Best Electronic Snare Drums of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

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The snare drum was initially derived from the tabor, a medieval drum made of animal skins.

Nowadays, many innovations have led to a whole re-creation of the snare drum, and you can even buy electronic models.

Let's have a look at what a snare drum is and which are the best models of this year. 

Comparison of the Best Electronic Snare Drums

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Lightweight 10’’ mesh head for V-Drums
  • Excellent for use as a snare or floor tom pads with other V-drums
  • Advanced dual-trigger sensor, tensionable head, compact casing, dual-mounting capability
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  • New, improved rim zones
  • 10" snare with Real-time control knob and aluminum shell
  • New textured silicone head for high playability and response
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  • Best for the money
  • Includes L-arm, clamp, and ¼" connection cable
  • Dual-zone mesh head offers the feel of acoustic drum
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  • Improved V-pad for snare
  • Separate rim and triggering
  • Expanded 10” rim for a comfortable and quiet experience
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  • 50 high-quality drum and percussion sounds
  • Compact, budget-friendly electronic drum, percussion kit
  • Addition of two inputs for hi-hat controller pedal, bass drum trigger included
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What Are the Components of an Electronic Snare Drum?

There are few things that make up the instrument we know as the electronic snare drum. These comprise of the following:

Top Head

The electronic snare drum is made of two heads that are often constructed from plastic. It also has a rattle of metal wires on the bottom, known as the snares. Some models feature the wires on the top or even on both heads. 

Bottom Head

The top head of the snare drum is known as the batter head because this is where you strike it. The bottom part of the drum is called the snare head because this is the location of the snares. 

Tension Rods

Furthermore, each head's tension is held constant through the tension rods. Adjusting the tension rods allows the player to customize the tonal character and the pitch according to their liking. 

This occurs through the strainer, a level that makes contact between the snares and the head, allowing for tension adjustment. If the strainer is not engaged, the sound of the snare drum will be similar to a tom because the snares are not used. 

Rim

The metal ring located around the batter head is known as the rim. This component is used for numerous things, including making piercing rimshots with the drumsticks

How Do I Choose an Electronic Snare Drum?

There are many aspects when choosing your snare drum. Some of them include:

Materials

First of all, the snare drum shell can be made from different materials. The most common one is birch, a material that is bright, loud, and has a nice high-range. Maple snare drums are more balanced, with the right amount of lows, mids, and high-range with a slightly dampened tone. Mahogany has similar properties as maple, but it can really pop. Walnut snare drums come with plenty of mids and low-range but a bit less high-range. 

Construction

There are different types of snare drums. Some of them are made from truly solid wood, which means that there is no glue connecting the pieces. They have pure tones with a natural touch. Stave snare drum shells have the shape of a cylinder and have pure tonal qualities.

Size

The sound and pitch of the snare drum are proportional to its width, diameter, construction process, and materials. For instance, a snare drum of less than 5.5" width will have a tight pop. If you need a loud, open one, go for a fatter size. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best electronic snare drums:

  1. Roland PDX-100
  2. Yamaha XP120SD
  3. Alesis Mesh Pad 8

Review of the Best Electronic Snare Drums

We have covered the basics of how to select the best electronic snare drum, so let’s move on and help to find the right one for you.

Best Overall:
Roland PDX-100

Roland PDX-100 Electronic V-Drum Pad, 10-Inch

PROS

  • Weighs only 3.75 pounds
  • Contains a tensionable head with no need to adjust it
  • Has a dual-mounting option for individual positioning
  • Features an advanced dual-trigger sensor, rim hoop, and compact casing
  • Can be used as a snare and/or floor tom pads with TD-30K or other V-drums

CONS

  • Center-placed sensor that makes the volume too high
  • Does not include the mounting hardware, which needs to be ordered separately

What Recent Buyers Report

This pad is actually much appreciated among buyers, as it has the feel of a real snare. It has very good sensitivity even to the lightest touch, which is ideal for Roland drums and smaller pads. Unfortunately, it has a center-placed sensor that makes the drum very loud, but it can be managed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a solid, professional, and good value pad. There is no need to adjust it, it has a real feel, and it is very responsive to even the lightest touch. It has a really nice bounce, is lightweight, and is compatible with Roland drums.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is actually professional, so it’s ideal for people who already know something about drums and just want to explore this hobby. Yes, beginners can use it, but we would recommend it to those who already know a few things about the drums.

Bottom Line

This is a great pad due to its light weight and dual-mounting option that allows you to mount it wherever feels best for you. It feels like a real snare, the buyers are very pleased with it, and the sound is very clear and high-quality. 

Runner-up:
Yamaha XP120SD

Yamaha XP120SD 3-Zone 12' Textured Silicone Electronic Snare with Controller Knob

PROS

  • Tom pads adjusted to match each other
  • Reduces cross talk and has increased sensitivity
  • Fantastically quiet, works just right in any performance
  • Weighs 11 pounds and has dimensions of 16.1x16.1x4.9 inches
  • 10" snare provides superior response and feels amazing when you play it

CONS

  • Three zones are not the same as the 10" pad
  • Slightly too expensive for beginners and those on a budget

What Recent Buyers Report

This pad feels like a snare. It rebounds correctly and has the right bite. It has a very real feel, and the sound quality and response are ideal. The pad provides a lot more bounce and a lot less noise, but it is a bit too expensive. The price meets the expectations, however, so if you can afford it, you are going to love it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This item offers the snare feel while offering a lot more bounce and less noise. It is ideal for performances, features increased sensitivity, and feels just amazing when you play it. Even though its price is a bit high compared to others, it's definitely worth it.

Who Will Use This Most

This snare is ideal for people who already play drums and know some things about this hobby. Beginners will most likely take a step back, especially because it seems to be quite pricey compared to other models. However, it is highly recommended due to its excellent sensitivity.  

Bottom Line

This product is ideal for people who already own drums and know some basic information about them. If you want that real snare feel, this product is what you're looking for. Due to its increased sensitivity, it offers an amazing feeling when you play it.

Best for the Money:
Alesis Mesh Pad 8

Alesis Mesh Pad 8 | 8' Mesh Head Drum Pad with Acoustic Feel for Electronic Drum Modules (L-arm, Clamp, & Cable included)

PROS

  • Duplicates the feel of acoustic drum
  • Compatible with almost every electronic drum set
  • Includes 8" mesh head, L-arm, clamp, cable, and manual
  • Innovative mesh pad offers a classic-feeling drum experience
  • Tension mesh head can be adjusted with a standard drum key

CONS

  • Can break a little easily
  • Not the perfect sensitivity

What Recent Buyers Report

This snare doesn't make very much noise, and it has an amazing feel when playing it. The sound it makes is amazing, and it's worth every penny due to its high-quality. For a few people, it broke a little too soon, but they were able to get a replacement. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum pad really offers the feeling of a classic drum experience and duplicates the feel of an acoustic drum. It is compatible with numerous electric drum sets, and the bass is amazing. It offers great quality and is easy to use. You can just plug and play.

Who Will Use This Most

We would recommend it to those who already played before and can compare its high-quality to others. It works just fine as a gift to beginners, as it can offer a very pleasant experience. Furthermore, the clamp is tool-less, which is a great feature. You will certainly be impressed with the feel and performance of this product. 

Bottom Line

This drum pad is a high-quality one, compared to others on the market. It is very easy to use. You can just plug and play, and you will feel that amazing feeling when playing it. The sound is amazing, and it is also compatible with almost any drum set.

Roland PDX-8 Electronic V-Drum Pad, 8-Inch

PROS

  • Separate rim and head triggering
  • The newest mesh V-pad from Roland
  • Amazing experience when used with Roland drums
  • Offers an authentic experience and amazing feel when played
  • Offers an expanded 10" rim for more quiet and comfortable rimshots

CONS

  • Need to buy the mount separately to hold the drums
  • If you hit the head moderately hard, it triggers the rimshot

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers love the PDX-8, as it has an ideal size. It has a hot spot in the middle, which, if you hit it, it doubles the volume, but that spot won't be touched that often. The sensibility is perfect, you don't need extra cables for it, and it feels just like playing an acoustic.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum pad offers the real-feel experience and has an excellent bounce. The pad comes with the trigger cable. It is nice and quiet and has great responsiveness and sensitivity. It also features an improved V-pad and is very comfortable to play.

Who Will Use This Most

We would recommend it to those who already play drums and know how to feel the high-quality of this product. Beginners can use it, too, but due to its slightly high price, it is more for intermediate-advanced players. It is comfortable, offers high quality, and will certainly take your performance to the next level. 

Bottom Line

This product is really amazing because of its capacity to offer an authentic experience and amazing feel. It has an excellent bounce and offers a real-feel experience. It has a great bounce to it, and it is extremely responsive. This snare certainly deserves its place on your shortlist!

Kat Percussion KTMP1 Electronic Drum and Percussion Pad Sound Module

PROS

  • Sounds can be tuned
  • Can be played with both sticks
  • Features a USB/MIDI connectivity
  • Features 4 velocity-sensitive pads
  • Quickest and easiest way of improving your setup and hands

CONS

  • USB might not work
  • Doesn't have that professional sound, might not work flawlessly

What Recent Buyers Report 

Even though it is not the most professional product, it is very good. It offers great sound but is not ideal for live performers. It is cheaper than other products and much easier to play, but it has a small lag when using it with a USB. Despite this, it comes with 50 top-notch percussion and drum sounds. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It is a cheaper alternative that is perfect for those who want to get used to playing the drums. The sound is good, and it is easy to connect and play and has four velocity-sensitive pads. The 50 drum and percussion sounds make a very good starting point for learning.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for small solo/acoustic gigs, for beginners, or for people who just want to practice and have fun. It is not ideal for live performers or those who seek a professional product. If you are on a budget but want a great-quality snare drum, this is one of the best options for you. 

Bottom Line

This product is quite cheap and ideal for people who want to learn a few things about drums. It can offer a wide variety of sounds, can be played with both hands or sticks, and is easy to use. Plus, the sounds can be tuned quickly. This is definitely the best option for beginners and people on a tight budget!

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

Here are some aspects you need to know before buying:

Shell

The shell is important not only for aesthetics but also because it can have a huge impact on the sound. If you are not well-versed with snare drum shells, you can check out your favorite songs and look up the materials of the snare drums used. You can also check out tutorials and other materials to help you decide on the material. 

Hoops

Most snare drums today contain die-cast and triple-flange metal hoops or rings. Die-cast models have a sturdy, rock-solid feel that is ideal for loud rimshots. They also create fewer overtones, and the drum rings less. On the other hand, triple-flange hoops will give you more overtones with enhanced snare sensitivity. 

Lugs/Tension Rods

The lug design can also impact the sound of the snare drum. Most importantly, you will likely find lots of inventive split-lug designs and other creative ones. When it comes to tensioning the drumhead, tension rods are the most popular choice among manufacturers. Although they are important, they do not have as much of an impact as the material. That is still the main element you need to consider before purchasing a snare drum. 

Conclusion

All in all, we are convinced that you now have all the information you need to choose the best electronic snare drum for your needs. It might be difficult to determine exactly what you need, so we hope our complete buyer's guide will help you out with the most important aspects.