just play with your regular sticks if you are warming up on the practice pad before playing on your drum set.
However, don’t just take my advise, play around with different stick types on your practice pad to see what suits you the best.
If in doubt, check out our article on choosing a pair of drumsticks.
Learning resources to use
There are many amazing drumming instruction videos online. Check out Drumeo if you are interested in getting access to top quality online drum tuition.
You could also buy the fantastic book “Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer” by George Lawrence Stone. This has been referred to as the drum bible.
Personally, Dom Famularo’s book “It’s Your Move: Motions and Emotions” was one of the best resources I ever had for drumming. It’s first few chapters really paved the way for me to improve my technique.
If in doubt, you should always try to seek the tuition and help of a local drumming instructor. It can be quite difficult to identify bad habits for yourself. An experienced teacher could identify them in a heartbeat, saving you so much time, and possibly saving you from injury from bad form and technique.
How to Make Your Own Practice Pad
If you want to make your own drum practice pads then what you need is a bouncy surface, which you would glue onto a solid base
These types of items can be picked up for a very cheap cost. If you feel like going the DIY route, then check out this great video by Drumeo, which shows you exactly how to do it.
An Alternative to Practice Pads – Practice Sets
Practice pads are great tools for practice, especially for most basic things, such as rudiments, timing, stick tricks etc. However, a big drawback is that you can’t practice specific beats, as you would be able to do on a typical drum set. Therefore, you should also consider getting a practice drum set.
These sets are designed for quiet practice primarily. The biggest difference compared to a typical drum practice pad is that you actually get a whole set of pads placed on a stand, which are organized in a way that common drum parts usually are. Of course, they are more expensive and seem a little bit less portable but when we talk about functionality, a simple practice pad doesn’t come even close.
This is definitely one of the best practice sets you can find around. The DW Drum Workshop Go Anywhere Practice Set not only that it comes with quality pads, but also includes a stand that is super-easy to assemble. This makes it very portable or, as the company advertises it, a go-anywhere pad set.
Besides a well designed stand, it also comes with four quiet pads. Two of them measure 10 inches in diameter, while the other two are slightly smaller, with 8 inches in diameter. So, you get a combination that resembles snare, floor tom, tom and cymbal.
Additionally, you can also get a bass drum pedal, which is sold separately. It doesn’t feature the most affordable price, but the quality is definitely on its side. Great value for the money.
What is the Drum Pad?
A drum practice pad is a type of object used by drummers and percussionists to practice in a very quiet manner and warm up before performances.
Drummers can practice their rudiments and drum strokes, which helps them improve their abilities, as well as warm-up their hands and joins prior to performing.
Practice pads a much quieter than regular drums, which makes them a very useful practice tool (great for pleasing family members and neighbors).
Drummers can use practice pads during sound checks before performing, for example, without causing annoyance or interrupting other band members.
We hope this article has helped you in your search for the best drum practice pad.
If you are still unsure what one to purchase, I would highly recommend the Evan’s 2 sided practice pad. I really think you can’t go wrong with this one. As I’ve previously mentioned, this has been my go-to pad for years.
Also, this pad is an extremely popular choice for drummers.
Do you have any questions? I’d be very happy to answer them below.