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Learning to play drums comes at a great cost – to your pocket and to your neighbors ears. But what if you could practice your drumming without keeping the neighbors up at night and without spending thousands of dollars on expensive snares and cymbals? That's what you get with our pick of the best electronic drum set for beginners.
Anyone who has ever played the drums will admit to two things:
- Drums are loud – annoyingly so
- Getting the right drum sound is tough, especially if you're a beginner
Electronic drum sets give you a solution to both these problems. Since the sound produced by electronic drums is, well, electronic, you can plug in your headphones and play the drums without waking up everyone in a 3 mile radius.
And since the sound is essentially produced via samples, you get pitch-perfect tune, no matter where you are.
That's not the only plus: the best electronic drum set costs a fraction of the cost of a real drum set. They're also lighter and more portable.
All these benefits make electronic drum sets the perfect solution for beginners. If you're just learning how to play, getting an electronic set will make it much easier, quieter, and cheaper to get started. They're also great for slightly experienced drummers looking for something to practice on without the loudness of real drums. And since they look and feel like real drums, not drum machines, you get a more authentic playing experience.
The question remains: what's the best electronic drum set for beginners? We'll help you out with our roundup of the six best electronic drum sets on the market right now.
About your reviewer
Ryan Harrell is the founder of MIDINation and an experienced producer/DJ. His first experience with electronic music production dates back to Cubase 3.0 in the summer of 1997, and he's been a fan ever since. He prefers Ableton as his primary DAW these days, though he is still partial to Cubase and Pro Tools. He lives in San Diego and freelances as a producer and part-time DJ.
Our 6 Best Electronic Drum Set for Beginners
Here are our top picks for the top electronic drum sets you can buy right now:
Best Overall: Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit
- One 8” Dual-zone Mesh Snare Pad
- ÚSB/MIDI connection
- MIDI controller with your computer
- Drum Module has 385 preset sounds
The Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh is the first drum set on this list of the best electronic drum set for beginners. Alesis Studio Electronics is one of the first manufacturers to wade into the budget category instruments. As a result, they have years of experience making budget home studio instruments while retaining excellent performance. The Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit is one such instrument.
The kit looks nothing like the price. It looks durable and far more expensive than it actually is. It comes with an 8” dual-zone mesh snare pad, a 10” dual-zone crash, and 2 cymbal pads. A complete four-post drum rack, three 8″ single-zone mesh tom pads, and a hi-hat controller pedal. As you can see, it is very rich in parts.
The material feels more like acoustic snare than rubber pads. This same feel goes for the 8” mesh tom pads.
Aside from the parts listed above, this kit comes with a steel housing that makes it look and feel durable, a single-zone pad and a kick pedal. Part of the package includes the assembly key, spare sticks, and instruction guides.
The sounds from the drums are satisfactory, albeit a bit artificial sounding. I enjoyed the kits' acoustic properties. When I tried the rim-shots and cross-stick, I was left impressed.
As the kit comes with 385 pre-installed sounds and 60 songs, it is great for beginners. Voice editing is enabled by the layout of the drum.
What we don’t like: Although the overall sounds are nice, I felt they are a tad artificial for my tastes.
Recommended for: The Alesis Nitro Mesh has features that make it an ideal starter drum kit. Hence, beginners will enjoy playing on this drum kit.
- It offers good value for money
- The mesh pads feel realistic
- Kit/drum voice editing is really easy and simple
- The sounds are not entirely natural
Best Entry-Level: Alesis Compact Kit 4
- Built-in speaker
- 4 velocity-sensitive drum pads
- AC and Battery powered
- In-built sound samples
The Alesis Compact Kit 4 is the second product from Alesis on this list. It continues the tradition of offering good performance at an affordable price. When presented with the price, many people dismiss out-of-hand the performance of the drum kit. However, despite the cheap price, the quality of the build is magnificent. In fact, it is more durable than many more expensive drum kits.
It comes with 4 velocity-sensitive drum pads that feel great. I found them highly responsive, and I loved the feel under my fingers. Although many people feel four pads are too limited for a great experience, I was satisfied with what I got. The sound from these pads sounds very realistic. When compared with other drum kits at this price range, there is no competing with this drum kit. I am sure that after your purchase, you will use this kit for years.
This drum kit is a tabletop electronic drum; thus, it doesn’t have the stands and setup of traditional drum sets. This makes setup very easy and is ideal for newbies who are focused on learning and improving. The tabletop drum kit is almost ready-to-use straight out of the box. It is very user-friendly. It comes with a screen that shows the rhythm.
The portable design is aided by the fact that aside from powering it through an AC adapter, you can also use it with batteries.
The drum kit comes with in-built sounds. Although the number of sounds is not as much as some other drum kits on this list, I still found them quite diverse. The 70 percussion voices, 50 play-along songs, and 10 effect voices offer quite a diverse selection. It is large enough to provide versatility.
Whatever you play is recordable. Thus beginners will find it useful in replaying sessions, identifying mistakes, and working on them.
What we don’t like
There are a couple of things I didn’t like. Some of these are because I am a ”proper' player. First, there is no foot pedal. This can affect the way the drum is controlled. Furthermore, although the drum pads are responsive, the lack of more than 4 drum pads is a bummer.
Recommended for: This budget tabletop drum kit is ideal for beginners and children.
- It is easy to use
- The construction is durable and of high-quality
- It comes with a diverse selection of in-built sounds
- Doesn’t have foot pedals
- Has just 4 drum pads
Best Performance: Roland TD-1DMK
- 256 Polyphonic notes
- 15 Preset drum kits
- Dual-ply mesh head
- Hi-hat Pedal controllers
The Roland TD- 1DMK is an ideal drum kit for anyone looking for a cheap drum kit without sacrificing loads of functions and features found in more expensive drum kits.
The electronic drum set comes with an 8” dual-zone snare pad. There are 3” top pads along with three 10” dual-zone cymbal pads. I found the crash cymbal pad great. It comes with a hi-hat pedal controller which provides impressive value for money.
The cymbal pads and the arms of the drum kit are painted in black, which makes it have a beautiful aesthetic feel. The cymbal pads are small in size and have a rubber layer to improve the sound they produce.
A design feature I liked is the ability to attach horizontal bars to the H-shaped central section. The drum set feels durable and very stable. It doesn’t wobble. The H-shaped central section that allows you to add horizontal bars is a nifty feature. With this feature, you can easily attach the rubber bass drum trigger pad to the pole of the frame.
Most of the other drum sets do not grant you the amazing versatility this drum kit offers. The rack toms can be positioned on the top rather than on horizontal bars.
The sound features on this kit make it so highly rated by many users. The interface is very easy to use. There are 4 menus that you can control with the press of a button.
Furthermore, the kit comes with 15 presets in the drums menu.
Overall, it is an excellent choice for drummers, and especially for beginners. It comes with practice aids and coaching functions that help you get better. The coaching modes help beginners control their tempo, time, velocity, and so on.
What we don’t like
As this kit is geared primarily towards beginners, I found it too simple to use.
Recommended for: This drum kit is great for everyone, whether professional or amateur. However, because of such features as the onboard coaching functions, I recommend this kit to anyone who desires to practice more.
- The kit has a user-friendly design
- The tom pads and mesh snare feel great
- Slightly pricey
Best Performance (Alternative): Yamaha DTX402K
- DTX402X iOS and Android app
- +415 in-built sounds
- Interactive training modules
- USB-Host port
The Yamaha DTX402 is an offering that is mainly built for beginners. The DTX402 is an offering that delivers satisfactory performance on a tight budget.
To be fair, the initial appearance of the drum kit isn’t inspiring. It looks shabby and cheap. However, the appearance is offset by the compact nature. It comes with 10 drum kits, 31 cymbals, 36 tom pads and, 42 percussion parts. It features a unit that reduces any vibrations and noise.
Unlike many of the best electronic drum kits on this list, the drum doesn’t come with a mesh snare. However, it replaces this with gum rubber pads and a soft kick pedal.
Some other noteworthy features include:
- It comes with 27 drum and percussion sound, and 128 keyboard sounds.
- The play-along songs help to train beginners.
- Despite the admittedly poor appearance, it is the performance that shines with this drum kit.
- The drum kit is very easy to use. It comes loaded with educational features that make it the drum kit of choice for any young beginner.
- The drum kit has an app that exponentially increases the ease of use. It is compatible with Android and iOS devices. The DTX402 Touch app has an advanced user interface that is super-friendly. Aside from the DTX402 Touch app, there is also the “Rec’n’Share” app, which as the name implies, allows you record yourself while you play.
What we don’t like
The drum kit is quite rigid. As a result, I could not adjust the toms as I wanted.
Recommended for: If you are on a tight budget and are a beginner, this electronic drum kit is ideal for you.
- It has a plethora of sounds
- The dedicated apps make it very easy to use
- It feels great to play
- The toms have limited positioning options
- Silent Kick might take some getting used to
Best Mid-Range: Vault ED-5
- 1/8 stereo aux input
- USB Connection
- 200+ instrument sounds
The Vault ED-10M isn’t as popular as many other brands, but I found the build and the performance surprisingly good.
It comes with 4 sensitive pads and a full set of cymbals. Despite being a budget option, the pads on this drum set come with mesh heads instead of rubber heads.
The performance is really impressive, considering the price. It can even rival other drum kits above it on the price ladder.
With over 600 in-built sounds, it is a very versatile drum kit. I enjoyed the functional EQ it comes equipped with.
Altogether, the Vault ED-10M offers a quality sound performance despite a limited budget.
What we don’t like
During use, the output jack was a tad unreliable. It didn’t connect very well.
Recommended for: This drum kit is primarily focused towards those that want a budget option but still want mid-level performance.
- Durable build
- Sounds are impressive for the price
- Output jack feels flimsy
Best for Portability: Yamaha DD-75
- 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads
- Customizable pads
- 2 Foot pedals
- AC Adapter/ Battery powered drum kit
The Yamaha DD75 is a very portable, high-end, electronic drum kit that offers impressive overall performance.
It comes with 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads that is designed just like an acoustic drum kit. These drum pads are very responsive, and there is no lagging. It is very easy to set up this drum kit due to the portable design. Coupled with the option to run the drum kit on batteries, it is great for the traveling musician.
I like the incorporated drum kit sounds from Yamaha’s bestseller, the DTX- Multi 12 Electronic Percussion Pad. It provides excellent sound and can even be paired with an acoustic drum set to produce a magnificent sound.
It has a headphone jack which allows you practice in private. With the robust sound system, bass port, and more, the drum kit is a pleasure to use.
It is fitted with a pair of foot pedals. One of the pedals is for hi-hat, while the other one is for kick.
With the different modes available on this drum kit, I was able to enjoy different sounds. From jazz to rock, to funk and other genres, the drum kit provides them all. In fact, with the percussion mode, I was able to enjoy Indian, Chinese, and other ethnic sounds.
The drum kit comes with an aux-in jack that allows you plug in your phone or mp3 player and play along to the music.
What we don’t like: The build isn’t as sturdy as I’d have liked. The pair of pedals are also too small for my liking.
Recommended for: If you are in the market for a compact drum set because you don’t have a lot of space, then I recommend the Yamaha DD75.
- Impressive sound quality
- Offers great value for money
- Compact, portable design
- It takes some getting used to
- Pedals are small and feel fragile
Over to You
Choosing from the best electronic drum sets for beginners isn't easy. Hopefully this guide would have made things easier for you.
For more recommendations and advice, don't hesitate to reach out to me here.
- September 3, 2019: Article published with 6 reviewed products
- February 12, 2020: Article revised and updated