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It’s no secret that drum kits can get very expensive. The best acoustic drum kits on the market cost thousands of dollars, and they don’t even come with everything you need for a full setup.
If you have a tight budget, you may be looking for the best drums for the money. You’ll be pleased to know that there are several brands that make amazing drums for under $1000.
In this guide, I’ll show you some of the best drum sets under $1000 to choose from. I’ll compare them according to value, build quality, sound quality, and features.
What are the Best Drum Sets?
Drum Sets Reviews
Mapex Armory Review
The Mapex Armory is undoubtedly the best drum set under $1000. It has incredible features that you’d typically find on higher-end kits.
The shells are a mixture of birch for the outer plies and maple in between those. The maple gives each drum sound a warm and resonant tone, while the birch adds an extra sense of attack and punchiness.
The drum kit comes with a Tomahawk snare from the popular Armory snare line. It’s a steel snare with a lot of bites, and it complements the drum tones incredibly well.
The SONIClear bearing edges and suspension mounts are two of the features that you’d expect from high-end kits. The SONIClear bearing edge makes the drums easy to tune, while the suspension mounts ensure the toms resonate fully.
I find that these drums adapt well to any musical situation. No matter your playing style, you can count on the Mapex Armory drum kit to deliver fantastic tones when tuned up nicely.
The cymbal-mounted rack toms are also what makes these some of the best acoustic drums under $1000. There aren’t too many other modern drum kits at this price with a virgin kick drum.
- Hybrid birch and maple shells
- Steel snare drum
- SONIClear bearing edges and suspension mounts
- One of the only affordable drum sets with a virgin bass drum
- Very wide tuning range
- Blend of maple and birch gives the shells warm yet punchy sounds
- The steel snare drum is a great addition to the set
- Most expensive kit on this list
Gretsch Catalina Club
Gretsch Catalina Club Review
The Gretsch Catalina Club is an excellent set to consider if you’re looking for drums a bit smaller than usual.
Most drummers use it as a jazz set, but it’s perfectly capable of handling any musical style with the right tuning.
It has 7-ply mahogany shells that give the drum sound extensive low-end. The toms and bass drum have booming tones, while the snare drum is a bit softer and less aggressive than birch or maple snares.
The drums have 30-degree bearing edges, which gives them a warmer and more rounded tone than the other drums on this list. They sing so beautifully, and that’s why lots of drummers love this kit.
The downside for some drummers is that the kick drum is rather boomy, but you can easily fix that with some bass drum dampening
- 7-ply mahogany shells
- 30-degree bearing edges
- Compact design
- Good compact set for traveling
- Excellent pick for jazz, but it also works well for other styles
- 30-degree bearing edges cause the drums to resonate more
- Strong vintage appeal
- Not every drummer will like the boosted resonance
- The stock drumheads aren’t great
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Review
The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch is an incredible value-for-money drum set.
The great thing about Yamaha kits is that most of them share very similar design features, even down to the most affordable ones.
The Stage Custom Birch is often referred to as the affordable kit that professionals use. A lot of venues use this kit as the house kit, as it sounds fantastic in live music settings.
This is a quality drum kit that utilizes birch shells that boost the high frequencies and give it an overall lively and punchy tone. The toms break through a mix very easily, while the kick drum is very powerful.
The shells deliver punchy, bright sounds and they respond well to all different playing dynamics. The rack toms and floor tom sing wonderfully while the snare drum delivers a phenomenal crack.
The toms are mounted with the YESS mounting system, which is the same feature used for most of Yamaha’s top-tier kits. The tom mounts are incredibly easy to position.
Overall, it’s an amazing set, and most drummers would be shocked when finding out the low price after listening to it.
- Birch shells
- YESS tom mounting system
- Low-mass lugs
- Excellent sounding kit for gigs and recording sessions
- Playing it feels similar to playing Yamaha’s high-end kits
- Some of the best tom mounts on the market
- Occasional issues with the hardware on the snare
Pearl Export (with Hardware)
Pearl Export (with Hardware) Review
The Pearl Export kit has been the most popular affordable drum set for decades, and it is one of the best options to consider that also includes a full set of hardware.
The original version is the most sold drum kit of all time, and this new EXX version improves on it in almost every aspect.
The shells are a mixture of poplar and mahogany, and they’re made using Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology. It makes them so durable that Pearl offers this kit with a lifetime warranty.
The mahogany gives the drums a lot of low-end punch, while the poplar rounds the tone out in the mid and upper frequencies. The end result is a kit with toms that sound incredible.
This version of the set also comes with a set of Pearl 830 Series hardware. The cymbal stands are extremely sturdy, and the P-930 kick drum pedal has a solid build with a base plate.
The only real downside of this drum kit is that the double tom arm design makes the rack toms a little tricky to position comfortably.
- Poplar/mahogany shells
- Superior Shell Technology
- 830 Series hardware pack
- Deep and powerful tom tones
- Includes a set of sturdy hardware
- Extremely durable
- The toms are difficult to position
Pearl Decade Maple
Pearl Decade Maple Review
The Pearl Decade Maple is a slight upgrade compared to the Pearl Export. It has beautiful maple shells that give the kit a warm and overall balanced tone.
The drum kit also utilizes Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology, so the drums feel extremely solid to play on. They’re also a lot easier to tune, with this kit having a much wider tuning range than the Pearl Export.
The lugs on each drum are inspired by the high-end Reference Series, and they’re a nice touch to make the Decade Maple kit feel a bit more premium.
Unfortunately, this kit has the same tom holder design as the Export, so you don’t have as much freedom of movement with the toms as the other kits on this list. However, that won’t bother you if you’re able to lock your preferred tom angles in place.
This is a very popular mid-level drum set that is a delight to play thanks to the premium Maple construction of the drums that deliver incredible shell resonance and tunability.
- 6-ply maple shells
- Superior Shell Technology
- Lugs inspired by the Pearl Reference Series
- Versatile maple shells
- Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology ensures easy tuning
- Interesting finish options
- The double mounted tom design isn’t ideal
Mapex Venus Review
The Mapex Venus is undoubtedly the best entry-level drum set on the market at the moment. It’s made for new drummers who are buying their first kit, and it gives you everything you need to start playing straight from the box.
The drum shells have nine plies of poplar, and they sound very decent for the price this kit comes at. They’re easy to tune, and you can make them sound amazing with a bit of muffling.
The Poplar drum shells have very precisely cut SONIClear bearing edges, similarly to the higher-level Mapex drums. The toms and bass drum produce a punchy, focused sound that is rather impressive.
The included brass cymbals are not great, but they work just fine. Brass cymbals are typically something to get rid of very quickly, but these ones are a little more musically responsive.
This is the best kit under $1000 for beginners. If you’re a bit more experienced and you already have some hardware and cymbals, one of the other shell packs from this list would be a better pick.
- Poplar shells
- SONIClear bearing edges
- Hammered brass cymbals
- Full set of hardware
- One of the best drum sets for beginners
- Includes some only brass cymbals on the market that don’t sound terrible
- SONIClear bearing edges make it quite easy to tune
- Not a great option for experienced drummers
Things to Consider When Buying a Drum Set Under $1000
Consider hardware and cymbals:
Some kits come as shell packs, while others come with hardware and cymbals. If you’re just getting a shell pack, you’ll need to buy hardware and cymbals separately. You’ll be spending over $1000 by getting those separately, but the standalone shell packs are always better kits than the ones that come with hardware and cymbals.
Check out different brands:
Every major drum company has one or two drum sets that cost under $1000. It’s a good idea to compare them all to see which options appeal to you the most.
Establish your budget:
While spending less than $1000 is the main goal, it’ll help to find different options within that price range and decide if spending more will be worth it. For example, you could find a drum kit for less, and you can invest more money into cymbals.
Features to Look Out for in Drum Sets Under $1000
The type of wood used to make the plies of a drum set determines what tones it has. With drum sets under $1000, the main wood types are poplar, maple, birch, and mahogany.
The more affordable kits are made from poplar, while the higher-end kits that come as a shell pack are made from maple, birch, or mahogany.
Maple shell drums have the most balanced tones, birch drums have more attack, and mahogany drums have deeper tones. Poplar drums are also balanced, but they aren’t as detailed or musical as maple drums.
There are two aspects of hardware to check out when buying a drum set. The first is to see what stands and mounts come with a set. Some come with a full set of cymbal stands and a bass drum pedal, while others just come with mounts for the rack toms.
The second aspect is to see what hardware is used on the shells. The lugs, counterhoops, tension rods, and mounting systems all play a part in establishing the quality of a drum set.
Drum sets under 1000 are in the entry/mid-level bracket, and these drums typically come equipped with triple-flanged hoops as standard.
You should also look at the sizes of the drum shells. With a standard 5-piece kit, most toms are 10”, 12”, and 16”, but they may have different depths when you compare kits. Deeper toms will resonate more and have wider tuning ranges.
The size of a kick drum is also something to look out for. Most kits have 22-inch kick drums, but some have smaller ones that are 16”, 18”, or 20”. Getting a kit with a 20-inch kick drum will make positioning the toms a lot easier.
While only one of the kits I mentioned on this list comes with cymbals, there are several other kits that cost under $1000 that come with them as well.
If you’re a beginner drummer who’s buying your first drum kit, you should get one that comes with both hardware and cymbals.
Most entry-level sets come with brass cymbals that don’t sound great. However, they’re perfect for starting out when you won’t worry about tones too much.
If you’re buying a drum set shell pack, you’ll either need to already own a set of cymbals, or invest in a cymbal pack to complete your setup.
Drum Sets Under $1000 FAQs
How Much Should Beginner Drummers Spend on a Kit?
Beginner drummers should find drum kits that come with hardware and cymbals, and most of those cost in the range of $500 to $700. So, beginner drummers should spend at least $500 if they want to buy a brand-new acoustic drum set.
You can also get entry-level electronic drum sets that are more affordable, or you could buy a used acoustic drum set if you look around for a good deal.
Which Brand Offers the Most Affordable Drum Sets?
Tama sells several different compact drum sets that are very affordable. They just come as shell packs, so you need to buy hardware and cymbals separately to go with them.
The other brand that sells several affordable drum kits is Pearl. However, they’re all variations of the same Roadshow kit. There’s just a long list of different setup configurations. Pearl also sells multiple variations of the popular Export kit.