5 Best Electronic Snare Drums and Capable Electric Pads

Updated on by Brett Clur

The electronic drum world is highly customizable, meaning you can swap out and change parts of electronic kits for higher quality parts. You can also just add pads to most electric kits so that you have more drums.

Snare pads are commonly sold separately because people will buy them for several different uses. They’re used for hybrid setups, kit extensions, trigger options and so much more.

If you’re looking to purchase a separate electronic drum pad, it’s important that you get a decent one, which is why I have put together a list of my favorites.

Best Electronic Snare Drums - 5 Electric Pads

The Roland PD-128S is an electronic pad from Roland that is specifically designed to act as a snare drum. It’s not limited to that though, meaning you could totally use it as a tom or a trigger pad.

It has all the qualities of an acoustic snare drum. It’s dual triggered, meaning you can play a sound from the mesh head as well as a sound from the rim. This makes rim shots and cross sticks possible.

The sensors are reliable and extremely sensitive, making ghost notes and 32nd notes possible. This pad has a huge dynamic range.

It can be mounted on a regular snare stand, taking away all the hassle of trying to find a mount to fit somewhere. This makes it a breeze to setup in a hybrid kit.

This pad is very pricey, which is understandable due to the high sensor quality and heavy-duty hardware. It would be nice if it were 14”, rather than 12”, especially since you’re going to be paying a fair bit.

  • Feels like a real snare drum
  • Extremely sensitive and responsive
  • Fits on a regular snare stand
  • Very expensive

The Roland PDX-12 pad lets you play authentic rim shots, cross-sticks and buzz rolls. It has a two-ply head that can be tuned, meaning you can tighten it to be super bouncy or loosen it to feel like a low-tuned snare drum.

It’s 12”, meaning it can fit on a regular snare stand. However, it’s very shallow, making it feel too light on a snare stand. Imagine putting a practice pad on a snare stand and then playing a full-sized bass drum and hi-hat. That’s pretty close to what this feels like. So, better to mount this pad to a clamp.

The shallow design allows it to fit comfortably within any electronic drum kit setup. It would be best suited as a snare replacement. It’s fairly priced, but will be too pricey if you just plan to use it as a general trigger pad.

  • Authentic snare drum responsiveness
  • Tunable mesh head
  • Feels too light if mounted on a snare stand

Alesis has slowly become a main player in the electronic drum kit world in recent years. They offer really affordable electronic drums and pads that have high quality sounds and settings. The Strike is their flagship kit, and you can buy the Strike’s snare pad separately.

I’ve added it to this list because it is 14”, the size of a standard acoustic snare drum. This makes it highly desirable, since it will look and feel like a snare while having all the qualities of an electric pad.

It has a lifelike feel and response, an acoustic-sized wood shell and a dual zone mesh head surface. The mesh head can be tuned to fit your preference of tension.

The red finish of this pad will look quite cool on stage, making it a good option for a trigger pad that will add to your setup’s aesthetics.

It can be mounted to a snare stand or a clamp, making it easily positionable.

  • Has a cool red finish
  • It’s 14” which is the size of a standard acoustic snare
  • Mounts to clamp or snare stand
  • Expensive

Yamaha has opted to give their pads silicone heads instead of mesh heads. The silicone head on this pad makes it feel unbelievably realistic, meaning this pad is a great option for a snare replacement. However, I’ve seen many drummers use these pads in their hybrid setups.

It has 3 zones, meaning you can trigger 3 different sounds. The buzz rolls, cross-sticks and rimshots all sound authentic.

I have seen a lot of drummers pair this pad up with the Yamaha DTX Multi 12 electronic pad. The pads on that module aren’t as authentic feeling, so drummers use this as an extra pad that is a snare.

The DTX series 3-zone pad isn’t limited to Yamaha products, meaning you can connect it to any sampling pad. The 3 zones are what make this pad such a good trigger option.

It can sometimes have sound issues with the rim, but they aren’t game-breaking.

  • Works well along with sampling pads
  • Real, authentic snare feel
  • 3 zones
  • Sometimes has sound issues with the rim

The Roland PDX-6 V-Pad is an 8” electronic pad that has a mesh head and a dual-zone sensor. This pad is small, but it’s super affordable.

It can be considered as an “entry-level” mesh head pad. If you have an electronic kit with a rubber snare, then the PDX-6 will be a suitable mesh head replacement. You could also swap out your rubber toms, meaning you’ll have a full mesh head kit.

This pad will work well for your hybrid kit if you’re on a budget, since it doesn’t cost much. The 8” size will also make it easy to position an not take up too much space.

This pad struggles to mount onto some of Roland’s lower priced kits, which is a bit of an inconvenience. You’ll have to buy a clamp along with it.

  • Best budget option
  • Small size makes it great for hybrid setups
  • You have to buy a separate clamp in order to mount to some of Roland’s kits

Conclusion

When used in hybrid setups, electronic drum pads open up a whole new world of drumming. You’ll be able to get virtually any sound you want and add that in with your playing. It’s literally the coolest thing.

These pads that I’ve listed also act as good replacements for pads on your electronic kit. If you’re not happy with your current snare pad, consider replacing it with a better option. Or, just add some extra pads to make your kit bigger. The possibilities are endless!

Brett Clur
    Brett Clur
     

    Brett has been playing drums for 18+ years. He's a huge drumming gear enthusiast and also teaches drumming to his students. He's most active on Instagram (@brettclurdrums), where he regularly uploads drumming videos.

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