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Mini drum sets are designed to offer full and punchy sounds but in a compact and more portable package. They are ideal for fitting in tight spaces like small stages and are far easier to pack into your car than a full-sized drum kit.
Mini drum sets make suitable secondary kits as they are an excellent backup option to use for gigs where your main kit is too large for the stage. They also make excellent kits to set up in bedrooms or practice spaces that are tightly packed.
Every major drum brand has at least one compact drum set available on their product line, so it can be challenging to single out one you’d like to get.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best mini drum sets and compact kits on the market right now. I’ve compared sound quality, durability, portability, and the included components to give you my top recommendations.
In a Rush’ Round-Up
Mini Drum Sets Reviews
The Tama Club Jam is an impressive mini drum set that comes in at a very modest price point. Featuring drum shells made from lively Poplar/Mersawa wood, this retro-inspired compact kit produces killer tones despite its small sizes.
This compact kit looks and sounds fantastic, with a real old school charm thanks to its distinctive sizes, vintage-inspired hardware, and particularly eye-catching finishes with matching wood bass drum hoops.
They are perfectly suited for funk, pop, hip-hop, and jazz. The shallow shells are super responsive and produce a great amount of attack, too. Included is an 18×12 bass drum, 10×7 and 14×12 toms, and a 13×5 snare drum.
The Tama Club Jam looks, sounds, and plays great. These drums do not compromise on sound – they deliver beautifully punchy and warm tones. Even with the stock factory Tama heads, they tune up really well!
If you’re looking for a compact kit for a smaller living space, or possibly a portable mini drum set that’s convenient to transport to gigs and rehearsals, then the Tama Club Jam 4-Piece shell pack is one of the best compact drum kit options available.
- 4 Piece drum set shell pack
- 6-Ply poplar/mersawa shells
- Retro inspired hardware and looks
- Excellent value for money
- Extremely portable
- Functional retro hardware included
- Basic factory Tama heads
- Unsanded bearing edges
The DW Design Series Mini-Pro drum set is a professional standard mini drum set that delivers incredible tones and serious playability! Without a doubt, this compact drum kit is the best in its class!
The DW Design series represents top-of-the-range quality at an unbeatable price. Boasting premium North American Maple shells and robust hardware, it’s a rock-solid drum set that produces exceedingly good tones and projection despite its trimmed-down size.
The shell pack includes a 16×14 bass drum, 10×6 and 13×9 inch toms, and a 12×5.5 snare drum. This is a compact drum set that has a real presence and character. These drums are outfitted with Remo drum heads that complement the drums well.
This drum set is so enjoyable to play. And as you would expect from DW, the standard of the build is virtually flawless. This miniature drum set sounds astonishingly good, and it makes the perfect travel companion or space-saving kit.
I find the DW Design series drums are so inspiring and enjoyable to play. This mini drum set is no exception! The drums offer an impressive warmth, attack, and projection that allows them to complement any type of gig or studio recording session.
This is a fully-fledged professional drum set with legendary DW quality and features. You won’t find a better mini drum set for the money!
- 4 Piece drum set shell pack
- HVLT North American Maple shells
- Professional quality sounds and features
- Huge sound from small drums
- Perfect for studio recordings and live gigs
- Exceptional craftsmanship
- Premium price tag, but still offers great value
Up next for review is the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit, and this is the ultimate mini drum set for both kids and adults. The drum set includes all the drums, hardware, and cymbals you’ll need to get started playing right away, and it’s offered at an unbeatable price.
The Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit is an impressive mini drum set. Although originally designed for children, it’s also found favor amongst experienced adult drummers as a compact, gigging kit!
Included in the set, you receive a 16×12 bass drum, 10×6 and 13×10 toms, and a 12×5 snare drum. You also receive all the hardware, including stands, a bass drum pedal, and even a drum throne. The included hi hat cymbals and crash cymbal are not amazing but are adequate for beginners.
Everything included is of considerably high quality for an entry-level drum set. It’s a very capable drum set that produces musical, tight, and punchy tones despite the small sizes.
The hardwood drum shells are durable and well-constructed, with precisely cut bearing edges too. It’s also worth noting that visually this mini drum set looks great, too! It’s got a sparkle wrap that looks attractive.
This Ludwig Pocket Kit provides an enjoyable, full-scale playing experience. The drums produce lively tones and the hardware is sturdy and functional. It’s the best mini drum set to buy if you’re looking for a compact kit that won’t break the bank!
- Complete drum set package
- Includes cymbals and hardware
- Solid hardwood shells with wrap
- Unbeatable value for money
- Sturdy and reliable components
- Suitable for kids and adults
- No negatives for the price
The Pearl Midtown Series drum set delivers premium quality at a really great price. This is certainly one of the best compact drum kits available, and these drums are incredibly enjoyable to play.
Pearl uses 6 ply Poplar for the drum shells, and each drum is equipped with genuine Remo drum heads for great tones across the drums. These drums sing with a clear pitch and a great initial attack across the snare drum, toms, and kick drum.
Included with the compact drum kit is a 16×14 kick drum, 10×7 rack tom, 13×12 floor tom, and a matching 13×5.5 snare drum. These drums take up a small footprint and are perfect for smaller stages as well as being easy to transport to gigs and rehearsals.
The build quality of the Pearl Midtown drum set is brilliant. The drums are engineered to produce a big sound, and the hardware adorned on the drums is reliable and functional. The lugs and hoops are solid, and the OptiLoc suspension system is a treat to use!|
These drums are super portable and boast killer sounds. The Pearl Midtown compact drum kit is a perfect choice for gigs, teaching, rehearsals, studio sessions, and more. This really is a professional drum set that’s sure to appeal to a lot of drummers.
- 4-Piece drum set shell pack
- 6-Ply Poplar shells
- Excellent value compact drum kit
- Fantastic sounding drums
- Remo drum heads as standard
- Great value for money
- Wrap finish has been known to warp over time
- Drums would benefit from some dampening included
The vintage-flavored Gretsch Catalina Club drum set is another strong contender for the best mini drum set on the market. These drums are constructed with Mahogany wood for rich and deep tones and feature 30-degree bearing edges for added warmth.
This is a drum set that is an absolute delight to play! These drums deliver super satisfying tones across all of the drums that are remarkably musical and expressive.
The drums sound outstanding across all different tuning ranges. For such a small drum set, it’s pretty unbelievable how fat and punchy these drums sound. They sound gorgeous under microphones and this makes them ideal for both on stage and in the studio.
Featuring small sizes with an 18×14 kick drum, 12×8 rack tom, 14×14 floor tom, and a 14×5.5 snare drum, this mini drum set makes load-in to any gig or rehearsal a breeze.
This drum set delivers professional-quality tones and it’s so enjoyable to play. These drums have a wonderful attack and sonic projection, and I’m very impressed by the quality and value of this kit.
- 4-Piece drum set shell pack
- 7-Ply Mahogany shells
- Versatile and expressive drums
- Perfect for recording and gigging
- Beautiful sounding drums
- Versatile for a wide range of musical styles
- Relatively deep shell sizes
Best Mini Drum Set Buying Guide
Mini drum sets are perfect for small living spaces and transporting to gigs. Besides being a great gigging solution, mini drum sets are also excellent for children.
Dedicated children’s drum sets are mostly of poor quality, and they don’t hold out for too long. If your child shows potential on the drums, it’s better to get a high-quality compact kit that will last until they’re much older.
Something to note with compact drum kits is that most of them come as shell packs. This means that when you buy them, you’ll only get the drum shells. Hardware and stands will need to be purchased separately.
When a kit comes with hardware and stands, it’s referred to as a full drum set. There are only a few compact kits on the market like this.
However, the cymbals that come with full drum sets are typically cheap brass cymbals that don’t sound great.
What Features to Look for in a Mini Drum Set
The first thing that you need to check out in a mini drum set is the size of all the drum shells. While you know the shells will be small because of the mini drum set label, some shells are smaller than others.
When you have smaller shells, the drums will produce higher pitches tones. If you’re looking for a compact kit that provides deep and warm tones, getting the smallest shell sizes possible won’t be a good idea.
The most important size to check is the bass drum size. Most mini drum sets have bass drums that are 16” or 18”, which are ideal sizes for still getting deep bass drum tones. If you get anything smaller than that, you’ll lose a lot of low-end depth.
If the bass drum is small enough, the toms and snares will fit nicely around it, no matter their size. Some compact kits have 12-inch snares, while others have 14-inch ones. In terms of sound, both are great, but the 12-inch snare will be easier to transport around.
The type of wood that the drum shells are made of determines the sound of the drums. It also determines how much they cost.
Cheaper compact drum kits are either made from hardwood or poplar. These are inexpensive woods to use, and the drums made with them aren’t as musically responsive as higher-quality woods.
Mahogany, maple, and birch are examples of higher-quality woods. These are used in pro drum kits, and they give much better sounds to the drums.
A compact kit with these wood types will cost anywhere from $700 and upward, whereas a compact kit built with hardwood or poplar will cost between $200 and $700.
Since the shells of a compact kit are so small, they have less resonance and tonal richness. The best way to experience more of that is by getting a compact kit made from a high-quality wood type.
While most compact kits come as shell packs, some of them come with more additional parts than others. For example, the Tama Club Jam comes with a boom arm to mount a cymbal to the bass drum.
This is an incredibly useful addition, as it makes the kit take up even less space than others. Make sure to look out for features like these when buying a mini drum kit.
Things to Consider When Buying a Mini Drum Set
Determine a budget:
The more money you spend, the better sound quality you’ll get, along with sturdier and more durable hardware. Entry-level mini drum sets cost between $200 and $400, while intermediate and more professional sets cost $500 or more.
Hardware and cymbals:
Most compact drum kits come as shell packs, meaning you’ll need to buy hardware and cymbals to go with them. If you already have a drum kit, you can use the stands and cymbals you already have.
Certain drum sizes fit better in various contexts. Very small drum kits are great when played in hip-hop and electronic music. Their short sounds are appropriate for the styles. Mini kits with larger shells are more well-rounded, sounding great in a broader range of musical styles, especially rock and pop.
Drum set finishes:
As compact drum kits get more expensive, their finishes start to look sleeker and more premium. They also have seamless layering, whereas more affordable kits have visible wrapped layers. Getting an excellent finish isn’t the most important thing, but it’s still worth considering.
Mini Drum Set FAQs
Can You Use a Mini Drum Set in Large Venues?
It isn’t ideal as mini drum sets don’t provide as much of an impact as large kits. However, you can get away with it by using microphones to amplify the mini drum set.
Which Drum Brand Makes the Most Mini Drum Sets?
At the moment, Tama has the most variety in mini drum sets. There are a few variations of their Club-Jam kit, and they also sell the Tama Cocktail Jam, which works well as a portable drum set option.