Best drumsticks 2024: wooden and synthetic sticks for beginner and pro drummers

Quick Menu

Pair of drumsticks sat on a snare drum

(Image credit: Future)

1. Product guide
2. Buying advice
3. How we choose products

So, you've got your drum kit and you've chosen your ideal cymbals. Now you need the next link in the percussive chain - drumsticks. They're one of the most important tools in a drummer’s arsenal - the main point of contact between your hands and your gear - and they have a real impact on the way you play. Choosing sticks might seem like an arbitrary choice, but there really is a science to it, hence why we’ve created this guide to the best drumsticks available today.

If you've got the right drumstick in your hand, it should feel like an extension of your arm, so it’s important to choose carefully. If you're not sure where to start, fear not; the drumsticks in this guide include options for every style and budget, and we've added some handy buying advice further down the page to help you in your search.

The best model for you will be determined by a number of factors: the genre of music you play, the hardness with which you hit your gear and your overall budget will ultimately dictate which drumstick is right for you.

Nearly all drumstick brands – including the ‘big five’ of Vic Firth, Vater, Zildjian, Regal Tip and Promark – offer a similar range of standard models, which are great starting points. Most will agree, for example, that a well made 5A model is the best drumstick for rock.

The good news is that drumsticks aren't that expensive, unless you go for some of the more exotic synthetic sticks (which we also cover here), so you can reasonably and affordably invest in a few pairs to experiment.

Chris Barnes
Chris Barnes

Chris has been a drummer for 20+ years and has worked in the music gear industry for 19 years, including 7 of those as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine, Rhythm. Over the years Chris has been hands-on with (and broken) hundreds of pairs of sticks, from classic styles and signature sticks, to synthetic models and even glow in the dark pairs.

Best drumsticks: Product guide

Best drumsticks: Buying advice

Man holds a pair of drumsticks

(Image credit: Future)

How to choose the best drumsticks for you

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

Most often, wooden drumsticks are made from hickory. This medium weight hardwood is a hard-wearing material, while alternative woods such as oak and maple offer different weight and density options.

For even more durability it would be worth exploring sticks made from still-tougher materials such as aluminium or graphite. This added strength reduces the need to regularly replace drumsticks, but inevitably costs more on a one-off basis.

Cheaper budget drumsticks, commonly made from B-grade hickory, come in at a fraction of the price of premium sticks, and are well worth considering. Even if these aren’t your go-to A-grade stage model, it’s worth grabbing a few pairs of budget sticks as back-ups in case of mid gig or session breakages. These are often more than good enough for home practice or giving the kids a go on your kit, too.

So that’s the overview; now let’s run through key terminology to help inform your purchase of the best drumsticks for you. When searching for your next pair, you’ll see a number of key words used to describe features: thickness, length, taper and tip.

What does drumstick thickness and length relate to?

Thickness has an impact on the overall weight of the stick, and how it feels in your hand. This translates to playing comfort and the amount of power you can unleash on your drums and cymbals. Generally, thicker sticks are more durable, too. Length dictates the potential reach you have between your hands and your drums and cymbals and is measured from the butt of the stick to the tip.

What is drumstick taper?

The taper is the part of the stick that gets thinner as it heads towards the tip. Taper length impacts how the stick feels to play. Longer, thinner tapers promote faster, lighter playing, but these sticks tend to be more fragile.

What drumstick tip shapes are there?

Stick tips come in all shapes and sizes, in nylon and wooden guises. Each style extracts a different sound from your drums and cymbals. Ball tips tend to elicit more precise, articulate sounds, especially when it comes to cymbals. Acorn tips are fuller and warmer. For the best of both worlds, we’d recommend an oval tip. Nylon tips produce more attack than wood tips.

Man playing drums with a set of the best drumsticks

(Image credit: Future)

Should I try signature drumsticks?

Many stick companies use famous drummers to promote their products, often in the guise of signature drumsticks - that is, sticks designed to the exact specifications of the drummer in question, and usually with their name or band logo adorned on the stick. Many regular drummers swear by the signature model of their favourite drummer. But are signature sticks always the way to go? Yes and no…

You may well find that your favourite drummer’s signature stick is the perfect fit for you and your playing style, and they tick all the boxes for taper, thickness, length and tip. However, your favourite drummer may prefer to play an ultra thick, extra long model that is far too unwieldy for you. So, you need to be honest with yourself if you discover your hero’s stick isn’t for you.


For something as seemingly simple as buying a pair of drumsticks, there’s actually plenty to chew over. Our recommendation would be to pick up a few pairs of different sizes and start playing. You’ll soon home in on the right model for you.

How we choose the best drumsticks for this guide

Here at MusicRadar, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing, creating and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything music gear related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides. 

When choosing what we believe to be the best drumsticks available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.

First and foremost, we are musicians, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best drumsticks on the market right now.

Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.