Best Electronic Drum Sets (2020) for Beginners and Pros Under $500 - Rolling Stone
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The Best Electronic Drum Sets to Buy Online

From practice pads to full-sized kits, these e-drum sets offer serious benefits, no matter your skill level

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Electronic drum kits are now a viable alternative to the real thing. Whether you’re a pro or someone who’s never picked up drum sticks, the best electronic drum sets offer some attractive benefits for practicing, recording and even performing.

The most common reason for choosing electronic drums over acoustic is obviously noise. Although it’s rewarding to pound the real thing, it’s typically a nuisance for your roommates, family members or even neighbors. Electronic drums are silent, but can easily be hooked up to an amp for performances.

The best electronic drum sets also offer a much wider range of sounds and plenty of digital features that help improve your skills. Instantly switch your sound to a different drum kit (be it acoustic, rock or orchestral percussion) play along to your favorite tracks, record your work and much more.

What Are the Best Electronic Drum Kits?

If you’re ready to make the switch to electronic drums or begin learning, there are a few important factors to consider when choosing the best electronic drum set.

Drum Type: Firstly, you’ll need to choose what type of electronic drum set you want. Full kits are the best, replicating the feel of a real drum set for the best experience for practicing or performing. Other options include tabletop and roll-up drum kits. These are much more compact, portable and usually feature built-in speakers. Tabletop kits are great for practicing timing or sampling, and roll-up kits are just very convenient – especially for traveling or kids.

Pads: Electronic drum sets come with either mesh or rubber pads. Mesh is the higher-quality option, offering more responsiveness and better sound. Rubber pads are cheaper but less responsive. Brands also use different technologies for the pads, so be sure to check to see how realistic and sensitive the pads are.

Module: The module or “brain” of an e-kit contains all the digital features including different sounds and connectivity. The best electronic drum kits come loaded with hundreds of sounds, included play-along tracks and compatibility with other devices such as smartphones and MIDI usability.

Included Gear: If you’re buying your first e-drum set, you’ll want something that includes bass drum pedals, sticks, a drum throne and headphones. Most sets come with all or some of these extras.

1. Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit

This Nitro Mesh e-kit from Alesis is widely considered one of the best electronic drum sets on the market. The eight-piece kit gets about as close as possible to the feel and sound of acoustic drums with responsive mesh pads, cymbal choke capability and a high-quality kick pad.

The module is also very robust, offering 385 sounds, 60 play-along tracks, recording and the ability to quickly edit. Alesis’ kit can also be connected to a laptop or smartphone to play along to any song, sample and listen to your work. Overall, it’s a great choice for any drummer but especially helpful for anyone trying to learn.

electronic drum set alesis mesh

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Buy: Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit at $449.00

2. Pyle Tabletop Drum Set

Tabletop drum sets are ideal if you don’t have enough space for a full set, or if you don’t want the commitment of a full kit. They’re somewhere in between a practice pad and a real set. Our favorite tabletop drum set is this one from Pyle.

The Pyle’s seven, touch-sensitive pads and two digital foot pedals get you about as close as possible to the feel of a full kit. The module comes with 25 presets, as well as 215 percussion voices, providing a wide range of sounds. The kit also allows editing, recording and easy connection to laptops or tablets.

tabletop drum set foot pedals

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Buy: Pyle Tabletop Drum Set at

3. Donner DED-200 Electronic Drums Kit

Another great full electronic drum set is this eight-piece DED-200 kit from Donner. The build is high-quality with mesh pads and dual-zone technology in the toms and snare pad, providing an experience that’s very close to the real thing.

Top it off with a module that boasts 225 timbres, recording ability, 30 demo songs and full connectivity and you get a great experience. Another major draw with this kit is the included gear: headphones, drum sticks, a drum throne, foot pedals and even an audio cord. This means it’ll rock right out of the box – no extra shopping necessary.

electronic drum kit full

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4. RockJam Electronic Drum Kit

If you’re looking for a seriously compact electronic drum set, check out this roll up kit from RockJam. It’ll fit in most backpacks and day bags, making it easy to travel with or take to work for a little lunchtime jam.

The nine-pad system, foot pedals and USB connectivity all work together in the RockJam for an impressive experience (considering the size). If you’ve never played drums before, this is a great way to dip your toe in, but we don’t recommend it to more experienced players unless you need the portability.

Roll up drum set rockjam

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Buy: RockJam Electronic Drum Kit at

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