If you move around a lot or live in an area where you cannot use a regular drum kit, then you may want to consider getting an electronic drum set. Like with any instrument, finding the best one can be difficult if you have no idea what you are looking for. So, here is a quick and simple buying guide on what to look for as well as some of the top brands and their electronic drum sets that you can get right now.
If you have ever played Guitar Hero or Rock Band with the drums, then you already have an idea of how it feels to use electric drums with rubber pads. They can sound and feel much different than regular drums and those with mesh heads. In terms of quality, some are a little on the cheaper side when it comes to striking, not naturally bouncing back, but the sound is usually still decent to great depending on the drums.
Rubber pads can also be more affordable than those with mesh heads and because they are less fragile and smaller than mesh heads, they can be easier to store. One of the bigger cons with rubber pads is that the snares tend to have less of a striking area and can be quite small.
Mesh heads are designed to be minorly or heavily similar to a traditional drum set, depending on the quality of the mesh. Kits with mesh heads tend to be more sensitive than rubber pads, meaning that a smaller strike is registered better, but this also makes the drums more fragile.
Although, unlike rubber pads, mesh heads can be physically tuned/their tension be adjusted, and this can give a more authentic and natural sound. The downside is that they are generally more expensive than sets with rubber pads.
If you are just starting out playing drums or are looking to get a simple set for basic recording, then you may want to get a standard electronic drum set. They are generally only a few hundred dollars or so, can last for several years, and can be used with computer software that can make some basic sounds more higher quality.
If cost is not a concern and you want the highest quality sounds available, then you will probably want to get a professional kit. These generally come with control units attached to the drums themselves, along with other extras.
Many sets come with basic functions like a built-in metronome and recorder, but some of the basic or medium-level sets can come with built-in coaching as well to help you get a better rhythm control. Some also come with audio jacks so that you can either plug a cell phone or mp3 player into the drums so that you can play along with a song. you could also plug the drums into a speaker or headphones too.
A few electric drum sets come with different sound settings that a strike will create, very much like an electric keyboard, but it is usually just drumming sounds and not the more obscure noises an electric keyboard may have.
Some do not come with the sounds built into them due to the fact that the sound can be adjusted with many programs. This is the case for most professional sets.
Depending on the quality, many of the sets are more affordable, transportable, and/or durable than a traditional set. Sets with mesh heads also tend to be quieter than both traditional or rubber heads, which can be more convenient for those living in an apartment or noise-restricted area.
Some brands and/or specific models are only available in certain countries, but usually, they are North America and the UK. If you are typing a broad search into Google instead of a specific shop, keep an eye out to make sure the set that you are looking at is not shipping out from overseas, otherwise, you may have to pay a decent amount in shipping costs.
Some drum sets, electric or traditional, do not come with instructions on how to use them, meaning that if you are a beginner, you will probably either have to take a class or a private lesson or two to understand where and how to strike the drums.
When it comes to putting them together, it is best to follow the instructions and install them in a cool, dry place. Too much humidity can be bad for any instrument, electric or otherwise. Also, never clean your drums with water or a damp cloth as this can potentially ruin them or the circuitry inside of them.
If they need to be moved around a lot, they will be stored often, or they will be used for personal or private recordings, then they can be. However, if you are planning to join a band or perform live without bringing your computer or sound software, then you will probably need/want a traditional set.
This is one of the most simple and basic electronic drum set out there, coming with standard rubber pads, a built-in metronome and recorder, an audio jack, and fifteen different sounds that are programmed into the drums, but many do sound the same.
While technically can connect to a computer, it can only do so through an outdated audio port. Even so, the lifespan for this set can be surprisingly long if it is cared for.
Like many sets out there, this one is a combination of 12-inch dual mesh heads and rubber pad, which are used for the cymbals. This model is simple enough for beginners, especially with the coaching function, but is quality enough intermediates between the 50 built-in sounds, materials, and noise level.
Unfortunately, the audio jack can be a little fussy, and it does not actually come with a kick pedal and high-hat. The directions are also written a little sporadically, making it take a little longer than necessary to assemble them.
This set is very similar to the last one in the sense that it is quieter than average (mainly because of the dual mesh heads and rubber pad cymbals), is great for beginner or intermediate drummers, does not come with a kick pedal, and shares all of the functions.
Unlike the TD-17KV, the number of sounds is unclear, but it does have several audio ports, outputs. However, you may want to think about getting a new aux cord as the one it comes with is rather short and flimsy.
Although it shares some of the same specs as the previous models, this set actually only has one mesh head with the rest being rubber padding. It also comes with some coaching functions and an audio jack, but there is no built-in metronome or recorder since this is designed to be used with a special program that has both.
The exact number of sounds this may or may not have built-in are unknown, and the set also does not come with a kick pedal, high hat stand, a throne, and more despite being more expensive than some of the other beginner/intermediate models. Still, this can withstand a year or more of heavy daily use due to how strong the materials are.
Another mixed-material set, this has the usual mesh with rubber padded cymbals and is simple and basic enough for beginners but has enough quality for intermediate users as well. There are some coach functions, a metronome, and audio jacks, but there is not a built-in recorder.
The one downside is that the bass pad is older than some of the newer models, but it still performs relatively well, especially with the fifteen built-in sounds.
One of the few sets that have only mesh heads, this set is one of the more higher quality and affordable choices. As with most mesh heads, there is much less noise than rubber padded ones, but it seems to be one of the more noisy mesh sets.
This set also has nearly 400 built-in sounds, comes with everything (metronome, recorder, audio jack) but a beginner-level coaching function.
This kit is actually identical to the previous model between the specs, release date, and all of the bells and whistles. The only major differences are that the sound of this set seems to be a little more high-quality than the last one. Both are smaller and lighter, making them easier to store and move around, too.
The major downside is that the instructions for this set are possibly one of the worst-written ones, having some parts put together in poor order.
Like the last two models, this is a mesh headset that has a built-in metronome, recorder, audio jacks, and nearly 400 sounds but no coach functions. However, it is one of the sturdiest, most responsive, and quieter of both Alesis and other brands.
However, the sound quality is lower than average, and the set can randomly stop working altogether. On the bright side, because of this, it is relatively easy to exchange them. Still, this is one of the better Alesis drum set for beginners.
This is one of the simpler sets by Alesis which, as with the other models, has mesh heads, a metronome, recorder, audio jack, and nearly 400 sounds. The biggest difference with this model is that it requires more room since it is designed to be wider than the other models.
Despite this, it is actually pretty short which can be great for kids but awkward for taller people. As with many sets, the audio jack can make the sound distorted or lower in terms of quality and volume levels.
As most of the Yamahas are, this set has all rubber (silicon) padding but one with a mesh head and comes with some coach functions, a built-in recorder, and audio jacks. It also has nearly 700 different sounds.
One of the more unique features is that is compatible with an app from the Apple store, but there is no Android version. The only downside is that Yamaha DTX522K does not come with a kick pedal, but otherwise it is an excellent choice for a beginner or an intermediate user.
This set is a little suited towards new drummers or children due to the size and simplicity of the design. The between the rubber pads and reinforced kick pedal and high-hat, this is certainly one of the more sturdy and long-lasting models, Yamaha or otherwise.
Between the specs and how many sounds it has, over 400, it is very similar to the 402K model, which is quite cheaper, but does seem to have higher sound quality. It is also too heavy for most people to move around.
This is another all rubber and one mesh head drum set that has nearly 700 sounds. The most notable thing about this set is that it comes with a 10-inch crash cymbal that has a 360-degree choke function, something that most other sets on this list has.
Like the last model, this one has a strong resemblance to another more affordable model, the DTP582, but this one can have a much longer life-span as well as a clearer sound.
Nearly identical with the design and number of sounds from the last model, this set also has the same function as the DTX522K; it can be paired with an Apple app that does not have an Android version.
Yamaha DTX522K is also one of the more durable sets, and it is simple enough for a beginner to use, though maybe a little too complicated for a child. The kick pedal is a little on the cheaper side, but the above-average quality sound with or without headphones can make up for it.
This one possibly one of the most expensive sets out now, and while it is very similar to the DTX532K between the specs and the crash cymbal, it has possibly the clearest sound a drum set could have.
It also has over 1200 different sounds and a professional board with the amount of controls, inputs, and outputs. When it comes to performance, there are no known issues with this model. However, it is nearly 70 pounds, so moving it when it is assembled can be extremely difficult.
If you are looking for one of the best professional-grade drum sets that are easier to move, unlike the last model, than this may be the set for you. It has all of the same features as the last model, with over one hundred more sounds, has no known technical or performance issues and comes with all pieces of equipment that are seen.
When comparing the material type, noise level, sound quality, included equipment, and all of the other features of each of the drum kits, the best out of all of the models would probably be Yamaha DTX532K.
Many of the other models either have technical issues or they do not come with all of the needed equipment, but the Yamaha DTX532K does and there are no known technical issues with it.
It is a little more expensive than some of the cheaper models, but the quality is worth it if you take drumming seriously between the sturdy rubber padding, crash cymbal and the number of sounds that it has.
Hi, David Lahav Here. I'm Sound Out Media Founder and a BIG music gadgets geek. I love everything from futuristic music instruments to the silliest pig-shaped headphones. Welcome to my world!