Best Bass Drum Pedal
When selecting a bass drum foot pedal you have three playing styles to choose from. A single bass drum pedal allows one foot to play a single bass drum, a double bass drum pedal allows use of both feet, and finally the option of two single pedals playing two separate bass drums. There are also three bass drum drive types which include the chain, strap, and direct link; take the time to try each and determine which is the most suitable for you. Beginning players should be fine with one bass drum and a single pedal but eventually they’ll want to explore double bass options as today’s drummers utilize double pedals for a variety of musical genres. Check out our buyer's guide below for more details on choosing a bass drum pedal best suited for you.
Tama Iron Cobra 900 Power Glide Single Bass Pedal
Tama Iron Cobra 900 Double Bass Drum Pedal
Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive Pedal P3000D Single Bass Pedal
Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive P3002D Double Bass Drum Pedal
Drum Workshop DW 9000 Single Bass Drum Pedal
Drum Workshop DWCP5002AD4 Double Bass Pedal
Mapex Falcon Single Bass Drum Pedal
Mapex Falcon Double Bass Drum Pedal
Gibraltar 9711GS Single Bass Drum Pedal
Pearl P932 Demonator Right Footed Single Chain
Tama's Iron Cobra line has been the gold standard of bass drum pedals for twenty years. The Iron Cobra is a perfectly balanced pedal. It has a uniquely shaped beater is smaller than others, and feels weightless. The "Cobra Coil" is a spring set under the footboard that pushes the pedal back to the foot and helps with response time, allowing the drummer to play consistent loud strokes with ease while being responsive enough for light playing. The design of the pedal allows for quick and easy adjustments to just about every variable from spring tension to beater position. It's Important to note that the Power Glide is one of 3 Iron Cobra Pedals in the 900 series. The Power Glide and the Rolling Glide are both chain driven while the Flexi-Glide has a strap.
The Rolling Glide has a rounded cam and the Power Glide has a cam shaped more for power. I prefer the Power Glide because I feel it produces consistent powerful strokes with ease. I discovered the Iron Cobra during my first recording session in a professional studioo where I spent several hours laying down beats, and the engineer complained that my kick just wasn't consistently loud enough. At the end of the session, I felt like my foot was stuck in mud. The next morning I bought an Iron Cobra Power pedal, and re-recorded all of the beats. I was surprised to hear that there was a noticeable difference, and even the engineer commented on the improvement! Ten years later, I still have the same Iron Cobra Pedal which still sounds and feels great on everything from metal music to show tunes.
It’s no surprise the company which makes the best single bass drum pedal is the company which produces best double bass drum pedal as well. Tama's Iron Cobra line is once again at the top of the list for offering a perfectly balanced double bass drum pedal. It has all of the great features the single pedals which includes a small beater that allows for precise playing and a detachable spring for easy adjustment. It also has the "Cobra Coil,” which is a spring under the footboard that pushes the pedal back to the foot and helps with response time.
Just like the single pedals, the Power Glide is one of 3 Iron Cobra double Pedals in the 900 series. The Power Glide and the Rolling Glide are both chain driven, while the Flexi-Glide has a strap. The Rolling Glide has a rounded cam and the Power Glide has a cam shaped more for power; personally I prefer the Power Glide because I think it’s the most powerful. And unlike other pedals where the screws get stripped, springs bend, and countless other problems arise, the Iron Cobra double bass drum pedal is built to be extremely durable therefore avoiding these issues.
The Pearl P-3000D is my favorite direct drive pedal because of its quickness. I don’t have to work hard to create a lot of sound from the pedal. It is probably the fastest pedal on the market because the direct link is so responsive. The direct link can actually be adjusted to the players preference. It features “ninja bearings” that contribute to its speed and smoothness. The footboard has unique traction dots that can be adjusted for the desired amount of grip. The height of the footboard can be adjusted, and it can actually be converted from a shortboard to a longboard. It's almost like purchasing two different pedals for the price of one and it also includes a custom bag and beater. This pedal is a little more expensive than its competitors but has some features that aren't offered elsewhere.
The Pearl Demon Direct Drive double pedal feels like an extension of your foot. I like this pedal because it offers a lot of unique features that are actually useful. The footboards have adjustable traction dots on the footboard that can be adjusted to vary the amount of slip or grip on the footboard. Additionally, you can also adjust the height of the footboard as well. The beater stroke and direct link have settings for a light or heavy feel, and you can even quickly adjust the length of the footboard itself to your liking. The demon pedal also comes in a chain drive model, but I prefer the direct link model to really take advantage of the responsiveness.
DW has long been associated with the very best in drums and hardware with their DW 9000 single bass drum pedal reigning at the top of the pyramid. It is the smoothest pedal I've ever played as it allows the player to produce fast doubles with ease. Most DW pedals have a rather large beater that can feel heavy to the foot, but the 9000 feels as light as a feather. It's incredibly responsive at all dynamic levels, while still allowing for consistent loud strokes. The 9000 also stands out for featuring a fully adjustable cam which makes it easy to customize the pedal to a feel specific to your liking. Although one of the quietest pedals for recording situations, one drawback of this pedal is it's difficult to adjust the tension of the tension spring. The main structural arm blocks the tension spring which makes it difficult to reach the tension screw on the spring. While more expensive than other pedals, this pick well worth it for the smoothest pedal available. As a bonus, this pedal also includes a strap so it can be switched from chain to strap driven.
It seems like the most popular bass drum pedal is the DW 5000 series, a chain driven pedal that combines speed and power s. With the distinct red base and black and silver footboard, these pedals are easily recognizable behind any drummer’s setup and they’re almost as smooth as the DW 9000 at a fraction of the price.
I usually reach for my 5000 double pedal when I need more volume from my kick drum; I actually switched away from 5000 pedals many years ago because they simply did not stay attached to the bass drum. DW noticed this too and has developed a better toe clamp and it also features three independent rubber pads that firmly attach the pedal to the hoop. This is a great improvement in the design of the pedal while the two-way beater is built for pure power, providing you with a lot of thump.
It’s important to note there are several different models of 5000 series double pedals with the biggest difference being the cam design. I prefer the “Accelerator” cam because it feels a bit faster than the “Turbo” cam as it feels like the “Accelerator” requires less effort to play. Also worth mentioning is that the new spring rocker that makes the pedal feel smoother. To me DW 5000 pedals have always required a lot of effort to get going and the new spring design makes it much easier to play. Another noteworthy option is that these pedals are available without pedalboards.
The Mapex Falcon was introduced as a chain driven pedal that could be converted to a direct drive, but is now available pre-fitted with the direct drive. I highly recommend using the direct drive option on this pedal for its responsiveness. It actually has interchangeable drives so the players can choose if it is chain, strap, or direct driven while the footboard height and beater angle can easily be adjusted to fit any drummers preferred playing position. The baseplate is a bit smaller than other pedals, but it's still very sturdy overall. The small baseplate is useful for drummers that have a lot of hardware or multiple pedals while the weight of the beater itself can be adjusted to the players preference. This is a solid pedal that is very responsive and can be as fast as you want it to be, making it a great option for all skill levels.
As mentioned in our review for “best single bass drum pedal”, the Mapex Falcon was introduced as a chain driven pedal that could be converted to a direct drive; now, it’s available pre-fitted with the direct drive which delivers an incredible level of responsiveness every drummer needs. Another unique feature of this double pedal is the interchangeable drive allows drummers to have a choice of drive for each foot, allowing you to create the perfect pedal matched to your foot. All of the great features of the single pedal are incorporated into the double pedal, including various beater weight options, adjustable footboard height, and beater angle. I usually try to get my left pedal very close to my hi-hat pedal and the Falcon’s smaller bass plate really helps me do that. The Falcon is a very fast pedal and is competitively priced.
The Gibraltar G-class pedal is a newer pedal that has quickly become a favorite of mine. It's a very sturdy pedal that can move quickly and features a smooth pedal board that is very responsive to any heel-toe gliding technique. My favorite feature is that all of the adjustment mechanisms are marked for consistency, making it easy to reproduce particular settings for different styles or feels. The spring is easy to adjust and is enclosed to keep everything secure. It also has the best mounting clamp of any pedal because it has a one step release, the pedal is easy to attach and detach from the hoop, and the footboard height/beater angle are easily adjusted. The beater has adjustable weights that change the feel and balance of the pedal in addition to a very solid foundation plate for grounding the pedal, thereby limiting excess movement. As nice extra, the adjustment tool is attached to the pedal itself so you won't lose it and there's also a a soft travel bag included to keep your new pedal safe during light travel.
Pearl’s P-932 double bass pedal is the best value for an inexpensively priced double pedal. Many years ago, when I first purchased a double pedal, my options were limited to my budget. I was forced to buy a clunky pedal because I simply could not afford a better one. Pearl has solved this problem many drummers have faced with the introduction of the 932 double bass drum pedal. This pedal is more durable than other entry level double pedals and features a design similar to the far more expensive “Demon Drive” pedal.
Driven by a very smooth and responsive single chain, this pedal has a good balance from right to left, featuring adjustable beater angles. Pearl’s foot pedals are built for speed and the responsive footboards are long enough for heel toe technique building. I highly recommend this pedal for any drummer that wants to learn how to play double bass drums.
Bass Drum Pedal Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the right bass drum pedal (aka kick drum pedal or kick pedal) is an important decision because of the effect it can have on a drummer’s playing ability. A bad pedal can hinder a drummer’s ability to play the bass drum if it’s not responsive to the motion of a player’s foot.
You should also consider the technical demands of the bass drum in your musical genre. For example, most drummers in Metal or Hard Rock bands will want a double pedal option to compete with the speed and volume these specific genres present.
Fortunately, choosing a pedal is simple once you understand the different driving mechanisms powering each type of pedal. The following buyer’s guide is meant to help the individual drummer choose a pedal that will sound and feel great.
Bass Drum Pedal Type
The main factors in deciding which type of pedal works best are your technical aspirations and preferred musical genre. Most drummers can perform advanced patterns with a single pedal on one drum but individuals wanting to push their coordination and speed to the limit can chose a double pedal.
This is a single pedal with a single footboard which for playing
one Bass drum.
This is a pedal with two separate footboards allowing two feet to play on the same Bass drum.
Note: You can achieve the double bass drum effect by using two separate single pedals on two separate individual bass drums. Most drummers prefer a single or double pedal because they only have one bass drum.
Single and double bass pedals can be driven by one of the
three following mechanisms.
A metal chain connects the beater to the footboard. Chain driven pedals are popular for their strength and ease of use.
This is a leather or plastic strap which connects the beater to the footboard. Strap driven pedals require getting used to and tend to break over time.
A metal bar attaches the beater directly to the footboard. These pedals require getting used to and tend to be very responsive.
Included with most pedals, this is the portion of the pedal which actually strikes the bass drum head. It’s connected to the pedal board by your preferred driving mechanism. Most pedals offer the option of interchangeable beaters.
This is a versatile beater with a playing surface made from felt and is dynamic enough to produce good sound at any volume.
A beater type featuring a very articulate, wooden playing surface.
These are beaters with plastic or metal playing surfaces best used for extreme volume in louder genres such as Metal. Most drummers have the heads playing surface reinforced so it won’t break during play.
These beaters are very soft, often looking like a timpani mallet. They’re rarely used for normal play because of their “boomy” sound and lack of articulation.
Multiple parts make up a bass drum pedal with higher end pedals offering the ability to adjust said parts to your specific preference. Since they affect the overall feel of a pedal, it’s crucial you learn how to properly adjust these parts.
This is a flat piece of metal your foot rests on. When pressure is applied to the footboard, the beater strikes the bass drum head. Some footboards have a removable toe piece stopping the foot from moving around while playing.
This is the portion of the pedal striking the bass drum head. It’s connected to the pedal board by your preferred driving mechanism.
When pressure is applied to the footboard, the cam rotates and causes the beater to strike the head. Remember, the better your cam, the better your pedal performance.
Located on the side of the pedal, the spring pulls the beater back into the starting position after striking the drumhead. The tension of the spring determines how much pressure it takes to strike the head.
The clamp attaches the pedal to the rim of the bass drum and prevents the pedal from moving around.
Some pedals have adjustable spikes which dig into the ground or rug you have under your kit to prevent the pedal from moving around during play.
A pedal’s features often help determine its playability. Listed below are common features available on most quality pedals.
This part allows the angle of the beater to be adjusted with a drum key.
These springs can be adjusted to change the amount of kickback. The best pedals allow easy access to the spring for adjustment.
While some pedals have a smooth surface for easy sliding, others provide have a textured, treaded surface for better foot control.
Some pedals allow for adjustments to the angle and other aspects of the footboard.
This mechanism allows you to easily adjust the length of the beater. It also permits the player to switch out their current beater for a different one.
Clamp tension device
This is a wingnut controlling the tension of the clamp which attaches pedal to the bass drum rim. Higher end pedals have the wingnut placed off to the side for easy adjustment.
The performance of a Bass drum pedal depends largely on the players comfort level. Start by testing each of the three types of driving mechanisms which include chain, strap, and direct link. You’ll also want to choose your type of beaters which are interchangeable and can be purchased separately; it’s not uncommon for drummers to have multiple beaters for different playing situations.
It’s best to begin your search with an Iron Cobra or DW pedal using the chain driven pedal mechanism option. If it feels too tight or too loose, try adjusting the spring tension as well as playing repeated strokes, multiple volumes and then some difficult patterns. If you slide or rock while you play, note the pedals responsiveness to the motion of your foot. Next try “feathering” the Bass and see how soft it can play.
After trying the chain driven option, try the same pedal with a strap followed by a direct drive pedal such as an Axis pedal or Sonar’s “Perfect Balanced” pedal. The pedals and drive mechanisms will feel drastically different from one another so spend some time deciding which you like the best.
Often the feel of a single pedal is the same as a particular model of double pedal. For example, if you like the feel of an Iron Cobra single pedal, you’ll probably enjoy the feel of an Iron Cobra double pedal as well.
Once you have chosen a preferred driving mechanism, you can refer to my list of best drum pedals to help you choose a brand right for you.
Up to a certain price point, you get what you pay for. Pedals priced under $140 are typically poorly made and usually fall apart quickly. However, once you rise above this price point, you’ll find a range of superior pedals based on your preference. The best thing to do is simply to try a lot of pedals and then shop around for the best price.
High end drum companies generally make reliable pedals such as Tama’s Iron Cobra line, and DW’s 5000 and 9000 models. Pearl also produces great pedals while certain companies such as Axis and Sonar specializing in direct drive options.