5 Best Beginner Drum Sets In 2018

Finding the best beginner drum sets can make or break your drumming career. Whether it’s for yourself or you’re a parent looking to buy your child’s first drum set, making the right choice can save a lot of money later on down the line.

We have provided an insight into a beginners drum set with a few helpful videos and then our recommendations for the five best beginner drum sets on the market. 

At A Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Beginner Drum Sets On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying the best beginner drum sets

For those unfamiliar with drums, shopping around to find your first set can be quite daunting, so we’ve included a few tips to help you make an informed decision.

  • Drums come in ‘sets’ and ‘shell packs’. Sets will include everything needed to get started, whereas a shell pack will only include the drums, and not other essential equipment such as cymbals and hardware such as pedals and drumming throne.
  • There are a number of different drum types: Toms, Snares, Bass/Kick and Cymbals (of which there are multiple types)
  • Buying a complete set is the easiest way to get started as soon as possible, but buying a shell pack or individual pieces will become more important later on as quality of individual drums and customisation of the whole set up takes priority for advanced drummers. Shell packs often have better value for money, despite the higher price tag they tend to possess.
  • Drum sets come in different arrangements, such as 5 piece and 7 piece sets. The number of ‘pieces’ refers only to the drum shells and not any cymbals or hardware.
  • Drum kits can have as many or as few pieces as needed. Many drummers will start with a 5-piece set, and professional drummers often move into 7 and beyond depending on their needs. If you want something that's easy to move you can also find portable drum sets.
  • Inexpensive drum mutes can be purchased for those who need to be reduce the volume for practicing, so don’t feel that you won’t be able to learn drums just because you’re afraid of upsetting the neighbours!

Now that we’ve considered a few aspects of how drum sets work, let’s take a look at some sets and see what separates the best from the rest.

5 Best Beginner Drum Sets

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

1. Gammon Percussion Battle Series (Budget Choice)

Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Stool and Sticks, Black

Intended as a total beginners’ drum set, the Gammon Percussion set is great for children, but suits adult and teen novices better as the equipment is full sized. The set includes a 14” snare, 22” bass, 16” floor tom, plus 13” and 12” mounted toms. Two cymbals are also part of the set, a 12” hi-hat and 14” crash.

All of the other necessary hardware is included too, including drum throne, stands, pedals, etc.

  • Capable of covering most tracks that a learner would want to copy from their favourite bands
  • Comes with an assembly guide and instructional learners DVD
  • Low cost makes it a good starting point for those who aren’t sure if they will stick with drumming for a long period of time.
  • As a low budget product, the Gammon Percussion lacks in ‘oomph’ and can sound a little tinny
  • Requires frequent tuning which can be difficult for a beginner
  • Cymbals will need to be upgraded to a better quality replacement as soon as possible for a dedicated learner.

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Ludwig Accent Drive 5 Piece Set

Ludwig 5 Piece Accent Drive Drum Set with Hardware & Cymbals, Red Foil

This is another full drum kit, and combined with its affordability and quality makes it one of the best beginner drum sets around for those interested in pursuing drumming. It includes a 22” bass, a 10”, 12” and 16” tom, 14” snare and two cymbals, a 13” hi-hat and 16” crash.

  • The shells are of surprisingly high quality for veneer woods
  • No extra purchases necessary as all equipment such as sticks are included
  • Low cost makes it accessible for those without huge budgets who still want decent sound quality
  • Cymbals are inferior compared to the rest of the kit
  • Upgrading the shells to non-veneers will be a priority for those who need a kit for performing and recording
  • The low range frequencies are quite powerful, so a drum mute will be essential if you live in an apartment block or similar high density areas

Let's take a look at this product...

3. Pearl Road Show 5-piece Drum Set (Editor's Choice)

Pearl RS525SCC31 Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set, Jet Black

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, the Pearl Road Show is an excellent first drum kit for beginners. The instructional videos on Pearl’s website make setting up, tuning and getting started easy for someone who has never done it before. 

The kit includes: 22” bass, 10”, 12” and 16” toms, 14” snare and two cymbals, 14” hi-hat and a 16” crash plus all hardware.

  • Available in a variety of colours
  • Uses poplar wood for the shells, which is a big upgrade from veneers (although by no means able to compete with high end shells)
  • Cymbals stands are of high quality
  • Although the cymbals stands will stick with you for a long time, the cymbals themselve need upgrading immediately
  • The drum throne is quite small, and a larger size will be preferable for adult learners
  • The drum heads should be replaced with higher quality heads, which is very inexpensive

Let's take a look at this product...

4. Yamaha Gigmaker Shellpack

Yamaha Gigmaker 5 Piece Standard Shell Pack, Black Glitter

The Yamaha Gigmaker is a serious step up in quality. However, as it’s a shell pack you’ll need to have the hardware already or be prepared to spend the extra money to purchase pedals, cymbals and stands.

  • High quality woods and design used for the shells gives them an excellent sound
  • Affordable even with the added price of buying hardware and cymbals seperately
  • Holders for the two mounted toms are included
  • Complete beginners will need to do extra research when buying the hardware to ensure high quality gear is chosen
  • No cymbals are included (as with all shell packs) and will need to be purchased separately - however cymbals with beginner drum sets are often of low quality so this can help you in the long run.

Let's take a look at this product...

5. Mapex Rebel 5-Piece Drum Set

MAPEX RB5294FTCDK Rebel 5-Piece Drum Set with Hardware and Cymbals Black with 22-Inch Bass Drum

A complete drum set with all hardware, this is an excellent choice for a first drum set. It includes a 22” bass, 16”, 12” and 10” toms and a 14” snare, and for cymbals you get a 14” hi-hat and 16” crash.

  • Hardware is of a good standard, lasting a long time without needing to be replaced or repaired
  • Poplar shells add to the tone of the drum shells, making it easier to enjoy the learning experience
  • Everything needed to start playing is included
  • Like many entry-level drum sets, the included cymbals are the weakest link and will need to be upgraded ASAP
  • Drum heads are also worth upgrading to more durable varieties
  • No drum mutes are included, so will need to be purchased separately if volume level is a concern, as the low frequencies can easily penetrate walls and floors

Let's take a look at this product...

So which should I buy?

Thankfully all of the kits covered are in the budget friendly end of the scale, so if you’re serious about learning then all of the drum sets we’ve covered are viable options without breaking the bank.

If you’re still struggling to choose, our top pick out of the five best beginner drum sets is the Pearl Road Show.

Why? It has a fair trade-off between materials and cost. Although the Yamaha Gigmaker shell pack features the highest quality drum shells, it’s not as novice-friendly as buying a set with all of the hardware included. If you’re feeling brave, however, then it’s definitely worth trying out.

However, be sure to check out the best cymbals too, as the ones included with beginner sets are rarely of good enough quality to last more than a few weeks.​

Useful Information For Novice Drummers

Should you require any extra knowledge ​on your first drum set, check out these videos for more information. 

How to set up a 5 piece drum kit​:

Part 1

Part 2

How to tune drum shells:

How to improve the sound quality of budget drum sets:

How to practice drums when you live in an apartment:

Featured image source: bigdrumthump.com / CC BY 2.0

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

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