To the untrained eye, a drum kit can seem pretty simple. Yet like any other instrument, there are many components that go into finding the perfect first drum kit.
At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we cater to each and every detail of the drum kit. We know choosing the best drum set for when you're starting out isn't easy, but it is a huge decision. Your first drum kit has the potential to influence how you play for the rest of your life.
With over 200 years of combined experience, we know the best equipment for when you're just starting to learn the ropes of this instrument. For your early lessons, our kits will provide you with the high-quality performance you need to improve and work towards mastery.
Summary of Guide
Our ultimate guide for beginner drum sets is designed to help you purchase the drum kit you'll love playing for years. Starting out as a musician is exciting. As eager as you may be to bring home your new set, we all know you must be clued-up before making any impulsive purchases.
Our guide consists of a variety of established brands. We know no two drums, or two drummers, are the same. From the affordable Pearl Roadshow to the legendary Ludwig, our beginners' drum-set reviews are here to guide you towards your perfect match based on price, quality of materials, playing style, and more.
Not even the greatest models are ideal for every player. To save you the hassle here's the good and the bad of each drum kit.
1 Best for Beginners on a Budget
- It's one of the least expensive drum kits you'll find out there, but without compromising any of the quality of any component of the set.
- The kit contains all the elements you need in your drum set, including a full hardware and cymbal package, so you don't have to worry anything is missing.
- You can angle and lock your tilters so that drums and cymbals are kept in the right position all the time.
- The Roadshows snare can make your sound soar with power, or provide a more subtle and subdued tone depending on the effect you're trying to create.
- The kick pedal action on this model can be adjusted for a smooth play, and Roadshows shell finish helps optimize tonal power.
- You may initially get some bad overtones, however, these can be tuned out.
- The crash cymbals have been described as tinny by some, and although not 'perfect' they work well for beginners.
The Pearl Roadshow 5 Piece Drum Set With Hardware & Cymbals is a modestly priced set, perfect for first-time buyers. Available in a variety of colors, from wine red to jet black, the Pearl Roadshow set will not only sound good but also look and feel as sleek as you could hope for. Pearl is one of the largest independently owned drum manufactures in the world. This set is simple to set up and easy to get your head around, ideal for those emerging into the drumming world.
- Price: $499.00
- Brand: Pearl
- Series: Roadshow Sets
- UPC: 633816532689
- SKU: RS505C/C31
- Crash Cymbals: 16"
- Hybrid-hats: 14”
- Bass Drum Size: 20x15
- Tom Size(s): 10x7 12x8 14x14
- Snare Drum Size: 14x5, Matching Wood
- Shell Layup: 9-ply 7mm Poplar
- Professional Stick Bag: Pair of Two Maple Drum Sticks
- Drum Throne
- Mounting Hardware: Included
- Hardware Color: Chrome
- Finish: Choice of Bronze Metallic, Charcoal Metallic, Wine Red, Jet Black
Why We Love It There's not a lot to dislike about this drum kit. At the price it's offering, and for the level of drumming it is intended for, we struggle to find anything wrong with the Pearl Roadshow series. This five-piece ensemble comes with a 2-year warranty, also, should anything happen to it.
The system comes with a range of interactive tools, a pro-pedal line and an extended tuning and tension range. All of which will help greatly with initiating your pathway to being an awesome drummer.
2 Best Kit for Hardware Lovers
- Although slightly more expensive than the previous model, this Tama is still a very reasonable price of $569.99.
- There's an extensive list of prestige hardware including a chain drive single bass drum pedal, high hat stand, snare drum stand and a straight and boom cymbal stand, to name just a few.
- You can choose from a range of cymbal sizes for this kit, 14” high-hats, 16” crash and 20” ride.
- The L-Rod tom holders ensure flexibility and security and memory locks help optimize the tone of the drum.
- Lifetime Labor Warranty adds that extra bit of security to keep your drums in top condition at all times.
- This drum set does require a few initial tweaks after getting it out the box. However, that's nothing the experts at DCP can't help you get set up with.
- The mix of hardware might be something you have to get your head around at first. The more you get drumming, the more you'll understand drums, their parts and terminology!
We're stepping it up a notch with the Tama Imperialstar 5pc Complete Kit W/ Meinl HCS Cymbals. Tama has decades of experience in drum building. They are constantly improving their ranges to keep their entry-level models top of the game. This kit is one of the best-selling of its caliber, and we can't say we're surprised. The elaborate hardware on this set gives it that extra edge, so you can keep precision in your playing.
- Price: $569.99
- SKU: IP58NCHLB
- Series: Imperialstar
- UPC: 4515276977070
- Brand: Tama
- Bass Drum with Lifter Size: 14"x18"
- Tom Tom Size: 8"x10" 9"x12"
- Floor Tom Size: 12"x14"
- Snare Drum Size: 5"x13"
- Double Tom Holder: MTH600
- Snare Stand: HS40W
- Boom Cymbal Stand: HC43BW
- Hi-hat Stand: HH45W
- Drum Pedal: HP200P Iron Cobra 200
- Drum Throne
- Hi-hat Cymbal: MEINL HCS 14"
- Crash Ride Cymbal: MEINL HCS 18"
- Finish: Wrap
- Mounting: Hardware Included
- Hoops: Triple Flanged
- Hardware Color: Chrome
- Finish: Choice of Hairline Black, Hairline Blue, Apple Mist, Champagne Mist
Why We Love It This Tama Imperialstar really gives the feel of a professional drum kit. There are intricate touches to every aspect of the drum that provides a high-quality sound and a make playing as smooth as it can be so you can focus on hard hits!
The shells, which are essentially where the sound starts once hit, include durable wraps which prevent any warping for lifting. This will make sure there aren't any unusual sounds in your toms, snares and bass drums. Once tweaked and tuned, this set will give you a great blend of sounds.
3 Best Drums for Beginners True to the Tone
- This set is ready-to-play, meaning there's no fiddly set-up for you to stress yourself out with. Dive in and rock out!
- Its steel tripe flanged hoops mean the drums sound has higher resonance and thicker overtones. Because these drums are not too heavy, they offer increased stability.
- The Zildjian cymbals are a higher quality of cymbal compared to our previous two listings. The brand of Zildjian - Avedis Zildjian Company – is nearly 400 years old and is a quintessential drummers symbol. Their sound works well for a variety of genres.
- Gretsch Energy isn't incredibly hardware rich. Although, for starting out, we think it has as much as you need to get your feet on the ground.
- Those who are particular with their sounds might not be the biggest fan of poplar shells compared to maple shells, as these two types provide slightly different tones. You may want to venture into a higher price ranges for that compromise.
Gretsch has been around for over 135 years now and is widely known for “That Great Gretsch Sound”. This is an iconic American brand and has evolved through each era of music. Of course, the Gretsch Energy 5-Piece Kit with Full Hardware Package & Zildjian Cymbals complies with their classic sound.
If there's something you may hear frequently in the drumming industry, it is the appreciation for the rich sound these Gretsch drum kits possess and their classic tones. However, don't let its sophisticated history make you think this set isn't equipped for a heavy old drum session. Why else do you think it's called Energy?
- Price: $749.99
- SKU: GE4E825ZG
- Series: Energy
- UPC: 647139425450
- Brand: Gretsch
- Hi-hat Cymbals: 13”
- Crash Cymbals: 16”
- Ride Cymbals: 20”
- Tom Sizes: 10x7" 12x8" 16x14"
- Snare Drum Size: 14x5
- Bass Drum Size: 22x18
- Mounting Hardware: Included
- Hoops: Triple Flanged
- Finish: Grey or Ruby Sparkle
Why We Love It We are one of the country's top dealers for this brand. We understand which brands sell effortlessly. Gretsch is a manufacturer we have huge respect for and believe that the name speaks for itself. The standard of the hardware and material of the set is of a high grade. You'll take home a stable set that's suave to look at and fun to play.
This Gretsch Energy works excellently as a percussion instrument and would be ideal for a band that wants to create an abundant and immersive sound.
4 Best Drum-Set for Beginners Who Are Improving Quickly
- This drum kit has a flexible tuning range, meaning you can alter your tone to a higher or lower pitch depending on the style you wish to play.
- Ludwig Element Evolution is an all-in-one kit, so there's nothing else you'll need to purchase.
- 2-ply tom heads create a great sound and have a longer endurance than the usual quality you might find at this price range.
- Bronze cymbals are the kind you would expect in a more professional standard of cymbals. This can also mean it holds a much more characteristic and complex sound.
- Although the set is 'all-in-one' you will still have to buy drums sticks as they aren't included.
- The kit may need additional adjustments once unpacked. This is something the team at DCP can help you with.
Ludwig is an incredibly prevalent drum manufacture and has a somewhat sophisticated style. The Ludwig Element Evolution 5pc Drum Set with Zildjian ZBT Cymbals consists of the three top brands in the drumming world: Ludwig, Zildjian cymbals and Remo (drum heads). The bass drum is bassy, the tom drums are powerful and 22” cymbals offer the longer sustain and larger sound that slightly bigger symbols tend to possess.
This five-piece set is verging on an intermediate kit, but will only encourage and inspire beginners who hear the Ludwig Element Evolution's encompassing and detailed sound.
- Price: $749.00
- SKU: LCEE22016
- Series: Element Evolution
- UPC: 641064904301
- Brand: Ludwig
- Tom Sizes: 8X10", 9X12"
- Floor Tom with Legs: 16X16"
- Bass Drum with Double Tom Holder: 18X22”
- Snare Drum: 5x14”
- Zildjian ZBT Cymbal Pack
- Crash Cymbal: 16"
- Ride Cymbal: 20”/22”
- Hi-Hat Cymbals: 14"
- 2 Double Braced Disappearing Boom Stands
- Double Braced Hi Hat Stand
- Chain Drive Bass Drum Pedal
- Double Braced Drummer's Throne
- Double Braced Snare Drum Stand
Why We Love It We love Ludwig as a brand, it's a best-seller at our store and it maintains and exceeds expectations with all of our customers. The brand's service and products are reliable - you'll never get a drum that isn't built to standard. Ludwig caters to beginners as well as advanced players but never falters on quality and caliber. The sound the Ludwig Element Evolution has a truly enigmatic sound, which follows the brand's reputation.
We also like the comprehensive list of hardware with this model, which bodes well with the standard of the drum. You've got all you need here (except sticks) and more. For the price, it's not a bad offer at all.
As you're browsing through our picks for the best drum kits, here are a quick few pointers to keep in mind. Ultimately, the drum kit you choose isn't actually going to be perfect; you might have to step over budget to get the sound you need. Make your decision based on which factors are most important to you:
- Price - does it suit your budget?
- Drum and hardware materials - is the model made with the highest quality materials that are durable and well-constructed? Is the drum set intended for long-time play, or does it run the risk of being a toy?
- Parts - does it have all the components you need?
- Brand - is the kit made from a reliable manufacturer with decades of experience?
- Type of drum - will it suit your style of playing?
What if I want to try the drums out in person?
Then come down to our store! We are eager to help customers find the perfect drum kit. You can try out as many of the kits as you please.
Can I return the drums if they're not what I'm looking for?
Yes, we have a 30-day policy. You can send back your product up to 30 days after purchase.
How much is the shipping fee?
Shipping is free for those in the United States. International shipping varies from our estimates on our eBay sites.
What is your price range for full drum sets?
Our lowest price for a full junior set is $299. Our prices reach to $899 for more advanced drum sets.
How do I know if the drum is right for my experience level?
Most of our product descriptions should hint at the level they are for. Otherwise, just ask us!
What size drum do I get?
The three-piece 'club' kits can be good for beginners or if you have limited space. You can't go wrong with the standard 5 pieces. If you're looking for a happy medium, the 4pc with only one tom might be for you.
What happens if my drums need servicing?
We provide a lifelong service to our customers. We will always be there to help with tuning and fixing of any parts that become faulty or worn over time.
We hope we've provided you with the most useful information for finding the best beginners drum set for you. We sell a great selection of drums from trustworthy brands that we know will set you up for years of playing.
If you have any questions, drop us a message. We truly welcome any questions with open arms. As avid drum fans, and drummers ourselves, our passion lies in ensuring your drum kits brings you all the joy.