5 Best MIDI Drum Pads

For those who want to experiment with electronic drumming, MIDI drum pads are fantastic as they are great for quickly coming up with beats in a way that is simpler than using a computer.

For those who want to make music, MIDI drum pads are an essential piece of equipment as they boast the most advanced technology and with a whole range available on the market, there are plenty of models at varying price points to suit all kinds of budgets.

But which one is the right one for you? Whether you’re wanting the best of the best or a great starter MIDI drum pad to kickstart your career, we’ve gathered the best on the market so you don’t have to.

They can be used for both studio recordings and live performances so you can use them wherever you go with ease. 

Here are the top 5 MIDI drum pads on the market that you should consider:

OUR TOP PICK

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EDITORS CHOICE

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BEST VALUE

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OUR TOP PICK

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Our top recommendation is the Native Instruments Maschine MK3 which boasts an integrated hardware and software system which includes a sampler, arranger, mixer, FX and much more.

Ideal for professionals, these drum pads include 25GB Komplete 11 Select library which features 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX.

The body of the drum pads themselves are made from pro-grade materials with an array of features including dynamic mic inputs and stereo headphone out so you can practice anywhere without disturbing anyone.

The touch sensitive knobs are perfect for parameter tweaking and the smart strip is perfect for strumming notes, pitch bending sounds and performing with FX.

What makes this our top choice is how versatile this drum pad is as it can connect to an array of systems including Mac, Intel Core and Windows.

It can be used for both live performances and recording sessions meaning that you won’t have to purchase any further additional equipment. 

EDITORS CHOICE

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Our second selection is the Ableton Push 2 which is a hardware instrument for hands on playability with Ableton Live 10. Boasting new sampling workflows, you can now slice, play and manipulate samples with a simple push of the button.

With the opportunity to play or step sequence beats, notes, chords and automation, you can make new music from scratch making it great for drummers of all abilities.

The large multicolor display and 8 touch sensitive encoders make it easier to control mixers, devices and instruments whilst also allowing live browser navigation thanks to the advanced technology.

This drum pad comes with Live 10 Intro software so you can get a taster for the software and have an enhanced experience using the instrument and seeing the additional features that are available.

BEST VALUE

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Our third choice is the Akai Professional MPD218 which provides an ultra portable, feature packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples and effects among many more features.

The easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads which are also expandable for convenience.

The 18 fully assignable 360 degree potentiometers are accessible through three banks which are designed to control DAW, virtual effects and virtual instrument parameters. 

These drum pads have an MPC note repeat and full level controls for an immersive expressive performance as well as a comprehensive software suite including Ableton Live Lite, Sonivox Big Bang cinematic percussion and Big Bang universal drums.

Ideal for professionals and aspiring musicians who want to create rich sounding music, this instrument includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series.

You can control iOS apps through the drum pad for extra versatility.

RUNNER UP

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Our penultimate recommendation is the Korg nanoPAD2 which is a low profile pad controller which makes it excellent for playing or entering drum data. With sixteen solid, responsive and velocity sensitive trigger pads, this is perfect for drummers of all abilities.

With the ability to control multiple MIDI parameters through the X-Y touchpad, this is incredibly easy to set up and use.

With features including a new track select and marker advance parameters as well as 8 channels which each have three buttons, one fader and one knob, this has become a firm favorite among an array of drummers.

The dedicated transport control section boasts the most advanced technology and it can also support numerous software titles including major DAW programs for versatility. 

RUNNER UP

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Our final selection is the Akai Professional LPD8 which is ideal for those who like to make music on the go thanks to the 13 inch, slimline ultra portable pad controller with 8 backlit velocity sensitive drum pads which can trigger samples, loops and control virtual instruments among many more features.

The 8 MPC Q-Link knobs for seamless mapping to DAW parameters, virtual instruments and effect parameters for hands-on control and expressive performances.

The customized production experience includes 4 programmable memory banks which provide an instant recall of mappings for DAWs, virtual instruments and effects.

It has been designed for portability and can be stowed away easily in a laptop bag for production capability everywhere. The effortless set up is USB powered and boasts a plug and play set up for both Mac and PC. 

Buyers Guide

When researching which MIDI drum pad is best for you, it’s important to consider an array of factors before you make that important decision. This is to prevent any disappointment or further spending in the future.

Always consider your ability, what you will be using the MIDI drum pad for, what size drum pads you need and your budget.

Once you’ve given each aspect a lot of thought and consideration, you’ll be in a position where you can make a decision that is fully informed and you can feel confident with. 

5 Best MIDI Drum Pads

Ability

The first thing you must always consider when it comes to any musical instrument is your ability.

This is because particular instruments are catered to various abilities so if you’re a beginner and purchase a drum pad that is more geared towards professionals, you may become overwhelmed and it may take longer to get used to the basics. 

On the other hand, a professional won’t get much from a drum pad made for beginners as it won’t have the advanced pads and features needed.

What you’re using the MIDI drum pad for

The next factor to think about is what you will be using the drum pad for. The majority of drum pads in this list can be used for both live performances and studio recordings but there are some that outperform in one area.

If you are looking for a drum pad for one specific use then always make sure that the drum pad you are looking to purchase is capable of performing the task.

Size of drum pads

The size of the drum pads is an important factor as professional musicians are probably wanting a variety of drum pads so they can create unique sounds whereas aspiring musicians are best with more limited choice so they can get used to the basics first.

MIDI drum pads provide a different drumming experience than acoustic drums so it’s best for beginners to get a simpler model. 

Budget

Lastly, you must consider your budget. As you can see from the options in this article, prices of drum pads can vary depending on what features they have and the amount of pads they have.

If you have a stricter budget, you can purchase one of the cheaper options on our list and still experience the high quality whereas for professionals who want to splurge, the top two choices in this list are perfect for creating crisp sounds. 

Conclusion

Deciding which one is the best one for you is all based on your own criteria and what you want to get out of the product.

Whether you’re a professional musician with the money to spend or just getting started and want a high quality product at a great price point, this article is the perfect place to start and is sure to give you some inspiration and further understanding into which one is going to give you the best performance.