Metronomes are one of the most useful tools you can have as a drummer. They keep you in time while you’re playing, and you can get a variety of handy functions depending on what type of metronome you’re using.
Back in the day, we’d have to use physical metronomes to keep us going. While those are still around, digital metronome apps are far more popular.
In this guide, I’m going to recommend all of the best metronome apps that I’ve tried. I’ll briefly explain what they offer, how you can use them, and whether you have to pay for them or not.
Best Metronome Apps for Drummers
Pro Metronome was one of the first metronome apps that I purchased and used extensively. I love how simple this app is to use, with the user interface being really intuitive.
You get both a free and paid version. The best thing is that the free version doesn’t have ads, so this would be my top recommendation for drummers looking for a good free option.
However, paying for it will unlock some amazing features, with the setlist creation option being the one that I’ve used the most.
You get 13 metronome sounds to choose from, four different visual modes, and a range of unique time signature options.
While this is a metronome for any musician, it’s the time signature and polyrhythm options that make me love this as a drummer’s metronome.
It was always an iOS app, but it got introduced to Android a few years ago, so anyone can use it!
GAP Click was an app that Benny Greb designed along with the help of a few software developers. That makes it an easy addition to mention on this list, as Benny Greb is one of the best drummers in the world.
The whole idea behind this app is to help you improve your timing skills. While all metronomes do that, this one actively works with you to push you to get better.
The main feature is the gap click function, which mutes the metronome for a few bars so that you can test how good you are at staying in time while playing.
You also get syncopated pattern functions, a host of click sounds, different time signatures, and a visual feedback mode.
I love the visual feedback mode, as it clearly shows you how accurate you are when playing to the click by recording your playing and demonstrating whether it matches the BPM you’re on.
You can only get this app by paying for it, but it only costs about $3.
Soundbrenner is arguably the most popular metronome app available. You can use it for free, but it also has an in-app purchase available to unlock more features.
The thing I love most about this metronome app is its simplicity. The whole user interface is seriously sleek, making it easy to use and understand. The simple design is probably why most other people love it as well.
It has all the basic features, including BPM changes, subdivision options, and accent availability. You can also create set lists if you use the paid version.
I know a lot of drummers who use this metronome for live gigs. You can connect it to Ableton to run click tracks for your band, which is really neat.
The Soundbrenner brand also sells wearable metronome devices that link to the app, so you can get more playability from using those.
Tempo is another cool metronome app that offers plenty of variety. The cool thing about this one is that you have three different app options.
Tempo Lite is the free option, and it offers a basic metronome function and a few different sounds.
The standard version, known as Tempo, unlocks a few more features to utilize.
Tempo Advance is the best version, and it’s the one I recommend out of the three. With this version of the app, you pay about $4 to get some of the most extensive subdivision features I’ve seen.
You can create almost any subdivision you can think of, allowing you to practice some really complex patterns. You can also blend them together to create polyrhythms.
Mike Mangini helped refine this app, so a lot of those metronome settings come from needs that he had when he practiced. With Mangini being one of the most technically proficient drummers in the world, you just know that this app is well-suited for drummers who want to improve.
Drum Beats+ is a metronome app that replaces standard click sounds with acoustic drum beats. I’d typically say that this is a good option for other musicians, but I think it’s great for drummers to get inspiration.
It’s also amazing for refining your ear. When I used this app, I tried to imitate the grooves that I was hearing, allowing me to improve my listening skills.
All the drum samples on the app have been recorded in a professional studio, so you get really high-quality sounds for every groove.
There is also every style you can think of, going from rock to Latin to African.
The is a completely free app, so it’s a great option to use along with another traditional metronome app
PolyNome is a metronome app that a lot of pro drummers use. It’s a lot more extensive than standard metronome apps, offering a bunch of different rhythmic advanced features.
The main feature it offers is allowing you to write out rhythms. Those rhythms will then loop, creating a metronome sound. You can then practice while listening to the loop.
Another big feature is the polyrhythm function. The app voices out polyrhythms so that you can hear each rhythm distinctly while you’re playing. If you have a hard drum part to learn, this is an amazing function to help you.
Finally, you can create and even print out setlists within the app, making it a great live performance tool as well.
This is the most expensive metronome app that I’ve mentioned, as it has a recurring subscription payment. However, I’ve used it and thought it was well worth the money spent!
RhythmBot is another incredibly effective practice tool that doubles up as a metronome app. It generates random rhythms once you give it a set of parameters, and then it loops those rhythms in a sequence. It also shows the sheet music of the rhythms.
You can then practice and improvise different drumming patterns while hearing these rhythms.
The app was developed by JP Bouvet and a software developer to help drummers have a bit more structure when they’re practicing improvisation.
I wouldn’t say that this is a full-on metronome app, but it has a metronome function built-in while it puts out rhythms. That may just be exactly what you’re looking for, so I think it’s a worthy contender compared to other apps!
Why Are Metronomes Important for Drummers?
The most vital role of any drummer is to keep consistent time while playing grooves and fills. The best way to train yourself to do that is by practicing with a metronome.
It’s something that we all need to do, and if you don’t practice with a metronome, you’re likely not going to have very good time-keeping skills.
There are various ways to practice with one, but my favorite is to just put a click on and improvise a bit around the kit. This trains you to stick to a solid BPM while being creative on the fly, and through that you’ll be a lot more confident when playing on stage.
Another good practice method is to develop muscle memory when learning new patterns. You can put the metronome on a low BPM and play the pattern repeatedly.
Once you’re comfortable, you can increase the tempo slightly. Keep repeating the process until you can play the pattern at a high speed and your body feels comfortable doing it.
Is It Worth Paying for a Drum Metronome App?
Yes, I think paying for a metronome app is a good idea. Most free metronome apps come with on-screen ads that clutter the screen.
Metronome apps don’t cost more than $10 most of the time, so they’re really not that expensive. By paying for the app, you won’t be seeing the ads anymore, and you’ll typically unlock a host of new features.
The cool thing about apps is that you get login details that allow you to keep your ownership of the app forever. As long as the app is still running, you can use it on whatever phone or tablet you get in the future once you’ve paid for it.
I’ve actually purchased a few metronome apps over the years. I could never commit to just using one, and I constantly shift between them.
With all that said, you can still get good value out of free metronome apps. You just won’t have access to things like setlist functions and ad-free environments.
Can You Use Metronome Apps for Live Gigs?
A lot of drummers like to use metronome apps when playing live. There are two main ways of doing this.
The first is to simply have a metronome app next to you that tells you how fast each song is. When you click on the song name, it will show you the BPM, and then you can count the band off using that as a reference.
With this method, you don’t actually hear the metronome in your in-ears or through your stage monitors. This method just ensures that you’re starting all of your songs at the right speed, which is useful as we all tend to speed things up when playing live.
The second method is to run your phone or tablet through a stage monitoring rig so that you can hear the click when you’re playing. This is a more professional setup, and you can even set it up so that all the band members hear the click as well.
I’d just recommend using a tablet and not a phone for this, as that always seems to be a bit more reliable.
All the metronome apps that I mentioned are fantastic for drummers. I’d recommend checking them all out and then seeing which one sparks your interest the most.
Some offer features that others don’t, so you could also use multiple metronome apps, depending on what you want to do when you’re practicing or performing.
While there are some great free options, I highly recommend paying for one so that you get access to all the cool features!