A drum rug is a must-have for any drum kit. Although it's probably one of the most forgotten and overlooked accessories that surround a drum set, you only realize it provides decent value and comfort once you get your hands on one of them. Think of it like this; if you place your drum set on your floor, firstly you'll be exposing your floor's finishing to scratches. Secondly, more often than not, your drums will not be stable on the floor. And once you start feeling your kick drum creeping during a performance, it'll just be an instant mood kill. So, whether you’re just a hobbyist, a musician who has got a standby kit in the studio, or a whiplash-inspired drummer who exhales state-of-the-art fills in their head all the time, you need a good drum rug under your set. Not only because it's going to complete your setup's look but also because it makes your kit non-skid and stable. With so many choices out there, finding a nice rug can get confusing but we've done the tough work for you. Bringing you the finest drum rugs of 2021 as well as a buyer's guide to help you avoid any potential first-time buyer's mishaps. Let's go!
Drum rugs are widely overlooked and you won’t even find most newbies or amateur players using them. However, one of these days when you get used to playing and all your hands and feet are warmed up, you’re going to give a hard kick to your bass drum and it’s going to start creeping. It’ll be slow, it’ll be frustrating, but most importantly, it’ll be a hard blow to your creative flow. You can choose to wait for the special moment to arrive or you can go through this buyer’s guide to get yourself a nice drum rug as a pre-measure.
What to Choose: Single Drum Rug vs Drum Mat for the Whole Kit
Call it a single drum vs. complete kit battle or make it a size consideration. The answer will be the same; you need to buy a mat that’ll work best for your setup. Now whether you choose to go with a large one that sits in the middle of your studio and houses your complete drum kit, or a small one that contains your bass drum in its place - comes down to your personal preference.
If you’ve got a wooden floor, we suggest going with a large rug that can seamlessly sit beneath the whole kit. This will help you save your floor from scratches through all kinds of pushes or accidental falls.
However, if you’ve got a room with a carpet, you may go with a single drum rug since fitting a large drum rug over an existing carpet/rug can be troublesome and may make things clumsier, killing the very purpose of a drum rug.
Another aspect you may want to consider is the aesthetics of your studio, stage, or jamming setup. If your sole purpose of buying a drum rug is to make your drum setup look good, it goes without saying that you should be going with a large drum mat, about 6 x 6 ft in size (large enough to house a standard 5 piece drum kit as well as a piece of hardware or two).
Things to Be Mindful of When Buying a Drum Mat
Before buying any item, it’s good to keep a list of features you don’t want to proceed without. But, sometimes it’s even better to keep a checklist of the things you should be avoiding. It helps to simplify the process, especially when shopping for a minimalistic accessory like a drum rug.
A drum mat’s purpose is to make your setup tidy and drums stable. If it’s just going to start rounding up from its loose ends, it’ll end up doing more harm than good. The middle body of the rug is usually safe from getting loose. However, the corners of a rug, if not weighted, can get super annoying over time. They’ll get slightly raised from the corners and may keep you tripping around. You don’t want that now, do you?
If you’re used to gigging, or planning to start, you need to get your hands on a portable drum rug. This means, getting your hands on a drum mat that’s easy to fold and has some sort of velcro straps to keep the mat fastened when not in use. A carry bag at this moment would serve as a cherry on top.
We’ve discussed this earlier but even if you’re getting a big drum mat for your complete kit, you need to correctly map your drum’s dimensions onto your purchase. If you proceed with the purchase without, you may have to buy another one with the right size.
Do I Need a Drum Rug?
Do you need a clean floor to stand up and walk around? No, but you’ll certainly appreciate the ease of walking on a nice wooden floor or a fluffy rug as compared to an uneven concrete floor.
Similarly, you don’t need a drum rug to play the drums. But, having a dedicated mat that can help you position your drums properly and prevent your kick drum from creeping and your pedal from thumping in your neighbor’s head is certainly thoughtful and a whole lot more convenient.
Pay Special Attention to Your Bass Drum and Hi-Hat Spurs
Your bass drum’s legs have telescopic spurs and so do your hi-hats, right below that metal plate. Using them as they are isn’t outright a threat to your surroundings, or to you. However, if you’ve got a nice shiny wooden floor, you wouldn’t want any sharp objects scratching against your floor.
At times, they can even pierce through the drum carpet since the rugs are not always ideally thick. The best solution to this is getting rubber flooring runners for your hardware and letting them sit on your drum rug. They’re sturdy and non-slip, keeping your hardware and floor from punching around.
Mark Your Drum Rug for Hardware Positioning
Another very cool benefit of drum rugs is that you can mark them for your kit’s positioning. Oftentimes, it takes drummers a while to set up their drums at performances. The time spent doing so can be optimized with the help of a drum rug.
Plus, doing so will also let you have somebody else set up the drums for you. In this way, not only will you have your drums set up quickly but you’ll have more time on your plate for the soundchecks and the ability to play on the same setup every night!
Drum Rug FAQ
Q: Why do drums sound better on carpets?
A: Drums should always be played on a carpeted surface because it helps with sound and shock absorptions. Plus, since it’s an instrument that’s played with high energy, the drums are always prone to moving and creeping - a carpeted surface or a dedicated drum rug helps take care of that.
Q: How do you soundproof your floor?
A: An excellent way to do this is by piling up a couple of soft carpets or rugs beneath your speaker or the drum kit. So, if you’ve got a nosy neighbor who wants you to dim it down, a couple of nice drum rugs might just be the trick.
Derek is a professional musician who specializes in percussion and works with the independent WGI group Cap City Percussion. With a Bachelors of Music from Capital University, specializing in Music Industry studies, he consistently finds himself playing and teaching percussion to anyone who has the will to learn. Derek is also a former member of DCI groups Legends (2014-15) and Colts (2016-18); he is also the percussion technician and instructor of the drum line at Olentangy High School. You may find him playing a gig throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio area.