Best Beginner Electronic Drum Sets: 7 of the Most Popular Picks
Are you looking for a quiet and convenient way to start learning drums? Perhaps you’ve already seen a lot of options for electronic drum sets on the market and can’t decide which one is best for you. We’re here to help. Having done all the research for you, we’ve shortlisted the best electronic drum set for beginners that you could buy right now, along with a guide detailing all the essential things you should look out for.
7 Best Electronic Drum Sets for Beginners:
Roland is famous in the music industry for producing high-quality instruments and effects, and for pioneering several new technologies (1). The V-Drums TD-17KVX is another shining jewel in their crown. Voted Best Electronic Percussion 2018 by MusicRadar, Roland has hit the nail on the head with this compact kit with a mesh head snare and a small yet powerful brain module. It’s an affordable electronic drum kit offering several pro features found only in top-level kits, making it an amazing all-rounder.
The Roland TD-17KVX comes packed with 50 preset kits and 310 sounds into its brain, with support for a 100 more samples in user slots. It features 32 MB of storage where you can store drum samples and other sounds of your own. You can also control ambiance, effects, muffling, and the tuning very easily from the module.
The drum kit sports two PDX-8 toms, two CY-12C crash cymbal pads, a CY-13R ride pad, PDX-12 snare pad, VH-10 hi-hat, and a KD-10 bass drum pad, which can also support a double bass pedal. The rack supporting these is very sturdy and easily configurable (2).
The Roland V-Drums TD-17 series lets your technique shine through, backed up with training tools to push you further.
This drum kit comes with Bluetooth, MIDI, as well as a host of connectivity options. The Bluetooth lets you stream your favorite tracks from your phone to jam along to. The MIDI enables you to connect your drum kit to your computer and makes recording and editing a breeze.
If you’re looking for a fantastic electronic drum kit that’s great for both practice as well as professional usage, then this is for you. The Roland TD-17KVX packs powerful hardware and software, and it can serve you in any environment, from the bedroom to the studio, as well as the stage. This is an excellent long-term investment for any aspiring drummer.
Alesis has recently become a very popular choice for electronic drum sets with a range of different options at different price ranges, each built with astounding quality. Hence it’s no surprise that the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, an upgrade over their earlier Nitro kit, is one of the best selling electronic drum kits today.
This mesh version of the Nitro series comprises three single-zone 8” mesh head toms, three single-zone 10” cymbal pads, a dual-zone 8” mesh snare, and a rubber kick drum pad. The entire set is held in place with a sturdy and compact aluminum mounting rack. The mesh heads are tunable, so you can set their sensitivity as desired.
This kit is focused primarily on beginners and contains Alesis’ Nitro electronic drum software. The brain module has 40 different contemporary and timeless ready-to-play kits, so you can choose which kit fits you comfortably. It also comes with 385 sound samples, which you can assign according to your own preference (3).
As a drummer who spent many years on both acoustic and electronic drum kits, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit. Honestly, it has exceeded my expectations by a long shot.
This model also comes equipped with six play-along monitors, an innovative sequencer, an onboard metronome, plus a functionality recorder. As a result of its USB MIDI link, the module can be connected to your computer or phone, and your drums can be recorded very quickly. A headphone jack is also included, allowing you to practice silently.
If you’re a beginner drummer and looking for an excellent practice drum set, then the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is perfect for you. It features high-end mesh pads and a powerful brain module at a very reasonable price and is compact enough to fit in most bedrooms easily. This is easily the best beginner electronic drum set available today.
RockJam is a relatively new player in the industry and has quickly taken a respectable spot in the world of electronic drums. The RockJam Mesh Kit is one of their most reasonable offerings, but still comes loaded with more than enough features to compete with more expensive drum kits.
The RockJam comes with four 9” mesh pads for toms and snare, a beaterless kick drum pedal, and three 10” rubber cymbal pads. The entire set sits on a lightweight, durable rack. The snare and tom pads on this drum kit offer great feedback and are sensitive all around.
In addition to excellent hardware, you get a great deal of performance from the RockJam brain module. It comes packed with 30 complete and authentic kits for accurate drum sounds, and a good deal of useful learning software. The kit also features MIDI Out via USB letting you connect it to your computer and use drum samples from your computer as well.
It’s a very lightweight and compact set, which certainly lends itself nicely to transport if you want to bring it with you to a clinic jam session somewhere.
If you’re looking for a decent practice drum set on a tight budget, then the RockJam Mesh Head Kit is the right choice. It ticks all the essentials required of any drum kit for a proper practice session and is very compact to transport. It can even be used for small live performances.
The Yamaha DD-75 separates itself from the other contenders on this list as being a very portable, yet practical option for drummers who want to take their drum set with them wherever they go. The DD-75 is not a conventional electronic drum kit; it is a drum pad that features eight touch-sensitive pads, in-built speakers, a headphone jack, as well as two foot pedals.
The DD-75 was constructed to spatially mimic a traditional acoustic set, making it very ergonomic and comfortable to use. An onboard speaker system with extended frequency response and a bass port allows you to hear your playing in real-time without any external speakers. It can also be powered by batteries for greater portability.
The HD sounds on this drum pad are exceptional, taken from the Motif synth and DTXTREME III architecture. The drum samples on these drum pads sound as good as any acoustic drum kit. Further, the DD-75 can be connected via USB MIDI to a computer and used with a DAW for recording, as well as using your own library of samples.
If you’re looking for a great portable drum set to be able to take with you for practice everywhere, the DD-75 drum pads are simply the best. It features everything a drummer needs in a very compact format and comes with realistic drum sounds that rival high-end kits. It could even be used in a live performance by connecting to an external amplifier.
Donner is a relatively new maker of reliable, competitively priced musical instruments, and this drum set is no exception. The DED-200 is ideal for both beginners and more advanced drummers looking for an electronic kit.
This kit also sports features only seen in higher-end models, such as cymbal muting, natural cymbal swells, and smoother drum rolls, using their proprietary technology, making this an extraordinarily responsive kit.
The DED-200 contains 225 fresh and innovative drum and percussion sounds and 30 demo songs, which allows you to choose the best sound no matter which style of music you are playing.
Also, the software inside the drum kit offers some unique practice tools and tracks to play along to. Most notably, it provides a built-in recorder, which can help tremendously during practice sessions.
To create different natural sounds from the cymbals, the DED-200 sports 3-zone cymbal pads, which allow you to emulate different sounds from the cup, bow, and border of the cymbals. The cymbal and tom pads have a comfortable playing texture, and they are very silent.
If you’re looking for a good drum set with some stand-out features, you can definitely give the Donner DED-200 a try. It sits well between the beginner drum kits and more advanced ones, providing you with great quality drum sounds, versatility, and customizability at a reasonable price.
- Kits: 15
- Sounds: N/A
- MIDI: Yes
Roland’s budget series electronic drum kits are undoubtedly some of the best available at the moment. The Roland TD-1K is so unique because it borrows many aspects of it from the flagship model TD-30 series V-Drums.
The TD-1K comes with four rubber single-zone pads for toms and a snare, three cymbal pads, a beaterless bass drum pedal, and an integrated hi-hat controller pedal. All of this supported on a sturdy and compact tree-style rack.
This drum kit comes with top quality HD drum sounds, some of the best seen at its price range. Its brain module is easy to use, and the kits can be switched very quickly and easily. Among the 15 kits, you can cover various genres from jazz, blues, rock, pop, and so on.
The TD-1K can be connected to a computer via USB, and then you can use your computer’s sample libraries from third-party plugins to get even a wider variety of drum samples. The kit also features coaching lessons to get you to play on tempo and strike consistently.
This kit is a great entry-level kit for beginner drummers. It’s not too fancy and doesn’t come with a ton of features, but it gets the job done efficiently and quickly without any hassle. This kit serves as a great practice tool for beginners and professionals alike.
The Yamaha DTX402K premiered in 2018, and it’s been well received by people who purchased it. It may not be the most popular choice on this list, but it’s still a worthy contender and a significant improvement in Yamaha’s DTX400 series.
The DTX402K features four single-zone 8” rubber pads for toms and snare, three 10” cymbal pads, a beaterless bass drum pedal, and an integrated hi-hat pedal. The rack is very stable, and the hi-hat and cymbal pads sit on offset, adjustable cymbal arms, allowing for greater customizability.
The DTX402K comes with ten preset kits, each accessible via a dedicated button, along with ten training/challenge modes to play along to and help improve your groove. It can be connected to your phone via the free DTX402K Touch app, and the Rec’n’Share app allows you to easily shoot and edit drum covers with high-quality audio.
Overall, the DTX402K is a great practice drum set from a great brand, and it can add good value to any drummer’s collection. It comes with unique connectivity options and a large soundbank that lets you modify the kit as per your liking. This kit is great for both beginners and professionals and is suitable for practice and recording as well.
Buying Guide: how to choose the Your First Electronic Drum Set
As an aspiring drummer looking to buy an electronic drum kit, there are a few important things to consider in choosing the drum set that is right for you. We also review drum machines here, but below we’ll talk specifically about electronic drum set.
The Brain: Kits and Sounds
Each of the drums and cymbal pads connect to a central drum module, sometimes called the ‘brain’ of the set (4). It essentially chooses what type of drum kit and drum sound you want to use. Some modules will allow you to add your own samples as well. The drum module also contains the volume and sensitivity controls.
It’s important to see the number of kits and sounds a particular module has, as that determines its versatility. You can check how the presets sound in online demo videos and see how they sound for your taste. Kits that offer customization and loading of new samples are very useful in this regard.
If you plan to use your drum module to connect to a laptop or MP3 player, you have to check what inputs and connections are available. Aux input lets you connect a standard 3.5mm jack. Audio Out (usually an XLR or TRS output) will allow you to connect to an amplifier or audio interface.
MIDI connections allow you to send your MIDI note data to audio software like DAWs, allowing you to record your playing as well as use external third-party plugins and drum sample libraries.
Lastly, practice modes, a practical metronome, and preset songs and drum beats can be incredible teachers for beginning drummers.
Consider the Material, Sound Quality, and Hardware
Your drum module will be of great importance in creating an authentic experience when you’re playing. At the base level, most drums offer a selection of sounds that cover acoustic drum kits to electronic sounds and percussion. Most drum sounds for a particular electronic drum kit can be found online, so we always advise listening to these sounds to see if they are to your liking.
An electronic drum kit will nearly always feature an aux input for connecting a phone or mp3 player, enabling you to jam alongside your favorite music. However, some drum sets offer additional practice material, such as an interactive metronome or a recording functionality. Take note of these features if they are important to you.
Mesh kits have a more natural and authentic feel to them, similar to acoustic kits, and will help you develop proper sensitivity while playing.
Here is a video explaining five points to consider when you’re buying your electronic drum kit:
Do I need to buy anything else to start drumming?
The short answer to this question is – yes. Merely buying the electronic drum kit of your choice, will not get you playing right away. First of all, you will need either a pair of headphones or an amplifier. Headphones are preferred if you’re going to practice later at night, a speaker is required if you want to jam with your friends. Always check if headphones are included with the set when you are buying it.
You will also need at least one pair of drumsticks. In my personal experience, drumsticks tend to break less easily when using electronic kits. This might be because the rims are covered in soft rubber instead of acoustic drum rims being hard metal.
Also, it is wise to buy a drum stool, also known as a throne, dedicated to playing drums. A regular chair won’t give your limbs the desired freedom and won’t do your technique much good in the long run.
Lastly, it is crucial to find out if your drum set includes the necessary foot pedals. Virtually all electronic drum kits include a pedal for the hi-hat. However, some models, such as the Roland TD series, don’t come with an included bass drum pedal. You may need a double bass pedal for certain songs, such as metal music, as well.
Generally, it is not advisable to learn drums on an electronic kit. This is because the feel of an acoustic kit is very different from an electronic one, and most traditional drummers prefer the feel of an acoustic one. It is recommended to practice on an acoustic kit to get used to the ‘bounce’ and then transition to an electronic one for practice. But, electronic kits do offer greater convenience, customizability, and versatility for practice and recording once you get used to their feel.
Yes, an electronic drum set can be very good for beginners as they are cheaper, compact, and more versatile than acoustic kits. They are great for both practicing at home as well as performing live. They also sound fantastic now with a huge library of available drum samples. However, many traditional drummers still recommend getting used to the ‘feel’ of an acoustic kit before using an electronic one.
The best way to find out what different drums sound like is to go into a music store and try them out. This will give you a real feel of their playability and sound, and help you decide which one is best suited for you. However, if that is not an option, you may find several demo videos online of each drum, showcasing their sounds and features.
No, electronic drum sets do not necessarily need an amp to be played. You can always connect your headphones and practice silently. However, if you’d like others to hear your sound, it is recommended to connect them to an amplifier or speaker cabinet. This is especially important when using them live, as electronic drums do not have much sound of their own.
- The life and times of Ikutaro Kakehashi, the Roland pioneer modern music owes everything to. Retrieved from: https://www.factmag.com/2017/04/02/ikutaro-kakehashi-life/
- Roland TD-17KVX Electronic Drum Kit Review. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09nONeyCvqE
- Alesis Nitro Kit Review – A Real Drummer’s Verdict. Retrieved from: https://www.electronicdrumadvisor.com/alesis-nitro-kit-review-verdict/
- How Do Electronic Drums Work?. Retrieved from: https://www.dawsons.co.uk/blog/how-do-electronic-drums-work
- Choose The Best Electronic Drum Set For You. Retrieved from: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/best-electronic-drum-set/