Drum Practice Pads

The 7 Best Drum Practice Pads – Top Picks From a Touring Drummer

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If you’re a drummer and you don’t use a practice pad, you’re missing out big time.

Having an easy way to practice is absolutely essential if you want to take your drumming to the next level. That being said, a drum practice pad doesn’t have to be expensive to be quality.

I personally own abDout five practice pads, but that’s because I have used them, wearing them out, and have seen from my own experiences which ones stand the test of time.

You really don’t have an excuse to not practice in this day in age. With the arrival of social media, we’ve seen how many talented drummers are really out there.

Just check out the Instagram tag #instadrummer. If your goal is to become a working drummer in the industry, you’ve got to keep your chops sharp and be continually refining your skills.

Best Drum Practice Pad – A Quick Glance

The list below is a quick list of our toprated drum practice pads. Feel free to check these out here or keep on reading to get a more in-depth review of each practice pad.

This article is for drummers of all ages. We have spent a ton of time and have meticulously reviewed tons of drum practice pads and have made a curated list of what we believe are the best pads available.

Read further to see our top picks and find the best drum practice pad for you.

1) Tama True Touch Practice Pad

Has Snare Buzz!
Tama True Touch Training AAD Snare Pad
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Tama’s True Touch Training AAD Snare Pad offers a new standard in dynamic expression and articulation for practice pads. This 10-inch pad features a tunable 2-ply mesh layer with a raised hoop, so you can play both regular hits and rim shots.

It also has a unique construction that feels almost like you’re playing a real snare drum. As a result, the Tama True Touch Training AAD Snare Pad is an amazing practice pad that offers a realistic playing experience.

2) Movement Drum Co Practice Pad

Best For DCI
Movement Drum Co. 12-inch Double Sided Practice Pad
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Sorry, it appears this pad is no longer available, but still is an awesome choice if you can find one used.

This practice pad from Movement Drum Co is new to our list. They were kind enough to send us one to check out. Upon receiving it, we were pleasantly surprised. It stands out from every other traditional pad on our list. We have deemed it to be our Editor’s Choice.

When you open the box, you’ll find three pieces: the pad itself, a rubber insert, and a clear plastic piece. The pad measures 12″ in diameter and features two sides, one being a harder playing surface than the other.

Overall, they have made a great impression on us thus far! In addition to just being a practice pad, it features plastic rims, which really simulate that of a marching snare drum.

Marching Band Practice Pad
The Movement Drum Co Practice Pad includes two inserts for simulating different types of drums

The thick rubber insert fits nicely on to the pad. When played, it feels more like a real drum (like a tom), rather than a practice pad. This feature is huge, since practice pads often simulate an unrealistic feel and give naturally impossible rebound.

When transitioning back to, say a drum set, your hands should feel more at home. It’s not a raw rubber finish on the top. It feels like some sort of fabric that makes for both an impressive look and is smooth to the touch.

Excellent for practicing marching or drum corps music

The clear plastic insert also fits nicely on the top part of the pad. To my mind, this insert simulates that of a marching snare drum, as when played, you get a crisp attack that sounds very similar to that of a Kevlar drum head.

Movement Drum Co Practice Pad

Combined with this and the plastic rims, you have a perfect practice pad for working on your chops and exercises. The pad is perfect for anyone who plans on trying out for drum corps or anyone actively involved.

You can really hear how cleanly you are playing when this insert is used. It’s good to note that when using it, you will be increasing the volume of the pad. If neighbors are a concern, be mindful of this.

Pros
  • A two-sided practice pad with additional inserts for different playing styles
  • 12″ in size is much smaller and portable than larger practice pads
  • Included plastic rims make it possible to simulate rim shots and clicks
Cons
  • The pad is a little more expensive than others
  • It tends to be a little louder than other pads
  • The pad is a bit heavy to lug around

3) Evans ReelFeel 2-Sided Practice Pad, 12in or 6in

Best on a Budget
Evans Realfeel 2-Sided Practice Pad, 12 Inch
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A Quality Drum Practice Pad

Like many drum practice pads we will see in this article, the Evans 2-Sided Practice Pad fits perfectly into any snare drum stand, so you can stand while you play or remove your snare drum from your kit to practice.

You can also rest it on top of your snare drum for quick shed sessions while your band is tuning up.

In Use

This practice pad has a large playing surface and a nice grey finish. It’s durable to any kind of weathering and will last for years to come. 

This side of the practice pad seems to be suited more to a marching snare drum as far as rebound feels. It’s very bouncy.

When you flip the practice pad over, there is a hard, rubber black pad that is good for practicing rebound strokes. This material doesn’t rebound quite as well.

It’s great for practicing licks that would be suited for a loosely tuned snare drum or tom.

Using this side of the practice pad can help build arm strength and endurance.

Pros
  • Both sides of the practice pad provide value for practicing drum rudiments and chops
  • Excellent size that is perfect for travel and fits nicely in a snare drum stand
  • Very affordable for a high-quality drum practice pad
Cons
  • The pad may have a bit of a chemical smell that results from the type of glues used and the wood planing process
  • Some users have had issues with the pad not being fully glued down to the particle board
  • This practice pad, in particular, is a little heavy. Not a huge concern for me

4) Drumeo P4 Practice Pad

Perfect for Drum Set Players
The Drumeo P4 Practice Pad
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When you’re playing drums, you don’t just hit the heads. Sometimes you may play on the rim, the cymbals, or even the side of your floor tom.

Why should this change when we go to practice?

Drumeo’s P4 Practice Pad has addressed this issue with perfection. Not only does this pad allow you to practice your chops and rudiments, you get four different zones of play area.

In Use

The large blue section acts as your traditional practice pad, emulating the feel of a snare drum.

One level up on the left is a hard black rubber designed to emulate a high tom.

It is more responsive and has a bit more bounce than the blue section.

Moving the right is a white surface that is designed to feel more like a floor tom – much less responsive than the other two pads thus far.

The final orange pad on top is very hard and is meant to emulate a ride cymbal or a hard Kevlar drum head typically used for marching snare drums.

Drumeo is the only company that makes a drum practice pad this versatile, which is why we love it.

Pros
  • Made in USA
  • Contains four different playing areas that emulate different pieces of the drum kit
  • Pad will fit on any standard snare drum stand
Cons
  • The Drumeo practice pad is a bit expensive for a beginner
  • Despite the different playing surfaces, playing a full drum set is still going to be much different

5) Remo Tunable Practice Pad

Perfect for Concert Percussionists
Remo 8" Gray Tunable Practice Pad
$20.95
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08/11/2022 12:08 am GMT

The Classic Design

This is what I consider to be the “OG” drum practice pad. I’ve seen so many of these things at schools and in practice rooms. If you’re a drummer, you probably know how awesome Remo is and why you should use their drum heads. ­čÖé

In Use

Remo’s Tunable drum practice pad isn’t my favorite, but it does offer one interesting advantage over the others. With Remo’s pad, you have the ability to tune it to the tension of your liking.

This sounds awesome… on paper. In practical use, this function is absolutely useless to me. I found myself just leaving the pad as is and I never touched the tuning on the pad. I never felt like it actually did anything. It doesn’t respond like an actual drum anyways.

This practice pad is extremely small, and that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for me. I actually believe it’s a good practice to play on a surface that is considerably smaller than your regular drums.

It will work your accuracy and you will hit in the center of the drum more often.

Overall, this drum practice pad is just outdated to me and I’m not the biggest fan of it. That being said, it is a nice choice for concert snare drummers, who are potentially working on excerpts from a┬árepertoire for a orchestra audition.

It provides a rebound that doesn’t seem too far off from a snare drum and buzz rolls feel very realistic.

Pros
  • Drum head is tunable
  • The pad is very easy to mount on a stand and sits nicely on a table, desk, etc…
  • Perfect practice pad for concert percussionists
Cons
  • Practice pad is very small
  • Very outdated compared to other brands

6) RTOM Moongel Workout Pad

Perfect for Building Chops
RTOM Moongel Workout Pad
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The next entry on the list is a unique one. While most practice pads are incredibly responsive and bouncy, this practice pad does just the opposite.

The RTOM Moongel Workout Pad encourages using full wrist motion with a playing surface that features almost zero rebound. If you’ve ever tried practicing rudiments on a pillow before, you’ll know what to expect.

RTOM’s workout pad is 7″ in diameter, is super quiet, features a base plate with a screw for mounting, and builds chops quickly. Because many practice pads are bouncy, it’s often easy to rely on bounce-strokes to pull off rudiments and diddles at quicker speeds.

While you can get away with this on a practice pad, when applied to a drum kit, for example, this is rarely the case.

7) SJC Josh Dun Practice Pad

Perfect for fans of twenty one pilots
SJC Josh Dun Signature Practice Pad
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A Fan Favorite Practice Pad

Twenty One Pilots are arguably the biggest duo and act in the world currently. Why not use a drum practice pad from two of the greatest role models to come out in the last few years?

This drum practice pad is made from an awesome custom drum company called SJC Drums.

It features twenty one pilots branding and is 12″ in diameter with a 10″ playing area. The pad is designed very well and is right there with the Drumeo practice pad as far as quality is concerned.

The Josh Dun practice pad is single-sided, so you won’t get all the features of the other pads. If I had to pick a practice pad purely based on design, this one would be the winner.

If someone in your family is a drummer and enjoys the music of twenty one pilots, this makes the perfect gift for any occasion.

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • Very high-quality materials
  • Solid build
Cons
  • More practical for fans of the band than actual drummers
  • Single-sided practice pad

8) Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slim Practice Pad

Perfect for Drum Corps and Marching Percussion
Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slim Pad
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The Marching Practice Pad

Vic Firth makes quality products. I proudly endorse the company and always have been happy with the sticks they make.

The Heavy Hitter Slim Practice Pad is ideal for drummers who are on a drumline or love learning DCI chops and licks.

This drum practice pad is surprisingly light and portable. When playing, it’s far more articulate than some of the other practice pads I have played.

Just like many other pads on this list, it is double-sided.

On one side, you get a hard rubber pad that is extremely articulate. The other is a soft gummy rubber that is both quieter and gives a bigger rebound.

I found, like a lot of the other practice pads, that this one is just too bouncy to be perceived as a real drum.

It’s kind of a characteristic of drum practice pads that we just have to deal with.

There’s really no good way to emulate a real snare drum, unless you’re playing a real snare drum.

Pros
  • Great build quality
  • Very portable
  • Double-sided
Cons
  • Hard rubber side can be very loud
  • Design colors are a bit ugly

9) Vater Zero Pad

Perfect for All-Around Drum Practice
Vater Zero Pad 11"
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A Good Runner Up

Vater’s Zero Practice Pad is an excellent quality product and is one of my many drum pads that I use on a regular basis. Like the Evans Reelfeel drum pad, this pad has a similar design. You get a single-sided practice pad that has very similar materials.

In my opinion, this drum practice pad beats that one on colors and design alone! Unfortunately, it is a bit more expensive for basically the same product.

Pros
  • Great looking design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Double-sided
Cons
  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Very similar to many different practice pads

Why should you use a practice pad?

Practice pads play a vital role in your practicing regimen. Not only do they allow you to work your chops and learn new licks, but you can also practice virtually anytime and anywhere.

Back in college, I would keep my practice pad in my backpack playing and practicing licks and rudiments between classes and in my dorm room.

You can use headphones with a metronome, your favorite music, while listening to a podcast, etc. It’s really up to you, how you practice.

It’s important to remember that not every drum practice pad is designed the same.

You need to be aware that some provide almost too much rebound to be realistic.

This can lead to bad technique issues when you transfer back to real drums. Some drum practice pads will wear out faster than others, leading you to purchase a new one.

How to make your own DIY practice pad

If you don’t have the funds to buy your own practice pad, you should consider making your own.

All the materials required to make one are relatively cheap and can be found at most Dollar stores.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cheap round cutting board
  • A soft rubber-like material
  • Super glue

You could most likely scavenge around your home or apartment and find something that would work.

Watch this video Drumeo.com put together on how to make your own practice pad.

Another sort-of-DIY practice pad I still use all the time is just hitting a mouse pad on a desk. Try it; you’ll be shocked at how well it works!

Which drum practice pad should you avoid like the plague?

Some practice pads are not practical and you should not waste time with these.

See this drum practice pad? Avoid this type of pad at all costs! These are literally the worst types of practice pads you can give a beginner drummer when starting out. I had one of these.

It came with my rented snare drum when I was in the fourth grade. Why do they even make these?

They are absolutely terrible.

You won’t get any sort of real feel from these types of pads. They are designed to go on top of your snare drum and noise is still a problem with these.”

Practice pads vs drum pads

Also, be sure never to confuse a practice pad with an electronic drum pad. While they can look similar in nature and can perform similar functions, practice pads don’t have the ability output sound to a PA.

What makes a good drum practice pad?

No matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or seasoned professional, you need to practice.

You have to dig out the practice pad and clean out the cobwebs.

Whichever drum practice pad you pick, it has to be one that you want to play and one that you enjoy playing.

The feel of the practice pad matters

When you pull your practice pad out and start playing, your practice pad almost needs to inspire you!

If you have no drive or motivation, there’s no way a poorly designed drum practice pad is going to get you to play more. Most of the practice pads on this list feel good when you play them. Just don’t buy the one that looks like a squished top hat.

Keep the noise down

If you’re living somewhere were noise levels are a premium, you’re going to need a drum practice pad that is both portable and quiet. All of the practice pads on this list that have a soft, gummy top will be quieter. This includes the Evans, Vic Firth, SJC, and the Vater.

Portability

Whether you’re in the airport or moving class to class, having a drum practice pad that’s small and portable is key.

If you’re carrying a laptop, books, and other things, the last thing you want to lugging around is a heavy practice pad. It will sit at home and you’ll never practice. I know this because I’ve experienced it.

What about practice pad drum sets?

Practice drum sets are becoming more and more popular with both touring musicians and drummers who need to keep the noise down. While less expensive than an electronic drum set, practice pad drum sets offer a great means for working your skills on the kit.

Drum Workshop makes a practice kit called the Go Anywhere. Similar to a traditional practice pad, the drum kit variety usually features a set of pads that are arranged in a similar fashion to a regular drum set.

The pads can be re-arranged to fit your feel and acoustic drum setup. This practice pad kit does not come with cymbals or hardware for said cymbals, so you may have to invest in additional stands and practice cymbals to get the full experience.

Donner also sent me a hybrid practice pad drum set, which you can read about here.

Our Favorite Practice Pad

Perfect for All-Around Drum Practice
Vater Zero Pad 11"
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What’s the best practice pad? We have chosen the Vater Zero Pad as our Editor’s Choice. It has the most versatility by far and offers the most value for your money. It feels great to play, and we personally love it. While it is on the more expensive side, you’ll get a lot more out of it and will use it for years to come.

You really can’t make a mistake when buying a practice pad. All the choices we have listed function ideally and will help you become a better player.

However, no single pad will help you achieve faster. It all relies on you, as a player, putting the hard work in by practicing regularly and correctly.

Comments or Questions?

Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you about what practice pad you are using and if this review helped you.

If you’re ready to up your game to an e kit, check out my reviews of the best electronic drum sets for entry-level players.

8 Comments

  1. Robin Orr April 3, 2020
  2. Scott May 20, 2020
    • Nick Cesarz May 20, 2020
  3. Tom Lewis December 20, 2020
  4. David C. Hymen September 26, 2021
    • Nick Cesarz September 26, 2021
  5. David C. Hymen October 4, 2021
  6. Tony McNally June 9, 2022

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