The drum throne is the foundation of a drummer’s groove and overall playing.
It supports a drummer’s movements and allows them to gain leverage to strike the drum or kick the bass drum.
Not only does a high-quality drum throne help with posture and comfort levels when playing for an extended period, but a good drum stool also has a massive impact on the agility, pace, technique, and accuracy of your playing.
Especially among newer players, it’s one piece of drum hardware that is often overlooked, but certainly shouldn’t be.
As a drummer myself, having started playing when I was 8 years old, a comfortable drum throne is something I can’t go without, and maybe something I wish I invested in a bit early on.
With that being said, I’ve created this drum throne guide to share my knowledge and experience using them, as well as guidance on choosing the best drum throne on the market for you.
But first, let’s begin with a basic understanding of drum thrones…
What Is a Drum Throne?
A drum throne is what a drummer sits on when playing the drums. A comfortable and supportive drum throne is the most important piece of hardware for a drummer. It lays the foundation for good drumming posture, which is essential to playing the drums at the highest level of one’s ability and performance.
Now that we know what it is, let’s delve into what to look out for when choosing the best drum throne for you.
Drum Throne Base
The base is the foundation of your drum throne, just like the throne is to your overall drum playing performance.
With that in mind, you wouldn’t want to build a house on a wobbly foundation! One thing to consider is how active your playing style is.
If you’re a very active drummer, that likes to throw your weight around, an ultra-sturdy four-legged double-braced drum throne base is something to consider. With that extra sturdiness in a more heavy-duty drum throne comes a more substantial weight, however.
For most people, a typical three-legged double-braced drum throne base is more than enough.
Some manufactures also offer added stability via wider “Clydesdale” style rubber feet, but again, I only think necessary if you are a very active drummer or on the heavier side.
In general, one of the worst aspects of a cheap drum stool is that they wobble around, which forces the drummer off-balance and unstable in the pelvic region.
Not only will this prevent you from reaching your highest playing ability, but it can also expose you to the risk of back pain over an extended period.
Height Adjustment – Spindle vs Hydraulic Drum Throne
Being able to easily adjust your drum throne’s height is a feature that should not be overlooked.
To establish correct alignment and optimal comfort, it’s essential that you can make small changes to the height with ease, especially if you share a drum kit with other people.
One height adjustment mechanism to avoid is the nut and bolt lock. Nearly every cheap drum stool uses this system, but it only allows limited height options and is normally very wobbly.
A more improved alternative is the sliding tube and memory locking mechanism. Although this height adjustment system is adequate, over time the memory locking feature can wear out.
The two options I’d recommend are spindle adjustment and pneumatic adjustment mechanisms.
A spindle mechanism is very simple to use, all you do is spin the seat top clockwise or anticlockwise to raise or lower the height. Not only does it offer unlimited height adjustments, but superior stability and longevity.
Pneumatic adjustment mechanisms are what you’ll find on the best drum thrones, but also the most expensive. It’s a complex system that essentially uses compressed air for quick, simple, and smooth height adjustments with endless adjustment possibilities.
Standard Round vs Saddle Throne
At the end of the day, deciding between a standard round top seat and a motorcycle-style seat is going to come down to personal preference. There’s no right or wrong option.
A round throne distributes the weight of a drummer over a flat and smaller surface area. Because of the smallness, it reinforces drumming posture in the back. Drummers that prefer the round top throne believe that they encourage natural body movement and a more responsive and flexible drumming style.
The saddle throne, or motorcycle seat, has grown in popularity over the last ten years. The bigger surface area and shape make it more cushioning and comfortable over longer periods, also a more comfortable drum throne for a heavy person.
The contoured top feels more ergonomic and creates more space for the legs to overhang, which increases stability while playing and also helps prevent leg fatigue.
Materials Used In The Best Drum Thrones
One word, foam.
The guys at Roc-N-Soc, who make some of the best drum thrones on the market, will tell you again and again that what turns a good throne into an excellent throne is the foam in the seat.
Each manufacturer has their own formula, some more advanced than others. As a general guideline, a drum stool that utilizes some form of high-density foam technology is going to the most supportive and comfortable.
A more heavy-duty foam will also increase the lifetime and longevity of the throne, maintaining its shape and evenness for years to come.
What Is the Best Drum Throne?
Oh, and a heads up! There may be some products which I recommend for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. All recommendations are genuine and/or verified by myself!
Starting off the list of the best drum thrones, I can only give the top spot to the throne I use and have used for some time now, the Drum Workshop CP9100M.
For me, it’s traditional, conservative, and has everything I need in a drum throne.
I generally prefer round top seats when I’m playing, I like the increased flexibility and range of movement they allow. Also, it’s what I grew up using and most comfortable with, as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Across a wide range of equipment, Drum Workshop reigns supreme when compared to other brands and I think this shows in this drum throne.
The DW CP9100M incorporates their most advanced foam formula, that offers superb comfort, but also stability, and longevity that makes the high drum throne price worth it in my opinion.
The hardware is as solid as you need. The double-braced legs, vise lock seat clamp, and double-locking clamp ensure the greatest strength and stability. Even more so with the oversized base.
Finally, one thing I especially like is the 14-inch diameter seat, I don’t think I could ever go back to a 13-inch seat.
Pros: High build quality, solid construction, comfortable foam, wide seat diameter.
If you prefer a motorcycle-style saddle throne, then the Roc-N-Soc Nitro is the best drum throne for you.
Roc-N-Soc differs from other companies, as they are the only brand that strictly specializes in seating for musicians. Because of this, they’re always leading the way when it comes to innovative design and technological advancements.
Although I prefer a more traditional round top seat, I must admit I have been tempted by a Roc-N-Soc Nitro having tried one a few times.
One thing Roc-N-Soc place a high level of importance on when it comes to drum thrones is the quality in their foam cushioning.
It’s a bit softer than the Drum Workshop CP9100M but is still dense enough to support your weight perfectly and supportively.
One of the key differences and selling points of the Roc-N-Soc Nitro is the pneumatic height adjustment mechanism which allows for effortless adjusting without having to swivel the seat, quite a handy feature.
The built-in nitrogen shock absorber is supposed to reduce back pain and fatigue over the long-term, if you want one of the best drum thrones for back pain, you can easily add a Roc-N-Soc backrest, creating even more support.
Although the slight bounce from the shock absorber is subtle, as still a relatively young drummer, it’s something that I’m not too concerned with, and prefer a more rigid throne for the increased drive, but mainly it’s just what I’ve grown up playing on.
If I was to start again, and start my drumming journey today and wanted an upgrade from the stock drum stool, I’d seriously consider the Roc-N-Soc Nitro.
Pros: Comfortable for those with back pain/fatigue, can easily add a backrest, pneumatic height adjustment.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that still offers maximum comfort and high-quality construction, I’d recommend the DW 3000 Series drum throne.
No, you’re not going to get all the bells and whistles like the above models, but it’s affordable and doesn’t sacrifice on quality.
It features a round-top seat, built with their special multi-layer foam, providing enough support for the average drummer. It retains its shape well, and the outer vinyl material is smooth and extremely durable.
If you’re a touring musician, this is the best drum throne at its price level. It’s comfortable, stable, easy to adjust, lightweight, and portable, I’m not sure what else you could as for in a drum stool at this price range.
Pros: Superb value for money, portable design, solid build.
Cons: No spindle height adjustment.
Other Notable Options
I’m not the biggest fan of recommending products I haven’t tried and tested. The following drum thrones will fall into this category.
They’re picked from a knowledge of the industry acquired through nearly 20 years of playing the drums, but not my personal experience.
1. Tama Thrones
Tama Drums is a well-known brand of drum kits and other hardware, their Japanese parent company, and manufacturer Hoshino Gakki have been around since the early 1900s and are the owners of Ibanez guitar.
Just like their drum kits and hardware, their drum thrones are spoken of extremely highly in the drum world.
With such a recognizable name and high level of quality, their top of the line thrones exceed the $300 mark. However, they do have more budget-friendly options.
Their newly revised First Chair Series features a super stabilizer design with a lowered center pipe creating a lower center of gravity. They also increased the length of their double-braced tripod legs which don’t taper off where they insert into the rubber feet.
Regarding the rubber feet, they’re 1.5 times larger than previously. One of the coolest features, in my opinion, is that they’ve created a plastic leg attachment that inserts into the rubber feet, so it’s not metal pushing on the rubber feet, instead, it’s rubber on rubber.
Here are the different variations to choose from in the 1st chair series:
- the standard Ergo Rider with a saddle seat
- the Ergo Rider with backrest
- the Round Rider with a round seat
- the Round Rider XL
- the Glide Rider with hydraulic seat adjustment
2. Pork Pie Thrones
Pork Pie Percussion is another highly respected company, most well known for producing handmade drum kits and hardware.
When it comes to a discussion about drum thrones, someone will always mention Pork Pie, and not just because of their awesome designs, but their reputation for extremely comfortable ultra-padded seats.
Pork Pie thrones are of the highest quality. Handmade in the USA, they’re manufactured with attention to detail using high-grade materials.
3. Ahead Thrones
When it comes to unique and cutting-edge drum thrones, Ahead is certainly at the front of the pack.
They’re primarily manufacturers of drumsticks and other pieces of hardware, but their Spinal-G Throne is quite possibly the most innovative out there.
Designed by Dr. Richard Robershaw, their Ergokinectic™ technology is supposed to eliminate tail-bone compression and offer unmatched support and flexibility.
The space that runs through the middle of the seat allows the tailbone to hang naturally and not be compressed against the seat, which is the primary cause of back pain in drummers.
Additionally, the split cushion provides equal support for each half of your body and allows the pelvis to move reciprocally in three dimensions.
Their claims to be the MOST comfortable and supportive drum throne are certainly backed up by a plethora of good reviews.
Choosing The Best Drum Throne For You
When it comes to choosing the best drum throne, it helps to have in mind the budget you are willing to spend and what type of saddle you prefer.
For myself, I prefer a round top saddle and as someone that’s played the drums for a while, I’m happy to invest a bit more, hence why I use the DW CP9100M.
For a motorcycle-style saddle in the same price bracket, the Roc-N-Soc Nitro Drum Throne is extremely comfortable and the pneumatic height adjustment is convenient. Having tried it out myself, it simply doesn’t suit my style of playing and what I’m used to.
For touring musicians or those looking for a budget-friendly option, the DW 3000 Series Throne has everything you need in a drum throne, without the bells and whistles, offering great value.
And while I can’t say I’ve tried the Ahead Spinal-G Throne, I’m constantly hearing phenomenal things about it, and for those that suffer from back problems, it certainly seems to be the best drum throne for back pain.
I hope this guide on drum thrones has been useful!
I can’t emphasize enough the benefits of investing in a good drum throne. Not only will it help prevent back fatigue and pain in the long-term, but it will also significantly help your drumming.
As always, feel free to leave a question in the comments or shoot me an email!
Happy drumming! – Will