Best Drum Practice Pad [Ultimate Guide 2020]

If you are in a hurry and want to know what’s the best drum practice pad, it’s the Movement Drum Co. Double-Sided Practice Pad.

When practicing your rudiments for long and consistent sessions in your drum set, dealing with overly complaining neighbors and family members isn’t pleasant. 

Practice at night? Just impossible.

That’s one of the reasons a practice pad is a drummer’s best friend. It is a great option to work in your technique, endurance, and more without complaints and the ear fatigue that snare drum playing for an extended period of time induces.

In this roundup, we search for the best drum practice pad so you can practice anywhere and anytime. 

Budget Choice Portability Best Overall
Brand Kibaga Remo Evans Vic Firth Movement Co.
Double-Sided Yes No Yes No Yes
Surface Material Rubber Real Drumhead Rubber Rubber Rubber

How to differentiate a drum practice pad

Not all drum practice pad sound the same, nor feel the same. 

Buying the wrong one can lead to bad techniques, a waste of your time and money. 

We put together a comprehensive guide to help you out when buying yours. 

Sound Versatility 

It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced drummer or a beginner; we can all agree on the importance of being a versatile drummer, a player who can adapt, like a chameleon, into different genres, a drummer who makes use to accomplish any task.

The best drum practice pad needs to ensure a good practice routine in different types of music, that’s why it must produce multiple drum kit sounds. 

To make the most of it, I recommend you to look for two-sided drumming pads, they are convenient, and you save money (instead of buying two one-sided pads). The first side usually is made of soft rubber, bouncy, and quiet; it won’t let you wake up anyone in your house. And the second side is, most of the time, a harder rubber it will give you a proper workout, and usually is a lot louder.

Be aware that rubber isn’t the only material for practicing pads. Materials such as silica gel, plastic, or even wood are also widespread in those pads.

But what about more complex pads?

For those who a two-sided pad isn’t enough, we have another option that are the more “complex pads”. These pads usually have up to 4 different playing surfaces on one side that emulates high-tons, your ride cymbal, floor tom, and snare—a feature created to simulate the feel of actually moving around the drums. But be aware that they and may have a higher learning curve.

Portability

This feature is probably one of the essential elements that we need in a drum practice pad. 

For beginners who don’t own a drum set yet, this feature is essential for taking their practice pads anywhere to build up abilities faster. For working drummers, the whole point of practicing in a drum practice pad is that they can’t carry their drum sets everywhere, and these drummers end up unable to update their practice routines (especially if living in a dorm or apartment, where space can be minimal).

Weight

Nowadays, drum practice pads are lightweight and compact. A standard 12″ pad can weight as much as a 15″ MacBook Pro (4 lbs). Anyone pretty much can carry them. 

Weight is something that I would only worry about when traveling a lot internationally. Choosing a lighter and smaller drum pad can get other problems like instability when practicing and the pad slipping and moving its position.

Size and Compatibility

You can find practice drum pads in sizes like 4.5″, 6″, 7″, 8″, 10″ and 12″. The ideal size has a lot of bearing on how often you use them and your possibilities of carrying them up. The good thing is that your study efficiency and play style are almost indifferent when choosing your pad’s size, mainly tied to the material of the pad’s surface.

A 12″ pad is popular because they fit well on snare drum stands; for this reason, It’s a perfect size to play conveniently. This size allows you to sit and practice many techniques and fills as you would play in a performance. It also helps to maintain a good posture and improve your stamina to handle long gigs. I own at least two practice pads of this size, and they do just fine.

But If portability is your need, I would choose a pad like the Vic Firth 6″ Practice Pad (reviewed below). This pad’s size isn’t easy to position, but because it is small and also are easy to take anywhere.

Quietness

Not all pads are equal on a noise scale, but most of them have a near-quiet performance and won’t make loud noises and disturb practices.

A good tip is if you want to hear all the differences in your strokes practice, you buy a slightly louder pad like the Remo Tunable Practice Pad (also reviewed below).

I use a near-quiet one because of my neighbor complains about almost everything. If you have the same problem as I do, I recommend changing your drumsticks. Recently I wrote an article about the best drum sticks for electronic set and there is a section about quieter drumsticks.

An upgrade: practice drum set

If you are looking into an upgrade to your practicing pad and don’t want to spend in a more expensive electronic drum set, a practice drum set is a great option. 

A similar experience in comparison to the practice pad, but you can similarly arrange multiple pads to a regular drum set.

And the best part: you can also practice your bass drum strokes or even double-bass drum strokes.

We recommend the DW Go Anywhere 5-Piece Set, it’s an excellent option for a fair price.


But keep in mind pedals and drum throne aren’t included.

What drum sticks to use

Some drummers argue that practicing rudiments on a pad with thick drum sticks like 5B’s highlights where your muscular weaknesses are; developing more strength and endurance than lighter sticks. 

Once your grip is firm, you’ll be able to play any sticks and adjust your dynamics accordingly; just make sure you don’t use them all the time. Check out JoJo Mayer’s Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer DVD – he talks about using metal sticks for practicing.

How to clean your drum pad

Cleaning your drum practice pad can be easy; you can use Windex (or similar product) with a rag to clean off the dirt and residue.

If there is adhesive goop on your pad and it doesn’t leave with Windex, apply some Goo Gone until it comes off. Just make sure to clean with Windex afterward, or your pad will stink.

1. Best Budget – Kibaga Drum Practice Pad

Key features:

  • Size: 12″
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Double-Sided: Yes
  • Surface Material: Rubber

This pad is an excellent option for beginners, designed by Kibaga, a family-owned business that has beyond excellent customer service. 

They are made of 1-inch thick and sturdy wood. The price point and quality are hard to beat. Perfect size in you want to put it over your snare drum.

Its dark-grey playing side equipped with silicone is durable. It features an excellent rebound, which resembles a snare feeling (but isn’t quite as bouncy as the Remo Tunable Pad, our next reviewed pad.)

The cotton bottom side ensures that the practice pad stays in place and won’t slide around, and it will last as long as you don’t take anything sharp to it.

In case you are looking into an extremely quiet pad, this is not the option for you. It’s an option for players who don’t want a loud drum pad but want to hear what they’re playing. But it is enough for people living in apartments.

Some players complain about the octagon edges, which sometimes make it tricky to tighten in a three-prong drum stand.

Overall the best drum practice pad you can get for the money.

Pros:

  • Great price
  • It’s well crafted
  • Recommended for beginners 

Cons:

  • Not as bouncy as more expensive pads

>> Check Amazon Price <<

2. Remo Tunable Practice Pad

Key Features

  • Size: 10″
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Double-Sided: No
  • Surface Material: Real Drumhead

Remo has continuously broken new ground when it comes to industry firsts. For over 60 years, it’s one of the firsts options that appear in drummers’ minds when dealing with the subject of drumheads. This classic drum practice pad lives up to Remo’s reputation.

This 10″ practice pad is great for experienced drummers. As its surface is not made of rubber but instead a real tunable drumhead, you have options with the tension and simulate rack/floor toms. Another great thing is that it has a rim (other rubber pads lack one), so you can practice playing on it.

It has the bounce that mimics the feel or a real Remo snare head, so it allows you to practice playing softer dynamics closer to the rim. If you get the version with a coated head (not the red one), you can even practice brush playing – an innovative feature.

Durability is something you get when buying this sturdy practice pad. After years of heavy use, you don’t need to throw it away, replace its drumhead, and brand new once again.

It’s a great drum practice pad to be mounted on a stand for upright playing because of its round shape. In case you are looking into a more portable pad without losing quality, Remo’s Tunable Practice Pad, besides its 10″ model, is also available in different sizes like 6″ and 8″. This pad is also available in red in a non-coated version.

A real drumhead pad also has its cons; it is noisier than rubber pads, enough to annoy family members in your house. If you need a quiet pad, It’s not the one. A reviewer describes it as “as loud as tapping in a Pringles potato chip container with pens.” Recommended for people who like to listen to what they are playing.

Overall It’s one of the closest drum practice pad to a real drum snare that you can get.

Pros:

  • Features a replaceable tunable head
  • Rim practice is possible
  • Good durability
  • Fully rimed

Cons:

  • Not recommended for beginners
  • Louder than most rubber pads

>> Check Amazon Price <<

3. Evans RealFeel 2-Sided Practice Pad

Key features:

  • Size: 12″
  • Weight: 3.54 lbs
  • Double-Sided: Yes
  • Surface Material: Rubber

Evans Realfeel is a pad made in the USA by the well-known drumhead manufacturer Evans that now is part of D’Addario & Company, Inc (that also makes Promark Drumsticks).

Its a double-sided 12″ inch pad, beautiful all the way around with nice sanded wood with rounded edges. One side features a slightly textured natural gum rubber for a realistic stick rebound. The other side features a harder, firmer recycled rubber with less rebound for a real practice workout—an attractive spec for beginners.

Even though the recycled rubber side is much harder, it doesn’t create a lot of noise. We recommended this practice pad for anyone looking for a really quiet pad that doesn’t drive anyone nuts after a while practicing.

A very well made pad. Its octagonal shape can be a little odd and makes it a little tricky to find a good position to put this in if you’re not using a snare stand. 

Some users complain about the pretty noticeable rubber smell to it, even after a month. Like fresh rubber/plastic but a strong smell. 

Another disappointing thing is that after some months of playing, the pad’s mounting brackets on the base’s underside come loose and fall out.

Pros:

  • Near-quiet
  • Recommended for beginners

Cons:

  • Mounting brackets on the underside can come loose and fall out
  • Noticeable rubber smell

>> Check Amazon Price <<

4. Portability Choice – Vic Firth Single-Sided Practice Pad


Key features:

  • Size: 6″
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Double-Sided: No
  • Surface Material: Rubber

Made by Vic Firth, the world’s largest manufacturer of drumsticks and mallets and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

It features a non-skid rubber base so that it won’t slide easily from any surface, and an 8 mm mounting thread for use on a cymbal stand if you just want to have a little something at home to practice.

This pad has a good bounce, and it’s excellent to learn rudiments and practice some patterns—a small, well-built pad, made for those who travel a lot and value portability, but still don’t want to lose quality in their practice.

Its small size can be annoying; it forces you to be accurate (which is good, but still annoying). But you can always upgrade to the 12″ inch version.

Another significant feature is quietness, it won’t annoy any family members or neighbors. 

Be aware that some players complain that the pad smells like an odd chemical synthetic rubber smell.

It’s a great gift for drummers; it’s useful, fits well in most drumstick bags, and has a fair price, just awesome. 

When is the last time Vic Firth made a bad product?

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Noticeable rubber smell

>> Check Amazon Price <<

5. Best Practice Pad Overall –  Movement Drum Co. Practice Pad


Key features:

  • Size: 12″
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Double-Sided: Yes
  • Surface Material: Rubber

This option is a complete drum practice pad made by Movement Drum Co a husband and wife company established in Los Angeles.

It’s 12″ size fits in most backpacks, and round shape is perfect for playing on a snare drum, in a snare basket, even comfortable to play on your lap.

This pad is double-sided, just as we recommend. The first side is made with silicone rubber to resemble a snare drum’s response, firm but not overly hard. It produces a satisfying woody sound and feels. The other side is a quieter and softer hitting rubber with less rebound (and could be even less).

It features extra inserts, really game-changers. A laminated insert for a more articulate experience, clearly geared for marching or concert snare drummers. On the other hand, the conditioning insert provides shock absorption for a low-rebound and quieter surface, great for building wrist and finger strength and control. 

Another impressive feature is that the raised “rim” is perfect for adding rimshot sounds to your practice routine. Both of which hold up pretty well under heavy uses with heavy sticks.

Movement’s pad is a sturdy and high-quality product, only the laminate insert that doesn’t last long after a few sessions of playing.

It’s a great practice pad overall for Drum Kit, Marching, and Concert Snare Drummers.

Pros

  • Well-built
  • Four different playing surfaces
  • Fully rimed
  • Suitable for beginners and more advanced players

Cons

  • The laminate insert doesn’t last long

>> Check Amazon Price <<

Conclusion

There are hundreds of pads and so many brands to go along with it that it can be an overwhelming decision to choose just one pad. We hope this article has helped ease that decision a bit for you.

The winner of this roundup review is the Movement Drum Co. Double Sided Practice Pad is definitely the best option. It’s round-shaped, so it’s comfortable not only to play in your lap but also in a drum snare stand. But the “killer feature” is the extra inserts that allow the player to experience many different surfaces when practicing. It’s a surprisingly good pad, performs well even when “big players” like Remo are also in the game. And for last but not least – it’s fairly priced.

 

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