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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brands Don’t Matter
When looking at electronic pads to buy, you should know that brands don’t matter. If you have a capable drum module that allows you to connect extra pads, any pad from Roland or Yamaha would work with it.
This will broaden your choice of drum pads, allowing you to choose one that does everything you need, no matter what brand it belongs to.
In saying that, the top electronic drum brands are Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis. Those are the brands that I’d suggest sticking with as they’re popular because of their high-quality products.
Thankfully for the brand loyalists out there, all three brands offer fantastic electronic drum pads that can be used as snare drums.
If you’re looking for a pad to use as a snare drum, you need to make sure that it has a mesh head. Some electronic drum pads have a rubber surface instead of mesh, especially the cheaper ones. Your snare pad should have a mesh head as it’s better for dynamics and nuanced playing.
Most mesh head pads can have their tension adjusted. This is great for your personal preference of how tight or loose you want your snare drum to be. Acoustic snare drumheads are usually tighter than the rest of the drums on the kit. So, you should replicate that with your electronic drum kit.
Some electronic pads will have more trigger zones than others. If you’re looking for a pad to use as a snare drum, I’d suggest you get one with as many trigger zones as possible. The snare drum is the most diverse drum of a drum set. It can play rim shots, ghost notes, and cross-sticks.
Getting a snare pad that has three trigger zones will allow you to play those things. The more trigger zones a pad has, the more dynamic range it will have.
Pads with more trigger zones will always be the most expensive pads you can get. However, it’s important that you have a snare drum that can do everything an acoustic snare can. It’s worth investing in a high-quality snare pad.
It’s also important to have a good drum module. The drum module will determine how much you can actually do with the snare pad. If you have those two things, you’ll have a fantastic electronic drum setup.
It’s better to spend money on those and save money on the other pads that don’t need as many trigger zones.
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!