The best bass drum pedal is one that complements your playing. It is the vital link between your foot and the bass drum. It has the job of translating every stroke you play to the drum head. It affects speed, power, finesse, feedback, and more. Just think of the responsibility you’re giving to this pedal.
A good pedal will allow your skills to show through, while a bad one will hold you back and even contribute to poor playing. Make sure you invest in a quality pedal to suit your playing style and it will be your trusty companion for many years. There are some really expensive pedals out there, but this post will only consider pedals that are more affordable.
If you want to find out more about some of the features of these pedals, or what they mean, be sure to read the buying guide at the bottom of this post.
10 Best Bass Drum Pedal Choices in 2020
DW 5000 Series Single Bass Drum Pedal
DW’s 5000 series pedal has been well-loved by professionals for many years thanks to great feel and robust design. The pedals have been continually improved over time with new features and designs. Now the 5000 series pedals are the smoothest and the best they’ve ever been.
The DW 5000 Series Single Bass Drum Pedal is available with two distinctive drive systems to suit your playing style. Choose from either the Accelerator (AD4) drive which utilises an eccentric cam to increase pedal velocity and shorten stroke length for increased playing speed and feel, or the Turbo (TD4) drive which utilises a concentric cam to preserve a smooth stroke for dependable feel and feedback in your playing.
DW’s patented Delta ball-bearings and aluminium hinge give the pedal a lightweight construction and smooth operation and your strokes will be quick and responsive with the dual-bearing spring rocker. You can change up your sound at any time with the two-way bass drum beater.
You won’t have any problems connecting to your bass drum thanks to DW’s Tri-Pivot™ Toe Clamp. It ensures the pedal is connected securely regardless of bass drum hoop size or angle. An all new non skid rubber grip means your pedal stays exactly where you put it.
Tama Iron Cobra 600 Duo Glide Single Pedal
The Tama HP600D Iron Cobra 600 Duo Glide Single Pedal gives you many of the great features from Tama’s flagship Iron Cobra 900 series, at a lower price. You get a strong double chain drive for strength and stability and the pedal’s hoop clamp angle rotates to match the angle of your bass drum hoop to keep the pedal flat.
Playing friction is kept to a minimum with Tama’s Speedo-Ring which uses a high quality bearing instead of nylon for ultra-smooth playing. The Spring Tight system ensures that none of your playing power is lost by using a half-moon spring tension rod to prevent spring twist.
The Iron Cobra 600 gives you a choice of two cams, both built into the pedal. You can quickly change between the Rolling Glide (concentric) cam for smooth and consistent strokes, or the Power Glide (eccentric) cam for more powerful strokes, depending on your playing style and personal preference.
This video overview shows off the features of the Iron Cobra 600 Series pedal:
Pearl P-930 Demonator Bass Drum Pedal with Interchangeable Cam
The Pearl P-930 Demonator Bass Drum Pedal combines elements of Pearl’s high-end Demon Drive pedals with their award winning Eliminator range, creating a bass drum pedal with a quality and playability never seen before for the price. The level of customisation available on this pedal is impressive, making it suitable for any musical style. Unleash your playing potential without breaking the bank.
The Demonator features an extended footboard which is ideal for playing techniques like heel-toe for fast double strokes. Pearl’s dual faced ‘Control Core’ beater gives you excellent feedback and absorbs excess vibrations with its elastomer anti-vibration beater core. You can easily switch between faces for your preferred sound.
A rubberised hoop clamp ensures that the pedal grips firmly to your bass drum and will stay in place no matter how hard you play.
Your preferred spring tension will be locked in place with Pearl’s Click-Lock spring tensioner, so you won’t experience any change in tension as you play. A fully adjustable footboard allows you to move the footboard towards or away from the bass drum with the PowerShifter function to change the leverage of the chain for a lighter, or a stronger feel. You can even change between eccentric and concentric cam profiles by adding or removing the included orange progressive cam.
Here’s a quick video demo of the P930 Demonator’s features and playability:
Sonor Jojo Mayer Perfect Balance Single Bass Drum Pedal
Drummer JoJo Mayer claims to have owned pretty much every bass drum pedal on the market over the years. But he wasn’t satisfied with any of them. He believes that pedals have been tweaked too much to provide power and volume and left behind the more natural feel of older pedals. In answer to this, he teamed up with Sonor to engineer the Perfect Balance pedal, the 21st century re imagining of classic 1950’s era playability. The pedal is driven by a ballistic fibre strap and has a longboard footboard, perfect for sliding and heel toe styles of playing. It comes with a padded carrying bag.
The Sonor Jojo Mayer Perfect Balance Single Bass Drum Pedal can go with you anywhere thanks to the quick release design which allows you to release the pedal from the bass drum and fold it away in one quick movement for maximum portability.
The same is true in reverse. The pedal mounts to any bass drum in seconds with the self-mounting hoop clamp – simply lock the pedal into its playing position and it grabs onto the bass drum hoop itself.
The perfectly balanced design means that the beater returns at the same speed as it goes forward, an optimised design which makes the pedal feel like a natural extension of your foot and reduces the need for adjustability which other pedals need.
Jojo Mayer himself describes the features and benefits of his Perfect Balance pedal:
Pearl P3000D Eliminator Demon Drive Bass Drum Pedal
The Pearl P3000D Eliminator Demon Drive Bass Drum Pedal has a truly amazing amount of adjustment. No matter what style you play, the P3000D will adapt to perfectly suit your needs. It is engineered to provide an effortless link between your input and musical realisation on the bass drum with precise power and effortless speed. A custom carry case is provided to protect your investment.
Prefer a heavier feel? Or maybe lighter? Simply adjust the direct drive link depending on your preference. Ninja Bearings give you lightning fast and incredibly smooth playing feel.
If you prefer a longboard to a standard footboard, the P3000D allows you to change configurations in seconds to give you a lighter stroke when speed is key. Switch up the beater position for a softer of more powerful stroke with the built in beater stroke adjustment.
The Click Lock system ensures any changes in your spring tension adjustments are unchanged as you play. An adjustable traction plate allows you to easily change between a smooth footboard for sliding techniques, or a gripped surface if you prefer. Footboard height adjustment lets you sit the footboard in just the right position for your style of playing. There are reference marks to make sure you can remember your favourite positions.
A quick video rundown of the P3000D’s extensive adjustability and features:
Gibraltar 5711S Chain Drive Single Bass Drum Pedal
The pedal has a solid feeling construction owing to a steel footplate. It will grip firmly to your bass drum with its spring-loaded bass drum clamp which is tightened with a drum key. There’s a handy place to store the key in the pedal’s frame.
Don’t be put off by the simplicity of the 5711S. The pedal’s action is quick and responsive. The smooth footplate lets you play strokes with a sliding motion, without anything getting in your way. It is also comfortable for players who prefer to play barefoot.
The pedal features a single chain cam drive and you get a dual surface bass drum beater with felt and plastic faces so you can switch between sounds easily. Adjust the pedal’s spring tension to get the right feel for your playing style.
You can be sure that the 5711S will stay firmly in place thanks to double stabiliser spurs and velcro at the heel of the pedal.
Check out an overview of the 5711 single and double pedal’s features:
Tama HP30 Stage Master Single Bass Drum Pedal
The Tama HP30 Stage Master Single Bass Drum Pedal is a quality pedal at an affordable price. You get the same Power Glide offset cam design as the much more expensive Iron Cobra Power Glide pedal. This gives you a quick and powerful stroke with little effort. The beater angle is fully adjustable and is directly linked to the angle of the footboard. With this feature, normally reserved for more expensive models, you can tune in your perfect stroke. You can easily switch between a softer or punchier sound by switching between the felt and plastic sides of the beater. You’ll never suffer from effects of twisting tension springs thanks to the Spring Tight locking feature.
DW 3000 Series Double Bass Drum Pedal
The DW 3000 Series Double Bass Drum Pedal is perfect for any drummer looking to get into playing with a double pedal. The slave pedal uses a single post design which allows you to sit your hi-hat pedal really close to the bass drum pedal for quick changes as there’s nothing to get in the way.
You get a dual faced beater with felt and high-impact plastic faces for fast and articulate tones for any musical style.
This double kick pedal includes a drum key and clip, so that there is always a key handy for when you want to adjust the height of the foot-board.
You can be sure that the 3000 series will withstand long sessions and many years of playing thanks to strong components including dual chain drive and steel base plate. The pedal will stay firmly in place with dual adjustable toe clamps, twin stabilising spikes, and velcro pads, so you can be sure of the pedal’s stability.
Here’s a video of the pedal’s great features, demonstrated by the ever enthusiastic Nick D’Virgilio:
Mapex P800TW Armory Response Drive Double Bass Drum Pedal
The P800TW Mapex Armory Response Drive Double Bass Drum Pedal is a great looking double pedal from Mapex’s Armory range of gig-quality equipment for the serious player who needs strength and adjustability in their hardware. The pedal is available in three finishes – black plated, chrome, or a combination of both.
It features a dual chain drive with an offset cam for maximum punch when you need it. The dual faced bass drum beaters give you a choice of felt or rubber playing surfaces, and they have built in weights which let you customise the way the beaters feel. You have the choice of 10g or 20g weights, or removing them altogether.
The P800TW’s rubber coated hoop clamp won’t damage your bass drum hoop, and the wing nut to tighten the clamp is easy to access, rather than being hidden away beneath the pedal.
An extended footboard doesn’t limit your playing, making for effortless double strokes and heel-toe techniques. The pedal is very fast and stable and will be able to keep up at any speed. It includes a padded carrying case for extra protection when you’re moving about.
This video shows off the great features of this Mapex pedal:
PDP Concept PDSPCXF by DW
The PDP Concept PDSPCXF by DW is great value for your money. PDP products are designed by Drum Workshop, who are well known in the industry to create quality hardware, as a cost conscious alternative. This means you still get the great quality and innovation of a more expensive DW pedal, without the price tag.
This is a professional quality pedal, suitable for a hard life of gigging. The ‘XF’ extended footboard not only looks great with its smooth polished aluminium, but it gives you 10.6 inches of playing surface, suitable for any foot technique, heel up, or heel down. The low mass cobalt cam and dual chain drive system give you strength and great response, which is complemented by the Needle Bearing Hinge with very low friction so your speed and technique will be complemented with great feel and balance.
You can adjust your Concept pedal to suit your playing style with a fully adjustable spring rocker, to get the beater exactly where you like it, and switch between soft felt and hard plastic beater surfaces with the dual faced PDP beater. You can attach the pedal to your bass drum with an easily accessible side adjustable toe clamp and attach it firmly to the ground with retractable spurs. It also has a mount for your drum key.
DW artist Scott Pellegrom demonstrates the Concept pedal in his unique way:
It’s easy for us to look at the pedal as a whole, and ignore the individual components. But it’s handy to know what these are and the role they play in the overall unit.
Photo by Dave Kobrehel Under creative commons licence
There are two main variations of the footboard. The most common type has a hinge beneath the player’s heel. The bottom-most section of the footboard is fixed and does not move.
On the other hand, a ‘longboard’ is hinged at the very bottom of the footboard. This means that the entire footboard contributes to playing.
This design is favoured by players who use bass drum techniques such as heel-toe for quick double strokes. The longboard is also ideal for players with larger feet and shoes.
The footboard connects to the beater through what is referred to as the ‘drive’. You’ll see variations such as chain, belt, and direct drive systems.
Chain driven pedals are the most common because they can keep cost down. They come in single and double chain versions.
Single chains play a bit quicker but may not hold up to sustained heavy playing. Double chains are stronger and have less side to side movement in the footboard.
Chain drive pedals may briefly lose some tension when the footboard springs back, which some players don’t like.
Producing less friction than a chain drive, belt driven pedals offer a lighter feeling stroke. In the past they had problems with durability, but are now as strong or stronger than a chain drive. Belts largely hold their shape throughout a stroke, so you get a consistent feel.
Direct drive pedals give you an extremely fast and precise action for consistent playing. Direct drive is great for high speed playing and double bass pedals.
Cams are little wonders of mechanical engineering. They appear in everything from car engines to photocopiers. In the case of our bass drum pedal, they translate the player’s input from the footboard to the desired movement of the beater. There’s a couple of different cam types used in bass drum pedals:
Also known as round cams, concentric cams have a semi-circular profile which translates your stroke from the footboard to the beater in a linear (continuous) way.
Unlike a concentric cam, an eccentric (aka offset) cam uses a non-linear profile. In short, this means you’ll get a (very slightly) slower, but much stronger stroke.
This allows much more power to be delivered to the drum head for the same effort.
What if you can’t, or don’t want to choose between cam types? Then maybe an adjustable cam would be a great choice.
Some pedals allow you to simply switch between concentric and eccentric cam profiles, while some give you a fully adjustable range for a truly customised action.
Choosing a bass drum beater can be quite overwhelming. There’s an enormous range of beater types, styles, materials and sizes available.
Different beaters will affect your sound, playability, and feedback. Don’t forget that you can always change the beater if you change your mind so you won’t be stuck with the same one forever!
Note for electronic drum kit owners: Feel free to use any bass drum pedal with your kit, but make sure to use a hard beater such as plastic if you have a mesh head.
A softer beater will eventually wear through the head. It’s not so much of a problem if you have a rubber pad.
Because there’s a lot to cover, I’ll go into detail with beaters in a separate post.
A lot of kick drum pedals have a solid base plate which gives you a firm and level surface to play on. These are perfect if you’re looking for a solid construction and maximum stability.
If portability is a concern, it’s worth considering a pedal with the ability to fold. Check this in the pedal’s description if you’re going to be moving about a lot.
Some pedals feature a minimal ‘wire’ base which allows for light weight and folding design.
Double bass drum pedal
Ahh, the venerated double pedal. The go-to weapon of choice for metal and heavy rock drummers, this pedal style has uses in many genres.
Consider a double pedal If you want serious speed or want to create technical patterns without splashing out on a second bass drum. Just make sure your poor hands can keep up!
A double pedal uses the same components as a single pedal, with the addition of a mechanical linkage, or ‘drive shaft’, between pedals.
Note for electronic kit players: make sure your bass drum pad supports double pedals before buying.
As you can see, there’s quite a few considerations when it comes to choosing your perfect pedal. While a bass drum pedal won’t turn you into an amazing player overnight, it will certainly help if you put the work in.
A poor quality or badly adjusted pedal will have the opposite effect, hindering your playing and giving you a lot of frustration. For this reason, a quality pedal is an investment which should be considered carefully as a good one will last you for many years.
These ten pedals offer a mix of affordability, customisation, and feel. It’s up to you what style of pedal will work with your playing style and ability.
If I were to pick one of these five and crown it with the honour of best pedal, it would be the DW 5000 Series, due to its great reputation, solid construction, and playability. It’s a pedal that has been around for a long time, and continues to get better.
What’s your favourite bass drum pedal? Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.