Kick your drumming skills up a notch with the best drum pad system! Be the rock star you’ve dreamed about with all the sounds you could imagine in a compact design.
A drum pad (or sample pad) is a percussion instrument that can synthesize sounds or trigger samples when you use it. You use a pair of drumsticks or your fingers to tap on the pads to create sound. The best percussion pad is going to be one that has the specific features that meet your needs. It is going to let you practice your skills but let you do so in a quieter way than an acoustic drum set would.
This kind of device can be used by those who typically play on traditional drums or electronic drums when they make live music. Many of them have the choice of adding a set of headphones, so you don’t keep your whole home awake if you have the urge to bust out some music at three in the morning when people are sleeping. You might be surprised to see how many options you have when choosing a set of drum pads to add to your gear collection.
Because there are many options out there, figuring out the right one for you can take some work. That’s precisely why we’ve done the research to check out which of the drum pads on the market have the features that are going to make them better than the rest. Don’t worry, we’ll share exactly what those reasons are so you can make an educated buying decision when you go through with your purchase.
You can find out the basics of the top drum pads below. Afterward, we’ve also shared insight into the thing that make a great drum pad kit so you can look at other models if you prefer. First things first, here are our top eight best pads for the year.
Product Comparison Table
|Pyle Pro Electronic Drum Kit PTED06||
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|Alesis Compact Kit 7||
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|Pyle Pro Portable Electronic Drum Set PTED01||
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|Roland SPD-SX Percussion Sampling Pad||
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|Yamaha DD75AD Portable Digital Drums Package||
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|Yamaha DTX Multi Pad Drum Pad||
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|PAXCESS Electronic Drum Set||
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|Alesis Strike Multipad||
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Pyle Pro Electronic Drum Kit PTED06
When you are looking for the best pad, the Pyle Pro drum kit electric is a choice that may fit if you want to save your hard-earned cash. As an affordable option, it still has the quality and feel of the more expensive drum pads out there. It offers many features that a beginner will be happy to experience as they scratch the surface and start to play.
This is a compact drum pad that has seven pads. You can use the hi-hat cymbals, the bass, and everything else that comes on a typical drum kit. The pads themselves are quite responsive, so you can dig right in and enjoy yourself from the start. The item has an LED menu on the bottom surrounded by button controls so you can put in your selections.
Because the pads are sensitive, you can make noise with drum sticks or just use your hands. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure to do so, which means you can decide which works best for your own style. This product is space-efficient and has an input for batteries or an AC adapter to power it up and get started. It comes with more than 300 drum and cymbal sounds, which gives you a lot to work with.
Unfortunately, this is a beginner’s option and that shows in the design. The kick pedal that comes with it can be wobbly at times and may move around during intense playing. It also doesn’t have the exact same feel as a traditional drum, so it can take a little while to get used to it.
Alesis Compact Kit 7
From the same minds that created the popular Alesis SamplePad Pro comes the Alesis Compact Kit 7, ideal for those who want to learn to play the drums at a reasonable price. This electronic drum pad features seven velocity-sensitive pads that offer realistic audio with the response and feel of a real drum. It also creates music through the control of two pedals for the hi-hat and kick, so it feels like using an actual drum kit.
This is an excellent selection for a new drummer who wants to play around and enjoy 100s of percussion voices. The menu lets you record yourself, set up kits, and even uses USB-MIDI output if you want to produce music on your own. As with many other drum pads on the market, this one can be used through an AC adapter or by use of six C batteries, which makes it portable.
Something that sets this drum pad apart is that it offers a hand percussion feature. That means you can use drumsticks to play in the traditional way, or you can slap at the pads with your hands and get an entirely different experience. It also has foot pedals for the kick and hi-hat, so you get an actual drum experience rather than swinging a stick for things typically controlled by foot.
Pyle Pro Portable Electronic Drum Set PTED01
If you’re looking for the best pad for doing some drumming, another selection is the Pyle Pro PTED01. It is designed to function and sounds much like a traditional drum set so you can learn without taking up so much space. You can choose to use the drums to preloaded drum kits or take up the challenge to create your own and play that way.
One of the things that makes this drum pad stand out is the fact that it offers connection to a computer through a USB cable. You can use it as a MIDI controller with your favorite software if you want to do some editing and recording without spending a fortune on it. It has a top panel with an LCD screen menu where you can configure your sounds to a high level. You can easily make customizable, unique music using this device to sound different from everyone else.
As with most portable drum pads, this one can be powered using an AC adapter or six C batteries. That means you can take the kit anywhere you like to play or practice with friends. You can pump up the volume while you’re live or slip in headphones when you need to be quiet and get some practice in. Either way, you’ll have the experience you want without the hassle of dragging around an entire drum kit.
Roland SPD-SX Percussion Sampling Pad
If you want one of the best sample pads out there for your electric drum kit, you need an introduction to the Roland SPD-SX. This is one of the most popular and high-end of the drum pad options on the market today. Created by the same people who brought us the Roland Octapad, this pad is straightforward to use. It is a standalone option, so it has its own memory inside.
There are nine pads on this product, three of which are small and located at the top. These three pads were created to be hit with the shaft or shoulder of your drumstick. The drum pad has a sleek finish with illuminated red lights that come on based on the amplitude and volume of your samples. This makes it an excellent choice for stage playing, where monitoring can be tricky.
It comes with pre-programmed kits, but you can also customize a massive number of samples to it depending on your needs. You can also stream an MP3 player to chop and record samples or hook it up to USB to move samples to and from the device using your favorite software. It can be installed with two dual-zone trigger inputs like a snare pad and a kick pad or up to four if you use extenders.
Yamaha DD75AD Portable Digital Drums Package
One of the best drumming pads on the market, especially for someone who wants to use for practice, is the Yamaha DD75AD package. As a package, it comes with the drum pad, along with a PA150 power supply, two pedals, and drum sticks. It has eight pads, two pedals, and an aux-in so you can play along to songs on your smartphone or MP3 player.
When it comes to versatility, you’ll love the menu options with this drum pad. There are 570 drum voices included, along with 105 preset songs, 30 phrase voices, 10 user kits, and 75 preset drum kits. You can create the exact audio feel that you want by doing a little bit of customization. That also means this is just as useful for an expert as it is for someone who is just starting to band on the drums.
As we mentioned, there is an auxiliary line input, which means you can connect anything from a computer to a mixer or an additional instrument to hear it through the speakers of the drum pad. It also features MIDI connectivity so it can connect to standard MIDI devices such as sequencers, external tone modules, and a selection of other portable devices.
Yamaha DTX Multi Pad Drum Pad
The Yamaha DTX Multi Pan is the best drumming pad for someone who really wants to customize their work in practice or live play. Not only does it have the most sound pads of any of the products on this list, but it also has a reasonable price for everything it brings to the table. It has a total of 12 pads that you can use to really pump out music that can’t be done with other drum pads.
This drum pad option comes with 50 preset drum kits and lets you add up to 200 of your own. There are also more than 1,200 samples included, some from Yamaha’s Motif workstations. Each of the percussion voices is classified into a category like “hi-hat,” “kick,” or “sound effects” to make it simple to find what you want. While not every sound is going to work for you, the fact that you can customize them goes a long way.
You can import samples easily by putting WAV or AIFF files into a directory and then hitting “import all.” The transmission speed is decent, but remember that you can only import up to 256 items at once. There is also a second USB port that lets you use the drum pad as a MIDI interface. This also allows you to playback your recordings using the tone generator.
PAXCESS Electronic Drum Set
Sometimes, price matters, and what you want is something that can do the job for a time without putting your budget into the red. This may be the best electric drum pad set for someone in that situation. It comes with pads for a snare, three toms, a crash, a hi-hat, and a ride cymbal along with two pedals for a bass drum. It also includes three rhythms, eight demo songs, and five timbers.
Unlike most of the drum pads on our list, this one comes with a rechargeable 2400mAh battery for up to 10 hours of playing at once. That also gives you the option of taking the drum pad wherever you want, whenever you want, so you can get practice in on your terms. It also has an earphone input so you can keep things quiet when needed
The menu for this drum pad is simple to use, and the speakers are in a dual configuration with plenty of bass so there’s no need to purchase another pair. It also comes with a USB MIDI out jack so you can connect the drum pad to your computer to produce a song or play video games.
Alesis Strike Multipad
Our last sample pad, made by the same folks who created the Alesis SamplePad Pro, is the Alesis Strike Multipad. It comes with a total of 12 pads, three of which are small shoulder pads on the top of the unit. It also has an LED light under every pad that you can customize. You can control the color, so different samples are different hues for easy visualization. It can also be set so the colors change based on which samples are being used at the present time.
As one of the best drum pads, this is a durable unit that has a large color display. You can input up to 70 user kits on your own or use the 30 preset ones. It also comes with a massive 8,000 samples, which take up only about 6GB of the 32GB available on the device. That should tell you that you can add a lot of your own samples to make the drum pad your own.
This is one of the pricier drum pads out there, but it has a lot going for it. It offers a built-in sampling tool that allows direct recording using stereo jack inputs on the back. The price also gets you a two-in, two-out audio interface for capturing audio using USB audio.
Understanding What a Drum Pad is All About
One of the most essential elements of music is drumming and percussion. In fact, the release and adoption of the electronic drum kit has had a significant part in revolutionizing the modern music scene. The issue with an entire electronic drum set is that it can be pretty expensive and end up taking up lots of room. Not everyone has the space to be drumming every night on a gigantic instrument.
That’s precisely why electronic drum pads, such as the Alesis SamplePad Pro, are a compelling alternative. You can practice as much as you want on something that costs much less, and that takes up a minimal amount of space. If you aren’t sure whether a drum pad is right for you, read on. We’ll share everything you need to know and then tell you how to find the best electronic drum pad for your needs.
The Difference Between Drum Pads and Kits
When choosing between an electronic drum pad and an electronic drum kit, the most significant difference to be aware of is that a full electric drum kit is going to be much larger than a set of electronic drum pads. Drum pads are typically only a few square feet in size and are created to be made of a single panel that can rest on a tabletop. The best percussion pad will have small drumming areas compared to a full set of drums. However, most of the drum pads you see will still feature things like a kick pad that acts as a kick drum and a snare pad that works as a snare drum. You don’t have to worry about where to set up a snare stand like you would with an acoustic drum set. Everything is self-contained in one quality product.
Reasons to Consider Using Drum Pads to Practice
You might be wondering why you should invest in a drum pad to practice if the size of the product isn’t a concern. The reality is that a drum pad isn’t going to be used live, and most people will never hear it. However, having a way to practice playing your favorite music is something every drummer should consider. This is especially the fact for anyone who lives with other individuals.
Both electric and acoustic drum kits have a tendency to be extremely loud. Your neighbors are probably not going to appreciate heading the drummer down the hall using their drum sticks on acoustic drums for hours on end. Practice is an essential part of getting better at any instrument, so you need a tool that makes that simple and straightforward without frustrating anyone else.
The best electronic drum pad, such as the Roland Octapad, is going to allow you to practice, practice, and practice more when you want to learn something new to play live. They’re quieter than a real drum, and many have features that you wouldn’t expect. So if you want to get better and get your practice done without inconveniencing anyone else, a drum pad is the absolute best way to go about it.
The Two Major Types of Drum Pads
Throughout this list, you may have noticed that we’ve showcased both electronic drum pads as well as drum sample pads. There is one significant difference between these two options for you as a drummer. The traditional drum pad is one that you use a drum stick on while a sample pad is used by tapping it with your fingers. Everyone has a preference and the one with the features you want might not be the same as the next drummer.
While we’ve mostly touched on practice, an electronic drum pad can also be used in a live environment. These pads can be used to fire off quick samples, to synthesize drum sounds, to playback looped phrases, or even to offer full playback of a backing track drummers aren’t available. When you hit an electronic drum pad, a signal is sent out with the sustain, attack, decay, and release that you choose.
An electronic drum pad can often sense the velocity you use while live or in practice to play the right sample or volume in the environment you are in. As such, you can make better music than you might with a traditional set of drums. Most of these drum pads use what is known as a MIDI interface to play the audio you want. When you whack on the drum pads, it sends a note back and plays the sample you wish to.
Electronic Drum Pad – Used with a Pair of Drumsticks
A traditional electronic drum pad, which shouldn’t be confused with a practice pad with only one surface to hit, gives you a choice to hit various strikable pads to make different sounds. While you play the drum pad, you can choose a specific preset control to change the sound you make. In fact, these drum pads are often popular with a touring drummer who otherwise uses an acoustic drum set.
Simply adding this into a live setup gives the drummer the option of adding a lot of different sounds and samples into their performance. Not sure whether you need this kind of thing for your own acoustic kit? Some of the best drummers in the world, like Tim Alexander, Josh Dun, and Neil Peart, use this kind of technology to make music that people love.
Sample Pads – Used with Hands and Fingers
A sample pad is a bit different from an electronic drum pad. It’s even more different from a real drum set with a snare stand and a bass drum. The most commonly used way to appreciate a sample pad is in a production or recording environment. Unlike the electronic drum pad, these aren’t used quite as often in live performances. However, they are used a lot of the time in pop and hip-hop production.
Drummers who are using a sample pad simply connect the drum pad through USB to a computer to control them. This gives you access to the MIDI information, or grooves and beats, that can be added into whatever digital audio workstation you play with.
Essential Things to Consider When Purchasing an Electronic Drum Pad
If you want to use the best drumming pad for your playing or practice, you have to consider yourself as a drummer and precisely what needs you have. Someone who is used to a real drum might want to ensure that you have a pad for every drum in your electric drum set. Someone who wants a sample or two might care more about the menu, sound, and feel while playing.
Regardless of the features you want, remember that the more of them that are included, the more expensive the drum pad is often going to be.
Number of Pads and Pedals
Most people are going to be buying a drum pad as an accompaniment to an acoustic or electric percussion set or as a way to get started with practice before purchasing a kit. Because of that, one of the first things you want to do is make sure that the drum pad you choose has a similar number of pads to the number of drums and cymbals in the real drum kit.
The best drum kit for most is going to have the following included:
- At least four drum pads (of which one is a snare and three are toms)
- At least three cymbal pads (one ride cymbal, one crash cymbal, and one hi-hat cymbal)
- At least two pedals (one for the hi-hat and one for the bass drum)
Of course, there are some things you have to adapt to when going between a drum pad for practice and an electric or acoustic drum for performance. For example, you need a snare stand and other stands with a real drum set, but overall you should go with a drum pad to practice on that has at least as many pads as you have drums, cymbals, and pedals.
Input and Output Options for Control
The importance of input and output controls cannot be overstated, whether you are using that drum pad for practice or plan to use it a lot during live performances. There are two significant reasons for that, and while each is important, one may resonate more with your practice style than the other.
It can be motivating to play along to the best music you know to get you to put in the time to practice. A lot of musicians find that they have more fun when they can practice to the drummers they love. In order to do that, you are going to want a drum pad that lets you plug in an MP3 player or your smartphone. A set of drum pads with a 1.4-inch input is what you will need here so make sure it is included.
You also want input and output options to keep your practice sessions quiet. By connecting a pair of headphones, your family and neighbors won’t hear all the sounds you make while you practice. The quiet sound of hitting the pads will be audible, but as we mentioned, this is very quiet during practice.
Keep in mind that having MIDI or USB input isn’t needed very often. This is only required on your drum pad if you are going to do recording, rather than only practice, and plan to modify the recording you use. This will require MIDI or USB input to connect the pad to your computer.
Range and Number of Sounds on the Best Drum Pads
When we talk about sound range while you practice the drums, there are again two things to be aware of. The sound range refers to the number of distinct sounds stored on the drum pad, but there are distinctions to be aware of.
Some of the best drum pads on the market only come with a few sounds onboard while others are going to offer you thousands of them. You can have more flexible practice with the latter option if that appeals to you. You have the option to change the sounds of the kits used with the drum pad and can even take a few minutes to create a kit on your own to practice with.
The best pad is also going to give you the option to choose the sounds you want on each pad, although some let you change the sound only on a full drum pad basis. The first lets you customize your sound during your practice so you can fine-tune and find what works best for you. This is also the way that a standard electronic drum kit works, which makes it the best option for most.
The range of sound effects things, but so does the audio quality as a whole while you practice. If the drum pads that you are using simply don’t sound good, you may not spend as much time on them when you practice. However, the best audio to you may be different than someone else, so this can be a bit subjective to decide on.
If you want to get a feel for the audio you might get out of a drum pad when you do practice, there are a few options you can use. The first is to research the specific drum pad on YouTube or another video site to watch someone else practice with them. You can also get a feel for the sounds by reading reviews of the products. This will take less time and can give you good insight. If the majority of people who practice with a pad enjoy it, it will probably do just fine in your hands, too.
The best drum pad for you may not be the same drum pad that is best for someone else. That’s why we’ve included a selection of drum pads that you can use to practice, perform, or use when recording and producing music. Think about what you are going to be using the drum pad for and let that give you a feel for which product meets your needs in the best way.
You might find the best option is a sample pad, you might find a simple practice pad with a few options is plenty, everyone is different. Follow our tips above, and you will find the best choice for your needs. What really matters is that it works for you and makes you create time to practice so you can improve.