What is the Best Metronome for Drums

What is the best metronome for drums? In order to be an effective drummer, you need to have solid time. An unwavering drummer with next to no chops will always be more important to any band or ensemble than a fancy drummer that can’t keep a steady pulse.
A great way to achieve consistent tempo is by practicing with a metronome. For drummers, the metronome is one of the most important tools in their arsenal. When it comes to buying a metronome, there are a lot of different options out there and it can be difficult to know what’s important.

What’s Important When Purchasing a Metronome?

When on the lookout for a metronome there are a few things to consider: How is it powered, what sort of subdivisions can it make, is it mountable, and of course how much does it cost. It is also important to note that any device you purchase should come with a headphone jack since you need to be able to hear it.

How is it Powered

Almost every metronome is going to be battery powered. This is fine, but depending on how large the metronome is and how much power it draws, it could suck through batteries fairly quickly.

There are hand powered mechanical metronomes that do not use batteries at all, however as this article is aimed at drummers playing at high volumes, you will most likely have very little use for them. These metronomes could come in handy if you are doing low volume pad work, however, and the bonus is that they don’t take any batteries.

Personally, I usually own two metronomes: one battery powered metronome that is very light and portable, and another more comprehensive metronome that uses a power source that plugs in. I take the small metronome out on the road with me, and keep the larger metronome at home in my practice space.

Functionality

Depending on your skill level, you might be on the lookout for a time keeper that has a lot of different options. When getting into the more expensive devices, functionality is key. Some metronomes will have multiple subdivision options for the beat, some will be programmable, some will train you, and others will even allow you to import your own samples.

Make sure you know what you are looking for before you buy so that you know what features are important to you. Don’t pay too much for a metronome with a bunch of features that you never use, and don’t pick up a cheap metronome that doesn’t do what you need it to.

Mountability

If you are a drummer that uses a metronome on stage, having a way of mounting the device on your drum kit is essential. This feature is important, because some smaller metronomes cannot be held onto a drum set at all.

You should also consider what sort of mount is used. Some methods work great, and other methods don’t. There is nothing worse than having your metronome bounce around and difficult to adjust when you are in the middle of playing a song.

Here I have created a list of what I feel are some of the best metronomes on the market for drummers:


Korg MA-1

Buy Korg MA-1If you’re a musician of any sort, chances are you have seen the Korg MA-1 Portable Metronome. Used by musicians of all type, this metronome is a classic for a few reasons: it’s small, compact, and portable size, and it’s relatively cheap cost.

Having a metronome that can fit in your pocket is nice for drummers that are frequently on the road. It can be tough to travel with a large bulky electronic that is fragile.

The advantage of the MA-1 is that it is a simple design with only the essential features. It features a few different subdivision options including swing eight notes, tap tempo, adjustable speed and volume control, and a headphone jack.

Additionally, if you are a percussionist, the MA-1 has an adjustable pitch option which will help you tune those timpani’s. Click here to see the full specs

POSITIVES:

NEGATIVES:

  • Non-programmable
  • No AC/DC port
  • No Backlit Display
  • Non-Mountable

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BOSS DB-90 Dr. Beat Metronome

Buy Boss DB-90 MetronomeConsidered the “Cadillac” of Metronomes, the ever so popular Boss DB-90 metronome has everything a drummer would ever need. in fact, It actually has more than a drummer needs.

With such a huge amount of functions, some drummers might find the metronome overwhelming and confusing. However, if you take the time to learn what the DB-90 can actually do, it’s truly a dream come true.

Literally every feature is adjustable: including subdivisions, programmable time signatures, clave patterns, and sounds. If you are a trying to learn a piece with multiple time and tempo changes in it, it is possible to program in all of those changes to help you practice.

The DB-90 also features an internal microphone with a huge amount of uses. Record your own snare and use it as the metronome sound. It also includes a built-in rhythm coach to help you attain a time-feel like no other.

If you’re using samples and sequencers, you can use the built in midi input, as well as a V-pad input for use with your electronic drums.

The metronome is powered by a 9-volt battery, which will last a decent amount of time. You can also plug it in using a standard 120 volt plug, however you will need to purchase one separately as it is not included with the device.

Really, there is very little that this metronome cannot do, however you will have to pay the price for it. At $140 or more USD, this metronome comes with a hefty price tag, and if you don’t use all of it’s features, you might be paying for something you don’t need. click here to see full specs

   POSITIVES

  • Mountable on either a cymbal stand or microphone stand
  • Adjustable subdivisions, and an easy to spin tempo dial
  • Programmable with save function
  • Midi and quarter inch inputs
  • Backlit display
  • Internal microphone and built-in rhythm coach program
  • AC/DC and battery powered
  • Multiple different beat sounds available
  • Tempo range from 30-350bpm

    NEGATIVES

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TAMA Rhythm Watch RW200

buy tama rhythm watch rw 200Designed with drums in mind, the Tama Rhythm Watch RW 200 is a great all around choice that combines functionality with a decent price. If you find the Boss DB-90 a little too advanced for your tastes but are looking for a metronome with a few more features than the cheaper versions, this might be the metronome for you.

The Rhythm Watch has been around for a long time, and most drummers should be able to recognize it. Recently the device has gone through a slight redesign and has been greatly improved upon.

Now the programmable features include a back button which was not previously available allowing you to move up and down between saved tempos. Additionally, the housing has been improved upon and is sturdier than before, and there is a 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone jack. The programmable memory is also larger.

The tempo range is from 30-250bpm, which is not as large at the Dr. Beat’s range of 30-350bpm. If you really want a fast metronome, this one might not be for you.

At a much more affordable price point, the Rhythm Watch features enough customizability to make it worth buying. All subdivisions volumes can be changed using their own dials, you can save tempos, and there are a few different sound options available.

Just like the DB-90, the rhythm watch is powered by a 9-volt battery, but can also be plugged in with a 9V power adapter (not included). You can also purchase an L-rod that allows the device to be mounted on any cymbal stand. However, I have used this L-rod before and found it very flimsy and difficult to use.

Recently I stumbled upon a mount that attaches onto the back of the device and provides a far sturdier platform when using the L-rod. It’s another thing you’ve got to buy, but it might be worth it if you use the L-rod frequently.

Lastly, if you do not have the Tama Universal Clamp, you’ll need to grab that too or else the L-rod won’t have anything to sit inside. Kind of a pain, I know, but depending on your use of the metronome, it might be worth it.

Overall, while you can’t do everything with this metronome, it is much easier to use and understand than the DB-90, and costs half the price. Click here to see full specs

    POSITIVES

  • Mountable
  • New and improved housing and design
  • Adjustable subdivisions, and an easy to spin tempo dial
  • programmable with save function
  • Backlit display
  • AC/DC and battery powered
  • Relatively good cost given the features available

    NEGATIVES

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BOSS DB-30C Dr. Beat

buy boss db 30c metronomeMuch like the Korg MA-1, the BOSS DB-30C Dr. Beat Metronome is small, slick, portable, and inexpensive. It is battery operated, fits in the palm of your hand, and is perfect for on the road practice.

The DB-30C contains all of the same functions as the MA-1: tap tempo, pitch control, durability, and portability. At almost double the price point though, it attempts to improve upon the MA-1 with a few extra features.

The DB-30C is not programmable, however it allows for a greater depth of time signatures, going all the way to 17 beats for you odd-time buffs. It also includes a bunch of built-in beat styles which you can play along with such as different clave patterns. Depending on how you like to practice, that difference could be well worth it for you.

In my opinion, given the slightly higher price point, if you are looking for a very simple portable metronome I would stick with the Korg MA-1. However, if you like a little bit more functionality, then perhaps the DB-30C is for you. Click here to see full specs

POSITIVES

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable design
  • Allows for beats up to 17 notes
  • Variety of different rhythmic styles available

NEGATIVES

  • More expensive than the Korg MA-1
  • Non-mountable
  • Cannot be powered with an AC adaptor
  • No backlit display
  • Powered by watch batteries

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 TAMA Rhythm Watch RW30

buy tama rhythm watch rw 30As a response to the Boss DB 30C, Tama went and designed the Rhythm Watch Mini RW30. I really like, and find it a great substitute for the much larger RW200.

Measuring it at just 4.8 inches tall, it’s slightly smaller than the DB 30C, but still retains most of the same functions. One of the key differences however is that the RW30 is powered by 2 AAA batteries which are far easier to find than those tiny watch batteries inside the Boss metronome.

Downsides of this device include it not being programmable and it only has beat clicks up to 9, which pales in comparison to the DB 30C’s 17 beat capability. However, the RW30 has a backlit display, and includes a very handy clip on the back that would allow you to place it on your belt or a music stand during a performance. That’s a pretty small feature, but a huge bonus to add.

Similar to the Boss device, the RW30 is not programmable and the tempo range goes from 30-250bpm. However, the design of the buttons is the best I’ve seen on such a small metronome. You choose tempos with a large wheel, which is far superior to the click button design of most of the other metronomes. Also, the start and stop button is very large, which makes it easy to hit during a gig situation.

Overall, I find the RW30 to be a fantastic time keeper that is affordable, portable, mountable, and comes with some well thought out features. If you’re on the fence whether to grab the Boss DB 30C or the Tama RW30, the choice is pretty obvious. At a lower price point and better design, I’d easily go with Tama’s metronome. Click here to see full specs

POSITIVES:

  • Semi-Mountable (Clip-style)
  • Affordable
  • Well designed
  • Backlit display
  • Tempo wheel
  • Portable

NEGATIVES:

  • Non-programmable
  • Cannot be powered with AC adaptor

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 HONORABLE MENTION: YAMAHA CLST 100 ClickStation

Buy Yamaha ClickstationIn my own personal opinion, I think the Yamaha ClickStation is by far the best metronome out there. Similar to the Boss DB-90, the ClickStation has a staggering amount of features. The only problem is that you can’t buy it anymore!

One of the most unique features of the ClickStation is the vibrate feature. When enabled, the whole device will vibrate allowing you to feel the pulse instead of hearing it.

Unfortunately, Yamaha discontinued the product a few years back, and it can no longer be purchased in stores. If you are lucky, you can find one on ebay, or in your local pawnshop. As for prices, you’ll be able to find them for around $100-400 USD.

    POSITIVES

  • Great Mounting System
  • Adjustable subdivisions, and an easy to spin tempo dial
  • Programmable with up to 86 memory allocations
  • 10-Key Pad allowing for quick input, and access to functions
  • MIDI and quarter inch inputs
  • Can be found for a great price

    NEGATIVES

  • Too many functions for the average user
  • Discontinued product



By no means is this a definitive list. There are literally hundreds of different metronomes available on the market, however, in my experience, the metronomes listed here are some of the more popular ones out and come from trusted companies that are known to create quality products.

Depending on your needs, there is definitely a perfect metronome for you. So get out there, buy that metronome, and start practicing!

What is your favorite metronome to use? Comment below and let me know!

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