Drummers need to keep time. Everyone knows this, but not many people know how hard it is to actually stick perfectly to a set BPM. It’s basically humanly impossible, even for the most reliable of drummers. And while some variability in time can add texture and emotion to music, it’s not great all the time.
These days, so many bands play with triggered samples, MIDI instruments, and even pre-programmed sounds and beats. This requires the impeccable timing that only a metronome can provide.
And for practice, a metronome is a drummer’s best friend, helping you stay in the groove or experiment to find the best tempo for a song. But which are the best metronomes for drummers? Glad you asked…
Top 6 Best Metronomes for Drummers on the Market in 2021 Reviews
1 Kliq: Micronome – Best Cheap Metronome for Drummers
Let’s start with one of the best of the cheapies. Kliq Music Gear will let you walk away with one of their Micronomes for the low price of around $15. Is it all you need?
Look at the name first. “Micronome” lets you know how small and unobtrusive this thing is. With an about 2 x 4-inch face, this is small, alright. Furthermore, it’s one of the smallest metronomes for drummers you can buy.
The face is almost entirely taken up with a large LCD that is easy to read even in low light. Around it, you have just four control buttons to keep things simple. You’ve got up and down arrows to adjust tempo, a power button, and a Select button.
Here’s how it works…
You can adjust the tempo you want by selecting the tempo and pressing the up and down buttons. This unit offers a range of 30-260 BPM, so we’re talking funeral dirge up to insane drum&bass. Trust me; you don’t need a greater range than that.
You can then select Beats to set your time signature by selecting how many beats you want in each bar. This isn’t as intuitive as a strict ¾ or 6/8, but it works.
One other trick…
You can choose from one of nine pre-programmed rhythms that the Micronome will play back to you. These can be useful for new/practicing drummers. The tone here is not a click but a “digital tone.” Personally, this made me feel quite sick after a while, even if it does cut through drum sounds well.
This unit clips onto any stand or drum rim with a decent clip. It has quite a loud speaker on it, but it’s not as loud as full-out drumming. There is no headphone jack, so you’ll have to play quietly. It is easily rechargeable, giving you 16 hours of use on a single charge.
- Small, unobtrusive clip-on machine.
- Cheap and easy to use.
- No headphone jack, and too quiet for full-on drumming.
- The digital beep can be irritating.
2 Korg: MA-1 Metronome – Best Metronome and Tuner for Drummers
Korg makes some incredible synths, drum machines, and MIDI controllers. So they have to be experts on timing, right? The MA-1 is another pocket-sized metronome, though this time, it retails for about $25.
That said, it provides you with more functionality than the Kliq. It’s a little bigger at 3 x 5 inches but still easy to pack away. The LCD could be bigger, but it still works. As a result, it’s one of the best compact metronomes for drummers on the market.
For drummers, I’d rather see a clip on the back of this unit than the fold-out stand. It’s not going to be easy to find a great spot to set this device up.
How well does it work?
It works great. You can set your tempo from between 30-252 BPM, which should be enough for anyone. You can also set a tempo by tapping. The display can be set to show you the progression of beats as they’re laid down or the swing of a pendulum which I think is easier to follow.
The unit beeps rather than clicks. It puts a higher tone on the first beat of each bar and a lower tone on the other beats. This sound can get annoying for some people – I am one of those people. While the machine is pretty quiet, it has a headphone jack so you can hear it clearly over your drums and also get some hearing protection while you’re practicing.
It has eight rhythm patterns that you can play along with to practice different musical styles. And as a huge bonus, this machine is also a chromatic tuner providing reference tones to tune up your drums or other instruments in your band. All in all, it’s one of the best portable metronomes for drummers on the market.
- Cheap and versatile and is also a chromatic tuner.
- Has a headphone jack for extra volume.
- Beep sounds can be distracting.
- Has no clip, just a fold-out stand.
3 Boss: Dr. Beat DB-30 Metronome – Best Value for the Money Metronome for Drummers
The DB-30 by Boss is $10 more expensive than the Korg MA-1. Let’s see if it does anything the Korg doesn’t do. Once again, this is a small, portable metronome that’s about 3 x 5 inches on the face. Unfortunately, it has no build-in stand like the Korg, so you’ll be stuck leaning it against something or hoping it won’t fall off your bass drum.
Of course, it has a headphone jack, and like the Korg, you can set the tempo across a full range. It has a dedicated Tap button for you to set a tempo in a hurry by tapping. You can set it to play anywhere from 1 to 17 beats in a bar, plus you get nine rhythm types and 24 beat variations to practice along with.
The tempo meter here is smoother than the Korg, but I actually like that less. It’s less obvious where the beat is. Also, when you set it to an odd-numbered time signature, like ¾, it does a weird skip to get back to the one beat. Maybe it’s just me, but I found this weird and distracting. Then again, I normally listen and don’t look at a metronome.
What the *beep* is going on?
Once again, this metronome is a beep-based machine, like the other units we’ve seen. And while a beep can cut through drumming better, it makes me feel a little bit nauseous. I’d love to see a metronome with a click or woodblock sound instead.
Other features here include a 12 reference note chromatic tuner and auto power off function. Both are useful little extras to justify the price, I guess. That said, it’s easily one of the best metronomes for drummers out there.
- Easy to set the tempo with buttons or by tapping.
- Has a headphone jack to make it easy to hear over drums.
- Also, a chromatic tuner.
- Beep sounds can be annoying.
- Has no clip or stand.
4 Tama: Rhythm Watch RW200 – Best Programmable Metronome for Drummers
If you have a bit more money to spend, like $90 or so, you can pick up a Rhythm Watch RW200 from Tama. Now, Tama makes some incredible drums, so their accessories should be right up there, attuned to the needs of every drummer, right?
Starting with the basics…
This unit is 3 x 6 inches on the face, so it’s the biggest we’ve seen so far. However, it has the smallest LCD. On the other hand, it has an additional display light, so while it’s small, you can definitely see this display the most clearly. Still, it uses flashing lights to show you the beats rather than a simulated pendulum. And I honestly find that a lot more useful.
It has a range of 30-250 BPM, which looks like it’s pretty standard for metronomes. You can choose from 9 beats to have it play and get this – instead of a beep, it uses a click. Hallelujah!
While this is harder to hear through the drums, I think it’s way less distracting, and it makes me want to actually use the thing. You can run it through headphones anyway if you need the extra volume.
So what can it do that the others can’t?
The most powerful feature is that you can program and store up to 30 songs worth of tempos and beats. This way, you can preset your drum parts and play along in practice. Or even live with the Rhythm Watch clicking to help keep your timing precise. This makes it one of the most versatile metronomes for drummers you can buy.
On the downside, you can’t play compound meters like 7/8. It also seems to gobble 9V batteries if you can’t use an adapter for some reason.
- Can program up to 30 songs.
- Uses a click instead of a beep sound.
- Has a small LCD.
- Can’t program compound meters.
- Eats batteries.
- Doesn’t come with an adapter.
5 Soundbrenner: Pulse – Best Wearable Metronome for Drummers
After looking at a lot of similar metronomes, I was pretty excited to find something different. That’s why I added the Soundbrenner Pulse to my list of the best metronomes for drummers. But does different mean better? You be the judge.
The Pulse is a “smart, wearable, vibrating metronome,” which means you don’t have to worry about clips or stands. This is a wristwatch-style device. And you don’t look at it or listen to it like other metronomes. Instead, it vibrates on the beat, so you feel the rhythm.
Does it work?
The whole thing is controlled by the Pulse app, which you can use to program songs and choose beats. All the actual device can do is tap tempo (tap the face of the watch at least three times) or increase/decrease the tempo by turning a ring on the face. It doesn’t actually show you the beats on the face, which is, I think, a strange oversight.
As a drummer, it might feel weird to have this thing on your wrist while you’re moving and striking drums. I didn’t like the feel of it there. But guess what? You can wear it on your leg or even around your body if you want. You just need to find a way to strap it on.
Connect it to your DAW…
The best part of this device is that it can be linked up via Bluetooth. You can use DAW to set tempo or play through a song full of changing rhythms. You can also link up to five devices together so that everyone in your band can keep on tempo together.
It’s about $100, which is a bit expensive. But if you are looking for a great vibrating metronome for drummers, this will be worth a closer look.
- Bluetooth connectivity allows up to five devices to be linked.
- Ears-free use.
- Vibration may be harder to sense than a click, beep, or flashing light.
- Beats aren’t displayed on the face of the device.
6 Boss: Dr. Beat DB-90 Metronome – Best High-end Metronome for Drummers
For our last metronome, we’re back to Boss, this time with their DB-90. While the DB-30 costs over $30, the DB-90 is about $100 more than that. So what has it got that its little sister metronome doesn’t?
A methodical beast…
Boss calls this the “most advanced metronome available,” and it probably is. I mean, in addition to playing a basic click track with a flashing pendulum display, it has way more features. Furthermore, it’s one of the best multi-function metronomes for drummers available.
The one I’m probably the most taken with is the choice of four different sounds: you can choose a custom sound, a click, that infernal beep, or a human voice counting. The counting function is essential for keeping track of complex rhythms and works to get in your head.
You can also save up to 50 songs on this device so that you can play them back and practice with them. Another excellent feature for practice is the rhythm coach function that makes use of the DB-90’s built-in microphone. This function listens while you play along to a beat and then lets you know how accurate you are.
More than a time-keeper…
You can also use the built-in mic to sample your own drum sounds. Then you can use that as a custom sound in the beats you pre-program. This device even has a MIDI In 5-pin connection so that you can sync it up with a DAW or other controllers.
You can plug electronic drums or triggers into this machine or even run a guitar cable right in and play along with a beat. Of course, it has a headphone jack for you to listen to the beats you program. Use sliders to turn up and down the levels of the notes you want, and you’re set to go.
- Includes mic for coaching function.
- 50-song memory.
- MIDI input.
- A bit of a steep learning curve to get used to this tech.
Need Great Drums or Drum Accessories?
We can help you with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Drum Triggers, the Best Drum Cases, the Best Bass Drum Pedals, the Best Drum Thrones, the Best Drum Tuners, the Best Drumsticks, the Best Snare Drums, and the Best Drum Practice Pads you can buy in 2021.
And don’t miss our handy guides on the Odd Time Signatures, The Nashville Number System for Drummers Explained, What You Need to Know About Drum Shells, What You Need To Know When Buying Cymbals, and What You Need to Know About Cymbal Stands for more useful information.
What are the Best Metronomes for Drummers?
From simple to super-complex devices, there are tons of contenders for the best metronome for drummers. But in the end, if I have to give a strong recommendation, I’d choose the…
It’s moderately priced and has a lot of functions that cheaper models lack. Unless you want to go crazy and splash out for its big sister, this is a robust metronome that should last you years and give you all the help you need to keep your speed strict and your tempo tight.
Get yourself a metronome, and you’ll find a whole new way to improve your drumming and feel your way through time.
Until next time, let the beat go on.