How Long Do Drumheads Last?

The biggest reasons for changing your drumheads have to do with pitted drum heads and worn-out coating, as well as tears, dents, and punctures in the drumhead. Typically drumheads should last for around 5 to 8 months, depending on the frequency of playing, playstyle, and music type.

How often you should change your drumheads is a discussion that comes up very frequently between drummers, and a lot of drummers have different opinions. 

Drum heads are most often made of plastic, a material that doesn’t go bad over time. However, because you are hitting them constantly, they tend to deform over time. Most of the time, there will be a visual cue to let you know it’s time to change the drumhead, meaning that over a certain amount of time the drumheads will start to show a lot of pits, dents, and even tears.

If there aren’t any visual cues that let you know that you should change your drumheads, you’re gonna have to use your ears to determine if you need new drumheads. Do they sound like you want them to? Do they hold the tuning? If the answer to both of these questions is no, then it’s time to change the drumheads.

How to Make Drumheads Last Longer

There are a couple of things you should consider if you are trying to make your drumheads last longer. When it comes to the durability of a drumhead, beyond the obvious reasons such as the brand and type of drumhead, you should take into account two other reasons: tuning and the angle of hitting the drums.

When it comes to tuning the drum heads, if you want to tune them super low, especially a floor tom, what happens is that the drumhead is having a hard time accepting all that energy you’re putting into your notes, which eventually, results in a shorter life of the drumhead.

Beyond tuning super low, the drum heads on the toms usually can get destroyed pretty fast if you’re not hitting them at the correct angle. Many drummers sit too low on the drum throne, angle their toms so they don’t hit the rims, resulting in the toms not being hit at a flat angle, leaving dents and pits. To avoid this, learn how to position and set up your drum throne correctly.

And the last thing you can do to extend the life of your drumheads is to make sure you are using the correct drumsticks, or rather the correct drumstick tips. Yes, you should choose your drumsticks for the sound and the feel you get from them, but take into account that the tips of the drumsticks may also extend the use of your drumheads. For example, round tips usually leave more dents in a low-tuned head because of the smaller impact zone.

Clear vs. Coated Drumheads

A big factor when it comes to the durability of the drumhead is whether or not the drumhead is coated. I’m not gonna address the differences in sound and tone here, but we are gonna talk about differences between them when it comes to durability.

Coated drumheads are way more durable than clear ones because they are thicker and in order to put dents into the drumheads, you would first need to tear off the coating. Also, the thickness of the drumheads plays a huge role when it comes to durability. A single-ply drumhead is much less durable than a 2-ply drumhead.

So, if you are not aiming for the tone of a clear, thin drumhead, and you don’t really have a preference between the two, you should consider 2-play coated drum heads just to get more durability in the drumheads, therefore saving up quite a lot of money in the process.

When Should I Replace The Resonant Heads?

While on the batter heads, there are obvious visual cues of when it’s time to change the drum heads. When it comes to the resonant heads, you won’t ever notice anything visually bad with them. That begs the question of how do you know when it’s time to change them?

Even though you are not hitting the resonant head, over time, they lose their elasticity which really hurts the sustain of the drums. Therefore, even though there may not be anything visually bad with them, you should change them every third time that you change your batter heads.


If you want your drums to sound as best as they can, you need to make sure that you are changing the drumheads when they need to be changed. Doing that will ensure that you can tune the drums and not worry about the tuning and you will have the best sound and sustain that your drums can provide. Also, remember to change your drumheads anytime you are doing studio recordings, as they have a great impact on the end result.

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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