7 Best Drum Sets for Beginners – Reviews and Buying Guide

If you’re a beginner, you don’t want to get bogged down by a professional drum set. Instead, you probably want something simple like a 4-piece set which includes the snare drum, base drum, single mounted tom, and floor tom to start with. The simpler your beginning setup, the easier it will be to become a better drummer. Meanwhile, people who’ve been playing for some years should consider sets with all improved original gear with better materials, with the addition of cymbals and sturdy hardware.

In this guide, we cover all the features of the best beginner drum set mentioned above and more. Additionally, in highlighting the models we’ve listed below, we reviewed each drum set materials, warranty, and accessories included, like extra drums, linings, repair kits, and packaging. We also considered which drums would be best for a child or teenager as well as an adult. Included in each detailed review is a suggested age range for which each drum set would be best suited.

Top 7 Beginner Drum Sets Review 2018

While designing this comprehensive buying guide our research involved going directly to the manufacturers of each product, considering reviews placed by verified customers, and analysis of each set materials and design. To make this research easy for anyone to understand, the majority of this article is separated into detailed product reviews showing each product’s specifics with pros or cons. Following these reviews is a buying guide intended to help you make buying a drum set much easier, as well as a section answering customers frequently asked questions. With this structure, it’s our hope you find it much easier to choose the best drum set as a gift or for yourself.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. Gammon Percussion Adult 5-Piece Drum Set (Editor’s Choice)
Performance-level full drum set great for both beginners and intermediate players that are budget-friendly but will last years to come
Gammon-Adult
2. LAGRIMA 16-Inch 5-Piece Drum Set (Most Age-Compatible)
Affordable and fairly easy-to-set-up drum set with a reinforced design for longer life and 2 available sizes for kids and adults
LAGRIMA-16
3. Gammon 5-Piece Junior Starter Drum Kit (Best All-Around for Kids)
The smaller brother of our top pick flaunting the same quality and suitable for children aged 3 to 17
Gammon-5-Piece
4. Mendini by Cecilio 16 inch 5-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set (Best Entry-Level Drum Kit)
Simple drum set for kids and teens aged 4 to 14+, comes with easy-to-follow instructions
Mendini-by-Cecilio-16-inch
5. Ludwig Junior Outfit Drum Set (Easiest Setup)
A professional-level set with 3 color options and easy-to-understand video instructions that come in handy for beginners
/Ludwig-Junior
6. Mendini by Cecilio 13 Inch 3-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set (Budget Pick)
Simple and budget 3-piece set with high-quality percussive sound, available in different colors
Mendini-by-Cecilio-13
7. Pearl RS525SCC706 5-Piece Drum Set (Most Professional Kit)
Excellent drum kit for players who have already gained some experience in playing, suitable for teenagers and adults
Pearl-RS525SCC706
Features
  • Age group: teens, adults
  • Bass drum: 22″ x 14″ 12
  • Tom drum: 12″ x 10″ and 13″ x 10″
  • Snare drum: 5-1/2″ x 14
  • Floor drum: 16″ x 16″
  • Cymbal: 2-12″ hi-hat cymbals 1-14″ crash/ride cymbal
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

Included: snare stand, hi-hat stand cymbal stand, chain-driven bass drum pedal, drummer’s throne, pair drum sticks, drummers key

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

This set is the adult companion to the smaller Gammon set below. It includes five drums – the bass drum, snare drum, floor tom, and two mounted toms. All drums are made from full-sized real wood shells and coated in a high-gloss black finish. Each drum pedal is chain driven and will stand the test of time and many practice percussion sessions. Included are two cymbals, one a hi-hat 2-12” cymbal, and the other a 1-14” crash/ride cymbal. In fact, upon arrival, this drum set has everything a drummer needs to start right away with easy instructions and very minimal setup.

Not only are all parts included, but over time as parts wear out and need replacement, the manufacturer can be contacted for new parts. Sound quality and percussion are much better than junior sets, and all drums are tunable for optimal performance.

PROS:
  • Performance-level full drum set
  • Drums have large tuning range
  • Comes with full hardware
  • All standard sized drums and cymbals
  • Easy, straightforward setup

CONS:
  • A bit pricey compared to competition
  • Stool is not weight-tested over 200 pounds
  • Doesn’t have a bell/snare kit

Features
  • Age group: 3 to 8 years old
  • Bass drum: 16″ x 11″
  • Tom drum: 10″ x 6″ and 8″ x 6″
  • Snare drum: 12″ x 5″
  • Floor drum: 13″ x 11″
  • Cymbal: hi-hat cymbals, mounted cymbal
  • Warranty: not specified

Included: drum stool, bass drum pedal, drum key, and drum sticks

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

If your kid is just starting out, this may be one of the best junior drum kits for your little learner. However, it also comes in a larger size perfect for adults.

When you make a purchase, your two options will be a 5-piece set with 16” pieces (perfect for kids 3 to 8 years old) and the second option with 5-pieces at 22” (best for teenagers and adult players).

Built with a solid design combining dual reinforced stands with double-braced legs, this model will withstand the pounding onslaught of a beginner to expert drummer. Each drum is uniquely designed – for example, the bass drum features an extended tension/tuning range for lower base frequencies – and comes with straightforward instructions for easy mounting.

This set includes: base drum, two mounting tom drums, mounting snare drum, and a floor tom with pedal; all drums are made with real wood shells with a double-layer oil skin. Additionally, the set has a high-quality hat-stand and cymbal with a chain-driven pedal, as well as a mounted crash/ride cymbal. Many of the mounting angles can be adjusted for preferred play and contagious sound resonance. No musician, beginner or intermediate, could go wrong with this set.

PROS:
  • This model can be purchased for kids (16”) or adults (22”)
  • Built with a reinforced design
  • Drum has built-in ringing chord
  • Both sized kits are fairly affordable
  • One of the easiest setups

CONS:
  • Only comes in black
  • Seat is not weight tested over 200lbs
  • Manufacturers cannot be contacted for replacement parts
  • Low-quality paint; scratches easily

Features
  • Age group: kids, teens
  • Bass drum: 16″ x 10″ 12
  • Tom drum: 2
  • Snare drum: wood
  • Floor drum: 1
  • Cymbal: 2-8″ hi-hat cymbals, 1-10″ crash/ride cymbal
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

Included: snare stand, hi-hat stand, bass drum pedal, pair drum sticks, drummers key

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

This drum set, which is perfect for kids or teenagers, comes with the number of drums found in an entire professional set; it’s truly a unique find on the market. Each drum – snare drum, two tom drums, 16” bass drum – is made with real wood shells and covered in the high-gloss black finish with a choice of chrome or black rims. Additionally, this set comes with a high hat-stand and two symbols – a 2-8” attached cymbal and 10” crash/ride cymbal.

Sound quality is much more than a toy – finished similarly to an adult’s drum set – but a little less percussive than a full-sized setup. Picture an entire drum set you might see in concert but made smaller and more suitable for an age range of 3 to 17.

However, some adults do prefer to play on a junior when they feel they’ve lost their touch on a regular sized kit; this setup does allow minor height adjustment of seat and drums for your convenience.

PROS:
  • Comes in 5 different colors
  • A complete drum set
  • Setup is easy with instructions included
  • Very affordable starter set
  • Two-year warranty

CONS:
  • Hardware is a bit cheap
  • Limited drum tuning range
  • Cymbals may need replacing the soonest

Features
  • Age group: kids, teens
  • Bass drum: 16″ x 11″
  • Tom drum: 10″ x 5″ and 8″ x 6″
  • Snare drum: 10″ x 6″
  • Floor drum: 12″ x 10″
  • Cymbal: 8″ hi-hat with chain-driven cymbal and stand, 10″ crash cymbal with bass drum mounted stand
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

Included: round padded height adjustable drum throne, bass drum pedal, a pair of wooden drum sticks

OVERALL RATING: 9.3 out of 10

This starter drum kit features a sleek modern design in metallic blue and comes in 5 pieces (which happens to be the entire set for a professional gig). Included in your purchase are the two mounted toms, bass drum, snare drum, and floor tom. Truly an all-in-one fully functional drum set, it’s designed specifically for entry-level drummers.

All drums are made from real wood frames and tough stretched plastic/acrylic which allows for an easy range of sound tuning. In a ‘set’, the pieces listed only count as the drums – which in this set there are five. Additionally, this set comes with two cymbals. The first cymbal is chain driven on a hat stand with an included pedal. The second mounts to drums and is a crash/ride cymbal.

Made closer to the ground and with drums grouped closer on the rig, this set is ideal for kids to teenagers (ages 4–14+).

PROS:
  • Performance-worthy starter set
  • 5-piece set with cymbals
  • Chain driven pedal
  • One of the best prices on the market
  • Easy setup with instructions

CONS:
  • Suitable only for kids or young teens
  • Cymbals may need to be replaced soon
  • Percussion quality is beginner
  • Limited drum tuning range

Features
  • Age group: kids, teens
  • Bass drum: 16″ x 10″
  • Tom drum: 8″ x 5″, 10″ x 5″
  • Snare drum: 12″ x 4″
  • Floor drum: 13″ x 10″
  • Cymbal: 5 extra cymbals
  • Warranty: not specified

Included: round padded height adjustable drum throne, bass drum pedal, a pair of wooden drum sticks

OVERALL RATING: 9.3 out of 10

Ludwig’s Junior set provides all the features of a regular set but on a smaller scale for beginners, especially kids and teenagers.

Included in this very professional design are the standard 5-piece drums – the snare drum, bass drum, two mounted toms, and the floor tom. Each percussion instrument is made with a multi-ply real wood frame and covered in high-quality plastic/acrylic.

Setup is very easy for anyone to do, and each set comes with step-by-step instructions for all hardware and dual-reinforced mountings. The hardware includes tunable heads, hi-hat stands, a junior throne, and two cymbals – one on a chain driven pedal, and the other being an 8-inch crash/ride cymbal.

Sticks are also included in the purchase but are suitable for kids no older than 10 years – music stores will have sticks in all sizes available for purchase in case you need to make an additional purchase.

Finally, each drum’s quality of percussive sound is highly rated and will let drummers focus on perfecting their technique rather than constantly stopping to tune instruments.

PROS:
  • A professional-level junior kit
  • Comes in three different colors
  • Ludwig also provides video instructions
  • Comes with a chain driven pedal
  • Drums have a large tuning range

CONS:
  • Much too small for kids older than 14
  • Hi-hat stand and cymbals are low-quality and will need the soonest replacement
  • Fairly expensive junior set

Features
  • Age group: 3 to 8 years old
  • Bass drum: 13″ x 8″
  • Tom drum: 8″ x 6″
  • Snare drum: 10″ x 4″
  • Floor drum: no
  • Cymbal: 8″ cymbal with cymbal arm
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

Included: round padded height adjustable drum throne, bass drum pedal, a pair of wooden drum sticks

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

With a three-piece design – including a mounted snare drum, mounted tom, and floor tom – this exceptionally sleek set is professionally made but comes at a very affordable price. This would make an excellent Christmas present for a young beginning drummer who has never played any of the three included drums before.

Designed with real wood frames and covered in plastic/acrylic elements, each drum provides excellent percussive sound which is ideal for the learner to the mid-level musician. Mounted with the three drums is an 8-inch crash/ride cymbal, which can take no time at all to learn and incorporate into regular drumming.

This set is ideal for kids aged 3 to 8 years, and the look is more of a toy than a professional set. However, it’s the perfect model for any young drummer to start learning on. Additionally, it takes up very little space in a house or small apartment and is very easy to transport.

PROS:
  • High-quality percussive sound
  • The budget pick for a beginner
  • Comes with bass drum pedal and wooden drum sticks
  • Available in five different colors

CONS:
  • Looks like a toy rather than a professional set
  • Limited drum tuning range
  • Bass drum pedal is not chain driven

Features
  • Age group: teens, adults
  • Bass drum: 22″ x 16″
  • Tom drum: 1″ x 8″, 12″ x 9″
  • Snare drum: 14″ x 5.5″
  • Floor drum: 16″ x 16″
  • Cymbal: 16″ brass crash-ride, 14″ hybrid hi-hats
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

Included: cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, bass drum pedal, throne, 2 tom holders

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

This drum set is designed to be mounted on double-braced hardware both to withstand the impact and tension of constant drumming and to keep from vibrating and changing or muting the rich, organic sound.

Built with a professional 5-piece performance worthy design, this rig includes two mounting tom drums (the first 1 x 8 inches, and the second 12 x 9 inches), a mounting snare drum, base drum, and floor tom. Each drum is multi-ply real wood with double-layer oil skin, and the two tom drums are 9-ply poplar shell for a more powerful tone.

The base drum pedal is chain driven, as is the pedal for the included hat-stand and cymbals. Another mounting cymbal comes with the hardware and moderately easy instructions for self-installation of all components. Each drum features chrome rims and double-braced legs (those which are mounted), for a sleek modern design which looks great in your house and on stage.

For the money, this drum set matches its cost with exceptional materials and design which provide amazing quality percussive sound.

PROS:
  • Very professional set for adults and teenagers
  • A jazz/fusion type of drum set
  • Drums have a large tuning range
  • 2-year limited warranty

CONS:
  • Most expensive drum set on the list
  • Items may ship in separate boxes
  • Cymbals will need soonest replacing

Buying Guide

In the above reviews, we mentioned many items and features which might leave a beginner’s head spinning from all the new information and questions they have. In the following buying guide, our goal is to help answer some, if not all, of these questions.

What is the difference between a professional and beginner drum set?

Many beginners prefer to start learning the drums on a limited set – which generally means a 3-piece set that only includes the snare drum, base-drum, and a single mounted tom. These beginner sets also usually have a single mounted cymbal.

Popular music band performing songs and playing musical instruments

Now, the reason a beginner might consider a limited set is because it’s relatively cheap for first learning the drums, and it doesn’t overwhelm you with the number of drums and new sounds and combinations professional drummers will have to learn.

When you’re just starting out, the key features of an entry-level set only need to be a snare drum, cymbal, and either the mounted tom or base.

With these three, you’ll discover an entire range of percussive sound which is already incorporated into almost any song you may want to practice. The best example of a beginner drum set with only 3-pieces is the Mendini by Cecilio 13 Inch 3-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set.

More professional drum sets, on the other hand, will most certainly include all five pieces for performance – the snare drum, both mounted toms at different sizes for different sounds, the floor tom with a lower beat, and the base drum. Other necessary elements which will improve sound and quality are the two cymbals that should come with a professional kit. The first is the mounted cymbal, played at close range with your sticks, and then the second cymbal operated on a pedal (ideally chain operated) is built into the tall hat-stand (which is part of the hardware – explained below).

What is included?

Before taking a look at the items listed below – with the purpose and uses of each explained – consider this advice on what to look for in ideal drums and cymbals. The best drums will be made of real wood – preferably several-ply thick – and will often be covered in plastic or acrylic elements. Some drums will be wrapped and have a double-layered oil skin. These drums are even better because they sound more organic and age slower.

The type of wood used in each drum may depend entirely on the buyer because different woods can enhance or change the sound – if you’re interested, reach out to the manufacturer and ask them from what wood their drums are made.

For instance, the Pearl RS525SCC706 5-Piece Drum Set is made from poplar wood which is low cost but creates a brighter sound. Another thing to consider about each drum is its tuning range, the larger the better, so that an artist who is trying to find a specific sound can easily tune their instrument in a number of different ways. Some manufacturers will tell you how to do this yourself, or whether their drums can be adjusted for purer percussive notes.

Cymbals are also important to consider, mostly because these instruments wear down the quickest and will need replacing soonest of all your equipment. Ideally, you’ll want both cymbals, one mounted and the other on a hat-stand, because this gives you a full range of beats which you otherwise wouldn’t have. Additionally, the mounted cymbal should be larger than the hat-stand cymbal because it makes a louder ‘crash’ noise which is common for drumming.

Bass drum

Bass drum

The bass drum is the tonal heartbeat of the drum set and should not only set the low-end pulse for the groove but be a foundation for the rest of the complete drum setup. Most, but not all, base drums include a kick-drum pedal feature. One of the models with the best bass drum is the LAGRIMA 16 Inch 5 Piece Drum Set with its double-layer oil skin.

Mounting Toms

The mounted toms create somewhat of a punchy tone which can set a perky beat and, since both toms are of a different size, will create almost a percussive harmony between the two. For junior beginners, some of the best tom-drums to get are those which can easily be tuned. Consider the Mendini by Cecilio 16 inch 5-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set.

Snare drum

Snare drum

The snare drum is the voice of the drum set and captures everything from the loudest accents to the softest “ghost” notes. What you want in an ideal snare drum is a snare which is sensitive enough for drumming at any volume. The most sensitive snares come with more professional models such as the Gammon Adult 5-Piece Drum Set.

Floor drum

Usually, the largest tom in a drum set is 14 to 18 inches in diameter. They tend to have detachable metal legs for freestanding use and can even be suspended from a tom or cymbal stand. These drums mostly use pedals – the best pedals being chain driven – and make some of the deepest vibrating sounds.

Cymbal

Many in-store sets come without cymbals because professional drummers prefer to custom pick their cymbals based on the preferred sound of the music they play. Different cymbals include the ride cymbals, crash cymbals, and hi-hat cymbals. Splash and China cymbals have also become very popular in the last few decades.

For beginners, as well as most intermediate players who play a range of musical genres, the two cymbals you’ll need are the crash and hi-hat cymbals. From the above examples, all drum sets except for the 3-piece junior set include these two cymbals.

What to consider before buying?

Whether a drum set is designed for kids, teens, or adults

This depends on the size and configuration of the drum set. Sets most ideal for adults will be listed as 22” piece sets – generally a space of 5 feet with a height of about the same. Although kids can learn on these larger kits, drum sets which are designed for a kid’s height and reach will tend to include 16” pieces. The design itself per adult or kid will be closer together or farther apart depending on height and length of reach (arm length).

Hardware

Consider hardware which is sturdy and reinforced. Both the LAGRIMA 16 Inch 5 Piece Drum Set and the Pearl RS525SCC706 5-Piece Drum Set feature double-braced mountings and double-braced legs. With weaker hardware, you might get drums falling off, cymbals too, or even nuts vibrating loose.

Warranty

Get a warranty which is long enough for you or your child to test the drums naturally over a long period – preferably a year or longer – so that if any breakage occurs, your purchase will be somewhat covered or more secure. Take care with limited warranties and read all the fine print. One of the drums above with the longest warranty is the Gammon 5-Piece Junior Starter Drum Kit, perfect for your rambunctious teenager.

FAQ

When it comes to adults, some junior playsets merely won’t fit you or your long arms with their extended range of motion. However, some adults actually prefer to recapture old drumming skills they have lost on more beginner-level drum sets. If this is your preference, make sure you don’t use any junior sets which are rated for musicians below the age of 13. With junior sets, stools are not weight-rated for adults, and your full range of motion will be inhibited by drums which are closer together and closer to the ground.

First, consider your teenagers age, because there is a chance if they are any younger than 14 (or similar to a 14-year-olds height), most junior setups will work for them. However, because of their height and length of their arms, kids 14+ are usually better suited for more professional drum sets, especially if these sets come with an extended warranty – you know how teenagers can be. Consider the LAGRIMA 16 Inch 5 Piece Drum Set which comes in two different sizes, one for adults and teens, the other for younger beginners.

The easiest-to-assemble set on our list is the Ludwig Junior Outfit Drum Set. This is because it comes with step-by-step detailed instructions and links to online videos and explanations of what parts go where. For a frame of reference, most professionals’ setups have the two toms on either side of the mounted cymbal, with the floor tom below – pedal attached against it – base drum to the right (if you’re seated) and snare drum to the left. The hat-stand tends to be to the snare drums left, or wherever your foot can reach the pedal. Usually, manufacturers don’t stray from this common configuration.

Our Verdict

Based on reviews we’ve read, research we’ve done, and the preference of most beginner to professional drummers, the top three models on this list are:

Gammon Adult 5-Piece Drum Set is best for its professional design, price, and set up specifically for adults. This model would be great for performances and concerts. It is easy to set up and comes in one box for effortless transportation to gigs and other events. It includes high-quality drums in the contemporary 5-piece set, as well as some of the best-made cymbals available for beginner to intermediate drum sets.

LAGRIMA 16 Inch 5 Piece Drum Set. Manufacturers of this drum set provide two sizes of this model, one perfect for junior beginners, and the other ideal for teenagers and adults who are either just beginning or intermediate musicians. Additionally, this drum set has some of the strongest hardware, mounted with some of the best-sounding drums.

Mendini by Cecilio 13 Inch 3-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set. The budget pick on our list, this drum set is ideal for smaller kids who are just starting out and learning the basics of rhythm and percussion. If they’ve never played any drum before and are only now being introduced to the snare, tom, and bass drum, this setup would be perfect for them.

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