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Practice pads: a complete overview

It's important to have a good practice routine to improve your skills and stay sharp. One key tool in a drummer's practice arsenal is the practice pad. Practice pads allow you to work on your rudiments, rhythms, and technique without the need for a drum (and especially the loud volume of the drum).


There are many different practice pads available on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this guide, we will take a look at most of the top brands and what sets their practice pads apart.


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We do so by comparing the following characteristics for each pad:

  1. Surface material: The surface material of a practice pad affects the feel and response. Common materials include gum rubber, and synthetic materials (such as real drumheads). Each material offers a different level of bounce and stick rebound.

  2. Playing surface texture: The texture of the playing surface can impact the feel and sound produced. Some pads have a smooth surface, while others have a dimpled or rough texture to mimic the feel of a drumhead.

  3. Multi-surface options: Certain pads have multiple playing surfaces, such as different textures or materials on each side. This allows you to practice different techniques or replicate the feel of various drums.

  4. Size and weight: Practice pads come in various sizes and weights. Larger pads provide a larger playing area, while smaller ones are more portable. Weight can affect stability and portability.

  5. Noise level: Different practice pads produce varying levels of noise. Some pads are designed to be quieter, making them suitable for practicing in environments where noise is a concern.

  6. Portability: Considering whether the pad is lightweight, compact, and easy to carry.

  7. Adjustable tension: Some practice pads allow you to adjust the tension of the playing surface to simulate different drumhead tensions. This feature provides versatility in replicating the feel of various drums.

  8. Mounting options: Certain pads have a built-in mounting system or if it requires additional hardware to attach it to a stand or other surfaces.

  9. Durability: Considering the overall durability of the practice pad, including the longevity of the playing surface and the pad's construction. A durable pad will withstand frequent use without deteriorating quickly.

  10. Price: Comparing the cost of different practice pads, keeping in mind that more advanced features and higher-quality materials may result in a higher price.


Remo

Remo is a well-known and respected name in the drumming world, especially for drumheads. Their practice pads are made with a drumhead-like surface and are designed to mimic the feel of an actual drum. Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Remo became one of the world’s drumhead specialist in virtually every category from percussionists and orchestral timpanists, to drum corps, jazz, blues and rock. Even today, Remo has a big stake in the practice pad market. For example, many of the traditional marchingbands in The Netherlands play with their pads.


Surface material: Real drumhead

Playing surface texture: Coated drumhead or mylar drumhead

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: Available in 6”, 8” and 10”, very lightweight

Noise level: Compared to other pads is this one of the loudest pads

Portability: Lightweight and small, very portable

Adjustable tension: Yes

Mounting options: Can be mounted on cymbal stand

Durability: Plastic material and real drumhead makes this one not the most durable pad

Price: € 30 - € 40



RealFeel (Evans)

Evans is another well-known drumming brand (especially known for their drumheads and recently their silent cymbals and drumheads innovation as well) that offers a range of practice pads (formerly the HQ Percussion pads). Their pads are made with a rubber surface and are designed to be durable and long-lasting. Evans (by D’addario) wants to be one of the most admired and inspiring global companies through their passion for innovation and spirit of social responsibility.


Surface material: Gum rubber

Playing surface texture: rough texture

Multi-surface options: Yes, they offer a 2-sided practice pad

Size and weight: Available in 6”, 7” and 12”, lightweight

Noise level: Very quiet because of the gum rubber

Portability: Thin pads, so easy to put in your bag

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: The 6” and 7” versions can be mounted on a cymbal stand, the 12” fits in most of the regular snare stands

Durability: Extremely durable

Price: € 25 - € 45



Vic Firth

Vic Firth is a well-known drumstick manufacturer that also offers a range of practice pads. Their pads are made with a rubber surface and are designed to be durable, long-lasting and portable. From the factory floor all the way to their global artist family, Vic Firth creates products that are informed, invented, made, and tested by drummers, just as you are.


Surface material: (Gum) rubber

Playing surface texture: Slightly rough texture, some are more smooth

Multi-surface options: Yes, they offer a Single-sided double surface pad

Size and weight: Available in 6” and 12”, lightweight

Noise level: Quiet, just a little bit louder than the Evans pads

Portability: Thin pads, so easy to put in your bag

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: The 6” version can be mounted on a cymbal stand, the 12” fits in most of the regular snare stands

Durability: Extremely durable

Price: € 25 - € 60



Ahead

Ahead is a reputable company in the drumming industry as well, known for its innovative drumming accessories and gear. While they are most recognized for their signature drumsticks, Ahead also offers a range of practice pads that meet the needs of drummers worldwide. Ahead practice pads are designed with high-quality materials and advanced technology, ensuring durability and excellent performance. With their focus on innovation and quality, Ahead has gained a strong presence in the practice pad market, catering to drummers of all levels and styles.


Surface material: A lot of options: gum rubber, moon gel, laminate

Playing surface texture: Varies from a bit rough texture (gum rubber / moon gel) to very smooth (laminate)

Multi-surface options: Yes, they offer double sided pads and the work out pad

Size and weight: Many different sizes and weights: 5” - 14” pads, from very light to heaver pads.

Noise level: Depends for most part on the playing surface, the quietest pads are comparable to the Vic Firth pads, but they also offer louder pads as well

Portability: They have some very portable options, some other pads are bigger and heavier

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: Most smaller pads can be mounted on a cymbal stand, the larger pads fit in regular snare stands

Durability: Laminate surfaces or not very durable with heavy wood drumsticks, gum rubber pads are very durable.

Price: € 25 - € 90



Offworld Percussion

Offworld Percussion is a notable company specializing in designing and manufacturing unique practice pads. They have gained recognition for their innovative approach to creating pads that offer drummers a distinct playing experience. Offworld Percussion practice pads stand out with their unconventional designs (it’s not just a layer of gum rubber on top). The company is dedicated to providing drummers with pads that replicate the feel and response of real (marching) drums. Their pads are crafted with high-quality materials and feature specialized playing surface textures to enhance stick rebound and sensitivity.


Surface material: Base model has a wooden surface with a unique rubber-ish coating

Playing surface texture: Several different options, most of them smooth (laminate), some of them more rough textures (gum rubber)

Multi-surface options: They offer extra top-layers to vary in surfaces

Size and weight: Many different sizes: 5” - 14”. All these pads are noticeable heavier than most of the other brands

Noise level: Depends for most part on the playing surface

Portability: Smaller pads are portable, the big ones are heavy and thick

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: Bigger pads fit on a regular snare stand, they offer also an option to add a mounting-puck underneath the pad to mount the pad on a cymbal stand

Durability: The surface will wear out after several years, but in general very durable products

Price: € 20 - € 130



Drumeo

Drumeo is a prominent online educational platform dedicated to providing drummers of all levels with high-quality lessons, tutorials, and resources. While primarily known for their comprehensive drumming education, Drumeo also offers their own line of practice pads. Drumeo practice pads are designed with a focus on delivering an exceptional practice experience for (mostly) drum-kit drummers with the P4 practice pad. These pads are crafted using premium materials and innovative construction techniques to mimic the feel of different drums and excellent playability. As a company committed to education and inspiring drummers, Drumeo's practice pads are designed to meet the needs of aspiring drummers and professionals alike.


Surface material: They offer a pad with 4 surface materials: neoprene and 3 other rubber surfaces (ranging from gum rubber to very soft rubber)

Playing surface texture: Slightly rough texture

Multi-surface options: Yes

Size and weight: 12” surface and mid-range weight

Noise level: Comparable to Vicfirth and Evans pads, the QuietPad is even more quiet.

Portability: Easy to put in your bag, not too heavy to carry around

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: The pads fit in regular snare stands

Durability: Very durable

Price: € 35 - € 80



Beetle Percussion

Beetle Percussion is a renowned percussion company that has gained recognition for its strong commitment to sustainability. With a focus on using eco-friendly materials, Beetle Percussion stands out as a leader in environmentally conscious practices. Their dedication to sustainability is evident in their practice pads, which are made using 100% recycled car tire rubber. While Beetle Percussion specializes in practice pads, they also offer a selection of percussion accessories. By choosing Beetle Percussion practice pads, drummers not only enhance their skills but also contribute to a more sustainable future.


Surface material: 100% recycled car tire rubber for most pad, they also offer mylar options

Playing surface texture: Most of the pads have rough textures because of the rubber, the mylar options have a smooth surface

Multi-surface options: Yes

Size and weight: Sizes range between 9” and 13”, because of the thick wooden baseplate not the lightest pads.

Noise level: Most pads with the recycled rubber are a bit louder than average, but still pretty quiet

Portability: Smaller versions easy to carry around, bigger versions become a bit heavy

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: Some of the pads will fit in a regular snare stand, some don’t have any other mounting options

Durability: Very durable

Price: € 40 - € 230



Rudimental Control

Rudimental Control is a unique and small-scale company operated by a passionate individual dedicated to crafting custom-made practice pads. With a focus solely on practice pads, Rudimental Control offers drummers a specialized and personalized experience. The practice pads stand out with their distinctive designs, often featuring hand-painted artwork or custom patterns.


Surface material: Real drumhead

Playing surface texture: Coated drumheads (rough) and mylar drumheads (smooth)

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: Sizes range between 10” and 14”, because of the thick wood baseplate not very light

Noise level: Substantially noisier than gum rubber pads

Portability: Smaller pads are portable, but can become a bit heavy

Adjustable tension: Yes

Mounting options: Most pads fit on a regular snare stand

Durability: Drumhead will wear out over time, baseplate is durable

Price: € 100 - € 200



Meinl

Meinl is a well-established and respected brand in the percussion industry, known for their wide range of percussion instruments, accessories and cymbals. While they offer an extensive lineup of products, Meinl also specializes in producing practice pads. Their practice pads are designed with a focus on durability, performance, and versatility. With a commitment to meeting the needs of drummers of all skill levels, Meinl offers a variety of practice pads with different sizes and playing surfaces to suit individual preferences. For their practice pad series, they’ve teamed up with several artists (such as Benny Greb and Anika Nilles) to create the perfect pad.


Surface material: Hard gum rubber / foam

Playing surface texture: Most of the options have a smooth surface (hard gum rubber), the marshmallow pads (foam) have a bit more rough surface

Multi-surface options: Yes, double-sided pads and the Split Tone pad.

Size and weight: Two options: either 6” or 12” and pads are quiet lightweight

Noise level: The pads with hard gum rubber are a bit louder than the Evans and Vic Firth pads and comparable to the Beetle pads. The foam pads are very quiet

Portability: These thin pads are easy to put in your bag and carry around

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: The small versions can be mounted on a cymbal stand, the 12” pads fit in regular snare drum stands

Durability: Very durable

Price: € 25 - € 75



Xymox

Xymox is a renowned company specializing in the production of custom-made practice pads for mainly marching drummers. Xymox offers drummers a unique and tailored practice experience with pads in different colors and drumheads with special designs. This personalized approach allows drummers to have a practice pad that aligns perfectly with their playing style and goals.

Please note: Please note that while Xymox practice pads are highly regarded for their stunning pads, there have been rumors and reports of delays and inconvenience in their delivery process. Some drummers have experienced issues with non-delivery or prolonged wait times, not getting their money back. While we recognize the appeal of their products and have included them in our blog, it is important to be aware that we are not responsible for any failures or non-delivery experienced with Xymox. We recommend conducting thorough research and considering customer feedback before making a purchase.


Surface material: Laminate or real drumhead

Playing surface texture: Smooth

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: Sizes range from 10” to 14”

Noise level: Out of all surfaces is the laminate surface the most crispy and loudest option

Portability: The bigger Reserve Max pads or Hybrid Drum are quite big and heavy. The Low Pro series are very portable

Adjustable tension: Yes (but not as much as a real drumhead)

Mounting options: Most pads fit on a regular snare drum stand

Durability: Laminate surface will break and tear after playing a lot, not the most durable pad

Price: € 80 - € 320



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Prologix

With a commitment to meeting the needs of drummers at every skill level, Prologix offers a range of practice pads that cater to different playing styles and preferences. Their pads are designed to replicate the feel and response of playing on an actual drum, allowing drummers to practice with accuracy and precision. Prologix practice pads have gained recognition for their excellent quality and attention to detail. Whether you're a beginner or a professional, Prologix offers a variety of options to suit your specific practice requirements. Their pads are highly regarded for their durability, responsiveness, and overall performance.


Surface material: Recycled rubber and unique Prologix gum rubber / foam with a kind of woven structure

Playing surface texture: Rough structure

Multi-surface options: Yes, several different options

Size and weight: Sizes range from 6” to 12”

Noise level: In general very quiet pads, the recycled rubber is comparable to the Beetle and Meinl pads regarding the noise

Portability: They offer some small and very lightweight options to carry around. Every pad is lightweight, but some are a bit thicker so they will take more space in your bag

Adjustable tension: No

Mounting options: All the 12” options fit in a regular snare stand. The 6” pads can not be mounted on a cymbal stand

Durability: Very durable pads

Price: € 30 - € 130


Rampad

If you're seeking a practice pad that closely emulates the feel of drumheads and offers additional features for targeted practice, Rampad is a brand worth considering. Their mission was to create practice pads that closely emulate the feel and response of playing on real drumheads. With a focus on authenticity, Rampad offers drummers a unique practice experience.


Surface material: Real (mylar) drumheads

Playing surface texture: Smooth

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: 10” and lightweight

Noise level: Comparable to pads with the recycled or hard gum rubber

Portability: Quite a thick design makes it sometimes difficult to put in your bag, but it’s very lightweight

Adjustable tension: Yes

Mounting options: This pad can be mounted on a cymbal stand and will fit in some snare stands

Durability: The drumhead will wear out eventually, but is easily replaceable

Price: € 75 - € 90



Loyal Drums

Loyal Drums is a remarkable company founded and owned by Dave Loyal, an Army veteran with a deep passion for drumming. Specializing in the creation of exquisite and visually stunning rope-tensioned drums, Loyal Drums is known for their commitment to exceptional craftsmanship. Their newest addition to their product-line is the Eviction pad. The Eviction pad showcases the same level of artistry and attention to detail as their drums, providing drummers with a practice pad that combines functionality and aesthetic appeal. Crafted with care, the Eviction pad ensures a high-quality practice experience.


Surface material: Real drumhead (special woven drumhead)

Playing surface texture: textured woven drumhead

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: 10” and very lightweight

Noise level: Belongs to the louder practice pads, comparable with the Remo and RD Pads.

Portability: Small size but a little thick design, but will fit in most bags

Adjustable tension: Yes

Mounting options: This pad can be mounted on a cymbal stand and will fit in some snare stands

Durability: Drumhead is way more durable than a regular mylar drumhead, very durable design

Price: € 130



RD Pads (Rudimental Drummers)

RD Pads are the result of Rudimental Drummers' commitment to excellence. Owned by two passionate drummers, each pad is crafted with meticulous care and expertise, showcasing the company's dedication to producing high-quality products for drummers. Rudimental Drummers aims to excite as many people possible for their shared passion: the wonderful percussive arts. To encourage drummers’ dedication, they craft supreme quality and exciting products and they do their utmost to craft their products in a fair and sustainable way.


Surface material: Real drumhead (mylar, kevlar and woven)

Playing surface texture: Depends on the drumhead, coated or woven (rough) and mylar and kevlar (smooth)

Multi-surface options: No

Size and weight: Sizes range from 8” to 16”, some pads have lightweight design, others are very heavy

Noise level: Depends on the series of pads: Marching Pads and the Rope Drum Pads are comparable to the Remo and Loyal Drums pads, while the Travel Pad and Chop Pad are more comparable to the Vic Firth and Ahead pads. The Drum Corps and Pipe Band Pad are somewhere in the middle.

Portability: There are portable, small options. The huge pads are less portable and can be very heavy to carry around

Adjustable tension: Yes, all pads are tunable

Mounting options: Travel pad can be mounted on a cymbal stand, all the other pads will fit in most of the regular snare drum stands

Durability: Some drumheads will wear out over time, others are very durable

Price: € 80 - € 350



Things to consider when purchasing a practice pad

When shopping for a practice pad, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Feel: The feel of the pad is important, as it will determine how realistic it is to play on. Some pads are made to mimic the feel of an actual drum, while others have a more muted or "dead" feel. Consider what feel is best for your playing style and needs. The feel of the pad will be determined by the surface material, playing surface texture and the possibility of adjusting the tension.

  • Product options: Different brands offer a range of sizes, shapes, and materials for their practice pads. Consider what options will work best for you, based on your playing style and needs.

  • Portability: If you plan on taking your practice pad with you on the go, consider the size and weight of the pad. Some pads are designed to be more portable than others.

  • Price: Practice pads can range in price from very affordable to quite expensive. Consider your budget and what you are willing to spend on a practice pad.

  • Company values: If you are environmentally or socially conscious, consider purchasing a practice pad from a company that shares your values. Many drumming brands are committed to sustainability and ethical practices.



In conclusion, practice pads are a valuable tool for any drummer looking to improve their skills and stay sharp. With so many options available, it's important to consider the feel, product options, portability, price, and company values when purchasing a practice pad. Brands such as Remo, Evans, Vic Firth, Ahead, Xymox, Prologix, and RD Pads by Rudimental Drummers all offer high-quality practice pads with unique features and benefits. Choose the pad that best fits your needs and playing style, and happy drumming!

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