Dear drum lovers,
Picking out your first drum can be daunting.
Drums have a lot of components and figuring out what to buy can be confusing. The biggest obstacle is that daunting feeling you get with all these unknown words, phrases, types of drums and cymbals…Wait, what are cymbals, right?
BUT don’t worry!
Before starting your journey as a drummer, you should consider a beginner drum set that goes with your skills.
We took into consideration a range of budgets, so there’ll be drum sets for everyone’s pockets.
We’ve compiled a list of the best starter drum sets, with helpful tips and guides for each category.
Top 11 Drum Sets For Beginners
Pearl Roadshow Rock Kit
Favorite Beginner Drum Kit
If you’re wondering why this is my favorite one from the Pearl Roadshow series, well…
Because you will get two large floor toms which will give you the ability to make unusual and loud sounds. Also this kit is perfectly designed to produce heavy-hitting tones consistent with metal and hard rock.
It includes everything that you’ll need to get started, including cymbals, hardware, drum throne, and more.
Great for accents and timekeeping until an upgraded multi-cymbal set-up is acquired.
Pearl Roadshow Fusion Kit
Best budget beginner drum set
The Fusion kit has a little bit smaller bass drum and smaller toms.
The configuration of this drum kit aims to give a softer rock and roll sound.
Pearl Roadshow Jazz Kit
Best for Jazz players
The Jazz Kit has the smallest bass drum, as well as the smallest tom, and snare sizes providing more crisp and higher jazz sound.
It includes only one rack tom and one-floor tom because it is a traditional jazz setup.
The New Fusion kit has bigger drums, thus they will produce a bigger sound.
They are NOT very different from the regular Fusion kit
BUT the difference between those two kits is that New Fusion has a deeper bass drum as well as bigger toms.
Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats
The Breakbeats kit is available in White Sparkle, Black Sparkle, and Red Sparkle with an extremely small footprint! The idea is to offer drummers convenience apartments.
One of the smallest kits you have ever seen but yet very powerful, so it’s perfect for young drummers.
BE AWARE that the product picture of the Ludwig Breakbeats is misleading in most online shops as it DOES NOT come with hardware or cymbals!
Most Lasting Drum Set
This entry-level acoustic drum kit is also one of Tama’s cheapest drum kits!
Tama Imperialstar Drum Set is a 5-kit full drum set that comes with many of the things that a beginner drummer needs. It is totally stylish because the set comes in a beautiful blue finish that glitters under stage lighting.
This beginner drum has precision-crafted bearing edges made with poplar. The metal rings around the shells allow the set to withstand heavy beatings from drummers!
Pearl Export Drum Set
Best Shell Technology
One of the best-selling drums of all time, the Export Series by Pearl.
There are two versions of the Pearl EXX with varying different shell sizes
Both versions come with additional:
The Pearl EXX has resolved the issue with their double-braced stands. The hardware is sturdy and can last for a very long time. You get one more “boom” stand for mounting the third cymbal.
Pearl based this modeled pedal on a professional Eliminator model from the same company.
This makes it the best pedal for its price range.
Even though the price is a little higher, these stands are more versatile compared to straight ones.
Mendini by Cecilio
Best Junior Drums Set
These are some of the best beginner drum kits & at the same time among the most affordable drums.
Mendini by Cecilio Complete Full-Size 5-Piece is available for both kids and adults! It is everything you need. It’s the best beginner drum set for the entry-level drummer with good value for money.
It’s simple, straightforward, and complete. A great purchase for any skill-level drummer, especially if you are a beginner.
Ludwig Accent Drive
Best Gigging Kit
The Complete 5 piece Drum Kit creates a solid foundation for a lifetime of drumming which is a wonderful solution for the entry-level market. Made with a 9-ply Poplar Shell and 45-degree inner accent with slight outer bevel, it delivers everything the new player needs to get started.
The most attractive feature of these drums is that they are cheap and yet they sound good.
The budget is much bigger, thus you have many options to choose from.
Well-known Ringo Starr and John Bonham played on Ludwig drums.
Gretsch Drums Catalina Maple
Best Distinctive and Powerful Sound
When you buy the Gretsch Catalina Maple drum set, you’re getting a quality set of drums that can inspire a beginner drummer, an intermediate hobbyist, and even a professional drummer to play.
The constructed drums are of 7-ply Maple wood and have natural shell interiors.
The Catalina Maple sounds something like you’d expect from a classic Gretsch kit, thanks to 30-degree bearing edges.
It has great durability and functionality and can take a pretty good pounding. The hardware adjusts easily during set-up and tear-down, and tuning is reliable due to the kit’s solid hardware and construction.
How can you choose the best beginner drum kit?
When shopping, you might need to consider the age of the drummer, eagerness to learn, where and when they will practice, and then of course the most important, the budget you’re working with.
Decide what you want to do with your drum set. Do you want to practice for fun, play live on stage, or record in your home studio?
Then think about your drumming journey in the long-term and where you want to be after some time.
You can arrange drums in different ways, so your drum kit choice depends on your style and preferences.
If you’re into Jazz music, you might want to try Yamaha Stage Custom Birch.
But if you’re more into metal and rock music, we recommend you choose the Pearl Roadshow Rock Kit.
It’s totally up to you. Believe your ears and find your groove.
Things to look for when buying a beginner drum kit
You’re probably wondering what the best features are when buying your first drum kit.
Here are some tips:
- Consider price and quality – the quality of the drum set will determine its cost.
- Research the drum hardware – make sure that each of the three legs on the cymbal stands is made of two pieces.
- Look for bundled hardware – you can find bundled hardware and cymbal sets that tend to be less expensive than buying them separately.
The differences between cheap and expensive drum set
Let see the attributes that differentiate these two products:
Cheap drum sets
- If the drum head is not placed in a great position, it will end up creating extra noises
- You may never be able to enjoy a nice and clean drum sound
- This cause a big issue in recording studios
- It will not sound nice in every genre
Expensive drum set
- These drum sets have amazing details
- Soft cushions must be present under springs
- The finish should not chip or scratch
- The wood must remain in its round form
- The drums should always keep tuning
- The tuning range has to be large
Are drum pads good for beginners?
Whether you’re a beginner or a drumming pro, you will need a practice pad for rudiments. They are very useful for building techniques and improving speed.
If you want to get a good practice pad, prepare around $30-50.
Emitting more sound with a clunky feel will be the pads that are less costly. So basically the quality depends on how much you pay.
- Single-sided pads are usually intended for players with a drum set
- Double-sided pads are good for drummer students and marching bands
Here is our recommendation:
What sizes do beginner drum sets come in?
Depending on the classification of drummers, manufacturers, and style, the size of a drum kit can be different. If you are a grown-up, this refers to anyone taller than 5 ft, you will comfortably fit behind all types of adult drum sets.
An average drum size for beginners is about 10” x 5” with a snare measuring about 10”. A good drum depth for beginners is around 5” deep.
Regarding Junior Drum Kits, it will work best if the child is between 2.5 ft and 5 ft tall.
No, this is NOT about age! Size is the thing that actually matters. It is about whether your child can comfortably reach the bass drum pedal and the cymbal while sitting on the drum throne.
Junior drum sets can vary as some are three pieces and some are five pieces. Some include three toms while some include only one tom.
How do you start learning drums?
Get Your Essential Equipment
The most important piece of “equipment” for drumming is your body. How?
Well, let’s see… What enables any drummer to hit a drum or cymbal on his drum kit? His brain and muscles are coordinating his feet and his hands.
So, if you showed interest or any talent for drumming in the past because you used to tap on your pillow while sitting comfortably on the couch or hit the tones on your plate with the spoon… you’re good to go!
Learn How to Hold Drumsticks
Practicing is different from fooling around, that’s why it’s more challenging. But luckily, this experience can also be had without a drum kit and still while playing your cushion kit.
To do that you need to know how to PROPERLY hold and play with drumsticks. The stick is like an extension of your body, it becomes part of you.
- First, put your hands at your sides and use your left hand to place one of the sticks in your right hand.
- Then use the flat part of your thumb to press the stick, and wrap the rest of your fingers around it. Now repeat the process of placing the next drumstick in your hand.
- Ensure you’re gripping the drumsticks behind the balance point or the middle of the stick.
Before you buy your first starting kit, use this time to become familiar with basic beats and techniques. Although there are a handful of methods for using your sticks to play drums, as a beginner, you will have plenty of time to try out different techniques and determine what works best for you!
Look for local drum instructors in your area. When you go to buy your sticks, ask if they offer lessons.
Learn Your First Rudiment
Even without your full equipment, you can produce your first beats, but if you already have your beginner drum set, you are ready to create music!
Be patient and slow down. Don’t be sloppy when practicing. It’s not that hard, it will take some time to adjust to new things.
Learn your rudiments, learn them all and learn them well, regardless of the mistakes and time you spent!
To have practice well, we recommend that you get a metronome to help stay on time.
We know it sounds boring, but they are one of the most important tools for a drummer. The regular pulses will help you develop a good sense of time and help you internalize different tempos. You may think you have impeccable timing, but actually, the metronome decides that.
What type of wood do beginner drum sets use?
As a beginner drummer, you might ask yourself what the best wood for my drum set is, and that’s normal.
Drum shell manufacturing uses three kinds of wood:
The tonal differences of these woods comes in the varying high, mid, and low tones each wood resonates.
So the answer is that the choice is totally up to your style and your budget.
Let’s check some major differences in more detail.
Mahogany drum shells create a rich and balanced tone.
They create a combination of the dark tone of the hard mahogany with lower frequencies, coupled with the brighter tone of poplar. They create a warm and resonant tone that suits both rock and smaller jazz kits.
Birch drum shells are probably the most popular ones in the drumming world today:
- They are abundant – the wood is at the lower price
- It’s an easy wood to find and work with
- Birch drum sets come in both high-end and low-end
- It’s known for its tonal qualities, giving us peaks with high frequencies as well as low-end frequencies
- Tend to sound full with a lot of projection
Replacement to birch, can for sure be a maple drum shell:
- You can find maple as easily as birch
- Somewhat more expensive
- Maple is a harder, heavier, and denser wood
- Known for its greatest resonance
- It’s higher mid-range
Warmer tone and even sound will definitely be the main features for maple drum shells. But they have one flaw, they will not project as birch drum shells would.
Is it ok to learn drums on an electronic kit?
Yes, you can definitely learn to play drums on your electronic kit.
Pros of playing an electronic kit:
- You may feel more comfortable when monitoring yourself through headphones
- You can play it more often
- They are a LOT quieter than an acoustic kit
- You are NOT disturbing anyone else
- You don’t have to worry about what others think about your playing
Cons of playing an electronic kit:
- It is very hard to replace the volume, the tone, the feel, and the sheer power of an acoustic drum kit with an e-kit.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with learning on an electric kit. Here’s a tip: Make sure to practice on some lower rebound surfaces periodically.
The sound quality of e-drums is getting better every day, so there are only a few valid reasons to take acoustic drums over e-drums, and most of those are simply matters of taste.
When should your child begin drumming lessons?
It’s often very difficult to keep your kids’ attention, but it is actually very easy if they do something they like.
Yet when they are too young, they don’t have such a high concentration and focus
That’s why the best age to start drum lessons is generally between the ages of 6 to 7. This is the age where most students gain the mental focus needed to learn to play an instrument
So, if your kid shows sense for music, especially for drums, this is what you should do:
- Have fun playing the drums
- Encourage them to practice every day
- Go through the lessons with them
- Let them experiment
- Choose songs that they like
- Teach them to play softly
- Protect their hearing
How much should I spend on a drum kit?
According to your budget, try to choose the best beginner drum set.
On average, a drum set can costs somewhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on many things
There are plenty of factors that determine price such as:
- Quality of shells and their number
- Custom versions
- Is it hand-made or not
- Quality of the drum kit within the brand
And of course, if you are lower on the budget, it is not unusual to buy used instruments as they can be great for someone who has just started drumming.
Can you learn drums without a drum kit?
Is it really possible to learn how to play drums without a drum kit? Absolutely yes!
There are actually plenty of ways to practice without a drum kit, let’s see how:
- Air drumming – a very valid and worthwhile method. It’s free and it’s silent. The more time you spend with drum sticks in your hands, the better.
- Use pillows and cushions – they provide very little rebound, which means you need to work on your hands twice as hard. After getting back to a normal drum surface with the rebound, everything will feel lighter, faster, and more responsive.
- Practice pad – designed to respond like a drum and thus provide a quiet means of playing sticking exercises and rudiments.
- Pots, pans, and cardboard boxes – yes, I’m not joking. If you’re not much of a cook, use utensils and make yourself a drum kit! If you hit them with a drum stick it will be very loud, so either tape the ends of the sticks or tape a towel onto the “instrument”.
- Body percussion – drum out rhythms on your own body. It helps you practice, plus you can feel the rhythm.
How long does a drum set last?
It depends on different parts of the drum set and various conditions such as: where are you playing them and where are they stored.
The planned use and subsequent maintenance are the main factors for the longevity of every part of the drum set.
How Long Do Drum Heads Last? – From six months up to a year. After that period, drum heads can sound like out the tune and become stretched out.
How Long Do Cymbals Last? – They are very durable and last up to 20-30 years, of course, if you take care of them.
How Long Do Drumsticks Last? – Drumsticks have a tendency to break easily and frequently, therefore their perpetuity can vary. Wooden drumsticks can last 3 to 5 hours – on average, unlike Carbon Fiber Drumsticks that can last up to 10x longer than wooden ones.
You can elongate any drum set’s lifespan if you properly care for the equipment.
How long does it take to learn drums?
Learning any musical instrument can be a little intimidating, but don’t worry!
With dedication, aptitude, and work, you will be able to learn the drums fairly quickly. Approximately 10 to 12 months to become proficient, and about 18 months to 2 years to become really good.
How fast you make progress on the drums depends on you. On your goals, available practice time, and a structured plan.
How many hours a day should I practice drums?
Recommendations for beginners are at least 30 minutes per day and advanced players are at least an hour per day.
For every hour spent in drum lessons, you should spend two practicing on your drum pad.
The short answer and most effective answer is “as much as you can”.
Do you need to read music to play drums?
Simple and short, yes, you DO have to learn to read music.
Learning to read music notation is a massive benefit to drummers of all levels.
In fact, reading musical notation for drumming is actually easier than it is for melodic instruments. In drumming, the lines and spaces on the musical staff represent actual physical objects.
Benefits of reading music notations:
- Teaches you how to count music
- Helps you understand how rhythm works
- It will help you to understand which hand or foot plays which note
We announced the clear winner of beginner drum sets: Pearl Roadshow Rock Kit
The first runner up has to be Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats with an affordable price.
And second runner up, if your budget allows you, Gretsch Catalina Birch.
Our winner has a reason to be in first place. With the Pearl Roadshow Rock Kit, you get 500-series hardware which is pretty good for a beginner kit. They also have an affordable price compared to the second runner-up Gretsch Catalina Birch.
This is one of the best beginner drum sets available due to being both durable and an extraordinary bargain. Yet, remember that these designed beginner drum kits are for student drummers.
The more affordable and portable Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats set does not come with cymbals or cymbal hardware. It is also made from poplar, which while not ideal isn’t a surprise at this price point.
Gretsch Catalina Birch has 7-ply Maple wood and natural shell interiors. This kit is great for intermediate musicians too, thus it requires a greater investment.
Choosing the best beginner drum set depends on your preferences and your budget. You’ll have to balance differences in the price and the quality of the drum set to figure out which is best for you.