Best Drum Dampeners
|Drum Dampener||Type||Which drums can you use it with?||How it dampens drums?||Reusable?||Price Range||Check Prices Now|
|3M no residue duct tape||Tape / Adhesive||All||Absorbs energy each time you hit the drums, reducing resonance and overtones||Yes||$|
|SlapKlatz Pro Dampening Gels||Drum Dampening Gel||All||Absorbs energy each time you hit the drums, reducing resonance and overtones||Yes||$|
|Snareweight M80||Weight drum dampener||All, except those with S hoops or Tama Arc Hoop||Leather strip works as weight to dampen drum.||Yes||$$|
|The Drum Clip||Weight / Pressure drum dampener||All. Less frequent for bass drum||Eliminates unwanted frequencies by blocking out those vibrations.||Yes||$|
|Remo Tone Control Ring Pack||O-ring or control rings||All||Eliminates unwanted frequencies by blocking out those vibrations.||Depends on the size of your drum heads||$$$|
|Gibraltar Felt Strips||Felt Strips||Mostly for bass drums. There are drummers who use this for toms as well.||Eliminates unwanted frequencies by blocking out those vibrations.||Depends on size of drum head plus wear and tear||$|
Comparison of the best drum dampeners available in the market now
Are your drums leave your ears ringing?
If you are not a hard hitter, it’s probably because of the extra overtones being created.
You can get rid of that ringing sound with drum dampeners, and that’s what we’re talking about today!
What you’ll learn in this article (click to skip to section):
- What is Drum Dampening?
- 3 Ways to Dampen Your Drums
- Comparison of Drum Dampeners
- How to choose a suitable drum dampeners for your needs?
What is Drum Dampening?
Drum dampening is the process that drummers do to reduce undesired sounds from their drums, such as the high-pitch ringing sound that happens with each beat or the over buzzing from snare wires on snare drums.
As the term ‘drum dampening’ suggests, you’ll ‘dampen’, ‘muffle’ or ‘reduce’ certain undesired sound properties of your drums.
In this article, we’ll focus solely on the best drum dampeners for drummers today.
The table at the top of this article gives you a compilation of the best drum dampeners, in a glance.
In the next section, we take a deep dive into the 3 different types of drum dampeners and give you the best option in each category.
Each of these categories will allow you to dampen your drums to varying degree.
Knowing how to use them will give you a versatile tool kit to work with when you need to dampen any drum set.
So, let’s dive in:
3 Ways To Dampen Your Drums
- Use drum dampening accessories
- Get the right drum heads
- Get drum heads that come with built-in dampening systems or sound control systems
There are many tools and ways to dampen your drums. You should choose your tool depending on how much dampening you require.
I’ve wrote a detailed guide previously on how to dampen drums, you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to use various drum dampeners there.
However, in this article, I share the best drum dampeners, broken down by methods. Hopefully this will be more useful for you, than a random list of drum dampeners.
1) Drum dampening accessories
These refer to accessories that you can add onto your drum kit or specific drums in your kit to dampen and get your desired sounds.
- Duct Tape
- Drum Dampening Gels
- Weights (light)
- Felt Strips
Here are the best option for each category:
Best Duct Tape for Drum Dampening
3M no residue duct tape
According to many real drummers across at least 3 forums, and 6000+ customers across music stores, the 3M No Residue Duct Tape is the best option for drum dampening.
Don’t get me wrong, other brands do work.
However, 3M has establish itself as the market leader when it comes to no-residue tapes and other consumer products.
Their product quality is consistent which means you won’t have to worry about leaving residue on your drum heads and dealing with sticky heads while you drum.
I’ve also noticed that even though no label duct tapes do mention that they leave ‘no residue’, there’s a possibility for some of these to leak or stick when the weather gets warm.
It’s a risk that you’ll need to take.
Do take note that the ‘guarantee‘ on the 3M no residue duct tape is for 6 months.
Play safe and change your drum dampening tape once every 6 months to avoid sticky drum heads.
When tapes start to leak and leave residue, it can be disgusting. You wouldn’t want to have to deal with the mess, trust me.
Best Drum Dampening Gel for Drum Dampening
SlapKlatz Pro Dampening Gels
I wrote an in-depth, personal review on the SlapKlatz Pro gels here, get all the details on using this as a dampening gel there.
When selecting the right drum dampening gel among so many options in the market, I look for 3 things:
- How adhesive is it?
- Does it leave any residue?
- Is it really reusable?
The ideal drum dampening gel needs to be able to stay on the drum head where I want it to, and continue to stick through the entire drumming session.
SlapKaltz is the new kid on the block. In my opinion, they’re dominating this highly competitive category for the following reasons:
- comes in different sizes that give you more options when dampening,
- can be washed with soap if dirty, just air dry and they continue to stick after washing!
- have enough adhesive while not leaving any residue,
- they look great on the drum heads, ha!
Moon gel is another popular brand, but there have been bad reviews of it being unwashable. And, they are slightly more expensive compared to the SlapKaltz dampening gel.
I’ve had cheap versions of dampening gels that came loose mid way, and it wasn’t very fun to deal with those.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will want a drum dampening gel that doesn’t leave residue.
Although most claim that they do not leave any on the packaging, if stored wrongly or in stores where the temperature surges, you might end up with a ball of sticky gel that is too disgusting to handle.
I find that buying straight from the manufacturer or from Amazon is much easier. Or, look for music stores that sell drum dampening gels.
Best Weight Based Accessory for Drum Dampening
Handmade in SF, USA, the SNAREWEIGHT M80 is a simple and portable solution for dampening drums without the fear of residues. You get up to 4 settings with the M80’s design. You can see the M80 in action and how it helps to dampen your snare:
Its patent-pending clip design allows you to use it with almost any drums, except those with S-hoops or the Tama Arc hoops. To use the M80, all you need to do is to clip it onto your drum head. For less dampening, simply fold the leather and clip it onto the magnetic clip to reduce the surface area.
The M80 won this category because:
- it allows for different ‘settings’ with a simple, foolproof design,
- can be used across most drum heads,
- it is portable – all you need to do is to stick it in your stickbag or accessory bag
Do note that there were users (mostly hard hitters) who had experienced the unclipping of the leather during their session.
Worthy Mention: The Drum Clip
A card holder, wallet, or loaded box of cigarette may work as a free alternative to this.
The drum clip made it into this category because:
- it is relatively fool-proof,
- can be used on both batter and resonant drum heads at the same time,
- pocket-sized (means its easy to carry around), and
- it comes with a 100% lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects too.
All you need to do is to clip it to the edge of your drum and you are good to go.
This means you can take it with you and use it on any drum kit and then remove it once you are done drumming.! Oh, the convenience~
However, do note that the drum clip comes in 2 sizes. Each sold separately.
- Small size is suitable for drums 12 inches or smaller.
- Regular size is suitable for drums 12 inches or larger.
They have released a version for the bass drum recently too.
P.S. Check the dimension of your drum rim before purchasing this!
Best O-Ring for Drum Dampening
Ok. I lied.
There isn’t a ring to rule them all. (when it comes to drum dampening at least)
It really depends on the sound of your drum and how much you’d need to dampen. You’ll need to experiment with different o-rings for a suitable sound.
However, I’ve found that these are sufficient for my needs:
Remo Tone Control Ring Pack
After being spoiled for choice, I decided to use the RemO Tone Control Ring Pack because it provided a versatile dampening option, with its range of common drum head sizes.
Most drummers claim that it works better on toms compared to the snares, and I’ve found that to be true too. However, that won’t affect you much if you are already using dampening gels on your snares.
The Remo control rings are about 0.1 inch thick and they can cut out most of the ringing.
NOTE: some have mentioned that the RemOs cut out too much ringing for their liking. Considering looking for a retailer who lets you test out your options. (i wish you luck >.<)
Best Felt Strip for Drum Dampening
Gibraltar Felt Strips
Like the o-rings, felt strips should be chosen based on the amount of dampening you wish to do to your drum.
You can play around with the width of felt strip for varying levels of drum dampening.
Place it about 1/3 to the edge of your drum, away from where you or the kick pedal hits.
Felt strips can be purchased from art stores or even hardware stores. Alternatively, you can use old pieces of cloth that extends across the length of your drum.
There really isn’t much differences.
The Gibraltar felt strips won this category because of its cost efficiency.
Check with your local music store if you want more options, or need help selecting one.
2) Getting the right drum heads
There are 2 types of drum heads to consider:
- Batter drum heads: The side you drum on.
- Resonant drum heads: The opposite side of your drum
I’ve compared the differences between the batter and resonant drum heads previously. Read that if you are confused with the terms or purposes.
When it comes to dampening, it is known that single ply drum heads are more resonant than double or triple ply drum heads.
If you prefer your drum kit to sound less resonant on the whole, you might want to choose a double ply drum head. Triple ply drum heads might be an overkill.
3) Drum heads that come with built-in dampening systems or sound control systems
Major drum head manufacturers are offering drum heads with built-in dampening systems like:
- control rings,
- control dots,
- inlay rings
I won’t be covering much about such drum heads as these are suited only for a very niche group of drummers, nor are they a versatile option.
These are only useful if there is specific type of sound you want from your drums – for example: low, flat sounding drums, or drums that emphasis sound of specific frequencies.
Plus, these might only be useful if you only play at a fixed location.
If you are constantly moving around with your drum kit, these may end up restricting your drum sounds.
You can check out the various options here, if you are interested.
How to choose a suitable drum dampeners for your needs?
Before you select a drum dampening solution, these 2 questions might help:
1) Do I need to dampen my drums on the fly?
Do you drum at live sessions regularly or do you usually drum at home for your own entertainment?
If you travel around and drum at live sessions or even jam sessions, go for a drum dampening accessory. Preferably something small, pocket-sized and light that you can carry along with your drum key or drum tuner.
If you play the drums at home, or are setting up your drum kit in a fixed location, you might want to consider getting an appropriate drum head for indoor playing.
That way, you can set up it once and have your drum dampening system settled.
2) What is your budget?
Having a budget will always provide a good starting point.
Drum dampening tools are more affordable than purchasing new drum heads.
Learning to tune your drums properly really help to reduce a great deal of ringing and undesired sounds too.