6 Best Floor Tom Drums In The Market

A standard drum kit will never be complete without a floor tom. Similar to hi-hat cymbals, floor toms are essential in every drumkit. Without it, drumkits won’t have that extra resonant boom incorporated in almost all music genres today.

Furthermore, floor toms complement the sound of a drumkit. Thus, providing users with the best versatility for all types of playstyles.

All drummers, even beginners, will come to the point of buying new floor toms to further their kit’s sound. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best floor toms that will fit into your playstyle, you’re in the right place.

What is a Floor Tom?— An Introductory Guide

floor tom

Floor toms feature both batter and resonant heads without wires, delivering a resounding boom in every hit. Moreover, drummers usually mount them on a three-legged stand due to their size and weight. 

Typically, floor toms feature a 16”x16” sizing, allowing them to have the lowest tuning within a standard drum kit. Due to its enormous size, some jazz drummers also use floor toms as small bass drums. Some companies even feature floor tom to bass drum conversion mechanisms, allowing drummers to vary their usage of floor toms.

Floor toms first came into the spotlight during the 1950s, thanks to legendary drummer Gene Krupa. Today, floor toms can be seen in almost every kit worldwide, making them a crucial piece for today’s musical standards.

Floor Toms Reviewed in this Guide

6 of the Best Floor Toms for All Budgets

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×13 Floor Tom

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14x13 Floor Tom, Raven Black

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Review:

Perfect for drummers on a budget, the Yamaha Stage Custom features the world-renowned Yamaha sound without costing much! Firstly, the Yamaha Stage Custom utilizes a birchwood construction that delivers a warm and low tone. 

Secondly, the Yamaha Custom also comes with the Yamaha Air-Seal System, providing users with round and air-tight shells. This results in better durability and a significant improvement in terms of tone. 

Lastly, the Yamaha Stage Custom incorporates low-mass lugs and high-gloss lacquer paints. Consequently, providing the product with the best sustain and resonance possible.

Key Features:

  • All-Birch Construction
  • 14” x 13” size
  • Raven Black colorway
  • Low-mass lugs
  • YESS Mounting System

Pros:

Compared to Stage Custom Birch models before 2014, this model uses a thicker ply concept and round bearing edges. As a result, this model boasts incredible head-to-shell contact and fatter sound.

Cons:

Although this is a great-sounding floor tom, it still feels like entry-level gear. In addition, the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch is extremely loud. In this light, I do not recommend this for drummers playing in an apartment.

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Pearl Floor Tom (EXX1414F/C31)

Pearl Floor Tom (EXX1414F/C31)

Pearl Export EXX Review:

If you’re looking for a highly resonant floor tom, you can never go wrong with the Pearl Export EXX. The Export EXX utilizes a 14”x14” construction made from Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology.

Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology (SST) is the game-changing factor in this product. First, the SST consists of Poplar and Asian Mahogany, maximizing the resonance of each wood. The Pearl SST also utilizes an AcoustiGlue to create an air-tight fit, resulting in the best resonance possible.

Finally, the Pearl Export EXX underwent a high-temperature pressure molding, resulting in unparalleled durability and tone. Therefore, if you want the best-sounding budget-friendly floor tom, you’re looking at the right product!

Key Features:

  • Pearl Superior Shell Technology
  • 14” x 14” size
  • Low-mass lugs
  • Remo coated drumheads
  • Jet Black colorway

Pros:

The Pearl Export EXX uses an incredible combination of Poplar and Mahogany shells, maximizing the shell’s tone and resonance. In addition, this product also incorporates Remo-coated drumheads for the best sound within a budget-friendly price point.

Cons:

Out-of-the-box, this product needed slight tuning adjustments just like all other budget cymbals. Nevertheless, this product sounds excellent, which surprised me considering its price tag.

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Pearl Floor Tom (DMP1816F/C261)

Pearl Floor Tom (DMP1816F/C261)

Pearl Decade Maple Review:

As a drummer who plays multiple genres, versatility is essential for me when finding new gear. Luckily, versatility is the strength of the Pearl Decade Maple Floor Tom!

The Pearl Decade Maple features a 6-ply all-maple SST shell construction, delivering a massive sound for all genres. In addition, this Pearl floor tom paid attention to other minor details such as its interiors, mounts, and lugs. Consequently, allowing this floor tom to deliver resonant but thunderous highs and lows.

Furthermore, the Pearl Decade Maple floor tom features a 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops. This allows the included Remo drumhead to vibrate with more sustain while maintaining an open sound. On the other hand, the included R-40 Air Suspension Feet ensure playing stability while improving the floor tom’s sustain.

Key Features:

  • 100% Maple SST Shell
  • NDL Mini-Lugs
  • 18” x 16” size
  • R-40 Air Suspension Feet
  • Remo drumheads

Pros:

Thanks to its thinner maple shell construction, the Pearl Decade Maple Floor Tom delivers a highly resonant sound. Moreover, the Pearl Decade features a combination of triple-flanged hoops and air-suspension feet to provide users with the best sustain.

Cons:

Considering the product’s price, it was disappointing that this floor tom still requires some setup right out the box. The floor tom’s sustain might also provide a problem with drummers who play a lot of staccato drum fills.

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DW Drum Set Floor Tom, Gloss Lacquer (DDLG1618TTTB)

DW Drum Set Floor Tom, Gloss Lacquer (DDLG1618TTTB)

DW Design Series Review:

If premium-level specifications are your thing, that’s precisely what this floor tom brings. The DW DDLG1618TTTB features durable shells with a Tobacco Burst finish, providing high-level aesthetics.

Furthermore, this floor tom utilizes a suspension tom mount system which allows the tom to vibrate freely without sacrificing resonance. This floor tom also incorporates a premium mounting system which delivers incredible playing stability.

For drummers who hate tuning their drumheads all the time, this floor tom’s true-pitch tuning rods improve its tuning stability. In a nutshell, this floor tom incorporates DW’s custom-level drum manufacturing features without costing a fortune.

Key Features:

  • 16”x18” size
  • North American Maple Shells
  • Tobacco Burst Finish
  • True-pitch tuning rods
  • Mini-turret lugs

Pros:

This floor tom features DW’s custom-level features within a premium-level price point. Although still expensive, this product does justice to its price through its tone and specifications.

Cons:

I’ve noticed that this product’s choice of wood is thicker than other North American Maple Shells on the market. Therefore, I do not recommend this floor tom for drummers who want a lightweight kit.

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DW Performance Series Floor Tom

DW Performance Series Floor Tom, Tobacco Satin Oil Satin Tobacco Stain Oil 16 x 14 in.

DW Performance Series Review:

The DW Performance Series features jam-packed specifications at a reasonable price. 

First, the DW Performance Series uses hand-applied lacquer and FinishPly wraps for a head-turning finish. Second, the Performance Series also features North American Maple Shells which underwent baking in pressure molds. The floor tom’s shell hardens through this process, consequently improving durability and resonance.

Finally, the DW Performance Series features other notable DW hardware specifications. For instance, the floor tom’s graduated counter hoops encourage a balance between its sustain and attack. Another example would be its utilization of 45° bearing edges for an improved sustain.

Therefore, if you’re looking for the best bang-for-the-buck floor tom, you can never go wrong with the DW Performance Series.

Key Features:

  • 8-Ply North American Maple Shell
  • Graduated Counter Hoops
  • Tobacco Satin Oil Finish
  • True-Pitch Tension Rods
  • 45° Bearing Edges
  • Remo Drumheads
  • 16”x18” size

Pros:

The DW Performance Series features many specifications that stand out compared to other products at its price point. Not to mention, DW also hand-crafted this product to provide its user with a custom-level drum performance.

Cons:

Unlike the truly-customized DW Collector’s Series, this floor tom lacks customizable options. Still, this product sounds excellent and could pass as a custom-shop DW drum.

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Pearl 16″x14″ Reference Floor Tom

Pearl 16'x14' Reference Floor Tom RF1614F/C405 NICOTINE WHITE MARINE PEARL Drum

Pearl Reference Review:

Made for drummers who want the best performance possible, the Pearl Reference Floor Tom boasts incredible projection and tone consistency. Pearl achieved this feat by using a combination of African Mahogany and Maple shells for a warm and snappy tone. In addition, this product also boasts a thin shell that screams with clarity.

Moreover, the Pearl Reference incorporates a fully-rounded bearing edge for additional power and punch in every hit. Combined with its swivel tube lugs, the floor tom’s shell contact is decreased, resulting in better resonance.

The Pearl Reference Floor Tom also comes with MasterCast Hoops, strengthening its overall tone resonance. Lastly, Pearl also implemented its Air Suspension leg design to protect the kit’s sustain from cutting off via floor contact.

Key Features:

  • 16” x 14” size
  • African Mahogany and Maple Shells
  • LG200 Air Suspension Feet
  • BRL Bridge Swivel Lugs
  • Pearl MasterCast Hoops

Pros:

The Pearl Reference Floor Tom’s focus on resonance, tone, and clarity easily beats other floor toms that try to compete. That’s why this product is an excellent addition to any high-end kit that wants the best tone possible.

Cons:

Even though this product is the best on this list, let’s not deny that it’s as expensive as a drumkit.

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Things to Consider Before Buying A Floor Tom?— A Buyer’s Guide

floor tom

When buying a floor tom, many factors affect its performance and sound. Similarly, there are also many add-on features that don’t involve a floor tom’s sound. These features may confuse buyers, especially beginners who don’t know what to look for when buying a floor tom. To simplify things, I crafted this buyer’s guide to highlight the essential things to consider when purchasing a floor tom.

Shell Material

Similar to a student snare drum kit, the shell material of a floor tom affects its tone. A floor tom’s tonewood should vary depending on the sound a drummer is chasing. 

By choosing the proper tonewood, a drummer can approximate the amount of punch, clarity, and resonance a floor tom has. Subsequently, a floor tom’s tonewood also affects where it will sit within a mix.

Here is some example of how today’s popular tonewood sounds:

  • Birch- features a clear and cutting tone for dense mixes while being affordable.
  • Maple- boasts balanced highs, lows, and mids, making them ideal for recordings.
  • Mahogany- perfect for drummers looking for a controlled and warm vibrant sound.
  • Poplar- often utilized as a budget tonewood, has a warm low-end but clipped highs.

Although these tonewoods are the standard, some companies, such as Pearl, mix various tonewoods through their SST shells. This results in a combined sound that brings out a specific tone for specific purposes.

Sizing

Sizing affects the overall pitch of a drum. The general rule of thumb here is that the bigger its size, the lower its pitch. Here are the most popular floor tom sizes you can choose from:

  • 16”x16”- the most common size suitable for a more traditional sound.
  • 14”x14”- produces a higher pitch than traditional floor toms and is usually found in jazz fusion kits.
  • 18”x16”- the ideal size for a second floor tom.
  • 16”x18”- rarer than the 18”x16”; however, it’s also most suitable as a second floor tom.

Hardware

A floor tom’s hardware isn’t only for functionality; they also help with the resonance and sustain, sometimes tone, of the drum. Some key features to look for when finding suitable hardware are the following:

  • Air Suspension Feet- helps improve sustain by minimizing the drum’s ground contact.
  • True-pitch tuning rods- provides users with better tuning stability and tuning experience.
  • Low-mass lugs- minimizes shell contact for better resonance.
  • Bearing edge- the sharper it is, the more attack and sustain a floor tom produces.
  • Chrome hardware- this helps with the drum’s durability and structural stability.

Frequently Asked Questions About Floor Toms

What does a floor tom do?

Typically, floor toms possess the lowest tuning within a drumkit aside from the bass drum due to its sheer size. In addition, floor toms do not utilize any type of snare wires. As a result, floor toms produce a deep and resonant sound. Moreover, floor toms provide drumkits with a punchy and low sound— complementing both mid and hi toms.

Is a floor tom necessary?

A floor tom completes the sound of a standard drum kit. Without it, a drumkit won’t have that deep punch that removes the hollowness of its sound. Although a floor tom is an essential part of a drumkit, some music styles, such as trap, rarely use them. Nevertheless, a floor tom is necessary for a drumkit, especially when playing traditional music such as rock, blues, and jazz.

What size is a floor tom?

The popular sizes of floor toms are as follows:

  • 16”x16”
  • 14”x14”
  • 18”x16”
  • 16”x18”

One essential thing about drum sizes is that the larger it is, the lower its pitch becomes. In addition, the deeper its pitch, the better its sustain will be. Therefore, I recommend that drummers know the sound they are chasing to find the best floor tom size according to their needs.

How much is a floor tom?

Most reasonable entry-level floor tom prices play around $200-$300. Furthermore, some intermediate level floor toms reach the price of $600. On the other hand, custom shop floor toms sit above the price of $1000.

How do you use toms in drumming?

Toms are perfect for drum fills when transitioning from one rhythmic pattern to another. One standard way of using toms is through accents, coloring the overall rhythmic pattern. Although these are how I use toms, there is no absolute rule for using them.

Enjoy Your New Floor Tom!

floor tom

In a nutshell, a floor tom is an essential piece of a drumset. Removing them from a kit would also remove the deep and resonant boom they provide. That’s why floor toms are an integral part of a drumkit. Hopefully, this article has shed some light regarding this standard but rarely talked about component of a drumkit.

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