Playing drums means having quality gear and a great setup for your drum kit. This includes everything from the throne you are using, to the stands, the sticks, and the drum heads. Even the best drum heads are going to wear out over time. The more you play, the more wear and tear they are subjected to, which means you will need to replace them.
Given the sheer number of options that are on the market today, it can be overwhelming to try to find the right drum heads for your kit. You want to choose a durable option that will sound good, and that will work well with the music you are playing. To help make things easier for you, we’ve gathered eight of the best drum head options that are available today.
You will also find information on why you need the right drum heads, how to make them last longer, and much more below.
Product Comparison Table:
|Evans Onyx Tompack Coated, Standard||
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|Evans G2 Tompack, Coated, Standard||
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|Remo Ambassador Coated Drum Head ||
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|Tama HP200P Iron Cobra 200||
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|Remo Pinstripe Clear Drum Head Pack||
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|Remo P31322-10 Clear Powerstroke P3 Bass Drum Head||
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|Aquarian Drum Heads Super-Kick II Drum Head Pack||
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|Aquarian Drum Heads Drum Head Pack||
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Evans Onyx Tompack Coated, Standard
The Evans Onyx Tompack drum head set comes with three drum heads for your kit. It includes a 12”, 13”, and a 16” drum head that are made using two plies of 7.5-mil film. Other sizes are available, as well, for those who have different sized toms. The two plies help to ensure excellent consistency, as well as better durability.
These drum heads feature a frost coating, creating a matte black appearance that improves attack and low-end response. Not only do they look great, but you will find that they also sound excellent. The three tom heads will work well with most drum set setups. The tom drum heads work well for playing live, practicing, and recording.
Drum heads from Evans are on the list several times, and with good reason. The company has been making drum heads for more than 40 years, and they have developed a reputable name in the business. The quality and consistency of these drum heads could make them a solid choice for your drumming needs.
Evans G2 Tompack, Coated, Standard
Evans is on the list again with the G2 Tompack. This set is the standard pack that includes 12”, 13”, and 16” drum heads for your toms. As with the Onyx, these are two-ply drum heads, and they utilize 7-mil film. Having the double-ply helps to provide better consistency, a great sound, and better durability than you might find with other options.
You will find that these drum heads for your toms are quite versatile. They can be used in a wide range of different types of music. This is helpful for those working drummers who might find themselves playing many different styles and genres depending on where they are playing.
The coating on the drum heads helps to provide more depth, focus, and warmth. The result is a quality sound that can cut through a live mix without any trouble. In addition to the options that are included in the pack, you will find that Evans provides a range of other sizes in the G2 line, so you should be able to find what you need for your drum set.
Remo Ambassador Coated Drum Head
The 14” Remo Ambassador is a coated medium-weight drum head that is made with a single ply of 10-mil Mylar film. These drum heads can provide you with a warm, open, and bright sound that resonates beautifully with a warm attack. It can be used as a batter and/or as a resonant drum head.
The drum heads will work quite well whether you are playing live at a show, practicing in the garage, or if you have studio time and will be recording. In addition to the 14” Remo Ambassador, you will find that there are many other sizes in this line from 6” to 40”. You could outfit many of the drums in your kit with these options from Remo if you choose.
Even though they are just one-ply, you will find that because they are 10-mil, they are still durable. These are the most popular single-ply coated drum head available today. The coated drum heads are not the only option from the Remo Ambassador line. You could also choose the clear option if you prefer.
Evans EMAD System Pack
The Evans EMAD System Pack features two pieces, including the 22” batter bass drum head and the 22” resonant drum head. You can mount these externally, and the damping system allows you to make adjustments for attack and focus all without removing the drum head. You can change out the removable foam damping rings easily to make the adjustments.
The resonant bass drum head also features an offset 4” microphone port. Both of these drum heads are made from 10-mil single-ply film. The batter bass drum head provides the low-end power and punch that you need.
Another one of the benefits of choosing the EMAD system pack is the Level 360 collar. This will help to ensure that the Evans bass drum heads are seated properly and that they are easier to tune. This can make sure that you can get a wide tonal range with the drums, so they are ready for the studio if you are recording.
Remo Pinstripe Clear Drum Head Pack
Pearl has made the list again with the P3000D, the Eliminator Demon. This is a popular option that has not just great features, but also a unique appearance. TheThe Remo Pinstripe clear drum head pack features three different tom drum head sizes, including 12”, 13”, and 16”. In addition, this pack also features a free 14” coated snare drum head. These drum heads have been popular for many years thanks to their strength and durability.
Of course, the drum heads also produce an excellent sound, which is always important when you are choosing new heads for your drums. The drum heads are easy to use, to seat, and to tune. They are a good addition for those who are playing a wide range of different types of music, including jazz, worship, and rock.
Remo is a well-known name in the field of drum heads, and the company has been making quality products for more than five decades. The tom drum heads and snare drum heads offered here are of superb quality and sound, and they could be a nice solution for your drumming needs.
Remo P31322-10 Clear Powerstroke P3 Bass Drum Head
Remo is on the list once again with the Powerstroke P3. The clear black dot bass drum head is seen here at 22”, but there are other options for 20” and 24”, as well. The drum head features a large black dot in the center, along with a thin underlay at the edge of the head. This underlay can help to dampen any unwanted overtones that might otherwise occur.
You will find that the balance of the tone control and the response is outstanding with this bass drum head. The drum head offers both midrange and low-end resonant tones with increased projection and attack.
The drum head has a single-ply 10-mil clear film with a 10-mil inlay ring at the outer edge of the head. There is also an added 5-mil black dot that helps to provide the deep, low tones that you want from your bass drum while providing a focused attack. It is one of the most popular bass drum heads from Remo for a good reason.
Aquarian Drum Heads Super-Kick II Drum Head Pack
The Super-Kick II from Aquarian features two plies of 7-mil, which provide you with durability and an incredible overall sound. There is a built-in floating felt muffle ring, so you will not need to have any extra muffling with the drum head. When you choose this drum head, it can provide you with a full low-end sound that you need.
The 22” drum head is a stellar option that is popular with many drummers today. You can also find an option available that bundles this drum head with a drum beater. This could be a good choice if you are also going to be replacing your beater.
Aquarian Drum Heads Drum Head Pack
Aquarian rounds out our list with this bass drum head in Regulator gloss black. This drum head features a 10-mil film and a 10” centered muffle ring. In addition, there is a 4 ¾” offset hole that could be used for a microphone if needed.
The resonant side bass drum head features the floating muffling system from Aquarian, helping to ensure you have the perfect sound on your drum kit. Thanks to the muffling system, you may not need to have any additional muffling for your bass drum. Of course, this will all be a matter of preference, depending on the sound you want to produce.
Drummers like this drum head because it tends to be easy to tune, and it can provide a controlled tone. The drum head is also durable, so you can be sure it will be some time before you need to get a replacement.
What Should You Look for When Buying Drum Heads?
For those who are new to drumming, it can seem like there are countless factors that you will have to consider when you are making your choice. It’s true that you need to keep several things in mind when you are buying, so you can get the right drum heads that create the sound you want to achieve. Below are some of the most important elements for you to think about when buying.
The drum head you use will affect your sound. It will determine whether you have a bright or warm sound, and it will affect your overtones. It will take some time experimenting, and truly understanding the type of sound you want to create, to ensure that you are getting the perfect drum heads.
In the beginning, it’s a good idea to choose one of the best drum head options, like those on the list above, and then experimenting. See how the drum heads work, record your sound and make notes of what you like and dislike. Then, you could try out a different drum head when you make a replacement.
Take notes again and then start to dial into the type of sound that you want to achieve. You will know whether you prefer a warm sound or a bright sound and how much you may want to dampen the overtones. Before long, you will know what you want, and you will find the right drum heads that you can use going forward.
It is important to keep in mind that sound is subjective, as well. Just because you read information on forums with other drummers who are praising the virtues of their setup, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. It will take a lot of listening, understanding the type of music you are playing, and experimenting to make sure that you get it right.
Of course, that’s part of the fun of drumming. Trying out new drum heads and seeing what works well and what doesn’t help you to dial in the perfect sound for you.
Now, we will go deeper into the sound by looking at the plies and the coatings.
Single Ply and Double Ply: What Does It Mean for the Drum Sound?
Should you be choosing single ply or double ply drum heads? It will generally depend on the types of sound that you are trying to generate. Let’s look at how the different number of plies will affect your drum sound.
- A single-ply will provide you with a longer sustain, along with a higher pitch. You will also find that there tend to be more overtones when you have a single-ply drum head.
- Double-ply drum heads will vibrate against once another and cancel each other out relatively quickly, which means that there is a short sustain compared with the single ply. In addition, the two layers will be thicker than the single ply. This means they will vibrate at a lower frequency, creating a lower pitch without as many overtones.
The one that you choose will be based on the type of sound you want to get from your drums. Now that you understand more about how they work, it should make it easier for you to determine which one is right for you.
Coated and Clear: How Does This Affect the Sound?
In addition to the plies, you might be wondering whether you should have a clear drum head or a coated drum head. Let’s see how these will affect the drums.
- Drum heads that are coated will have more surface mass, which provides something of a dampening effect. When you use coated drum heads, they will not have as much attack as a clear drum head. The clear will provide you with more attack, it’s as simple as that.
Once again, the one that you choose will be based on the type of sound you want to achieve and the music you are playing. There is not really a right or wrong answer here. It’s based on your preferences. If you are new to drumming, you might want to try out some different options to see what works best for you.
What Do Your Favorite Drummers Play?
If you are a drummer, then you probably have some drummers that you look up to and whose style and sound you admire. You might want to check to see what types of drum heads they are using on their drum kits if you are trying to emulate the same type of sound.
This can help to give you an idea of the types of features that you want to have from your own drum heads. It doesn’t mean that you need to get the same exact drum heads as those drummers. However, this can provide you with a lot of insight into how they get their sound.
You want to see whether they are using coated drum heads or clear drum heads. Consider whether they are single ply or double ply. Then, you can choose an option from the list above that best matches those conditions to get a similar sound.
Why Buy Quality Drum Heads?
You might be able to find some very low-priced drum heads on the market from manufacturers that you have never heard of before. Some new drummers see those low prices and think that they’ve found a real bargain. However, it’s generally not long before they regret their purchase decision.
Drum heads are essential for you to play your instrument, just like guitar strings are essential for a guitarist. If they were to break in the middle of a show, or even during rehearsal, it would be a chore to replace them. Buying low-quality, cheap drum heads almost assures that you are going to run into these situations regularly.
Even though the stronger and more durable drum heads may cost slightly more, you will find that they are also able to last longer. Not only that, but they will generally provide you with better overall performance while you are using them. It makes much more sense to buy the best quality drum heads that you can.
When Should You Replace Your Drum Heads?
You want to make sure you are properly maintaining your drums and that you are always getting the best possible sound from them. It’s just as important to take care of your drums as it is for other musicians to take care of their instruments of choice. Naturally, one of the most common questions asked by those who are new to drumming is just how often they should replace the drum heads.
Drum heads will perform best when the tension around the drum head is even across the entire surface. As time passes and you are playing your drums, the drum head will start to weaken. You will notice that the sound you are getting form the drums is no longer of the same quality that it was when you first installed them.
If you keep using the same drum heads, eventually they are going to break. In fact, they might even break when you are in the middle of a gig, which is one of the last things you want to have happen.
So, when should you replace the drum heads? While many people will tell you that they should be replaced every six months, this is not an accurate answer. After all, different people are going to play their drums differently. Some musicians are heavy hitters and really put the drums through their paces when they play. Some play and practice more often than others.
Different types of drummers will have a different schedule for replacement.
Instead of sticking to a specific time frame for changing out the drum heads, you will instead want to pay attention to the sound and the feel of the drums while you are playing. Over time, you will notice that the sound is different, and so is the feel.
Something else to consider is that different drum heads will wear out at different rates. The options that we’ve included on the list above tend to be durable, but they still may wear differently based on a range of factors.
You will want to pay attention to the changes in feel and sound and then develop your own schedule based on what you like and how quickly you wear out your drum heads. It may take a year or two, but you will eventually develop a sense for when you have to replace the drum heads that you like to use.
Always Have Some Backup Drum Heads
Here’s a tip that you will want to follow if you don’t want to run into a problem when playing. Even though you might have brand new, high-quality drum heads right now, it’s a good idea to have at least one backup set of heads available.
If you’ve ever seen smaller gigs played at bars or clubs, you’ve probably witnessed at least one drummer breaking a drum head on their bass, tom, or snare at some point. Not only is this embarrassing, but it could mean that you would have to play the rest of the show without a replacement. As you can imagine, this would probably not sound good.
Have some replacements available and be sure to take them with you if you are playing at a live show or even if you are heading into a recording studio. It’s always better to be prepared.
Best Drum Head for You?
Because there are many different sized drum heads on our list, it’s hard to choose just a single option that is the best for everyone. However, we believe that when it comes to the overall quality and the performance, you can’t go wrong with the Evans EMAD pack for your bass drums, and the Remo Pinstripes could be a great solution for your toms and snare.
Ultimately, it will depend on just what you need to replace your kit. However, it does tend to be a good idea to use well-known brands such as those on our list above when you are making your replacements. These companies have been making drum heads for decades and provide the best options on the market today.
Getting the best drum heads for your drum kit is important, and we’ve provided you with a list of the top options on the market today, whether you are looking for coated or clear, options for your toms, single-ply heads of double-ply heads. Everything you need to make your decision is above. Find the drum heads that are right for you and get playing.