Drum manufacturing has come a long way. Competition between the top drum brands allows for continuous research and development to be put into creating innovative new drumming products.
The good news for buyers is that features found in top of the range drum sets trickle down and find their way onto more affordable entry-level kits!
In this guide I’m going to be sharing with you the very best drum manufacturers today. These drum brands all produce high quality products which you can trust. These drum manufacturers have all been around for a long time, and have their drum sets played by the best pros in the business.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s my selection of the best drum brands I stand behind – delivering excellent quality and value for money.
Pearl is the best selling drum manufacturer of all time – and for good reason! They sell more drums then anyone else all around the world because they produce such good quality drums and at great prices. Pearl is headquartered in Japan, and they were established in 1946.
Every drummer will likely play on a Pearl Export drum set at some point on his or her journey. It’s the best selling drum set of all time. Pearl truly set the industry standard for a quality, durable and versatile drum set that can be obtained at an affordable price.
From their entry-level Pearl Roadshow drum set to the bespoke Masterworks series, Pearl’s quality is easily distinguishable throughout their product range. Pearl has established a solid reputation as one of the best drum brands of all time.
- Dennis Chambers
- Joey Jordison
- Mike Mangini
Up next on my list is DW, also known as Drum Workshop. DW was established in 1972, and although a relative newcomer compared to other drum manufacturers, they have cemented themselves as one of the best drum brands through tireless innovation and dedication to improving the way drums are made.
DW drums, pedals and hardware represent the gold standard in the drumming world. They are widely regarded as one of the best drum brands and they are the professional’s choice. You’ll be sure to see these drum sets on festival stages and arenas around the world!
But with quality comes cost. DW drums are not cheap – they are products for the most discerning drummers. If you can afford to get your hands on a DW collectors drum set, then you should jump at the opportunity!
- Virgil Donati
- Thomas Lang
- Eric Moore
Ludwig is one of the oldest drum manufacturers in the world, having originally been established in 1909. Ludwig drums have been played by some of the greatest drummers of all time including John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and so many more.
One of the most famous names in drums, Ludwig has a long standing history of producing beautiful sounding drum sets. Ludwig helped to innovate the modern drum set and many of their vintage kits are the most in-demand collector’s items today.
You can be confident that Ludwig is one of the best drum brands around, having gone from strength-to-strength for over a century.
- Ringo Starr
- Alex Van Halen
Tama is the self-declared ‘strongest name in drums’. Tama is definitely one of the most popular drum brands, producing some of the best drums, pedals and hardware in the industry. Tama was officially established in 1979, but the company had been producing drums since 1966.
The Tama range is exceptional, and the brand produces some of the best entry-level drum sets right through to professional kits. The company offers a incredible selection of products including a huge array of killer sounding snare drums.
Tama also produce some of the most widely used drum hardware and bass drum pedals including the Tama Iron Cobra pedals. The Iron Cobra range is without a doubt some of the most widely used hardware in the business because of its reliability, build quality and value for money.
- Mike Portnoy
- Lars Ulrich
- Simon Phillips
Gretsch craft some beautiful sounding drums. They are classy and produce incredible warm tones. Gretsch was founded in 1883 and the company has been producing fantastic drums for over 130 years! They are also well known for making awesome guitars.
Gretsch is one of the more expensive drum brands, and they have a distinctive quality to them. When you sit behind and play a Gretsch drum set you can feel the difference. The drum shells and the hardware they adorn are some of the best in the business.
Even the more affordable Grestch kits offer amazing sounds for the price. Gretsch are a great name and definitely one of the best drum brands you can trust!
- Vinnie Colaiuta
- Taylor Hawkins
- Phil Collins
Yamaha was founded in 1967 and they are by far the largest company within this list. Yamaha is a huge Japanese corporation that manufactures everything from motor engines to musical instruments. One thing is for sure, and that is they produce magnificent drums!
Yamaha is one of the most respected big brands in music, and musicians trust Yamaha for exceptional quality, reliability and value for money.
All of the drums and hardware Yamaha produce are durable and high quality. The Yamaha Stage Custom drum set has set the industry standard for over 30 years for a quality, roadworthy drum set offering great sounds at an affordable price point.
Higher up the ladder you will find Yamaha’s top of the line drum sets, played by many of the biggest name drummers you’re likely to encounter!
- Dave Weckl
- Steve Jordan
- Carter Beauford
Mapex is one of the newest drum brands having been established only in 1989, but they have certainly made a large impact within that time. Mapex know how to make great drum sets, and they offer exceptional value for money compared to some of the other well known drum manufacturers.
Unlike some other drum brands, Mapex produce drum kits with premium and exotic woods at mid-range price points such as the Armoury and Mars series. The Mapex Saturn drum set is their flagship kit, and this still costs half as much as some competitors top of the range kits.
Mapex produce great quality drums at unbeatable prices. Whether you are looking for an entry-level drum set or a drum set upgrade, Mapex drums boast high-end features you will have a lot of fun playing.
- Chris Adler
- Dom Famularo
- Carter Beauford
Since its foundation in 1875, Sonor has been on a mission to produce the best quality drums and percussion available. Sonor is a German company that crafts such beautiful drums, and it’s easy to see why Sonor have an enormous world-wide appeal within the drumming community.
Sonor offer a range of premium drum sets including the SQ2, SQ1 and vintage series. They don’t produce entry-level drums, these are drums for serious drumming enthusiasts.
There is no doubt that Sonor is one of the most prestigious drum brands in the world today.
- Aaron Spears
- Benny Greb
- Danny Carey
PDP drums (also known as Pacific Drums) are an offshoot company of the distinguished DW brand, and these drums are designed to offer boutique-inspired features at affordable prices that are accessible to most drummers.
The brand was founded by DW in 1999 and PDP are now a well-known name within the drumming world. These drums are stylish and they sound great for the money. The Concept series maple and birch drums offer a lot of bang for your buck.
They don’t have a lot of artists because the professionals will be playing DW drums instead. Which is understandable, as these are the top of the range drum sets from their sister company. But you will find DW artists often sporting PDP equipment live such as Chad Smith from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- Chad Smith
- Eric Hernandez
- Cobus Potgieter
Ddrum is a drum manufacturer that gained huge success in the 1980’s with its invention of drum triggers and electronic drum pads. Ddrum produce a wide range of acoustic drums and electronic drum equipment. They even produce innovative hybrid drum sets!
Ddrum have less of a presence than the other drum manufacturers featured within this list, but they have a solid artist roster and a great range of products that offer good value.
- Vinnie Paul
- Carmine Appice
- Terrail Moody
So there we have it! These drum companies featured are the biggest players in the industry. They are not bespoke drum brands, these are global drum manufacturers that offer a wide range of products for beginners right through to seasoned professionals. Thanks for reading!