04/06/21

Complete Drum Sets: Best Guide On How To Choose one 2021!

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Disclaimer: Links in the table below and throughout the article are affiliated links with Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finding the right drum set it to achieving your drumming needs. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate, or a professional drummer, you need the right tool for your abilities and playing styles.

For me, drumming is one of the best things I can ever think of doing. It makes me feel like everything else has stopped, and it is just me and drums.

And because of my experience, many beginners have come to me asking about the best complete drum set on the market.

Well, there are so many options on the market. But not all of them are fit for you. And hence, if you are just starting out, you need something reliable and pocket-friendly.

As a beginner, you don’t need to go for an expensive kit.

Drumming can be really hard. And therefore, you need to be sure that it’s what you want to do for the rest of your life.  

Once you get into the pro drummer’s territory, you can start thinking about the tone, shell sizes, and the kit configuration you need.

In this guide, I will be talking about some of the best drums sets out there. No matter your level of experience, you will find these kits quite useful.

Things to consider when choosing a beginner drum set

Ask any pro drummer how to build a good drum set, and they will tell you don’t go for a full kit. It is better to buy parts from different manufacturers as you assemble your ideal set.

This is because some of the parts on a complete drum set don’t sound good at all. For instance, you may discover that the cymbals don’t sound as good as you would expect them to.

Nevertheless, a beginner drum set is different. At this moment, you are not concerned much about the tonal quality of the set, but learning to hit them.

But this does not mean that you just buy anything bad. It’s still crucial to consider a few things that make a good drum set great.

Besides, many beginner sets can be used perfectly, even for some pro gigs. And these are the kind of kits you need to have.

Here are a few things to consider when buying a complete drum set.

It should have everything

When many buyers are bargaining for a complete kit for the money, they often want to know it comes with everything. In other words, it should have all the drums and the hardware. Some drum sets can come at really low prices because they only contain the drum shells.

Drum hardware

What does hardware mean in a complete drum set? You will come across a lot of adverts saying that the set comes with hard.

Many beginners don’t know what this term is all about. They are referring to the hardware you need to hold the drums and other drum parts in place.

A complete drum set can have so many parts; cymbals, the snare, the bass drum, and the toms, among many others. They all work together to form a complete percussion set.  

Many drum sets are sold without that stands and other hardware that keep the set-in place while you play. Such kits are meant for drummers who already have the hardware.

For a beginner, you probably don’t even know what a cymbal holder does. Sometimes you will meet terms like double-braced hardware, which means the hardware features two pieces of metal adding extra strength to the bracing.

The most important thing is that you should have all the hardware with your drum set before you start playing. It is the only way you can find drumming possible anyway.

The number of pieces in a complete drum set

We have been talking about a complete drum set from the beginning. But what does this mean? What is the ideal drum set?

Traditionally, it is only the drums that are counted as pieces of a drum set. This means we do not count the cymbals and other percussion instruments with a drum setup.

Therefore, if your drum set has a snare, a kick, and three toms, it is already a complete drum set. Ideally, a drum set should have at least four pieces.

But today, many people don’t follow this tradition, especially in the modern era of electronic drum sets. In this case, any triggering device is counted as part of the set, including electronic cymbals.

A standard configuration comes with one snare, two mounted tomes, one-floor tom, and one bass drum. With this setup, you can start playing your drums right from the box.

Such a setup is ideal for those who share kits at some places of their drumming journey. It is also a great situation like a live performance where you need to set up mics.

Some drum sets can have four or three pieces, and they are complete. But this does not give you a chance to widen your thoughts and tap into what you can really do.

Beginners want to have everything ready. This means you need a set that has all the drums, the cymbals, and the hardware. This can be called a good drum set. And you have to choose a set that meets your needs.

The tonewood

Expert drummers will often talk about things like ‘mahogany is better than poplar.’ Well, there is a reason why drummers refer to tonewoods when picking drums sets.

So, is it important? Yes, and no.

This may not be important for a beginner, because all you want is to play some drums. But as you continue growing in your experience, you should start noticing some subtle tonal differences, which may define your whole drumming stile.

Don’t get too excited and spend your money on too expensive drum sets because they are termed ‘better-sounding wood.’ Just go for a drum set you can afford, and everything else will be fine.

Quality drum sticks matter

Drum sticks are often one of the things many drummers don’t care much about when choosing the ideal drum set. Some manufacturers include them in their sets, but not always.

The good news is, drum sticks are not very expensive. You can buy as many as you want and still feel like you have not spent enough.

And hence, I would recommend that you go for the best. Remember that drum sticks also affecting your drumming. Note that a poorly picked pair of drum sticks are cause you some health issues.

Cymbals and Cymbal quality

As stated above, a complete drum set for a newbie should have everything, which includes a good set of cymbals. Many drum manufacture offer cymbals with their drum sets. But these are only basic, and therefore will not give you the quality of sound you need.

Many drummers who have bought beginner kits with cymbals have replaced the cymbals because of this reason.

Get new hi-hats, crash, and ride cymbals from top manufacturers like Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, or Meinl. All these brands ride high on the market, but they have sets of affordable cymbals that should be good enough for you.

Drum sizes

This is one of the features you should be very focused on when putting together a complete drum set. Understand that drums come in different sizes based on what they are meant for or the style you play.

In this guide, I will be referring to drum sizes with depth-first. Therefore, a 14-inch by 5.5-inch snare means 14-inch wide and 5.5-inch deep.

Sometimes manufacturers and suppliers may set these measurements the other way around. Anyway, this may not be very important at this stage.

Just know that the snare and some toms are among the smallest drums, while the kick and the floor tom are often the largest. And this goes for the cymbals as well. Their sizes define the rides, the crashes, and hi-hats.

Complete Drum Sets with Cymbals Reviews

If you need the best complete drum sets with cymbals for sale, there is a wide range of choices. It may even get a bit overwhelming to pick the right one.

But don’t worry, I have reviewed a few of the best complete drum sets with cymbals to make it easy for you.

Ddrum D120B

Ddrum D1 Junior Complete Drum Set With Cymbals Midnight Black
Ddrum D1 Junior Complete Drum Set With Cymbals Midnight Black

The Ddrum D120B drum set has been one of the best-rated drum sets under $500 for quite some time. This compact 5-piece kit comes with everything you need to start playing right from the box.

It even comes with a drum throne and a pair of drum sticks. Therefore, you can sit down and start enjoying some of your favorites play along with kits without having to spend any extra dime.

Ddrum is one of the top manufacturers of drums, and they have never disappointed when it comes to quality. Therefore, do not let the low-price tag on this kit fool you.

The toms are the most compact and portable components of the kit, measuring 12-inch by 10-inch. Floor toms come at 14-inch, which is also a great size for anyone in need of compactness.

The snare and the bass drums follow the traditional sizes of 14-inch and 20-inch, respectively.

Other items in the box include 8 by 10-inch, 9 by 12-inch, and 14 by 14-inch rack toms, a hi-hat stand, a drum throne, a snare stand, a straight cymbal stand, a tri-holder bass drum mount, a 16-inch crash cymbal, a 14-inch pair of hi-hats, and one pair of sticks.

As you can see, it has everything a complete drum set should have. Apart from that, the shells are basswood in D series Black Oval finishes. The Hoop spec is at 1.6mm and triple-flanged. The toms and the snare are 6-ply while the bass drum is 8-ply.

One thing many users love about this set is their compact nature. They are also made of great quality.

However, the cymbals are too thin, and hence, you should try replacing them. Also, some users have complained about the install manual as having some issues.

Ludwig LC175 Accent Drive

Ludwig Accent Drive Series Lc175 Complete Drum Package With Cymbals Hardware Drum Throne Chain Drive Pedal And Sticks Silver Foil
Ludwig Accent Drive Series Lc175 Complete Drum Package With Cymbals Hardware Drum Throne Chain Drive Pedal And Sticks Silver Foil

Ask anyone about the best drum companies, and Ludwig drums will not fail to feature in their list. And here is one of their most affordable drums from the company. It features a 22-inch kick, a 16-inch floor tom, a 10 & 12-inch toms, and a 14-inch snare.

The set also comes equipped with a nice set of cymbals, including 13-inch hi-hats and 15-inch crash cymbals. You can easily say this is a great value for the money set, considering the price and the brand.

Other parts include a 16 by 16-inch floor tom, a drum throne, and all hardware. The drums are 6-ply poplar, with double braced hardware. These are features of good sounding drums.

On the positive side, several users have reported being greatly impressed with the sounds they get from these drums. The shells are of good quality, and the hardware is double braced, which something you will not easily get at this price range.

The biggest disadvantage is the quality of the cymbals. But this is something you can expect from any cymbals of beginner sets, which only call for replacement.

Overall, the Ludwig LC175 is a sturdy beginner to the mid-level drum set.

Pearl Roadshow RS525SC

Pearl Roadshow 5 Piece Drum Set Charcoal Metallic Rs525sc C706
Pearl Roadshow 5 Piece Drum Set Charcoal Metallic Rs525sc C706

Pearl is a household name in the world of affordable drum sets. And the Roadshow kits come as their entry-level drums.

Despite being at the beginner-level, these drums come with great quality in the features, like the 9-ply poplar shells that make many users admire it. The price is only low because the series features only a single crash/ride cymbal. You can improve on this by adding on more crash or splash cymbals as per your taste.

The package comes with a 14-inch snare, a 10 by 8-inch 12 by 9-inch & 16 by 16-inch floor toms, a 22 by a 16-inch bass drum, a 16-inch crash/ride cymbal, and 14-inch hi-hats. All hardware and a drum throne are included.

The kit also comes with two pairs of maple drum sticks, a Pearl Stick bag, and a two-year warranty. Pearl is so sure of these drums’ quality, with their 1-ply coated snare and 1-ply clear tom and bass drum heads, that they give it such a warranty.

On the positive side, many users have praised the quality and sound of the drums. The bass drum pedal, which does not feature in many beginner sets, is another wonderful feature.

But the cymbals are too basic. Many users recommend that you replace them immediately. Besides that, the kick pedal is not of great quality.

Tama Imperialstar 5-Pc

Tama Imperialstar Complete Drum Set 6 Piece Burgundy Walnut Wrap
Tama Imperialstar Complete Drum Set 6 Piece Burgundy Walnut Wrap

Tama is another very reputable drum brand. Their Imperialstar 5-piece drum set is a product that many beginners have loved. It is also one of only a few sets at this price range that comes with two toms, a 16-inch, and 12-inch tom-toms.

Besides these, the set features a 16-inch floor tom, a 22-inch bass drum, and a 14-inch snare. All the basic cymbals and their stands have also been included. Tama has given you a nice kick pedal and a good quality drum throne so you can start playing immediately.

You only need drum sticks to start playing. The shells are made from poplar, which is loved for its balanced dynamics and balance.

Also, the package comes with a 16-inch crash, a 20-inch ride, and 14-inch hi-hats. The manufacturer has been considerate enough to include a single-chain kick pedal and a drum throne. All you will need is your mind, and you can start playing these drums immediately.

And to make sure you don’t have to spend anything else; the kit comes fully equipped with all the necessary hardware.

On the positive side, all drums are 6-ply poplar, and the kit has double-braced hardware. Also, this kit has been greatly appreciated as wonderful value for money. Students and first-time drummers will have everything they need.

However, some users have felt like the kick pedal is not sturdy. It comes with a 16-inch crash, a 20-inch ride, and a 14-inch pair of hi-hats.

Ludwig LCEE200 Element Evolution 5-Pc

Ludwig Element Evolution Lcee220 5 Piece Complete Drum Set With Zildjian Cymbals Black Sparkle
Ludwig Element Evolution Lcee220 5 Piece Complete Drum Set With Zildjian Cymbals Black Sparkle

This Ludwig LCEE200 Element Evolution 5-Pc drum set has been highly rated among many users. And this does not come as a surprise, considering the popularity that Ludwig drums continue to enjoy. Drummers like Ringo Starr and Scott Devours have made the brand even more popular.

But it is not only because of the stars endorsements that this company has made a name for themselves. It is also because they make top-quality drums, as seen in this particular kit.

You might not find a better kit at this price range than the Element Evolution 5-Pc. All the shells are made from high-quality poplar.

The set features a 20-inch kick, a 14-inch floor tom, 10 and 12-inch rack toms, a 14-inch snare, Zildjian cymbals (16-inch crash, 14-inch hi-hats, and a 20-inch ride. These components are crowned with stands and bracing hardware.

On the good side, these drums have received the best market response compare to all the others on this list. It is generally a great beginner to an intermediate drum set with the high build quality.

The main complaints are on the quality of its features, though. But for a beginner set, you cannot expect anything better.

Jazz Drum Sets Complete with Cymbals

Jazz is a very subtle music style. This is why there are several sets dedicated specifically to the genre. If you are looking for a good set, in this case, consider the following.

Pearl Roadshow 4 Piece Jazz Drum set with hardware and cymbals

Pearl Roadshow 4 Piece Drum Set Jet Black Rs584c C31
Pearl Roadshow 4 Piece Drum Set Jet Black Rs584c C31

If you have been drumming for sometimes, chances are you already know what the Pearl Roadshow series is all about. And here is one of their kits, carrying everything you need to start playing jazz right away.

This bundle comes as a complete set with hardware and cymbals. For those who need their first drum size made for jazz, this set can be a great choice.

The quality of most beginner drum sets is not what one can admire. But you can expect more from Pearl’s Roadshow drums.

You will find an 18 by a 12-inch kick in the package, a 14 by 10-inch floor tom, a 10 by 7-inch rack tom, and a 13 by a 5-inch matching snare. All the shells are poplar, which ensures great projection.

On the positive side, the hardware included is sturdy and durable. Also, the kit is very affordable.

However, the brass cymbals it comes with are not good sounding. But you cannot expect anything better at this level.

Yamaha Custom Bop 3 Piece Jazz Drum Set Shell Pack

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 3pc Bop Drum Shell Pack 18 Kick Raven Black
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 3pc Bop Drum Shell Pack 18 Kick Raven Black

If you already have your own hardware, you may want a good quality shell pack to put everything together. And Yamaha is one of the biggest brands on the market. This Stage Custom Jazz Drum set should be a perfect solution.

The kit bears a rich and warm sound that is perfect for ringing in clubs and bigger stages. The shells are 6-ply and 100% birch, while the hardware is high-quality, low mass.  

It comes with an 18 by a 15-inch kick, a 14 by 13-inch floor tom, and a 12 by 8-inch rack tom. All these drums deliver a rich and warm sound that is great for live performance.

Don’t expect it to have any cymbals or hardware. But for a basic complete drum set, you have it all in here.

Important terms for a complete drum set

If you are an expert drummer, you already understand that putting together a complete drum set takes time and investment. However, for an entry-level drummer, you only need to understand what it takes to have a drum set to play on.

There, terms like ply, drum kit, drum set, drum throne/stool, cymbals, and a drum key are not inevitable. It is important to know these factors because they all contribute to a full drum set and will help you get the sound you desire.

Conclusion

I have been playing drums for more than 20 years now, and I have gained great experience in the industry. The products reviewed above are the ones you will find in major online retailers.

In summary, a complete drum set should have all drums, hardware, and cymbals. Also, your accessories play a major role in creating a perfect drum set.

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