The 10 Best Drum Kit Sets 2021

The 10 Best Drum Kit Sets 2021

Not only is playing an instrument a life-changing hobby and/or profession, but it is also proven to help improve our cognitive function and memory development. More than perhaps any other instrument, playing the drums encapsulates the idea of music as a workout for both your body and your brain.

If you’re interested in learning the drums and you’re looking to fulfill your childhood dream of becoming a rockstar, finding the right drum kit can be the difference between developing a lifelong skill and adding another ‘toy’ to the pile of discarded hobbies in your garage.

However, if you’re going to invest in a drum set, it’s important that you understand the basic features of a drum kit and drum build quality. Whether it’s considering drum shell material or the type of cymbal being used, knowing what to expect will help you select the right drum kit for your musical needs.

In this guide, we’ll be detailing the key components of a drum kit, discussing the best drum shell materials, and, most importantly, taking a look at the best drum kit sets available on the market.

Factors to Consider in a Good Drum Kit Set

Before we take a look at the best drum kits on the market, we must first consider what components and materials make up a high-quality drum kit. Knowing what features to look out for will make the experience of shopping for a drum kit set both more efficient and more affordable.

If you’re new to the world of drum kits and need an introduction to drumming jargon, we’ve included a handy terminology guide further down in this very guide.

What’s Included in a Drum Kit?

More often than not, a basic drum kit will consist of 8 key components. This will usually be a mixture of several different styles of drums and cymbals. You’ll usually find the following drums and cymbals in a basic drum kit set:

  • Bass/kick drum
  • Snare drum
  • Toms (small and large)
  • Floor tom
  • Hi-hat cymbal
  • Ride cymbal
  • Crash cymbal

While it may seem like a lot for a basic drum kit, each drum and cymbal play an important role when playing the drums. For starters, each individual drum and cymbal will create a unique sound based on how it’s used, its tuning, and its tone.

For more information about a traditional drum kit layout and the individual components in a basic drum kit, take a look at our discussion on drum kit configuration.

Drum Material and Quality

There are many different materials that go into the construction of a drum. Generally speaking, wood is the most popular material for drum shells as it is believed to produce the most natural sound. Woods such as maple, beech, oak, or birch are the most popular types of wood used in drum shells.

Although wood is more popular, some manufacturers may choose to use other materials, such as metal (usually aluminum or steel) or acrylic. Drum shells made from these materials will produce a slightly brighter, ringy, and sharp sound compared to the more muted tones of a wooden drum set. Metal and acrylic are not bad materials to use for drum shells; the material you choose will ultimately depend on your desired sound.

When it comes to drumheads or drum skins, you’ll no longer find any modern drums made from animal skin. Instead, a material called polyethylene terephthalate is used. This material is exceptionally strong and, as a synthetic product, it is exceptionally resistant to damage from moisture and sunlight.

In our full guide we have more detailed breakdown of drum shell and drumhead materials.

Cymbals and Drumsticks

Cymbals are an integral part of any drum kit thanks to their unique and iconic sound. When buying a drum kit, make sure the cymbal is made from a combination of copper-based alloys – these alloys give the cymbal its bright, clear sound.

As previously mentioned, there are three different types of cymbals included in most basic drum kits. However, drum kits aren’t limited to a hi-hat cymbal, crash cymbal, and ride cymbal. There are many different types of cymbals that can be added to a drum kit to create a more unique sound, including china cymbals, effects cymbals, and splash cymbals.

When it comes to drumsticks, you’ll likely only need a single set of sticks to begin with. However, once your skills become more advanced, you’ll probably want to start experimenting with other drumstick varieties, such as mallets or brushes.

When shopping for drumsticks, be sure to take notice of the number and letter inscribed on the stick. The number will indicate the circumference of the stick and the letter the application. While most modern drumsticks are mass manufactured from wood, specialized kits will often use drumsticks made from metal or plastic. If you’re interested in learning more about drumsticks, we’ve put together a brief guide to drumstick quality further down the page.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look out for in a good quality drum kit, let’s have a look at the top drum kit sets available right now.

Top 10 Best Drum Kit Sets 2021

1. Best Overall Drum Kit Set: Ashthorpe 5-Piece Complete Drum Kit

Ashthorpe 5-Piece Complete Drum Kit

Editor’s Rating:

5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Boasting both superb build quality and an eye-catching design, this drum kit has all the essential elements a beginner needs to delve into the world of drumming.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar
  • Includes:Bass drum, floor tom, toms (large and small), snare drum, hi-hat cymbal, crash cymbal
  • Color:Red, blue, black, silver
  • Hardware:Yes

The Ashthorpe 5-Piece complete drum kit is ideal for musicians of all skill levels. Featuring hardwood, poplar drum shells, this kit provides maximum frequency response, creating an authentic acoustic sound. The addition of genuine Remo heads adds to the classic, high-quality sound of these drums. Remo is one of the world’s leading companies in drumhead production and is renowned for producing premium-grade drumming products.

Ashthorpe has a color for every style, with four different color options available. This kit also includes additional accessories, including all the adjustable hardware you’ll need for set-up (i.e., a stool and drumsticks). Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t include a ride cymbal. While this kit is adjustable, it is full-size, so may not be suitable for small players or young children.

If you need a kit suitable for children, check out the Mendini by Cecilio drum set.

Pros

  • Hardwood shells
  • Remo drum skins
  • Includes stool
  • Includes drumsticks

Cons

  • No ride cymbal
  • May be too large for kids/small players

2. Best Budget Drum Kit Set: Eastar 22-Inch Full Size Drum Kit

Eastar 22-Inch Full Size Drum Kit

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

If you’re still deciding whether drumming is for you, this budget-friendly drum kit offers an authentic drumming experience without breaking the bank.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar
  • Includes:Bass drum (with pedal), toms (large and small), floor tom, snare drum, hi-hat cymbal, ride cymbal
  • Color:Mirror black, metallic silver, metallic blue
  • Hardware:Yes

If you’re looking for a drum kit that has everything, the Eastar 22-inch full-sized drum kit is the ultimate choice. Whether you’re a budding musician or an experienced player, this kit is a low-cost investment that is built to last. With drum shells crafted out of treated poplar and high-quality drum skins, you’ll be rewarded with a classic sound with minimal effort and tuning. Considering its budget price point, the only real downside to this kit is its missing crash cymbal.

Available in three timeless colors and a shiny chrome finishing, you can customize this kit to suit your own aesthetic style. This kit also includes an adjustable, padded stool and a pair of 7A wooden drumsticks, so you won’t need to purchase any additional accessories. Given that this is a full-size drum kit, you will need at least 6 square feet to accommodate its size.

Need a drum kit that can fit in a smaller space? Check out the Questlove 4-piece drum kit.

Pros

  • Multiple color options
  • Includes stool
  • Includes drumsticks

Cons

  • Takes up a large area
  • No crash cymbal

3. Best Premium Drum Kit Set: PDP by DW CM7 Concept Series Maple 7-Piece Drum Kit

PDP by DW CM7 Concept Series Maple 7-Piece Drum Kit

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

If you’re looking for a kit made from premium materials that will stand the test of time, look no further than the custom-made PDP by DW.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Maple/birch
  • Includes:Bass drum, snare drum, three toms (varying sizes), two floor toms
  • Color:Pearlescent white, red to black fade, silver to black fade
  • Hardware:Limited

If you’re looking for a premium-grade, professional drum kit, look no further than the PDP by DW 7-piece drum shell kit. This set includes 7 hardwood drum shells, in both 7-10 ply maple and birch. Each drum shell is complete with quality Remo drum skins, creating a highly specialized drum shell pack that will not only produce an authentic acoustic sound but will, in all likelihood, last an entire drumming career.

Finally, if you’re looking for a drum set with a unique lacquered finish, the PDP drum kit features three different color options, including pearlescent white or two-color fades. Note that this is only a shell pack, so it includes limited hardware and doesn’t include cymbals, a stool, or drumsticks. The only hardware included in this kit is for the three mounted toms.

If you’d rather invest in a drum kit with all the trimmings, consider the complete 5-piece drum kit from Ashthorpe.

Pros

  • Stylish maple/birch shells
  • Remo drum skins
  • Unique color variety

Cons

  • Shell pack only
  • Minimal hardware/accessories

4. Best Value Drum Kit: Best Choice Products 5-Piece Full Size Drum Kit

Best Choice Products 5-Piece Full Size Drum Kit

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

If you want a kit packed with accessories but don’t want to spend a fortune, look no further than the Best Choice Products 5-piece set.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar
  • Includes:Bass drum, snare drum, floor tom, toms (large and small), hi-hat cymbal, ride cymbal, bass drum pedal
  • Color:Black
  • Hardware:Yes

When you’re just starting a new musical hobby, you want to experience everything the instrument has to offer without spending a fortune. In addition to all the essential drumming components, the Best Choice Products 5-piece full-size drum kit set comes with a bunch of additional bonus accessories, including a pair of drumsticks and a drumming stool. The only piece of equipment you’ll need to purchase separately is a crash cymbal.

This set’s hardware is also completely adjustable, making it suitable for young and old players alike. According to Best Choice Products, anyone above the age of 10 and up will be able to play this set and the adjustable hardware means this set can continue to be used as the player grows.

Crafted from solid wood, the shells on this kit are highly versatile and stylish to boot. Finished with a glossy black body, crisp white drumheads, and chrome rims, this set has a classic, vintage look that will always be appealing.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a kit with an included crash cymbal, take a look at the Ashthorpe 5-Piece Complete Set.

Pros

  • Includes drumsticks
  • Includes stool
  • Adjustable hardware design

Cons

  • No crash cymbal

5. Best for Kids or Juniors: Mendini by Cecilio 5-Piece Complete Drum Set

Mendini by Cecilio 5-Piece Complete Drum Set

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Get your kids started early with a drum kit that will adjust to their size and grow with them.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar/Basswood
  • Includes:Bass drum, toms (large and small), snare drum, floor tom, hi-hat cymbal, crash cymbal
  • Color:Black, blue, red, green, silver, white
  • Hardware:Yes

Starting an instrument at an early age will not only help with the development of fine motor skills, but it will also give your child a chance to fall in love with music before facing the demands of adolescence and adulthood.

If you’re in the market for a drum kit for your child, the Mendini by Cecilio 5-piece complete kit is a practical choice. Suitable for pre-teen children, this set can be adjusted to suit the height of most kids and will be able to grow with your child as they get older. The set also includes a padded adjustable stool to ensure maximum comfort and personalized use.

Including all essential drums and cymbals, this kit is only missing a ride cymbal. For a beginner, this is not detrimental, and can be added on later once your child has mastered the basics. This kit will require self-assembling. However, the kit does include self-explanatory instructions and shouldn’t require any complicated tools.

To top it all off, this kit comes in array of colors so you can truly customize this set to the specifications of your young rockstar-to-be.

Alternatively, if you need a drum kit for a young adult or tall teen, the Eastar Drum Kit is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Adjustable hardware
  • Adjustable stool
  • Includes drumsticks

Cons

  • Doesn’t include ride cymbal

6. Best for Performing/Live Gigs: Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-Piece Drum Shell Pack

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-Piece Drum Shell Pack

Editor’s Rating:

4 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Specialty drum shells create extra resonance and long-lasting volume for those special on-stage performances.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Birch
  • Includes:Bass drum, toms (large and small), floor tom, snare
  • Color:Cranberry red, natural wood, raven black
  • Hardware:Limited

If you’re planning to perform, it’s imperative that you have a drum kit that can produce an audible and clear sound. That’s where a custom drum shell comes in. The Yamaha custom birch drum shell pack is a performer’s best friend, easily outpacing most other custom drum kits.

Manufactured using 6-ply birch, each drum shell in this kit conveys strike vibration with superb clarity, producing a high-quality rumble capable of filling even a cavernous performance space. When paired with the Yamaha YESS mounting system, you’ll be able to match your authentic, sustained sound with a stylish yet practical hardware design.

Finished with a high-gloss lacquer in cranberry red, natural, or raven black, this kit is as much a part of the performance as the drummer themselves. Unfortunately, this kit is only a shell pack. This means that it only includes limited hardware for mounting the toms and does not include any cymbals, drumsticks, or a stool.

If you’re looking for a bigger kit or you’re simply not much of a performer, you might want to consider the 5-piece full size drum kit from Best Choice Products.

Pros

  • 100% birch shell
  • Yamaha YESS mounting system
  • Striking natural color styles

Cons

  • Limited hardware
  • No cymbals, stool, or drumsticks

7. Best Compact/Travel Drum Kit Set: Ludwig Questlove 4-Piece Drum Kit

Ludwig Questlove 4-Piece Drum Kit

Editor’s Rating:

4 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Even if you live in a small space, you can still fulfil your drumming dreams with this compact pocket drum kit from Questlove.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar
  • Includes:Tom, floor tom, bass drum (and pedal), snare, hi-hat cymbal, crash cymbal
  • Color:Red wine, black, white sparkle
  • Hardware:Yes

Whether you’re constantly on the move for gigs, or you simply live in a small apartment, this lightweight 4-piece drum kit can make it work. Weighing at just 62 pounds, this kit can easily be packed up and transported between performance locations. Despite coming with one less drum then a full-size set, this kit is still more than capable of delivering an authentic rock and roll sound.

With only 4 pieces in this kit, assembly should be exceptionally easy. However, just in case, you’ll also receive 6 free lessons from Questlove detailing how to set up the kit and some basic tips to keep your drum kit in tune and sounding beautiful.

This kit is also advertised as being suitable for pre-teen children, making it a great starter kit for kids beginning their drumming journey. However, with some minor adjustments, this kit can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. You’ll also find a set of drumsticks and a stool included in this kit.

Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t include multiple toms or a ride cymbal so if you’re an intermediate or advanced drum player, you may find this drum kit too limiting. Check out the DW 7-piece drum kit if you’d rather a drum kit with more options.

Pros

  • Lightweight/travel-friendly
  • Includes 6 free lessons
  • Includes drumsticks and stool

Cons

  • Limited selection of toms
  • No ride cymbal

8. Most Quality Drum Skins: Lagrima 5-Piece Full Size Drum Set

Lagrima 5-Piece Full Size Drum Set

Editor’s Rating:

3.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

With unique double-layered oil drumheads, this kit will last forever and provide a nice, long sustaining drum beat.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell: Poplar
  • Includes:Bass drum, floor tom, toms (large and small), snare drum, crash cymbal, hi-hat cymbal
  • Color:Yellow, black, bright star blue
  • Hardware:Yes

If you’re a professional drummer or you’re interested in creating a bigger, more durable sound, the Lagrima 5-piece full-size drum kit is the ideal kit option. Each drum shell in this kit is manufactured from hardwood poplar and finished with double-layered oil drumheads. Not only does this make each drum resistant to puncture, friction, and extreme temperatures, it also creates better resonance and dampens out any nasty frequencies.

This drum kit includes all the basic drums and cymbals you’ll need, no matter what level you’re playing at. What’s more, the kit also comes with a stool and two pairs of wooden drumsticks.

The only real downside to this set is that, given the quality of the materials used and the unique double-ply oil drum skins, it’s more expensive than other drum kits on this list. Check out the Eastar full size drum kit if you’re interested in a more affordable alternative.

Pros

  • Double layered oil drum skins
  • Includes stool
  • Choice of three color schemes

Cons

  • Expensive

9. Best Electronic Drum Kit Set: RockJam 8-Piece Electronic Drum Kit Set

RockJam 8-Piece Electronic Drum Kit Set

Editor’s Rating:

3.5 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Save on space without compromising on sound with the compact RockJam electronic drum kit.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell: Plastic
  • Includes:Mesh head snare drum, three mesh head toms, two kick pedals (one bass drum kick pedal, one hi-hat), hi-hat cymbal, ride cymbal, crash cymbal, drum kit brain
  • Color:Black
  • Hardware:Yes

If you’re struggling with a small amount of space or you’re more of a tech whiz, an electric drum kit is an excellent option. The RockJam 8-piece electronic drum kit features mesh head technology on each drumhead, providing a realistic sound for each drum while also feeling like the real thing. This kit also includes three rubberized cymbals, with the hi-hat cymbal being controlled by one of the hardwearing kick pedals. The other kick pedal acts as a bass drum.

The ‘drum brain’ includes a range of connectivity options, including a USB input, two AUX inputs, and a midi output — this means you can play along to your favorite song or connect to apps like GarageBand. While this kit does include a pair of wooden drumsticks, it doesn’t include a stool.

While this electronic drum kit comes close to the real thing, it may not produce the genuine acoustic sound you’re looking for. If you want to learn on an acoustic kit, we recommend the Rise by Sawtooth full size kit.

Pros

  • Music and app connectivity
  • Includes drumsticks
  • Realistic sound modules

Cons

  • Doesn’t include stool
  • Requires outlet connection

10. Best for Students: Rise by Sawtooth Full Size Student Drum Set

Rise by Sawtooth Full Size Student Drum Set

Editor’s Rating:

3 of 5 stars

Why we like it:

Designed for middle and high school students, this kit is the perfect option for learners who need an affordable starter drum kit.

Quick Specs:
  • Drum Shell:Poplar
  • Includes:Bass drum (with pedal), toms (large and small), floor tom, snare drum, hi-hate cymbal, crash cymbal
  • Color:Crimson red, storm blue, pitch black
  • Hardware:Yes

The drum shells in this kit are manufactured from 6-ply poplar wood, meaning they’ll produce a rich, authentic sound that can help students get to know and understand the different tones of each drum. Packed with all the essential components, this full-size kit has everything but a ride cymbal. The kit also comes with a cushioned stool and a pair of drum sticks.

If you’re worried about assembly, don’t be. This drum kit comes with easy-to-follow instructions that even an amateur drummer could follow — this kit should only take around two hours for the student to assemble.

As this is a full-size set, it may not be suitable for young children or smaller players. However, the set can be adjusted to fit most teens and adult players. Check out the Mendini 5-piece kit by Cecilio if you need a child-friendly drum kit.

Pros

  • Includes drumsticks
  • Includes stool
  • Easy to assemble hardware

Cons

  • Not suitable for smaller players
  • No ride cymbal

Best Drum Kits 2021: Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re focused on learning one song, it can take as little as 30 minutes to learn the correct beat and timing. However, if you want to gain a detailed understanding of the instrument, how it works, and how to manipulate it on stage, it often takes years of commitment to the craft. Like any instrument, the time it takes to learn the drums will depend on how well you understand the instrument, the quality of your drumming lessons, and how often you practice.

Generally, it will end up being cheaper to buy a drum kit that includes all the components, particularly if you only want a basic drum set-up. However, if you’re a veteran musician and want a more customized drum kit, it may be more cost-effective to buy each drum separately.

While it’s not impossible, it takes great skill and patience to make a drum from scratch. If you’re considering making a drum from scratch, speak to a local professional for more advice.

While you don’t have to tune a drum kit in the traditional sense (i.e., tuning to a specific pitch), you’ll still need to adjust your kit regularly to keep it producing crisp, clear tones. This article contains a comprehensive breakdown on drum kit tuning.

A lower price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a lower quality sound. With proper care and tuning, even a budget-friendly drum kit set can still sound great!

Absolutely, if you’re interested in learning the drums without formal lessons, it’s certainly possible to teach yourself. However, if possible, try to speak with a professional at your local music store; they may be able to provide you with instructional books that can help you get started on your own. Utilizing online resources (i.e., YouTube tutorials) can also be a great way to begin learning to play the drums.


Guide to Buying the Best Drum Kit Set

Top view of a young man playing drums

Selecting a drum kit set can be a stressful and time-consuming process, especially when you’re faced with so many different options. To help you pick the best possible kit, we’ve put together this handy guide to drum set terminology, drum kit features, and some of the most frequently asked questions about drum kit sets.

A Brief Guide to Drum Kit Set Terminology

Before you make any final decision about buying a drum kit, it’s always a good idea to learn more about the different key terms used when talking about drums. To get you started, we’ve listed some of the most commonly encountered terms when shopping for a drum kit set:

  • Hardware: This term refers to the stands that join the bass drum with the cymbals, cymbal stands, and other drums.
  • Shell: The shell refers to the barrel or body of the drum. Drum shells are usually made from wood, acrylic, or metal.
  • Shell Pack: A shell pack is used to describe a drum kit that is sold without the pedals, hardware, or cymbals.
  • Drumhead/Skin: The drumhead or drum skin is the taut section of the instrument that is hit with the drumstick.
  • Hoops: The hoop is the steel ring that is fitted around the edge of a drum to keep the drumhead attached to the shell.
  • Toms: Abbreviated from the word “tom-tom,” toms are a type of drum usually included in a drum kit set. The diameter of a tom drum is usually in the 8-inch to 18-inche range.
  • Floor/Hanging Tom: Floor toms are drums that are suspended by three legs on the floor, unattached to the main hardware.
  • Hi-Hats: A pair of cymbals that are opened and closed together using a pedal. This pedal is called a hi-hat stand or kick pedal.
  • Bearing Edge: As the name suggests, the bearing edge simply refers to the edge of the drumhead. The bearing edge is generally at an angle, providing minimal contact between the shell and the drum skin.
  • Tension Bolts: Threaded bolts that attach the steel rim of the drum to the drum shell. Tension bolts are used to adjust the tune of the drum and can vary from one to several inches.
  • Lugs: Lugs are located on the side of the drum. Lugs house the nuts and receiver for tension bolts.
  • Rack: The rack is a large metal bar suspended by two supporting rods. The rack can be used to mount drums or cymbals and is often used interchangeably with the term hardware. A rack is great for keeping your drums in position.

Types of Drums – Drum Kit Layout


While it may initially seem like all the drums in a drum kit set are the same, the truth is that each drum produces its own unique sound and has its own unique purpose while playing. In most cases, a drum kit will be arranged from left to right, with drums being arranged from highest to lowest tone. This means that the drums get bigger towards the left of the kit.
full drum kit

There is no mandated configuration for what should and shouldn’t be in a drum kit and the inclusion of each different type of drum will depend on the preferences of the drummer. Nevertheless, you can usually expect to see the following kinds of drums included in most beginner drum kits.

Floor Tom

The floor tom is a standalone, double-headed tom-tom that usually sits on the floor or on its own stands, although it can be mounted if required. Floor toms are the lowest tuned drum in the set and will often be used as a small bass drum by some musicians. The floor tom is situated to the far left in a standard kit.

Toms (Large and Small)

The most popular kind of drum, toms (both small and large) are mounted above the bass drum. Toms can range in size from 8- to 18-inches, but the actual size will depend on the drum kit. Toms are mounted towards the center of a drum kit.

Snare Drum

A snare drum is a shallow drum situated opposite to the floor tom on the right-hand side of the kit. Given how shallow this drum is, a snare drum will produce a sharp sound when struck. A drummer’s personal style is often displayed in how they use a snare drum.

Bass/Kick Drum

The bass or kick drum plays a low sound and is played, as the name suggests, using a foot pedal. Sitting anywhere between 18-inches and 24-inches, the bass drum is often the biggest drum in a kit. The bass drum is generally found under the toms near the center of the drum kit.

Crash Cymbal

Positioned to the left of the toms, a crash cymbal is generally used for sharp, punctuating accents.

Hi-Hat Cymbals

Hi-hats refer to a set of two cymbals that are stacked together. Hi-hat cymbals are controlled by a foot pedal, which can prolong or shorten the sound of the cymbals when in use.

Ride Cymbal

The ride cymbal is the largest cymbal in most drum kit sets. Placed on the far right of the drum kit, the ride cymbal is used to maintain a steady or rhythmic pattern.

Drum Shell and Drumhead Material

Drums can be made from all sorts of materials; however, wooden drum shells are widely considered to produce the best sound.

Wood

Wooden drums are usually manufactured from a birch, poplar, maple, beech, or oak shell which is then laminated with plywood. If you have a particular interest in birch or maple drum shells, take a look at the excellent PDP 7-piece kit from DW.

Metal

Metal drum kits are made using steel, aluminum, bronze, or brass. While a lot of the sound will depend on the drummer and the size of the room you’re playing in, it is generally thought that metal drums sound brighter and more ringy compared to a wooden drum shell. In contrast, a plastic drum shell can produce a sharper sound compared to its wooden counterparts.

Drumhead Material

The tone and sound of a drum are almost entirely dictated by the tightness of the drumhead or skin, so it’s important that a quality material is being used to ensure long-lasting use and a quality sound. Historically, animal skin was used as a drumhead as it was the only material that could be stretched taut for long periods of time.

However, modern drums with animal skin heads have become a rarity — today, modern drumheads are primarily made from plastics like polyester or mylar. Polyethylene terephthalate, a product of polyester, is one of the most common drumhead materials thanks to its strength under tension and resistance to heat, moisture, and sunlight.

If you’re looking for a kit with high-quality, double layered drumheads, check out the Lagrima 5-piece drum kit.

Cymbals

The importance of a cymbal in a drum kit set is often overlooked. Before jumping into the different types of cymbals, we need to understand the anatomy of the cymbal.
drum kit cymbal

There are four parts to a cymbal, the surface, bell, profile, and edge. While edge and surface are self-explanatory, the bell refers to the dome situated in the center of the cymbal and the profile refers to the curvature. The profile of a cymbal plays an important part in the cymbal’s pitch.

Today, cymbals are predominately cast from bronze, an alloy made from a varied combination of copper, silver, nickel, and tin. The copper to tin ratio alone can dramatically change the sound and tone of your cymbal.

For example, if your cymbal has a low tin content, it will sound brighter when struck. If you’re on the hunt for a more budget-friendly drum kit, your cymbal will likely be made from brass, a material that produces a softer output compared to bronze.

Finally, there is a long-running debate in the drumming community about the quality of cast cymbals compared to stamped or sheet-pressed cymbals. While many believe that cast cymbals produce a superior sound, this does not appear to be the case.

Both cast and sheet-pressed cymbals will produce a top-quality sound, so, aside from any aesthetic considerations, there is no need to factor this particular process into your final purchase decision.

Drumsticks

Believe it or not, buying drumsticks for your drum kit can be just as complicated as the kit itself. There is a variety of different drumsticks (and drumstick sizes) that are used for creating different sounds. Some types of drumsticks include:

  • Sticks – sticks are the traditional drumstick.
  • Brushes – brushes are used for soft effects.
  • Mallets – mallets are for use with percussion instruments. They consist of a solid, round end on a thin wooden stick.
  • Rods – great for low-volume performances, a rod is slightly louder than a brush but not as vocal as a stick.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely only need regular drumsticks to start with. When considering drumsticks, you should take note of the letter and number. The number on the stick indicates the circumference of the stick while the letter dictates the application.

Generally, the lower the number, the thicker and heavier the drumstick. Heavier drumsticks are great if you want to produce more volume. However, lighter sticks are usually easier to handle, making them more practical for beginners.

Drumsticks are usually manufactured from a wood (usually hickory) or wood composite. Wood is used because it readily absorbs shock and is well-rounded. Some other drumstick materials include oak, maple, metal, and plastic.

Metal and plastic drumsticks make a very distinct sound that differs quite drastically from wooden sticks. Having one kind of each in your repertoire is handy if you like to experiment with different materials.

If you’re looking for a solid, affordable set of drumsticks, these are a good choice.

Electronic Drum Kits

This wouldn’t be a comprehensive guide without a brief mention of electronic drum kits. For many, an electronic drum kit will never be able to replace the acoustic drum kit, particularly when it comes to reproducing a realistic drum sound. However, there is a time and place for electronic drum kits, particularly if you live in a small apartment with limited room for a full-sized kit, or you like to use apps like GarageBand to create your own music.

Some key features to look out for in an electronic drum kit include all mesh drum skins and real kick pedals. Kick pedals will better emulate the action of playing a real bass drum or hi-hat cymbal which will help beginners if they eventually decide to transition onto an acoustic drum set.

If you want to get started with an electronic drum kit, the best on the market today is probably the RockJam 8-Piece Electronic Drum Kit Set.

Outro

Whether you’re a beginner drummer or a professional musician, when you’re shopping for a drum kit set, you’ll need to balance your budget against both the contents of the set and its overall build quality. Fortunately, as this guide has hopefully demonstrated, there are plenty of drum sets that offer excellent value for both budget-friendly and premium-grade kits.

While you’re getting ready to rock and roll, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best metronomes on the market — a good metronome will improve your note spacing and help you keep your beats in perfect time, making it an essential item for all budding musicians.

Team MusicVibe

Whether it be the heady sonatas of a lone violin or the thrashing distortion of an amped-up guitar, we here at MusicVibe have an ear for it. Our team has performed gigs, played in concerts, and spent a lifetime fiddling with soundscapes in their bedrooms. They know a musician is only as good as their gear – and that musicians don’t just need the best gear, but they need the right gear for them. We help beginners find their feet in their first foray into the world of frets and fiddles, and give experts a leg-up in finding that studio-defining kit and most importantly, getting the best out of it. We’re here to help you play out your tune, so enjoy our library of content so you can hit the high notes.