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Contents on this page
- 12 Best Electronic Drum Sets – Reviews 2020
- 1. Roland TD-50KVX – Best overall electronic drum set
- 2. Yamaha DTX920K – Runner-Up
- 3. Roland TD-17KVX – Best for the Money
- 4. Alesis Command Mesh kit – Best For Practice
- 5. Roland TD-1K – Best Budget Electronic Drum Set
- 6. Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit – Best for beginners
- 7. Yamaha DTX402K Electronic Drum Set
- 8. Tourtech TT-22M – Complete e-kit package with Mesh Heads
- 9. Roland TD-1DMK – Cheapest mesh headed e-kit
- 10. Yamaha DTX562K – Alternative to mesh or rubber pads
- 11. Alesis Strike Pro Kit
- 12. ATV aDrums Artist Standard
- Electronic Drum Set: Buying Guide
Electronic drums ( also called as electric drums) are closer to the real thing than they have ever been. Players can hone their skills on electronic drum sets thanks to a boatload of different sound effects, play-along songs, and built-in lessons. There is no shortage of outstanding options when searching for the best electronic drum set.
With the increasingly sturdy rubber and mesh pads and precision trigger technology, more and more drummers are enthusiastically using electronic drum kits.
If you are not familiar with electronic drum sets, they are a collection of pads arranged to represent an acoustic drum set. The pads are often small and merely produce a dead sound when someone hits them with a drumstick. The electronic drum registers the contact, though, and converts it to a life-like sound via headphones, recording software, or an amplified speaker.
- Just getting started? These are the best drum sets for kids
- Interest in acoustic too? Check out the best drum sets around
Electronic drum kits are ideal for saving space and saving eardrums. The compact design enables drummers to practice, play, or perform in a smaller setting without disturbing others. Plus, they have an array of built-in features, like metronomes, to ensure they stay on beat.
While companies like Roland and Yamaha are household names in the industry, there are other brands worthy of consideration. If you are looking for buying an electronic drum set online without playing it first, here are the products you need to know about.
12 Best Electronic Drum Sets – Reviews 2020
1. Roland TD-50KVX – Best overall electronic drum set
The Roland TD-50TVX is a five-piece kit with a snare, high tom, two-floor toms, a digital ride trigger, hi-hat, crash, and crash/ride. Each component comes with TD-50KVX’s Prismatic Sound Modeling engine and is comparable in size to acoustic drum sets. The thickness and density of each element is the most realistic experience a drummer can have on an e-kit.
The drum set also includes motion sensors and triggering technology. These enable an authentic response that perfectly correlates with each hit. Plus, similar to an acoustic hi-hat, you can change the closed tone based on how hard you press the pedal.
There are a ton more features worth squeezing into this review. That includes, but is not limited to, 30 onboard FX, USB multitracking, multiple inputs and outputs, 16 analog triggers, and MIDI connectivity. You will even have the ability to import custom drum libraries via an SDHC card.
2. Yamaha DTX920K – Runner-Up
The Yamaha DTX920K is a five-piece drum kit offers superior playability and responsiveness compared to other electronic drum kits. Its expandable playing surface lets players have up to 15 drum pads, which means there is no limit to drumming creativity.
As the price tag suggests, the Yamaha DTX920K is not for beginners. It comes with premium features, including Yamaha’s patented textured cellular silicone (TCS) heads and a library of more than 1,000 sounds. Note that the cymbals use rubber pads to mute noise during play.
The intuitive playability of the Yamaha DTX920K is easy to take for granted. That seamless interface is not an accident. From the supple toms to the crisp snare, Yamaha consulted with professional drummers across the globe to reproduce the sound and feel of acoustic drums.
Users can also toggle the sound effects to their desired preferences. There are control knobs that let you quickly and precisely adjust the tempo, decay, reverb, and other options. This component is especially useful during live sessions when there is limited time between songs.
3. Roland TD-17KVX – Best for the Money
There is no shortage of features on the Roland-17KVX. Individuals willing to match the price tag will get arguably the value for their money. The mid-level kit comes with a kick drum, a snare, three toms, a hi-hat, two crashes, and a ride.
The PDX-12 drum pads come with eight tunable mesh heads. These are relatively dense, which provides a calibrated response for each stroke. According to Roland, the new rim structure further enables the rim height that is the same as acoustic drums.
The centerpiece of this electronic drum set is the TD-17 module. You can tweak and adjust the drum pads’ sensitivity, threshold, retriggering, masking time, and more from this single device. There are even parameters that eliminate outside noise and provide rim gain.
Each of the Roland TD-17KVX sets comes with 50 factory kits as well as 50 more users drum kits. The audio quality of the drum kits is superior to many counterparts over the library of 310 different sounds. That includes crisp snares, vibrant and full toms, and lively crashes.
4. Alesis Command Mesh kit – Best For Practice
A primary selling-point for the Alesis Command Mesh is its versatility. The electronic drum set features more than 600 drum and percussion sounds. That library is among the widest compared to other drum sets as players can personalize their soundscape through 20 drum kits and 50 factory settings.
The eight-piece kit comes with everything that a drummer needs. That includes mesh heads for the playing surfaces, excellent responsiveness on the toms, and precise triggering. Meanwhile, the compact chrome frames provide as many, if not more features, than more substantial acoustic drums.
For instance, Alesis teamed up with Melodics to include 40 bonus lessons. These cover a range of popular genres so players can sharpen their technique and learn new skills. There is also a built-in sequencer and multiple means of connectivity.
The Alesis Command Mesh provides solid functionality, sturdiness, and versatility for its price. Plus, it is straightforward to assemble out of the box. While some minor hardware issues may cause grumbling, it is still a contender for the best electronic drum set available.
5. Roland TD-1K – Best Budget Electronic Drum Set
It is hard to go wrong with a Roland electronic drum set. The company has been synonymous with high-quality electronic drum sets since its founding in the early 1990s. The Roland TD-1K is an ideal choice for beginners or first-timers on a budget.
The sleek five-piece set features a bass drum, hi-hat, three toms, a snare pad, and three cymbal pads. All of the drum pads use a rubber playable section and are dual-zone. Therefore, when you play closer to the center, you will get a natural “ping” sound in response.
The electronic drum set has a substantial library of sounds that reflect the tone and timbre of acoustic drums. There are even sustains and fade-outs, depending on the caliber of the hit. Add in the pedals and cymbals, and you have a drumming experience that matches the real thing.
Roland includes additional perks to this space-saving set. There is a USB to MIDI interface for streamlined recording and Roland V-Drums training software for anyone wanting to hone their skills. Roland also built in 15 different songs, each covering a different style and tempo. Read our similar product full review of the Roland TD-1KV here.
6. Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit – Best for beginners
Alesis is the most recent entry into the electronic drum industry’s upper echelon. The company has carved out a niche for professional-grade electronic drum kits at affordable prices. One of the prime examples is the Alesis Nitro Mesh.
This kit is arguably the great electronic drum set when it comes to value and quietness. Its mesh pads provide a responsive playing surface while absorbing the force of the hit.
Each Alesis Nitro Mesh kit comes with a snare, three toms, three cymbals, a ride, a hi-hat, and a crash with a choke. The snares offer dual-zone playing, which enables different sounds (whether you strike the rim or center). In total, the drum set has 350 curated drum and percussion sounds.
Additionally, there are plenty of features to keep you on track. There are 60 built-in tracks, a sequencer, and a metronome. Alesis even has easy-to-use performance recording capabilities, so that no session goes unheard.
You can read more about this drum set in our Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit Review here.
7. Yamaha DTX402K Electronic Drum Set
Outstanding sound and several features that make it ideal for beginners with acoustic drum sounds.
If you want the best electronic drum set, Yamaha is an excellent place to start. Players and critics widely regard it as one of the elite options for entry-level and advanced drummers. The Yamaha DTX402K brings that excellence and classic innovation and distills it into one affordable electronic drum set.
The kit features a snare, three toms, hi-hat, a bass drum, ride cymbal, and crash. Meanwhile, there are ten built-in drum kits within the DTX drum module. You can toggle the options and sound effects through the module menu.
The Yamaha DTX402K provides instant USB to MIDI connectivity for its users. A single cable between the electronic drum set and a computer or mixer allows users to record individual tracks. The DTX402K also comes with a free Android and iOS app that provides customization and training functions.
You will have plenty of opportunities to improve using this kit. Yamaha programmed coaching functions that teach drummers how to read notation. Another feature improves stroke speed while the tempo check keeps drummers in time.
8. Tourtech TT-22M – Complete e-kit package with Mesh Heads
The Tourtech TT-22M is a five-piece mesh kit with three tom pads, a snare pad, and a kick drum tower. All of the mesh heads are dual-zone, which rewards precision technique will accurate sound effects. That hi-pads come with a chokeable feature to minimize ringing.
The mesh heads are a common feature of high-end electronic drum sets. That’s because they offer a responsive and reliable feel compared to rubber pads. The fact that the Tourtech TT-22M includes the mesh heads at such an affordable price point is a significant plus.
Furthermore, this electronic drum set comes with 350 drum and percussion sounds. There are also 20 demo songs, 26 preset kits, and 15 customizable kits, too. Tourtech gives players control over the tuning volume of each function, which you can save for future use.
The Tourtech TT-22M is not a fly-by-night operation, either. The sand-blasted frame stand offers sturdiness where drummers need it most. Even if you are jamming out to thrash metal or doing your best Neil Peart impression, these mesh heads will be up to the task.
9. Roland TD-1DMK – Cheapest mesh headed e-kit
An affordable e-kit that won’t dent the wallet
Let’s get all the cons out of the way first. The Roland TD-1DMK is not highly customizable, nor is it as innovative as previous models. However, if you are a beginning or intermediate drummer, it might be the affordable electronic drum set for you.
The TD-1DMK features all mesh heads for its snares and toms. These are significantly quieter than rubber pads and offer a more realistic drumming experience. While there is nothing inherently wrong with rubber pads, mesh heads mark a major improvement.
The set comes with 256 polyphonic notes, in addition to 15 preset drum kits. These customizable drum kits allow you to create a more expressive and authentic sound. Roland includes a built-in metronome to ensure drummers stay the course.
Beginners will get a lot of mileage out of the drum set’s coaching features. These Melodics courses are an interactive platform that teaches and develops drumming skills. While e-kits are not a replacement for acoustic drums, the Roland TD-1DMK might be the next best thing.
10. Yamaha DTX562K – Alternative to mesh or rubber pads
The Yamaha DTX562 is a unique entry on this list. Instead of using rubber pads or mesh heads, Yamaha uses textured cellular silicone (TCS) for its playing surface. As a result, electronic drum enthusiasts get one of the best experiences possible.
It is also worth noting that the Yamaha DTX562K is not for beginners. The drum pads use proprietary laser technology to analyze your strokes to tune the trigger settings. This mechanism enables more accurate triggering while playing or practicing.
The Yamaha DTX562K [read full review] comes with other advanced options, like cymbal muting, smooth snare drumrolls, and nature cymbal swells. These offerings enable professional-grade responsiveness and expression. The cymbals even come with triple-zone playing at the cup, bow, and edge along with realistic swinging action.
Furthermore, Yamaha stocks the drum module with 691 drum and percussive sounds that are easily adjustable. The electronic drum set has 50 preset drum kits and a handful of customizable offerings. Other noteworthy components include the coaching functions, Groove Check, and MIDI connectivity. Overall this is a more than serviceable midrange electronic drum kit.
11. Alesis Strike Pro Kit
An 11-piece drum kit that plays as well as it looks
The range and functionality of the Alesis Strike Pro Kit is something to behold. The electronic drum set has everything a drummer needs to take their talents to the next level. That includes 1,600 multi-sampled instruments and 100 drum kits.
Furthermore, each one of the drum pads offers a responsive feel. The Alesis Strike Pro Kit has premium wooden shells that are the size of their acoustic counterparts. That way, you feel right at home sitting behind an electronic drum.
A full-color LCD screen complements the expansive drum pads. The performance module is 4.3 inches, with touch navigation and instant access to adjustments. It also comes with SD card storage and USB/MIDI connectivity.
As a bonus, you can take advantage of the 40 bonus lessons on the Alesis Strike Pro Kit. The electronic drum set gives users a bevy of options when it comes to engaging and learning new skills. For people that want all the accouterments of an acoustic drum in their e-kit, the Alesis Strike Pro Kit is worth consideration. Read full review of Strike Pro.
12. ATV aDrums Artist Standard
If the price is not an obstacle, this drum kit might be everything you are looking for
Serious drummers should take note of ATV’s aDrums Artist Standard. It excels in everything from sound quality to playability to pound-for-pound value. The fact that it is also one of the sleekest looking electronic drum kits on this list doesn’t hurt either.
ATV, which is an offshoot of a former Roland employee, brings professional-grade acoustics to electronic drums. The set uses an aD5 module that is arguably the best in the business when it comes to matching actual drum and percussive sound. The only complaint is that there should be more of them.
ATV aDrums Artist Standard does a superb job of replicating the feel of acoustic drums. Sets include a bass drum, rack tom, floor tom, snare, two cymbal pads, and a hi-hat. Each drum shell has six-ply birch while the mesh heads cover the playing surface from top to bottom.
When it comes to recording, you will notice that ATV does not compress the sound, so that drummers can have the highest-quality audio files. ATV steers clear of processing, though there are some editing capabilities on the set. Additionally, you can find MIDI over USB connectivity if you want to trigger sound effects externally.
Electronic Drum Set: Buying Guide
Rubber vs. mesh electronic drum pads
The material of the drumming surface is essential when it comes to a drum kit’s playability. Cheaper models favor rubber pads, which are more economical and compact. They offer a consistent, long-lasting bounce that is identical from pad to pad.
Intermediate and advanced players typically prefer mesh-heads because they more closely resemble traditional acoustic drums. They are more sensitive and provide realistic feedback on each strike. Plus, mesh heads are tunable, which gives drummers a range of sounds that is not possible with rubber options.
The drum module is the heart and soul of an electronic drum set. It is what enables drummers to record tracks and serves as the storage center for drum kits and sound effects. While an electronic drum wouldn’t have the same timber and quality as acoustic drums, some modules offer professional-grade sound quality.
The best modules are those that deliver a range of functions with an intuitive interface. The controls should be as transparent as possible for quick navigation. It also helps to have rapid-processing software, so the triggering mechanisms correspond precisely to each drumstick stroke.
High-end drum modules will have advanced sensor technology. This component reduces the chances of false triggering while providing immediate responsiveness. Unsurprisingly, Yamaha and Roland are names that will dominate the list of best drum modules.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in an intermediate e-kit. You may want to upgrade the technology of your existing drums. Maybe you’ve outgrown your first set. Perhaps you’re passionate about drumming but on a budget.
Whatever the reason, an intermediate e-kit module offers a rich assortment of features for skilled drummers. That typically includes sturdier designs, high-quality sounds, and more editing capabilities. Many intermediate models also opt for mesh heads over rubber pads for a more realistic drumming experience.
If you are serious about taking your kit to a professional level, Yamaha or Roland is the brand for you. These companies produce world-class products with a suite of features to justify the investment. Professional-grade electronic drum sets let you edit your sounds with the ultimate precision and play with the most authentic triggering.
Professional electronic drum sets also sound great out of the box. While you can modulate the parameters to your desired preferences, the kits come with studio-caliber drum and percussion sounds. The e-drums offer the perfect blend of control, realism, and versatility. In fact, you may never go back to acoustic drums again.
What is the best electronic drum kit for beginners?
There are plenty of serviceable drum kits for beginners. For instance, the Alesis Nitro Mesh provides reliable responsiveness and more than 350 drum and percussion sounds. Even though it has an affordable price tag, the Alesis Nitro Mesh also has ever-desired mesh heads.
If you are just starting the drums, you will want at least five drum pads and three cymbal pads. You should make sure the kit has a hi-hat controller and a bass drum to round out the features. While mesh heads are typically preferable to rubber pads, the playing surface shouldn’t make or break your decision.
Are electronic drum sets any good?
Phil Collins. Rick Allen. Neil Peart. Danny Carey. These are a few of the legendary drummers that opt for electronic drum sets. That is because manufacturers have developed features and sound quality that rival acoustic models.
However, you do not have to be a professional to make use of electronic drums. The set can be an enjoyable opportunity to take up a hobby or sharpen your technique. The modern e-drum market is as competitive as ever, so there is no dearth of features catering to consumer needs.
Can you learn drums on an electronic kit?
Yes. You can learn the electronic drums as quickly as any other drum set. Many models come with a similar layout to traditional drums, but with a compacted area. Depending on your interest level and learning style, you may opt to take lessons.
All of the kits on this list have features where players can drum along to their demo tracks. They cover a range of genres, tempos, and skillsets, so players have constant room to grow. Roland is notable in this arena for partnering with Melodics. People that buy Roland drums get a free Windows or Mac application that offers drum lessons to help players develop rhythm and technique.
What is the best cheap electronic drum kit?
We already mentioned the Alesis Nitro Mesh, so let’s use this as an opportunity to highlight other worthy options. For instance, the Yamaha DTX402K is outstanding for first-timers and beginners. The wide range of sounds, free app, and editing capabilities make it a bargain at its current price.
The Roland TD-1DMK is also worth checking out before committing to a drum set. It delivers the professional-performance of Roland’s other models without the niche features. Plus, it is easy-to-use and delivers highly realistic sound quality.
There is no right answer when it comes to the best electronic drum sets. The Roland TD-50TVX topped our list because it offers the highest playing quality and an assortment of features. The Yamaha DTX920K was second, thanks to intuitive playability and realistic triggering. While these might be the top-rated kits that money can buy, they may not be right for everyone.
People looking for intermediate modules or less sophisticated setups should gravitate towards the Roland TD-1K, which is one of the top drum sets for the money.