A drum set can usually only produce the same variety of sounds as the instruments it has available to it. A four-piece kit with a single cymbal will produce far less variety than a 32-piece set with multiple cymbals of varying sizes.
So how can you expand your soundscape?
The answer: electronic drum triggers.
A kick drum triggers attach to your kit and can produce additional sounds. They let you introduce a wider variety of sounds that would otherwise be unobtainable unless you paid for a much larger set.
Today, we review the top five best drum triggers along with a guide on what to look for when purchasing one.
Let's get into it!
5 Best Drum Triggers of 2021
We've scoured the extensive brands and trigger kit options available to find the ones with the best value for money. Check them out below!
First on our list is the Roland RT-30H acoustic trigger. This device stands out in many ways. It possesses excellent trigger sensitivity, so you don't need to worry about missing a beat or misfiring during play. It is also straightforward to install, taking mere moments to apply to your kit.
The Roland RT-30H is one of the best drum triggers available due to its ease-of-use and simple installation. All you need to do to begin your exploration of hybrid drumming is clip it onto the metal frame of your existing drum kit. The self-guided mounting system will automatically set sensors to optimum positioning so that you can play immediately.
The Roland RT-30H is compatible with almost any metal drum hoop. Its versatility even extends to the newer inward-curved hoop styles on the market.
The fiberglass-reinforced ABS body also provides the kick drum trigger with some significant durability, so there is no need to be extra delicate with your set.
- Effortless installation, simply clip onto your metal drum hoop
- Self-guide sensors make for simple automation
- Minimal to no latency or lag with the transference of beat to electronic sound produced
- Possesses some of the best versatility on the market
- TRS connection cable included with purchase
- Sensor may not always pick up light hits on snares
Overall, we consider the Roland RT-30H a win. Its supreme versatility, paired with its high sensitivity, makes it one of the best drum triggers available. If you're looking for an acoustic drum trigger, this product is the best option.
Next on our list is another product from Roland that might seem similar to the kick drum trigger above, but it possesses some unique differences of its own. Namely, the RT-30HR features a dual zone trigger.
The dual zone trigger allows one trigger to produce two sounds simultaneously. The difference in sounds comes from where the trigger hits the pad, hence the two zones.
This versatility is what makes the RT-30HR one of the best kick drum triggers available. It is perfectly suited to drummers who want to enhance their soundscape without having to break the bank.
Similar to the RT-30H, the RT-30HR also features a self-guided mounting system. This set-up allows the sensor to adjust automatically.
Another feature and what makes the RT-30HR one of the best drum triggers, however, is its exceptional use with snare drums.
The incompatibility with snares was the only drawback we found with the RT-30H. If you're a fan of snares, you will much prefer this acoustic drum trigger from Roland.
- Exceptional sensitivity with little-to-no latent play
- Easy to install, simply clip on to the metal drum hoop
- Perfect for snares
- TRS connection cable included with purchase
- Dual zone trigger system for simultaneous sound production
- Most effective with other Roland products, may not work as well with different brands
Simply put, the RT-30HR is the perfect acoustic drum trigger for those who require greater sensitivity for light drum pieces. The dual zone trigger system is a unique feature that sets this product apart from competitors. Plus, the improved compatibility with snares makes it a better choice for drummers wanting more versatility with their snare sounds.
The third finalist on our list from Roland is the RT-30K acoustic drum trigger. Roland designed this product specifically for live performances with hybrid drum kits. With this kick trigger kit, you can expect crystal clear electric samples during your shows.
This device delivers ultra-sensitivity and little-to-no delay in feedback. The instant response effect makes the RT-30K ideal for gigs and festivals. Considering that you need to compete with the noise of crowds and other instruments in a live performance, the RT-30K gives you the edge you need.
We also consider it a standout kick trigger kit in both installation and performance. It is easy to use and has fantastic output quality. The electronic drum sound mimics an authentic sound almost perfectly, so your hybrid drum set will possess a convincingly larger soundscape.
- Easy to install via clip-on design
- Perfect for heavy music such as dubstep or metal
- Crystal clear yet powerful audio output
- Ultra-sensitive, capable of picking up any beat you lay down
- Durable fiberglass body
- Slightly higher price point than other models on this list, though this is mostly justifiable
We found the RT-30K to be one of the most impressive, not least of all because it's a device tailor-made for live performances. You don't usually find that kind of forethought with triggers. The RT-30K possesses a supreme level of accuracy and sensitivity while still maintaining the durability and ease-of-use associated with similar Roland products. If your drumming habits are more hardcore, this kick drum trigger is ideal for you.
The first Yamaha product on our list, the Yamaha DT-50K bass drum trigger excels at providing a natural and authentic sound. Few listeners would realize its sounds have electronic origins.
The Yamaha DT-50K possesses a solid die-cast solid body made entirely from metal. Durability and professional appearance go hand in hand.
This emphasis on durability does not take away from the sound quality. With each strike, the trigger produces an authentic drum sound that easily blends in with the rest of your acoustic set. The result is an enhanced soundscape that does not sound overproduced or complicated.
As for the mounting system, simplicity reigns. All you need to do is attach the mounting system to one of your shells, and within minutes, you are good to go.
This bass drum trigger provides a highly efficient sound output with outstanding durability.
- Suitable for both live performances and studio recording
- Compatible with all drum modules on the market
- Provides accurate and consistent results
- Sensitivity is adjustable to meet your performance requirements
- Metal cast body for extensive durability
- Chrome exterior blends seamlessly with your kit
- The clip and screw design may not be completely stable during particularly vigorous performances
A respectable product from a well-respected brand, the Yamaha DT-50K excels in consistency and accuracy. It is a little pricey, but it lives up to its value via its high-performance standard. We fully endorse this trigger.
The final trigger on our list, but by no means the worst, is the Yamaha DT-50S.
The first standout feature is its broad compatibility. This trigger can attach to any drum module available on the market, so you do not need to worry about it not fitting when it arrives.
The design of the DT-50S makes it suitable for professional musicians who need their triggers to work as hard as they do. With this in mind, the DT-50S features a metal cast body for maximum durability.
The simplicity of installation continues with this trigger. It sticks firmly to your kit, and the metal casing ensures it remains there, no matter how into your performance you get.
The sensitivity adjustment is also here, as it was with our previous Yamaha recommendation. The responsiveness is an essential feature if you only want the trigger to respond to your firmest strikes.
- Sensitivity can adjust to meet your performance needs
- Exceptionally durable due to the metal body
- Attaches firmly to the drum shells with no complication
- Chrome exterior design makes for an aesthetically pleasing addition to your kit
- Works well with snare drums, floor toms, and rack toms with total consistency
- It may prove too costly for amateur drummers
The Yamaha DT-50S is easily one of the best drum triggers available. It provides durability and high-quality sound output, all in an attractive casing that can blend right into your set. Don't just take our word for it—try it yourself!
What To Look For When Choosing a Trigger Kit for Drums
Now that you know about the best drum triggers from 2021, let's talk about what to look for when purchasing.
In much the same way that all drummers are different, all drum sets are too. What you are looking for in a trigger may differ radically from what another drummer is seeking.
This wide range of expectations and uses can make shopping for a new kick drum trigger a daunting prospect. Spending up to a hundred dollars on a device you may not even like is nobody's idea of a good time.
Below are just some of the questions and considerations you need to be having before any purchase. This way, you know what you need and why you need it!
The Type of Drum
This first factor might sound obvious, but it is a fundamental aspect to consider. You can't just buy any trigger and hope for the best. There are a wide variety of triggers out there to match a wide variety of drums. It would be best if you paired yours accordingly.
Different triggers possess different sensitivities to accommodate the force of different strikes. A snare drum trigger will not behave the same way as a bass drum trigger, for instance. Bear this in mind before buying anything!
The Trigger Play Type
The way you play will directly impact the efficacy of the trigger you have fitted. Some triggers respond to sensitivity from specific strikes on the drum head, while others respond to the shells' vibrations.
Generally speaking, heavier music will require triggers designed for drum head strikes, while lighter music will better respond to triggers monitoring the shells' vibrations.
The last thing you want to do is overload a more gentle trigger with your heavy metal playing. Make sure you match the type of trigger and playing style accordingly.
Drum Module/Trigger Compatibility
Most triggers will fit with all drum modules on the market. However, this is not exclusively the case.
Some brands will only work with drum modules designed for their specific triggers. This compatibility issue can occur with some Roland products. While we undoubtedly still recommend the brand, it's something to bear in mind before brand-mixing!
If you're loyal to a particular brand, this shouldn't pose a problem for you. However, if your set consists of multiple pieces from different brands, you need to check ahead to ensure the trigger you have ordered will fit your set.
Attachment Style of Your Trigger
This last point is only a minor one, but you should still be aware! Many triggers simply clip onto the outer edge, whereas some will stick on via adhesive. If you frequently move between sets but want to take your trigger with you, it's strongly advised you opt for the clip option. They are much more portable!
So, there you have it, our guide to the top five best drum triggers of 2021. We hope we have provided you with a few strong contenders for your new favorite! Just remember, there is no singular best product on the market. Each possesses its own merits, and that can vary based on your genre and playstyle. Don't be afraid to experiment between brands and styles!