10 Best Drum Sets in 2022
There are so many drum sets on the market that it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you are looking for your first set, an upgrade, or a complete replacement, Drum Center of Portsmouth has a solution.
We are kick-starting 2022 with a review of all the best drum sets. Narrow down your search field by reading about the best kits tried and tested by a range of drummers to provide authentic and valuable information.
We make it clear who we think these drum kits would suit. Our reviews are specific, never generic, and we have all played these kits ourselves.
The 3pc Canopus Yaiba 24 Drum Set is one of the best sounding birch drum sets with Japanese-made, medium-thick birch shells partnered with high-end stylish Canopus hardware.
There is lots of body and tone to this set, and the drums sound close to the recording customs. These birch drums give you the note, and then they get out of the way.
The price point is intermediate for a 3-piece rock configuration, but there is fine detailing and boutique-level attention.
- Sharp attack - This three-piece set offers a massive attack, with a sharp, satisfying whack every time you hit the drum.
- Lasting tones - The bolt-tight leather washers retain the drums in tune for the duration of a gig or session.
- Enduring quality - The Japanese birch offers exceptional quality, especially for the price.
- Suitable in the studio or on stage - This set works well for studio sessions but with enough output for live gigs without breaking the bank.
- Lacking mounts - The bass drum doesn’t have a mount, and the Tom Mount is sold separately.
- Limited customization options - There are few options in terms of sizing, and there are only four or five different finishes.
Canopus aimed to offer a quality set at an affordable price without compromising detail and finish. We think they have succeeded.
The sound is consistent, and this set is versatile, whether you want to play it during studio sessions or live gigs.
The Sonor Vintage Rock Drum Set is a relatively new offering from this German company, but Sonor has a long and illustrious heritage.
These handmade drums have a 9-ply beech CLTF – Cross Laminated Tension Free — constructed shells that create a full, fat sound and pack a punch.
- Classic retro styling - The vintage look comes from the rounded bearing edges, harkening Sonor drums from the 1950s and 1960s. Inside, the shells display the warm reddish tint of the beech.
- Dry and focused tone - The tone of this set is drier and keenly focused, so shortened and with less need to intervene with muffling.
- Beautifully designed lugs - The remodeled teardrop lugs feature Sonor’s unique TuneSafe technology.
- Updated hoops - The hoops are an update on the brand’s original roundover Superprofil hoops.
- Limited frequency range - This set from Sonor emphasizes mid and low frequencies, so it is not going to suit all players.
- Restricted finish options - There are just three choices, which is a shame as Sonor had lots of fantastic finishes in the 1960s and 70s.
- Lack of authentic detailing - Sonor has happily resurrected its iconic, stylish script logo badge used between 1952 and 1961. However, underneath this, they have added a small banner stating “Sonor Vintage Series,” which detracts from the effect for purists looking for that all-authentic original Sonor finish.
- Heavyweight - This is a heavier set than other comparable 3-pieces, so not the best for transport.
This three-piece set from Sonor offers vintage sound and styling, managing to blend that retro tone with modern design features.
It is a beautiful blast from the past but with a modern vibe.
3. Ludwig Classic Oak 4 Piece Drum Set – Pound Town
New from Ludwig, the Classic Oak 4 Piece Drum Set is a Pound Town configuration for the rock drummer. This set packs a punch with massive volume and tone.
A 3-ply maple core and a 5-ply shell with oak on the inside and oak on the outside provide plenty of attack and that classic maple Ludwig sound known and loved by drummers everywhere.
- Endless customization options - Available in many standard and custom configurations, this is one of the most customizable drum sets out there, perfect for bands and groups.
- Different lug choices – There are three lug choices.
- Varied mount options – There are a lot of mount choices plus a couple of badge options.
- Classic vintage styling - The Pound Town kit includes the classic black cortex wrap and retro brackets on the floor toms.
- High price tag - The high price means you need to be sure this is what you want before you part with your dollars.
- Huge volume limits usage - The massive volume and tone won’t suit everyone as this set is for rock players, so if you play for fun in your garage, you will not be popular with the neighbors.
This highly customizable drum kit is the perfect choice for attack and low fundamentals. It’s the ideal set for the rock player and serious gig musician.
4. Tama Star Bubinga 5pc Drum Set – Natural Rosewood
Tama Star is the flagship line for Tama, and these are some of the finest drums you will encounter.
Two years in the design stage, the Tama Star range results from exceptional attention to detail. Tama was the first company to use Bubinga wood.
- Warm sound - The unique, vintage style, super thin shell creates a warm sound and is excellent for styles like gospel and funk, where there are many articulate fills.
- Quick and precise response - The response is swift, and these drums speak clearly.
- Full and robust sound - A more mildly rounded bearing edge compared to the sharp edges of most modern drums allows a broader contact between the head and the shell, providing a rich, round sound.
- Incredible musicality - The Tama Star Bubinga responds to the lightest touch, so no need to be heavy-handed.
- Eye-watering price - The price for these drums indicates how much Tama invested in the design and construction.
- Expect a period of breaking in - The Tama Star Bubinga 5-piece may well have an alien feeling when you first play them; they are different from anything else.
- Super sensitivity - If you are an expressive and physical drummer and like to be able to attack the drumheads, then the Tama Star Bubinga 5-piece may well be too sensitive for your style even after breaking in.
Innovative, ground-breaking, and incredibly expensive, the Tama Star Bubinga 5-piece will undoubtedly break the bank, but this set has no equal.
The natural rosewood gloss finish is stunning, just on visual impact alone, but this set has the sound to match.
The Mapex Saturn has been around since the early 1990s, so what’s new? The Mapex Saturn Evolution—well, the clue is in the name.
You could describe the previous incarnations of the Mapex Saturn as drum kits, but the Mapex Saturn Evolution is more of a drum program.
- Mix and match - Designed for people trying to dial in their sound, choose maple walnut or birch walnut. Both are available, and you can mix and match.
- Graduated plys - This set features graduated plys, which become thicker as the drums get bigger.
- Easy resonance alteration - There is an Adjustment Knob that allows you to dial in or out on the resonance to change the tone.
- Perfect for the recording studio - The Adjustment Knob also acts as a built-in equalizer to dampen the shell, producing a tighter and quicker decay, ideal for recording sessions.
- Price tag - There is a significant price difference between the Mapex Saturn and the Saturn Evolution due to features, size options, and finishes.
- No snare drum – You will have to add the snare to this set.
Originally aimed at the more budget end of the market, Mapex took the Saturn series and seriously kicked it up another level. This kit is jam-packed with features for players looking to design their own set-up based on sound.
For pro players, this kit will perform in a gig or a huge arena, but it is equally a fantastic all-rounder for on stage, in the studio, or just gigging in any and every music genre.
However, make no mistake, this is one professional-level drum kit. Mapex has grown up and come of age!
6. Gretsch USA Custom Drum Set 4pc – Amber Walnut Burst Satin
The 6-ply maple shell Gretsch USA formula is a cornerstone for the brand. This four-piece custom set gives that great and unmistakable Gretsch sound.
- Stylish hand-finishing - Straight-sided drum shells feature handcrafted cutting and sanding on the bearing edges.
- Easy tune hoops - Die-cast hoops offer a full tone that tunes easily and stays consistent.
- Classic design and stable sound - Die-cast claw hooks padded to buffer metal to wood hoop contact and ensure that tuning is stable.
- No snare drum - Not a huge drawback, but you will need to buy a separate snare.
The Gretsch USA Custom Drum Set rates highly in our review as it retails at around a quarter of the price of a USA custom kit.
This set offers good build quality and a classic look with a fantastic feel. Whatever style you play, the Gretsch 4pc Drum Set can handle it.
One of the most versatile drum sets ever, this offers exceptional clarity and vibrance for studio recordings, plus enough flexibility to handle music from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
If you are after a standard rock configuration and a prestige drum set, the 5pc Tamburo Opera Series Stave Shell Pack is for you.
This acoustic drum set is handmade with an unmistakable timbre that never disappears regardless of tuning.
- Birch-like note - These drums sing out clear and loud with a ‘birch-like’ note and a decent amount of sustain.
- Superb snare drum - The snare drum’s thin staves and diecast hoops produce a unique, quality sound.
- Handmade design - Features include rounded bearing edges, die-cast hoops, chromed brass tube lugs, and Tom suspension mounts, all handcrafted.
- Limited range - If you don’t want to play rock, this probably isn’t the drum kit for you.
The Tamburo Opera Series 5pc Shell Pack has a defined sound matched with unique aesthetics.
It is a sophisticated and prestigious piece of kit, handmade after extensive research with original designs borne out of a real passion for sound.
No great surprise to have another set from Ludwig on the list. Ludwig describes Ludwig Legacy Maple as ‘the sound which defines legends.’
The reference is to John Bonham, the legendary drummer of Led Zeppelin and a famous endorser of the Ludwig brand.
- Professional quality with a contemporary vibe - The Legacy Maple is Ludwig’s flagship professional drum line, with a modern twist on its vintage shell.
- Unique shell with volume and projection - The 3-ply Legacy Maple formula dates back to 1968 when music styles demanded loud sound, projection, and a round tone.
- Strong and robust – A thicker ply and unique shell combination reinforced with a rounded bearing edge with single-ply reinforcement rings.
- Unmistakable rock sound - The Ludwig Legacy Maple is the classic and unmistakable sound of Zeppelin and an excellent choice for recreating iconic rock anthems.
- Only suitable for the rock sound - The Legacy series pays homage to the iconic rock sounds from yesteryear. If this is not your genre, this kit probably won't suit your needs.
- Lacking rack Tom stand - The rack Tom stand is not included, so it will need to be purchased separately.
The Ludwig Legacy Maple Bonham Drum brings back the original and iconic Ludwig sound from the 1960s and 70s, named after rock drummer John Bonham.
This kit offers a massive classic tone with a natural gloss finish as timeless as the legend himself.
The 8pc Pearl Masterworks is the last word in ultimate drum vision, tailored to your specification and handmade.
The Maple Gum shell and Artisan Exotic Fiddleback outer veneer in White Sycamore build on a tried-and-true studio recipe.
- Unique handmade quality – Every element of the drum construction is handmade from scratch using only the finest quality materials.
- Bespoke specification - All aspects are bespoke to the drummer’s specification, including the shell options, snare, hoops, tom mounts, heads, and hardware.
- Only suitable for the studio - This is a studio set, not as suitable for the rough and tumble of live music or out on the road.
- Cost - This is one super-expensive set of drums.
Pearl Masterworks offers hundreds of options to create your dream drum build and look. Configure a unique sound and perfect visual statement with virtually unlimited customization options.
Beautifully handmade using only top-quality materials, the Pearl Masterworks 8-piece drum set is the ultimate musical statement for a studio kit.
10. DW Collectors Contemporary Classic Drum Set 3pc
DW is a long-established, premium US drum maker, and the DW Collectors Contemporary Classic series does not disappoint.
This set is a throwback to the classic kits of the 1950s but features a more modern tone and functionality.
If you want a contemporary vibe with a vintage look, this is the drum set for you.
- Oozes style and quality – The exterior is 7-ply poplar with an African mahogany inner, with the whole set finished in black oyster foil.
- Warm sound and increased resonance – The absence of reinforcement rings provides a less focused sound and increased resonance.
- Striking vintage features – A base rail mount for the tom is a vintage throwback, and the bearing edges are more rounded over for a warm, retro sound.
- Stylish contemporary hardware – Just to keep it current, this set has modern hardware, the perfect fusion of retro and contemporary styling.
- Tricky rail mount - Setting up the rail mount on the tom can be tough for novices.
- Changing the heads is challenging - Changing the heads will require a drill bit attachment; otherwise, it can take forever.
- Premium price – The high price tag means this set is not really suitable for live play with the associated risks of damage in transit.
The DW Collectors Contemporary Classic 3-piece is a flawless set inside and out. It tunes tuned up effortlessly, and the black oyster foil is a beautiful finish.
The whole kit has an excellent unified character, a big round sound, and all three drums mesh together well as a single instrument.
That’s our review of the top ten best drum sets for 2022, but this is only a fraction of what is on offer in our shop. If you need advice on your next drum kit purchase, contact Drum Center of Portsmouth.
Whatever your level of play or musical requirements, we can guide you on the best choice of drum set for you with unrivaled experience and professional expertise.
Read more: The best drum kits under 800$