The 10 Best Electronic Drum Pads (2023)
There are many electronic drum pads on the market, with prices ranging from budget-friendly to high-end. In this post, I’ll go over the best electronic drum pads available, their key benefits, and how they work. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s an electronic drum pad out there for you.
My main recommended drum pad is the Roland SPD-SX PRO, with its advanced trigger technology, and over 1550 pre-loaded high-quality samples and sounds, it is an excellent addition to any musician’s setup.
For those looking for a second option, the Alesis SamplePad Pro is a great alternative, with 8 pads, built-in sounds, and the ability to add your own samples via USB, it offers a lot of versatility at an affordable price.
The electronic drum pad is now a standard in my live performances and recordings. It’s incredible to watch how technology has altered the music industry and enabled musicians to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
The Best Electronic Drum Pads (2023) – At a Glance
Let’s move onto the full list!
1. Roland SPD-SX PRO
This professional electronic drum pad comes with over 1550 pre-installed samples and audio clips. You have many features such as 200 ready-to-use kits, with 43 preset kits and 157 customizable user kits. Additionally, the exclusive SPD-SX PRO App allows you to manage and modify sounds easily.
- 1,550 onboard samples, 200 lock-and-loaded kits
- High-quality, durable build
- Many features and functions
- Compatible with Roland Cloud sample libraries
- Dedicated app for easy sound organization
- The learning curve for using all features/functions
Featuring nine high-quality pads with advanced trigger technology, the Roland SPD-SX Pro offers great sensitivity and minimal crosstalk. Compatibility with Roland’s VH-10 V-Hi-Hat makes live shows more precise and engaging.
The 16-step pad sequencer and expanded pad link allow for interesting sound combinations and smooth on-stage mixing. The sampler’s sidechain compression feature ensures clear kick drums and powerful sounds in the mix, and access to Roland Cloud’s large sample libraries gives you endless creative options.
2. Alesis SamplePad Pro
The Sample Pad Pro comes with 8 rubber pads and over 200 built-in drums, cymbal, and percussion sounds. It has 2 additional drum pad inputs, kick pedal input, and hi-hat pedal input with a selectable switch or trigger mode.
- Affordable alternative to higher-priced drum controllers
- A good number of pads and adjustable pad parameters
- Useful for controlling DAWs like Ableton Live
- Pre-loaded with a variety of drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds
- Custom sampling and expandable sound options with SD card
- Cross-talk issues between pads
- Poor pad sensitivity and inconsistency
- May not be suitable for live performance due to sensitivity and cross-talk issues
The Sample Pad Pro is incredibly versatile, to say the least. Its custom samples and diverse pre-loaded kits provide ten drum kits at your disposal. What’s more, there are endless possibilities as you can modify individual sounds by fine-tuning pitch, panning, and reverb to fit your preferred sound.
You can load custom samples using an SD card which is a huge plus. It supports up to 32GB cards, making it easy to store and load your various samples. The ability to modify and explore sounds has never been more convenient!
3. Roland SPD-SX
The SPD-SX is a unique sampling pad with nine touch-sensitive rubber pads for precise and dynamic playing. It shines with its enhanced responsiveness that elevates the playability to a whole new level.
- 4 GB internal memory for ample sample storage
- Nine velocity-sensitive rubber pads
- Two external dual-trigger inputs
- Three onboard multi-effects engines
- Expanded USB functionality (USB Mass Storage, USB MIDI/AUDIO, USB Memory)
- Limited default sounds
- The learning curve can be challenging
- A bit pricey
I love that the SPD-SX editor allows you to upload files and set up scenes easily for personalization. Think of having a massive 4 GB of built-in storage, equal to around 720 minutes of mono sampling without external memory. No more struggling with samples so you can focus on creating tracks effortlessly.
You get to experience the seamless integration of advanced technology with the Multi-Pad Sampling feature. Easily capture and assign audio, freeing you to focus on your creativity and delivering outstanding performances.
4. Alesis Strike Multipad
The Strike Multipad is a versatile electronic drum controller with 9 velocity-sensitive pads that offers over 7000 built-in sounds and 32GB of storage. Plus, the aesthetic appeal of this pad is certainly inspiring.
- 7000+ built-in high-quality samples
- On-board looper and loop-based recording feature
- 32 GB of storage with 6 GB of content
- Versatile inputs and outputs for easy integration
- Included software suite: Ableton Live Lite and MPC Beats
- Ability to record samples from various sources
- Limited hi-hat samples
- A bit difficult to navigate and edit sounds at first
You have a lot of features at your disposal and the option to create custom samples. The adjustable lighting adds visual appeal and helps you quickly identify different samples and loops, making it perfect for live electronic music.
The Strike Multipad comes with over 7,000 preloaded sounds for various styles and genres. The 32GB storage lets you add more samples, loops, and recordings, constantly growing your collection of sounds. It is on the pricier side of pads but the value you get is on point.
5. Roland SPD-30 Octapad
The Roland SPD-30 Octapad is impressive with its advanced V-Drum trigger technology. Each pad works separately, ensuring great sensitivity and minimum interference. This modern technology allows for precise pad detection, giving musicians amazing control and accuracy.
- Large soundbank with 99 onboard kits
- Highly sensitive pads, accurate triggering
- Customizable sounds, built-in sound editing
- Phrase Loop function for layered loops
- Durable, road-worthy design
- No custom sampling
- A bit outdated compared to newer models
I like the added flexibility in drum parts and the vast sound bank of the SPD-30 Octapad. It has 99 built-in kits and phrases for many creative opportunities. With 19 new phrases, you get to explore fresh sounds and expand your creativity. The useful Phrase Loop feature lets users develop multi-layered loops with up to 50 preloaded phrases.
With four dual-trigger inputs, you can add more pads or connect triggers from traditional drums. It also works with various Roland controllers and pads, allowing for a diverse drum setup and customization for any performance.
6. Yamaha DTX Multi Pad
The Yamaha DTX Multipad has an outstanding mix of 1,061 drum, percussion, effects, and 216 keyboard tones to suit almost any music style. I appreciate the vast range of top-quality sounds and layering options.
- Wide variety of sounds
- MIDI triggering capabilities
- Layer and modify sound options
- Allows importing 500 custom sounds via USB
- Comes with Cubase AI software
- Non-intuitive user interface
- A bit of a learning curve
- Somewhat pricey
The touch-sensitive pads on this electronic drum pad are worth mentioning. There are twelve well-placed pads that respond well to different strokes for an expressive performance. It doesn’t matter if you use sticks, hands, or fingertips; the pads’ responsiveness lets you easily create the exact sounds and dynamics you want.
You can effortlessly connect this electronic drum pad to other devices using two MIDI options (USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI). The compatibility with iPad apps allows simple visual editing, easy pad allocation, and a platform for experimenting and collaborating with other MIDI equipment. This feature makes it worthy for both professional musicians and hobbyists.
7. PylePro PTED01
The Pyle PTED01 has a compact design that keeps it playable while being portable and functional for both new and experienced drummers. Because of the extremely affordable price, it makes an excellent addition even just as a practice tool.
- Lightweight and portable
- Touch-sensitive drum pads
- 25 preset drum kits and 215 percussion voices
- MIDI controller for computer compatibility
- 2 pedal controllers for kick drum and hi-hat
- Great for both beginners and experienced drummers
- Not the quietest
- Requires either an AC adapter or 6 “C” size batteries
- MIDI connectivity may have some issues
This electronic drum kit includes 25 built-in drum kits and 5 customizable ones, with 215 unique percussion sounds and 128 GM voices. The wide range of sounds lets you easily play different music genres, providing customization and flexibility for any style.
The PTED01 can record and edit, and it connects to both Mac and PC through a USB cable. This makes it compatible with various computer software programs. It also has digital foot pedal controllers for an authentic kick drum and hi-hat experience. Although it may not be the quietest drum pad.
8. Nord Drum 3P
The Nord Drum 3P features an integrated multi-pad, which is very responsive and versatile. It allows musicians to play complex patterns, try new techniques, and develop their own sounds, making every session enjoyable and interesting.
- Advanced sound engine
- Integrated responsive multi-pad
- External kick input
- Versatile preset library for quick kit customization
- MIDI in/out and full CC-control
- Stereo output with improved output level
- Lack of hi-hat control
The Nord Drum 3P is very portable with its small size and lightweight design. This is perfect for musicians who are always on the move. Naturally, it does come at a higher price point but the value is still worth it.
The Nord Drum 3P is much more than a regular drum machine due to its advanced sound engine. I love how it includes Resonant Synthesis, Subtractive Synthesis, and FM synthesis, giving musicians a wide range of sound options to experiment with. The Nord Drum 3P’s sound engine presents countless musical possibilities so there’s a lot to play around with.
9. Alesis Sample Pad 4
This Alesis Sample Pad 4 has excellent built-in sound quality, 25 popular percussion and electronic drum sounds, and velocity-sensitive rubber pads for expressive performances. All this comes at a very affordable price.
- USB-MIDI output for use with virtual instruments and recording software
- Dual-zone trigger input for expansion
- 25 built-in percussion and electronic drum sounds
- Affordable price
- Velocity-sensitive pads
- Occasional switching sound or volume issues
- Line noise on the output
You can personalize tuning and reverb, and it’s compatible with external gear, like MIDI output and a dual-zone trigger input. It is highly customizable, with support for SD/SDHC cards up to 32GB, 89 user kits, and 512 samples per card.
This versatile device enables personalized and unique performance experiences, making it an essential tool for modern musicians. I enjoyed the affordability of this percussion pad for live performances. However, there are occasional switching sound or volume issues but nothing too serious.
10. Yamaha DD75 Digital Drums
Featuring a remarkable collection of 570 drum sounds and 75 preset drum kits, the digital drum system provides top-notch flexibility for any music style or genre. With 10 customizable user kits, 30 phrase voices, and 105 built-in tracks, the platform offers a fantastic opportunity for practice and discovery, suitable for any skill level.
- Excellent practice tool
- Built-in songs for practice
- 570 drum voices, 75 preset drum kits
- MIDI connectivity for versatility
- Battery operation for on-the-go use
- Foot pedals are a bit low quality
- AC adapter not included
With the Yamaha DD75’s touch-sensitive pads, you can enjoy semi-realistic drumming that is great as a practice tool. The digital drum system also comes with a hand percussion feature, enabling you to quickly change to percussion instruments for varied playing options.
What I appreciate about the Yamaha DD75 is its easy setup and portability, making it perfect for practice and small gigs. It includes adjustable dual foot pedals, volume control, and headphone support for private practice sessions. However, the pedals could be better.
1. What are Electronic Drum Pads?
Electronic drum pads are a type of percussion instrument that simulates the sound of a traditional drum set through electronic sensors and processors. They often come with a variety of preset sounds and can be programmed to create unique rhythms and beats.
2. Size and Portability
Size and portability are other factors to consider when choosing as you may frequently move between practice or performance venues. The electronic drum pads on this list are very portable and provide the essentials for percussion and sample triggering without compromising on size.
3. Sound Quality and Custom Samples
For electronic drum pads, sound quality and customizability are important. The Roland SPD-SX PRO for example offers a wide range of built-in drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds, as well as the option to customize your own samples. Look for quality and range of sounds when selecting electronic drum pads.
4. Brand Reputation and Durability
Selecting a well-regarded brand and a durable electronic drum pad, like the Roland SPD-SX PRO and the Alesis Strike Pro Multipad, will ensure long-lasting performance and reliability. Researching user reviews will also help you make an informed decision based on the experiences of fellow musicians.
5. Setting a Budget
Having an established budget and knowing which features you need is essential. Some electronic drum pads may offer extra features that may not be useful to you, so understanding what you need will help you choose the best fit for your music and wallet.
Price and value for money
To get the best value for your money, align your budget with your needs and expectations. For example, the more affordable Alesis SamplePad Pro offers over 200 built-in sounds and custom sample loading, while the more expensive Roland SPD-SX PRO Sampling Pad suits professionals with responsive pads with quality sounds, and a host of other great features. Choosing a sample pad that meets your needs ensures a high-quality and functional investment.
Buying New vs. Second-Hand Electronic Drum Pads
Buying new electronic drum pads comes with warranty coverage and access to the latest technology and features. However, second-hand options may offer affordable pricing and access to older models no longer in stores. Make sure to research thoroughly and inspect the condition of any second-hand purchases, regardless of which route you choose.
1. What are the features I should be looking for when purchasing electronic drum pads?
Electronic drum pads come with a variety of features such as sensitivity adjustments, MIDI outputs, and built-in sound libraries. Choose a drum pad with features that match your needs, such as sample import and velocity curve options.
2. Can I connect my electronic drum pads to a computer or other audio interfaces?
Yes, most electronic drum pads come with MIDI and USB outputs that allow you to easily connect to audio interfaces, computers, and MIDI controllers.
3. Do electronic drum pads sound realistic?
Electronic drum pads offer realistic sounds that match acoustic drums. However, depending on the model, the available sounds may be limited.
Electronic drum pads are an excellent addition to live performances. With many sounds at your disposal, portable design, and sampling options, it can truly enhance your overall performance while expanding your creativity as a musician.
My top electronic drum pad pick is the Roland SPD-SX PRO with 9 advanced trigger surfaces, customizable LED pads, and onboard FX. It’s built tough for touring and always delivers professional-level performances.
My second pick is the incredibly affordable Alesis Strike Multipad with a huge sound library, 9 velocity-sensitive pads, and a built-in sampler, making it ideal for both live and studio use.