The Best Drum Practice Pads - Single/Snare + Set

Drum Practice Pads

Everyone has heard the saying "practice makes perfect", and you know what, that saying just isn’t true. In reality, perfect practice makes perfect. So if you're looking to get the most out of your drum practice sessions, you’re going to want to have the best equipment. This is where we come in with our list of the highest rated drum practice pads.

Contents

The Best Drum Practice Pads

The Best Single/Snare Practice Pads

Evans RF-12D RealFeel 12" Speed and Workout Drum Pad

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
Evans RF-12D RealFeel 12" Speed and Workout Drum Pad

The Evans RF-12D RealFeel 12" Speed and Workout Drum Pad is a great option for any musician looking for a versatile practice pad. The RF-12D is reversible, with one side being made from gum rubber (a denser material) and the other being made from neoprene (which has more give than the rubber).

The cool thing about this practice pad is that it allows you to target different areas of your playing. The neoprene surface, which has less bounce than the gum rubber surface, gives your hands a better workout. This alone can do wonders for your stamina as a drummer. The gum rubber surface, having more bounce than the neoprene, allows you to work on your accuracy and speed.

Specifications:

  • Size: 12"
  • Material: Gum Rubber and Neoprene
  • Extras: Double Sided

While this is just conjecture, many users feel that Evan’s RealFeel line does a good job of mimicking the response of an acoustic drum head (though they reportedly have a bit more rebound than a genuine drum head).

Vic Firth Double Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$42
Vic Firth Double Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad

Like the Evans RealFeel above, the Vic Firth Double Sided 12” Drum Practice Pad has two different sides for two different feels. If you’re just starting out, it’s definitely worth looking at double sided practice pads because you can target specific aspects of your playing you want to practice (making your practice sessions more effective overall). Double-sided and multi-surface practice pads are also good for more experienced drummers looking to hone certain skills.

Specifications:

  • Size: 12"
  • Material: Soft and Hard Rubber
  • Extras: Double Sided

The main difference between the Vic Firth Double Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad and the Evans pad above is that the Vic Firth pad is considered to have more "bounce" overall. The increase in bounce means that it takes less work to play on the pad, allowing you to focus on your speed and accuracy. However, it does also mean that the pad may not be the best option if you’re looking to work on your stamina.

Offworld Percussion Invader V3 Drum Practice Pad

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$65
Offworld Percussion Invader V3 Drum Practice Pad

The most important feature of the Offworld Percussion Invader V3, and the one that separates it from other practice pads on the market, is the material its playing surface is made from: Darkmatter. This material is a military-grade polymer, intended to accurately replicate the feel of a drum head.

Many drummers sight the rebound in particular as being incredibly close to the feel of their acoustic drum head, especially their snare (which this practice pad is intended to replicate) The DARKMATTER polymer was also designed to have a more pleasing sound quality than your average practice pad, lacking the "clicky" slap sound that you generally find. However, while it is considered to have a better sound quality than many other pads on the market it’s also said to be louder.

Specifications:

  • Size: 13.5"
  • Material: Darkmatter
  • Extras: 360 Rim Element/Stick Saving Rim

Another great feature of this pad is the rim, which has a greater surface area than a standard snare rim. This allows you to accurately practice rim shots while preserving your sticks.

Vic Firth Slim Pad Drum Practice Pad

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$37
Vic Firth Slim Pad Drum Practice Pad

As you’d guess from the name, the Vic Firth Slim Pad Drum Practice uses a thin playing surface when compared to your average practice pad. While everyone has their own preferences, some musicians feel that the thinner head gives them a tone that’s more sensitive to their playing. This allows them to hear both the good and bad aspects of their playing, which helps them to more easily address issues in their technique.

Specifications:

  • Size: 12"
  • Material: Gum Rubber
  • Extras: N/A

Another commonly held view of the practice pad is that it does a great job of reproducing the feel of a snare drum, making it an attractive option for those who play a marching snare. It’s also said to have a pretty moderate level of rebound, which helps to make the transition from pad to drum and back again more manageable than pads which have a greater amount of rebound.

Vic Firth Single Sided 6" Drum Practice Pad

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$20
Vic Firth Single Sided 6" Drum Practice Pad

If you’re looking to work on your accuracy and your endurance, the Vic Firth Single Sided 6" Drum Practice Pad is definitely a great (and affordable!) option. The soft rubber playing surface (as stated by Lonestar Percussion it’s gum rubber, and though Vic Firth’s website doesn’t state the exact material used it’s more than likely true given how often they utilize the material in their other practice pads) creates less rebound than harder rubbers, which places more of the burden of playing on your body. This helps to promote the growth of proper musculature.

However, while the pad does have less rebound than pads made of harder rubber it’s still said to have a greater degree of rebound than Vic Firth’s Slim Pad.

Specifications:

  • Size: 6"
  • Material: Gum Rubber
  • Extras: N/A

It offers a great middle ground between high and low levels of rebound, and when coupled with the pad’s small size the Vic Firth Single Sided 6" Drum Practice Pad is arguably one of the better options around if you’re looking to target several different components of your playing at once.

Vic Firth Single Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$32
Vic Firth Single Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad

Vic Firth’s Single Sided 12" Drum Practice Pad is the 12" version of the Vic Firth’s 6" pad above, with the only notable difference between the two being their size. Though the materials and design are very similar, the size of the pad you use can have a huge impact on your practice.

Larger pads are great if you’re looking to translate general movement back to your drum. This makes them a great choice for percussionists who are just starting out, because consistency is key when you’re developing the muscle memory necessary to play an instrument.

Specifications:

  • Size: 12"
  • Material: Gum Rubber
  • Extras: N/A

Another key factor with the soft rubber is that it doesn’t rebound to the point that harder gum rubber does (Lonestar Percussion is again the source used), which helps to develop stamina. It’s also generally quieter than harder rubber, which is a huge plus if volume is a prime concern.

Aquarian Tru-Bounce 12" Drum Practice Pad

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
Aquarian Tru-Bounce 12" Drum Practice Pad

The Aquarian Tru-Bounce 12” Drum Practice Pad is said to be one of the more accurate practice pads available, lacking the rebound you find in most practice pads made from gum rubber. While the exact material used for the playing surface isn’t stated by the manufacturer on their website, according to Bart Elliot (the Founder of Drummer Café) it’s made from neoprene.

According to the response found on forums, this pad is a great option if you’re looking to seriously work on your technique. An overly springy response can work in your favor at times, but if you’re working to develop muscle memory that you can directly translate to a drum a more natural feeling practice pad is going to be more helpful.

Specifications:

  • Size: 12”
  • Material: Not Stated (Said to be Neoprene by Drummer Café’s Bart Elliott)
  • Extras: Drum Sticks

Lastly, there’s been a few statements that this pad is louder than others in this price tier, with the most notable example being the RealFeel. So if you’re concerned about volume, the RealFeel may work better for your situation.

The Best Drum Practice Pad Set

DW Go Anywhere 5-Piece Practice Set

84
GEARANK

84 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
DW Go Anywhere 5-Piece Practice Set

If a single practice pad just isn’t going to cut it for your needs, the DW Go Anywhere 5-Piece Practice Set is right up your alley. This 5-piece practice kit is as close as you’re going to get to the genuine article while still being able to practice quietly, unless of course you invest in an electric kit.

The Go Anywhere Practice Set has a pretty wide adjustment range, which allows you to dial the kit in to be somewhat representative of your main drum set. Because of its construction it’s not going to have quite as much versatility, but the range of the set is way wider than what most people would first assume when looking at it.

Specifications:

  • Pads: Two 8" pads for tom and cymbal, two 10" pads for snare and floor tom, one bass drum pad.
  • Material: Not Stated (Most Likely Gum Rubber)
  • Extras: Drum Sticks

Something to note about this setup is that the bass drum pedal and pad are rumored to be pretty loud, louder than what many users found acceptable for their living situation. However, if you can live with the volume of the bass drum portion of this practice kit you’ll likely find the DW Go Anywhere 5-Piece Practice Set to be a great practicing tool.

Things to Consider When Buying Practice Pads

If you aren’t sure which practice pad is going to work best for you, or if you just want to brush up on your knowledge before you make a purchase, check out the sections below!

  • Choosing a Practice Pad Based on Feel

    A lot of companies say that their drum pads feel just like an acoustic drum, offering the same response and feel. Supposedly, this allows you to practice silently on what is essentially a drum head you can put on any surface. Unfortunately, in practice it doesn’t always work out this way. There’s almost always going to be a difference in how a practice pad feels compared to a real drum head, and there’s also going to be some variance in how one practice pad feels compared to another.

    Essentially, practice pads generally fall somewhere between two extremes. They either feel “dead” (like you’re hitting a pillow), or “bouncy”. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, and many companies offer double sided practice pads that give you the best of both worlds.

  • Volume of Different Materials

    Though practice pads are intended for silent practicing, some offer anything but. Sure, they’re definitely quieter than a full drum kit, but they can still be loud enough to be disturbing to the people around you.

    The main factors that are going to decide the volume of a practice pad is the density of the material used, how much give it has, and the inherent acoustic properties of its construction. So, for example, the Vic Firth Double Sided 12” Drum Practice Pad (featured on this list) is going to have two different base volumes. The softer side is going to be quieter because it has more give, while the firmer size is going to give you more of that “clicky” practice pad sound.

    An interesting lifehack I stumbled across while writing this article is that if you get a drum practice pad that you feel is too loud, you can actually put a mousepad over it to deaden the noise but retain some bounce. It’s not ideal of course, but it’s still good to keep in mind.

  • The Different Sizes of Practice Pad

    Practice pads come in different shapes and sizes, but the question is: why? Well, there isn’t exactly one answer to this question. Smaller pads are more easily transportable and can help you work on accuracy, but larger pads (like those measuring 12”) can more accurately replicate the feel of an acoustic drum.

    As a general rule, choose a drum pad size based on what you want to target when you practice. If you’re looking for a silent practice session that is easily transferable to your kit, look into a 12” practice pad (which is also the most popular tom size). Likewise, if you’re going to be focusing more on accuracy a 6” pad may be more up your alley. An 8” or 10” provide a happy medium between the two extremes. There are tons of different practice pads available in different materials and sizes, so as long as you know what you’re looking for you can find a combination of these two factors that will allow your pad to best work toward your goals.

  • A Quick Note About Pad Hand

    A term you’re going to hear a lot when you’re looking for a practice pad is “pad hand”. Pad hand is when you’re hands grow accustomed to playing on a drum pad instead of an actual drum, resulting in a loss of fidelity when you get back on a drum.

    There isn’t really a good way to avoid this, aside from practicing on a real drum, but some more expensive practice pads are said to somewhat limit pad hand. If you’ve ever run into this issue, a common recommendation on forums is to invest in a drum head with more accurate dimensions (like the Offworld Percussion Invader v3).

Best Drum Practice Pad Selection Methodology

We began by looking at single practice pads and practice pad sets available from major online American music equipment retailers and short-listed 18 singles and 5 sets for closer analysis - you can see many of them in our public music gear database. Then we collected over 2,600 reviews and ratings from online 5 star ratings, discussion forums, review sites and similar places and processed those data with the Gearank Algorithm to produce a rating score out of 100 for each one. Finally, we selected the highest rated ones to recommend above. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works

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