26 Best Electronic Drum Sets 2022

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Best Electronic Drum Sets

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Picking a good electronic drum kit can be a difficult thing to do. There are so many kits available with different specs, prices, and sizes.

This guide is here to serve as your ultimate reference point. I’ve compiled a large list of electronic drum kits that I’d happily suggest to different drummers. Make sure to read through each review to see who all these kits would be good for.

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Roland VAD506 – Best Overall

Roland VAD506

The Roland VAD506 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is an incredible electronic kit from Roland. It’s arguably the most popular drum set in their VAD line, which involved a group of kits that have acoustic shells for better aesthetics.

When looking at this kit, you’d initially assume that it’s an acoustic drum set, but the mesh pads and rubber cymbals are what connect to the drum module to give you all the electronic goodness.

The standout features of this kit are the module and the digital pads. Starting with the TD-27 drum module, it’s a powerful tool that draws plenty of inspiration from Roland’s premium TD-50 module.

With the Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine and the PureAcoustic Ambience Technology, you get to completely adjust how all the drum kits sound. Having that freedom with the sounds makes this kit incredibly valuable.

The module also has hundreds of sounds to use and play around with. They’ll keep you busy for hours, and there are plenty of preset kits that will sound perfect within professional live settings.

The digital snare drum is undoubtedly the best electronic snare drum available on the market. It plays just like an acoustic snare drum, having so many sensors on it to replicate everything that an acoustic snare drum does.

The digital ride cymbal is the same, allowing you to play a wide variety of dynamics to get different tones and textures.

Overall, this is my top recommendation for an electronic drum set. The drum module is incredibly powerful, and the drums are set up exactly how an acoustic kit would be. This makes them feel a lot better to play.

The downsides of this kit are the high price tag and the fact that you’ll need to buy a few of the hardware components separately. Make sure to get a very sturdy hi-hat stand, as the drum module will need to be clamped to it.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-27

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 12”, and 14”

Bass Pad Size: 20”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 14”, 16”, and 18”

Roland VAD706 – Premium Option

Roland VAD706

The Roland VAD706 (Sweetwater) is the most pristine electronic drum kit available on the electronic drum set market. If you had an unlimited budget, this would be my best recommendation. While it’s the most expensive e-kit available, it’s also the most technologically advanced.

This kit shares many of the same qualities as the VAD506. However, it has a few notable upgrades that push it much higher when it comes to quality.

Firstly, the kit is powered by the Roland TD-50X drum module, which is the most advanced drum module available. It’s Roland’s flagship module, and it offers all of their best features and design innovations.

You get 70 preset drum kits that all sound incredible. You also get 900 onboard sounds to make your own kits with. All those sounds can be edited with incredible detail, thanks to the Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine and the PureAcoustic Ambience Technology. The module also offers amazing flexibility when it comes to importing user samples.

The other addition that this kit has that pushes it past the VAD506 is the inclusion of a digital hi-hat pad. The Roland VH-14D hi-hat pad feels epic to play, giving you every bit of detail that you’d get from acoustic hi-hat cymbals. This hi-hat pad sounds great when playing all kinds of different techniques on it.

Another cool thing about this kit is that it comes with different finish options. You can choose what color the acoustic shells are, and the choices are between Gloss Ebony, Pearl White Lacquer, Gloss Cherry Lacquer, and Gloss Natural Lacquer.

You won’t find a better electronic drum set than the VAD706, so I highly suggest getting it if you can afford it. However, the price tag is unreachable for most drummers looking for an electronic kit. There are several other e-kits that you’ll be happy with that cost a lot less.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-50X

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 12”, and 14”

Bass Pad Size: 22”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 14”

Cymbal Sizes: 16”, 16”, and 18”

Behringer XD80USB – Best Budget Option

Behringer XD80USB

The Behringer XD80USB (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of the more affordable electronic drum kits to consider. It provides a good starting point for new drummers, giving a relatively large setup with a good amount of space between each of the drums.

The kit has rubber pads. While those aren’t ideal, it’s great that the snare drum has two trigger zones and the cymbals can be choked.

The drum module has ten preset drum kit sounds, along with a further 175 sounds to create your own kits with. There are five open slots for custom kits, so you can create some interesting setups using those onboard sounds.

In terms of sound quality, the sounds aren’t amazing. However, they’re more than good enough for a beginner drummer who is learning how to play different things for the first time. The drum pads are responsive enough to get different dynamics, helping beginner players feel how different strokes affect the sound.

The module has an audio input port that allows you to play your own tracks through it. This is a great feature for practicing along to songs that you love. It’s also one that isn’t very common amongst cheap electronic kits.

Another cool thing about this kit is that it comes with a kick drum pedal when you buy it. It also comes with a set of sticks. So, the only thing you need to worry about buying separately is a drum throne to sit on.

Overall, it’s a decent kit that I’d purely recommend to brand new drummers. If you’ve been playing drums for a while, you won’t be happy with the sound quality and playability that this kit offers. It’s purely an inexpensive kit for people to get if they’re thinking about learning to play the drums.

Specifications

Drum Module: Behringer HDS240USB

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 6”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 12”

Roland TD-27KV

Roland TD-27KV

The Roland TD-27KV (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is another high-end electronic kit to consider getting. The price of this kit is about half the price of Roland’s top-tier kits, so it’s a much more attractive option for working drummers.

Even though it’s a lot cheaper, it’s still an expensive kit compared to other products from different brands. It’s just a lot more attainable to get for most drummers.

This kit has the same TD-27 drum module that comes with the VAD506, which I think it’s the best value-for-money module on this list. It has an incredible number of useful features that every drummer will love using.

This kit also has the famous digital snare drum and digital ride cymbal. These two pads give you amazing playability, as they react so well to different strokes and techniques.

If you need a top-quality drum kit to use for practice as well as professional performances, the Roland TD-27KV will get the job done perfectly.

The downside of this kit is the sizes of the toms and kick pad. The toms are all 10”. While I think the 10-inch rack toms are fine, I’d love if the floor tom pad was a bit bigger.

The small KD-10 kick tower is my biggest gripe, though. For a kit at this price, I’d expect Roland to give a larger bass drum. That’s where the competing Yamaha and Alesis kits have the edge. Everything else about this drum set is fantastic, though.

I’d consider this set to be the premium electronic kit to get, with the higher-priced ones just having more luxurious features. Also, the VAD506 is the same kit but with better pads, and that’s why I ranked it best at the top of the list. This kit is just a more affordable and more compact version of that.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-27

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 10”

Bass Pad Size: 5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 12”, 13”, and 18”

Roland TD-50KV2

Roland TD-50KV2

The Roland TD-50KV2 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is Roland’s other flagship kit next to the VAD706. It’s the highest-quality kit that you can get within Roland’s famous V-Drums line.

Most of what you get with this kit is very similar to what you get with the VAD706. So, it’s an alternate option to consider, but it has a similar feel and the exact same sounds and features.

The benefit of this kit is that it’s a bit smaller, providing you with a more compact setup. You still get a large bass drum that feels amazing to play, but the toms have much shallower depths, and all of them mount to a single rack instead of separate stands.

This makes the TD-50KV2 a better kit to use if you have space limitations. You could easily fit it into a small bedroom practice space, whereas the VAD706 would be too large.

The other benefit of this kit is that you get an extra floor tom. That extra tom provides you with more playing options since the floor tom pads have multiple trigger zones.

At the end of the day, your choice will be between this kit and the VAD706 if you want the best e-kit possible. You’ll save about $500 by getting the TD-50KV2. However, it’s still much more expensive than any of the top models from other brands.

I’d suggest getting this kit if you want more drums to play but need to fit it into a small space. It just doesn’t look as great as the VAD706 does.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-50X

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 10”, and 12”

Bass Pad Size: 18”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 14”

Cymbal Sizes: 16”, 16”, and 18”

Pearl e/Merge

Pearl e Merge

The Pearl e/Merge (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the only electronic drum set that Pearl offers. While it’s their only kit available, it’s still one of the best on the market. It’s an incredible professional kit that easily competes with the flagship kits from Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis.

Before I even speak about the drums, I need to mention how good the Icon e-rack is. It’s one of the sturdiest racks that I know of any electronic kit to have, making this kit one of the most stable ones to play on. You get virtually no wobbling from any drum, which is fantastic.

The MDL-1 drum module was made in a collaboration between Pearl and Korg. Pearl has released a few electronic kits over the years, so many of the features come from their previous drum modules. The sounds come from Korg, which is a leading company in sound design.

So, the sounds on this kit are incredible. Many of the preset kits are samples of high-end Pearl drum sets, while other preset kits are made of popular Korg sounds that have been used over the years.

My favorite thing about the module is that it’s a lot easier to use than other high-end modules. The layout is quite simplistic, allowing you to figure out different settings very quickly.

The drum pads feel highly responsive. They’re not mesh pads, but they feel just as good as the pads on the flagship Roland kits do. I love how these drums are the same sizes as acoustic drums. It makes it a lot easier to adjust from playing this kit to playing an acoustic kit.

Overall, this is a great high-end kit that costs a fair bit less than the top Roland kits. If you’re happy with the shallow drum shells and Korg sounds, you’ll love playing this set.

A big downside of the kit is that the module sometimes gives off a bit of unwanted noise, especially when you connect it through a PA system. It can be very frustrating when using the kit in live settings. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I wouldn’t get this kit if you plan on using it to play live frequently because of this.

Specifications

Drum Module: Pearl MDL-1

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 12”, and 14”

Bass Pad Size: 18”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 14”

Cymbal Sizes: 15” and 18”

Yamaha DTX10K-MRW

Yamaha DTX10K-MRW

The Yamaha DTX10K-MRW (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is Yamaha’s flagship electronic drum set. While most of Yamaha’s kits have silicone drumheads, this one has the option of coming with mesh heads.

The kit offers a serious amount of value, coming with a high-powered drum module and amazing drum and cymbal pads.

The DTX-PROX drum module has some of the best onboard sounds that I’ve heard come out of an electronic drum module. Yamaha has so many amazing acoustic kits, and many of them have been sampled to be added to this module.

The module also has a fantastic array of sound editing functions. The interface involves sliders for all the drums, making it easier to control the different sound settings that you map to each part of the kit. You can sit for hours and dial in amazing sounds that perfectly fit the sound environment you’re trying to create.

I also love the drum and cymbal pads on this kit. While they’re not as large as the pads on the Roland and Pearl flagship kits, they still feel great to play. They’re highly responsive, having multiple trigger zones that are very sensitive to dynamics.

You can get this kit with silicone heads as well. The option of two different head types is something that no other flagship electronic drum set offers, adding even more value to this set.

I’d say the sizes of the pads on this kit would be its only downside. If you want larger pads, you’ll need to go for the Roland, Alesis, or Pearl kits. Even though this kit has acoustic shells to give it the hybrid feel, it doesn’t quite live up to the large sizes of those other competing kits.

If you don’t mind the pad sizes, this kit may be a better option for you, considering that it’s more affordable. You may also prefer how the TCS silicone heads feel as opposed to mesh heads.

Specifications

Drum Module: Yamaha DTX-PROX

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 10”, and 12”

Bass Pad Size: 12”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 13”

Cymbal Sizes: 13”, 15”, and 17”

Yamaha DTX8K-XRW

Yamaha DTX8K-XRW

The Yamaha DTX8K-XRW (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is another pro option from Yamaha, and I’d say that this kit is the closest competitor to the Roland TD-27KV.

It has the DTX-PRO drum module, which is a simplified version of the module that we saw on Yamaha’s flagship drum set. Even though it’s a bit simplified, it’s still very powerful, offering dozens of features and sound editing tools.

The module has 40 preset drum kits with 400 onboard sounds. Most of the preset kits sound epic, further reinforcing the fact that Yamaha electronic drum sets have some of the sound quality with their samples.

The kit has silicone drumheads, which feel very tight and responsive to play. I love the fact that all the cymbals on this kit are triple-zoned. They all act as very intuitive cymbals, sounding and feeling great when you hit them.

The kit has a mixture of black and chrome hardware, which I’m not the biggest fan of, but I know a few drummers who love the look. I appreciate the aesthetics of the shallow acoustic shells, though.

Something that boosts this kit’s value compared to others is that it comes with a snare and hi-hat stand. While other kits require you to buy those separately, this kit only requires you to buy a kick pedal and drum throne. I love that, as it’s always a bit of a frustrating thing to have to buy different components to have a full setup.

If you’re looking for a high-end e-kit that isn’t quite as expensive as all the flagship models, I highly suggest checking the Yamaha DTX8K out.

Specifications

Drum Module: Yamaha DTX-PRO

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 10”

Bass Pad Size: 7.5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 13”

Cymbal Sizes: 13”, 13”, and 15”

Roland VAD306

Roland VAD306

The Roland VAD306 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the mid-range option in the VAD line of drum kits from Roland. This kit is considered mid-range because of its price, but it’s a perfectly good kit for pro drummers to use.

It comes with the Roland TD-17 drum module, which is an excellent and highly popular module. Many of the sounds and features of the TD-17 module are borrowed directly from the TD-50, so you’re getting some great things.

Compared to the VAD506, this kit just has shallower shells and fewer module features. So, it’s an excellent kit for drummers who aren’t looking for as many features that the VAD506 offers. The cymbals are also a bit smaller.

I think this kit hits a very sweet spot within getting something that feels resemblant to an acoustic kit while also being affordable enough for most drummers.

The downside is that it doesn’t come with a hi-hat or snare drum stand. Any snare stand will work with the 12-inch snare drum pad, but make sure to get a durable hi-hat stand for the module to latch onto.

I’d suggest looking into getting this kit if you feel that the VAD506 is a bit too expensive. While it’s a slight step down in terms of pad and module quality, it still feels excellent to play, and the TD-17 module will keep you busy with all its features. The biggest difference with the pads is that the VAD506 has digital snare and ride pads, while this kit has straightforward multi-zone mesh pads.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-17

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 10”, and 12”

Bass Pad Size: 18”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 12”, 12”, and 13”

Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition

Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition

The Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a favorite kit of many drummers. It has all the favorable features of the high-end e-kits, but it comes with a much lower price tag.

The first thing you’ll notice about this kit is its size. In terms of drums, cymbals, and components, it’s one of the largest single electronic drum sets for sale. You get four toms and five cymbals, giving you a massive setup that is loads of fun to play.

The drums all have shallow acoustic shells. These shells have a bit of a cheaper feel than the ones from Roland and Yamaha, but they still give that pleasing aesthetic of an acoustic kit.

The drums all have authentic mesh heads, and they feel quite responsive to play. I love the fact that you can adjust the tension to replicate acoustic drumheads. So, you can have a tight high tom pad flowing down to a fairly loose floor tom pad.

The cymbal pads have grooves in them that give them an almost hammered quality. These hammering marks don’t affect the sound, but they affect how the cymbals feel to play, and they feel great. These are also some of the largest cymbal pads you’ll find in this price range.

Lastly, the bass drum has a full pad that can be triggered. It feels very similar to playing an acoustic bass drum, unlike most of the Roland VAD bass drums where you only have a small pad within the shell.

The kit is powered by the Alesis Strike Pro drum module. It has 136 preset kits, along with an impressive 1800 onboard samples to make your own kits with. That’s a massive number of stock sounds to use, and they’re sure to keep you busy.

You get a few sound editing tools, but they’re not as good as the ones on Roland and Yamaha’s drum sets. The sound quality of most of the kits is also sub-par, and that’s what I’d say the downside of this drum set is. While it’s a lot more affordable, it just doesn’t sound as good as the Roland and Yamaha kits.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis Strike Pro

Snare Pad Size: 14”

Tom Pad Sizes: 8”, 10”, 12”, and 14”

Bass Pad Size: 20”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 14”

Cymbal Sizes: 3 x 14” crash pads, and a 16” ride pad

Alesis DM10 MKII Pro

Alesis DM10 MKII Pro

The Alesis DM10 MKII Pro (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is another kit from Alesis with a large number of drum and cymbal pads. It’s an intermediate set, offering a bigger setup for beginner and experienced drummers to play on.

The module gives you 50 preset drum sets and 700 onboard sounds to create your own kits. Unfortunately, most of these sounds aren’t the best, but there are a select few kits on this module that sound incredible. Most drummers tend to stick with using those.

The pads and cymbals are the best part of this kit. Again, Alesis is killing it when it comes to value for money. The pads are impressively sized, and this is one of the most affordable kits I know of that lets you put the snare pad on a proper snare drum stand.

The cymbals are also great. While they only have rubber parts covering half their surface, they’re big enough not to worry about the other halves. They feel good to play on as well.

One of my favorite things about this kit is the sequencer on the drum module. It has 100 patterns to jam along with. They cover a wide array of styles.

Overall, this is a decent drum set from Alesis. The biggest drawback is the sound quality, but it makes up for it with the price tag and the large setup. I think this kit is one of the best ones to buy if you plan on using a VST instead of the module. However, the module is still good enough for beginners and drummers who have been playing for a few years.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis DM10 MKII Pro

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10”, 10”, 12”, and 12”

Bass Pad Size: 8”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 14”, 14”, and 16”

Roland VAD103

Roland VAD103

The Roland VAD103 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the most affordable and compact option in Roland’s VAD line. It’s also one of the few 4-piece electronic drum sets available on the market as it has no middle rack tom.  

I think this kit is an excellent option to consider if you want something compact but you still want a large bass drum. The 18-inch bass drum feels a lot better to play than any of the kick towers that come with kits in the same price range.

It’s also a great kit to get if you like to space your drums out in the same way that you do with an acoustic set. Since the drums get mounted to proper hardware stands, you can put more space between them than you would with drums mounted to a rack.

The kit comes with Roland’s TD-07 drum module. It’s a very simple module compared to the ones that come with the other VAD kits, but it still has a few excellent features.

You get 25 preset drum kits along with just over 140 onboard sounds. There are also a few basic sound editing tools to switch things up when you want to.

A gripe I have with this kit is that the TD-07 drum module doesn’t allow you to play rimshots with the toms. However, the included tom pads have dual triggers. So, you’d be able to play the rims of the toms if you had a better module connected to them. A bit of a weird mix from Roland, but it’s not a big one if you don’t want to play the tom rims.

Overall, I’d recommend this kit as a good practice option for drummers who want something small that still keeps the hybrid shell vibe.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-07

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 10” and 12”

Bass Pad Size: 18”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 12” and 13”

Roland TD-17KVX

Roland TD-17KVX

The Roland TD-17KVX (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of Roland’s top-selling kits. While the brand advertises their TD-27KV as their mid-range option, I’d argue that this TD-17KVX is the ultimate mid-range electronic kit on the market.

It’s powered by the TD-17 sound module, which is a compact Roland module that borrows a few sounds straight from the flagship TD-50. With preset kits coming from the best module on the market, this kit is one of the best-sounding ones in its price range.

It has 50 preset kits and 310 sounds to make your own other kits with. All the onboard sounds are fantastic, and the pads are incredibly responsive, allowing you to use those sounds to their full potential.

This kit has Roland’s PDX-12 snare drum pad. It’s a thick pad that gives you an excellent rim shot feel along with loads of expressiveness on the surface. I’m most impressed with how it handles buzz rolls, making them sound very authentic.

The kit also has the Roland KD-10 kick drum pad. While I’m not a big fan of it on Roland’s high-end drum sets, I think it’s a perfect addition to this set. It’s durable, stable, and it’s exactly what I want from a kit in this price range.

The cymbals all have full rubber pads, and I love how they’re mounted onto ball-and-socket joints. It lets you position them very easily at any preferred angle. The hi-hat pad needs to be mounted onto a proper hi-hat stand, which is a favorable feature. You’ll just need to buy one separately.

I’d say the downside of this kit is the size of the tom pads. They’re all 8”, which is small compared to the tom pads on other kits with competing price tags. However, Roland’s mesh pads tend to feel the best to play, so you should take that into consideration when weighing up your options.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-17

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 12”, 12”, and 13”

Yamaha DTX6K3-X

Yamaha DTX6K3-X

The Yamaha DTX6K3 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a direct competitor to Roland’s TD-17KVX. This kit offers a few better features in certain areas but also falls short in others. If you’re looking for a good practice kit with professional sound quality, it’s a good one to consider.

My favorite aspect of the kit is the cymbal pads. Starting with the hi-hat pad, it requires a full hi-hat stand. The kit comes with one of Yamaha’s HS-650A hi-hat stands, whereas no other brands include hi-hat stands with their electronic sets.

The kit also has three 13-inch rubber cymbals that all have three trigger zones. You can place them wherever you want around the rack to get various cymbal setups, and they have incredible playability due to the three trigger zones.

It’s typical with electronic kits in this price range to have more triggers on the ride pad than the crash pads, but this kit is very balanced, which is great!

The drum pads are a bit of a letdown compared to the competing kits. While they feel good to play on, they’re quite small. The 8-inch snare pad is very small compared to the 12-inch snare pad on the Roland TD-17KVX. The tom pads are also an inch smaller than the pads on that same Roland kit. 

The DTX-PRO drum module is a fantastic brain for this kit. I love how Yamaha uses the same powerful module that you get with the DTX-8K drum set. It means that you get the same features and sounds, but you pay a bit less for the smaller drum pads.

The 40 preset drum kits and 200 onboard samples sound very high-quality. The knob modifiers on the interface are also very easy to use, allowing you to effortlessly get preferred sounds.

I suggest getting this kit if you love the sounds and features of the DTX-PRO module. If you want larger drum pads, then you should go with the Roland TD-17KVX.

Specifications

Drum Module: Yamaha DTX-PRO

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 7”

Bass Pad Size: 7.5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 13”

Cymbal Sizes: 3 x 13”

Roland TD-07KV

Roland TD-07KV

The Roland TD-07KV (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is Roland’s premium kit in the entry-level range. I love this kit, as it offers every basic requirement of a good electronic set. It has mesh heads, dual-zone pads, excellent cymbal playability, and top-quality module sounds.

The TD-07 drum module is fairly simplistic, but it has the highest-quality sounds out of any drum module in the entry-level price range. Roland kits are known for their sound quality, and this module sticks with that trend.

You get 25 preset kits that cover a wide range of drum kit styles and settings, from rock to Latin to the classic 808. The module has about 30 sound effects that you can apply to those preset kits. While they’re not as controllable as the sound tools on the higher-quality Roland modules, they’re still great to use.

The drum pads are a bit smaller than the ones on the Roland kits that I’ve mentioned so far, and that’s something important to consider. The snare drum is 8”, and the tom pads are all 6”. That’s quite small for tom pads, which is why this kit is considered an entry-level option.

The TD-07KV is another kit that uses the Roland KD-10 kick drum pad. It feels amazing with this kit, considering that all the drum pads are a bit smaller. You get the feeling of having a larger bass drum, which is what you’re supposed to get from a drum kit.

The last thing to mention about this set is that you can play the bell of the ride pad. It’s something that you can’t do with any Roland kits that are more affordable than this one.

I’d consider this as a high-tier beginner drum set. If you’re looking to start playing drums and you want something amazing, the Roland TD-07KV is an excellent pick.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-07

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 6”

Bass Pad Size: 5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 12”

Alesis Command Mesh

Alesis Command Mesh

The Alesis Command Mesh (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a popular drum kit option from Alesis. It falls within the entry-level range of electronic sets, but it sits at the edge of that range with its price and features.

This is one of the largest electronic sets can get that costs under $1000. The 10-inch snare drum pad makes it feel excellent to play, while the 8-inch mesh toms have decent depths that make them feel quite durable.

The 8-inch pad on the kick tower also feels very solid, easily taking the impact of all your bass drum beater stokes. All the pads are dual zone, allowing you to get multiple sounds out of each one.

The selling point of this kit is its module. It’s the most extensive drum module that you get within this price category, and it’s one that will keep you busy for days with all its sounds and features.

Firstly, it has 50 preset drum kit sounds. It’s one of the only entry-level electronic drum sets to give you that many kits. It also has 629 onboard sounds to create your own sets with. That’s an incredible number of sounds at your disposal.

Unfortunately, not all those sounds are high-quality, as many drummers have come to expect with Alesis. However, you can make some incredible kits that are loads of fun to play with the given options.

The module also has 70 play-along tracks, allowing you to practice your drumming skills to different styles of music.

The module even gives you room to expand by adding more drum or cymbal pads. That’s something not seen in too many other entry-level kits.

The pads aren’t the most responsive and musical pads out there, but Alesis has opted to give you as much as possible with the module so that you get your money’s worth. If you’re looking for an entry-level kit with extensive module features, this is the one for you.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis Command Sound Module

Snare Pad Size: 10”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 8”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Roland TD-1DMK

Roland TD-1DMK

The Roland TD-1DMK (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the most affordable kit that I will happily recommend from Roland. The brand has a few cheaper kits, but they don’t give you as much value as other competing kits in those price ranges. So, if you ask me what Roland’s best affordable kit is, I’d say it’s the TD-1DMK.

This kit plays similarly to the Roland TD-07KV, but it has a few omissions to make it better for beginner drummers on a budget.

Let’s start with the drum module. The TD-1 module is incredibly simple in its features and layout. You get 15 preset drum kit sounds, 15 play-alongs, and a few coaching functions to help you practice.

There aren’t any onboard sounds to make your own kits, and you can’t edit any of the preset drum kits. The module is as straightforward as they come, making it incredibly easy to turn the kit on and start playing.

The simplicity of the drum module makes it an excellent option for children, as busier modules often get quite confusing with all their features.

You get an 8-inch snare pad along with 6-inch tom pads. It’s the same setup as the TD-07KV, and all the pads are dual-zone, allowing you to play both the surfaces and rims. The difference comes with the kick pad.

Instead of having a kick drum tower, this kit has a small pad attached to one of the legs of the rack. It feels fairly solid to play, but it doesn’t feel as good as a kick drum tower does. With that being said, at least it’s better than the trigger pedals that you find on other beginner drum sets.

Another downside of this kit is that you can’t play the bell of the ride pad. You can only play the surface and the edge. Beginner drummers won’t find themselves needing this, but experienced drummers will feel the lack of a ride bell.

Specifications

Drum Module: Roland TD-1

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 6”

Bass Pad Size: 3”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Yamaha DTX452K

Yamaha DTX452K

The Yamaha DTX452K (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of Yamaha’s excellent beginner electronic drum sets.

I love this set as it’s one of the few affordable kits that has loads of onboard sounds. You get 415 of them to work with and create your own sets.

The module comes with 10 preset drum kits. They all sound excellent, but you can overwrite them with your own kits that you make with the onboard samples. While it’s not ideal to overwrite stock kits, you can always format the module to get them back to their original settings.

The kit has a full set of rubber pads. I’d love it if this kit had Yamaha’s silicone pads, but they saved money here and put better features in other areas. Although the pads are made of hard rubber, they’re still quite responsive. They’re just not as responsive as the TCS pads from other Yamaha electronic sets.

I appreciate how the pads are spread out, though. They’re relatively small with their 8-inch sizes, but the rack allows you to space them out enough to feel resemblant to acoustic drum kit spacing.

The cymbals can be choked, which is a great feature for a beginner kit. They also have small dents in them that make them feel like they’ve been hammered like real cymbals. They’re not as responsive as Yamaha’s high-end cymbals, but they’re fine for beginners.

One of Yamaha’s selling points for this set is the integration with their DTX402 Touch App. It’s a smartphone app that connects to the module and allows you to control different settings. You can use it to easily customize the preset kits as well as use a few coaching functions.

In summary, the DTX452K is another good beginner electronic drum kit option. It doesn’t have Yamaha’s famous silicone heads, but it makes up for it with good sound quality and easy navigation through the Touch App.

Specifications

Drum Module: Yamaha DTX402

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 4”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Alesis Surge

Alesis Surge

The Alesis Surge (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a very similar kit to the Alesis Command. However, it has a simpler drum module to lower the cost. So, if you love the pads but want something a bit more affordable compared to the Command, the Surge is your next best option.

The drum module has 24 preset drum sets and 385 percussion sounds to use. One of the things I love most about this drum module is that it has a diagram of a drum kit on the interface with correlating buttons. It makes it a lot easier to adjust sound settings for different pads as you can match them with those buttons.

The module has 60 play-along tunes. They cover a wide range of styles, and you have the option of listening to them with and without drums. So, you can get a feel for what the drums should sound like in each style and then try to play the songs on your own.

The onboard performance recorder is also a neat feature. You can record yourself playing and then play it back to hear where your mistakes were. You can find this feature on most electronic kits, but it’s good that it comes on entry-level ones like the Surge as well.

Overall, I don’t think this kit is as good as the Alesis Command. The sets are so similar that I’d suggest saving up a bit more to go with the better kit. However, you’ll undoubtedly be happy with this kit if you get it. The pads feel great, and the module has some excellent features.

The sound quality just isn’t as good as the competing kits from Roland and Yamaha. That’s something that you’re going to find with most Alesis drum sets, but I noticed it more with this one.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis Surge Sound Module

Snare Pad Size: 10”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 8”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

KAT Percussion KT-150

KAT Percussion KT-150

The KAT Percussion KT-150 (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is another decent entry-level drum set that you should consider. KAT Percussion kits have been around for a while, but the KT Series kits have been the first ones that I think easily compete with the popular brands.

If you’re a beginner drummer, this is one of the kits that you should look into. You get a full set of mesh pads. While they’re small, they feel almost as good as the ones from Alesis, Roland, and Yamaha.

The pads themselves seem to be quite responsive, so they’d work quite well when hooked up to a VST. The sounds from the module aren’t the most responsive sounds out there, though.

Moving on to the drum module, you get 15 preset kits that can be customized with various sound settings. You get to adjust the tuning of each drum, which is something that I was surprised to see this kit have.

The sound quality isn’t as good as what you’ll get from the popular brands, but that’s not something a beginner drummer will easily notice. So, I’d say this kit is a good potential pick for beginner players.

Aside from the sound quality, I’d say another weak point is the kick tower. The mesh snare and tom pads are excellent, but I’m not a big fan of the rubber kick pad you get with the kit. It’s a bit flimsy, and it’s nowhere near as attractive as the rest of the kit.

Specifications

Drum Module: KAT Percussion KT-150 Digital Module

Snare Pad Size: 6”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 6”

Bass Pad Size: 4”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 8”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 8”

Alesis Nitro Mesh

Alesis Nitro Mesh

The Alesis Nitro Mesh (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is an easy choice for any beginner drummer. This kit is one of the most popular electronic sets that Alesis has, and there are so many beginner drummers around the world that use and love it.

The kit comes with Alesis’ famous mesh pads. It’s crazy how the brand has managed to include these pads with their affordable kits, whereas Yamaha and Roland don’t. It brings the value up of the Nitro Mesh, arguably making it a more attractive option than other beginner kits with rubber pads.

You get four 8-inch pads that are very responsive to dynamic strokes. You can play subtle notes, and the module will read those and give back what you put in with your sticks. You can also play cracking rimshots on the snare, allowing you to play tight and funky grooves that sound excellent.

I’m a big fan of the bass drum tower that comes with the kit. It’s solid, and it looks good amongst all the drum and cymbal pads. It feels great to play as well.

The Nitro Mesh drum module is very similar to the one from the Alesis Surge. It has the same interface, but it’s been renamed to fit the Nitro makeup.

You get 40 drum kits to play, which is an unthinkable number of kits for an electronic drum set at this price. The value from that alone is incredible. The sound quality of those kits isn’t premium, but a beginner drummer will love the abundance of choice.

The kit also comes with drumsticks and a kick pedal. You’ll just need to purchase a drum throne, and you’ll be good to start playing. Overall, the Alesis Nitro Mesh is one of the best kits a beginner drummer can get.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis Nitro Sound Module

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Alesis Turbo Mesh

Alesis Turbo Mesh

The Alesis Turbo Mesh (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of the most affordable kits offered by Alesis. It’s very similar to the Alesis Nitro Mesh. However, it costs less and has fewer drum module features.

Most of the physical makeup of the kit is the same as what you get with the Alesis Nitro. The 8-inch drum pads and 10-inch cymbals feel great to play. The only difference is that this kit has a kick drum trigger instead of a kick tower and pedal.

While I wouldn’t recommend a kick trigger to most drummers, it serves a purpose here and keeps the cost of the kit down. A kit like this is good for children who you may think will like drumming or musicians who need to lay down a few drum tracks with an affordable set.

The Turbo module is one of the most simplistic ones out of all the kits on this list. It has 10 preset kits, with only half of them sounding usable. So, I highly suggest plugging this kit into a VST if you can to get better sounds.

Something to mention about this kit is that it sits at a decent height. Most electronic kits at this price range are intended for children, so they’re set quite low, whereas the Turbo mesh can be comfortably played by any adult.

I’d say that the Alesis Turbo Mesh is an okay kit for very specific purposes. If you want the cheapest electronic kit you can possibly find, here it is. It works for recording drum tracks quickly, and it works as a small practice kit for casual drummers.

If you want realism from your electronic set, then you’ll need to find one that uses a proper bass drum pedal instead of having a kick drum trigger pedal.

Specifications

Drum Module: Alesis Nitro Sound Module

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: Trigger Pedal

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Yamaha DTX402K

Yamaha DTX402K

The Yamaha DTX402K (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a simplified version of the DTX45K that has a more affordable price tag. There’s about a $200 difference between this kit and the DTX452K, and it’s worth looking into the 402K to see if it has everything you need.

Like the Alesis Turbo Mesh, this kit has a trigger kick drum pedal instead of a tower to mount a real pedal. Again, it’s not ideal, but it works for drummers who aren’t looking for the most realistic playing experience.

The difference between this kit and the Alesis Turbo Mesh is that the sounds are much better. The drum module is the exact same one used on the DTX452K, so you get some of the highest-quality sounds from any kit in the entry-level range.

Another difference between this kit and the 452K is that the snare drum pad here doesn’t have a lip to replicate a rim. You have the same pad for the snare that you have for the toms. Without that lip, you can’t play rimshots, and the pad doesn’t feel as an acoustic snare drum has.

This fact alone will chase most drummers away from this kit. However, it’s perfect for musicians who want an inexpensive kit to track demos with. If drumming isn’t your first instrument, you most likely won’t mind that the snare drum doesn’t feel authentic.

The last difference between this kit and the 452K is that the hi-hat trigger pedal is less responsive. It’s slightly lower in quality, so it doesn’t feel as good to play as the one on the 452K kit.

If none of those quality differences bother you, then this is a great kit to get, especially considering that the module sounds are so good.

Specifications

Drum Module: Yamaha DTX402

Snare Pad Size: 8”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: Trigger Pedal

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 10”

Simmons SD1250

Simmons SD1250

The Simmons SD1250 (Guitar Center) is a fantastic kit to consider getting if you’re thinking about kits like the Alesis Command, Roland TD-07KV, or Yamaha DTX6K-X. While Simmons isn’t a very popular brand these days, the Simmons name was massive when electronic kits first hit the scene.

This kit has excellent mesh pads with varying sizes that replicate the differences between acoustic shells. The snare drum pad rests on a proper snare stand, which makes it feel very secure to play. When comparing this kit to the others in its price range, you’ll see that it has the largest drum and cymbal pads available.

The pads feel impressively responsive, with the occasional notes being missed when playing quick patterns on the snare and hi-hat pads.

The drum module has 50 preset kits and 25 slots to create your own sets with. While you can use the module to adjust sounds and settings, you can also connect the Simmons Advanced app to have control over those things through your phone or iPad. It’s similar to the Yamaha Touch App, but I feel that the Simmons app offers a lot more.

The sounds from the module are decent, but they’re not as pristine and authentic as the sounds from Roland or Yamaha. Most of them still have that noticeable electronic sound to them, and that can be quite distracting when trying to play with the acoustic drum kit presets.

If you’re happy to spend at the edge of the entry-level price range, I highly recommend getting this kit to use as a MIDI controller. It’s the largest set for the money, and it feels amazing to play when you connect it to a VST.

If you’re just planning on using the module and all its sounds and onboard features, this kit wouldn’t be as good as an option compared to the Roland TD-07KV or the Yamaha DTX6K-X.

Specifications

Drum Module: Simmons SD1250

Snare Pad Size: 12”

Tom Pad Sizes: 8”, 8”, 10”, and 10”

Bass Pad Size: 6”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 12”

Cymbal Sizes: 12”, 12”, and 14”

Simmons SD600

Simmons SD600

The Simmons SD600 (Guitar Center) is one of the closest competitor kits to the Alesis Surge. The kit includes a lot of what makes the Simmons SD1250 so appealing, but it’s also simplified in a few areas to keep the cost down.

The module has 35 preset kits and 10 open slots to create your own kits. You connect the Simmons app to it to create those kits using a multitude of different samples. You can also use that app to adjust different sound settings for all the kits.

When it comes to sound quality, I think the drum sounds easily compete with the ones on the Alesis Surge kit. The snare drums on all the kits sound excellent, while the toms are punchy and resonant. As with the previous Simmons kit, you get electronic responsiveness from all the sounds, but that’s something that every kit in this price range has.

The cymbal sounds are a bit of a let-down, though. They mostly sound very short and unmusical, in my opinion.

I’d say the selling point of this kit is the size of the pads, along with the ability to connect an app to the module. I love that feature with the Yamaha kits, so it’s nice to see it with kits from other brands.

The Alesis Surge has more module features, but I think this kit has slightly better sound quality with its preset kits.

Specifications

Drum Module: Simmons SD600

Snare Pad Size: 10”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 5”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 10” and 12”

Donner DED-300

Donner DED-300

The Donner DED-300 (Amazon) is my final suggestion for this list. While all the previous kits are from popular electronic drum brands, this kit comes from a fairly unknown brand, but it’s very affordable and has features that aren’t commonly found at its price point.

The first notable thing is the size of the drum pads. They’re all mesh, and the 10-inch snare drum pad is my favorite out of all of them. It feels great to play, and it’s undoubtedly the largest snare pad that you’ll find with an entry-level set. The kick drum pad is also quite large, and it can easily fit a double bass drum pedal.

The drum module has 25 preset kits along with 329 assignable sounds. I found a few of the preset drum kit sounds to be pleasing, but most of them were nothing to write home about.

For beginner players, this kit is fantastic. The large pads are excellent to learn on, and the price tag makes this kit look a lot more attractive than the kits from the three big brands. I also think this kit would be a good option for studio producers who want a cheap kit to record drum parts, as you can easily set it up with a DAW.

However, you’re not going to get as much reliability from this kit as you would with options from the larger brands.

Specifications

Drum Module: Donner DED-300 Sound Module

Snare Pad Size: 10”

Tom Pad Sizes: 3 x 8”

Bass Pad Size: 7”

Hi-Hat Pad Size: 10”

Cymbal Sizes: 2 x 12”

What To Look For In The Best Electronic Drum Sets

Price

Before looking at different electronic drum sets, you should decide how much you’re willing to spend. Your set budget will be the biggest determining factor over what your options are.

Naturally, electronic drum kits that cost more are higher in quality. However, having a set budget will allow you to narrow down what the best options within your budget are.

Here are a few price tips to remember. Entry-level electronic drum kits typically cost anywhere from $100 to $1000. I’d recommend the ones that are under $500 for absolute beginners, while the ones that cost a bit more are ideal for drummers with a little more experience.

Intermediate kits cost anywhere from $1000 to $2000. These kits are excellent for drummers that have been playing for a few years and need more playability from the drum pads. However, they’re also some of the best options for experienced drummers who are simply looking for a practice tool to use when they can’t play their acoustic drum set.

Premium electronic drum kits cost anywhere from $2000 and upward. Some of them even cost almost $10 000, which is crazy. These drum kits are luxury choices. If you have the money for one, go for it.

The benefits of premium electronic drum kits are that they have the most responsive drum and cymbal pads. They also have the largest pads, making them feel most resemblant to acoustic drum kits.

Premium drum kits also have the best drum module, offering a lot more features than entry-level or intermediate drum modules. If that’s what you’re looking for in an e-kit, then be prepared to spend a lot more money.

Pad Type

The three most common types of pads you’ll find on electronic drum kits are rubber, silicone, and mesh pads. All electronic drum kits have rubber cymbal pads. The drum pads are where you’ll find a bit of variation between different models.

Rubber pads are only found on inexpensive electronic kits. These are the hardest pads you get, and they have the most rebound. While almost every electronic kit had rubber pads decades ago, they’re getting phased out in favor of the more responsive mesh pads.

Mesh pads are the most commonly found ones across every drum brand. Mesh pads are a lot more responsive, and they can have their tension adjusted to suit your rebound preferences. They have less rebound than rubber pads, making them feel more like acoustic drumheads.

The whole idea behind mesh pads is that they make electronic drum kits feel better to play. So, that’s what you should be looking for most of the time.

Silicone pads are only sold by Yamaha. The brand has their own line of drum pads called the TCS pads. These pads also feel very responsive to play, but they have a slightly different feeling from mesh pads. One isn’t better than the other, and I know many drummers who prefer how the TCS pads feel. You should try both silicone and mesh pads out if you can and make a decision from there which type you prefer.

One last thing to mention is that Roland has digital drum and cymbal pads with a few of their kits. These pads have dozens of trigger zones, making them the most authentic and responsive pads on the market. They’re the best pads you can get at the moment, so aim to get a kit with digital pads if you want the best-feeling electronic kit possible.

Size

The size of your electronic kit is something else that you should consider. When buying a kit, you should look at the dimensions of the cymbal and drum pads. You should also look at the footprint of the entire kit.

Knowing what the kit’s footprint is will let you know how much space you need to have free before setting it up. This is important if you’re planning on setting your kit up in a tight space like a bedroom.

One of the big benefits of electronic kits is that they’re a lot smaller than acoustic kits, making them easier to fit into tight spaces. However, some higher-end e-kits still have large footprints, so they wouldn’t be ideal for bedroom practice setups.

When it comes to pad sizes, bigger is better most of the time. The bigger the drum and cymbal pads are, the better the kit will feel to play. That’s why you’ll find the most expensive kits have the largest pads.

All the entry-level electronic drum kits typically have drum pads that are between 6” and 10”. Intermediate and professional kits have pad sizes between 8” and 14”.

When it comes to cymbal pads, sizes range from 6” to 18”. While some inexpensive kits have large cymbal pads, their playing surface is limited to only the front of the cymbals. Higher-quality kits have large cymbal pads that can be played anywhere on their entire surface.

The last pad size to check out is the bass drum pad. Electronic drum kits will either have a trigger pedal, a kick drum tower, or a large pad connected to an acoustic shell.

Kick drum towers typically have small pads that range from 4” to 10”. The larger the pad, the more stable the bass drum will feel when you play it.

Electronic drum kits with large acoustic kick drum shells feel the best to play. They’re the sturdiest, and playing those bass drums feels most similar to playing acoustic bass drums.

Included Components

Always make sure to see what comes with an electronic drum kit when you buy it. It can be quite frustrating to order a kit and then realize that you still need to buy a few things once you unbox it.

The best thing about entry-level e-kits is that they tend to come with everything you need. Some of them even come with drumsticks.

When buying a kit that costs $500 or more, there are a few things that you’ll need to buy separately. The most important thing is a kick drum pedal. Having one of those is essential in being able to play the bass drum pad.

The next important component is a drum throne. Having a proper drum throne is vital in having solid technique while you’re playing. Drum thrones are specifically designed for drumming, so it will always be better to use one of these over a standard chair or stool.

You’ll need to have a set of headphones or an amp to be able to hear what you’re playing on your electronic kit. Some stores sell package deals, so check to see if you can find the kit you want bundled with one of those. Without headphones or an amplifier, you won’t be able to hear whatever is coming out of the drum module.

Some high-end electronic drum kits don’t come with hardware. Check to see if you need to buy hi-hat and snare stands separately, as most e-kits that need them don’t come with them.

Preset Drum Kits

Every drum module has a list of preset drum kits on it. Some modules have ten, while others have as many as 100. If you want variety with your electronic kit, make sure to get one that has plenty of preset drum kit sounds.

The kits that have many typically have a good mix of tuning styles, genres, and electronic percussion sounds.

Kits that only have a few preset drum kit sounds hit the basics of having a tight kit, rock kit, jazz kit, percussion rig, electronic kit, and a few other popular options.

Also, check to see how many onboard sounds a drum module has. Onboard sounds allow you to make and save your own presets. Making your own kits with a drum module can be really fun, but it will also allow you to make a drum kit that suits your specific preferences.

Not all drum modules allow you to make your own kits, so check to see if that feature can be utilized before buying a kit.

If you’re simply looking for an affordable practice kit to use when not playing your acoustic kit, you could save a bit of money by getting an electronic drum kit that doesn’t have many onboard sounds or preset drum kits.

If you’ve picked a kit, but you wish that it had more sounds, you can always plug the module into a VST on a computer. Doing this will unlock a whole new world of sound possibilities. Using a VST is the best way of getting high-quality sounds out of a very cheap electronic drum set.

Sound Quality

Sticking with the topic of sound quality, it’s something you’ll want to take note of when buying an electronic kit. E-kits have never been famous for having amazing sound quality, but things have gotten a lot better in recent years.

The first thing you’ll need to accept is that no electronic kit is going to sound just as good as acoustic drums do. However, some of them come very close.

The more money you spend on a kit, the better its sound quality will be. Roland and Yamaha are the two brands that have the best sound quality in their electronic kits.

While Alesis is one of the top three electronic drum set brands, the sound quality on their entry-level and intermediate kits is nothing to write home about. Those kits are attractive in other areas.

So, if you want the best-possible sound quality, I suggest going to a high-end kit from either Roland or Yamaha.

When looking at sound quality, you need to take note of things such as machine gunning. This refers to when multiple notes are played repeatedly and the drums start to sound monotonous. Most inexpensive electronic kits do this, whereas only a few intermediate kits do it.

You should also listen to a few demos of the kit you want being played. You’ll be able to hear the sound quality of all the preset kits. Typically, the hi-hats on an electronic drum kit are the worst-sounding. So, pay close attention to those.

As I said earlier, you can always plug your drum module into a VST. So, while sound quality is important, it shouldn’t be a make-or-break factor in your buying decision.

Sound Editing Tools

Sound editing tools play a big role in sound quality. Certain drum modules have very extensive sound editing tools, while others don’t have any.

If you’re someone who loves putting in the time to get the best sounds possible, you’ll need to get a kit that has sound editing capabilities. Thankfully, most intermediate and pro kits do, so that will help narrow down your search.

Sound editing tools include features such as reverb altering, EQ editing, and changing the sensitivity of the drum pads.

When you sit and adjust these things on a drum module, it allows you to get the best drum sounds possible. While the stock sounds are generally good, all electronic drum kit players agree that editing the sounds yourself will improve them drastically.

When drum modules cost more, it’s mostly because they have much better sound editing capabilities. Let’s take Roland’s modules as an example. Their flagship modules have the Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine and the PureAcoustic Ambience Technology. Both these features allow you to completely personalize the drum sounds that come with the module.

No other drum modules on the market offer as much sound customization as the top Roland ones do, which is why they’re the most expensive. So, Roland kits are typically the best ones to go with when it comes to sound customization.

However, the Yamaha DTX-PROX module is also amazing when it comes to sound customization. It offers a few different features in this area, so you should check both the Roland and Yamaha kits out to see which ones you prefer.

Import Functions

Certain drum modules allow you to import sounds and samples. This feature can be incredibly useful if you make your own audio files or want to customize your module outside of what it has onboard.

Having the ability to import sounds will let you create completely new kits and give fresh life to your electronic drum set.

This feature is also vital if you’re planning to use the electronic drum kit to play with different artists. Many artists have specific sounds on their albums, and they need the drums to have those sounds when they perform live. Importing them into an electronic kit is one of the best ways of achieving that.

Importing sounds can also simply be a lot of fun. You could record audio files of your friends and then load them up onto the module. You can then assign different pads to trigger those files. While this is just a novelty thing, it gives the kit more playability and may keep you coming back to it.

Some high-end drum modules even allow you to import long audio files. This means that you can play your own custom tracks through the module and drum along to them.

When looking for modules with import functions, you’ll mostly find these features with intermediate and pro kits. Kits that cost under $1000 mostly don’t have them, as they have simplistic designs to cut down on costs.

Again, remember that you can plug the module into your computer and connect it to a VST. So, you can still get the sounds you want. It will just be a lot harder.

Expandability

Most electronic kits come with the same setup. You’ll have a 5-piece drum set with either two or three cymbals. It’s standard, and it works. However, some drummers may want to have larger kits, especially if you’re used to playing a larger acoustic drum set.

This is where drum module expandability comes in. When buying an e-kit, you should look at the back of the drum module to see how many inputs it has to add extra drum or cymbal pads.

Some modules have none, while others have up to five. If you want to eventually upgrade your setup and add parts over time, you’ll need a module that has multiple external inputs.

Something else to note is that you can always upgrade the pads that are already with your kit. You just need to make sure that the new pads you’re getting are compatible with the module. Some Roland pads work with Alesis modules, but not all of them do. Be sure to check.

You can also replace a drum module entirely. You just need to do the same thing of checking if your current pads are compatible with the new module that you want to get. Replacing a drum module is the best way of completely upgrading your electronic kit at an affordable price. You keep the same pads, but you get better sounds and features.

If you want to use two bass drum pads for a dual kick drum setup, you may run into a few issues with most drum modules. That’s the one expandability area that gets a bit muddy, and it’s a lot easier to just use a double kick drum pedal.

Pad Sensitivity

Pad sensitivity refers to how responsive the drum and cymbal pads are when you play them with varying dynamic levels. The cheapest electronic drum sets will have almost no pad sensitivity, producing the same sounds no matter how hard or softly you hit them.

Higher-quality kits have more sensitivity, and it’s something you should pay attention to when looking for a drum kit to buy.

When pads are more sensitive to dynamics, it makes the electronic drum kit feel a lot better to play. Having varied dynamic levels expands the playability of the kit, giving you more of an authentic playing experience.

Thankfully, all the electronic kits I mentioned above have relatively good sensitivity on their drum pads. The more expensive ones naturally have much more sensitive pads.

It’s the cymbal pads that you need to pay close attention to. Cymbal pads are typically a lot less sensitive than drum pads, and that may be something that bothers you. So, look for a kit with dynamic cymbal pads if you want to have the best sounds you can get.

Trigger Zones

Trigger zones are the things that send signals to the drum module when you hit them. As a trigger zone is hit, a sound will be played. Different pads have various trigger zones, with higher-quality ones having more trigger zones than low-quality ones.

Let’s take a snare drum, for example. The best snare drum pads should have three trigger zones. One will trigger a sound from the surface, the other will trigger a rimshot sound, and the other will trigger a cross-stick sound. If a snare drum doesn’t have those three trigger zones, you won’t be able to play it the same way you would with an acoustic snare drum.

Tom pads on affordable kits will only have one trigger zone. Higher-quality kits will have toms with two trigger zones, while premium kits may have toms with three. I highly suggest getting a kit that has a snare with three trigger zones. Having multiple trigger zones on toms isn’t as important.

Trigger zones on cymbals determine whether you can choke them, play bells, or gently play the surfaces. Ride cymbal pads are the ones that should have the most trigger zones. If you want to be able to play the ride cymbal as you would with an acoustic ride, you’ll need to get a kit that has a ride pad with three trigger zones. Multiple trigger zones on the crash cymbals are simply nice to have.

As I said earlier, Roland produces pads called digital pads. These pads have dozens of sensors, making them feel more authentic to play than pads that have particular trigger zones. If you want the best playability possible, you should aim to get one of Roland’s kits that has digital pads.

Durability

Durability is naturally something that everyone wants from an electronic kit, but you should know that some kits are a lot more durable than others. Certain brands have better reputations for durability, as well as certain pads or modules.

When it comes to electronic drum sets, durability mostly refers to the technology involved with the kits. Wiring and triggers are usually the first things to go when something goes wrong, so you should make sure to read reviews of kits before getting them to see if anyone had issues with them in these areas.

Rubber and mesh pads are incredibly durable, so you don’t need to worry too much about damaging the pads over time. They may develop a few marks and scratches, but they’ll still be good to play.

With durability, you should also look into the customer service levels of different brands. Some brands are better at quality control than others, so it’s good to get an electronic kit from a brand that will happily replace something when it’s broken.

Out of all the available electronic drum kits, Roland kits are most well-known for holding up the longest. There’s something about Roland construction that makes their kits last decades. Yamaha is the next brand that offers incredible durability.

Alesis has decent durability in their high-end kits, but their lower-quality kits are known to have quality control issues.

Brands like Behringer and Donner are a bit unknown, as not as many drummers use their products.

Overall, the main thing is that entry-level electronic drum kits don’t last near as long as premium ones do. When you pay higher prices, you’re also paying for longer-lasting gear.

Resale Value

While you may not be thinking about this when buying a kit, it’s worth putting a bit of thought into so that you can save a bit of money in the future. The natural progression of buying gear is to purchase a kit, play it for a few years, and then sell it to fund a higher-quality kit a few years later.

If you want to save as much money on gear as possible, you should get an electronic drum kit with high resale value. How do you know if it has high resale value? Here are a few tips.

Firstly, you should check what year the drum kit you’re buying was released. The newer it is, the higher its resale value will be. Some electronic drum kits have been on the market for several years, and those ones won’t sell for as much as they’re old and abundant.

Durability is another aspect that raises a kit’s resale value. So, Roland kits typically have the highest prices on the used market. This is because they’re the most durable and reliable electronic kits available.

Drummers become very hesitant to buy used electronic drums that are from smaller brands. I strongly suggest getting a Roland kit if you plan on selling it in the future.

The drum module is also a strong selling point when you eventually sell your kit. Some drum modules don’t get sold anymore, and many drummers would love to get their hands on those, so they look to the used market.

If you get an electronic drum set with an amazing drum module, it will be a lot easier to sell in the future.

Hi-Hat Trigger vs Authentic Stand

The last thing that you should look at when buying an electronic drum kit is whether it has a detached hi-hat or if it needs a hi-hat stand.

The best electronic drum kits require proper hi-hat stands. Having the pad attached to a stand and using an authentic pedal system feels amazing and most resemblant to playing an acoustic kit. The most premium electronic sets even have two rubber hi-hat pads that clamp together like acoustic hats.

More affordable electronic kits have a trigger pedal that triggers a detached hi-hat pad. This setup doesn’t feel as responsive. However, you can get used to it quite quickly. It just feels a lot better to have a proper hi-hat stand.

Best Electronic Drum Set Brands

There aren’t many popular electronic drum set brands. This makes it a bit easier to narrow your search when looking for a kit. Here are the brands that most drummers love.

Roland

Roland is arguably the best electronic drum brand in the world. The brand puts out all the highest-quality e-kits with the most pristine sounds and features.

Roland was the first brand to release electronic drums with mesh heads, and all the other brands followed them after that, showing you how important the brand is with electronic kit innovation.

Roland kits have the highest resale value out of any brand, so you’ll easily be able to sell a Roland kit once you’re ready to get a higher-quality one.

Lastly, Roland has two electronic drum lines to choose from. The V-Drums line are their classic e-kits, while the VAD line includes several kits with acoustic shells.

Alesis

Alesis is another highly popular electronic drum kit brand, especially amongst beginner drummers. Their kits are well-known to be affordable alternative options to other high-end kits.

Even the flagship kit from Alesis is only a fraction of the price of kits from Roland and Yamaha, yet it offers many of the same features.

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll get the most bang for your buck when choosing an Alesis electronic drum set. Just note that the sound quality isn’t as good on their entry-level kits as it is on the entry-level kits from Roland and Yamaha. That won’t matter too much for beginner drummers, though.

Yamaha

Yamaha is the final brand that forms part of the big three electronic drum brands. Most of Yamaha’s electronic drum kits have silicone heads, which are Yamaha’s unique creation that many drummers may prefer over mesh.

The cool thing about Yamaha’s electronic kits is that many of them share the same drum module. You just pay more according to the size and quality of the drum pads. This is a great change of pace compared to how the electronic drum kits from other brands are structured in terms of pricing.

The sound quality of Yamaha kits is incredible, even with the cheaper options. So, Yamaha is always a good brand to go with.

Simmons

Simmons drum kits were massively popular in the 70s and 80s, and they were the first electronic drum kits to be widely used on the professional stage. While the products from this brand aren’t as popular these days, they’re still a notable brand to check out.

The current Simmons electronic kits have surprisingly good sound quality, and they offer a fair number of features that you only get from higher-priced kits with Roland and Yamaha. The kits also have decent-sized pads for the money.

If you love drum kit history, owning a Simmons electronic drum kit is quite special.

Donner

Donner is an excellent brand for budget drummers. The brand has an interesting line of electronic drum kits that offer mesh pads and great playability. They’re significantly more affordable than the kits from the top three brands.

While these drum kits don’t offer as many features as those, they still feel excellent to play. This makes Donner kits good options for drummers who simply want practice tools without any added cost of extra features.

If you’re looking for a kit to use as a MIDI controller, I highly suggest checking out the options from Donner.

Top Electronic Drum Sets, Final Thoughts

Most electronic drum sets are packed with valuable tools and features. Once you choose one, make sure to spend a bit of time figuring out the ins and outs of the module.

By learning all the module features, you’ll ensure that you’re getting as much value for your money as possible.

Also, make sure to pick a kit that suits your skills and needs. 

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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