11 BEST Drum Sets in 2021: Top Kit Picks & Reviews for Each Set
Pearl Roadshow Full Size Drum Kit
DW Collectors Edition 7-pc Drum Kit
Ludwig Breakbeats Drum Set
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Whether you are a new drummer or an experienced one, buying a new drum kit is both exciting and challenging. Drum sets do not come in cheap, so you will have to spend quite a lot of time researching to get the best one out there.
When searching for a new drum kit, there are a few things you need to consider: its durability and the quality of sound it makes. You also need to check the things that come with it like the drum throne, cymbals, drumsticks, stands, and pedals.
You do not want to buy a duplicate of the hardware you already have, especially if your existing kit has far better quality already. It is cheaper to get a good set of shells than get a full drum kit, even with all the hardware included.
Good thing, there is a list of the best drum kits available in the market today. This article will cover that, including their best features, specifications, pros, and cons. Let’s start!
Top 3 Best Drum Kits
First, I want to bring to you my personal top three. These drums are for those of you who want superb sound quality and durable sets that will surely last you for years to come. While some of the products here have staggering prices, the features of these awesome kits will surely justify the price.
Compare BEST Drum Sets
✔9-ply, 7mm poplar shells
✔1.2mm triple-flanged hoops
✔6-ply shells with 7.5mm thickness created for a perfect blend of attack and fundamental low end
✔Compact, great for apartments and street musicians
✔Positioned on a riser for optimum reach
✔8mm 6-ply 100% poplar shells
✔Tama precision bearing edges
✔Original small lugs
✔Birch 6-ply 7.2mm shell
✔SONIClear bearing edge
✔SONIClear tom suspension
✔Blended Poplar and Asian Mahogany shells
✔SST shell construction
✔7-ply 100% maple shells
✔Shells made from poplar wood
✔45-degree bearing shell
✔Includes a 20×16” kick drum
✔Includes a 10×7” and a 12×8” rack toms
✔Includes 22×18” bass drum
✔Includes 10×18” and 12×9” rack toms
BEST Drum Sets
1. Pearl Roadshow Full Size Drum Kit
Pearl has been one of the most celebrated drum brands to date, and for good reason too. Drummers find their products to be durable, affordable, and of good sound quality.
The Pearl Roadshow Drum Kit is truly a drummer favorite with its 9-ply 7mm poplar shells that are durable and full of character. They are also versatile and sound good in many different play styles.
This set is meant for beginners, but with the sound quality and the decent sounding cymbals, intermediate drummers tend to flock to this set as well.
Some users have commented about the mediocre quality of its drum heads, but these things are just easy to replace. I have also heard some talks about how the hardware seems a little loose and cymbals are not too dynamic, but they are decent enough for entry-level to intermediate level drummers.
Despite its very slight imperfections, the Pearl Roadshow is still a solid drum kit for beginners to intermediate drummers. It is hard to find a drum with this quality at this price range.
- 9-ply, 7mm poplar shells
- 1.2mm triple-flanged hoops
- Comes with drum heads and double braced hardware
- Includes 22×16 bass drum, 1×8 tom, 12×9 tom, 16×16 floor tom, and a 14×5.5 snare drum
- Includes 16 inches of brass crash-ride cymbals and 14 inches of hybrid hi-hats
- Includes hardware such as cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, bass drum pedal, throne, and two tom holders
- Comes in different variations such as fusion, jazz, new fusion, and rock.
- Unrivaled sound quality for its price
- Easy assembly and easy to modify
- Ideal for beginner to intermediate drummers
- Comes with important hardware
- Produced by one of the top brands
- Drum shells are made from poplar shells which have a lot of character and are versatile
- A durable set that can last you for years
- Snare has a snappy, crisp sound and sounds good with the toms
- Drum heads tend to be mediocre but they are easily replaceable
- Hardware is alright for beginners but as you improve you might find yourself looking for steadier, sturdier hardware
- Cymbals may not be dynamic enough for experienced drummers
2. DW Collectors Edition 7-pc Drum Kit
The price for this set is pretty steep considering that other than the drum shells, there isn’t anything else that is included. There are neither drum heads, cymbals, stands, nor pedals.
However, the combination of cherrywood and mahogany makes these drum shells one of the most full-sounding, versatile set. The natural lacquer finish is aesthetically pleasing and shows the natural grain of the wood.
The sound quality of this seven-piece shell pack is through the roof. Being made by DW, you can be sure that it is extremely durable and meant to last you for many years to come.
My only issue about this is the price and the fact that you are not getting much value out of it. Granted that you are getting one of the world’s best 7-piece shell packs, I feel as if there could be more features thrown into this to justify the price.
Nevertheless, if you can afford it, it is a fantastic-sounding, durable shell pack that is perfect for drummers of all levels.
- 6-ply shells with 7.5mm thickness created for a perfect blend of attack and fundamental low end
- Rack toms feature DW’s patented STM mounting system
- Includes DW True Hoops and True Pitch rods for easy, accurate and fast tuning
- Shells are made from cherry and mahogany which gives it a full, versatile sound
- Includes 2 22×18” bass drum, a 10×8 tom, a 12×9 tom, a 16×14 floor tom, a 14×12 floor tom, and a 14×6.5 snare drum
- Snare has a MAG throw-off system and 3-position butt plate
- Lacquer finish to show off the natural wood grain
- Breath-taking sound quality
- Full-sounding kick drum
- Beautifully lacquered wood finish
- Easy to modify and install
- Great for all levels from beginners to professionals
- Very steep price
- You only get a 7-piece shell pack (granted that it’s a damn good shell pack) for the incredibly high price
3. Ludwig Breakbeats Drum Set
If you are on the hunt for a small starter set that is affordable and perfect for beginners, the Ludwig drum kit is perfect for you. Unfortunately, unlike the Pearl Roadshow, this kit does not come complete with cymbals and hardware, which are necessary to start playing. However, the drums that come with the set are of top quality.
With Ludwig being a seasoned manufacturer, you can rest assured that you are getting durable drums that will last you a long time.
Another thing that is great about this set is its compact design. If you live in an apartment, you definitely will not have any problems setting this up as it doesn’t take too much space. Tom drums and ride cymbals can be mounted on top of the bass drum, which makes it even more space-savvy.
This set also comes with velvet pouches for the drums, so you can transport them easily and safely.
- Compact, great for apartments and street musicians
- Positioned on a riser for optimum reach
- Includes a 14×16 bass drum, a 7×10 tom, a 13×13 floor tom, and a 5×14 snare drum
- Fitted with Remo heads
- 7-ply hardwood shells that are preferred for their versatility
- Bearing edges are cut in a 45-degree angle within 1/16” from the outside edge
- Includes velvet storage bags for easy transportation and safe-keeping
- Comes with a snare stand
- Extremely affordable and durable
- This kit may be small but the sound quality is top-notch
- Manufactured by a well-known company
- Compact and easy to store and travel around with
- Toms and bass drum are super versatile and can easily be tuned to play a lot of different styles
- Easy to mount cymbals on the bass drum which saves space and a lot of money on stands
- An eye-catching design that looks great on the stage
- You can use a double pedal on this drum kit
- You may need to tweak the riser and your kick drum pedal a lot to get an ideal sound quality
- The kit only includes the drums, it does not come with cymbals, stands, kick pedals, drumsticks, or thrones.
That concludes our Top-3 section. Don’t leave just yet because there’s still more to come. At the beginning of this article, I promised you eleven of the best drum kits and I am going to deliver just that!
I will be sectioning the next kits depending on their price-range to help you figure out if these sets are within your budget or not. Let’s start!
Best Affordable Drum Set
Understandably, not anyone can shell out thousands of dollars for a nice, top-quality kit. However, just because you cannot spend all that money for a set does not mean you have to settle for one that sounds bad.
Here are a couple of affordable drum sets below $1,000 without compromising the sound quality.
4. Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-pc Drum Set
This drum set has Yamaha all over it. It’s durable, sounds great, and fairly priced. The shells are made from 100% birch wood so you can be sure that the drums will last you for a very long time.
The sound quality is punchy, which is something you would always want from a set. As a whole, the drums are responsive and versatile.
One of the best features of this set is the hardware that comes with it. They are durable, helps with turning the noise down without compromising the sound quality, and improves sustain and resonance.
Unfortunately, the drums do not come as a full set but rather as a shell pack. This means the set is pretty bare with no cymbals, throne, or stands. Users have experienced some difficulty in tuning the 14×13 floor tom. Some have some trouble with the drum heads although these are easy to change.
The biggest complaint I have seen about this set is the shipping. Sets are not packaged well at all and sometimes arrive cracked. Yamaha takes responsibility by swapping it with a new one, but the hassle of going through this ordeal is still there.
If you truly want this set, it is better to buy it from a local store.
- Includes 20×17 bass drum, 10×7 rack tom, 12×8 rack tom, 14×13 floor tom, and a 14×5.5 snare drum
- Includes hardware such as TH-945B 3-hold receiver, YESS tom mounts, and floor tom legs
- 100% birch drum shells with an air seal system
- 45-degree bearing edges
- Absolute style lugs
- Made by a trusted-well known company
- Great hardware with noise-reduction features and helps with sustain and resonance
- Well-generated punch sounds
- Great sound quality for an affordable price
- Durable and perfect for long-term use
- Durable and perfect for long-term use
- Responsive and versatile set
- Does not come as a full set
- Awful packaging despite the company’s ability to take responsibility
- The floor tom is difficult to tune
- Some issues with drum heads but they’re easily replaceable
5. Tama Imperialstar Drum Kit
If you are looking for an affordable full drum kit, cymbals, and stands included, then you might want to take a look at the Tama Imperialstar. It comes in several different wraps that are glued onto its body, ensuring that it does not just peel off after some time.
This drum set is created for long-term use, with its 6-ply 8mm poplar wood shells and included double-braced hardware. The Tama Imperialstar sounds incredible. It is versatile, responsive, and sensitive. The snare, most especially, is notable for its tonal quality
The mounting system is pretty solid. However, this makes the tom a bit awkward to position. This shouldn’t be a problem for beginners, but if you are someone who likes to position your tom in a specific way, it can be irritating.
- 8mm 6-ply 100% poplar shells
- Tama precision bearing edges
- Original small lugs
- Wraps are glued to the entire body
- Steady double-braced hardware
- Spurs with height calibration
- Low-mass tom brackets
- Omnisphere tom holder
- Accu-Tune bass drum hoops
- Comes with Meinl HCS Cymbals: 14” hi-hats, 16” crash and 20” ride
- Awesome sounding snare-drum
- Great overall sound
- Versatile, responsive and sensitive
- Sturdy and steady double-braced hardware
- Metal base for the bass drum pedal
- Durable and made for long-term use
- Quite affordable considering it comes as a full set
- The rack tom’s mounting system can be a bit awkward to position
6. Mapex Mars 5-pc Drum Kit
Although the Mapex Mars drum kit comes pretty bare with only the drums included, the sound quality of these drums is one of the top ones out there considering its price.
This drum set is powerful and built like a tank so it’s sure to last you for years. While the snare drum could be better, the bass and floor tom are the best sounding drums in the set with just the right amount of punch.
Additionally, the Mapex Mars drum kit looks really good and is sure to be an eye-catcher when you are playing on stage.
- Birch 6-ply 7.2mm shell
- SONIClear bearing edge
- SONIClear tom suspension
- Saturn IV Style lugs
- A matching snare drum
- Includes a 22×18” kick drum, a 12×8” rack tom, a 14×12” and a 16×14” floor toms and a 14×6.5 snare drum
- Looks good on stage, definitely an eye-catcher
- Great overall sound quality but the bass and floor tom takes the cake
- Durable and powerful drum kit great for long-term heavy use
- Snare quality could be better
- Comes bare with just the drums
Best Mid-Range Drum Kit
If you are alright about shelling out a little bit more for your next kit, then the next suggestions are the best mid-range kits of all time. Some of the drums here are preferred by professionals, such as Phil Collins and Taylor Hawkins, so you can be sure that they are of top-quality. Let’s start!
7. Pearl Export Drum Kit
If you are looking to buy a decent drum kit from a popular manufacturer then the Pearl Export is for you.
It is a solid drum kit that is sure to last you for years to come. The combination of 6-ply poplar and Asian mahogany does not only ensure that the drum shells are durable but also gives you a full, versatile tone.
Like most Pearl drum kits, the Pearl Export is easy to set up. Pearl provides top quality hardware, along with this kit, upon purchase. The double-braced stands ensure that your cymbals and drums are held safely and steadily.
The one thing that many users find rather off about this drum kit is that the snare is rather mediocre. Not that it’s too awful to play, but it certainly could be better. The cymbals are also of similar quality. Still, both are easy to replace.
- Blended Poplar and Asian Mahogany shells
- SST shell construction
- 6-ply tom and bass shells
- 6-ply 7.55mm snare shell with matching finish
- Opti-Loc mounting system
- New low-mass lugs
- 22×18 Bass drum
- 12×8 and 13×9 rack tomes
- 16×16 Floor toms
- 14×5.5 snare drum
- Asian mahogany and poplar shell has good sound quality and is durable
- Affordable and ideal for beginners to advanced drummers
- Easy to modify and add or swap out new pieces
- Double-braced hardware is sturdy and steady
- Sensitive and versatile, this kit has a wide tonal range
- Like most Pearl brand drum kits, this one is easy to set up
- The snare drum is of mediocre quality. It is usable but it could be better.
- Cymbals could also be better.
8. Gretsch Catalina Drum Kit
If you want a kit from a tried-and-tested brand, then the Gretsch Catalina is for you. Created by one of the world’s oldest drum manufacturers, the Gretsch Catalina boasts an incredible sound quality and an even more incredible look.
This drum kit looks great on stage, but that’s not the only great feature. The tom mounts are sturdy and firm, with a superb mounting system that makes them sound even better. However, despite the great suspension system for the tom mount, it can be a little too tight.
The drums may only include a five-piece shell pack but it is competitively priced for a kit that offers quality sound and hardware.
- 7-ply 100% maple shells
- Remo drumheads
- 5-piece shells
- Gas cap bass drum mount plate
- Rubber-isolated die-cast bass drum claws
- Low-profile GTS tom suspension system
- 30-degree bearing edges
- 2.3mm triple-flanged snare and tom hoops
- Incredible sound
- The lacquered finish is classy and looks great on stage
- Mounting hardware is solid but easy to manipulate
- Fairly competitive pricing
- Made by one of the oldest drum manufacturers in the world
- Tom mount tends to be a bit too tight
- Comes pretty bare with just the drums and nothing else
9. PDP by DW Double Drive 8-pc Drum Kit
If you are looking for a drum set with an incredible sound and a huge value, then this one is for you. Even though this drum kit only comes with the shells, it is still an eight-piece kit that is affordable.
The set is made from poplar wood, which gives it a huge, powerful tone. Some users feel as if there is far too much reverb on the drums, but it is surely nothing that cannot be fixed with a few drops of Moongel.
This drum does not include hardware and comes pretty bare with just the shells. However, it comes with a few hardware inclusions that are well-built, such as the three-flanged hoops.
- Includes two 22×18” bass drums, 8×7”, 10×8” and 12×9” rack toms, 14×12” and 16×14” floor toms and a 14×5.5” snare drum
- Shells made from poplar wood
- 45-degree bearing shell
- Triple-flanged hoops
- Responsive and versatile
- Fantastic sound quality
- A huge, powerful tone
- Competitive pricing considering that this is an 8-piece shell pack
- Too much reverb but nothing that cannot be fixed with a few drops of Moongel
- Does not include much else other than the 8-piece drum shells
Best Professional Drum Sets
In this section, we will be talking about the top luxury brands that every drummer dreams to have. These drums surpass the $1000 mark and are known to provide unrivaled sound quality and durability. If you want to spoil yourself a bit, then you should check these out!
10. Gretsch Renown 4-piece Drum Set
If you are looking for a custom-shell pack with unrivaled sound quality, then the Gretsch Renown is for you. Despite being only a 4-piece pack, this is still pretty affordable considering it is a custom set. Some custom sets can be up to four times more expensive than the Gretsch Renown.
This shell pack is manufactured by Gretsch, one of the oldest drum manufacturers in the world. It is made to withstand heavy, long-term use. The tonal quality is amazing and versatile. It also looks good and comes in several different finishes.
What people do not like about the Gretsch Renown, though, is that there is no snare included in the set. You will have to purchase it separately.
- Includes a 20×16” kick drum
- Includes a 10×7” and a 12×8” rack toms
- Includes a 14×14” floor tom
- Gretsch 302 hoops
- Silver sealer interior
- 30-degree bearing edges
- Considering that this is a custom drum set, the price is affordable
- Durable, made specifically for heavy, long-term use
- Manufactured by one of the oldest drum companies
- Versatile and top-notch tonal quality
- Looks incredible on stage
- Does not include a snare drum
- Bare kit with nothing else other than 4-piece drum shells
11. DW Designer Series 5-Piece Drum Kit
With DW being one of the top-quality drums out there, there is no surprise that this shell pack is in our best drum kit list. Despite being only a shell pack, the DW quality is all over this kit. The build is fantastic, sturdy, and durable, with several beautiful finishes to choose from.
The sound quality is, as expected from a DW drum: fantastic with a huge sound. The drums are responsive with exceptional tonal quality as well.
- Includes 22×18” bass drum
- Includes 10×18” and 12×9” rack toms
- Includes 16×14” floor toms
- Includes 14×5.5” snare drum
- 6.4mm, 8-ply maple toms, and bass drum and 10-ply snare shells
- 45-degree bearing edge
- Triple-flanged hoops
- DW patented lugs
- Fantastic, huge sound
- Responsive and versatile
- Lots of variations when it comes to the finish and they all look impressive
- DW quality is evident everywhere on this set
- Hardware not included
- Pretty steep price
That concludes our list of the best drum sets in 2020! Hopefully, I was able to give you an idea on which set to go for next. Thanks for reading!
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