Drums are one of the most intuitive and fun instruments to play and are deeply challenging to master. Part of playing (and mastering) the drums is achieved using drum sticks.
With such a wide variety of drum/percussion instruments and playing styles, the sticks are sometimes an afterthought for beginners while. At the same time, professionals sometimes go as far as developing custom sticks to suit their specific needs (some of which make it to market as signature models for the masses to try themselves).
When it comes to choosing the best drum sticks, there are plenty of options. In this article, we’ll consider the top 11 best drum stick brands in the world today.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I’ve done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Variety of drum sticks
- Performance of the drum sticks
- Longevity of the drums sticks
- The company/brand must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let’s list out the brands.
The top 11 best drum stick brands in the world are:
Let’s get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best drum stick brands. I’ll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable drum set, and a link to their official website.
From Slipknot to Genesis, Joey Jordison and Phil Collins chose Promark to make music history. This company, founded in 1957 by Herb Brochstein in Houston, Texas, was the first one to introduce Japanese oak into the USA. Furthermore, Promark was the only company to commercialize oak sticks on US soil successfully.
In 2011, Promark’s heritage and top-notch craftsmanship were acquired by D’Addario. Such was the know-how of Brochstein and co that D’Addario didn’t touch the operations team during the takeover.
Nowadays, Promark manufactures some of the sturdiest, most precise, and comfortable drumsticks in the world and has been doing so for over 60 years. Checking out Promark’s catalogue before buying your next pair is a no-brainer.
Hickory is a wood type that is as lightweight as it is strong and durable. This pair represents the timeless, quintessential feel of a pair of good-quality drum sticks. This is because they are what drummers call “forward” sticks. In layman’s terms, the weight of the stick tends to go forward toward the tip.
Drummers who like to go faster and yet obtain maximum power will feel at home with a pair of these hickory drumsticks in their hands. Don’t forget, Promark’s legend was forged with one pair of drumsticks at a time.
Promark was founded in 1957 by Herb Brochstein in Houston, Texas and was acquired by D’Addario in 2011. Today, the company headquarters is located in Farmingdale, New York, USA.
Official website: daddario.com/products/percussion/promark
Parent company: D’Addario
Evereth Joseph Firth lived between 1930 and 2015, but his legacy will live on forever. Indeed, Vic Firth is referred to by many drummers as the best pair of drumsticks in the world. Furthermore, it is the world’s largest manufacturer of drumsticks and mallets.
It all started in 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts, because Joseph, playing with the Boston Orchestra, needed better sticks. Out of need, he came up with two different designs that went on to become the utterly famous SD1 and SD2.
Although he made them for himself, soon after, he had to start manufacturing them due to high demand. By 2012, the company was making 12 million drumsticks a year and selling them to the world. If you’re going to play drums, you have to check them out.
The world’s best-selling drumstick of all times is made entirely of hickory and features a bold design that adds flexibility to every hit. This pair of 5A drumsticks is all you need for the stage night after night.
A distinctive quality about these drumsticks is that the company made the tips deeply back-cut and, as a result, cymbal response is better. Also, they are tested-and-true, road-ready, and combine heritage with modern manufacturing techniques.
You can never go wrong with a pair of these in your hands.
The Vic Firth Company was founded in 1963 by Evereth Joseph Firth in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2010 the company merged with Zildjian, and today the headquarters is located in Norwell, Massachusetts, USA.
Official website: vicfirth.zildjian.com
Parent company: Zildjian
Vater is one of the best-known drumsticks companies in the world. This didn’t happen by accident; it is the work of three generations of hard-working drum lovers. Jack Adams and Fred Michaeli founded the company, and it is currently run by Adam’s grandsons Ron and Alan Vater.
Vater gained a worldwide reputation for making heavier yet more durable sticks. By adding more moisture to the wood in the manufacturing process, the company has produced some of the best sticks on the market. Heavy-handed drummers like Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Chad Smith or The Police’s Stewart Copeland prefer using them above other brands.
If you favour heavier, more durable sticks that deliver in every performance, check Vater out.
Jay Weinberg got himself a difficult gig to pull off playing in one of the most extreme bands on the planet: Slipknot. In this sense, the Vater 908 represent technology applied to withstand nights of sweaty sets in front of thousands of screaming fans.
Perhaps the most difficult obstacle for Vater was producing a stick that would facilitate Jay’s fast yet heavy playing style. For this to happen, they had to achieve the perfect balance between weight and power.
You can hear and see Jay speaking about how they succeeded in this video.
Vater Percussion was founded in 1956 by Jack Adams and Fred Michaeli in Boston, Massachusetts. The company headquarters is located in Holbrook, Massachusetts, USA.
Official website: vater.com
Ahead is a word game. The acronym stands for Advanced High-Efficiency Alloy Drumsticks. The word means to be one step beyond everybody else. In the case of AHEAD drumsticks, they are both true.
To think of a pair of drumsticks made without any wood was crazy in 1992 when Rick Grossman, engineer and drummer, came up with the idea. At the time, he was working for the Easton Company and making all kinds of sports elements (baseball bats, hockey sticks, and arrows) out of space-grade aluminum.
Once the concept came together, the first all-aluminum drumsticks faced the market with huge acclaim. Almost 30 years later, they became the trademark for drummers as diverse as Daru Jones (Jack White) and Lars Ulrich (Metallica).
Regardless of the stage or music style, AHEAD drumsticks are always ready to make history.
Notable drumsticks: Maxx Series Drumsticks – 5A (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
This pair of drumsticks sports a series of features that set them apart from all the competition.
For starters, they are certified to last 6 to 10 times as much as wooden sticks. Thanks to the replaceable tips, covers, and rings, you won’t run out of polyurethane and be left with unusable sticks in perfect shape. Speaking of which, the 60-day warranty is a welcome addition. Finally, the high-precision alloy core guarantees consistent weight across the stick.
Aluminum drumsticks provide drummers 50% less shock and have 5% more rebound than wooden sticks. If you are serious about your drumming, these sticks are certainly worth checking out.
Advanced High-Efficiency Alloy Drumsticks was founded in 1992 by Rick Grossman. The company headquarters is located in Northridge, California, USA.
Official website: aheaddrumsticks.com
Founded by Roland Meinl in Gutenstetten, Germany, in 1951, this is one of the “big four” cymbal companies. This leverage of making outstanding cymbals granted Meinl the know-how to also make some of the best drumsticks in the market.
Although the company’s main driving force, Roland Meinl, passed away in 2007, this brand continues to be one of the top brands for drummers worldwide. Every year, the catalogue grows to include more percussion accessories and instruments.
The integral knowledge of the instrument gained through the past decades allowed this brand to put out top-notch elements for every percussionist or drummer out there. Before you buy your next pair of sticks, be sure to check Meinl out.
Modelled out of a pair of classic 5A drumsticks, these Calvin Rodgers Signature Drumsticks are designed specifically to bring speed, articulation, and power to your playing style.
To begin with, they are made of American Hickory, the quintessential material most drummers have been using for years. Also, the round tip provides more definition in cymbals while making it a quick, strong hitter. Finally, each pair is pitch and weight-matched to maximize your talent in both hands equally.
Here’s a video of the man himself, Calvin Rodgers, explaining why you should get his sticks.
Meinl Percussion was founded in 1951 by Roland Meinl. The company headquarters is located in Gutenstetten, Germany.
Official website: meinlpercussion.com
Meinl Percussion is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Cymbal Brands In The World.
Drummers know that Zildjian needs no introduction because it is the main cymbal manufacturer in the world. Just like Meinl, it is the leverage of over five centuries that has given them the ability to also make some of the best drumsticks in the market.
For this endeavour, Zildjian, faithful to its motto of never settling for anything other than excellence, acquired Vic Firth in 2010. Although they continue to manufacture and sell Vic Firth drumsticks under their own brand, Zildjian drew from them the knowledge to create an unrivalled line of drumsticks with their own stamp.
If you love playing drums utilizing the best drumsticks available, you have to give them a try; 600 years of hard work back them up.
One of the main characteristics of the DIP series is that the company actually dips them in a material that enhances grip without affecting performance. Moreover, their full-size oval tip provides extra brilliance when hitting cymbals as well as more rebound.
Made entirely out of hickory, with a nylon tip and a special grip material from the middle to the bottom, these are Zildjian’s best-sellers.
Avedis Zildjian Company was founded all the way back in 1623 by Avedis Zildjian in Constantinople (now Instanbul), Turkey. Today the company headquarters is located in Norwell, Massachusetts, USA.
Official website: zildjian.com
Zildjian is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Cymbal Brands In The World.
Finley is a relatively new player, established in 2015 in Brisbane, Australia, by Paul Bradshaw. Paul, as a drummer, toured the world and back and had to play with whatever he had available. Back home to his native Australia, he decided to create the perfect pair of sticks to give back to a community that had given him so much.
Every pair of Finley drumsticks goes through a thorough quality inspection and blends human with robot work seamlessly. Also, they match and balance them, so you won’t have any nasty surprises picking them up before the show.
Finally, the company takes pride in having an always-open inbound communication channel for drummers around the world. That way, they can ensure they are always solving real-day problems for drummers in stages around the globe.
If you haven’t yet, give these Australian wonders a try.
Notable drumsticks: 5A Hickory Wood Tip (link to check the price at Finley Drumsticks)
The quintessential drumstick is a 5A with a wooden tip. That being said, what Finley did with them was to find the “sweet spot” of every component to take that original design to the best it can possibly be.
To begin with, they dry hickory until it is 9% humid and then apply a 15% lacquer finish, so they achieve the perfect blend between elasticity and hardness and grip and feel.
Finley drumsticks might surprise you in more than one way because, price-wise, they are tough competitors for the biggest brands like Vic Firth and Promark.
Finlay was founded in 2015 by Paul Bradshaw in Brisbane, Australia, where the company headquarters is still located today.
Official website: finleydrumsticks.com
Two percussion majors got together to create a set of mallets to satisfy their needs because they couldn’t find in the market a pair that would. Time, hard work, and the right management took that dream and turned it into a massive, 600-product catalogue.
Nowadays, the company operates from Nashville, Tennessee, and exports its products around the world. Moreover, they make all kinds of percussive instruments and sticks to accommodate players from all styles.
From the broad range of sticks to the legion of fans that swear by their products, Innovative Percussion’s pitch and weight-matched drumsticks are Nashville’s top option for drummers.
For an in-depth explanation of the process, you can watch this video featuring Chris Long, the vice president of operations.
Paul Rennick is a well-known name in the world of academic percussion. Firstly, he is the Director and Arranger of the University of North Texas Drum Line. Secondly, he is the Percussion Arranger and Caption Manager of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps.
Why is this important? Well, because the man who designed these drumsticks along with Innovative Percussion has played and taught more than most humans did in their lifetime.
That vast experience in service of sound created a wonderful pair of drumsticks. They are made entirely of white hickory, feature a slightly larger-than-average bulleted barrel-shaped head, and are a pinch thicker than the competition. Finally, the combination of the bulleted head and the larger body creates a resonating, dark sound perfect for the task.
Innovative Percussion was founded in 1999 by George Barrett. The company headquarters is located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Official website: innovativepercussion.com
Joe Calato, a drummer from Niagara Falls, New York, needed to add some longevity to his drumsticks. So, he came up with the idea of wrapping the tip with nylon, and thus, the nylon-tip drumsticks were born.
The year was 1958, and due to high demand, he had to open up a manufacturing facility to facilitate shipping them worldwide; Regal Tip was officially born.
Fast forward to 2003, Regal Tip became the largest steel brushes manufacturer globally and established itself as one of the main drumsticks providers on the planet.
Buying from Regal Tip is ensuring the best quality at a competitive price. Before you buy your next set, make sure you try them out.
Notable drumsticks: Jazz 211R (link to check the price on Amazon)
Because of the finesse of its teardrop-shaped tip, the slow taper, and the thin neck, this is the quintessential drumstick for jazz players.
How so? Well, the dynamics they are capable of need a drummer with a soft touch and superb precision. Moreover, they will allow you to show the nuances of your playing going around the kit with a soft touch while articulating every sound.
If you love well-balanced, lightweight drumsticks and own a precise, soft touch, these might be the perfect sticks for you.
Regal Tip was founded in 1958 by Joe Calato in Niagra Falls, New York, where the company headquarters has remained to this day.
Official website: regaltip.com
Parent company: Calato
Thomann Musik is one of the world’s largest musical instruments, pro audio, and lighting retailers. As many of these companies do, they launched their very own brand of drumsticks to sell in their stores worldwide. That brand is known as Millennium, and they manufacture not only accessories but also complete drum sets.
Although they can’t compete with the biggest drumsticks brands in the world, such as Vic Firth, Vater, or Promark, they are a very cost-effective solution, especially for European residents.
Starting at two Euros a pair, Millenium drumsticks offer superb value and are one of the top “budget-friendly” brands out there.
Notable drumsticks: 5A Maple (link to check the price at Thomann)
Maple is one of the most abundant and cost-effective wood types in the world. Thus, finding it in drumsticks that cost less than a pint of beer is not a surprise. That being said, maple is widely used in crafting musical instruments; Fender Stratocasters are a great example.
The timbre of maple is slightly more trebly than hickory. Hence, you can expect these drumsticks to be more resonant and achieve higher levels of brilliance in your performance.
Finding the quintessential shape and weight of a pair of drumsticks at such a competitive price makes it a must to give them a chance.
Thomann was founded in 1954 by Hans Thomann Sr. in Burgebrach, Germany, where the company headquarters is still located today.
Official website: thomann.de/millenium_drumsticks
Parent company: Thomann
Cooper Groove’s founder, Carlo Cooper, believes that necessity is the mother of invention. Thus, in his drumming years, he found himself constantly fighting against sweaty hands and flying sticks. Although his first attempt to solve it was wearing gloves, he quickly gave up on that (and duct tape, too).
The idea, though, lingered in his head. Some years later, in 2015, he created a unique grip pattern that will help drummers hit the instrument more comfortably with a firm grip. He posted them on Facebook, and if you add some word of mouth to the power of social media, the result was an instant revolution that took Cooper Groove to fight for a spot among the greatest.
They are not only very secure for sweaty hands but also great-sounding, durable drumsticks; you should check them out if you haven’t already. Here’s an in-depth video with Carlo telling the story with a smile.
Notable drumsticks: 5A .56″|1.42CM (link to check the price at Scorpion Percussion)
As stated above, the main contribution CooperGroove made to drummers was the increased grip on every stick. That being said, this pair of groovy drumsticks hide a trick or two under the hood.
For starters, the sensory feedback is a side effect of the handle’s grip allowing you to be more aware of the position of your hands while you play. Also, as they are entirely made of hickory, they are as lightweight as stiff and durable. Finally, they make an affordable alternative to big-brand drumsticks.
If you come across them, give them a try; you might find they are what you’ve been looking for all these years.
CooperGroove was founded in 2015 by Carlo Cooper. The company headquarters is located in Oak Park, Illinois, USA.
Official website: coopergroove.com