7 Best Electronic Drum Pads in 2022

I researched the market in a quest to find the best electronic drum pad.

As a drummer, I fully understand features we need from sampling pads, like to have easy to use interface, different metronome options, soft and large pads, good sound, external input jacks, large screen, etc.

I found several electronic drum pads that currently rule the market. These are the only pads I was able to find behind a professional drummers drum set.

In this article, I will compare all the important features and point to you some pros and cons as we go over. 

Sample pad VS Percussion pad  Sample pads like Roland SPD-SX come with no or very little pre-built sounds and are made for playing long samples before or along with the song. Percussion pads like Roland Octapad come with great amount of pre-built sounds so you don’t have to deal with cutting and sampling.

What you get with more expensive pad – Higher quality pads, more sounds, faster processor. Cheap sampling pads may skip to play the sound when you hit the pad. They have slow processors and tend to “confuse” when you play several pads at once or fast notes.

the 7 best electronic drum pads

Editor's pick

Roland SPD-SX review

1. Roland SPD-SX

8.4

ThatScore

Firmly built

yamaha sample pad review

2. Yamaha DTX Multi 12

6.4

ThatScore

Most modern

electronic sample pad

3. Alesis Strike Multipad

8.4

ThatScore

Best perc pad

best electronic percussion pad

4. Roland Octapad SPD-30 ​

7.9

ThatScore

Budget friendly

best cheap drum pad

5. HXW PD705 Avatar

7.6

ThatScore

Electronic freak

nord drum pad

6. Nord Drum 3P

7.7

ThatScore

Small giant

alesis sample pad review

7. Alesis Sample Pad Pro

8.4

ThatScore

1. Roland SPD-SX

Editor's pick

8.4

ThatScore

Roland SPD-SX review

Firmly built

6.4

ThatScore

3. Alesis Strike Multipad

Most modern

8.4

ThatScore

electronic sample pad

4. Roland Octapad SPD-30

Best perc pad

7.9

ThatScore

best electronic percussion pad

5. HXW PD705 Avatar

Budget friendly

7.6

ThatScore

best cheap drum pad

6. Nord Drum 3P

Electronic freak

7.7

ThatScore

nord drum pad

7. Alesis Sample Pad Pro

Small giant

8.4

ThatScore

alesis sample pad review

Roland SPD-SX

8.4Expert Score
Best overall

Interface
9
Storage
6
Usability
9
Built quality
9
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Good interface
  • Fast respons
  • Multi sampling
Cons
  • Thick pads
  • Plastic buttons
  • 4 GB of internal Memory

Pros

History

Roland has a long history of producing the multi pads and this is their latest addition. They have a clear understanding of easy to use interface and intuitive quick access to the most frequently used functions.

Speed

As far as the speed goes it is faster than Alesis Strike Multi Pad although Alesis is released recently. You will notice the speed feature when you press the click, it starts right away, cool right?

Usability

With SPD-SX you get over 3 hours of sampling time. The black version has 4 GB while the red one has 16 GB and costs 100 bucks more. 

The sound base is controlled trough Wave Manager, the software with which you can easily rename, drag, drop and save the samples. 

The pre-built sound base is not so large, there are more than 200 loops and sounds but after all, this is a electronic sample pad and the idea is for you to create your own samples.

Click feature

The option we all need is hearing the click and not sending it to the front which this electronic drum pad supports. 

Kit Chaining

Roland SPD-SX has a kit chaining feature used to save the kits by the order you like. 

So, for instance, you save it kit 1, kit 50, kit 13 and then you just press next when you want to switch. A very useful feature for live situations.

Sampling

Switching between samples is smooth, the first sample doesn’t stop when you play the second, except if you want so. Also, the red lights show you exactly what pad is on.

You can connect the sampler to a phone in order to manipulate the samples so you are able to load, control and split them on the device

Cons

There are no big cons with the Roland SPD-SX but let me point the few things I don’t like.

When it comes to the quality of workmanship there are two things I don’t like: 

  • the pads aren’t too soft 
  • the buttons are made out of plastic

Storage

The storage of just 4 GB and not having the sd card slot can come hard sometimes. If you need more storage you are forced to buy a 100 bucks more expensive model which is not too much if you want to stick with the Roland. 

However, you don’t have to store the samples in the pad. You can use the SPD-SX as a sound card and load samples directly from the computer

There is a way however of getting some additional space by whipping out all the pre-built sounds. 

The sound base is small but the purpose of sampling pad justifies that. There is no Hi-Hat control input jack because the SPD-SX was designed more like a sampling pad, not as a mini kit.

Yamaha DTX MULTI 12

6.4Expert Score
Best price drum pad

Interface
7
Storage
4
Usability
5
Built quality
9
Value for money
7
Pros
  • Built quality
  • Internal sounds
  • 12 pads
Cons
  • Small display
  • Complicated interface
  • No lighting
  • Metronome volume knob is back

Pros

Number of pads

This is the first sampling pad from Yamaha. Although there is room for improvement I would say they done a great job. It’s the only out of three pads from this list who has 12 pads. It is built well, very firm and stable but with soft pads.

Extra

  • The buttons are made out of high-quality rubber.
  • The “two-floor” placement of the pads can come handy in live situations when you are in dark and the visibility is reduced.
  • Footswitch and sub out are also great features. 

Mini Kit

It is made more like a mini kit so it has a large sound base with 1277 sounds onboard and a hi-hat jack and 4 one-zone or 2 two-zone triggers.

A great option in comparing to Roland sampler, for instance, is playing samples directly from USB. It is very easy to add and layer samples trough Yamaha app DTXM12 Touch.

Cons

Display

Let’s start with the biggest con on DTX MULTI 12, the display. It is too small for this kind of powerful device. Interface navigation is a real pain in the but. 

This sampler has various options and it is a very powerful device but the tiny screen makes things harder.

Display

Let’s start with the biggest con on DTX MULTI 12, the display. It is too small for this kind of powerful device. Interface navigation is a real pain in the but. 

This sampler has various options and it is a very powerful device but the tiny screen makes things harder.

Complexity

Due to complexity, this device has a multi-level menu but the navigation is very complicated.

For instance, if you want to increase metronome volume you need to go to settings which is almost impossible in live situations. Also, the metronome volume knob is placed on the rear side of the sampler.

Storage

The 64 MB for a modern sampler just isn’t enough. It would be helpful if you could delete some of the unnecessary sounds but you can’t. Anyway, forget about the large numbers of large wave samples.

In comparison to other samplers, this one has just one volume knob. Last but not least is the lack of lights like on the SPD-SX or Multy Pad.

Alesis Strike Multi Pad

8.4Expert Score
Newest and most modern

Interface
8
Storage
9
Usability
8
Built quality
8
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Large display
  • Soft pads
  • Lighting
  • Big storage
Cons
  • Metronome reaction
  • Hard to press buttons
  • Flow between kits

Pros

This sample pad is the newest of all three from the list and it is the first GOOD multi-pad from Alesis. I really don’t like the pads in the past, they had a lot of flaws like hard pads, bad interface, errors here and there. 

They just haven’t been useful, for instance on some of them you couldn’t play two samples at once, or you couldn’t play click only in the headphones.

With Strike Multi Pad they decided to forget the past and jump into a higher league. 

Pads

The first big pro are the pads, they are soft and much better built than the ones in the past. It is larger than SPD-SX so the pads are also slightly larger as well. you couldn’t play two samples at once, or you couldn’t play click only in the headphones.

Display

The second large improvement is the multi-color display, it is the biggest of all three. Very easy to use and enjoyable. The interface, it is more similar to SPD-SX than to DTX MULTI 12. The screen is reinforced so it should handle some hit from time to time.

Lights

Lights underneath the pad are also a great addition. Not just they look modern but the lights this big come handy in a live situation. The colors are changeable, so, for example, you color some sounds in green color or some samples in yellow and so on.

Storage

I need to mention the 32 GB of internal memory. For the same price as SPD-SX, you get a lot more storage. It has 8000 pre-built sounds and loops which are better organized than on the other two multi pads.

Best out of both worlds

Similar to Yamaha it can be used as a mini electronic drum set because it has a hi-hat jack and a couple of other external triggers. It has an option of multi-layer zones and multi-layering effects.

It has two headphone jacks so you don’t have to use adapters are a great additional feature. 

Strike Multi Pad has many similarities to Roland SPD-SX such as:

  •  “stop all sounds” button
  •  three-volume knobs for main, headphone and aux
  •  button to check a sample before playing outside
  • knobs for DJ stuff

Cons

One con that is not directly related to the pad itself is a fact that this product is new so still, there aren’t enough “how-to videos” and tutorials online.

Buttons

Buttons are kinda hard to press so sometimes in a live situation it happens that you don’t click some button. But, when you get used to it should go smoothly. A button that would come useful but doesn’t exist is the EXIT button.

Lack of speed

Although it uses newer technology this sample pad is a little bit slower than Roland especially when it comes to loading time.

In comparison to SPD-SX, it doesn’t have a kit chaining feature which means that you are not able to sort kits how you would like. It is possible that they will change this with some if it’s future software updates.

Metronome issue

One of the things I hate the most is the metronome issue. When you hit the click, it doesn’t start at the moment which can be frustrating.

Kit switching

The switching between kits it’s not solved yet since the sample you played at first will stop when you switch to another kit. The Strike Multi Pad does not have a software editor like DTX and SPD-SX

Roland Octapad SPD-30

7.9Expert Score
Best percussion pad

Interface
8
Storage
6
Usability
9
Built quality
8
Value for money
8.5
Pros
  • Easy to use and tweak
  • The phrase-looping use is easy to work on and creatively fulfilling
Cons
  • Cannot import external samples
  • Footswitches are sold independently

Pros

Phase Looping

If you started getting into drum pads, you must have come across many videos about Roland’s phrase looping. 

The summary of its use is: you can record a pattering live and then play along with it. You can give it flare and put a real personal touch to your sound. Every time, you will be creating something new.

 

Ease of Use And Pad Quality

It is incredibly easy to use and makes for a great purchase. It can help carter to beginners and intermediate players. 

The pads are extremely sensitive. Just by brushing lightly with the tip of your finger, you can get a sound out of them. 

They are really fun to use. If you’ve ever considered adding a drum pad to your setup, the SPD30 commands attention by drummers and non‑drummers equal. It’s a quick and easy way to add some character and percussive flair to your music.  

Managing and editing the effects is quite a simple task. You navigate the edit tab and use the knob to turn to the effects parameter you want to tweak.

Cons

Pre Recorded sound and recording

This model’s downside is that if you want to put in pre-recorded sound and use it to make something new. It can not be done. This downside can be a hassle, but it also pushes you to new highs. 

This is a clear miss from Roland, but we can hope and expect a  feature like this will be added to their next model. Until then, no external sounds can be added to your sound library.

 

Footswitch pedals are not included in the package

The SPD30 can be used with a footswitch pedal. This small addition allows a performer to control several phrase‑loop functions without having to use their hands. 

With a foot click, you can do several things:

  • Mute a pad sound, start playing a loop
  • Bypass an effect
  • Stop or start recording your session. 

The SPD30 can also be used with a dual pedal.

The con in this whole process is that the footswitch pedals don’t come in the package. So they are sold separately. They are not a necessity but something good to have around when trying something new out. 

HXW PD705 Avatar

7.6Expert Score
Budget friendly

Interface
7
Storage
7
Usability
7
Built quality
8
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Price is below average
  • Nice build quality
  • 9 pads in total and 30 prerecorded effects
Cons
  • Not for the advanced musicians
  • Lack of wave editor and USB cable

Pros

Price

The biggest pro I can give you is the price, which is an absolute steal. You will get a decent drum pad for your child, or for you if you just entered the world of drumming.

 

Number Of Preset Drum Effects

The pad comes with the 30 preset drum effect, which is more than enough for daily use. You can also use the USB A port to download more effects, but you will surely not need them, since the inbuilt effect can satisfy all of your needs.

Importing new effects and sounds is a bit complicated, but it is worth a little effort if you want to experiment with the new effects.

 

Solid Build Quality For The Price

Build quality is especially nice. I was expecting a low-quality product since this is one of the cheapest models on the market, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality this pad offers. It is hard, and it looks like it can last for years.

Pads are also very satisfying on hit, and the fact that you technically get 9 of them is astounding. The bottom pads have a lot of surfaces, so you won’t accidentally hit a nearby pad instead of the desired target.

Cons

Barebones Drum Effects

At this price point, every con I have with HXW PD705 Avatar is just a nitpick. If you are a beginner drummer, you already have your eyes set on this model. 

While I only have praises to sing about the inclusion of 30 prerecorded effects, they are very barebones, and they can’t be switched on the fly.

 

Lack Of USB Cable And Wave Editor

The lack of a USB cable is also not a big deal. USB cables cost a couple of bucks and are very easy to find. But, it is a real nuisance when you unbox your new drum pad, want to connect it to a computer for updates, and you see a USB cable missing. Nobody wants to walk/drive to a store when there is a new drum pad waiting for him(or her) at home.

It also does not come with the Wave Editor. it is not a big deal, since most casual drummers won’t ever use it, but for me, it was something that was really lacking.

Nord Drum 3P

7.7Expert Score
Best on budget sample pad

Interface
7
Storage
7
Usability
7
Built quality
8.5
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Fantastic build quality and hit feel
  • Sounds are out of this world
  • Extreme levels of sound customization
  • Reverb and Delay addition
Cons
  • Can be a bit overwhelming at first

Pros

Sound Quality

The first thing that comes to mind when playing Nord Drum 3P electronic drum pad is how awesome it sounds. I often forget that I am playing another drum pad instead of real drums when I am using these pads.

Build Quality And Customization

The premium quality guarantees years and years of usage. It is satisfying to hit, the pads do not feel too rubbery like on the cheaper models, and the hit sounds simulated the real deal perfectly.

All of this comes with extreme levels of customization. You can customize all little details like resonance waves, cymbals, wave types, etc. Whatever you can think of, Nord Drum 3P can produce it. With all this, the pad will almost sound like the acoustic drums.

Also, Nord Drum ensures us that this electronic drum pad can be played using only your hands. While this is true, this is not practical, as the pads need to be hit very hard in order to produce sound.

Importing new effects and sounds is a bit complicated, but it is worth a little effort if you want to experiment with the new effects.

Cons

Difficult To Use For Casuals

While I do not have any major con with the Nord Drum 3P, I still got to write this part. Jokes aside, many of the premium models are made by professionals who know how to make a good premium drum pad and have the resources to do it. Nord Drum is no different.

It is clear that we have an excellent model that is well worth its price. The only downside I could think of is that it can be a bit confusing for the new drummers. The control pad is great, and it offers customization that is impressive. But the fact that every button has more than one function, coupled with a minimalistic display, will give the casuals a hard time.

Does Not Include Hi-Hat Pedal

Another nitpick I have is that it does not include a hi-hat control pedal. Switching between open and closed hi-hat on the go would be a nice addition to this premium model.

It also does not come with the Wave Editor. it is not a big deal, since most casual drummers won’t ever use it, but for me, it was something that was really lacking.

Alesis Sample Pad Pro

8.4Expert Score
Best on budget sample pad

Interface
8
Storage
7
Usability
8
Built quality
9
Value for money
10
Pros
  • Amazing design
  • Expendable triggering options
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Menu a little too simple
  • Switching kits

Pros

Excellent Pad At This Price Range

When it comes to the pros and cons of this amazing drum pad there is not much that can be said. It is an amazing-looking thing. 

It offers so much for its price and beyond that. It has an elegant design and gives off an expensive feel to it.

Custom Sampling

Custom sampling is already a good deal to have on your drumming pad but you will also be getting a free bonus sample pack with it. 

SamplePad Pro has extra triggers and pad inputs. With this amazing feature, you can make this set unique for every single use. 

This is a one-of-a-kind deal that offers an open door to anybody that wants to expand their horizons in music and their creativity.

Cons

Menu

When it comes to cons there are again not too many. A few things we can point out are simple hiccups and they don’t alter your way of enjoying or playing.

The first thing can be the menu. It looks very neat and clean. This is something that can be expected from such a high-quality company but it is a little too clean. 

It doesn’t have Y/N buttons which can make your job a little bit more hard when trying to navigate your way. 

Switching Kits Live

If you like playing live this is a kit for you. But, keep in mind that while switching kits live will take some time. Something like this would not make any problems to a non-professional but if you do play drums professionally it can sound a little sloppy. 

Conclusion

The Roland SPD-SX has everything one modern electronic drum pad needs to have. I am not saying that other pads are not as good but for me, this one definitely has some advantages. 

I think it is because of Roland’s experience in making multi pads. 

As a drummer I want all important features like headphone volume, click settings, check button, sound off button to be near and easily accessible. The speed and usability go in favor of the Roland sample pad.

As the best electronic drum pad I choose Roland SPD SX.

Denis Loncaric

Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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