There are two main reasons why someone would get electric drums.
First because of the sound of course (A lot of EDM and hip hop producers use electric drums) but also to practice drumming.
For example, if you live in an apartment and practice on a traditional drum set, it might be wiser to use an electric drum set (Especially if you have sound proofing issues).
With an electric drum kit, all you have to do is connect your headphones and drum away without bothering anyone.
As far as electric drumming goes, there are three basic types.
- Tabletop drum pads (You usually beat on them with hands).
- Drum machines, that a lot of rap beat makers use these like Zaytoven, Timbaland, etc.
- Then finally, electric drum kits.
Here we will focus mainly on professional electric drum sets for beginners.
Alesis CompactKit 4 – Best Portable Electronic Drum Set
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- All in one drum set; Ultra portable 4 pad electronic drum kit with built in powerful speaker and dedicated headphone output for private practice
- Authentic drum kit response; 4 velocity sensitive electric drum pads guarantee to capture every subtle nuance of your performance
- In demand sound; 70 electronic / acoustic drum kit voices, 10 effect voices built in and 50 play along songs to develop your drum skills
Entry level drummers, this one is for you. The Compact Kit 4 is a solid entry-level model that offers 4 striking zones (4 Pads). These pads have good sensitivity and great response time. The CompactKit 4 model allows you to train with the 50 available rhythms and its 20 training songs.
You can program the pads and assign them with specific sounds as well. With over 80 sounds you can truly create some amazing drum sounds.
The Alesis CompactKit is light in size which makes it quite portable too. So you can always practice while on the road. Meant for the amateur and beginner musicians, but also those who want to practice their drumming whenever they can. The Alesis CompactKit 4 can also be connected to a jack, an amp and played in group settings as well.
So if you’re just getting started with an electric drum kit, this model is highly recommended. Downside is you can’t connect it to your DAW or music software as it has no MIDI output.
Yamaha Electronic Drum Set TX 420 K
- Stereo drum sounds sampled directly from acoustic drums and cymbals
- Built-in interactive training modules to help improve rhythm and speed
- Free iOS and Android apps "DTX402 Touch" and "Rec'n'Share" help users navigate the module, record songs and rehearse
- 415 drum & percussion sounds, 10 Drum Kits, 10 Songs, and 10 Training Functions
Specifically designed for the beginner drummer, it’s fairly quite which makes it a pretty solid choice (Especially if you live in an apartment). Comes with about 287 high quality built in sounds.
Which is more than enough for any drummer. It also comes with it’s own app so you can listen to your track of choice and drum away to it (Recording the beat pattern for later use or mixing, etc). Yes thanks to the MIDI option, you can actually connect it to the most popular music software like Ableton, Logic Pro, etc.
The only cons of this drum set is the pads seem a little smaller than usual. An upside to that is it can actually help you improve your hitting accuracy. Guess that’s one way of looking at it.
Overall, this is a solid electric drum kit. Yamaha does it again.
Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit
- Next Generation Mesh Performance | All mesh drum heads deliver the most realistic, responsive and immersive playing experience modern drummers demand
- Premium Eight Piece Configuration | 8 inch dual zone snare pad, (3) 8 inch tom pads and (3) 10 inch cymbals: ride cymbal, hi hat, crash w/choke
- In Demand Sound | Nitro Drum Module with 40 ready to play classic and modern kits, 60 play along tracks and 350+ expertly curated sounds
- Powerful Educational Features | 60 built in play along tracks, sequencer, metronome, Aux input and performance recorder help to hone and develop your drum skills
The Alesis Nitro Mesh kit is a great electric drum kit with 8 striking zones (Yes it’s a 8 piece electronic drum kit). It even comes with a bass drum and hi-hat pedal. The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is what the professionals use too (Your traditional drummers and music producers alike).
In fact, it’s regularly compared to the a lot of the high level Roland electric drums and some even prefer this specific model over them.
The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit offers 350 professional drum sounds (Which is a lot actually). In addition, there are 40 pre-set kits and 60 training tracks. The Alesis Nitro is an ideal drum kit to train and to record in professional studio settings as well.
With its USB output easily convertible to MIDI through an adapter, it can be connected to a computer.
The only down side is the initial setup (A few users have reported this) so take your time with it.
When setting up an electric drum kit, read and follow the instructions to the tee and you should be set.
Yamaha DTX-500K – Best Yamaha Electric Drum Set
The Yamaha DTX 500k is one high performing drum set. Considered one the best around and definitely the most popular one by Yamaha. It comes with seven striking zones: 2 cymbals, a snare drum, a hi-hat and three toms.
The drum pads on these are quite sensitive too but that can also be a downer for some players. However, you can adjust the sensitivity so that should take care of that.
This Yamaha electric drum kit comes with over 400 sounds. Heck Yamaha even offers additional sound bundles and collections that you can download. To be honest, you won’t be running out of fresh new sounds any time soon. Just like the 420 K model, this one can be connected to your music software as well.
The DTX 500k also comes somewhat pre-assembled so setting up shouldn’t be that big of an issue.
Overall, the DTX 500K is a very popular electric drum kit with midi features to boot.
Alesis Surge Mesh Electric Drum Set
- Natural Feel, Premium Response | 8 inch mesh kick drum tower with kick drum pedal (included), 10 inch dual zone mesh snare and three 8 inch dual zone mesh tom pads
- Express Yourself | (3) 10 inch cymbals: ride cymbal, hi hat, crash w/choke
- In-Demand Sound | Surge Drum Module with 40 kits, 60 play along tracks and 385 sounds
- Connectivity Covered | Inbuilt Sequencer to record your own playing, connect your mp3 player to the Aux input for jamming to your favourite tracks or record / control MIDI using on board USB / MIDI...
This 8 piece electric drum kit is another popular model by Alesis. Considered a step up from another mesh electric drum kit which is the ‘Nitro’, Surge is very well received by most users.
The mesh heads on these might require a little tightening but after that you’re good to go. The only two suggestions I have for the Alesis team is have more clearer instructions and the kick pedal can definitely be a little bigger.
If you only played on an acoustic drum set before, you are in for a pleasant surprise. MIDI output is available as well.
The Roland TD 11K Electric Drum Set
- SuperNATURAL-enhanced sound engine with Behavior Modeling provides an expressive and natural drumming experience
- Diverse sound library covers a wide variety of musical genres for performance and practice
- Professionally recorded backing songs onboard, ideal for play-along practice and performance
- Practice features include Quick Record/Quick Play, plus a unique COACH function that helps players of all levels build drumming skills effectively
Pearl, Ludwig and the Roland brand are the ones you think of when it comes to your standard acoustic drums. Recently though, Roland has been making waves in the electric drum market segment as well. In fact, the Roland TD 11K is a true testament to that.
An overall mesh drum kit, the TD 11k it’s one of the few drum kits that actually comes with three pairs of drum sticks, guess they really want you to go hard on this one. I wouldn’t be surprised because as we all know, Roland has making quality products in the music industry for quite some time now and TD-11K is one of them.
Recommended by entry level drummers and experienced acoustic drummers alike, the TD-11K is a great electric drum kit to learn on or to continue practicing on as well. As a beginner, you might have issues in the beginning adjusting it properly but once your done, you’ll be good to go.
Roland TD- 1KV Electric Drum Set
- Advanced SuperNATURAL sound engine based on the flagship TD-30
- Sound quality and expressiveness equivalent to the top-of-the-line V-Drums
- Simple, logical interface for easily swapping and customizing each drum and cymbal in a kit
- PDX-100 10-inch mesh-head snare pad with support for positional sensing and rim shot/cross stick playing
This is definitely an entry-level drum kit. It also happens to be one of the most popular electric drum kits around. Not just for beginners, the TD-1KV can be easily connected to your music software or DAW (All thanks to the built-in USB-MIDI capabilities).
One of the best things about this drum kit is it comes with super professional and high-quality sounds.
I mean that’s almost a given with any Roland drum kit. Overall a great kit but why in Lars Ulrich’s name it doesn’t come with drumsticks beats me.
That said, it’s still well worth the extra inconvenience.
RockJam RJ760 Electric Drum Set
- Drum pads provide realistic expression; similar sounds to a non-electric drum kit
- 9 drums pads with variety of sounds: Crash cymbal, high tom, Snare, open/close hi-hat, low floor tom, low-mid to, ride cymbal
- USB MIDI connection enables musician to upload beats to computer
- Thick pad can be rolled easily to make travel easier
Great for beginners and especially for kids, the RockJam RJ760 is definitely of the entry-level drum kits that are out there. However, it’s not a toy. You can actually connect it using MIDI to your DAW (Music software) and drum away.
Comes with a headphone jack so you can rock out till you pass out (Just a joke, don’t rock out that much) and your neighbors won’t complain.
If you have zero experience when it comes to trying an electric drum kit, this would be a very budget-friendly purchase.
Behringer XD8 USB Electric Drum Set
- 8-piece electronic drum set with HDS110USB sound module
- Ships ready to rock with everything you need to start immediately
- 10 factory presets plus 5 user-programmable drum sets
- USB interface to connect with any virtual instrument and drum software (not included)
For all you naysayers out there that think electric drums are more of a gimmick, this kit is for you.
We all know how valuable Behringer is in the music production space in general but recently they’ve really started killing it with their electric drum kits as well. Case and point, the Behringer XD8 USB.
This is a great beginner kit and quite an addictive one if I may add (Especially after you tune it to get the sound that you’re looking for). A few people have reported the snare drum has this slight “buzzing” sound which comes and goes but that might be because of a faulty snare pad.
Behringer has a good reputation so if you do end up with a damaged product, exchanging it shouldn’t be an issue. You can connect this one with your music software too.
Yamaha DTX400K Electric Drum Set
- FREE iOS Apps allow easy customization, song importing, and training programs
- 297 high-quality sounds, 10 customizable kits and built-in lesson programs
- Yamaha's KU100 Silent Kick Unit makes this the quietest kit available; perfect for apartments
- HH65 remote hi-hat, allows half-open, pedal and splash hi-hat sounds
One of the best compact electric drum kits, the DTX 400k is one of the few drum kits around that come with a “silent” kick. Basically it’s one of those high-quality kicks that can take a lot from you without creating any major loud noise.
This is why the Yamaha DTX series is absolutely one of the best for practicing indoors. The 400K is recommended for drummers of all levels. Since it’s simple to use (Midi output as well), it’s great for beginners and since it’s a Yamaha, you know it’s a quality product all around.
By the way, this specific model is also great for ‘live’ drumming.
Bottom line, don’t let the simple design fool you, it’s a solid sleek kit. The pads are not mesh but that’s pretty much the only downside.
If you’re a beginner to electric drumming, it shouldn’t be an issue anyway.
Pyle Pedo21M Electric Drum Set
- 9 PIECES SET: This electronic drum kit includes 5 drum pad heads, hi hat and bass drum digital pedal controller, and 2 cymbal crash pads to effectively reproduce complete drum set sounds including...
- RECORD AND PLAYBACK: This drum machine system has a digital sound module that can record and playback your drumming practice sessions. It also features an adjustable volume and pad sensitivity, and...
- PRESET DRUM KITS: This product comes packed with 33 pre-loaded and 4 customized drum kits to easily change the tone of your drums depending on the music you like to play along with like jazz, rock,...
- CONNECT TO EXTERNAL DEVICES: The compact size module with rack mount also features a MIDI out and line in for connecting external devices like smartphone, tablet, computer, synthesizer, DJ controller,...
Although it’s a great electric drum kit, the Pyle marketing team really dropped the ball when it came to naming this product (Bad joke?).
A 9 piece drum kit that is great for kids and adults alike.
Pyle is not my brand of choice for electric drums but this kit is a good for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much.
Best Electric Drum Set Brands
Drumming has come a long way and electric drums have really taken things to the next level. Here are some of the most popular electric drum brands today.
As you’ve already figure out. Alesis is definitely one of the top electric drum kit brands out there right now. They make a few other things like Synthesizers, midi controllers, etc but have really made a name for themselves with electric drums. A well respected brand that is truly becoming the market leader in this space.
We all know the quality Yamaha brings to anything and when they committed themselves to the world of musical instruments (Especially their guitars), we all got blessed big time. Same deal here with Yamaha electric drum sets. They are in a class of their own and with the success of the DTX series, expect more great things to come from these guys.
One of the legendary manufacturers of ‘regular’ drum kits, Roland is also big in the electronic drum kit world. They have some great models and their electrical drum kits are considered more on the high end side of things. Not yet so popular with the mainstream crowd but their electric drum kits are creeping in for sure.
Anatomy of an Electric Drum Set
An electric drum kit is setup in an exact way like an acoustic drum kit. You have your cymbals, your toms, your bass drum the whole works. The only difference is the size is smaller but with an electric drum kit, you can program the whole thing to sound like anything you want.
Yes it is actually a pretty fun experience. Speaking of programming, the only difference between an acoustic or traditional drum kit and an electric one is that little black box that you see on the left side of this image.
That’s where you can access all the sounds and program your electric drum kit to exactly what you want it to sound like. In addition, if you decide to connect your electric drum kit to a computer or anything else, it’s through that little ‘magic’ box.