Drum heads are pretty durable musical gear that take a heavy beating. As long as you treat your drum heads right, they should serve you a pretty long time with just the right timbre you like. Once you get the right heads, you can make even mediocre shells sound pristine and studio quality level good.
Now, there are so many types of drum heads in the market, so you have to be sure what exactly you want. From single ply to double ply, to coated, to clear, to hydraulic, the list is endless. You’ll need some basic info on what drum heads are and how to choose the best ones.
So, if you’re ready to rock, then get with us. Let’s rock!
- Top 10 Best Drum Heads For The Money 2020 Reviews
- 1 Remo Emperor X Coated Snare Drum Head
- 2 Evans G2 Standard Tompack
- 3 Aquarian Drumheads Super-Kick II Drumhead Pack (SKII22)
- 4 Evans EMAD2 Clear Bass Drum Head
- 5 Remo PP-1470-PS Pinstripe Clear Tom Drumhead Pack
- 6 Remo Powerstroke P3 Clear Bass Drumhead
- 7 Remo PP-0950-BE Emperor Coated Tom Drumhead
- 8 Remo Ambassador Coated Drum Head
- 9 Evans Power Center Reverse Dot Drum Head
- 10 Evans EMAD Coated White Bass Drum
- Best Drum Heads Buying Guide
- Types of Heads – Plies
- Types of Finishes
- Pre-Muffled Heads
- What’s The Problem With Overtone?
- What Is The Best Drumhead On The Market?
- What’s The Best Drumhead For Beginners?
- How Can I Stop My Drums From Ringing Out?
- What’s The Best Drumhead For Heavy Hitters?
- What’s The Best Drumhead For Softer Music?
- Why Should I Get New Drumheads?
- How Often Would I Need To Change My Drumheads?
- What Is Dampening?
Top 10 Best Drum Heads For The Money 2020 Reviews
Black dot (5-mil)
Evans G2 Standard Tompack
12 inches, 13 inches, 16 inches
16 inches, 18 inches, 20 inches, 22 inches, 24 inches, and 26 inches
Built-in patented floating felt muffle ring
Evans EMAD2 Clear Bass Drum Head
Double (outer ply: 6.5-mil inner ply: 10-mil)
External Mounted Damping system
10 inches, 12 inches, 16 inches
Thin underlay at the outer edge to dampen unwanted overtones
12 inches, 13 inches, and 16 inches
Remo Ambassador Coated Drum Head
Tom, Bass, Snare
6 inches to 40 inches
Evans EMAD Coated White Bass Drum
Externally mounted adjustable damping system
1 Remo Emperor X Coated Snare Drum Head
The Remo Emperor X Coated Snare Drum Head as you can see is a drum head for snare drums. Although the one we’re reviewing today is the 14 inch size, this drum head also comes in other sizes for smaller snares. There are sizes 10, 12, 13, and 14 inches.
This drum head makes a nice option for heavy hitters as Remo obviously designed this to last. According to the brand, this is the most durable Mylar head in the world, if they say so themselves. It’s a double ply with coating, so yes, we agree that it will last.
Now, for sound, this comes with a pretty impressive lower end better than most others we’ve seen. Plus, we’re definitely impressed by how responsive this drumhead is. Regardless of how hard you hit, you find that this drumhead always responds nicely.
The Remo Emperor X also produces really warm focused tones thanks to its reverse black dot. We love how this feature eliminates all kinds of excessive overtones so you sound your best every time you play.
If you’re drummer that’s a heavy hitter, or you’re into heavy music like metal, this is your guy. Once you get this, you can comfortably go to town knowing that it can take all the abuse. It’s one less thing to worry about knowing that your drumhead isn’t going to break in the middle of your playing.
It does come a little pricey, though and that’s to be expected from Remo. But then again, this is a small price to pay for such level of quality. You’re going to enjoy this drumhead from Remo.
2 Evans G2 Standard Tompack
The Evans G2 Standard Tompack are a favorite of many drummers for many reasons. They are quite versatile, boast a great sound, work for most music genres, and are also quite affordable. These are great all-rounder drumheads. So, if you’re a beginner and can’t seem to choose, you could try these.
We love the pure warmth these drumheads give when you play them. Plus, the way they give a lot of depth while maintaining an impressive level of attack is so amazing. Why? Well, because this ultimately means that you can always count on these drumheads giving you a great tone regardless of the genre or style of the drummer.
If you’re more of a jazz player, or you play any of the softer music styles, then you might want to get the clear version of these drumheads. Yes, Evans carries the clear version of the Evans G2 Standard Tompack. This one we’re reviewing is the coated one.
This drumheads are double ply so they are super durable and will last despite the level of abuse you dole out to them. We’ve already talked about their finish so we will move on from there.
The Evans G2 Standard Tompack comes in a pack of three tom drumheads of different sizes. There’s the 12 inch, 13 inch and the 16 inch drumheads. If your toms are differently sized, there are other versions of the Evans G2 Tompack – the Rock and the Fusion. You could check them out.
If you play a wide variety of music styles, then you need versatile drumheads. This is what you get when you buy the Evans G2 Standard Tompack. Check them out!
3 Aquarian Drumheads Super-Kick II Drumhead Pack (SKII22)
This time, we’re checking out drumheads for bass drums. So, we know it’s pretty annoying to stuff pillows into your bass drums just to give that nice sound. Many drummers are sick of it and if you’re one of them, then the Aquarian Super-Kick II is for you.
The drumheads in this pack are easily some of the best bass drumheads you can get in the market. Coming with a patented Floating Muffling system already built-in, this drumhead is already pre-dampened. Yet, it still gives a truly beautiful, natural sound.
Now, how exactly is the sound experience from these drumheads? Well, we found it pretty enjoyable. It’s literally everything you need in a bass drumhead. These drumheads found a genius way to bring balance to low end and punchy sound.
And you know what’s even more amazing? You don’t have to use any extra dampening on these heads because they already sound so good.
These are double ply bass drumheads. So, they are heavyweight and they will last an extended use. The built-in muffle ring is also great as it helps to dampen your sound well. So, yeah, even if you double kick this head all day, every day, it will remain in great shape and play great too.
This is a great bass drumhead pack for any drummer at all regardless of your level of skill. Plus, the benefit of having an unstuffed bass drum is too good to pass up, at least for us. We definitely love these drumheads.
4 Evans EMAD2 Clear Bass Drum Head
Next up, check out this really versatile drumhead from Evans – the Evans EMAD2. It comes with an externally mounted adjustable damping system. This feature allows the drummer achieve their desired tone in the exact way they need it.
As for sound, this bass drumhead does pretty good which we’ve come to expect from Evans. Like we mentioned, we find this drumhead to be truly versatile. So, there’s hardly any type of sound you can’t achieve using the Evans EMAD2.
This is actually made possible because of the ring options you get with this drumhead. There’s the wide and the thin ring, and each of these rings gives its own type of tone. So, you can choose your preferred ring type for your preferred tone.
The thin ring gives your bass drum a nice punch, nonetheless, it still lets you keep your resonance. The wider ring is better when you need to achieve that low end attack.
Furthermore, this is a double-ply drumhead – the inner ply being 10 mil while the outer is 6.5 mil.
Now, although we’re reviewing the 22 inch EMAD2, Evans carries this drumhead in other sizes ranging from 18 to 26 inches.
This is a beautiful drumhead choice for drummers who like to have the control over their bass drum’s tone. Drummers that play a wide range of music styles especially would love this drumhead as you get to dampen your sound as much as you want.
Finally, we recommend this for the professionals as beginners might not yet be able to benefit from the plethora of features and options this drumhead boasts.
5 Remo PP-1470-PS Pinstripe Clear Tom Drumhead Pack
If you don’t exactly know where to start when looking for drumheads, then you could start here. These are excellent tom drumheads from the masters themselves, Remo. They boast a solid construction and also sound solid as well.
In musicality, we find these drumheads truly impressive. The tone you get here is so clear it takes your drumming to a whole different level. Moreover, the pitch is also really clean and nice. So, adding these two qualities together, you get amazing sound.
Furthermore, being double-ply, you can rest assured that these drumheads will last. Remo put its foot into the construction of these drumheads. So, they can definitely take a beating. This should be great news for heavy hitters as you finally get something that will be with you for the long haul.
To put things in perspective, a certain drummer did say that he only replaces these every 6 months since he can’t afford to replace every 3 months. Now, here’s the mind blowing part, he plays about 2 to 4 gigs monthly. Plus, he also has band practice for about 2 hours 30 minutes at least once weekly.
So, you can see durability is sure. This is an investment well worth it.
Altogether, these are great drumheads. They come with a beautiful, warm, rich tone. Plus, they are also quite easy to tune as well.
Are you considering making the upgrade from stock heads and you don’t have any idea what to upgrade to? The Remo PP-1470-PS Pinstripe Clear Tom Drumhead Pack is well worth the purchase for the money.
6 Remo Powerstroke P3 Clear Bass Drumhead
This industry standard drumhead also from Remo is our next item on review today. The Remo Powerstroke P3 Clear Bass Drumhead is truly impressive and is also a favorite of many drummers in the drumming community. This already says a lot, right? Well, there’s more.
We love how this drumhead gives us a great tone. As Remo says, the tonal control and response comes in a near-perfect balance. Remo did a great job here and you can hear that in the quality of tone this drumhead produces. It packs a punch with an ample low end and an excellent resonance.
Well, unlike the Aquarian Super-Kick II, this drumhead isn’t muffled. So, depending on how you like the sound of your bass drum, you’re going to have to muffle the drums yourself. You could use a pillow or something else. But even without muffle, this still sounds great.
We also found this drumhead to be pretty durable thanks to the sturdy construction they come with. Check out this review from a particular customer. Apparently, this person has been using the Remo Powerstroke P3 for a year and half and it’s still in tip-top condition.
According to the customer, they played this twice monthly for a period of 4 hours for each session. And even with all that beating, the head doesn’t look like it will give any time soon.
In volume too, the Remo Powerstroke P3 also packs quite a punch while warming up your entire sound. Finally, mic up this baby and tell us how you like the sound. It might come a little too pricey for some customers, but there’s no doubt that this is a quality bass drumhead.
7 Remo PP-0950-BE Emperor Coated Tom Drumhead
The Remo Emperor Coated Tom is excellently made with a sound that’s super good too. Remo obviously did a good job making us a sturdy tom drumhead as this is something that will definitely last.
Beware though as this is a single ply so you want to use this for music styles that require heavy hitting. If you play jazz or other light music genres though, then this is an excellent choice. It’s quite sensitive so it will be able to pick on the slightest touches and you can achieve a decent level of flexibility.
If you need to upgrade from the stock heads on your drums, then you should really consider these drumheads. They make even cheap drum kits sound pretty impressive and high end. Moreover, you’ll find it really easy to tune this which is another assurance that you’ll love the sound of your drums.
Lastly, the Remo Emperor Coated Tom Drumhead works for all kinds of drummers of any skill level. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, get you this drumhead and you’ll be impressed.
8 Remo Ambassador Coated Drum Head
The Remo Emperor Coated Tom Drumhead is another fantastic set of drumheads. It’s one of the most popular drumheads used by drummers in the drumming community as Remo claims. But hey, it sounds good so their claims might not exactly be far-fetched.
This drumhead sounds really good like we already said. It’s warm and open which is thanks to the coated finish of the drumhead. Also thanks to the coating, this drumhead features a controlled short sustain as well as a bright attack.
Now, the Remo PP-0950-BE is pretty thin as it only comes with one 10-mil ply. In other words, this isn’t a drumhead you want to be using for heavy hitting. It’s best for light genres when what you’re going for is a sweet, charming tone.
Furthermore, this drumhead is also great for beginners and professionals alike. Plus, it’s also quite affordable too which is another reason it’s suitable for beginners and pretty popular as well. Of course, you don’t want to get this if it’s metal you’re into but other than that, this is a pretty awesome gear.
9 Evans Power Center Reverse Dot Drum Head
We love the Evans Power Center Reverse Dot Drum Head for many reasons. For one, it’s from an excellent manufacturer that has proven its mettle over time – Evans. This drumhead has a unique feature which we’ll be getting to know in a bit more detail later.
But first, we find this drumhead to be an impressive evolution to the regular drumheads. It’s double ply which means that it will witness several years of use. It also means that this is a drumhead that will work with the heavy hitter without buckling under pressure.
And now to the feature we love the most which is the Edge Control technology. This feature helps the drumhead to eliminate mid-range frequencies. As you know, those tend to muddy up sound. So, with those eliminated, you’re left with deep lows and crisp highs alone.
Also, with the reverse dot in the middle of the surface, you get to maintain a focused tone. Plus, it also removes unwanted overtones as well. Now since the dot is inside of the drumhead, it’s really good news because you’ll be able to use brushes some of the time.
All in all, we find this drumhead a good match for drummers looking for a controlled tone with little to no overtones that make tones come out indistinct.
10 Evans EMAD Coated White Bass Drum
Lastly, check out the Evans EMAD Coated White Bass Drum. It is pretty versatile so it will fit a variety of music styles and all kinds of drummers. It is quite high end so it might not really be within the easy reach of beginners.
This is a coated bass drum which is really cool as the coating does bring a bit of warmth for the tone. Plus, the coating is also quite great because it softens the attack just a bit. In all, it’s a pretty lovely tone you get from this bass drum.
Alright, besides all that, this drumhead also features two foam muffling rings. These muffling rings help you to bring some level of variety to the muffling you get from your bass drum. So, there won’t be any need for you to stuff this with a pillow for those who hate having to do that so much.
All in all, this bass drumhead works whether in an acoustic environment or mic’d. It’s definitely worth the price and we see this product more than satisfying you once you make the purchase.
Best Drum Heads Buying Guide
Of all musical instruments in the world, the drum is easily the oldest. However, the first time man ever saw a membrane stretched over any cylindrical shell was as far back as 8000 BC.
Then, the Babylonians and Sumerians would stretch a tanned animal skin over the two ends of a copper shell. These guys mostly used rawhide from cows and deer, or even alligators in some cases.
However, fast forward to now and we have a wider variation of musical styles from jazz to rock ‘n’ roll. Moreover, there are many reasons rawhide wasn’t workable anymore.
In the first place, making rawhide drum heads is so tasking. Also, they are easily susceptible to detuning due to weather changes. Plus, with the high volume demands of modern music, rawhide drum heads break easily.
Hence, after the World War II, Mylar stepped in and started the polymer drum heads, and the rest they say is history.
Types of Heads – Plies
We mostly categorize drum heads by ply thickness. That is, how thick the layer of the head is, the number of plies the drum head comes with, as well as the finish they come with.
Honestly, it’s staggering the amount of variations and customizations plies come with, especially for the beginner. So, it’s always best to try out as many heads as you can before finally settling on one that gives you your desired tone.
Single ply drum heads are the most popular type of drum heads available and they suit nearly all music genres. Plus, they are truly versatile, crisp, and highly responsive.
As the name suggests, single ply drum heads come with only one sheet of polymer (or whatever other material the manufacturer chooses). Also, they usually come within a thickness range of about 7 to 10 mil.
However, there are also some single ply drum heads that come with a 3 to 5 mil layer thickness. Drum makers usually use such to make the resonant heads of the snare also called the snareside.
Now, speaking of, resonant heads are super important when deciding your drum’s tone. They are like the gatekeeper to your sound as your drum generates it. If there’s too much restriction, your drum ends up sounding somewhat muted. And if there’s too little, your drum could sound brittle and toneless.
For this reason, therefore, most makers favor single ply drum heads for the resonant side, even if they use a double ply head on the batter. With a medium weighted single ply head, you get a much wider sonic spectrum, especially if you tune your drum properly.
You find single ply under Remo’s Diplomat and Ambassador as well as Evans’ G1.
It’s easy to deduce what a double ply drum head is from our discussion on single ply drum heads. Double drum heads comprise two sheets of material with each featuring a thickness of about 7 mil each. So, yeah, they are pretty heavy.
Hence, being heavyweights, these guys can take a beating better than single ply heads, they last for eternity, and give a drum’s timbre a more focused appeal.
Typically, double ply tends to give a fatter and deeper sound than single ply. So, people into metal, stoner rock, shoegaze and related genres tend to prefer double ply to single ply.
You find double ply drum heads in Evans’ G2 series, as well as Remo’s Emperors.
Types of Finishes
The finish of any other instrument might not play a huge role on sound. However, for drum heads, finish plays a really huge role. It’s the finish of the drum head that determines what shell it fits with – whether the toms, or the kick, or the batter side of your snare.
A clear finish means that the drum head only comes with the ply material. That is, the manufacturers added nothing else to the ply. So, what does this translate to in terms of performance?
Well, without any finishing, drum heads tend to achieve a better projection in comparison to other types of drumheads. So, if you’re looking for resonant drum heads, clear drumheads are the unanimous choice.
In contrast to a clear drumhead, coated drumheads come with an extra layer of thin, white polymer on the drumhead. This addition gives the drumhead a vintage look as it brings to mind the days of the rawhide.
Anyway, to the sound of coated drumheads… Coated drumheads tend to give a warmer, drier, and crisper sound and tone. Now, who should go for a coated drumhead? This type is best for achieving controlled articulation in a quiet environment.
It’s also great for heavy hitters that need a head that can tag along with them for the long haul.
For a fatter sound, hydraulics are amazing. Hydraulic heads usually come with two layers with oil sandwiched in between.
Now, not only does this give you fat, low-end sounds, hydraulic heads also make your drums easier to tune thanks to the presence of oil. For this reason, therefore, hydraulics are great for beginners or anyone who prefers a faster setup.
Remo carries something similar to a hydraulic drumhead in its Pinstripe series. Here though, the manufacturer uses a “dampening agent” rather than oil.
Remo labels its black drumheads as “Ebony” while Remo labels its as “Onyx”. You know black drumheads actually make your drums sound darker? Lol, we kid you not.
In a single ply setting, black drumheads usually come as a single layer of black polymer. On the other hand, in a double ply setup, you get one clear ply with one black polymer.
Most bass drums come with black drum heads because of their ability to give a focused, dark tone.
If you’re a stickler for overtone, then you’d like the pre-muffled drumhead option very much. Remo carries its pre-muffled head in its Powerstroke series while Evans carries its under the “EC” series.
Why are they called pre-muffled heads? Well, they feature this thing called a muffling ring. It’s built-in on the underside of the heads. However, lovers of overtone should be careful as things could get ugly quickly with overtones.
What’s The Problem With Overtone?
Now, here’s the first problem. A lot of people confuse overtone with a drum’s natural resonance. However, both aren’t the same. Overtones refer to those higher frequencies higher than the fundamental/founding pitch. So, you could say overtones are tones “over the founding tone”.
Now, these overtones could be good or bad. That is, they could complement the founding tone and be harmonic. Or they could be antagonistic and be inharmonic. Fortunately, you can fix inharmonic issues by tuning correctly.
Understandably, tuning gets a bit difficult when it comes to drums quite unlike with other instruments. In a guitar, for instance, the strings have just two nodes. Drums, on the other hand, can come with more than 8 different nodes.
Nonetheless, it’s crucial to learn to tune your drums properly if you want to get fabulous sounds.
That’s for inharmonic overtones. For harmonic ones, it really depends on your tastes. Some drummers love harmonic overtones, others don’t. Plus, some environments might not welcome even harmonic overtones.
If you primarily play by yourself and you’re going for a fat, focused sound that you can hear on recordings, then go for pre-muffled drumheads. Playing muffled heads in a gig or band, on the other hand, would barely be recognizable.
Finally, even though harmonic overtones don’t really sound great on their own, they shine in the middle of a show. You’ll be able to hear your drums pretty well above the guitarist’s amps.
Here, we will be addressing some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to drumheads. Let’s begin with…
What Is The Best Drumhead On The Market?
Asking what is the best drumhead in the world is like asking what the best food in the world is. Some swear by pizza, others swear by mac and cheese, and yet others say it’s salad. It depends on the tastes of the individual in question.
The same way it works for drumheads. What works for one might not work for the other. You should focus on the sound and style you’re looking to create when choosing a drumhead.
Ultimately, the best drumhead is the best drumhead for you. it’s a very subjective matter.
What’s The Best Drumhead For Beginners?
If you’re just starting out on the drums and don’t know what drumhead to go for, here’s our advice. It might be best to go for something that isn’t too thick and something with little to no dampening. Why do we advise this?
Well, thinner drumheads give you wider sonic options. Plus, with little or no dampening, you’ll be able to learn to tune your drums properly. As time passes and your skills improve, you can decide to apply dampening. This will help to control ringing and give you a warmer sound.
How Can I Stop My Drums From Ringing Out?
If you want to stop your drums for ringing out, then you want to get a drumhead that features built-in sound control. Such a drumhead should have the following:
- There should be center dots either on the top or on the underside of the drumhead. This will help you control some of the ringing.
- Also, sound control features such as control rings and inlay rings also reduce overtones which focuses your sound better.
- For some drumheads, you’ll be able to take out the dampening which helps you achieve higher versatility with your sound.
- Some drumheads like the Evans Dry come with small holes around the edge of the drum which also cut out a huge part of the ringing.
- Finally, in some bass drumheads, you find felt strips which reduce overtones and make your sound come out fatter and warmer.
What’s The Best Drumhead For Heavy Hitters?
For those who hit heavy or use pretty thick drumsticks, you’d definitely need a thick, durable drumhead. So, you want to consider getting a double ply drumhead.
Thicker, double-ply drumheads are best for music genres such as punk, metal, rock or any other style that requires a lot of hard, loud drumming. If you get a thin drumhead, you can expect them to fail quickly as they can’t take a heavy beating.
What’s The Best Drumhead For Softer Music?
If your style is softer or medium volume music, then you should go for drumheads that aren’t too thick. Thick drumheads don’t exactly sound great at low volumes. Plus, they aren’t sensitive enough to work for light playing.
Why Should I Get New Drumheads?
If your drumheads are really old, like dented, worn out old, it’s time for a change. That sounds commonsensical, right?
Also, if you have a cheap drum kit, replacing the drumheads can make your drum sound much better. Plus, it could also inspire you to play better and in more exciting ways.
And talking about cheap kits, most drum kits come with low quality drumheads. Well, while it’s easy to tune these drumheads to get them to sound better, they aren’t exactly durable. Plus, they don’t really hold their tuning for long.
If you get professional drums though, then drumheads won’t be your problem.
How Often Would I Need To Change My Drumheads?
All drumheads would eventually wear out as you’d expect, so you’d have to change them out sooner or later. It might be a bit time consuming, but trust us, it’s something you want to do if you want your drums sounding crisp and clean every time.
Generally, batter heads last about 3 to 4 months before they need to be changed. Resonant heads, on the other hand, last a bit longer for obvious reasons. Some can go for about 6 to 9 months before you need to replace them. Changing your resonant heads is important if you want to retain projection.
Of course, these are just general situations. Other factors could affect how long your drumheads last. So, say you you’re a hard hitter. Of course you don’t expect your drumheads to last as long as someone that doesn’t hit as hard.
Nonetheless though, batter heads eventually come down no matter how softly you hit them.
But then again, there are some people that love the warm and muted sound of old drumheads. Charlie Watts (drummer for the Rolling Stones) is a good example.
We heard from a teeny bird that he was changing out his old drumheads when he found confetti lodged in the rim of his drum. Guess what? This confetti was from a New Year’s Eve party 10 years back!
What Is Dampening?
Dampening refers to how a drum’s natural overtones are controlled. There are many drum heads that boast features that help to dampen the drum without necessarily adding additional dampening like gel or tape.
The Remo Pinstripe, for instance, comes with 2-ply heads which are glued together with thick plastic. This, naturally, dampens the drum and serves almost the same purpose as a studio dampening ring. Evans also applies the same system to the Evans EC2S.
The Remo Controlled Sound head is also another good example. On the middle of this drumhead, there’s a thick, black dot which adds natural dampening and increases durability.
Now, different drums would require different types and degrees of dampening. For example, with bass drums, you’d need dampening to reduce the high end overtones. You’ll also need it to enhance the low end frequencies as well. Evans uses a foam ring to achieve this on the Evans Emad
Our choice if asked would be the Evans G2 Standard Tompack. This is a really versatile set of drumheads. Plus, the fact that they come in a pack makes them even more affordable. So, it is within the easy reach of most of drummers.
As for snare drumheads, we will go for the Remo Emperor X Coated Snare Drum Head. And for the best bass drumhead, we pick the Aquarian Drumheads Super-Kick II Drumhead Pack (SKII22).