If you've ever experienced creeping (your drum set moving away from you as you play), you know how important it is to have a quality drum rug to keep your kit stable and stationary. We looked at a number of materials and styles across 15 different rugs, and we think the On Stage DrumFire is the best drum rug because it offers the perfect balance between performance and price. With a surface area of 4 feet by 6 feet, its non-slip PVC material can fit nearly any size drum set and keep it perfectly secure. Article Summary
Many people consider drums to be one of the easier instruments to master. Of course, this something only a person who has never had experience with drums could think. The truth is that there is so much more to drumming than just getting the tempo right or mastering complex patterns. We’re talking about the hardware side of things. Simple details can make so much difference, and most of them are barely even noticed by an outsider.
When it comes to essential drumming gear, nothing beats a good drum rug. That’s right, this fairly simple piece of fabric can make a pretty serious difference in your performance. The necessity for drum rugs became apparent a long time ago when drummers realized how much their setup would move around as they played. People used to put pretty much whatever they had underneath their kick drum and stands to try to stop them from moving – and to be honest, these days things aren’t much different. The only thing that has really changed is the availability of quality drum rugs and mats that are literally built for the purpose of securing your kit in place while you play.
These specially-designed rugs and mats can vary in size, material, and cost. Ideally, the best drum rug will be on the larger side so that you have enough room to fit all of your equipment, it will be made of a good non-slip material (since that is its main purpose, after all), and it won’t cost a fortune to buy. We compared 15 different mats on these exact aspects to try to find the perfect offering between performance and price, and after eliminating options one-by-one, we believe the three below are the best mats for guaranteed stability.
The best drum rug overall
Even though it is far from being the most expensive rug out there, On Stage’s DMA6450 DrumFire offers the perfect combination of quality, practicality, and price. They didn’t really complicate things too much with this rug. Instead, they followed a pretty no-nonsense line of thinking, which is something we definitely appreciate.
The rug is made of PVC fabric that is specifically designed not to slip. That means that you can set your entire drum set on this thing and not worry about your hardware going all over the place. Again, that is the main function of these mats. Are there better solutions than the PVC fabric used here? Sure, but not at this price. We’ll show you what we mean in our next review of the Meinl rug.
The On-Stage mat measures 6 feet in width and 4 feet in length. Compared to other options on the market (which we will touch up on a bit later), this is a pretty large surface area. In that context, you can expect to fit your entire set on one of these with some extra room left for accessories. On the other hand, if you have a more complex drum set, everything should still fit just fine.
The DrumFire rug also brings a few outside-the-box solutions to the table, specifically its edges and storage system. The fabric used to make this thing serves a dual purpose. Aside from preventing the set from creeping away from you as you play, the edges of the mat won’t curl up. If you have had any experience with regular drum rugs, curled edges are probably the one thing that drove you insane. Not only does it look bad, but having curled edges can be a legitimate hazard, especially if we are talking about a stage performance. All it takes is for one band member to not pay attention and you’ve got an accident on your hands. Maybe we’re overthinking this aspect a little too much, but for us, this was a cool little addition to this rug’s design.
Continuing on with smart solutions: in order to cut down on cost, increase the ease of use and generally simplify things, On Stage ships these rugs with a built-in strap. All you really have to do is fold the mat like a map and close the strap around it. There are no bags to lose or anything similar.
Overall, when you compare the price, performance, format and dimensions, the On Stage DrumFire comes across as the most well-rounded solution available. It’s big, it’s affordable, and it works – what more could you ask for?
A professional (but pricey) alternative
Meinl, the manufacturer known for producing some of the best cymbals out there, also happens to make drum rugs, and their MDR-BK Drum Rug is by far one of the best-looking options you can get. Those who appreciate an aesthetic side of their equipment will definitely appreciate MDR-BK’s stylish nature, especially if you already own some Meinl cymbals. However, looking good is not the only thing this rug does well – it’s also perfect for keeping your set in one place.
Before we get to the specifics, we have to make some things clear. This rug, as great as it is, is our second pick (rather than first) for one pretty good reason. That would be its price. The Meinl MDR-BK is almost three times as expensive as our top pick. That is the byproduct of getting a rug from such a popular brand. With that said, some of its features justify a good portion of that price tag.
To start things off, this rug is 5.25 feet by 6.5 feet. It is more than big enough to accommodate for a dual kick drum setup with enough room left on each end. No matter if you are a fan of Meinl, or not, you just have to appreciate those figures. When it comes to the material used for the surface of the rug, the whole thing is made of tightly woven fabric. Meinl has obviously taken a bit of a different route here, but one that is ultimately proven to work. Feet of your hardware and kick drums will easily dig into the fabric, thus maintaining their position even when you go really aggressive at them. On a similar note, pedals also don’t move an inch when placed on the fabric.
In addition, the entire underside of the mat is laminated with a thick coating of rubber, meaning it can be placed on any type of slippery surface and still keep your drums in one place. Most fabric drum mats only have smaller rubber liners on the underside, which can get the job done but still allows for plenty of areas of potential slippage. The fact that the entire bottom is rubber is a pretty awesome benefit, one that certainly helped this mat secure our second-place pick.
The Meinl MDR-BK brings a certain amount of prestige to this simple piece of drum gear. Whether or not that is something you see as a factor in your choice is completely up to you. It’s higher in price, that’s for sure, but it does offer a truly premium mat with a full rubber coating that’s sure to keep your drums in place no matter how hard you play.
A smaller rug for those with less hardware
Our final pick is the Kaces KCP-5 Crash Pad, whose design is a bit different in that it’s slightly smaller and doesn’t offer as much non-slip protection (which explains why it is our third choice rather than higher). With that said, those aren’t deal breakers, and this is still a great rug.
Let’s start from the top. The dimensions of this rug measure in at 5.5 feet by 4.5 feet. This means it is half a foot shorter in both length and width from the On Stage rug, and almost two feet shorter in width than the Meinl. From an average user’s point of view, this difference isn’t the end of the world. As long as you can anchor your kick drum and the rest of the primary hardware, the rug does more or less what it was designed for. However, for more serious drummers with larger sets, this might not provide enough room for you, so be sure to take your drum set’s dimensions before buying.
The material is a type of polypropylene fabric. It is basically the stuff you find in your average school cafeteria, only in a different form. The material itself is fairly good, not quite up to par with Meinl, but the pegs of your hardware should have no problem anchoring themselves to the fabric. Kaces has also included a thick rubberized lining on the edges to help prevent movement on slick surfaces. Again, not quite up to par with Meinl, but it still does its job just fine. One unique feature you get with this rug is the covered wooden stop bar. This tiny component was designed to give you another solid barrier that prevents the kick drum from moving around, both on the mat and with the mat.
When it comes to its size when folded, the KCP-5 becomes pretty compact. It uses a very similar method of folding as the On Stage model. If you are wondering whether or not you can just throw this thing into your gear bag, the answer is a solid yes.
In the grand scheme of things, we would prefer the On Stage or Meinl rugs above this one, but the bottom line is that the Kaces Crash Pad would still work fine if your set is on the smaller side and you don’t typically jam hard on your drums.
How we picked our top three
Drum rugs are pretty simple in nature. One would think that there aren’t really many factors to pay attention to, but there are. We’ve based our top three choices on a certain set of criteria, mainly focused on the type of material used and whether it is a good fit for drum set usage. Below we’ll go over these things in detail so that you understand which factors were most important to us.
The main thing that is going to define whether or not a drum rug is efficient are the materials used to make it. There are many models on the market which are borderline useless because the manufacturer has chosen to go with materials that simply don’t fit the application. All of our picks feature materials that have been proven useful through actual application, whether it is the PVC or the standard polypropylene. Every other aspect goes out the window if this requirement isn’t met, so this was one of our top priorities.
A drum rug on its own may or may not be fine for use, but there are still some features that can significantly improve its performance. We are mainly talking about the rubber reinforcements on the edges or a rubberized underside of the mat which help prevent the mat from creeping. As you have seen above, some mats even come with wooden components that physically prevent your drum set from moving around. Whether or not you need to go to those extremes is up to you and the type of drum kit you are running. The important thing here was finding mats that actually offered some sort of additional non-slip protection, and all three of our top products do.
When you add up the cost of an average, decent drum set, it can really reach high figures quite quickly. While there is no doubt that a drummer will constantly invest in their setup, many people don’t typically want to spend some of those valuable funds on an overpriced drum rug. That is why the price of the rug became one of our main factors. We feel that the models we have shown you today fit most budgets out there, with the exception of the Meinl being a bit higher than average. Although it’s priced slightly higher, we felt it was worthy of a spot not only for its quality material and superior non-slip grip (it is arguably the best drum rug in these two categories), but also because of its aesthetic appearance. We all know people who value a good looking design!
Things to consider before buying
Having good materials that provide stability and don’t slip is the most essential aspect that anyone wants from their mat, but there are a few additional questions you should ask yourself before buying to ensure you’re really choosing the best drum rug for your own personal setup.
What size do you need?
The whole idea behind a drum rug is to prevent your hardware from creeping, or plain moving around when you play. If you get a rug that is too small, you won’t really achieve anything. Sure, your kick drum might stay put, but what about the rest of the set? To put things in simple terms, there is no such thing as a rug that is too large. Make sure to measure the area that your drum set covers and make a choice based on that information as well. On a similar note, try to accommodate any possible upgrades you might add in the future. Things like additional cymbal stands will need some extra real estate.
What kind of flooring do you have?
The type of surface you are planning on setting up your drum set on is important. If we are talking some sort of carpeted floor, you can most likely get away with using just about any type of rug out there. However, if you are setting up your drums on a smooth, slick surface, you will definitely want to have some rubber down there. No type of fabric will give you the grip like a full rubber underside can (like the Meinl rug). The thing to keep in mind here is that more rubber equals a higher price.
Are you a traveling musician?
If you travel with your drums, we strongly recommend that you go with a rug that has rubber lamination on the bottom side. Not only will it stick to just about anything, but it will also increase the durability of the fabric. If you are a performing musician, investing a bit more into a quality drum rug might prove to be a decision that will save your bacon one day. All of the models on our list should meet this requirement.
Are drum rugs really that important?
The answer to this question is a strong yes. There is probably no worse feeling that having your drum set slowly creep away from you as you play. Your technique will suffer and you will become inconsistent. The only reasonable solution which you can carry from one stage to another is a good drum rug. All you really have to do is unravel it wherever the gig is at and set up your drums on top. With one of these, you won’t have to worry what kind of surface you are going to be working with, or how your drums will behave. To sum things up simply, a decent drum rug makes the life of a drummer much easier.
How to properly set up your drum rug
The key with using drum rugs is to make sure that they are sitting flat on the floor. You don’t want any wrinkles as they can force the entire rug to move. In addition to that, be a good person and make sure that no edges or corners are getting twisted upwards. If your edges aren’t sitting flush with the floor, this can easily become a hazard. Depending on the type of music you play, chances are that your vocalist and other band members might start walking all over the stage. The absolute last thing you want is to have one of them trip and fall because of your rug. Making sure that everything sticks to the floor is a good way to keep your drums from moving and your bandmates from hurting themselves or their equipment.
Wrapping it up
If you’re just starting out and wondering whether or not we are blowing all of this out of proportion, just wait until the first time you experience creep. As your skills grow, you will develop muscle memory that will be impacted if you change your stance, as well as your distance from the kit. The moment you start feeling your set creeping forward, you will recognize just how much a good drum rug is actually worth. The mats listed in our guide are what we consider to be the best drum rugs for any player, whether enthusiast or professional. We were careful to choose ones that offer great performance at relatively affordable prices, as well as one high-end model. This way, no matter what your requirements are, you will find something that fits your needs.