The Best Drum Kits on the Market Currently

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Pearl Drum Kit

 

Whether you’re an aspiring beginner, avid musician or experienced professional, having the right drum kit for your personal play style and preferences is vital to developing your capabilities. It also determines just how much fun you can have behind your set.

Of course, you want to make a wise investment and secure the best barrels in your budget range. As you might already know, prices for drum kits can quickly soar into the thousands depending on where you look. There are several brands to choose from and not all sets offer the same value for money.

In this guide, we review the leading options at various ends of the market. Let’s start by briefly discussing the key factors to keep in mind when searching for a drum kit.

Selecting Your Set

While it’s possible to build your drum kit piece-by-piece, most retailers offer complete packages with everything you need to start playing. This includes your basic bins, sticks, cymbals, hardware and even stools. With the sheer number of parts required for any setup to be usable, kits that comprise all the essentials tend to be favorable.

As for what you should spend on the whole set, it mostly comes down to skill level. Your tastes will grow more refined over time. For example, you might end up enjoying the sonic palette of a birch and maple shell over a cheaper poplar construction. Your playing style can also influence your requirements in areas such as durability.

There are additional considerations like tom mounts, tension legs and other moving parts, which deteriorate over time. It is therefore smart to prioritize said components - as well as drum heads that may hinder your kit if they’re cheap - when shopping around.

Yamaha Stage Custom

+ Powerful sound

+ Value for money

+ Yamaha build quality

- Less suitable for soft players

Available from $499 in countless finishes, the Yamaha Stage Custom has occupied the midrange for decades, receiving numerous updates to maintain its relevance. The all-birch drum is carefully cut with 6-ply shells that measure 6mm in diameter. It’s a strong set with generous low-end boom from the bass drum and toms that deliver hefty kicks.

The snare is characteristically bright, and you can expect the lightly-colored wood to provide its typical focused sound throughout the set. With a competitive price tag and solid engineering, the Yamaha Stage Custom is one to rely on.

Ludwig Breakbeats

+ Distinctive style

+ Highly portable

- Bass drum riser is known to shift under prolonged pressure

When it comes to mobility, this compact kit from Ludwig reigns supreme. The set, which costs around $449 at most retailers, contains a 16"x14" bass drum, 14"x5" snare 13"x13" floor tom, and a rack tom measuring 10x7 inches. You can pick up this chromed shell kit in a wide selection of colors, including the original Azure Sparkle Blue finish.

The vintage funk sound of the Ludwig Breakbeats calls for some degree of experience from the player, but is still a great buy for beginners. Knowing your drum rudiments ought to help you make the most of the set.

If you’re new to the instrument, there’s an informative guide detailing the 5 most essential drum rudiments on Pirate.com. While you’re there, be sure to visit their homepage and explore the 700+ studios that Pirate manages around the world. Each is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, making for an ideal space to meet your recording and production needs.

Pearl Export

+ Affordable

+ Renowned hardware

+ Unique material combination

- Snare drum could be better

This iconic kit first hit the market back in 1982, serving as a testament to its popularity among players and industry experts. Since then, the Pearl Export has seen a number of revisions, most notably in 2007 when it received a new tom bracket and upgraded shells. The refresh also brought sculpted lugs that improved air circulation.

As you would expect from a Pearl product, this set features an attractive design constructed out of poplar wood and mahogany. By incorporating the latter material, engineers were able to add more depth and warmth to the shell tone. Just keep in mind that there are better snare drums out there.

Mapex Saturn V

+ Beautiful finishes

+ Effortless tuning

+ Superior bottom-end

- Only available with black chrome hardware

Depending on when and where you buy it, the Mapex Saturn V can be picked up for $2,000 or less. Another factor that may influence the price is your preferred colorway, as every sumptuous finish is a step above your average drum set. So too are the maple and walnut shells. There’s also a built-in Soniclear bearing edge.

Coupled with excellent contact between the head and shell, not to mention a rounded bearing edge, the final kit on our list makes for a fantastic all-rounder.

Looking to weigh in a few extra options? You might want to add the Gretsch Renown, Natal Arcadia, PDP Player and Sonor SQ1 to your shortlist as well.