Yes, you can.
So, you’d just got your brand-new drum kit and are about to set it up at home.
While putting it together, you realised that there are spikes on your drum pedals to keep them from moving while your play.
What if your pedals slip and damage or leave scratches your flooring??
You start looking around for the best drum mats, but soon wonder…
What can you use as a drum mat?
Any rug can be used as a drum rug or mat.
But here’re some consideration you’ll want to note before throwing any old rug or carpet under your spanking new drum kit:
8 things to look out for in a drum mat:
You’ll want a drum mat that’ll give you sufficient space to place your entire drum kit on it.
What is a good size for a drum rug?
A good size for most drum rugs is usually about 4’ by 6’.
You can refer to this article for the average floor space required for different types of drum kits.
If your main purpose in getting a drum mat is to protect your flooring, you’ll want something with ample thickness so that the spikes of your drum pedals or bass drums don’t pierce through the mat and harm your floor.
Something that’s about 0.3” to 0.5” thick is usually sufficient. If you’re using a hand-me-down, you’ll want to test if your pedal spikes can pierce through it.
If you’re using an electronic drum, this may not be a major consideration.
However, an added advantage for this is that a thicker drum mat tends to absorb some of those reverberations and could reduce some “noise” from your drums.
3. Non slip base
Another key purpose of using a drum mat is to keep your drum kit from moving while you drum. Hence, you’ll want to use something with a non-slip base.
This leads us onto the next consideration:
4. Top material that provides friction
Having a smooth top material will defeat the purpose of a non-slip base because your drum kit may still move while its on the drum mat.
Hence, you’ll want to use a drum mat with a top material that provide friction. Woven carpets and rubber mats are good options while smooth vinyl mats or smooth anti-fatigue mats may not work as well. Heck, there are other reasons why anti-fatigue mats don’t make sense as a drum mat, but you get the idea.
5. Easy to maintain
You’ll want to spend more time on your drum kit than on keeping your drum mat clean, so get something that’s easy to maintain.
This means that old tattered rug you found at the back of your garage or attic may not be the best option especially if it’s falling apart.
Get a rug that can be vacuumed or machine washable and dries easily. For example, wool and cotton rugs tend to be shed resistant and easier to clean. Silk rugs may be difficult to wash as they are more delicate (they may not meet the criteria above either).
Most of us just want a drum mat that just works. This means you should look for something that’s highly durable and can last decades preferably.
If you’re buying drum kit mats, you can usually refer to reviews from fellow drummers which will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Else, you’ll need to use your own judgement.
7. Accessibility / Portability [Optional]
If you’re a touring drumming and need to bring your drum mat with you on tours, get something that’s portable and accessible.
This usually means you’ll want something that’s light and easy to pack without creasing up.
The cheapest option is usually to get a yoga mat, although those then to be less durable which means you’ll need to change them frequently.
If you don’t plan to move your drum kit or drum mat often, you don’t have to be worried about this…unless you plan to wash your drum mat frequently.
8. Design [Optional]
Drum mat design is a totally optional consideration. It depends on whether you (or your flatmates or partner) need the drum mat to fit into the theme of your living space.
The most common drum mat design is a minimalistic, black rug or mat.
Do I need to get a ‘branded’ drum mat?
As shared above, any rug or mat works…as long as you’ve thought through the considerations shared above.
Many drummers use old, sturdy rugs that they’ve found at home.
Others have also used Home Depot’s commercial doormats or Walmart’s budget rugs.
There’s no hard and fast rule here, as long as the mat serves your purpose.
The main advantage of getting a drum mat manufactured by a drum company like Drum Workshop or Zildjian is that they are usually of the right size and are designed specifically for drums, so you can be sure that they’ll usually function as expected. If you prefer rugs or mats designed specifically for drum kits, refer to our guide on the Best Drum Kit Mats.
Else, I hope the considerations shared here are useful in helping you choose the right rug or mat for your drum kit.