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Over recent years, technological advancements have allowed the quality of electronic drum sets to improve massively.
The responsiveness, build quality, and functionality of most electronic drum sets now are of a considerably high standard and offer a more lifelike playing response to that of acoustic drum kits.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best electronic drum sets to cater to drummers of all abilities and budgets. I’ve compared performance, build quality, sound quality, and cost to give you my top recommendations.
What are the Best Electronic Drum Sets?
In-Depth Electronic Drum Set Reviews
The Roland TD-50KV2 is the brand’s flagship drum set, and it offers all the best features that Roland has available. It’s a premium kit that demonstrates the peak of current electronic drum set technology.
It’s on the same level as the top Roland VAD sets, but this is a great option for drummers that want something a bit more compact than the e-kits with acoustic shells.
The TD-50X drum module is seriously impressive. While it offers 70 amazing preset drum kit sounds, the real strength is all the editing tools. Those factory sets are great, but you can make them sound so much better when you sit and tweak a few things.
While you get the classic editing tools like compression, EQ, and delay, you can also adjust how far away the mics are positioned from the drums or the venue that the drums are being played in. These editing tools can easily keep you busy for hours at a time.
The pads that come with the set are also amazing. It has the digital snare, ride, and hi-hat pads that all the top-tier Roland kits are well-known for having, but I’m just as impressed with the tom pads. They offer exceptional responsiveness to all your strokes, and they feel far better to play than most other pads from other kits.
The downside is that this kit is exceptionally expensive. It’s not something that most drummers will be comfortable buying, which is why it’s a bit of a rarer kit compared to all the others.
However, you’ll feel as though your money has been well-spent when you get it. It’s the electronic drum kit equivalent to a high-end DW or Sonor drum set.
- Digital ride, snare, and hi-hat pads
- 70 preset drum kits
- Extensive sound editing features
- Unmatched sound quality from the module
- Extremely extensive onboard editing tools
- Digital ride, snare, and hi-hat pads feel incredible to play
- All of Roland’s best technological features
- Very expensive
- Many drummers prefer the VAD kits with similar prices and features
The Pearl e/Merge is a popular new electronic drum kit, and it’s the only electronic kit currently available from the Pearl brand. It’s a professional option, as it easily competes with all the flagship models from other electronic brands.
At first glance, you’ll see that the drum pads are all attached to shallow acoustic shells to give the appearance of a standard drum set. The full acoustic bass drum shell completes the look, making this kit look a lot more appealing than other electronic sets that only have shallow pads.
The pads are all fusion sizes, meaning the snare is 14”, the rack toms are 10 and 12”, and the floor tom is 14”. This is a breath of fresh air compared to competing electronic sets where the toms are all the same size.
Each drum pad is incredibly responsive, reacting to slight touches equally as well as hard strokes. The snare drum is the most musical pad, as it uses Wave Trigger Technology to get extended realism. It also feels excellent to play rimshots on.
The cymbal pads are just as good as the drum pads, utilizing Korg’s PUREtouch technology to get a similar musical response to what you get with acoustic cymbals.
The whole Pearl e/Merge kit is run by the MDL-1 drum module. It features a combination of sounds from Korg and sampled professional drum kits from Pearl. All the preset kits sound amazing, but the true strength of the module is the extent of all the editing options.
You can load in your own samples, and it’s quite normal for drummers who own this set to load in their personal acoustic drum set sounds that they’ve sampled.
Pearl provides their Icon e-Rack to hold all the drums and cymbals together. It’s a seriously sturdy drum rack that makes the kit feel very solid to play. It’s another huge selling point for the kit, as other electronic drum kits often come with lightweight racks.
The main downside of this kit is its price tag. While it doesn’t cost as much as the best Roland kits, it’s still very expensive, costing a lot more than most high-end acoustic shell packs.
- 35 preset drum kits
- 6-later PUREtouch drum pads
- Pearl Icon e-Rack
- Solid hardware and construction quality make the kit feel worth the money
- MDL-1 module has a lot of sound editing potential
- Pad sizes closely resemble acoustic drum sizes, making the kit feel great to play
- Drum module isn’t as convoluted as modules from competing kits
- Drum module occasionally has unwanted buzzing
The Roland VAD506 is one of the most popular kits available with full-sized acoustic drum shells. It’s one of Roland’s high-end drum kits, and it’s an amazing option to use for live performances.
You’ll get all the benefits of using electronics, but the kit will look just as appealing as an acoustic kit does on a stage. It also feels just as fun to play thanks to the full-sized pads!
The kit comes equipped with the TD-27 drum module. Roland refers to this as their intermediate drum module, but it has top-tier features and functions compared to the modules from other brands.
With the Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine and PureAcoustic Ambience Technology, you get an impressive amount of control over all the sounds. You can spend hours tweaking them to sound exactly how you want.
The stock sounds are also fantastic, and every pad offers realistic musical and dynamic response.
While the wooden shells are the initial drawcard, the digital ride and snare pad are the true strengths of this kit.
Digital pads are far superior to any other electronic pads. They have dozens of sensors to allow them to perform just as well as acoustic drums and cymbals. They’re what makes playing this kit feel so good.
Just note that this kit basically comes as a shell pack. You need regular acoustic drum kit hardware to set it up, and you’ll need to buy those things separately. That includes cymbal stands, a snare stand, a drum throne, and a kick drum pedal.
- Roland TD-27 drum module
- Digital snare and ride cymbal
- Full-size acoustic drum shells
- Great electronic kit to use for live performances
- Feels incredibly similar to playing an acoustic kit
- Drum module has very extensive features
- Solid overall build quality
- It would be a lot better if the kit had a digital hi-hat pad
The Roland TD-27KV has been Roland’s mid-level drum kit option for a few years. The brand recently introduced the Generation 2 version of the kit, which adds a few big improvements.
The biggest addition is the inclusion of the VH-14D hi-hat pad. This is Roland’s digital hi-hat pad, and it’s the best hi-hat pad in the electronic drumming world.
It has incredible realism, and it plays the same as acoustic hi-hats, thanks to all the sensors around the pad. You can even choke it quickly with your hand.
Sitting behind this kit you can truly appreciate every single aspect of it. I find all of the pads respond brilliantly to all types of playing across the kit.
Along with the digital hi-hat pad are the digital ride and snare drum pads. Those were included in the original version of this kit, but the combination of those and the new hi-hat pad makes this kit feel better to play than most competing kits on the market.
It’s amazing how musically responsive Roland has gotten these pads to feel, and you have to play them to truly feel how much of a difference they make.
Another new feature with this Roland TD-27KV Generation 2 kit is that the crash cymbal pads have been made thinner. This makes them feel more resemblant to acoustic crash cymbals, as they wobble more when you strike them. They absorb more of the impact from your sticks, making them feel more authentic.
The final addition for this version of the kit is the added preset drum kit sounds. Roland has also tweaked many of the existing kits to sound more refined than before.
The biggest drawback of the kit is the KD-10 kick drum pad. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it, it’s the same kick drum pad that comes with many of Roland’s lower-end drum sets. With the TD-27KV being a professional option, it would be nice to get a larger pad.
While Roland markets this kit as mid-level, it’s a high-end electronic drum kit through and through. It’s more than capable of handling professional gigs, and it’s an excellent option for experienced drummers who want a good playing experience.
The Roland TD-27KV is the undisputed choice for drummers looking for something that offers a high level of performance across the board.
- Digital ride, snare, and hi-hat pads
- Updated TD-27 drum module
- Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine
- Digital snare, ride, and hi-hat offer realistic response levels
- Thinner cymbal pads closely resemble acoustic cymbals
- The module sound quality is top-quality
- Relatively affordable compared to Roland’s flagship drum sets
- The KD-10 kick pad doesn’t match the quality of the rest of the kit
The Roland TD-17KV Gen 2 is a great kit for experienced drummers to get as a practice option. I love how authentic this kit feels, and it’s mostly thanks to the top-tier mesh pads from Roland.
The sound quality is top-notch, considering how much the kit costs. Most of the sounds draw inspiration from the higher-end drum modules from the brand. You get a whopping 70 preset drum kit sounds, giving you plenty of options to play around with.
The big reason for this being such a good practice kit is that it offers several authentic playability features.
The cymbal pads are weighted so that they feel lifelike when you play them. The large 12” snare pad allows you to really lay into it, and it mostly gives out what you put in. The onboard tuning settings also give you a bit of room for personal touch.
Another feature that many drummers will find attractive is that the kit has a very small footprint. It’s easy to fit into a tight corner, so it’s good for working drummers that need a small practice option. Some drummers just won’t like how you can’t use a dedicated hi-hat stand.
Overall, considering the overall playability and feel of this electronic drum set for the price, it is surely one of, if not the best, affordable electronic drum set for advanced drummers out there.
- Roland TD-17 sound module
- 70 preset drum kits
- Weight-optimized cymbal pads
- Large number of preset kits will keep you entertained for ages
- High-quality Roland mesh heads
- Compact footprint means its a great option for apartments and small spaces
- Good option for experienced drummers who don’t want to spend much
- Doesn’t utilize a dedicated hi-hat stand
The entry-level Alesis Nitro Electronic Drum Set is a very impressive kit, and it’s my top pick as the best electronic drum set to buy on a budget. The generous bundle includes everything you need to begin playing drums right away.
At the heart of this Alesis electronic drum set is the powerful Nitro drum module that is loaded with hundreds of high-quality sounds and 40 drum kits to suit different styles of music.
The module is fully equipped with USB functionality and stereo outputs to expand your performances live and in the studio. The interface is really easy to use and navigate.
Despite being budget-priced, the quality of the Alesis Nitro electronic drum set does not disappoint. It comes complete with all-mesh drumheads across the snare, toms, and kick drum – which is particularly impressive.
The pads feel durable and well made, and the aluminum frame feels supportive. The package includes absolutely everything you need, including a custom-designed bass drum pedal and hi-hat pedal that perform well.
This electronic drum kit is a lot of fun to play, it’s small and compact and the mesh heads provide a great natural feel and an ultra-quiet response.
The package represents exceptional value for money and it is without a doubt the best electronic drum set for the money. It is also suitable for more advanced drummers who are looking for something portable that also performs well on a budget.
- Full set of mesh pads
- 40 preset drum kit sounds
- Kick drum pedal included
- Full set of realistic mesh pads
- Best option for beginners with small budgets
- USB connectivity allows for better sounds through a computer
- Amazing value for the money
- Not the best option for intermediate or experienced drummers
Roland has spent a long time developing the ultra-portable Roland TD-1DMK Electronic Drum Set. I must say they have really delivered, and they’ve found the perfect balance between practicality and performance.
This electronic drum set features all mesh pads and it feels super engaging to play right out of the box! It is super easy to use, it’s ultra-compact and comes equipped with 15 killer sounding drum kits.
It has a very small footprint and has impressive mobility and stow-away convenience. Its innovative folding design allows for quick breakdown and it’s super lightweight for easy transportation.
My first impression playing this kit is simply noticing how well constructed it is. The integrated kick pad works a treat and it is a smart design. The whole kit is satisfying to play. I like how symmetrical it feels sitting behind the kit, and everything feels just at the right playing position.
This kit is loaded with the expressive sounds that you can be sure to expect from Roland. The TD-1 module is neatly tucked away and includes 15 great sounding drum kits. All the individual sounds can be fine-tuned to your preference.
For the money, the Roland TD-1MK electronic drum kit is an exceptional drum set. The dual-trigger mesh pads across the snare and toms are quiet, lifelike, and responsive.
- 15 preset kits
- Compact design
- Dual-trigger mesh pads
- Super compact design makes it easy to move around or fold up
- Roland’s mesh heads offer great realism
- Integrated kick pad can accommodate a double peda
- 15 top-quality preset drum kit sounds
- The stand-mounted kick pad can make the kit difficult to position at times
The Roland TD-02KV is one of Roland’s newer beginner electronic kits. I was quite impressed with this kit, and I think it’s a better option to consider compared to Roland’s TD-1K beginner kit.
That kit feels quite flimsy, whereas this one is structured more like a regular electronic kit with the rack having three bars to mount the drums and cymbals to.
The drum module offers 16 factory kits that all sound relatively realistic. You don’t get too much control over how they sound, but I find them far more pleasing to listen to compared to the preset kits from competing sets in this price range.
The one downside of this kit is that the bass drum comes in the form of a standalone trigger pedal. You don’t get a typical bass drum pad to mount a pedal to. It works quite well, but it doesn’t give you the same feeling as playing a normal kick pedal.
If you start with this, the adjustment to playing an acoustic kit could feel a bit weird when playing the bass drum.
With that being said, it’s a good inexpensive option. The TD-1K kit was only a viable option for kids, whereas this kit will work well for all ages.
- 16 factory drum kits
- Compact drum rack
- Mesh snare drum
- Great option for kids
- Bluetooth adaptor is convenient for drummers with wireless headphones
- The factory kits sound much better than other kits in the same price range
- Compact and easy to store away
- Rubber pads for the toms
If you’re an experienced drummer and the high prices of electronic kits have stopped you from getting one, the Alesis Strike Pro SE is a good option to consider. It’s the flagship electronic set from Alesis, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
The first thing you’ll notice about it is the size. You get far more drums and cymbals here than you do with any other e-kit, and all of them are larger than you’d expect. I love the playing experience you get from it, as it feels the same as playing on a large 6-piece acoustic kit.
The drum module is packed with sounds and features. When booting it up for the first time, you’ll get 136 factory kits to play. However, it has over 1800 onboard sounds to make your own kits with.
The module also has sliders for each drum and cymbal, making mixing and editing sounds very easy to do. Those sliders are one of the best features that I haven’t seen on many other drum modules.
Overall, this is a solid drum kit for pro drummers to get that won’t break the bank. You just need to consider that the quality feels noticeably worse than other drum kits in the same price range.
The hi-hat pad also has a few playability issues that can be frustrating at times.
- 6 drums and 5 cymbals
- 136 factory kits
- Regular acoustic drum kit sizes
- Far more affordable than the top sets from other brands
- Looks amazing with the large shells and cymbals
- Mixer faders on the module are seriously useful
- Over 1800 onboard sounds to play around with
- Feels noticeably cheaper than comparative kits from Roland or Yamaha
- Hi-hat pad is a standout weak point
The Yamaha DTX10K-MRW is the highest-quality electronic kit on Yamaha’s product list. The natural wood drum shells instantly set it apart from other electronic kits, and the drum module is supposed to be positioned on the right instead of the left side.
The thing I appreciate most about this kit is the hardware. No other flagship e-kit comes with the stands you need to set it up. You need to buy those separately. Everything comes included here, and the rack is also the most stable rack I know of in the electronic drum kit world.
It makes you feel very secure when playing the kit, and it gives you a bit of assurance that playing hard won’t do anything to the kit’s overall structural integrity.
The DTX-PROX drum module is packed with high-quality sounds and editing tools. The extent to which you can edit sounds is another standout feature here.
Playing the kit feels fantastic, as you would expect from a high-end Yamaha drum set. The pads are super quiet too, which is an excellent added bonus.
One of the drawbacks is that the kit still performs as you’d expect from an electronic set. If you play very quick notes, the sounds start to make the mechanical machine gun sound, which isn’t ideal.
However, with all the cymbals being triple-zoned and the hardware being so strong, I think this kit is a seriously strong contender for being one of the top kits on the market.
- DTX-PROX sound module
- 3-zone cymbal pads
- 2-ply mesh drum pads
- Best hardware for electronic drums available
- Pristine customization options on the module
- All the cymbal pads are triple-zoned
- Comes with all the hardware you need, unlike other professional e-kits
- The sounds sometimes give a machine gun effect, which isn’t what you’d expect from a kit at this price
This Alesis Surge Electronic Drum Set is a step up from the Alesis Nitro electronic drum set, and offers an improved kick drum tower as well as a premium 4-Post chrome rack for better stability.
The kit is very similar to the Alesis Nitro electronic drum set and they both perform to a high standard for their price ranges. The lightweight and robust 4-post chrome rack is rock-solid and collapsible to fold away into a small compact space for convenience.
The mesh heads provide an authentic playing response and are a lot of fun to play. The Alesis Surge kick drum tower is sturdy and offers a natural kick drum bounce from the beater.
Much like the Alesis Nitro drum module this Surge drum module offers 40 drum kits and has a radiant LCD display and includes everything the modern drummer demands.
Overall this Alesis Surge Kit is a great electronic drum set and it features quality dual-zone mesh drumheads. It is highly affordable, but for its price, it does not offer quite the same excellent value as the Alesis Nitro electronic drum set.
- 24 factory kits
- Includes kick drum pedal
- 60 play-along tracks
- 4-post drum rack makes it feel quite stable
- The Surge drum module offers decent features
- Small footprint when setup, making it good for small areas
- USB & MIDI connectivity means you can get better sounds from VSTs
- Not too much of a step up in quality compared to the more affordable Alesis Nitro kit
The Best Electronic Drum Set Buying Guide
There is still a lot of choice on the market, from a variety of brands, so it’s important to know what to look for when seeking out the best electronic drum set for kids and adults.
There may also be other aspects to owning an electric drum kit that you may not have considered, which are helpful to know and understand before making a decision to purchase one!
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll cover everything you ought to know when looking to buy an electronic drum kit.
The electronic drum module is the most important component of an electric drum set! It functions as the ‘brain’ and generates sounds from the pads when they are played. A sound module should offer a fast and accurate response; in order to replicate the same playing experience a drummer would receive from an acoustic set.
The best electronic drum set sound module offers enormous libraries of onboard drum kits and true-to-life responsiveness and sound detailing, from parts of the drum set such as the rims of the drum pads and the bells on the cymbal pads.
It may be easy to overlook the sound module as such a vital component. The truth is that the drum module is by far the most expensive part of the electronic drum set.
The best electronic drum set modules include USB/MIDI connectivity that allows electronic drums to be recorded onto a computer.
Aside from recording, you can also use the USB connectivity to use your kit as a controller with a VST. This will allow you to get more drum kit sounds, and they’re always far more realistic than the ones that come on the drum module.
Some drummers opt to get more affordable electronic kits and then run them through VSTs to improve their quality. It’s a great way of saving money but still getting great playability out of the kit.
A big aspect that determines the size of an electronic kit is the rack that holds everything together. Some racks are very compact, and they’re cleverly designed so that all the drum and cymbal pads can be mounted to them.
Larger racks will take up more space, but they’ll also feel a lot sturdier when you’re playing. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable playing hard and with energy on a kit with a large rack.
Another benefit of larger racks is that you get more space between the pads. This emulates the feeling of playing an acoustic drum kit a lot better. Smaller kits are easier to play fast notes around, but they make it tougher to transition to a large acoustic kit over time.
You need to factor those components in when deciding how big your kit should be. You also naturally need to get a kit that will fit the space you have.
The big benefit of electronic kits is that most of them are smaller. That’s why many drummers opt to get them over acoustic kits.
How Will You Use Your Electronic Drum Set?
The best electronic drum set will lend itself to numerous musical applications. You will need to consider how you plan on using your new electric kit in order to buy the best electronic drum set to suit your needs.
Some electronic drum sets are designed to be portable and to be packed away in bags quickly and efficiently in order for fast transportation between rehearsals and shows.
Alternatively, if you intend on using an electric drum kit primarily for home practice, it may be wise to consider buying a set that fits into your home suitably and produces a lower volume response from the pads. Typically, high-end electronic drum sets will take up more space; featuring larger sized pads to replicate the feeling of playing an acoustic drum set.
If you plan on recording with your electronic drum set you will need to ensure it can support recording into a digital audio workstation on a computer.
It is important to understand the functionality and practicality of the electronic drum set so that it can serve you for years without needing to upgrade or sell it out of necessity!
Electronic Drums Will Generate Some Noise
The most significant reason people choose to buy the best electronic drum set is that it’s a much quieter alternative to playing a full acoustic drum kit. Whilst this remains true, playing an electric kit will never be completely silent.
The noise emitted from an electric kit is a clatter of wood, rubber, and other synthetic materials that is fairly loud to an outside listener.
The pads on an electric kit are composed of either mesh or rubber. Mesh pads are quieter to play than rubber pads and also offer a more realistic feel to play on. Most electric kits will at least feature a mesh snare drum pad, but a kit accommodating full mesh pads is much more desirable.
Another benefit of mesh pads is that they allow you to adjust the tension of all the drums. You can personalize the amount of rebound you want, and it’s a good idea to get them as close to what you get with acoustic drums.
That means that the floor tom pad should feel a lot looser than the high tom pad. The snare drum pad should be the tightest, and then it should decrease in tension as you play around the kit.
If your mesh pads are too tight, you’ll get a false sense of speed, and then you’ll struggle to play the same quick patterns when you swap over to an acoustic kit.
Do You Want a Kit for Live Shows?
If you want to use an electronic kit for live shows, you need to consider both looks and playability. A lot of electronic kits won’t cut it for gigs simply because their drum sounds are too poor for that.
I’d suggest not using any kit that costs under $1000 to play live shows with. The electronic sounds stand out in the mix, as they don’t sound natural at all. They’re not bad for practicing, but they can very easily deter from a live gigging experience.
When it comes to visuals, there are some kits that look far better on a stage than others. This obviously isn’t as important as sound quality, but it can hinder the aesthetic that your band may be going for.
The electronic kits that have acoustic shells are incredible options for live gigs. A lot of non-musicians won’t even know that you’re not playing an acoustic kit.
You Will Likely Need Some Additional Products
Within the price of an electronic drum set, you might not receive all the essential items needed in order to play the drums straight away.
The marketing photos of electronic kits can be very deceiving, as they always include stands and pedals when looking at the sets. You need to make sure that you’re looking at what’s included so that you know what extra components to get.
The only electronic kits that I know of that come with a snare stand and hi-hat stand are the Yamaha DTX-10 models. Everything else will end up costing more than you think due to needing those extra components.
An electric drum set amplifier is also an important add-on purchase in order for yourself to be heard by other listeners, and especially if you plan on using your electronic kit for rehearsals and gigs.
If you just want to practice at home, you can simply use headphones you already own. However, I highly recommend getting studio-quality headphones that will bring the best sounds out of your drums. That will make you enjoy them a lot more.
The price of these add-ons will vary, but to obtain maximum enjoyment from playing a new electric drum kit it is recommended to invest in quality add-ons. And in order to hear the kit sounding as good as possible, you will require a good pair of electronic drum headphones or an amplifier!