When you see a band play on the stage, you see the aggression, the passion and the creativity flow unbridled. But all these wild forces are brought together in their fluid form by the drum beats. The beats bring method to the madness of music. They bring structure to its chaos. Drum sets are as important to the music as sleep is to your roommate. But sadly both will not go together. With a number of low-budget drums hitting the market, it is easy for the drummers to get caught in marketing gimmicks and bring home the wrong kit. We dug into the beauty and the beast, the Ludwigs and the Pearls and brought home 10 best drum sets. These range across prices and configurations. As soon as you decide to kiss your apartment dreams goodbye, these are the drum sets that you should consider for laying down the beat.
- 0.1 Acoustic drum kit vs. electronic drum kit
- 0.2 How to tune your drums?
- 0.3 Which are the best drum sets?
- 1 Top 10 of The Best Drum Sets
- 1.1 1. Mapex Saturn V drum kit
- 1.2 2. Pearl RS525SCC706 Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set
- 1.3 3. Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack
- 1.4 4. Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set
- 1.5 5. Gretsch New Renown Maple 3-Piece Rock Drum Set Shell Pack
- 1.6 6. Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove
- 1.7 7. Tama Superstar Classic Custom 5-Piece Shell Pack
- 1.8 8. Pearl EXX725S/C 5-Piece Export Drum Set
- 1.9 9. Best Choice Products Drum Sets-1263 5 Piece Complete Adult Drum Set
- 1.10 10. PDP New Yorker 4-Piece Shell Pack
Acoustic drum kit vs. electronic drum kit
The best drum sets that we have covered here are all acoustic. As a person who is starting to learn playing drums or exploring the drum behavior, these are perfect. Obviously, your neighbors will have to kiss their peace goodbye. But acoustic drum kits have a better dynamic range. They allow you to practice complicated effects without any electronic amping. They are affordable and are versatile with their positioning. Only offside is their loud sound. They have to be treated well right from tuning to regular maintenance.
An electronic drum kit packs a bunch of electronic sensors and a sound module. The sensor triggers the sound which is captured by the sound module and can be relayed directly to the earphones. The biggest advantage of the drum kit is how you can rent an apartment and own a drum kit at the same time. These can be directly plugged into recoding equipment as well. They have number of in-built features like metronome and drum sounds which help with learning. These smaller drums require less technical maintenance and tuning than the acoustic drums. But everything electronic is pricey. So, electronic drum kits go from $2,500 to higher.
That being said, there’s no beating the nuanced sound of acoustic drums. Maybe the electronic drum sets will get better in future. Learning with acoustic drum sets is methodical, even if it takes time. You might be handicapped by the ease of the electronic drum sets.
How to tune your drums?
Tuning the drum is a delicate process. And once you buy a drum set, tuning it to your tastes would be an essential step. Since we are arming you with the best drum sets, these tuning tips will immediately come in handy:
- Start tuning from the smallest tom upwards. For your drum set to form a cohesive set, you have to match the pitch of the drums in the kit.
- Loosen the drum heads to slack and tighten them with hands. Once all the tension rods are finger tight, you can start tightening the drum head further systematically. Only go half a turn in every rod of the circle at a time. This distributes the tension evenly across its circumference.
- Before you start tightening with a drum key, apply pressure on the center of the drumhead. This seats the drum head properly on the body. You might hear pops and crackles, but that’s just the drumhead settling.
- You can start with a tension rod and go to the diagonal one next. Then move to the tension rod to the left of the diagonal one. Repeat this cycle until all rods are covered.
- Once you go through one round, tap the drum with a drumstick at multiple points and check if the sound is correct to your tastes at every point.
- Once you cover the batter head, flip over to the bottom side of the drum and repeat the process.
- While tune the sound, make sure to smoothen down the drumhead periodically with a napkin. This will remove the wrinkles on the surface of the drumhead. If the wrinkles were to even out after tuning, the sound of the drums would change.
Which are the best drum sets?
Basic drum sets usually have 5 pieces. These are the bass drum, the toms, the snare drum, a hi-hat and a cymbal. Sound is subjective to each one’s preferences. The following elements help you find the best drum sets for you:
Budget: Since sound is subjective, budget is the first concern for a drummer. We have tried to cover drum sets across a wide price range. Each one of them is the best-performing set in its respective price coordinate. They bring good value for money in terms of audio, build, durability, number of pieces etc.
Assembled or complete set: If you are an experienced drummer, you might want to collect your own drumsand assemble the drum set by yourself. The trick is to tune them all and create a well-integrated sound. Or you can buy a complete set sold as such. It comes down to personal preferences of sound and your skill level.
Durability: If you own a drum set, it is an investment. You need to do regular maintenance. Even so, the drumheads will deteriorate over time and the material can disintegrate. It’s best to buy a drum kit that has proven durability.
Material: The material of the best drum sets makes a marked difference to the tone of the drums. Wooden drums sound nothing like the metal drums. The material also determines the durability of the drum kits. You need to go to a shop to try out drums of different materials and configurations to get a correct idea.
Top 10 of The Best Drum Sets
|1. Mapex Saturn V drum kit||Remo Self Muffling Bass Drum Head||$$||4.8|
|2. Pearl RS525SCC706 Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set||9 ply, 7mm Poplar Shells & 1.2mm Triple Flanged hoops||$$||4.5|
|3. Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack||7-ply Mahogany shell fitted with new round badge||$$||4.3|
|4. Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set||Hi-Hat & Crash Cymbals Sticks Stool Stands all Included||$$||4.3|
|5. Gretsch New Renown Maple 3-Piece Rock Drum Set Shell Pack||Expertly completed with smooth 30 degree bearing edges||$$$||4.3|
|6. Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove||7-ply poplar shells||$$||4.1|
|7. Tama Superstar Classic Custom 5-Piece Shell Pack||100% maple shells, thinner and livelier||$$$||4.1|
|8. Pearl EXX725S/C 5-Piece Export Drum Set||P930 Demonator Pedal||$$||4.0|
|9. Best Choice Products Drum Sets-1263 5 Piece Complete Adult Drum Set||Hi-Hat & Crash Cymbals Sticks Stool Stands all Included||$$||4.0|
|10. PDP New Yorker 4-Piece Shell Pack||True-Pitch tuning, Remo heads, full-sized bass drum mount||$$||4.0|
The Mapex Saturn V drum kit is one of the pricier sets on this list. Mapex has invested decadently in its construction for a warm sound and easy packing. It looks and sounds premium. But at its price, it offers the best value on money. The full, clear sound, the ease of tuning them, the lovely batter heads et al. make this 5-piece set a people-magnet at your house. Built for both studio and live playing, the Saturn V is one of the best drum sets to have debuted in its time. We also have a list of the best snare drums that might interest you.
Design and Features
The Mapex Saturn V drum kit consists of toms of 10” x 8”and 12” x9”, floor toms of 14” x 14 and 16” x 16” and a kick drum of 22” x 18”. The set also includes TH800 SONIClear resonant single tom clamp. Each drum is made of 6-ply thickness North American walnut-maple hybrid shells. These have two plies of walnut surrounding two plies of maple. Its SONIClear bearing edge widens the dynamic range of the shell.
Remo Emperor clear batter-heads and Remo P3 Batter bass drumheads go on the drums. The drums of this drum kit are heavy, but they look and feel classy. The black nickel painting adds to its elegance. The locking of drum head on the shell is such that its gives them the deep bassy touch that you so crave for. After the rightful tune-up, these babies open up their sound for excellent resonance. The clamp that comes with this drum set needs a special mention. Its wide clamp jaw and design allows you to clamp the drums with only hand.
- Rich, dynamic sound
- Premium build
- Very dexterous clamp
- Remo batter heads
Pearl never does anything halfway. And Roadshow drum set is the perfect example. This five-piece drum kit consists of everything that a new band would need to play live. These drums kick bass in studio as well. There are different models of Roadshow kit based on the genre: Fusion, Rock, Jazz, New Fusion etc. This is a beginner’s kit and it performs as an excellent learning tool. The Roadshow paves itself a way right into the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
Pearl Roadshow drum set is a highly affordable set considering how comprehensive it is. The New Fusion set has a 22” x 16” bass drum, 10” x 8” and 12 x 9” toms, 16” x 16” floor toms and 14” x 5.5” snare. This set also includes 16” brass crash-ride cymbals and 14” hybrid hi-hats. The set is completed by hardware like throne, cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, tom holder, bass drum pedal, drum sticks and stick bag. At its price, it’s much more than what we expected.
Just because there are more pieces in this drum set does not mean that they have compromised with quality. We found the sound to be quite up to mark. You can actually hone your skills on this set and learn the intricacies of playing drums. The Roadshow kick drum contributes significantly to the deep bass frequencies. These can be used by both kids and adults. In fact, players have been known to use this as their studio set.
- Comprehensive set
- Comes with cymbals, hi-hats, throne and other hardware
- Can be used by both kids and adults
- Highly affordable
- Cymbals are cheap for the requirement of hardcore drummers
The Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz drum kit is a set for the road. It can be installed and taken down in a few minutes. The dark and delicious sound of this drum kit is much more mature than that of the modern drum sets. The set is moderately priced and good for advanced drummers who take their show to the road. The mahogany shells hog only a small part of their limelight. The chest-thumping sound partners with it to take the Catalina right into the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
The Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz drum kit is a 4-piece set. This covers a 14” x 8” drum kit, an 8” x 12” tom, a 14” x 14” floor tom and a 5” x 14” snare. 7-ply Mahogany shells with 30° bearing edges are adorned by chrome-plated hardware. A ‘gas cap’ bass drum mount plate, an inconspicuous GTS mounting system, lightweight tom-mount brackets, single and double tom holders accompany the pack. Tom holders also have a post hole for cymbal tube post.
The bass drums of this drum kit come with telescopic bass drum spurs and corresponding wood bass drum hoops. All the pieces have Remo drumheads with coated batters. The set oozes the vintage drummy sound with a great range of volume. Even though its looks compact, it can produce big sound. It is quite versatile in the genres it can play for. Looks-wise Catalina gives the drummer that extra magnetism on the stage that eludes many drummers.
- Warm vintage sound
- Big volume range
- Beautiful-looking set
- Versatile in genres
- Finishing could be better
When you are not sure about how long your drumming craze will last, its best to go for an affordable set. The Gammon Percussion 5-piece set is a black beauty that will not leave the singe on your pocket once your passion for drumming runs out. These are for both adults and kids who are setting out on a drumming career. This drum kit betrays nothing of its price. The construction and sound both earn it high praise and a place in the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
The Gammon Percussion drum set is probably the cheapest kit in the market right now. This full-size set consists of 22” x 14” bass drum, 5.5” x 14” snare drum, 12” x 10” and 13” x 10” mounted toms and 16” x 16”floor tom. Additionally crash-ride cymbals, hi-hat cymbals, bass drum pedal, drummer’s throne and drum sticks form part of the package. The set is available in black, metallic blue, wine red and metallic green.
This drum kit is quiet lightweight. This is a function of the price of course, but it’s not going to disintegrate on you fast. The construction is sturdy. Assembly can be a bit of a hassle for the beginners. You can start honing your drumming repertoire, right from installation and tuning to exploring different drumming styles. Once you get enough practice and a clear idea of what set you want to advance to next, you can move on from this. Cymbal sounds a tad tinny. If you have extra cymbals from another set, they could come in handy here.
- Inexpensive drum set
- 5-piece set with all the hardware included
- Sturdy construction
- Good sound for a beginner’s set
- Cymbals are tinny
The Gretsch New Renown Maple rock drum set is a hi-end set with just the skeletal structure. The three pieces of the Renown create a formidable background for any type of music. As bass underscores the music, this drum kit sits at the center of it with a deep suppressed energy. The quality of build and audio are both superlative. As a prodigious drummer, you can add your own snares, cymbals ad hi-hats. Gretsch has without doubt, one of the best drum sets of its time. You can also check the best drum machines that can make music even better.
Design and Features
For the Gretsch line, the Renown drum set is actually pretty moderately-priced. This kit has a 24” x16” bass drum, 10” x 7” and 13” x 9” toms and a 16” x 16” floor tom. To maintain the integrity of sound, you can opt for a snare from the Gretsch collection itself. If you have a clear idea of your sound, take your pick from our best snare drums<Insert link>. The drums have North American Maple shells. The Silver Sealer finish that is characteristic of the best Gretsch drums are used in this set. Gretsch also brings out their weapon-grade die-cast hoops and lugs to outfit the Renown.
This drum kit is equipped with Remo Emperor drum heads. You can mount other drum heads but nothing will compromise the warm, beefy sound of this kit. For better audio you will have to resort to USA custom kits. The Satin White set reflects more class than we could probably ask for at this price. You also have Satin Black and Blue Metal choices.
- Premium Gretsch build for the price
- Rich and beefy sound
- Deep 16” kick drum
- Heavy duty, elegant build
Ludwig is known for the best gear in the drumming domain. With Breakbeats drum kit, they break the monetary bonds and bring you a masterful set at an excellent price. They have enlisted the patronage of Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson from ‘The Roots’ of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon fame. Being a top-notch drum set for hitting the road or cramped gigging venues, the Breakbeats plays right into the demands of the best drum sets of today.
Design and Features
Ahmir realized the dream of having a compact, highly portable kit with quality sound. The Ludwig Breakbeats drum kit is a dream for the drummers who don’t want to be tied down by the weight and tedious ‘breaking up’ process. The 4-piece set consists of 16” x 14” kick drum, 10” x 7” rack tom, 13” x 13” floor tom and a 5” x 14” snare drum. Since this is an affordable set, Ludwig has economized on the hardware. They do not pack much except tom hanger.
The shells of this drum kit are seven-ply poplar. It’s no Mahogany, but it is sturdy without being too heavy. The hardware is all chrome. The drums have a Remo Pinstripes China version of drumheads. The drums have their own bags which also serve as a muting accessory when you need to play inside an apartment. The kick drum has a real punchy low end which will surprise you at this budget. The snare gives the raw earthy sound to the drum set. They have a great audio range for anybody from school kids to advanced drummers.
- Can get loud and rich
- Compact and highly portable
- Lack hardware
Tama Superstar is a legacy more than a product. Now under the same name, Tama has introduced a superior product meant to challenge the older versions. Deep drums and delicious Maple construction make them worth their above-budget price. Not only do they look premium, they sound premium. Low-mass lugs and form make for a balanced resonance. The Superstar is a celebrity entrant on the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
The 5-piece Tama Superstar drum set consists of a 22” x 18” bass drum, 8” x 10” and 9” x 12” toms, 14” x 16” floor toms and a 6” x 14” snare drum. The shells are 100% maple in 8-ply construction. It has suspended mounts with multi-flange hoops. 45-degree bearing edges that are characteristic of Tama Superstar line appear here as well. The lugs are designed to contribute less to the overall weight of the drum kit.
The Superstar comes with a star-mount system for the toms. MTH600 double tom holders are included in the pack. The inside of the drums have been finished with perfection for a nice, even sound. Looks-wise they are fit for a Superstar drummer any day. These are shipped with factory heads named Tama Power Craft II. . There are clear 1-ply batters on the toms and bass drums and coated 1-ply batter on the snare.
- Flawless build quality and accessories
- Big and clean sound
- Easy and precise tuning
- Excellent looks
The Pearl Export drum kit is a popular kit that you come across in many YouTube videos and feeds of catchy bands. Like Pearl Roadshow, these come in Standard, Fusion and New Fusion models. You can opt for the pack with cymbals or without them. Like the Roadshow series, Pearl goes all out with hardware and accessories. The Export is bigger is and better at a higher price. Even so, it bangs big for buck, right into the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
The Export Series has a history of revamping the drum market. The newest crop of the Pearl Export drum sets is no different. It packs excellent audio within a modest budget. Its versatility makes it even more of a market favorite. They have used blended Poplar/ Asian Mahogany for sustained resonance. It includes a 22”x 18” bass drum, 14” x 5.5” snare drum, 10” x 7 “ and 12” x 8” toms and 16”x 16” floor tom. Boom cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, cymbal stand, snare stand and Demonator bass pedal.
The stands of this drum kit have new Trident tripods. The tom mounts have opti-loc suspension system which allows resonance but smothers any wobbling. The tom heads are Remo, but the Chinese kind. The drums sound professional and stage-ready. The first few gigs and tours can be easily survived on these drums. Once you become an expert, you might want to handpick your set from a smaller shell pack.
- Solid sound
- All stands and required hardware included
- High value for money
- Uncomplicated sets with different models and 5 colors
- Snare requires some creative tuning to sound as good as the rest of the drums
A beginner’s kit is essential to a drummer. You learn how to handle and care for them properly. This is a phase where you learn what NOT to do. The Best Choice Products drum set is primed for this purpose. And the biggest advantage? It is relatively inexpensive. It comes with a whole bunch of related hardware. This is a great set for your kids or a temperamental teen band. We drummed it straight to the best drum sets list.
Design and Features
The Best Choice Products drum kit is a complete set with a 22-inch bass drum, 14-inch snare 16-inch, 12-inch and 10-inch toms, 14-inch crash cymbal and 12-inch hi-hat. All this will be shipped as one package when bought online. Drum sticks and throne are included in the pack. It is easy to assemble the set. We suggest that you be careful with the handling. It is sturdy but only enough for its price.
This drum set is available in both black and silver tones. You can get them tuned quite easily and fast. As you get adept with the set, you can replace the parts one-by-one. Or you can use it to rags and go for a better set out of this list.
- All important components are included
- Good-looking set with chrome-plated hardware
- Need to be handled with a lot of care
The PDP New Yorker 4-piece drum set is another set for the entry-level drummer. It has that wild unruly nature that matches with the character of a new drummer. It totally rocks as a first set. The poppy Sapphire color is another reason why you would be attracted to this set. This mini kit will gobble up very less space compared to the huge drum sets like the Pearl Roadshow. It is one of the best drum sets in moderate price range. You can also complete your studio with the best studio monitor speakers.
Design and Features
The PDP New Yorker drum set consists of a 18” x 14” bass drum, 13” x 12” floor tom, 10” x 8” mounted tom and a 13” x 6” snare drum. The cymbals and hardware have to be bought separately. The tom mount is included. A clamp for fixing cymbal boom arm is also shipped with it. The native batter heads of the bass drums are not great. We suggest you replace them for better heads of your choice. This will also help with tuning this kit better.
This is a budget drum set. It takes a little longer than usual to tune them to perfection. The drums are very agreeable to your touch. Once you make some adjustments, you will enjoy playing on them. The sparkly color keeps your room or practice area looking pretty too.
- Affordable beginner’s kit
- Funky look
- Portable and compact
- More tedious to tune