best drum set for kids

Best Drum Set For Kids | 2021

Introduction

Looking for the best drum set for kids? That probably means you’re the future mother/father of a rockstar, am I right?

All jokes aside, music is one of the best hobbies any kid could have, mostly because it:

  • Improves your memory;
  • Is great stress relief;
  • Builds discipline;
  • Gives you a sense of accomplishment;
  • Expands your social circle;
  • Develops your creativity;
  • Boosts your resume;
  • But most important… it’s too much fun!! 
"Musicians don’t retire, they stop when there’s no more music in them."
Louis Armstrong

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always heard that everyone should have three hobbies:

  1. One to keep you creative;
  2. Another one to keep you in shape;
  3. And finally, one to make you money.

In other words, if your kid starts learning an instrument at a young age and practicing some kind of sport, he is already doing a lot for his future.

Ignore the number three, for now, he can worry about that later on. Let’s focus on the creative hobby: drumming!

Since the kid will be just starting, having the right drum set could make or break his love for the instrument.

Back in the day, when I started playing, I had to learn on a regular-sized drum kit, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy… I could barely reach the bass drum pedal!

Having a drum set with sizes that matched my height would have been a blessing back then.

For that same reason, let’s make sure your kid doesn’t need to go through the same struggles I went through two decades ago.

In this article, I will focus on the best drum sets for kids, aged between 5 and 12 years old.

The suggestions won’t be based on age, since a 5-year-old can be tall enough to play a regular-sized drum set while a 10-year-old isn’t.

With that in mind, what to look for when buying a junior drum kit?

First, pay close attention to drum sizes, especially the bass drum, which is something you can’t adjust later on, unlike most of the hardware.

Secondly, find out if you’re buying a drum set or drum shells. Drum sets include the shells, plus some cymbals, necessary hardware, and sometimes even sticks or headphones.

Buying drum shells means you need to buy everything I just listed, and sometimes even the snare, separately.

Afterward, you can decide which drum set suits your kid the best, according to the budget and space available.

Should I opt for an electronic drum kit?

This is the question many parents ask themselves when they first find out that their kid wants to learn how to play drums.

Both acoustic and electronic drums have their pros and cons. For instance, if you live in an apartment, an acoustic isn’t an option at all.

On the other hand, when starting, it’s way better to play an acoustic and get used to the natural sound and feel of a real drum set.

In the end, it’s up to you to find what works best for your living condition and your kid’s needs.

If possible, always buy an acoustic set. If not, an electronic drum kit with headphones will do just fine. Plus, if he’s able to play an acoustic when taking drum lessons, he can enjoy the best of both worlds.

With that in mind, here are the best drum set for kids on the market right now:

ludwig questlove pocket kitSpecifications:

  • 16″ Bass Drum
  • 10″ Tom Tom
  • 13″ Floor Tom
  • 12″ Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Hi-Hat Stand
  • Cymbal Arm
  • Snare Stand
  • Drum Throne
  • Drum Sticks / Heads / Key
  • Hi-Hat
  • Crash/Ride Cymbal

Looking for a real drum kit for your kid? Well, this Ludwig might be what you’re looking for!

Thanks to the partnership between Ludwig and Questlove, we now have a small-sized real drum kit, instead of a toy that’s dismantled in a couple of days.

Ludwig is a well-known manufacturer of percussion products and accessories, and Questlove is a drummer, producer, DJ, and member of The Roots, perhaps best known as the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s shows.

The Ludwig Pocket Kit is an all-in-one since it includes a 4-piece drum kit with a 16” bass drum, 10” tom, 13” floor tom, and a 12” snare. 

In comparison, a regular drum kit would be a 22” bass drum, 12” tom, 16” floor tom, and a 14” snare. Pretty easy to notice how different the sizes are.

Additionally, it also includes a bass drum pedal, hi-hat stand, arm stand attached to the bass drum, snare stand, and a drum throne.

In other words, it’s sold with all the hardware needed to set up the 4-piece drum kit and the two cymbals included.

Speaking of cymbals, the box includes a Hi-Hat and a Crash/Ride cymbal.

To complete the package, you’ll also get a pair of sticks, drumheads for the 4-pieces, and a drum key to tune your new drum set.

It targets 4-10 years old kids and it’s currently sold in three finishes:

  1. Wine Red Sparkle
  2. White Sparkle
  3. Black Sparkle

It includes free drum lessons by Questlove specially designed for beginners, such as “How to…”:

  • Set the drums (with parents);
  • Tune the drums (with parents);
  • Hold the drum sticks;
  • Play a simple drum roll;
  • Use the bass drum pedal;
  • … and a few more.

To conclude, my verdict:

In my honest opinion, this a pretty good drum kit. It includes everything you need to play drums and the build quality is far better than expected. Nothing in it feels like a plastic toy.

They sound good, and not just “kid’s drum set good”.  Replace the heads with better ones, tune them well, and no one will notice it’s a drum kit for kids.

The price is another pleasant surprise. Around 269$ for a full drum kit is pretty amazing, considering most professional cymbals cost more than that.

The hardware is decent, besides the bass drum pedal, which is probably the worst out of everything and should be your first upgrade as soon as possible.

On the other hand, let’s talk about the negatives:

The drum heads are pretty bad, but you can easily change them for a fair price and when starting, that should be the least of your worries.

The bass drum pedal doesn’t tighten properly to the bass drum hoop, and if you tighten it a lot, the bottom of the pedal hits the wing nut and the beater won’t reach the bass drum head.

On top of that, the cymbals don’t sound like regular cymbals either, but they should be useful enough for the first years until you can replace them with better alternatives.

Overall, this is a fully-functional, well-balanced drum set that can become an even more beautiful instrument with some adjustments later on.

"This time around, I wanted to build a product in which everything is inside the box. There’s nothing that you have to buy for this kit. Everything is included."
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Price 71%
Build Quality 78%
Gear Included 83%

pdp player junior drum setSpecifications:

  • 18” Bass Drum
  • 8” Tom Tom
  • 10” Tom Tom
  • 12” Floor Tom
  • 12” Snare Drum
  • 10” Hi-Hat
  • 12” Crash Cymbal
  • Hi-Hat Stand
  • Cymbal Stand
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Drum Throne
  • Drum Heads / Key

PDP, which is short for Pacific Drums and Percussion, was founded in 1999 by Drum Workshop, Inc.

Their goal was to provide great quality drums and hardware with “player-friendly features” and best-in-class build quality to more drummers around the globe”.

This set in particular is made for 3 to 8 years old kids, and the quality is comparable to the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit.

Although this may be true, there are a few small, but important differences:

  1. This kit includes an 18” bass drum, which is 2” bigger than the Ludwig one.
  2. Also, this is a 5-piece drum kit, so it includes one additional Tom Tom. There’s a 10” one, and a 12”, instead of the lonely 10” you get in the Pocket Kit.
  3. The floor tom is 1” smaller, while the snare is pretty much the same size.
  4. Sadly, no Questlove lessons with this one, sorry!

Just like the Ludwig, it’s not a kid’s toy but a small-sized drum set that’s much better than expected if you replace its weaknesses, like the cymbals and drum heads.

Piano Black Laminate is the only finish available, but I’m honestly not sure how important a drum finish is to a kid.

The two rack toms are mounted to the bass drum, with fully adjustable height and angle to perfectly match your kid’s height. They can also be removed and safely stored.

After all the praise…

With that in mind, the biggest downside is the price. It’s one of the most expensive junior kits.

It costs $100 more than the Ludwig, but on the other hand, you get one more tom-tom and one more cymbal stand (the crash has a stand of its own, instead of a cymbal arm on top of the kick drum).

In my opinion, the price should be $50 lower, which would bring it to about $50 more expensive than the Ludwig, justifying the price difference with the bonus gear.

In the end, it’s still a remarkably great deal for a complete drum set, considering it’s a 5-piece with two cymbals and every piece of hardware needed.

The stock cymbals and hardware are good enough to start and will get you a sense of whether the kid is going to stick with it or not.

You can later change the drum heads, replace the cymbals and the bass drum pedal, and suddenly your kid’s drum set will last until he goes to college.

Price 97%
Build Quality 81%
Gear Included 92%

pearl roadshow jr drum setSpecifications:

  • 16” Bass Drum
  • 8” Tom Tom
  • 10” Tom Tom
  • 13” Floor Tom
  • 12” Snare Drum
  • Cymbal Stand
  • Hi-Hat Stand
  • Snare Stand
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Drum Throne
  • 13” Brass Crash/Ride
  • 10” Hybrid Hi-Hat
  • Drum Sticks
  • Pearl Drum Stickers

Pearl is a Japanese manufacturer of percussion instruments, well-known for its high-quality drum sets.

They make some of the best drums in the world, like the Pearl Masterworks, but also the best-selling drum set of all time, the inexpensive Pearl Export.

As you may have noticed by now, I’m not talking about toy drums (ignore the article if that’s what you’re looking for), and the Roadshow Jr. is no exception either.

It’s a fully working, fully adjustable Pearl drum set, with all the shells, cymbals, and hardware your kid needs.

The shells are built with 6-ply white poplar, 45° hand-cut bearing edges, and dual-point cast tuning lugs.

This kit’s sizes are: 16” bass drum, 8” and 10” rack tom, 13” floor tom, and 12” snare, which is pretty normal for a junior drum set.

It’s currently available in just two finishes: Jet Black and Grindstone Sparkle.

The biggest surprise of this set is, without a doubt, the fully adjustable, small-sized hardware, since it comes with:

  1. Chain Drive Bass Drum Pedal, with adjustable spring tensions like a normal drum pedal.
  2. Snare Stand with adjustable height and angle.
  3. Straight Cymbal Stand with geared tilter.
  4. Drum Throne with locking height mechanism and a cushion.
  5. Hi-Hat Stand with adjustable height and matching footplate.

The hardware included is much better than its competitors, which means you probably won’t need to upgrade as soon as the other ones.

If the Ludwig sells for around $269 and the PDP for $369, this one sits perfectly right in the middle, at around $319 for the complete 5-piece drum kit.

Considering it offers the same amount of gear as the PDP Player Junior Drum Set, with better hardware and $50 less, this is for me, the best Junior drum kit anyone can buy.

The not so good:

The cymbals are more of the same. 10” Hi-Hat and 13” Crash/Ride that sound pretty bad and should be your top priority when it comes to upgrading this kit.

On top of that, the stock drum heads need a replacement, since new ones will make the biggest difference when it comes to the sound.

In conclusion, these were the only negatives I could find on the Pearl Roadshow Jr. Drum Set. I honestly don’t see where they can improve, since better cymbals would drastically change the price and that’s not something we want.

Price 86%
Build Quality 87%
Gear Included 92%

Specifications:millenium focus junior drum set

  • 16” Bass Drum
  • 8” Tom Tom
  • 10” Tom Tom
  • 13” Floor Tom
  • 12” Wood Snare Drum
  • Straight Cymbal Stand
  • Hi-Hat Stand
  • Snare Stand
  • Single Bass Drum Pedal
  • 10” Brass Hi-Hat
  • 12” Brass Crash/Ride
  • Drum Throne
  • Bass Drum Cushion
  • Drum Sticks / Heads

If you’ve heard of Millenium before, you know by now that it’s a sub-brand of Thomann’s Music Store.

They’re known for importing directly from well-known manufacturers around the globe, eliminating the middle man, and therefore, selling for comparatively modest prices.

As you can see by the specifications, it’s pretty similar to the Pearl Roadshow Jr. Drum set, besides the Crash/Ride which is 1” smaller.

The fact that it only costs ~$150, which is about 45% of Pearl’s retail price, is mind-blowing considering it’s a full drum set.

The set consists of a 16” Bass Drum, 8” and 10” rack toms, 13” floor tom, and a 12” snare.

On top of that, you’ll also get a 10” Hi-Hat and a 12” Crash/Ride, both made from Brass, so you should realistically expect them to sound horrible.

Additionally, every piece of hardware needed to set up that 5-piece drum kit is included, like the cymbal stands, the snare stand, the bass drum pedal, and a drum throne.

You can add even more stuff to the bundle:

The kit currently sells in two different colors, black and red, and for an additional $10 you get a pair of Millenium 7A Drum Sticks Maple and UVEX K Junior Ear Protector (don’t sleep on ear protection!).

The UVEX K sells for a little over $18 and they’re comfortable enough to wear them for long hours and they do a pretty good job at canceling unwanted ear-piercing frequencies while allowing you to still appreciate your drum kit sound.

Now let’s talk about the negatives:

Such low price should come from somewhere, and in this case, it’s the build quality.

As mentioned before, both the hardware and the cymbals are pretty low quality and you should aim to upgrade as soon as needed (if your kid ends up being serious about learning the instrument).

Replacing all the drum heads should do wonders in terms of improving the drum kit sound (but that’s the case even in professional drum sets).

The rack toms wing nuts are pretty hard to tighten as they are too close to the tom itself, but you can definitely find a way to make it work.

Overall, you get too much for too little and it’s pretty hard to complain considering the $150 price tag.

In reality, if you’re looking for the cheapest complete 5-piece drum kit which is also ideal for kids, the Millenium Focus Junior Drum Set is a priority.

Price 40%
Build Quality 66%
Gear Included 94%

Specifications:alesis nitro mesh kit

  • 1 x 08″ Dual-Zone Mesh Snare Pad
  • 3 x 08″ Single-Zone Mesh Tom Pads
  • 1 x 10″ Hi-Hat Pad / 1 x 10″ Crash Pad w/ Choke / 1 x 10″ Ride Pad
  • 1 x Kick Pad Tower / 1 x Bass Drum Pedal / 1 x Hi-Hat Pedal
  • Nitro Drum Module
  • 4-Post Aluminum Drum Rack
  • Cable Snake + Cable Wrap Strips
  • Drum Sticks / Key

I know I said you should always pick an acoustic drum kit, if possible. But, in case it isn’t, you should be more than fine with an electronic drum kit if you pick the right one.

In my opinion, the right one for a kid with a small budget is, without a doubt, the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit.

Let’s talk about Alesis’ background:

Alesis was founded in 1980, back when they were known for their “innovative semi-conductor chip technology and award-winning industrial designs that allowed entry-level musicians and recording artists to afford professional studio recording products that were never affordable before.”

In 2001, Jack O’Donnell acquired Alesis, and under his leadership, they started producing “an advanced yet affordable full line of electronic percussion products” like the Alesis DM5 Pro Kit.

Fast forward to twenty years later and Alesis is one of the most respectable manufacturers of electronic drum kits.

Enough about Alesis, let’s talk about this kit in particular:

This is, for me at least, the best beginner e-drum kit you can buy right now for under $400.

We’ve got four 8” mesh pads for the toms and the snare, with toms being single-zone while the snare is dual-zone (different sounds for the mesh head and the rim).

The plastic rims on the snare and the toms allow you to adjust the tension of the mesh heads. That and the fact that mesh feels more natural should be more than enough to prevent you from buying an even cheaper e-drum with rubber pads.

Trust me, as someone that played on both mesh and rubber pads on electronic drum kits, rubber ones feel pretty bad and the $50 or the $100 you could save isn’t worth it.

The set includes a bass drum and hi-hat pedals with a brushed-steel pedalboard, which is a nice touch for a beginner drum kit.

Another positive is the fact that it comes with an actual drum pedal with a bass drum tower instead of a trigger pedal you usually find in cheap e-drums that feel nothing like a normal one.

Additionally, you get a 25-pin loom cable to connect the module to the pads and there’s also the option to expand your drum kit with an additional dual-zone tom and single-zone but choke-able cymbal.

In terms of connectivity, there’s a mini-jack headphone output for silent practice, aux input to jam along to your favorite tracks, USB port, and the old-school MIDI port.

The brain of the kit is a Nitro drum module with hundreds of percussion sounds, space for 40 different kits, and 60 built-in play-along tracks.

To complete the pack, you get a sturdy 4-post aluminum rack that you can set up for an adult, and a few adjustments later it’s ready for any small child to use.

You didn’t think it was perfect, did you?

The module is probably the weakest part of the Nitro Mesh Kit, but thankfully for us, via USB MIDI, you can hook up programs such as Superior Drummer or EZDrummer to improve the sound of your kit (which is probably the worst part about it) and make it sound like any professional set.

Sadly, the set doesn’t include a drum throne like the acoustic ones previously mentioned, nor headphones (but anything you already own will work).

To conclude, the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit has everything you should look for in a beginner electronic drum kit:

  1. Mesh pads instead of rubber ones;
  2. Drum pedal instead of a bass drum trigger;
  3. Possibility to simply set it up for a kid;
  4. Option to add another tom and/or cymbal;
  5. Low price.
Price 100%
Build Quality 74%
Gear Included 81%

What should you get?

As you may know by now, there’s an option for every wallet and/or every living condition.

If you live in a house or have an available space where the noise won’t bother anyone, definitely go with an acoustic kit.

Any from the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit, PDP Player Junior Drum Set, or the Pearl Roadshow Jr. Drum Set should be everything your kid needs to start his new hobby.

My favorite is the Pearl Roadshow Jr. Drum Set thanks to the fact that it’s a high-quality 5-piece at an insanely low price.

If you’re on a tight budget or not sure about how serious your child is about learning how to play the drums, the Millenium Focus Junior Drum Set is a pretty complete alternative and you can’t beat that price, let’s be honest.

If acoustic isn’t an option, then an electronic drum kit will have to do. 

In that case, pick something that comes with mesh pads instead of rubber ones, and a real bass drum tower instead of a bass drum trigger.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit includes all of that and much more, making it the best beginner electronic drum set.

No matter what you end up with, if it’s any of the options on the article you can sleep knowing it’s one the best drum set for kids currently on the market.