Last Updated: Apr 7, 2023 @ 1:51 pm.

As a drummer with 40 years of playing on both acoustic and electronic drums, let me guide you to the best bets for beginners, kids, adults and professionals. I have played on over a dozen brands of electric drum sets over the years, comparing the feel of mesh versus rubber heads and overall sound quality. Here are the ones I would recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best For Adults

Great for those starting out
Loved the feel and play in this kit, which has an impressive number of sampled sounds. Easy to assemble and lightweight enough to move around.

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Finding the Best Electric Drums: 3 Quick Tips

Let’s talk electric or electronic drums.

First, why trust me? Yes, I am the drummer in the back playing in a tribute band with a basic set of Roland electronic drums:

best electric drum set

And of course, I’ve also played with acoustic drums over the years, learning the key differences between both experiences.

You probably realize the key advantages of electronic drums: they can be played with headphones (and make a fraction of the noise of acoustic drums). And they never need tuning. Electric drums allow you to play a variety of kit sounds (sampled from acoustic and drum machine sounds), better fitting today’s musical trends. 

Before I go over recommended kits, here is a quick 411 on electric drums.

  1. What do you get for more money? Yes, you’ll see a wide variety of price points when it comes to electronic drums, from entry-level kits aimed at beginners to more advanced kits that run thousands of dollars. Here’s the key thing to keep in mind: the more you spend, the better the triggers (mesh versus rubber heads) and the better sound quality and number of samples (multiple different kits versus a limited number of sounds). You also get features like the ability to choke a cymbal.
  2. What kind of space do you have? Even the most compact electric drum sets can take up a good amount of floor space. Besides these kit-based drums, there are also tabletop models that are great for kids or just for practice.
  3. Brand reputation does make a difference when it comes to durability. This matters more if you are “playing out”—that is, taking the kit and playing gigs, versus just practicing at home. The best brands, Alesis and Roland, may be worth the extra investment. If you are trying to develop drum skills to play with other musicians, investing in a brand name kit makes more sense. 

When it comes to recommending drum kits, we break down these picks based on different uses: adults, kids, beginners and more advanced users. 

Why adults versus kids? Adult-sized electric drums better mimic the distance between heads (triggers) that you see in an acoustic set . . . but that can be more difficult for a child to play on. And for some kids just starting out, a desktop model may make more sense if space is at a premium.

So let’s start off with kits for adults:

Best For Adults: Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit

This moderately priced kit offers good bang for the buck: note the mesh drum heads versus rubber pads you see with other kits in this price range. Mesh is easier to play and offers more responsiveness than rubber, in my experience. And mesh is quieter than rubber, so that can be a key consideration if you are playing in an apartment or condo.

What We Liked

• Impressive sound.

• Mesh heads are responsive and quiet.

• Easy to assemble.

• 40 kits with 385 sample sounds.

• Crash cymbal has choke feature.

• Affordable compared to other kits with mesh heads.

What Needs Work

• No throne or drum monitor is included.

• Heads at 8″ in width are on the small side and may be harder to play for beginners.

• Frame is more fragile compared to others we tried. best electric drum set

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Best For Kids

Excellent for practice
The headphones are the star feature here—so kids can practice to their heart's content! Good sound and easy to use. Nice feature: rolls up for storage.

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Best For Kids: Electronic Drum Set, Roll Up Drum Practice Pad

Let’s be honest—not everyone has the room to set up a big electric drum kit like the previous pick. And when it comes to kids just starting out, an affordable desktop model might be more appropriate than a full-size kit. 

After trying out several brands, we like this one by Paxcess as the best bet for most kids. Basically, it offers decent sound and is super easy to use—plus it has a built-in speaker and (yes) a headphone jack.

What We Liked

 Easy to use.

• Great for practice.

• Headphone jack or use the built-in speakers.

• Mp3 jack to play along with other tracks.

• Portable—can be rolled up into a small size to fit in a backpack.

• Comes with drum sticks.

• Includes pedals for bass drum and high hat expression.

What Needs Work

• Sound blead from triggers too close together.

• A bit of lag time between pad strike and sound. best electric drum set

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Best For Beginners

Folds for storage
The value here is most impressive, with included throne, mesh heads and even drumsticks. Good sound with 180 samples.

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Best For Beginners: Donner Electric Drum Set

If your child is ready to graduate from a desktop drum kit to a full-size set, this would be a good place to start. Note the quiet mesh heads with this kit–I was impressed when I did a demo as they were very responsive. And yes, this set folds down for storage, another plus compared to other models we tried that don’t.

What We Liked

• Responsive mesh heads are impressive at this price point.

• Decent sounds with 180 samples and 15 kits.

• Works well with MIDI setup over USB.

• Adjustable cymbal height is a nice plus.

• Affordable.

• Includes throne.

What Needs Work

• Throne a bit short for taller users.

• Sounds through headphones is a bit thin.

• Sound latency—very slight delay between hitting pad and sound trigger. best electric drum set

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Best For Intermediate Players

Tried and true brand
Loved the feel of these mesh heads, which are best-in-class for responsiveness. Sound samples are excellent. Caveat: throne and kick pedal not included.

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Best For Intermediate Players: Roland TD-1DMK Dual-Mesh Kit

Once you start playing electronic drums, you’ll soon discover limitations with some of the entry-level kits: rubber pads that can be noisy and less responsive to play. And sound samples that don’t quite sound like acoustic drums.

Roland is to electric drums like Tesla is to electric cars—they pretty much set the standard for quality. And yes, you are going to pay more for a Roland kit compared to other brands . . . but you also get better quality heads and better-sounding samples. 

Speaking of the heads, note the mesh heads here have tension adjustment . . . that’s important for more intermediate players, to make sure you have the right responsiveness. Note the dual zone snare here, something you don’t see in less expensive kits.

And after playing electronic drums from dozen of brands, I think the sound quality of Roland’s samples are just better. Since Roland invented the iconic drum machines like the 808, having them include those sounds makes sense.

What We Liked

• Natural feel of drum heads.

• Excellent sound sample quality.

• Dual zone snare.

• Tried and true brand has good durability reputation.

• Easy to learn how to use.

• 15 preset kits.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Throne not included.

• Kick pedal not included.

• Limited number of kits/sounds compared to other brands.

• Small heads can be harder to play for beginners. best electric drum set

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

best electric drum set

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

best electric drum set

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

best electric drum set

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.