An electronic snare drum is one of the most important items of your set. Drummers often consider upgrading their electronic snare drum for improved sensitivity, larger pad size, and more triggering options (e.g. dual-zone or 3-zone pads).
If you are thinking about upgrading your electronic snare drum, there are many options to consider from top-tier electronic drum set manufacturers like Roland and Yamaha.
My top recommended electronic drum snare is the Roland PDX-12 Dual Trigger Mesh Snare Pad. This is an all-around, tunable head by a well-renowned manufacturer.
My second recommended electronic drum snare is the Roland PDX-6 V-Pad Snare. This is an affordable option with great value for money.
- The 5 Best Electronic Snare Drums (2023)
- 1. Roland PDX-12 Dual Trigger Mesh Snare Pad
- 2. Roland PDX-6 V-Pad Snare
- 3. Roland PD-128S Snare V-Pad
- 4. Yamaha DTX XP80 3-Zone 8" Drum Pad
- 5. Yamaha XP120SD 12" Snare Drum Pad
- How to Connect an Electronic Snare Drum to Your Module
- Different Types of Electronic Snare Drum Heads
- Where to Use Electronic Snare Drums
- How do Tunable Electronic Snare Drums Heads Work?
The 5 Best Electronic Snare Drums (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Roland PDX-12 Dual Trigger Mesh Snare Pad
My top pick is the Roland PDX-12. This 12” dual-trigger mesh snare pad is one of Roland’s best V-series electronic snare drums. It has dual trigger sensors, giving you the ability to easily play any rolls or rimshots.
- Good for stick work and rimshots
- Compact design with great playability
- Excellent value for money
- Renowned manufacturer
- Not much!
What makes the Roland PDX-12 dual-trigger mesh snare pad great is the tunable head. This way you can control the rebound of your drumstick. The 2-ply mesh material hits the sweet spot between resistance and rebound.
All in all, this is a great large pad for anyone looking to get a quality made electronic snare drum for their e-drum kit.
2. Roland PDX-6 V-Pad Snare
If you’re looking to get a quality made snare drum but not splash out tons of money for it, the Roland PDX-6 is the way to go. The value for money with this pad is unprecedented. Plus, it’s a Roland product!
- Dual-trigger pad
- Excellent value for money
- Compact, small design
- The 8″ pad is rather small for some
This is the smallest of the V-series snare pads. It’s an 8” snare pad with a mesh head with triggers on the head and the rim. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a decent upgrade for your e-kit.
This is a great buy for any house practice set and a great buy for any beginner to learn the basics of drumming. Overall, when it comes to beginner-friendly and budget-friendly options, you’ll unlikely find something better for the price.
3. Roland PD-128S Snare V-Pad
For a pro, you want the best the market has to offer and Roland’s PD-128S is among them. This snare pad is as close to the real acoustic snare drum as you can get, both visually and playing-wise.
- Natural, high-quality feel and sound
- Interchangeable shell wraps
- Dual-zone, tunable mesh design
- Advanced triggering
- Many new models overshadow this one
It’s a dual-zone triggered 12” mesh pad. The triggers are in the rim and the head, with the rimshot playability as close to acoustic snare drums as you can get. The Mesh head is tunable of course, giving you the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the head for your playing style.
Also, wrappings on the shell are interchangeable, so you can adjust the look of your snare drum to your drum kit easily. The high-end, high-quality item that’s made to be used by professionals, with both high levels of sensitivity and build quality Roland is known for.
4. Yamaha DTX XP80 3-Zone 8" Drum Pad
Yamaha is a household name in electronic drum equipment and their DTX series proves as a very worthy contender. The Yamaha DTX XP80 3-Zone 8″ Drum Pad is a great and modestly-priced option to consider.
- Compact, three-zone design
- Multi-compatible pad
- Good value for money
- Rather small pad for some
Some drummers love the feel of the Yamaha DTX silicone heads. They are less bouncy than mesh heads but still provide a very strong acoustic feel to them. This 8” pad has three trigger zones. Since it’s 8”, it’s compact and doesn’t take up too much space.
All in all, this is a compact, 3-zone pad that is multi-compatible with other electronic percussion controllers and has a good value-for-price ratio.
5. Yamaha XP120SD 12" Snare Drum Pad
Topping off this list is another Yamaha snare pad – the Yamaha XP120SD 12″ Snare Drum Pad. It has similar electronics as the previous one on the list, but what sets it apart is the size and the materials used in the building.
- Realistic, acoustic feel and sound
- Excellent for rimshots
- Overall great build quality
- A bit outdated
- Better choices for a similar price tag
This is a 12” snare pad, with Yamaha’s great TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) material on the head. It offers great expression and playability with an acoustic-like sound.
The snare pad itself includes a controller that allows you to change tension and even turn on and off snares (a very useful feature that you can adjust on the fly without having to reach for the drum module!).
How to Connect an Electronic Snare Drum to Your Module
Connecting your electronic snare drum is done in the same way as you would connect any other electronic drum. You can connect it to your drum module by a standard 1/4” cable. All of the snare drums on this list use this same connection. Most drum modules use 1/4″ cable connection types for drum pads and cymbals.
Different Types of Electronic Snare Drum Heads
As you maybe noticed, there is a difference in the type of drum head materials different producers use for their products.
Roland always uses their mesh for their premium drum heads. Mesh is the type of artificial material that emulates the real drum head.
Yamaha DTX pads use TCS heads (Textured Cellular Silicone Head). In the end, it all comes down to your personal preference, because both will do great for any setup.
Where to Use Electronic Snare Drums
Electronic snare drums can be used both as a part of a drum set or as a standalone instrument. As a part of your electronic drum kit, you can always replace and upgrade your snare drum to get a better sound when playing.
Of course, you don’t need a full drum kit to make use of your electronic snare drum. You can also use it as a part of your live performance if you’re into electronic music, by connecting the snare drum pad to a drum trigger module or sample pad.
How do Tunable Electronic Snare Drums Heads Work?
Tunable electronic drums allow players to adjust the sensibility of the drum head. This means that by turning your key you can tighten or loosen the drum head, giving you better rebound or less of a rebound of your drum stick when playing the drums.
I hope that this article has helped you learn something new about the electronic snare drum market. Whether you’re looking for a simple upgrade for your home kit or a professional buy for your studio setting you can find something for yourself on this list.
My top pick is the Roland PDX-12 Dual Trigger Mesh Snare Pad, an all-around, tunable head by a respected manufacturer.
My budget pick is the Roland PDX-6 V-Pad Snare, an affordable, good-sounding option with great value for money.