5 Best Drum Heads in 2022 → Buying Guide [& PRO Review] (2022)

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5 Best Drum Heads in 2022 → Buying Guide [& PRO Review] (1)For obvious reasons, a drum set isn’t worth much without drum heads. Many drummers do not give much thought to the heads they put on their drum set; this is a shame as the choice of drum head is one of the most important factors in achieving the sound you want. When it comes to making drum heads, the brand, Remo, is clearly the front runner. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of drum heads.

Drum heads on Amazon

On this page you will get an in-depth review of drum heads, and I will enable you to choose the drum head that is best for you as a drummer.In addition, I will show you the drum heads I like best.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Top 5 Best Drum Heads

Below, you will see my picks of the market’s best drum heads. These include batter drum heads, resonant heads, bass drum heads and snare drum heads. If you’re not sure what to buy, please read the buying guide below.

Best snare drum heads

Best bass drum heads

Best drum heads for toms

Best drum heads for rock

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Clear vs. coated drum head

The immediate difference you’ll notice in drum head is their texture. Some heads are smooth and transparent, while others are white and rough. The transparent heads are called clear and the white heads are called coated. In the past, coated heads were the undisputed standard, but as the music evolved over time, the supply of drum heads grew to meet the needs of the new genres.

Coated heads are characterized by generally having a warmer, more dry sound than clear heads. Many associate these characteristics with the classic drum sound, which is often heard in jazz, funk and rock ‘n’ roll. Clear heads, on the other hand, have a more focused sound, which is characterized by the head giving a stronger impact. Clear heads are mainly used by drummers who want a more punchy, powerful sound rather than a warmer, clearer tone with weaker impacts.

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The amount of plies

Drum heads are available with different amounts of layers. Double ply drum heads are primarily used as beating/tophead, while single ply heads are used as both batter and resonant/bottom heads. The number depends on which genres are played and which drummer is playing. Double ply drum heads have a longer durability and the sound is characterized by a lower pitch, longer sustain and slower response. These heads are therefore often used by drummers who want a deep, rich sound with lots of low end. This explains why the vast majority of rock drummers use double ply heads as a beating head. Double ply heads can in, some cases, also be used as resonant heads, if you have a particularly large floor frame or if the sound is difficult to control.

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Single ply heads generally have a higher pitch, slightly shorter sustain and a faster response, as the head is lighter. Virtually all drummers agree that clear single ply drum heads are the ideal resonant head, and Remo Ambassador heads are the most common here. However, these heads are also the stalwarts of drummers who do not hit the heads very hard, or playing more soft genres like jazz, blues, folk and, in some cases, pop.

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Reducing unwanted overtones

Some heads have inlay rings, which are intended to reduce the head’s resonance and thus stop some of the overtones. You can also find something called a dampening agent, for example in Remo Powerstroke drumheads, and this type of head is often used for bass drums. Most drummers seek a more controlled sound with few overtones from their kick drum. Many drummers try to achieve this effect when they don’t have heads with internal damping; they fill the bass drum with either pillows or blankets. However, if you put too much damping into the bass drum, you end up with a “suffocating” sound.

Many drummers, especially in harder genres such as hard-rock and heavy metal, have tried to reproduce this effect on snare drums and tom-toms in the hope of making them sound like smaller bass drums and thus gaining more control – a short and clean sound. However, this rarely succeeds, since internal dampening cannot be adjusted. Heads with internal cushioning can be used on snare drums, in some cases, but they still have the weakness that the amount of cushioning cannot be adjusted. This type of snare drum head is often used in the studio, where many sound engineers find it easier to work with a more muted sound with few overtones.

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Batter heads and resonant drum heads

Many drummers and sound engineers believe that the batting tension determines how high or deep the drum’s tone is and that the resonant head determines how long this tone should be. However, this is not true, as both heads help determine both the pitch of the tone and the amount of sustain. If you want a deeper sound, you should loosen both heads. However, not so much that they no longer give a clear tone. If you want a higher tone, you should tighten the heads. However, not so much that the heads are “suffocated” and can no longer resonate and produce a clear tone.

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The relationship between batter heads and resonant heads is one of the most important factors for the sound of the drum. If the heads are tuned to the same tone, the drum will resonate for as long as the drum allows, as the sound wave will thus move between the two heads at the same frequency. If you want a sound with more sustain, you can then tune the resonant head higher than the beating head. In this way, the sound returns faster to the beating head, and the drum will resonate longer. If, on the other hand, you want a more short and punchy sound, you can tune the resonant head deeper than the batter head.

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Selecting drum heads

The choice of drum head is an essential part of the quest for the perfect drum sound. Below you will find a list of the types of heads that drummers of different genres use.

Jazz, Folk and Blues: Most drummers in these genres make use of single ply drum heads as both batter heads and resonant heads. They often seek a warm and dry sound, and often tune the drums to a higher pitch. Therefore, it is very widespread to use a coated single ply batter head and a clear single ply resonant head.

Rock and metal: Within these genres, and all other genres that are heavier, it is often necessary to use double-layered heads as batter heads as they have longer durability and can withstand heavier hits. Both coated and clear batter heads are very common and the choice depends very much on what kind of sound you are looking for. Most drummers who play metal, however, make use of clear heads, as these can be tuned to give a deeper sound with more bottom and power. In addition, they can often cut through the overall sound image better, so that the tom-toms do not drown in the guitar and bass. The vast majority of drummers within these genres make use of clear single ply drum heads as resonant heads, as they allow the shells to have a more open and full sound. In some cases, however, double ply heads can be used as resonant heads for example, as the sound of these can be difficult to control.

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FAQs

How do I know what drum heads to buy? ›

The sound is one of the biggest factors when deciding on the best drumheads for your kit. To simplify things a little, a drumhead's sound comes down to the overall tone (from bright to warm), and the amount of ringing. Here, “bright” can be thought of as higher-pitch, and “warm” as darker-sounding.

What drum heads are better Evans or Remo? ›

In a nutshell, Remo drum heads sound warmer, fuller and more 'open', while Evans heads tend to produce a more controlled sound (some people find it 'plasticky').

What are the quietest drum heads? ›

Silentstroke™ Drumhead, 6"

The Silentstroke™ drumheads are the ultimate in low volume drumheads, designed for quiet practice applications where standard drumset volumes are an issue. Constructed with 1-ply mesh material, Silentstroke™ drumheads provide a soft spring-like feel at very low decibel levels.

How long should drum heads last? ›

They recommend always changing your drum heads before you start recording. Otherwise, if you're just practicing and playing normally, you should find yourself replacing heads every six months or so. Six months isn't a hard rule, and for some could be a risky amount of time to wait.

Do drum heads make a difference in sound? ›

Non-coated heads will produce a brighter, less controlled sound, and they will have more attack. Coated heads have a warmer tone when compared side by side with non-coated heads, even when tuned to the exact same pitch.

Are thicker drum heads louder? ›

It's all about simple physics. The thickness of a head contributes greatly to the tone. Thicker heads are also more durable, louder, less sensitive, and offer more attack. Thinner options will be less durable, quieter, more sensitive, and offer less attack.

What is the difference between clear and coated drum heads? ›

Coating on a drumhead tends to muffle the sound a bit. Clearer heads tend to sound brighter and more open. Which style is right for you comes down to a matter of personal taste. Coated heads are great for snare drums and critical if you play with brushes.

How often should you change your drum skins? ›

Drum heads should be replaced every 6-7 months, or when visible dents and discoloration start to appear.

What is the best head for a snare drum? ›

7 Best Snare Drum Heads 2022
  • Aquarian Snare/Tom Heads: Texture Coated Drumhead 14. ...
  • Aquarian Snare/Tom Heads : Texture Coated Power Dot Drumhead 14. ...
  • Evans G1 Coated Drum Head, 14 Inch. ...
  • Evans 14 Heavyweight Coated Drum Head. ...
  • Evans EC1 Reverse Dot Snare Batter Drum Head, 14 Inch. ...
  • Ludwig Silver Dot by Remo 14 Clear.

Which drum heads do metal drummers use? ›

Both coated and clear batter heads are used for playing metal. Two-ply drumheads are most commonly used by metal drummers, specifically for their durability. Clear drumheads provide a brighter sound with more attack than coated drumheads. Using a coated batter head will provide warmth and some muffling.

Are Remo heads good? ›

An extremely bright and open drumhead – the Remo Diplomat Clear is one of the thinner batter heads available, and will give excellent resonance and sustain. These drumheads are great as batter and resonant tom heads to really hear your drums ring out.

How tight should mesh heads be? ›

How To Tune Mesh Drumheads (edrums 101) - YouTube

How much quieter are mesh heads? ›

Volume Reduction

The Pearl Mesh heads really help to reduce sound as well, the sound reduction is about 70%.

Do bottom drum heads matter? ›

When it comes to really making a difference on your drums, the most important factor when choosing a resonant skin is the thickness. The thicker the bottom head, the more resonance you get. As a result, thicker heads give more overtones.

How can I make my drums sound better? ›

8 Easy Ways To Improve Your Drum Sound
  1. WAX THE BEARING EDGE. Don't melt wax and apply it to the drum. ...
  2. CHECK BEARING EDGES FOR FLAT SPOTS. ...
  3. MAKE SURE HEADS FIT PROPERLY. ...
  4. EXPERIMENT WITH STICK TIPS. ...
  5. INCREASE YOUR FLOOR TOM SUSTAIN. ...
  6. ADJUST YOUR BASS DRUM BEATER. ...
  7. ALIGN YOUR SNARE WIRES. ...
  8. CUT DOWN RIDE CYMBAL OVERTONES.

How long do drum cymbals last? ›

Most drummers who have good playing techniques and do proper maintenance can use their cymbals for up to 20, 30 years, if not more. If quality cymbals break after a short time, you should replace them – but also consider purchasing suitable cymbals for the appropriate musical direction.

How long do drums stay in tune? ›

Six months is a decent average for most consistently used drumheads. However, this time varies depending on how hard you strike the drum and how often you play. You know you need a new head when tuning is simply not getting results.

How tight should a snare drum head be? ›

How to Tune Your Snare | Make Your Drum Sound Good - YouTube

How do you choose a resonant drum head? ›

For more focus, choose thicker or coated resonant drumheads, or heads with built-in dampening (like the Evans EC Tom Reso). These reduce overtones, producing a more focused sound. Alternatively, choose thin or clear resonant drumheads without built-in dampening for more complex tones.

Are deeper drums louder? ›

Larger drums are not necessarily louder than smaller drums, although the capacity for higher amplitudes are possible with more surface area, several factors contribute to perceived loudness including resonance, tuning, impact strength, drum dampening, shell thickness and arguably even shell material.

How tight should a resonant head be? ›

While, in general, Drum Center advises tuning your resonant head tighter than your batter head, it's a common mistake to over-tighten snare wire tension. This can choke the sound of the snare drum. Go the Goldilocks way: not too tight, not too loose, but a happy medium.

How loud is a drum set in DB? ›

A drum set and cymbals is on average 119dB but can range between 90 and 130dB (decibels) depending on what instruments are being played.

How do I know if my drum heads are coated? ›

On toms, coated heads are warm and thuddy on the batter side, and, on the resonant side, round and slightly muted. The same holds for kick drums. And, if you avoid burying the beater while playing coated heads, you'll be rewarded with a fat and focused thump that would make Bernard Purdie proud.

Can batter heads be used as resonant? ›

I would strongly advise against it. The resonant head is supposed to resonate. If you have beaten your batter head to a point where it should be changed as a batter head, it really means it should be changed. It's beyond the point of optimal resonance and thus using it as a resonant head will not produce a good sound.

Do drums need to be tuned? ›

One of the most overlooked and misunderstood aspects of drumming is drum tuning. While drums generally aren't tuned to specific pitches, they do need to be tuned to produce clear, full tones. Learning how to tune your drum set will make you sound better and encourage you to play more often.

How much does it cost to reskin a drum? ›

full kit $200.00 - $725.00 depending on size of the kit and the type of heads used.

Do you need to replace resonant heads? ›

If you prefer a less resonant sound to your drums and the drumhead still holds its pitch, it's unnecessary to replace them. However, if you prefer a more “bell-like” resonance and they sound muted (almost dead), no matter how much you tune, you'll probably want to change your drumheads.

Where are Remo drum heads made? ›

Drumheads. Remo supplies drumheads for various drum companies including Pearl, DW Drums, Yamaha, Mapex, Pork Pie Percussion, Tama drums, Ludwig drums, Gretsch Drums and Sonor. Remo has factories in the US and in Taiwan, where the "UT" and "US" versions are made.

What are the best snare wires to use? ›

6 Best Snare Wires on the Market
  • Puresound Super 30.
  • Gibraltar SC-4467.
  • Puresound B1420 Blaster Series.
  • DW True Tone.
  • Fat Cat Snappy Snares FCS14.
  • Sabian Blend Hybrid.
2 Sept 2021

Is there a difference between snare and tom heads? ›

Snare Drumhead Comparison | Finding Your Own Drum Sound

What is the best metal drum heads? ›

7 Best Drum Heads for Metal in 2022
  • Aquarian Super 2.
  • Aquarian Performance 2.
  • The Evans EC2S.
  • Evans Onyx.
  • Evans UV2.
  • Remo Pinstripe.
  • Attack ToneRidge 2.
10 Aug 2022

How many cymbals do you need for metal? ›

In a metal setup, it's ideal to have a wide range of cymbal sizes. However, it's largely up to your preferences as a drummer. I've seen some metal drummers play with two cymbals in their entire setup that were both 20”.

Is metal hard to play on drums? ›

Metal – Another ridiculously difficult style to master

Playing things like blast beats and insanely fast drum fills requires you to be exceptionally skilled when it comes to hand speed.

Where are Evans drum heads made? ›

It's time to hit New York to visit D'Addario and get a tour of the Evans Drumhead factory! Strap yourself in because you're about to get a glimpse of how some of the best drumheads in the world are made.

Who owns Evans drum heads? ›

Evans Drumheads is a company based in the United States famed for their drumheads. Owned by D'Addario, whom also makes instrument strings and woodwind reeds, makes the heads. Along with Evans, D'Addario also owns Pro-Mark and Pure Sound Percussion.

Do drum shells make a difference? ›

The ply count and the thickness of each ply are extremely important to your drum sound: Thinner shells give more sustain, they're more sensitive to lighter playing, and they're also quieter. Thick drum shells need to be hit harder to create a full sound, and the thickness can reduce the drum's sustain.

How tight should my drum heads be? ›

What is Finger Tight? | Drum Tips & Tricks - YouTube

How long do mesh drum heads last? ›

A: Barring accident or abuse, they can last for years. Roland's mesh heads are manufactured by Remo, a long-standing drumhead maker.

Do mesh drum heads sound good? ›

Since it is woven they don't produce the sound you would expect from a drum head. There is almost no sound. Since there are tiny holes all over the mesh, all the air is escaping removing any tone or volume.

What do mesh drum heads sound like? ›

Best Sound from Mesh Drumheads | Season Two, Episode 30 - YouTube

Do triggers work with mesh heads? ›

Mesh heads don't trigger as well as Mylar heads.

What is a mesh head? ›

Mesh heads come with preloaded textures that use custom mapping to allow for more detail. Howver they will match limited skins. "Real" or as they are sometimes called "anyskin" heads work with the skin texture so will match any skin you use.

Is mesh better than rubber? ›

Rubber pads sound louder than mesh ones (as they transfer more vibration to your rack and into the floor), so if you want an electronic drum experience that's less likely to cheese off your family or neighbours, then an all mesh kit is the way to go.

Are mesh heads quieter than rubber? ›

When it comes to the types of drum pads, the rubber drum pads are louder than the mesh drum pads when you hit them with a stick. The mesh pads have a softer acoustic quality, and they will be much less likely to make noise if you are trying to keep quiet and not disturb the neighbours.

How do you mute drums for practice? ›

  1. Use an Electronic Drum Kit.
  2. Invest in some Low Volume Cymbals.
  3. Fit mesh drum heads on to your acoustic kit.
  4. Replace your sticks with brushes or hotrods.
  5. Dampen or Muffle your bass drum using everyday household objects.
  6. Use a set of practice pads on your acoustic kit.
  7. Avoid the myths of soundproofing.
18 Apr 2017

What drum heads did Neil Peart use? ›

When it comes to drumheads, Peart played both Remo and Evans heads across the kit. Most of the drum set's batter heads are clear Remo Controlled Sound, while resonant heads include blue Evans all weather rock heavy duty heads. The snare drum features a Remo Ambassador snare side drumhead.

What drum heads does Dave Grohl use? ›

Dave chose Remo drumheads for everything but his snare drum batter head, which was fitted with an Aquarian Hi-Energy snare drumhead to withstand Dave's heavy-hitting snare technique that was made all the heavier by Dave's preference for playing 5B and 2B drumsticks backward.

What is the difference between clear and coated drum heads? ›

Coated drumheads tend to muffle the sound a little bit while clear options offer brighter, more open sounds. Coated options are great options for snare drums and a must if you play with brushes. You won't be able to achieve that sandpaper sound with a clear snare head.

Do bottom drum heads matter? ›

When it comes to really making a difference on your drums, the most important factor when choosing a resonant skin is the thickness. The thicker the bottom head, the more resonance you get. As a result, thicker heads give more overtones.

Which is better for drums birch or maple? ›

Birch drums sound brighter and punchier than maple, and with more attack they cut through the mix easier. Maple drums sound much warmer and offer more sustain. While birch drums bring out the mid-range, maple is known for its deep bass. Lastly, maple kits tend to cost slightly more than Birch drum sets.

What snare does Neil Peart use? ›

This Slingerland Artist Model 5.5 x 14 drum (3-ply, 8 lugs) was used by Neil Peart starting in 1977 on the 2112 tour. He continued using it through the Counterparts tour.

What size hi hat cymbals did Neil Peart use? ›

Cymbals
SizeTypeMake/Model
15"RideRoland V-Cymbal
14"CrashRoland V-Cymbal
12"Hi-Hat SystemRoland VH

What drum heads does Taylor Hawkins use? ›

He uses clear Emperor batters with an Emperor X for the snare and a Powerstroke 3 kick drum batter and those heads let me tune exactly how I need to get that big tone with projection.

What cymbals did John Bonham use? ›

Pay Homage to the Great Bonzo

The Paiste 2002 Bonham 4-piece cymbal set re-creates John Bonham's most popular cymbal setup. Included are a 24" ride, 16" and 18" crashes, a pair of 15" hi-hats, and a 24" cymbal bag. These cymbals are members of Paiste's 2002 series, known for their aggressive attack and massive volume.

What kind of drum kit did Taylor Hawkins use? ›

Taylor plays Gretsch drums. The series he plays is called USA custom, which is the best drum series made by Gretsch. This is his setup: 18×24″ Bass Drum.

How do you choose a resonant drum head? ›

For more focus, choose thicker or coated resonant drumheads, or heads with built-in dampening (like the Evans EC Tom Reso). These reduce overtones, producing a more focused sound. Alternatively, choose thin or clear resonant drumheads without built-in dampening for more complex tones.

How do I know if my drum heads are coated? ›

On toms, coated heads are warm and thuddy on the batter side, and, on the resonant side, round and slightly muted. The same holds for kick drums. And, if you avoid burying the beater while playing coated heads, you'll be rewarded with a fat and focused thump that would make Bernard Purdie proud.

How do I choose a snare drum head? ›

How To Choose A Snare Drum Head - Drumeo - YouTube

How long do drums stay in tune? ›

Six months is a decent average for most consistently used drumheads. However, this time varies depending on how hard you strike the drum and how often you play. You know you need a new head when tuning is simply not getting results.

How tight should Tom heads be? ›

Tuneful Toms

From finger‑tight, use the key in quarter‑turns. Working your way clockwise around most modern drums should be fine. As with the other drums, the heads of each tom‑tom should be well seated before you start tuning.

Should the resonant head be tighter than the batter? ›

Tune the resonant head higher pitch than the batter head. This gives a shorter sustain, and makes the pitch of the drum bend after each hit. Tune the resonant head lower pitch than the batter head. This gives a shorter sustain, and also makes the pitch of the drum bend after each hit.

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