Best Electronic Drum Set for Beginners

If you’re here then you may be considering that an electronic kit is the way forward. Don’t worry, in doing so you are not going to become a drumming pariah and sacrificed to the rock Gods of old, in fact playing on an electronic set has become increasingly popular, especially when starting down the drumming path. If you have not done so already, check out our piece on Acoustic vs Electronic which should give you the pros and cons of each and help you make an informed decision. If you are now convinced that the 21st century is upon us, then plug in and read on.

 

Why Go Digital?

 

Not to be confused with an electronic drum pad, electronic drum sets or e-drums look very much like the real deal and have become extremely popular in recent times. Due to their portability, durability, versatility and volume control (this one could be a lifesaver for you parents!), they are great to practice on and start sampling sounds. In fact, you essentially have a self-contained recording studio. Now, acoustic loyalists will say that there is nothing like the feel of the first time leathering an acoustic drum kit and that you can never get the right sound on an electronic, but as mentioned above, due to the onboard library of tones, you can explore a range of sounds and genres all on the same kit, which is invaluable when beginning your drumming journey. There are some downsides to this so be sure to read ‘one thing to consider’ before making any decision.

The products on the market today are incredible and have become much more competitive – at the higher-end, the mesh machine heads are ultra-sensitive and responsive. Their heads have numerous zones that pick up on where and how cleanly you hit the pad and this is reflected when fed back through your headphones. Some come with onboard coaching programmes to ensure your technique stays sharp and the recording features allow you to see if you were playing in time utilizing the inbuilt metronome. There are various price points and perks to each kit and we will help you make the decision on which is the one for you. Don’t forget to check out the best headphones for electronic drums. If you’re spending a good amount of money on these drums you want to make sure you have the right quality headphones to match.

 

Best Electronic Drum Kit for Beginners

We have scoured the web, sent off our testers and in some cases invaded people’s homes to compile our lists of the best electronic drum kits for beginners. Our reviews have taken into account a number of things, such as price, sound, onboard-features and functionality (sensitivity, response, etc) and portability, to give you the best overall on the market. There are a lot of companies producing e-kits today but unfortunately a lot of them are not worth investing in. Ultimately the best manufacturers will pop up a lot on this list and that is simply because they are head and shoulders above the others. With the electric drums many of the sets in each category are the just different models of the same kit and as such we have not compiled and overall top 10 as we did with the acoustic kits. The features and tech will remain largely the same with e-drums, with the main difference between price brackets being the hardware and drum pads. So without further ado we kick off our reviews with the best set under $1500.

 

Best Electronic Drum Set for Under $1500 (click for more reviews):

Some of the most expensive gear on this entire website falls into this category and if you have the money to commit to your first set of e-drums then you are in for a treat:

Yamaha DTX562K
Best Electronic Drum Set for Beginners

Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:  
Sound: 
Value: 

The magnificent DTX562K comes equipped with all the latest programmes and technology and its response is remarkable. With a wonderfully versatile module, this kit represents incredible value being packed with Yamaha’s ingenuity and high-end hardware, at an extremely reasonable price for what you are getting. This kit is perfect to practice on and learn your trade as well as traveling around and using it for gigs, sampling and recording. All in all this intelligent, compact kit can easily carry you through the start of your drumming journey and much further. In fact, once you have played this, you may never bother with an acoustic set at all.

Pros

  • Incredibly authentic feel, response and sound
  • Great cymbals (inc hi-hat!) with features like muting, choking and swells
  • Sturdy hardware and pads
  • Huge memory and preloaded sounds
Cons

  • None

Roland TD-11KV V-Series

Some of the most expensive gear on this entire website falls into this category and if you have the money to commit to your first set of e-drums then you are in for a treat:

Best Electronic Drum Set For Under $1500
Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value: 

Roland are widely held as the best electronic drum makers, rivaled only by Yamaha and with this kit you can see why. A perfectly compact life-like set, ideal for any starter with limited space or who values portability. Enhanced with Roland’s SuperNATURAL power module this set does have something quite magical about it in its response and range. With an incredibly realistic playing experience, the 11KV is a great way for a fledgling drummer to start their electric journey, getting the full range of e-functions and programme without compromising on the natural touch.

Pros

  • Superbly realistic and responsive feel
  • Incredible and easy to use onboard functions
  • Authentic pre-loaded sounds
  • Clever in-built coaching system
  • Dual-triggering technology and tri-trigger for hi-hat
Cons

  • Pads are a bit small
  • Hi-hat a bit heavy and not sensitive enough

KAT Percussion KT4 5-Piece Advanced E-Kit

Some of the most expensive gear on this entire website falls into this category and if you have the money to commit to your first set of e-drums then you are in for a treat:

Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value:   

Coming in at our number 3 spot and the most inexpensive on this list is the KAT Percussion KT4, which granted isn’t a household name like Yamaha or Roland, but has re-staked its claim in the e-kit world since being taken over by Drum Workshop. With the K4 they have produced their most advanced digital drum set and high-performance model to date and it has earned its place up here with the two powerhouses that are Yamaha and Roland. Weighing in with a whopping 5 drum pads and 4 cymbals, KAT haven’t simply gone for quantity over quality, as their tech is here to make a statement. With dual-zone drum pads, a new 8-inch mylar bass drum pad and three-zone cymbal pads they have gone all out to offer a diverse authentic drumming experience at a mid-range price.

Pros

  • 5 x drums, 4 x cymbals and a DW stand for well under $1500
  • Incredible library of high definition professional drum sounds
  • A realistic head response, especially the upgraded kick head
  • Easy to assemble
Cons

  • Hi-hat needs tweaking
  • The module is not as intuitive as competitors
  • Fairly basic design

Best E-Drum Kit for Under $1000 (click for more reviews)

Whilst there are a couple in the top 10 that exceed $1000, if you are starting out with a budget of up to $1000 then you can pretty much be sure that you will be buying a great bit of kit. If you click for more reviews you will get a more extensive list of those available as well as more in-depth reviews:

Roland TD-11K 
Roland TD-11K

Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value:   

Roland are widely held as the best electronic drum makers, rivaled only by Yamaha and with this kit you can see why. A perfectly compact life-like set, ideal for any starter with limited space or who values portability. Enhanced with Roland’s SuperNATURAL power module this set does have something quite magical about it in its response and range. With an incredibly realistic playing experience, it is a great way for a fledgling drummer to start their electric journey, getting the full range of e-functions and programme without compromising on the natural touch. The 11K is an incredibly high-performance kit for a lower end price.

Pros

  • Superbly realistic and responsive feel
  • Incredible and easy to use onboard functions
  • Authentic pre-loaded sounds
  • Clever in-built coaching system
  • Dual-triggering technology (apart from Toms)
  • Pads are a bit small a take getting used to

Cons

  • Pads are a bit small a take getting used to

 

Yamaha DTX522K

Whilst there are a couple in the top 10 that exceed $1000, if you are starting out with a budget of up to $1000 then you can pretty much be sure that you will be buying a great bit of kit. If you click for more reviews you will get a more extensive list of those available as well as more in-depth reviews:

Best Electronic Drum Set Under $1000
Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value:   

Nipping at Roland’s heels in at our number 2 is, of course, their eternal rival Yamaha. At the same low-mid range price as the TD-11K, there is in fact not much separating these two kits so ultimately it will come down to whether you want to be team Yamaha or Team Roland. Since Yamaha topped our other list we thought it only fair to give Roland its time in the spotlight (also the toms are a bit of a letdown). Just like the Roland, at this price, you get a magnificent kit at an incredibly reasonable price. Packed with Yamaha’s tech developed for their higher-end models, the DTX522K is being sold at an electrifyingly low price considering you get a fully equipped, high performance, real response kit without breaking the bank. It is a mouth-watering kit for a rookie to start on.

Pros

  • Snares, kick and cymbals have superbly realistic and responsive feel
  • Incredible and easy to use onboard functions
  • Authentic pre-loaded sounds
  • Clever in-built coaching system
  • Tri-trigger technology
  • Rubber toms are a bit disappointing

Cons

  • Rubber toms are a bit disappointing

WHD 517-DX Pro Mesh Kit

Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value:   
Full review

Next up is a brand you most likely haven’t heard of which can sometimes be a bad sign. This is gear4music’s own brand of premium drums. Gear4Music is a UK based company (so Brits rejoice). If ordering from anywhere else in the world there will be a $75 shipping fee, but even with the fee, this kit is the same price as our number 1 and 2 and represents fantastic value for money as it includes a drum stool, headphones and sticks. Lesser known brands have to do more than the big guys to justify their price and the WHD 517s do just that. With all mesh ‘micro-weave’ heads and an intuitive module, this set gives Yamaha and Roland a run for their money.

Pros

  • All mesh drum heads inc kick
  • Throne, pedals and sticks included
  • Sturdy lightweight rack, easy to assemble and take apart
  • Intuitive module control
  • Onboard library sounds are pretty poor
  • Control display is a bit basic

Cons

  • Onboard library sounds are pretty poor
  • Control display is a bit basic

Best E-Drum Set for Under $500 (click for more reviews):

So there’s a chance that you want to keep costs to a minimum so that you can use your money for other things like food and shelter. If that’s that case then this category is for you. Unfortunately, in the electronic drumming world, anything under $500 is considered a budget kit, but that doesn’t mean that they are low quality. You won’t get all of the onboard features of the more premium models – the heads themselves won’t be hugely receptive in terms of pressure and zones. That being said they are electronic drums and we have looked to see which is the best budget electronic drum set.

Yamaha DTX400K
Best Budget Electronic Drum Set Under $500
Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:
Sound: 
Value:   
Full review

Coming in at our top spot and taking the title for the best cheap electronic drums is the Yamaha DTX400K which comes in at just under $400 and considering the price and that this is a Yamaha e-kit, that is exceptional value for money. You will have lost a lot of the sound features of the 522K and the 562K and the heads are now rubber pads and not mesh, but all that being said this set represents the best in its price bracket and as a first set to play around on, this can’t be beaten. This no-frills set by Yamaha has more than enough in the trunk to entice a beginner to enter the drumming world, while doing so on a budget.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Sturdy and durable rack and pads
  • Has Yamaha maple and oak drums recorded sounds
  • 10 training programmes covering different skills
  • Pedals aren’t great on floor and triggers are slow to respond
  • Rubber pads aren’t as responsive as mesh
  • The module has no LED display

Cons

  • Pedals aren’t great on floor and triggers are slow to respond
  • Rubber pads aren’t as responsive as mesh
  • The module has no LED display

Alesis Nitro 8-Piece

Best Budget Electronic Drum Kit
Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:  
Sound:    
Value:   

Next up is the Nitro, an unfathomably cheap kit by renowned audio innovators, Alesis. They have continued to inspire and advance the electronic music scene and with this kit, created after their best selling DM6, they have produced an incredibly affordable kit that any beginner can shell out for (pun always intended). At the same time, they have retained some of the tech and quality they are known for. You are getting an 8-piece drum set with pedals, training programmes, 40 songs and hundreds of drum and percussion sounds for under $300. If you are looking for a kit on a tight budget then you need to look no further. This is the kit.

Pros

  • 8 piece kit with pedals under $300
  • An intuitive module that allows easy editing
  • Hundreds of built-in drum and percussion sounds and songs for great versatility
  • Good kick/bass pad
  • Assembly instructions aren’t clear and parts not labeled
  • Quite a small kit that can’t be adjusted
  • No room for double bass pedal
  • Pad sensitivity not consistent
  • Basic pads and training programmes

Cons

  • Assembly instructions aren’t clear and parts not labeled
  • Quite a small kit that can’t be adjusted
  • No room for double bass pedal
  • Pad sensitivity not consistent
  • Basic pads and training programmes

Roland V-Drums TD-1K 

Roland TD-1k
Pads and Stands:  
Module and Features:  
Sound:  (3.8 / 5) 
Value:  

Wherever Yamaha goes, you can be sure that Roland won’t be far behind and with their most affordable kit to date, they have good reason to do so. If you have been reading the reviews at the different price brackets it may just look like we have started at the top model Yamaha and Roland have to offer and worked our way down! This is a testament to these two superior manufacturers and their ability to produce kits that are competitive at any price point. This kit is identical to the Roland TD-1KV except that it has a standard rubber pad as opposed to a mesh snare head. As a result, it is $100 cheaper and fit in perfectly with our under $500 category. It has all the same onboard features and module functionality so the TD-1KV review will be the same as this kit apart from the snare. As it is $100 more than the Yamaha it couldn’t take the top spot but it is still exceptional quality and value for money

Pros

  • Responsive dual zoned cymbals
  • Beaterless kick and hi-hat pedal for silent playing
  • A host of onboard coaching programmes
  • Intuitive module
  • Preloaded sounds are ok, more functional than authentic
  • Single-zoned rubber pad toms and snare are acceptable but not great
  • Fiddly to assemble

Cons

  • Preloaded sounds are ok, more functional than authentic
  • Single-zoned rubber pad toms and snare are acceptable but not great
  • Fiddly to assemble

Best Electronic Drum Set For Kids (click here to see more reviews):

The digital age is upon us and with the technology it provides, there is a good chance that if you sit your child in front of something without any wires they will just stare back at you blankly. That is why we have put together a list of the best electronic drum set for kids:

Yamaha DTX400K
Best Budget Electronic Drum Set Under $500

Pads and Stands:
Module and Features:    
Sound:  
Value:  
Full review

Coming in at the number one spot is the magnificent Yamaha DTX400K which comes in at just under $400 and considering the price and that this is a Yamaha e-kit, that is exceptional value for money. Whilst you don’t get the same level of sound features the 522K and the 562K have, for a first-time kid drummer this is an incredible set to start playing around on, especially as you have access to Yamaha’s high-end acoustic maple and oak drum sounds! You also have 10 onboard training programmes with this kit, each covering a different skill, which is invaluable for kids learning the ropes. One other big plus is the beaterless kick pedal which means as a parent you won’t have to listen to constant thudding when they practice. In fact, the whole kit is nearly silent when used with headphones. This is why these have earnt the title of being the best electronic drums for kids aged 7 and up!

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Sturdy and durable rack and pads
  • Has Yamaha maple and oak drums and recorded drum sounds
  • 10 training programmes covering different skills
  • Beaterless kick pedal
  • Pedals don’t sound great on wooden floor and triggers are slow to respond
  • The module has no LED display

Cons

  • Pedals aren’t great on floor and triggers are slow to respond
  • Rubber pads aren’t as responsive as mesh
  • The module has no LED display

Alesis Nitro 8-Piece

Best Budget Electronic Drum Kit
Pads and Stands:   
Module and Features:    
Sound:  
Value:  

Next on our list is the incredibly affordable Alesis Nitro. Alesis who continue to inspire and advance the electronic music scene and with this kit, created after their best selling DM6, they have produced a kit that is perfect for kids of ages 7 up to play. It is not clear whether they intended for the frame to sit so low to the ground, but it does which makes it perfect for kids 7 onwards. Adults will be able to play it but it may feel a bit small. It is the perfect first electronic kit for your child and you are getting an 8-piece drum set with pedals, training programmes, 40 songs and hundreds of drum and percussion sounds for under $300. Not only will this help your child brush up on their technique but it will provide endless hours of fun playing around with the onboard catalog of songs and sounds!

Pros

  • 8 piece kit with pedals under $300
  • Intuitive module
  • Hundreds of built-in drum and percussion sounds and songs for great versatility
  • Good kick/bass pad
  • Assembly instructions aren’t clear and parts not labeled
  • Kick pedal is not beaterless/silent so will thud
  • Basic training programmes

Cons

  • Assembly instructions aren’t clear and parts not labeled
  • Quite a small kit that can’t be adjusted
  • No room for double bass pedal
  • Pad sensitivity not consistent
  • Basic pads and training programmes

Roland V-Drums TD-1K

Roland TD-1k
Pads and Stands:     
Module and Features:    
Sound:  (3.8 / 5) 
Value:   

In our final spot is the TD-1K which is the most expensive on this list but still very much at the low end of things. This kit is identical to the Roland TD-1KV except that it has a standard rubber pad as opposed to a mesh snare head. It has all the same onboard features and module functionality so this TD-1KV review is applicable here. As it is $100 more than the Yamaha it couldn’t take the top spot but it is still exceptional quality and value for money

Pros

  • Responsive dual zoned cymbals
  • Beaterless kick and hi-hat pedal for silent playing
  • A host of onboard coaching programmes
  • Intuitive module
  • Preloaded sounds are ok, more functional than authentic
  • Single-zoned rubber pad toms and snare are acceptable but not great
  • Fiddly to assemble

Cons

  • Preloaded sounds are ok, more functional than authentic
  • Single-zoned rubber pad toms and snare are acceptable but not great
  • Fiddly to assemble

 

Still Loud?

Be wary of any website telling you that electronic drums are silent. They are not! Due to the thud of the bass pedal, hi-hat and general vibrations from striking the pads you will still want to make sure they are placed in a carpeted room if possible, or even double carpeted. If it is still making a lot of noise then we have done a write up on various methods of dampening the sound. Since the electronic drums are already pads, you will want to look at the part about noise eaters. What you really are looking to do is separate the kit from the floor, especially if the floor is wooden!

One Thing to Consider

By now you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not you are taking the static plunge into the world of electronic drum kits. As we have tried to reiterate, good quality e-drums are not cheap. They are the result of great ingenuity and engineering, and the price reflects this. As they have become more popular and are more widely produced the prices have become more competitive, especially for the mid-range models. One thing to consider: If you are looking to buy these drums as a way of practicing in a space-efficient location or perhaps as quietly and realistically as possible, then you may want to consider a drum practice kit or pad which do something similar at a much cheaper cost. As we have discussed previously, lower end e-drums do not replicate an acoustic drum set very well. When we say lower end we mean anything under $1000. The higher end is incredible when it comes to emulating it due to the pressure sensors and zone sensors.

If however, you want all of the awesome functions and programmes that you get with an e-kit then don’t be put off. The features and functionality of e-drums are vast and it will allow you to mix sounds, genres, play yourself back, etc. You will just need to be extra careful that you keep your technique clean! Our advice would be to turn off the e-kit or the ‘brain’ (so that you are not feeding back through the headphones) and just listen to the sound of you striking the pads. This will help you get a better understanding or your playing skills and help you sharpen up your rudiments. Also get lessons on an acoustic set, this way you won’t have problems transitioning and the teacher can advise you as to whether you are picking up bad habits.

Second hand

Our last bit of advice is – look to buy used sets. Whilst it is tempting to get a brand new, untouched bit of kit, you can get a lot more bang for your buck by shopping second hand. If doing so make sure you buy from somewhere reputable. We would advise using someone like Guitar Center who are known for being easy to deal with, having helpful staff and have a 45-day satisfaction guarantee which means if the kit isn’t working for you then you can send it back for a refund. This is really vital buying second hand as you never know if a pin inside the snare has gone until you have tried it. So if buying used, just make sure you use a known vendor or a local music store as they will give you a warranty and piece of mind when purchasing.

The joys of an e-kit!

Just as a side you may remember from the percussion introduction that we posted the marble machine, well this is one drummer playing to it live on his e-kit and should be a great inspiration to anyone looking to get into the drums. Musicians inspire other musicians so never stop trying to take in as many styles and genres as you can:

 

 

He takes on different tracks every so often which really highlights the versatility of electronic drums and you can really see. You can visit his website and see when his next live stream is. A talented musician and one who is happy to answer your questions!