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 right.
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 the many different sets out there. And the online shopping world makes things even harder.
And 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, cons, and more.
Don’t worry, though. In this guide, I have compiled ten top drum brands for your perusal. The market for drums has grown in 2020 more than any other year. Hence, I hope this guide will help aspiring drums and musicians intending to learn more about drum manufacturers, consequently picking the right one.
The ten brands on this list have made a reputation for themselves in the industry. And I will also mention a few best kits by each brand.
Let’s get right in.
How to pick the best drum brand
With the market full of manufacturers, the choice for the best drum kit can involve different features. The first thing to consider is your description of the best drum set. Everyone has their own preferences and features they look for in drum sets.
Generally, the best drum company should have the following features:
Companies like Yamaha and DW have been on the market for a long time, providing the best music needs for artists. And along the way, the brands have invested in researching the market, searching for what musicians are looking for.
Today, drums have really evolved. You may have noticed that what worked a few years ago is no longer functional today. And the technology era has been the main cause of these changes.
For this reason, the best company should strive to live up to the expectations of developing consumer needs. And Yamaha, for instance, has been a leader in this through technological innovations.
A drum brand will stay long on the market only if they are offering the best services to the consumer. And when it comes to drumming, there is every need to give drummers what they need.
Hence, the best drum brand should have the experience to know what you need. This includes creating solutions for all types and levels of drummers. It is important that a drummer feels the experience of being part of a team when creating music.
There are different types of drummers, with varying needs. For example, a beginner will not have the same expectations as an experience beater.
And the top brands in this list understand this. They all have solutions for every level of drumming.
Consequently, drums vary in prices. They offer solutions from the lowest pocket-friendly set to the best quality high-end drumming kit. As a beginner, it may not be a good idea to invest in an expensive drum. Or if you have kids learning to beat drums, you will be looking for something affordable.
And because of technological advancement, there are tabletop drum kits that look like toys – well, they are – but offer a great drumming experience.
This does not go without saying that drumming is all about being part of the team. And for bands that don’t have their own transportation, portability in drums is key. The drummer will be looking for something they can easily carry around.
Apart from this, different music genres require different drumming needs. Hard rock is loud with cracking metal, while RnB requires a much subtle approach. A jazz drum is expected to be even 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 at a lower price.
There is no better way of telling how good a drum brand is than by its track record. Go to their website, and you can find clues that tell about the reputation of the manufacturer.
One of the most important areas to start your search is from the customer review section. Those who have used the products 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 all the same. 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 quality of their products. 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 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. Hence, it helps you know competitors and transition whenever you wish.
Internet technology has made things easier. And this is why you don’t need to travel to Japan to buy Yamaha drums.
Simply get onto their website, or any e-commerce site, pick your product and place the order. The drums will be delivered at your doorstep.
And this is where excellent customer service can be tested. Sometimes the products delivered not to satisfy the recipient. The company needs to have a good policy for helping such persons.
Also, how does the company take to respond when you reach out? This is assuming that the company has already given you different methods of communication.
The Best Drum Brands
Now that you understand what makes a good drum brand, you can easily tell who makes the best drum sets. And I have 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 you will find them appealing too.
Yamaha is top on this list because it has been my favorite manufacture for many other items. It is known for the best furniture and motorcycles, apart from being a leader in the percussion industry.
And for percussion, Yamaha has 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. Yamaha has been on a constant expansions spree over the years.
And today, it features among the most famous music instrument manufacturers in the world with three Japan-based main factories. The company then ships the 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 Yamaha is my favorite, I know what I am saying.
The company started working seriously on drums in 1967 by creating high-quality drums kits for professionals. And today, they have a solution for any level drummer. Whether you are looking for high-tech electronic drum sets or the traditional high-quality percussions, Yamaha is a great place to start your search.
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 an excellent high-quality aluminum die-cast hoops and hybrid shell design. These features make them sound aggressive and resonance. And you can tune them easily according to the type of music you are playing for.
All Yamaha drums, especially the hybrid, are market standard with a bearing edge shape. This is why you feel a great optimization in tonal balance with enhanced sounds whenever you play.
I love Yamaha because of their hard work and dedication to offering the best. Besides, there is something for everyone, from a complete set with hardware to just shells.
Anyone who knows their drums can easily attribute the British Drum Company with the best drums brands in the world. It has been slowly taking over the world of higher-tier drums kits. They utilize a high range of exotic woods, hard-wearing hardware, and top-tech design features aimed at making like easy for drummers across the globe.
It may not be very popular with a beginner because their drums are for those with heavy pockets. They are top quality items with high prices, not easily affordable.
And if you didn’t know, BDC a company Kasabian drummer Ian Mathews, pub landlord comedian Al Murray, well-known drum builder Keith Keogh, Verve drummer Pete Salisbury, a military matching drummer Stu Washington, and Alan Kitching, a product designer. All these people understand everything about drumming.
Since 2015, this group of professionals has grown from strength to strength, becoming one of the top producers of quality drums. It has only taken them a few years, and they are already contending with market heavyweights, and it is easy to see why.
My favorite kit from this company is the British Co. Legend series. I have not owned one but tested a few for some time with a dealer who wanted to stock them.
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 known earlier. It comes with a 22-inch by 16-inch undrilled bass drum, 10-inch by 7-inch rack tom, and a 16inch by 16inch floor tom built from 100% Scandinavian birch.
And another great feature about this kit is that each piece of Birch ply has been carefully hand-shaped. And then the shells are cold pres molded, creating a sound production you may never find anywhere else.
There are more drums in companies 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 British Drum Company drums are taking over the world. They seem to have invested heavily in research, creating only what then the market really needs. Hence, chances are you will not get disappointed with any product from this company.
3. Tama drums
Tama is one of the greatest drum makers in the world. The company is headquartered in Japan but has offices all over the world. And this why they are not only well-known but are a versatile brands too. The company was established in 1965 by Hoshino Gakki and started manufacturing drums immediately.
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 drums 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 or Slayer and Lars Ulrich of Metallica are among the top drummers that have used Tama. This shows that the drummers have become a top choice among professional and amateur drummers alike.
Tama drum kits appeal to all drumming levels. Compared to other of the same quality, they offer users and amazing value for their money.
I like the Tama Imperial Star 6-Piece kit more. It is one of their best selling, and it is easy to see why. The kit comes full with two floor toms, two bass drums, a snare, a set of hi-hats, and cymbals (crash and ride). They all come at a fantastic price.
Both beginners and professionals can use the drum set. And this is what makes it such a valuable item at such a price. 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. They fall in the walnut and birch category.
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 brands.
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 brands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Jovi have endorsed DW. Many of the products are custom. But they also sell stock kits and hardware; hence they are a very versatile brand.
I recently got my hands on the Performance Series Drum kit by DW. And I must admit the company makes quite impressive equipment.
The kit 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. And the hardware has double-bracing, not too heavy, hence professional yet easy to carry around.
In short, this kit, among others by DW, maybe a little expensive but offers excellent value for the money. DW are professionals in the industry, and I can recommend them to anyone.
Sonor is one of the top brands I have bought drum kits 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 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 weighty. But they have improved over time, making lighter and slimmer drums become a company that innovates and evolves.
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 percussion instrument and drum industry. 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 tom. They come fully equipped with a snare, bass drum pedal, and three cymbals.
Pearl has something for everyone. Whether a beginner or expert, you will not miss something nice.
There is nothing much I can say about the Ludwig brand because everyone in the drumming industry knows the brand. It was established in 1909 and had been producing different kinds of instruments, including drums and other percussions.
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 American maple and shells with the same material as their Legacy Classic and Maple series.
You can buy Ludwig drums online.
PDP feature among the top drum manufacturers in the world. There PDP Mainstage is a great drum set for beginners. However, you should expect it to last about one to two years.
It is a bit more costly than the PP300R, but it has better built overall with an excellent tone. It features 7-ply shells made from Poplar wood and a 45-degree bearing edge on the drums.
The edge produced a fuller response with the drum head. The set features 8 inch and 10-inch toms, 22-inch bass drum, and 5 by a 14-inch snare.
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, a cheaper alternative to maple and beech.
It comes with 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch floor toms, 22-inch bass drum, and a 14-inch snare. It features among many other Gretsch drum sets.
It is incredible how Mapex has become a preferred brand among seasoned drum players. The company has existed for quite a while and has grown into 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 kit will be a great choice.
The ten drum brands I have listed above should be 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.