Best Bass Drum Heads of 2020 – Complete Review

Drum heads have arguably the biggest impact on the way your drums sound.

Even the most expensive set on the market can sound cheap with low-end drum heads, and cheap drum sets can sound incredible when paired with a good-quality head. 

Finding the right drum head can be difficult, so here’s a review of the best drum heads of 2020 to help you find the best head for your needs. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Bass Drum Heads

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Evans EMAD

  • Suitable for rock and metal styles
  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Comes with a pre-fitted dampening ring
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Remo P31322-10

  • Thin underlay at the head’s outer edge, subtly dampening overtones
  • Almost perfect balance of response and tone control
  • Highly resonant
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Remo Silentstroke

  • Best for the money
  • Ideal for dormitories, apartments, and condos
  • Excellent low-volume drum head works well with electronic triggers
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Evans EMAD Clear Bass Drum Head

  • Allows the player to manually adjust focus and attack
  • Working drummers friend, great for all music genres
  • Can be used with bass drum style hoops
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Evans EMAD 2 Clear 22 in.

  • Suitable for all music genres and styles
  • Level 360 technology allows it to be seated properly
  • EMAD System allows the head to be tuned on the go
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Remo Powerstroke P3

  • Thin underlay at the outer edge of the head
  • Muffles undesired overtones to produce a purer sound
  • Excellent balance of tone control and response
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Pearl Logo

  • 22-inch non-ported head
  • “Powerstroke 3” type internal muffle ring
  • Black Beat front bass drum with white logo
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What Size Bass Drum Head Should You Buy?

Changing drum heads is the fastest way to improve the sound of your drums. Quite frankly, there isn’t one best drum head out there, and the best drum head for you depends solely on your style and sound. Anybody who tells you that one drum head trumps the rest have likely missed the point completely.

Bass drum heads are arguably the most important feature of all bass drums. The best drum head for one drummer might be totally different for another, so it’s best to concentrate on the sound you want when deciding what head to purchase. Asking “What is the best drum head?” is a bit like asking “What’s the best vegetable?” You’re going to get a lot of different answers.

Why Did These Bass Drum Heads Make Our List?

As mentioned previously, choosing the right drum head for your kit can make a huge difference between an instrument that speaks to you, or one that just makes noise. If you have been playing drums for any length of time, you likely are already familiar with just how many drum heads are familiar today.

Versatility

The drum heads we’ve chosen are versatile and can be used to play a variety of musical styles, from jazz to rock to pop.

Accessible

These heads are suited for a wide variety of skill levels, from the complete beginner noise-maker to the hardcore pro drummer. 

Durable

They’re durable, meaning they can withstand quite a lot of bashing before they start to experience problems.

Variety

The drum heads we’ve chosen span a variety of features, with differing builds, sound qualities, and distinctive features. They also explore a range of price points, once again making them suitable for both the inexperienced drummer and the professionals. We’ve also selected drum heads that are suited for play in several settings, from church to the stage, to studios.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best bass drum heads:

  1. Evans EMAD
  2. Remo P31322-10
  3. Remo Silentstroke

Review of the Best Bass Drum Heads

So, now that we have covered what bass drum heads are, what they’re capable of, and the importance of choosing the right drum head for you, let’s go over the best bass drum heads of 2020, their pros and cons, and why they stand out to us.

Best Overall:
Evans EMAD

PROS

  • Excellent for practicing
  • Greatly improves the sound quality of your bass drum
  • Easy to tune, easy to find a preferred sound
  • Easy to use, great for beginner drummers
  • Greatly improves the sound quality of your bass drum

CONS

  • Cannot fit all hardware
  • Quite heavy
  • Not well suited for a wide variety of musical styles

What Recent Buyers Report

Many drummers who have purchased the Evans EMAD report that it has an excellent tone and punch, without sounding dead as bass drums stuffed with pillows or blankets would. Its heavy weight allows drummers to really put their foot down without causing much damage. This has become the go-to head for many experienced drummers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most drummers opt to stuff their bass drums with pillows or blankets to dampen the resonance and sustain of their kicks. With the Evans EMAD, this is not necessary. It has a very clean attack, and just enough sustain and resonance to sound great live. It comes with several options for dampening, making it one of the more versatile drum heads on the market.

Who Will Use This Most

This drum head has been highly favored by the experienced and professional musician. Most found that the Evans EMAD was great for practicing or as a back-up, but was most frequently used in concerts and performances. This is owed to its thunderous sound and compact nature, making it great for projecting across halls and stages.

Bottom Line

The Evans EMAD is most suited to the more experienced drummer, but that does not mean beginner drummers won’t find it useful. It’s great for practicing, as well as for performances, making it quite versatile. This drum head is great if you’re looking for a way to make your kick drum punch without sounding dead, and want a head that can take a lot of force without being damaged.

Runner-up:
Remo P31322-10

Remo P31322-10 Clear Powerstroke 3 Bass Drum Head - 22-Inch - Black Dot

PROS

  • Articulate with a decent amount of attack
  • Versatile, suitable for various musical genres
  • Very durable, can withstand the force of a double-kick pedal
  • Powerful sound, great projection, a great drum head for performances
  • Easy to tune, allowing drummers to create their preferred sound with ease 

CONS

  • Does not have a lot of focus or attack 
  • Prominent low and middle undertones
  • Black dot tends to discolor beater felts

What Recent Buyers Report

Several buyers report that the Remo P31322-10 is an excellent choice to revitalize the sound of old, used drum kits. It’s able to withstand a lot of force, even from double-kick pedals, and still work perfectly. Customers are also pleased that this drum head is just as high-quality as Remo’s other products. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bass drum head is a perfect way to instantly upgrade any drum kit. The difference it makes is astronomical, and it can be rather surprising just how much abuse it can handle without showing even the slightest sign of wear and tear. Your bass drum will likely fall apart before the Remo P31322-10 does.

Who Will Use This Most

The Remo P31322-10 is great for pop, rock, country, and hip-hop musicians, and is well suited for a variety of other styles. It’s great for drummers who like to let loose and really kick their bass, as it is incredibly durable, and can take quite a beating before becoming damaged. 

Bottom Line

The Remo bass drum head provides a fantastic balance of tone control and response. It produces a powerful sound as well as dampens undesired overtones, while still remaining articulate. Its easy to tune, versatile nature makes it a great choice for drummers of all different backgrounds and skill levels. Drummers looking to improve the quality of their old drum kits should look out for this head.

Best for the Money:
Remo Silentstroke

Remo Silentstroke Bass Drumhead, 22'

PROS

  • Can be played in low-noise areas
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes
  • Less overtones produced that with regular heads
  • Versatile enough to also function in a studio environment 
  • Low-volume nature makes it perfect for practicing
  • Durable; can be played with a large amount of force without damage

CONS

  • Does not fit in all pads
  • Must be hit much harder to produce sound
  • Non-nylon-tipped sticks and pedals will likely tear up the head

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers found that the Remo Silentstroke was a great way to lower the volume on their drum kits. They also reported that this head outperformed other heads in terms of durability and playability, as well as retaining accurate tonal control. However, some found that this drum head was too silent and that they had trouble producing a desirable sound. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Remo Silentstroke is unique in that it is designed to muffle the sound of your drums, as opposed to amplifying them. They are designed for quiet practice applications where a more standard drum kit volume would not be appropriate. It's also incredibly durable, meaning drummers can really hit hard without the worry of damaging them or producing too much noise.

Who Will Use This Most

The Remo Silentstroke is suited to drummers of all skill levels who want to practice in places where they might not be able to make much noise. It’s great for beginners to learn the basics, as well as for the advanced drummer to practice their tricky hand and footwork. They’re perfect for drummers who live in areas that require low noise levels, such as apartments or townhouse complexes. 

Bottom Line

This bass drum head is perfect for musicians looking to hone their skills without waking up their neighbors during the small hours of the morning. They are super durable, so you won’t have to worry about damaging them when you go all in. Perfect for practicing!

Best 16 Inch Bass Drum Head:
Evans EMAD Clear Bass Drum Head

Evans EMAD Clear Bass Drum Head, 16 Inch

PROS

  • Perfect for a range of drumming volumes
  • Very versatile, suitable for almost all music styles
  • Provides deep thuds, with a warm and heavy sound
  • Gives the user good control over sustain and overtones
  • Punchy sound makes for excellent projection across large rooms

CONS

  • Dampeners may not muffle all reverb 
  • Plastic rings that hold muffler tend to crack
  • Can sometimes sound like a floor tom rather than a bass drum

What Recent Buyers Report

Like the Remo P31322-10, the Evans EMAD Clear Bass Drum Head is a great way to instantly improve the sound of your kit. Buyers found that this head made a huge difference in their kit’s sound when they used it to replace their original heads. However, there have been some reports of muffler rings being damaged after use, so keep an eye out for that.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bass drum head comes with two acoustic foam dampening rings, one that’s narrow, and one that’s wide. They can be mounted to the front of the drum head with ease, and allow for great control without having to move the head. The Ecan EMAD Clear Bass Drum Head gives you superior versatility, almost like having three heads in one.

Who Will Use This Most

The Evans EMAD Clear is the working drummers best friend. Its extreme versatility allows for use across a wide array of music styles and is suitable for play in numerous environments and settings. This is not the drum head for a heavy hitter though, so if you do plan on going all out, be sure to pick up a bass drum patch to protect your drum head.

Bottom Line

This bass drum head is perfect for drummers on the go and those who find themselves performing at many different locations in many different styles. Its adjustable dampener allows for changes is resonance and sustain on the fly, making it perfect for gigs and performances. 

Best 22 Inch Bass Drum Head:
Evans EMAD 22 Inch Clear

PROS

  • Excellent quality
  • Quick and simple to tune
  • Easy to use, making it beginner-friendly
  • Deep, full sound without a persistent ringing
  • Improves the sound of any drum kit when installed

CONS

  • Smaller foam ring tends to slip off
  • Not very durable can damage easily
  • Produces poor sound if not tuned correctly

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers feel that this drum packs a huge punch while still leaving enough room for great resonance. So you can put that blanket away, you won’t be needing it. The Evans EMAD Clear flaunts some great audible flexibility, whether you’re jamming with your friends or performing in front of crowds. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum head is truly the best out there for playing all styles and genres. It almost sounds like it’s being amplified by a microphone all the time, even in soundproofed rooms. Like the previous drum head, this one comes with the EMAD system, allowing you to change the tuning and resonance of your bass drum whenever you want.

Who Will Use This Most

Like a few of the drum heads we’ve mentioned before, the Evans EMAD 22 inch Clear is suitable for drummers of skills ranging from novice to master and can be used in pretty much all situations. Most drummers found that it sounded best when performing in concerts, at church, or when practicing. 

Bottom Line

As is the case with most Evans EMAD models, the 22 Inch Clear is truly versatile. The Externally Mounted Adjustable Dampening (EMAD) system lets drummers change tuning, resonance and sustain whenever they desire, thus allowing them to perform a variety of styles anywhere they want.

Best Remo Bass Drum Head:
Remo Powerstroke P3

Remo Powerstroke P3 Clear Bass Drumhead, 22'

PROS

  • Very little low-end 
  • Good depth of sound
  • Easy to tune, provides a clean pitch
  • Produces a full bass drum sound without too much sustain
  • Provides great resonance and can be muffled with blankets or pillows

CONS

  • Can be challenging to install
  • Has more attack than actual warm, thick thuds
  • Produces little to no sound when tuned to low settings

What Recent Buyers Report

This drum head is widely used in the drumming community, which in itself is a good sign. Buyers claim that it is a durable, single-ply head with built-in dampening that nevertheless offers great resonance. Pillows or other mufflers can be added to provide further dampening, depending on taste. The Remo Powerstroke is a good, reliable bass drum head.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bass drum head is an excellent starting head for the amateur drummer. As we mentioned before, it’s used extensively by drummers across the world and has become a staple for many. It’s versatile in that the dampening can be altered, but is not complex to do like it’s Evans EMAD counterparts. You can’t go wrong with this one!

Who Will Use This Most

As previously mentioned, the Remo Powerstroke is a great starting head for novice drummers and is also great for professionals looking for a go-to standard. It’s great for performances in halls, churches, and studios, or just for practice at home. Everyone can find some use for this versatile drum head.   

Bottom Line

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: this drum head is good for everyone. It’s not entirely extraordinary, but that is part of the appeal. It’s a fantastic standard that can become a staple in anyone’s drum kit, and is everything you’d expect from a Remo product. 

Best Pearl Bass Drum Head:
Pearl Logo​​​​

Pearl Logo Front Bass Drumhead Black 22 Inch

PROS

  • Good for performance settings
  • Sleek design, aesthetically pleasing
  • EQ ring dampens unwanted overtones
  • Very good quality, premium manufacturing
  • Easy to manage, great for the more casual drummer

CONS

  • Can be difficult to use
  • Logo is small, can be difficult to read
  • Difficult to find, both in stores and online

What Recent Buyers Report

The Pearl Logo bass drum head is a little hard to find on the market, as they usually come standard with Pearl drum sets. That being said, buyers found that this head was a good option when it came to improving the look of their drum kits, due to its sleek black design. Some found that the drum produced an improved sound with a hole in it, though this is recommended for more experienced drummers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Pearl Logo bass drum head is remarkable in that it’s rather ordinary. Pearl is known for manufacturing drum sets for beginners, and this particular bass drum head often comes standard with those sets. Still, it produces a great sound and is easy to use, making it perfect for novice to intermediate drummers. 

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone with even a little bit of drum knowledge knows Pearl. They are one of the biggest brands in the industry and manufacture pretty much every drum accessory imaginable. As such, Pearl’s products are suited for all drummers, and the Pearl Logo drum head is no exception. They’re ready to perform on almost every bass drum, making them perfect for upgrading or customizing your kit.

Bottom Line

The Pearl bass drum head is an industry-standard and for good reason. They’re reliable, durable, and come factory installed on the majority of Pearl’s drums. Regardless of which ones make the most sense for your bass drum, all of Pearl’s bass drum head options are worth your consideration.

Types of Bass Drum Heads

There are a few different bass drum head types available on the market. Here are the main options you will encounter:

Double Ply

Double-ply bass drum heads are more durable than their single-ply counterparts (which we’ll get to in a moment) and provide more attack, less sustain, and fewer overtones. They’re perfect for rock music and other styles where endurance is key. Many double-ply heads come with a ring on the outer edge, which helps control overtones.

Single Ply

Single-ply drum heads are the most basic types of drum heads on the market, and are typically the thinnest as well, making them less durable. They are more resonant than double-ply drum heads and are bright, which brings out the overtones of a drum. They’re perfect for lighter styles of music such as jazz, but can occasionally be used for rock.

Clear and Coated Heads

A drum head that has been coated tends to produce a more muffled sound, whereas clear heads produce a brighter, more open sound. The style you choose comes down to personal taste, as is the case with all drum heads. 

Pre-Muffled

To help drummers achieve a muffled sound without them having to stuff their drums with blankets or pillows, manufacturers produce models with varying types of built-in muffling. The primary goal of these heads is to remove overtones and concentrate the drum’s overall tone. 

How to Change a Bass Drum Head 

Before attempting to change your bass drum heads, there are a couple of things you should do first. It’s a great idea to start by cleaning your shell, as it can help with tuning. To ensure a smoother tuning process, it’s recommended that you place a few drops of oil lubricant on the tension rods, as well as prevent the lug casing and tension rods from slipping. 

  1. First, remove the drum head. Then, wipe the inside of the shell and the bearing edge with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust. Now is also a great time to polish the shell, but it’s not necessary. Wipe the drum hoop as well to remove any dust.   

  2. Now to install the drum head. Place the drum head onto the shell, and rotate it back a forth a couple of times to ensure it moves freely. Then, place the hoop onto the shell, place the tension rods into the lugs, and then you can tighten them. They should be tight but not overtightened on the hoop. 

  3. Next comes the tuning process. You’ll need to seat them before you tune them to pitch. You will hear a cracking sound during the seating process. Don’t panic, this is completely normal.  

  4. Tighten the drum with 2 drum keys until the drum head produces a pitch and is no longer creased. Lightly press down the center of the drum in a CPR motion a few times. Tap all sides of the head directly in front of the tension rods to make sure that the pitch is the same on all sides of the drum.

If you’d like a more in-depth visual tutorial, see the video below. 

Conclusion

Much like everything else in life, choosing the right drum head can be difficult. It all comes down to taste, preference, and what you want from your head. Hopefully, after reading this review, you’ll find that task a little less challenging!

People Also Ask

To the novice drummer, buying drum kits and drum heads can sometimes be an overwhelming task. Here are some frequently asked questions to help make life a little easier. 

When Should I Change My Drum Heads?

There is no hard and fast rule as to when a drummer should replace their drum heads, unfortunately. As we’ve mentioned time and time again, different drummers play differently. If you play very often or hit very hard, you’ll most likely need to change your drum heads frequently. 

What Are Bass Drum Heads Made of?

Bass drum heads are made from either one or two plies of mil film. The one-ply models are available in coated or clear variants, while the two-ply models are only available coated. 

How Do You Measure Drum Heads?

Measuring a drum head is a relatively simple task. Simply remove the drum head from the drum, and use a tape measure to measure the diameter of the shell from the outside. This measurement will be precisely the measurement of the drum head that fits the shell. Voila!