Playing drums is quite fun, right?
But before it comes to that, you need to pick the right drum set, which is why it is important to do your homework.
However, it can be a bit hard, considering just how many options are on the market today. Sometimes it feels as though you will go crazy just looking at all the drum sets out there. Online shopping has made things even worse.
In this case, the best approach would be to choose based on the brand. It is not possible to choose just one brand. There are many, with each brand presenting different tiers, features, benefits, challenges, and more.
Don’t worry, though. In this guide, I have compiled ten top companies for you to look at. The market for drum sets has grown in 2020 more than any other year. So I hope this guide will help aspiring drummers and musicians make the right choice for their next drum set.
The ten brands on this list have made a reputation for themselves in the music industry. And I will also mention a few of the best drum sets by each brand.
Don’t panic when you see all the different specs amongst these drum sets. If you’re a beginner, you’ll be able to browse through options that are suitable for your drum needs.
Let’s get down to business.
Things to Consider When Choosing A Brand
With the market full of manufacturers, the choice for the best drum kit can vary. The first thing to consider is your idea of the best drum sets. Everyone has their own preferences and features they look for in a drum set.
Generally, the best drum brand should have the following features:
Companies like Yamaha and DW have been on the market for a long time. They’ve been providing the best tools for artists, and along the way, the brands have invested heavily in innovation.
Today, drum kits have evolved. You may have noticed that what worked a few years ago is no longer relevant today.
For this reason, the best company should strive to live up to the expectations of developing consumer needs.
A good drum brand will survive in the market only if they are offering the best drum kits to consumers. For example, a drum set can’t only have one good feature like a crisp snare drum. It should offer drum sets with a full package of high-quality components.
Therefore, the best brands should have the experience to know what you need. This includes creating solutions for all drummers. On top of that, they should have the best sounding drunk kits for both beginners and expert musicians.
Not all drummers have the same taste in music. Some need drum sets for rock and others for jazz.
The top brands in this list understand this. So they offer drumming kits for all genres of music.
Consequently, drums vary in prices. That is why a good brand will have options suitable for most budgets. For example, if you’re a beginner you’re not going to need a high end drum kit. But if you’re experienced you may not want a beginner drum set. Therefore, a reputable brand will have options for everyone.
Apart from this, different music genres require different drumming needs. Hard rock is loud with cracking metal, while RnB requires a much more subtle approach. A jazz drum is expected to be more silent.
Drums are generally very loud. Nevertheless, a good brand understands that variety is key in meeting all the drumming needs mentioned above.
And then there is the issue of affordability. Not everyone can afford high-end drums sets with maple heads. This is why most drum companies offer cheaper alternatives with silicone and poplar. This is crucial because you can get a quality drum set for a great price.
There is no better way of determining the quality of a drum brand than its reputation. Go to their website, and you can find clues that tell about the reputation of the manufacturer. If they make a solid drum, people will tell you.
One of the most important areas to start your search is from the customer review section. Those who have used a drum from the company before are in a better position to tell you everything you need to know.
Positive reviews mean the company has a good reputation. But that does not mean they will lack some negative reviews. Understand that, however good a company is, they will never satisfy everyone. It all depends on the expectations of an individual.
In any case, there should not be any compromise on the drum quality. Therefore, be sure to observe what other customers are saying but put in mind your personal expectations as well.
As I have already indicated in the introduction, you cannot have only one drum brand as your best. You need to have a number of them because most have similar functions.
The most effective way of identifying a good alternative is by considering the price ranges. You can find specific drums sets from different manufacturers in a particular price range. If you feel like you need to switch your drum set, you’ll know who to trust next.
Internet technology has made buying a drum set much easier. Some kits are even cheaper online than in a music shop.
Simply go onto the manufacturer’s website, or any e-commerce platform, pick your product and place the order. The drums will be delivered right to your doorstep.
This is where excellent customer service can be tested. Sometimes the products delivered do not satisfy the recipient. The company needs to have a good policy for helping such customers.
Also, how long does the company take to respond when you reach out? This is assuming that the company has already given you different methods of communication.
Now, remember, people can make mistakes no matter the size of the company. If they get an order wrong you shouldn’t write them off as unreliable. That being said, an excellent customer service team is a byproduct of a high-quality brand.
The Best Drum Brands
Now that you understand what makes a good drum brand, you can easily tell who makes the best drum sets. I have done the work for you (you’re welcome) and created a selection of ten world-renowned companies you can rely on. There are even more, but I just thought of focusing on my favorite ones, and I hope it will help you when purchasing your next drumming kit.
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Button
Yamaha is top on this list because it has been my favorite manufacture for years. They’re known for furniture, motorcycle, and musical instruments.
For music, they have everything from drums to pianos and chimes. The company is based in Japan and was started in 1887. Torakusu Yamaha established it as a piano and reed maker. The company has been on a constant expansion spree ever since.
Today, the company ships instruments to millions of musicians across the globe.
I have reviewed some of Yamaha’s top drums before, and I find them quite amazing. Also, as an experienced drummer, I have several pieces in my possession. So when I say they are my favorite, I mean it.
The company started focusing more on drums in 1967 by creating high-quality drums kits for professionals. Now they have a solution for all drummers.
One of my favorite sets is the Yamaha Stage Customer Birch 5-piece shell pack. The set is a popular choice among musicians because of its quality and low price.
But if you are looking for a more expensive choice, then I would recommend the Absolute Hybrid Maple Set. These drums come with excellent high-quality aluminum die-cast hoops and hybrid shell pack. These features make them sound aggressive yet soothing. You can tune them easily according to the type of music you are playing for. Maple shells are more expensive, but it’s worth it in terms of quality.
All of their drums, especially the hybrid, are a market standard with a bearing edge shape. You can just feel how phenomenal they are once you start playing.
I love Yamaha because of their hard work and dedication to offering the best drum kits. Besides, there is something for everyone, from a complete set with hardware to just maple shells.
Anyone who knows their drums can easily vouch for the British Drum Co. They have been slowly taking over the world of the higher-tier drum sets. They utilize a high range of exotic woods, hardware, and top-tech design features aimed at making life easier for drummers across the globe.
It may not be very popular amongst beginners because their drums are for those with deep pockets.
And if you didn’t know, BDC is a company backed by Kasabian drummer Ian Mathews, pub landlord comedian Al Murray, well-known drum builder Keith Keogh, Verve drummer Pete Salisbury, military matching drummer Stu Washington, and product designer Alan Kitching.
My favorite drum set from this company is the British Co. Legend series. I have not owned one personally but I’ve tested a few before. I’ve heard that it has the smoothest ride cymbal in the industry, but that could just be hearsay.
From this series, I found the British Legend series 22-inch Skye Blue 4-piece drum kit more appealing. Even though every kit by this company comes with quality features, this one really got me wishing I had purchased it. The drum set comes with a 22-inch by 16-inch undrilled bass drum, 10-inch by 7-inch rack tom, and 16-inch by 16-inch floor toms built from 100% Scandinavian birch.
There are more drums in the company catalog, each with more unique features than the other. For instance, the Palladium lugs, two-ply reinforcement rings, and 45-degree bearing edges are all features that contribute to the company’s uniqueness.
And it is easy to see why the BDC drums are taking over the world of drumming. They seem to have invested heavily in research, creating only what then the market really needs. Therefore, chances are you will not get disappointed with any product from this company.
3. Tama drums
Tama Imperialstar Drum Set
Tama is one of the greatest drum makers in the world. The company is also headquartered in Japan but has offices all over the world.
The company was established in 1965 by Hoshino Gakki and started manufacturing drums right away.
One of the reasons that make Tama very popular is its variety. They have something for everyone. From beginner to professional kits. They also sell individual drum heads and hardware.
Tama has been used and reviewed by many professional drummers. I also find it a reliable brand because the products come with top quality considerations. Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Lars Ulrich of Metallica are among the top drummers that have used Tama.
Tama drum kits appeal to all drumming levels. Compared to other of the same quality, they offer users an amazing value for money.
I like the Tama Imperial Star 6-Piece kit more. It is one of their bestsellers, and it is easy to see why. The drum set comes full with 2 floor toms, two bass drums, a snare, a set of hi-hats, and a ride cymbal. They all come at a fantastic price.
Both beginners and professionals can use the drum set. Once again they give you tremendous value for money. I have gone through some reviews online, and none of them suggest otherwise.
Besides this, there are other high-end sets in the star series, like the Starclassic drum set. They fall in the walnut and birch category.
The drum sets from Tama won’t let you down. From high-quality drum shells to phenomenal hardware, you can find everything you need with this company.
Dw Design Drum Set
I have time and again reviewed the Drum Workshop. Commonly known as DW, this American drum and hardware manufacturing company based in Oxford, California, is among top manufacturers. One of the major reasons is included in this list is because it features among the classic American-made drum sets.
DW was founded in 1972, initially as a teaching studio. It mainly specialized in giving students valuable lessons for drummers and musicians. Later, it evolved into a main drum and hardware company.
Many artists and bands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Jovi have endorsed DW. Many of the products are custom. But they also sell stock drum kits and hardware.
I recently got my hands on the Performance Series Drum kit by DW. I must admit the company makes quite impressive equipment.
What about the drum shells?
The drum set features HVX maple shell and North American maple toms and bass drums. It includes five lacquer finishes, with red and black as my personal favorites. The hardware has double-bracing, not too heavy, so it’s professional and easy to carry around.
In short, this drum set, among others by DW, maybe a little expensive but offers excellent value. DW are professionals in the industry, and I can recommend them to anyone.
Sonor Aq2 Safari
Sonor is one of the top brands I have bought a drum set from. The company was founded in 1875 in Bad Berleburge, Germany. Hence, it is among the oldest percussion companies in the world. It does not, therefore, come as a surprise that they have one of the best drum sets. It all reflects their experience in manufacturing and selling drum kits and hardware. They also make other percussion instruments such as congas and cymbals.
Initially, they were known by the tagline of “The Rolls of Drums” because their drums were heavy. But they have improved over time, making lighter and slimmer drum sets and becoming a company that innovates and evolves the industry. Sonor offers drum sets with a sturdy shell pack that’s built to last.
My favorite is the Sonor SQ1 Series Drums. They are all-birch and developed with forward-thinking hardware. Besides, it is cheaper than the popular SQ2 because it’s more custom. It, however, features Sonos cross lamination tension-free process, and the famous TuneSafe system.
Generally, Sonor Drums are quality and affordable. They have a solution for every drumming level.
You will never find a top drum review without a Pearl product featuring somewhere. Pearl is a name well known in the drumming realm. It has its headquarters in Japan and was formerly known as the “Pearl Musical Instrument Company.” And when the drums become widely used, the company changed to just “Pearl Drums.”
The Export series happens to be among the most famous drum kits by Pearl. There are two versions; the EXX725 and the EXX725S, both of which are excellent products. They come with 22-inch bass drums, but the former has 12, 12, and 16-inch toms while the latter features 10,12 and 16-inch floor tom. They come fully equipped with snare drums, bass drum pedal, and three cymbals.
Pearl has something for everyone. Whether a beginner or expert, they aren’t missing anything.
There is nothing much I can say about Ludwig because everyone in the drumming industry knows the brand. It was established in 1909 and had been producing different kinds of instruments, including drums ever since.
Among my favorite from this company is the NeuSonic Series Drum Kit, which reveals the brilliance this brand puts in their products. It is very light, portable, and perfect for both beginners and professionals. It features an American maple shell pack with the same material as their Legacy Classic and Maple series.
You can buy Ludwig drums online.
PDP features among the top drum creators in the world. There PDP Mainstage is a great drum set for beginners. However, you should only expect it to last about one to two years.
Pdp Drum DW 7 Piece
It is a bit more costly than the PP300R, but it has much better hardware and sound quality. It features 7-ply shells made from Poplar wood and a 45-degree bearing edge on the drums.
The edge produces a fuller response with the drum head. The set features 8 inch and a10-inch floor tom, 22-inch bass drum, and 5 by 14-inch snare drums.
Gretsch is a musical instrument based in Brooklyn, New York. It was established in 1883 by Friedrich Gretsch, who started making drums by hand and continued with production until 1916 when his son took over the business. It has grown into one of the top music instrument manufacturers in the world.
If you are looking for the best Gretsch drum set for beginners, I would recommend the Gretsch GS1. It falls in the same price range as the PDP Mainstage, but it is made of poplar and mahogany wood, which is a cheaper alternative to maple and beech.
It comes with 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch floor toms, a 22-inch bass drum, and a 14-inch snare drum. It features among many other Gretsch drum sets.
Mapex Drum Shell Pack
It is incredible how Mapex has become a preferred brand among seasoned drummers. The company has existed for quite a while and has grown into one of the best drum manufacturers in the world.
I can easily recommend the Mars kit by this company, especially for beginners. If you are ready to start recording and arranging live shows, then this M Birch drum kits will be a great choice. One favorable thing about Mapex are their drum heads. Most of their drum sets also come with a quality shell pack.
The ten brands I have listed above should be well worth your money and time. You can try out at least three brands, testing them out until you get the best. Otherwise, they will not disappoint. One of the best ways to find the best drum set is to ask around. If you know someone who has extensive knowledge and experience, they’re likely to able to give you valuable information. Here are a few things you should look for in a drum set:
- A good snare drum
- A solid ride cymbal
- High-quality drum heads
- A reliable bass drum pedal
- A shell pack made from quality material
I hope you now have confidence when choosing your first or next drum set. The best drum comes in many shapes and sizes. Figure out your goals, and the best drum kit will line up much easier.