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3 Best Beginner Drum Sets Under $500 in 2022 Reviewed

Getting a new drum set is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It’s the moment you can finally express yourself through music in ways you never thought possible. 

Whether you’re an adult who’s always wanted to pick up a new instrument or a parent looking to turn their child’s musical aspirations into a reality, the first step is to find the right beginner drumset. 

With so many brands and models, it’s difficult to know where to begin. In this guide, we’ll review the three best beginner drum sets under $500 and tell you the essential features to look for to set you on the right path to drumming happiness. 

3 Best Beginner Drum Sets under $500 Reviewed 

You may not be ready to invest thousands of dollars into your drumming setup as a beginner. 

That’s why we’re giving you three drumsets to choose from that are affordable, easy to play, and produce high-quality sound. Let’s get into it.

1. Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit

Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit Black Sparkle

The Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit includes everything you need to play the drums. You receive kick drums, snare drums, cymbals, hi-hats, snare stands, drum sticks, a drum key, and more. 

As far as sound, with proper tuning and padding, the Questlove pocket kit will wow you. You get a nice full sound, especially with the full-sized kick drum.

This drum set is best suited for kids ages 4 to 10. While adults can play it, it’s not meant for adults who are 6.1” and taller. (though we’ve seen that happen before!)

Also, the Ludwig pocket kit has a refined appearance, and the black sparkle color gives it a shiny aesthetic appeal. It comes with cymbals and mounting hardware, allowing you to have everything you need to get started. 



  • Drum set format: Complete with cymbals and mounting hardware 
  • Bass size: 16x10
  • Tom size: 10 tom 13-floor tom 
  • Snare size: 12x5


  • Constructed with steel and hardwood, making it long-lasting and durable 
  • Creates impressive sounds that are suitable for most genres 
  • Easy to transport 


  • It requires a lengthy setup but does include online instructions

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2. Mapex Rebel 5 Pc Jazz Complete Drum Set w/ Hardware and Cymbals

Mapex Rebel 5 Pc Jazz Complete Drum Set w/Hardware and Cymbals - Black

The Mapex Rebel 5-piece drum set comes with all the hardware and cymbals you need, so you can set it up and play right out of the box. Unlike the Ludwig set, these come with extra accessories such as durable rebel double-braced hardware, a throne, Remo heads, and drumsticks. It’s the perfect set for beginners who want an idea of what a professional drum set feels and sounds like. 

With the poplar wood shells, you get plenty of tones, while the bass drum delivers a strong low-end punch. The poplar wood provides a balanced range of frequencies. This drum set delivers a pleasant pop and delightful warm tones, making it a well-rounded kit for beginners. 

A common problem for cheap drums is that the screw quickly loosens. But the lug designs ensure that its rim holds the drum head firmly without receiving slack. Also, they come with reliable tom holders, so no matter how hard you hit them, they remain as they are. 



  • Drum set format: Complete with cymbals, rebel double-braced hardware, throne, Remo heads, and sticks 
  • Bass size: 20x16
  • Tom size: 10x7 12x8 14x12
  • Snare size: 14x5


  • Lots of hardware for durability, keeping the hi-hats and cymbals in place 
  • Chrome rims and black design give off a sleek appearance 
  • Includes a lot of accessories saving you more money


  • Metal lovers may prefer a larger set with beefier sounds.

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3. Mapex Rebel 5 Pc SRO Complete Set Up w/ Fast Size Toms

Mapex Rebel 5 Pc SRO Complete Set Up with Fast Size Toms Black

The Rebel 5-piece Mapex drum set is designed to help make your drumming experience more enjoyable. Unlike the Mapex Jazz drum set, the main difference is in the bass size. Its 22” diameter is two inches larger, giving it more hard-hitting bass sounds suitable for rock drumming. 

It’s still made with poplar wood, so you get warm tones with balanced frequencies across all ranges. Also, the 22” bass drums can produce greater volumes. However, this will not be ideal for sensitive dynamics such as jazz music. 

Like the previous Mapex set, you’re getting all the necessary inclusions and accessories to get you going out of the box. You’ll receive bass drums, toms and snares, chrome hardware, rebel double bass hardware, a double tom holder, Remo heads, sticks, cymbals, and more. 



  • Drum set format: Complete with cymbals, stands, pedals, throne, and rebel double-braced hardware 
  • Bass size: 22x16
  • Tom size: 10x7 12x8 16x14
  • Snare size: 14x5


  • Mapex lug design prevents screw loosening 
  • A larger bass size gives you a deeper low-end sound and greater volume 
  • It comes in a full set with plenty of accessories 


  • Not as great for subtle and sensitive sounds like jazz music

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What To Look For in a Beginner Drum Set Under $500 

Most people start their musical journey with a snare drum or drum pad. However, once you start falling in love with drumming and the beautiful sounds you can make with it, it’s time to upgrade and get a full kit. Even if you’re drumming for music therapy, getting the right kit can make the experience much more enjoyable. 

Consider these factors when looking for a beginner drum set:

Drum Sizes 

Drum sizes affect how comfortable you feel playing which ultimately impacts your performance. 

There are three common sizes: rock, fusion, and hybrid sizes. Rock sizes typically are bigger than the others and produce a more balanced and deep sound. Hybrid and fusion are more popular now since they take up less space than rock-sized drumsets. If you have limited space, opt for either hybrid or fusion. 

Also, make sure each drum is a size optimal for your needs. Typically snare drum sizes are 14” x 5” since it’s easy to tune and play in every way. The slightly larger snares create more low frequencies, which is perfect for pop and rock drumming. Smaller-sized snares produce a more snappy, high-pitched sound and a more crisp feel. 

As for bass drums, the most versatile and all-purpose size is the 20” diameter with 14 to 16” depth. 22” diameter bass drums are perfect for rock drumming since it has plenty of low-end to them. However, 18” bass drums are best suited for pop and jazz playing due to their tiger tuning capability. 

The most common drumset configuration is a five-piece kit that includes a 22” bass, 14” snare, 12”, 13”, and 16” toms. This setup provides the greatest flexibility in terms of sound, which doesn’t limit you to only one or two musical styles. 

Ultimately, your decision depends on your preference and playing style. If you’re uncertain, we recommend choosing a more versatile option that’s well-suited for all genres. 

Type of Wood 

The type of wood will tell you a lot about the drumset quality and the sound they produce. For example, maple drum sales are incredibly versatile and provide bright yet warm sounds. They have a vintage-sounding tone, plenty of balanced mids and highs, and full low frequencies. Maple is perfect for all-around performers and is the most popular choice of wood. 

Mahogany is a dense wood that produces warm, darker beats. These drum shells have a powerful low end with more resonance and a fatter tone than Maple. However, Mahogany is a more expensive wood type than Maple. 

Birch is another popular choice for beginner drum sets. They’re extremely dense hardwoods best known for their short sustain and bright tone. These drum shells are the ultimate choice for recording studios since they offer a clear projection and a wonderful presence. Birch drums have a clear and authoritative tone, making them a great option for beginners. 

Your music genre will dictate the wood type you choose for your set. 


The hardware that comes with the drumset is just as essential as the kit itself. Solid hardware allows you to rock out for many years without worry. 

First, consider the throne and bass pedal since they quickly develop wear and tear. Invest in a comfortable throne with lots of adjustabilities. Look for a bass pedal that has options to customize and rugged construction. 

Regarding snare and cymbal stands, consider whether you value durability or portability. Durable hardware includes memory locks and double-braced legs, while portable hardware only has single-braced legs. You must ensure you have the right amount of hardware to hold your snare, toms, cymbals, and gongs. 

New to Drumming? Get Expert Help Today From DCP!  

Learning to play the drums is a rewarding experience. It provides a creative outlet and offers many health benefits

With so many drum sets available on the market, it can be overwhelming to purchase your first drum set. Hopefully, this review guide has provided you with enough information to help to select the perfect beginner drumset. 

Your decision will come down to your preferences and needs. We’ve given you the most versatile and beginner-friendly options to set you up for success. 

Drum Center of Portsmouth has the largest selection of drums on the east coast, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Get in touch with any questions. Shop DCP today and begin your musical journey!

16 days ago