My name is Frank Matlock and I've been a drummer since I was 7 years old. By now I've got over 25 years of drumming experience. I've been in dozens of bands, taught over 550 students and had a blast over the years. I've also got a BS degree (Bachelor of Science in Music).
This is my personal blog where I post electronic drum kit reviews and other advice related to them to help you find the best electronic drum kits out there, without wasting money.
I also happen to have one of the biggest electronic drum kit collections in the world (21 sets and counting).
Why even get one? Electronic Drum Set vs Traditional Sets
So why would you even buy an electronic drum set over a traditional one?
Here are 9 reasons you'll love electric drum sets once you give them a chance:
- They're quiet when you need them to be. You can practice at 4 AM if you want and no one will bat an eye.
- You can easily record your best beats. Perhaps even sell them online for some side income.
- Play along to your favourite songs. Plug in a headset or an amp and jam!
- Extremely portable. Perfect for band practice, travel and even gigs.
- Way better bang for buck. Electric drum kits tend to be cheaper than traditional ones.
- Ultimate versatility. Most kits have 200+ different sounds that you can change between within seconds.
- Get the perfect sound with every hit. You can mishit a traditional kit and ruin your play, you cannot with e-kits.
- Better sound quality. Since the sounds have been recorded beforehand, they've been produced to perfection for your kit.
- More durability, less wear and tear.
- PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS. Most kits come with practice and learning modes. A kickstart for your drumming career.
What makes the best electronic drum set.. the best?
If you're still not sold on the fact that electronic drum sets dominate the music world in 2016 - they're probably not for you. If you know this - let's proceed!
So what are the factors that determine whether an electronic kit is for you? What makes it the best electronic drum set for you? Here are a few things I personally look at when writing my electronic drum kit reviews.
1. Sound Quality
As a musician, whether a professional or a hobbyist, sound quality is definitely the number one thing. This however, is one thing you cannot check off a product listing, you need hands on experience with the specific instrument.
This is where I come in. Lucky for you, every single kit I'm going to talk about here is a kit I own or have owned in the past, before writing my reviews on them. Having a BS (Bachelor of Science in Music) - it's safe to say I know what I'm doing.
2. Materials - Mesh VS Rubber?
There's two kinds of materials e-kits tend to use - mesh or rubber. Here's a mini-breakdown of what materials are better suited for who.
P.S. Some brands have their own "secret material" patented. These tend to be the best and are suitable for almost everyone.
Rubber Pads - Hobbyists
- Tend to be a lot cheaper than mesh heads
- More portable and take up less space
- Super consistent through-out the whole kit. They all have similar rebounds and that makes it easier to play
Mesh Heads - Professionals
- More "realistic" feel and stronger rebound.
- You're able to customise the tension and tune it to your own needs.
- Location sensitive. Hit in different locations for sound variations - can even do brush sweeps.
An electronic drum kit is a long-term investment for most people and you want to make sure it's going to survive all of your band practices, jams and performances.
Different brands use different materials. Some kits may last a decade, some only a few years. Give it some though and choose accordingly.
4. Price point
Price point is one of the main things you'll want to look at. Obviously if you're going to be playing gigs and getting paid for it, the higher quality kit you should invest in.
If you're just a beginner, give it some thought regarding how long you think you'll be drumming for and decide what that's worth to you.
5. Features and size of kit
Back in the old days you'd need different drums for a jazz gig, a rock gig and so on and so forth. With e-kits this problem is obsolete.
When choosing your kit, you'll want to look at how many sounds it comes with, how many pieces it has (toms, snares, cymbals, kick-pads) and whether it's possible for you to expand upon it by adding more pads.
6. Bang for buck
Some of the best electronic drum kits on the market will only cost you a few hundred dollars, like the Alesis DM6. Some kits that cost $2,000+ are worse than it! So it's not 100% price-dependent.
My goal with these reviews is to show you my honest opinion on a variety of kits to help you make the best investment.
The Best Electronic Drum Sets - A 2016 Comparison
Infinite via tuning
The Alesis DM6 USB kit is the #1 best-seller in the electronic drum kit category and has been crowned the best electronic drum kit by not only me but countless of other professional reviewers. The fact of the matter is that it has the best bang for buck, no matter for who.
It's good enough to perform with, more than enough for practice and it's so easy-to-use even a 10-year old could do it. Top all of that off with 108 sounds, USB-MIDI output and much much more - there's no doubt in anyone's mind, this is the real deal.
Plug your iPod into the Alesis DM6 module and you'll be able to play along to all of your favourite songs almost instantly.
The kit is on a heavy-duty aluminium rack with a sleek look and the package itself contains everything you need - a pair of drumsticks, all of the mounting hardware and cables you'll need and... *drum roll*... kick drum and hi-hat pedals.
It's also the only drum kit in it's price class, by far, that has recording capabilities. That says a lot about Alesis and what they were going for with this model. I urge you to check out the specifics here.
They advertise this kit as having a "rock-solid rack" and being extremely sturdy. I'm ashamed to admit but this is the one kit I've had a serious accident with (traffic, it was fully assembled) and it barely had a scratch on it. Definitely the most durable and resistant kit I've ever had my hands on.
The sounds that are in it from the beginning are high-quality and pretty flexible. I was most impressed with how easy it was to customize different sets and sounds - probably my favourite thing about the Ddrum DD1 (besides the badass design).
The design of the whole thing is just perfect. It's hands down the best-looking e-kit out there and that is a big deal for me personally and probably for you too, if you plan on performing.
It's also a complete package, including earbuds, drumsticks and all of the cables you'll need. Look at the details over here.
This is the most expensive solution we've listed as the best electronic drum kit but it definitely deserves to be here. Compared to the previous two, it's next-level stuff but the price tag isn't THAT much higher. This is for the professionals and aspiring professionals reading (or people who REALLY enjoy drumming).
The sound module is super well-lit, easy to use and most importantly - intelligent. Record your music to an USB plugged into the sound module. Switch the sound setup WHILE playing for a different style and much much more. This is the kind of equipment I've seen on e-sets that cost $5,000+! The price is not even close to that, though.
Roland is famous for their mesh pads, which are the best in the industry. I've played several Roland kits in the past and this one has the best feel. They're durable, the sensitivity is spot-on and they've never false-triggered on me. Perfect for serious gigs.
This is one the very few kits I'll probably keep playing on for the rest of my life - it's simply a pleasure.
Definitely go check this one out on Amazon.com.
So this is the first drum pad we've got on the list and I'm proud to say, it's not only the most popular one (both on our site and on Amazon) but it's also the best electronic drum pad out there. I'll tell you why in a second.
First of all, they've got a premium package (which doesn't even cost a premium, it's cheap!) that'll get you the pad, great headphones, drumsticks, a power supply and two foot pedals. Literally everything you need is included from the beginning.
It has got 254 different sounds in the system and you can plug in an MP3 player or phone using an AUX cable to jam to your favourite songs. The sound quality isn't the same as a $500+ e-kit but it's definitely not noticeable to a non-professional (I've got a degree in music science and am an audiophile..)
It's super small and compact but has great speakers and a bass port . Since it has an AUX port, you can easily hook it up to an amplifier and take that to the next level.
This is perfect for hobbyists who are just getting into drumming and want to learn the basics of the skill, before moving on to a kit. But for other professionals, such as myself, this is the perfect instrument to bring for travel or just have some fun on!
These also happen to be much more quieter than e-kits so if you feel like this may be for you - give it a shot!
Although not very different from the DD65, it's got a few unique features that I love. For example, there are 100 SONGS in the pad from the very beginning for you to play along to. They vary in difficulty and it's super fun and educating. Another plus for beginners.
It has headphone and USB outputs so you can easily use an amp, headphones or connect it to a computer for recording.
You'll find 215 different sounds, 25 preset kits and 5 customizeable kits for your customizing. On top of that there are loops with timers and other useful gadgets.
The UI looks great, has a sturdy feel to it and is extremely simple to use, even if you've never touched one of these things before. One of my favourite things about it is that you don't necessarily have to plug it in anywhere, it can also run on batteries - great for practice during travel!
All-in-all it's one of the best pads out there and definitely worth having a look at.
This kit is a little bit less flexible compared to the previous two but has a few perks of it's own.
First of all it comes with a stand so it's not something you have to buy extra if you for some reason want to play while standing.
The price point is super low so it's a great way to "enter the game" - whether it's as a gift to a friend, a birthday present for a kid or just fun for the whole family - it's a tiny investment and well worth it if for some reason you didn't like the previous two pads.
Click here to see the full specs.
Final Conclusion - THE Best Electronic Drum Set
Having published over 19 electronic drum kit reviews and having plenty that still haven't been posted publicly, I didn't have to think very hard to give the title "best electronic drum set" to the Alesis DM6 USB kit.
The bang for buck is the main focus here - it gets 80% of the results of professional drum kits for 20% of the price.
Overall, there's no wonder why it's an Amazon best-seller, has 400+ reviews and has been crowned time and time again as the best option out there.
My views match the majority (that's rare) and I'm more than confident in recommending ANY drummer to buy this kit. Whether you're a professional, a hobbyist or just looking for a starter drum kit for a kid!
Alesis DM6 USB Kit 5-Piece Electronic Drum Set
Trust us on this one - this is THE only e-kit you'll ever need.