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If you’re looking for a good electronic drum kit, there are a few key brands that you should stick to looking at. These brands offer the best product ranges that cater to a wide array of drummers. By picking one of these brands, you know that you’re going to get a reliable drum kit.
I’ve listed six good brands here, and I’ve picked a great electronic drum kit from each one to check out.
Yamaha DTX10K – Best Overall
The Yamaha DTX10K (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is undoubtedly one of my favorite electronic drum kits available. It’s Yamaha’s flagship e-kit, and it offers all the best features that the company has to offer.
The first thing to mention about this kit is that you can choose to get it with mesh or silicone heads. The silicone head version is a bit more expensive, but this is a feature that puts this set above so many others.
All the drum and cymbal pads feel amazing, and you get as much authentic responsiveness as you could possibly want from them.
The kit is run by the DTX-PROX drum module. It has incredible sounds that have been sampled straight from Yamaha acoustic drum kits, and it has enough editing features for you to completely customize these kits as much as you want.
Another thing to mention about the set is that it comes with all the hardware needed to hold the pads together, even the hi-hat stand. That’s something that definitely puts it ahead of its Roland competitors in the same price range.
Pad Material: Mesh or silicone
Drum Module: DTX-PROX
Preset Kits: 70
Roland VAD706 – Premium Option
The Roland VAD706 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the top electronic drum kit on the market by miles. This is Roland’s highest-quality set, and it offers all the most premium technology features that are currently available.
It’s one of the only e-kits on the market that comes with different finish options, and the kit as a whole looks identical to an acoustic set.
The standout parts are the digital snare, ride, and hi-hat pads. These are expertly crafted pads with dozens of sensors that make them feel far more authentic than pads that only have a few triggers. The pads are so responsive that there isn’t much separating them from their acoustic counterparts.
The Roland TD-50X powers the kit. This module has some of the highest-quality electronic sounds you’ll hear, along with dozens of editing tools to let you customize them. The Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine and PureAcoustic Ambience Technology are fantastic.
The big drawback is that this is one of the most expensive drum kits in the world, even when comparing it to luxurious acoustic kits. It costs thousands more than any other electronic kit available.
Pad Material: Mesh
Drum Module: TD-50X
Preset Kits: 70
Donner DED-200 – Best Budget Option
The Donner DED-200 has become increasingly popular in recent years. While it’s not a very high-quality set, it’s an amazing option for drummers getting their first kit that don’t want to pay the higher prices for Roland, Alesis, or Yamaha sets.
It’s one of the most affordable kits to come with mesh pads that feel surprisingly responsive and durable.
The sounds from the module aren’t half bad, either. The only kits that you’ll find with lower prices will have trigger pedals for the kick drum, and I don’t recommend getting those.
This kit comes with everything you need, including a pair of sticks, headphones, a drum throne, and a bass drum pedal. This makes it the ultimate package for new drummers that don’t own anything yet.
You’re just going to want to steer clear of this set if you’re an experienced player. You’ll be a lot happier with a kit from Roland, Yamaha, or Alesis.
Pad Material: Mesh
Drum Module: DED-200
Preset Kits: 31
Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition
The Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a common option for drummers that want a high-end kit at a low comparable price. This is Alesis’ flagship electronic drum set, but it costs thousands less than the flagship sets from Yamaha and Roland.
It’s also one of the biggest electronic drum kits available, coming with six drum pads and five cymbal pads. If you love big setups, this is the kit for you.
The drums and cymbals are all large and have comparable sizes to a standard acoustic kit, which is another feature that I really like about this set.
The Strike Pro drum module doesn’t quite compare to the quality from Roland or Alesis modules, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. You get over 100 high-quality drum kits to mess around with, along with over 1000 sampled sounds to create your own kits.
It’s a really fun drum set to play on, so I highly recommend checking it out!
Pad Material: Mesh
Drum Module: Alesis Strike Pro
Preset Kits: 136
ddrum Hybrid Acoustic/Electronic Drum Kit
The ddrum Hybrid Acoustic/Electronic Drum Kit is the wildcard option for this list.
This is actually a full-on acoustic drum set, but it comes with mesh heads and built-on triggers to connect to a drum module. This means that you can purchase a module separately to have an e-kit that looks and feels like an acoustic one.
You can then swap those heads out for acoustic heads to get traditional sounds. You can take it a step further by continuing to use the triggers with the acoustic heads, giving you a full-on hybrid setup.
This is amazing for modern drummers that need this sort of setup on stage.
The downsides are that this kit doesn’t come with a module, cymbals, or any hardware. It’s just a shell pack with a few extra electronic accessories. So, you’ll need to spend a bit more to create a full electronic setup if that’s what you’re going for.
Otherwise, you can use the triggers with acoustic cymbals around the set.
Pad Material: Mesh
Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Electronic Drum Set
The Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Electronic Drum Set (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is Pearl’s only electronic drum kit option. The brand has offered a few different e-kits over the years, but this has been their offering for the past several.
I’m a big fan of this kit, and it sits up there in competition with the best kits from Roland and Yamaha.
The pads are very responsive, giving you authentic playability from the high-quality sounds on the drum module.
The thing that impresses me most about this kit is the editing options on the module. You have so much control that you can essentially sample in your own acoustic kit to have as a playing option. This is fantastic for drummers that don’t like stock sounds.
The large acoustic bass drum also gives this kit a much better appearance than ones with small kick towers.
It’s quite expensive, but it’s well worth the cost.
Pad Material: Mesh
Drum Module: MDL-1
Preset Kits: 35
What To Look For In an Electronic Drum Kit Brand
The primary tool that runs an electronic drum kit is the module. This is where you get all the sounds and features from, and most brands offer multiple module options.
A good way of assessing the quality of a brand is by looking at what drum modules they offer. In the case of Roland, you get several different module choices with the price increasing as the modules get better.
In Yamaha’s case, the brand only offers three drum modules currently. While that doesn’t sound like many, I love how you can get a good module with a more affordable drum kit.
Alesis also doesn’t have too many drum module options, but the brand does offer slightly more than Yamaha.
Pearl only has one drum module called the MDL-1, as the brand only offers one drum kit. This module is incredible, though.
Lastly, ddrum doesn’t actually offer a module, but you can use their drums with any of the modules from other brands.
The next thing to look at is what kits are on offer in different price categories. You can essentially divide kits up by entry-level, intermediate, and professional options. However, those options look different when comparing brands.
For example, an entry-level Roland kit may cost close to $1000, while an Alesis kit at the same price would be considered an intermediate option.
So, check out all the product lines available from each brand to see what’s all your available choices.
It helps to establish what your own experience level is so that you can pick an electronic drum kit suited for you. If you just started playing drums, you’ll have no problem using an entry-level drum kit, whereas that same kit would feel horrible for a professional drummer to play on.
The drum pads make a huge impact on how an electronic drum kit feels to play. The two things you need to look at are size and material.
Most affordable e-kits have small drum pads, so the kits don’t take up much space. Saving space is great, but it always feels better to play on larger pads, and that may lead you to get a more expensive set.
Brands like Roland and Yamaha have small pads in all of their kits that cost under $1000, while the cheaper drum brands offer larger pads in their more affordable kits.
You then need to see if the pads are made from rubber, silicone, or mesh. Rubber is the lowest-quality material, and rubber pads have a lot more rebound than traditional drumheads. This leads the kit not to feel too authentic.
Mesh and silicone are comparable, with some drummers preferring one over the other. Most kits have mesh heads, and Yamaha is the only brand to offer silicone ones.
You should also look at cymbal pads. The best electronic drum sets have pads with rubber all around them. You’ll see on cheaper kits that the playable rubber surface only covers half, with the top half being exposed plastic.
You should also look at size here, as well as the number of cymbals that come with the kit. Both these things get bigger as you spend more money.
The last thing to check out with cymbals is whether the hi-hat pad uses a stand or not. Higher-quality kits require you to place the hi-hat pad on a traditional hi-hat stand. It makes the pad feel much better to play.
Acoustic Design Kits
One of the more modern innovations from electronic drum brands is offering electronic kits that have acoustic shells.
With most of these kits, the shells are just for show. They make it look like you’re playing an acoustic kit, and the deeper shells give a small amount of depth behind the drums, arguably enhancing your playing experience.
Other brands offer fully convertible acoustic design kits, meaning you can switch between electronic and acoustic drums by swapping out the drumheads.
All these kits are more expensive than the typical compact electronic drum kit design, but you may prefer one of them due to the better aesthetic appearance.
Unfortunately, a really good electronic kit will always cost more than a really good acoustic kit. However, this is only true for the upper-tier products.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll easily be able to get a great mesh kit for around $500, while you may need to spend closer to $700 to get a full acoustic drum kit.
The benefit of electronic kits is that they always sound good. You don’t need to tune them or own any high-end cymbals.
If you’re an intermediate drummer with a few years of playing behind you, I’d recommend spending closer to $1000 to be happy with your kit.
Pro drummers will need to spend upwards of $1500 to get an e-kit that they really enjoy playing.
Best Electronic Drum Kit Brands
While there are dozens of good electronic brands available, only a few of them have truly gained worldwide fame. The six brands that I mentioned above can be found in most music stores, ensuring that you can easily find whichever kit you’re looking for.
Here’s a bit more information about each brand:
Roland is arguably the biggest dedicated electronic instrument company in the world. The brand undoubtedly offers the best electronic drum kits, and it has one of the widest ranges of kits compared to every other brand.
Mesh heads were first made by Roland, and there have been many other innovations by the brand that have been followed by others.
If you want a good kit that is reliable and will last for many years, you can never go wrong with a Roland electronic drum set.
Yamaha is another world-famous instrument brand. This brand offers an impressive range of both acoustic and electronic drum sets, and it’s one of the few brands to do it.
Most Yamaha drum kits have TCS silicone heads, which are a bit different from the mesh heads that you’ll find on other e-kits. Silicone heads offer a different feel, which some drummers prefer.
In recent years, higher-quality Yamaha kits have come with mesh head options. This makes Yamaha one of the few brands to offer electronic kits that you can choose the head type.
Alesis is the final electronic instrument brand that forms part of the big three. The key thing about Alesis is that the brand offers multiple drum kit options that are a lot more affordable than what you get from Yamaha and Roland.
The sound quality of the kits isn’t as good, but most beginner drummers don’t mind that and are happy to spend a lot less to get a decent drum set.
The brand also offers professional kits that come at a fraction of the price of their competitors. Again, they’re not as good, but they’re good enough for many drummers.
Pearl is mainly an acoustic drum kit brand. However, the brand has offered a few electronic drum kits over the years, and these kits have always been high-end.
The brand only has one electronic drum kit available at the moment. It’s called the e/Merge, and it competes with the flagship drum kits from Roland and Yamaha.
ddrum isn’t a dedicated electronic brand. The brand actually mostly sells acoustic kits. However, they’re one of the best brands to get electronic drum triggers from.
They also sell a shell pack with mesh heads and triggers already installed, giving you a hybrid kit straight from the box. It’s great for drummers that don’t want to fully commit to electronic drums, as you can put regular drumheads on it to have an acoustic kit.
Donner is the cheapest brand on this list. The kits are mainly good options for complete beginner drummers that are looking to spend the least amount possible on a first kit.
Donner kits come with mesh heads, and they’re the most affordable kits on the market to do so. They don’t sound amazing, though, and the responsiveness of the pads is lackluster. That’s why this is only a good brand for drummers that aren’t experienced.
Top Electronic Drum Kit Brands, Final Thoughts
Out of all the brands I mentioned, not one of them is yet to top the quality of Roland. Roland is the one brand in the drumming world that offers the best quality products without question.
However, the other brands are well worth looking at to get comparable drum kits that are a lot more affordable. The price of a Roland drum kit is what steers many people away, and there are plenty of other good options to check out!