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The Best Drum Sets For Kids (2024)

Drumeo Team  /  UPDATED Jul 2, 2024

Thinking about buying your child a drum set? This is the guide for you.

If we could only recommend one drum set for kids, it would be the PDP Player 5-Piece Jr. Drum Set ($499.99). It’s one of the only drum sets created for tiny humans and unlike other drum sets, your child should be able to reach the pedal.

“Dad! He’s hitting me again!” shouted my oldest kid from upstairs. A rapid, rhythmic thumping pounded across the ceiling as my youngest ran away from the scene of the crime. I caught him about halfway down the stairs. He giggled and clung to the banister with one little toddler hand. The other held his weapon: a spatula. I sighed.

“If we get you drums, will you stop hitting your brother?”

He broke into a grin and nodded.

“Okay. Go say sorry.”

He dropped the spatula and clambered up the stairs as I pulled out my phone and started looking into drum sets.

To be honest, I’d been planning to get him drums since the day he pulled out the pots and pans in the kitchen and started whacking at them. Also, I really wanted drums for me.

There’s just one problem: buying drums for kids is confusing. Hell, buying them for adults isn’t exactly straightforward. So many brands. So many options. What does “14-inch hi-hat” mean? What’s a “drum key”?

Let’s save you from some common mistakes and get your kid (and maybe even you) a drum set.

little girl playing drums
(Don’t worry, she wasn’t hitting the drums in this photo. We grabbed her some ear protection!)

Electronic vs. acoustic drums

If you’ve got the space, the ear protection, and some patient neighbors, nothing beats the look and feel of an acoustic drum set. Learning to play with acoustic drums means gaining an appreciation for how they feel. The vibrations, the way the sticks bounce, all of that becomes part of playing.

Acoustic drum sets also tend to hold their value for resale pretty well.

But electronic drums aren’t exactly a distant second.

Electronic drums are:

  • Smaller
  • Lighter
  • Come with loads of cool and fun effects (my kid loves to mess with these)
  • Quiet (plug in headphones or speakers and you get to pick your volume)
  • Foldable and therefore storable

That ticks off a lot of boxes. So if you’re eyeing a set of e-drums, just know you’re not settling. Plus, you’ll be able to play drums in an apartment.

What matters most in picking your kid’s drums is knowing your child’s personality, your environmental and financial circumstances, and what you need right now to get started. It isn’t settling if it works, and it works if you practice often.

Before you buy a drum set

If your kid has never held drumsticks, read this first.

A few months ago there was a viral video of a guy making beats with his hands, a couple ballpoint pens, a desk, and some mugs. He’s incredible and there’s not a drum set in sight. Your kid doesn’t need a drum set to fall in love with drumming. 

But there’s something about holding drumsticks that seems more “official” somehow. From a mindset perspective, feeling like a drummer can encourage you to become a drummer. You can get “real drummer” vibes by starting with a simple practice pad and some drumsticks.

kids drumming on a practice pad
A practice pad is a good way to introduce your child to rhythms without investing in a full drum set.

Practice pads are:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Portable
  3. Quiet

And if you’re worried about how well those skills will transfer to a real drum set, then make sure you check out the Drumeo QuietPad Practice Pad. It’s the world’s first four-zone practice pad, and a big part of the design process was about maximizing transferability of skills, so you can be confident that your kid’s time is being well spent.

You can also check out some fun drum and rhythm games like:

  • Taiko no Tatsujin
  • Rock Band
  • Drum Box

Of course, you can do all of that and still get a drum set.

Best acoustic drums for kids

Shopping for kids is tough because on adult drum sets, the cymbals are up high and the pedals are down low. You can adjust the throne (where the drummer sits) so the kid can reach either the cymbals or the pedals but not both at the same time.

Fortunately, there are some great junior kits that take that into account.

Here are the best in class (all prices in USD):

Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit ($349)

ludwig questlove pocket kit
Drums:12” snare, 10” tom, 13” floor tom, 16” bass drum
Cymbals:Hi-hats, 1 crash/ride
Hardware:All included (tom and cymbal arms, snare stand, hi-hat stand, bass drum pedal, throne)
Extras:1 pair of sticks, drum key, video tutorial for assembly instructions, introductory lessons, available in 3 colors (Red Sparkle, Black Sparkle, Silver Sparkle)
Not IncludedEar protection

Hop onto any drummer forum online and you’ll see this kit mentioned eventually. It’s one of only a handful of acoustic drum sets made for kids, and it’s got a lot of fans.

Ludwig is a respected brand in drumming, and anyone who’s watched The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has seen Questlove grooving on the drums with an afro pick in his hair. Questlove clearly brought his passion for music and musical education into designing this drum set specifically for kids 4 and up, and with budget-conscious parents in mind.

For less than $400 you’re getting everything you need to get started except for ear protection. If you’re going to use acoustic drums, it’s critical to make sure your kid’s ears are safe. Tinnitus is no joke!

The sound of the cymbals isn’t top quality, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker. If your kid falls in love with drumming, this won’t be their last set. After all, they’ll grow and want drums and cymbals that suit their style of play.

Until then, the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit will suit their needs just fine.

Buy it now

Pearl Roadshow Junior 5-Piece Drum Set ($409.99)

pearl roadshow jr kids drum kit
Drums:12″ snare, 8” and 10″ mounted toms, 13″ floor tom, 16″ bass drum
Cymbals:10″ hi-hats, 13″ crash
Hardware:Cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, 2 x rack tom holders, throne, kick pedal
Not IncludedEar protection

Pearl’s another reputable brand, and they’ve put together a winning set here.

The higher price gets you sounds that drum parents can’t stop crowing about. You’ll find some complaints about cymbals but, as one reviewer points out: “Everyone knows good cymbals cost good money.” The cymbals you’re used to hearing in your favorite songs likely cost more than this whole set.

The set is badass in Jet Black and gorgeous in Grindstone Sparkle. They beg to be played with and, with the right placement and just the right lighting, you can make them irresistible.

You will need to pick up drumsticks and ear protection, but I’d make a day of it. I got my kid to hold different drumsticks in his hands at our local store and it let him feel like he was really involved in the process. Reminded me of Harry Potter getting his wand.

You can’t go wrong with this great set.

Buy it now

Or buy in Europe

PDP Player 5-Piece Jr. Drum Set ($499.99)

pdp player junior kids drum set
Drums:12″ snare, 8 and 10″ mounted toms, 12″ floor tom, 18″ bass drum
Cymbals:10″ hi-hats, 12″ crash
Hardware:Cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, tom mount, bass drum pedal, hi-hat pedal, throne
Extras: N/A
Not IncludedDrumsticks, ear protection

The first thing you’ll notice about this set is that your three-year-old can probably reach the pedals. There aren’t many acoustic drum sets where that’s possible, which puts this one in limited company.

The second thing you’ll pick up on is the 18” bass drum, which offers a surprisingly strong thump. This gives the whole set a rounder, fuller sound that’s better suited to a wider range of music.

PDP is a sister company to DW Drums, another reputable brand, so you can rest easy knowing that the people behind this set are in the business of instruments, not toys.

Still, compared to other acoustic drums, you’re looking at a heftier price tag, and you’re in the range of our electronic drum set picks. Electronic drums can be adjusted for height, so if you’re looking for something that can grow with your kid, you might want to check those out first.

Buy it now

What are shell packs?

A shell pack is a collection of drums sold without cymbals or hardware to mount them. It’s barebones, which is great if you’ve got some spare hardware lying around, know somebody who does, or are willing to go online to pick up some used pieces.

drum shells
Here’s an example of what you might find in a (used) shell pack. No stands, and often no mounting hardware.

Our top picks for shell packs are:

  1. Ludwig Breakbeats Shell Pack ($479)
  2. Sonor AQX Jungle 4-piece Shell Pack ($579) – also available in Europe
  3. Tama Club-JAM Shell Pack ($529.99) – also available in Europe

These packs are all made for travel, which makes them perfect for gigs and home practice. With the right hardware and cymbals, they’ll grow up well with your kid. And even if they decide drums aren’t for them, you ought to be able to sell the pack pretty easily online.

But if you’re new to drums, it’s worth getting help from someone before jumping into buying a shell pack. Finding the right hardware, throne, and cymbals to go with your drums can be overwhelming and it’s never a bad idea to ask for a little guidance.

We’ve put together a few resources to get you started:

Best electronic drum sets for kids

Electronic drum sets are simpler in some ways and more complicated in others. To keep things easy, we’ve kept your choices down to just two brands: Roland and Alesis. We’ve also picked our favorite set from each brand, and you can’t really go wrong with either one.

What to know about electronic drums (or “e-drums”)

girl playing electronic drum set
Electronic drum sets provide all the fun of drumming but at a lower volume (and footprint).

All electronic drums come with a computer called a module, a collection of pads, mounting hardware, and pedals.

The modules have differing capabilities from brand to brand and from model to model within those brands. You’ll be plugging all the cables into the module and controlling most of the set from it, which makes it the heart of every electronic drum set.

To bring e-drums closer in feeling to their acoustic counterparts, you’ll find many companies have introduced mesh drumheads. You’ll also find some of their cymbals not only respond with the correct sound when struck, but can actually be grabbed to cut the sound short. This is called “choking” the cymbal.

E-drums aren’t really designed “for” kids. But because they get their sound from a computer and not from the physical shape of the drums, they can easily be adjusted for different heights. That makes them perfect for kids, who are known to outgrow everything you buy within two weeks. I’m looking at you, fancy dress shoes.

But you’ll need to add a throne

The adjustability of electronic drums can bring the pads to your kids, but not the pedals. To reach those, your kid will need the right throne. Bring your child to a local music store and see if you can find a height adjustable throne that your kid likes. It’s worth making sure your child finds it comfortable. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to use it.

Alright, let’s take a look at your electronic drum options.

Alesis Nitro Mesh Electronic Drum Set ($432.85)

alesis nitro mesh electronic drum kit
Drums:8″ mesh snare, 3x 8″ mesh toms, kick pad (bass drum)
Cymbals:3x 10″ cymbals (ride, hi-hats, crash with choke capability)
Hardware:Kick pedal, hi-hat pedal, 4-post aluminum rack, cable snake
Extras:Drumsticks, 40 preset drum kits, 385 drum, cymbal and percussion sounds, 60 songs
Not IncludedHeadphones, throne

Alesis packs a lot of value into a low price. The Nitro Mesh’s module is loaded up with 40 preset drum kit sounds, 385 unique drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds, and 60 songs to play along with.

Some claim that Alesis is not as durable as competitors, and that the sounds aren’t as true to life as Roland’s offerings. But Alesis makes up for this with a variety of sounds, a 20% cheaper price tag than the Roland TD-1DMK, and an included kick pedal.

The lower price tag does mean some sacrifices. For example, the cymbals are single-zone, meaning that they make the same sound whether you strike them at the edge or the bow (closer to the top).

But where learning is concerned, the Alesis Nitro Mesh Electronic Drum Set is affordable, fun to play, and a great first set for kids. They’ll love messing around with all the different sounds, which they can do with their headphones on, thank goodness.

Buy it now

Roland TD-1DMK ($549.99)

Discontinued but alternatives are available. See above to view.

roland td1
Drums:8″ mesh snare, 2x 6″ mesh toms, kick pad (bass drum)
Cymbals:10″ hi-hats, 10″ crash, 10″ ride
Hardware:4-post rack stand, hi-hat pedal
Extras:15 preset drum kits, 15 songs, 10 exercises, analog in and out, MIDI I/O
Not IncludedKick pedal, drumsticks, headphones, throne

Simplicity, excellent sample sounds, and durability. Roland’s electronic drum sets feel substantial, and the TD-1DMK is no exception.

Roland pays attention to the details. The cymbals are double-zoned and you can choke them. The hi-hat pedal detects when you’ve left them half-open. The snare and toms are 2-ply mesh, which should keep them pretty resilient.

The one downside? You only get 15 preset drum kits. But for some, it may actually be preferable to have fewer distractions. It all depends on your child’s temperament: do they need the novelty? Or do they need the focus?

One thing worth noting is that, in addition to a throne, you’ll need to pick up a kick pedal. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: your child might want a double kick pedal, or prefer the feel of one over another.

See alternatives

Check out our guide to bass drum pedals if you aren’t sure where to start.

For even more electronic drum kit options, check out The 13 Best Electronic Drum Sets For Any Budget.

“So, what should I pick?”

Let’s keep it simple.

If you’re looking for an acoustic drum set that has everything you require, a strong reputation, and a ton of support from parents like you, pick up the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit and get familiar with how to play drums.

Be sure to grab ear protection, too. And follow this guide if you aren’t sure how to set up the drums.

If you’re looking for an electronic drum set that won’t break the bank, feels reasonably close to an acoustic drum set, and can grow with your child, get the Alesis Nitro Mesh Electronic Drum Set and check out these tips for playing electronic drums. Oh, and pick up an adjustable throne.

If you’re stuck, bring your child to a music store and see what draws them in. The perfect set is the one they’ll use, and use often.

Happy drumming!

This article was written by Omar Khafagy – a copywriter and parent of tiny musicians – and edited by Sam Landa, Content Marketing Manager at Drumeo.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission from the product seller if you make a purchase. For more info, check out our privacy page.

Drumeo Team - We're professional, award-winning drummers and drum teachers, coaches, recording artists, and content specialists who are passionate about drums and helping drummers around the world. This post was written and/or edited by Sam Landa, Brandon Toews, Jared Falk, Dave Atkinson, or another pro on our team (which has a combined 1000+ years of drumming experience). Are you looking for inspiration, education, and support to take your playing to the next level? Join the Drumeo community today!

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