You finally made the decision to buy a set of drums, but how much is the whole kit worth?
A drum set will cost anywhere between $500 and $5,000. This may seem like a pretty drastic price range, but that is because the drums are made up of many different parts and not every drum set is the same.
Not only can drum kits be configured and set up in many ways, there are also different tiers of drum sets where you will start to notice the difference in quality and the nuances that separate the beginner drum sets from the professional drum sets.
A great sounding beginner drum set will be between $400-$600. Intermediate drum sets may not come with all of the hardware and cymbals needed to complete the kit, but these intermediate sets are typically priced around $1,000 depending on the configuration. The price of a professional drum set can start at $3,000 but easily jump to $4,500 or more. With the ability to customize every aspect of the drum kit, the price of a professional drum set can change drastically.
After playing the drums for over twenty years and gigging for more than half of that, I have played on many different types of kits. This experience has helped me put together a short list of beginner, intermediate and professional drum sets (acoustic and electronic) that I believe are worth checking out and should help you on your drumming journey.
The following list breaks down each piece of the drum set separated into 3 categories, cost per piece in a beginner drumkit, intermediate and professional kit:
|Item||Beginner ($USD)||Intermediate ($USD)||Professional ($USD)|
* Snare drums are a unique piece of the drum set and there are various different types and styles that can alter the price. The professional snare price shown above is based on the ‘professional acoustic drum sets’ listed in this article.
Pearl and TAMA offer great beginner drum sets with cymbals and hardware included.
The Pearl Roadshow kit includes stock hi-hats and a crash/ride cymbal, a throne and kick pedal at a price of $659.
The TAMA Imperialstar series includes everything the Roadshow’s come with, but with an extra crash cymbal. The price point is slightly higher for this beginner drum kit, coming in around $799. This is due to the fact that all of the cymbals included in the Imperialstar kit are MEINL, which have great sound and are a great option for beginners or drummers on a budget.
The Ludwig Breakbeats are another great option. This unique and compact kit was designed in collaboration with Questlove, drummer for The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. This drum set can be found at Guitar Center for $599 but you’ll need to buy the cymbals and stands separately.
The average cost for a beginner’s acoustic drum set ranges at about $550 to $700.
|Beginner acoustic drum sets|
|Gretsch Catalina Club||$1,099|
The drums are always a popular choice for children that are interested in music. In those early years, who doesn’t want to sit behind the drums and make as much noise as possible? There are junior kits (and adult kits) available at retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart, for as low as $250.
Check out this Gammon 5-Piece drum set. This will be enough to give that new and aspiring drummer a taste, but you’ll be sacrificing quality and sound at a lower price range.
The average cost of a junior acoustic drum set is usually between $250 and $500, depending on the brand and retailer.
Most of the entry-level kits are built with poplar or mahogany shells, giving the drums a smooth mid-range tone and warm low tones, but may lack that ‘punch’ in the higher frequencies.
Intermediate and professional drum sets typically move away from poplar and mahogany, in favor of maple, birch, and sometimes acrylic.
A birch shell is often louder than others and offers a nice high-frequency punch with lower mid tones, while maple shells are more of an ‘all purpose’ shell and have a beautiful warm tone that comes from more pronounced mid-level tones.
An acrylic drum set will be loud and dominant in the higher frequencies, perfect for rock or metal drumming.
There are many excellent choices for the intermediate-level drummer that is looking for an upgrade.
The first drum set that comes to mind, and a kit I have played many times in the past, is what Pearl claims is the ‘best selling drum set of all time’ - the Pearl Export Series.
This drum set rings up at a price hovering around $929, with some retailers offering affordable financing options, such as Sweetwater. This particular kit comes with hardware and a kick pedal, but cymbals need to be acquired separately.
If we get into the upper-echelon of intermediate kits we begin to notice that some kits come with hardware, while some do not. Cymbals are generally not included either.
Hardware and cymbals can vary in price.
To be perfectly honest, the best hardware is the hardware that does the job, plain and simple. There are stands and racks at lower price points, but more expensive options will have features such as more weight for better stability while playing, more options for height adjustment and positioning, as well as being made of different types of metal, to justify the price increase.
When purchasing cymbals and hardware, I recommend visiting your local music stores as they may be selling previously-owned gear and cymbals for a reduced price.
People are trading and upgrading their gear all the time so it is always worth asking, at any music store, if they have any used equipment.
Crash, Ride and Hi-Hat cymbal stands are typically priced between $70 and $300.
It usually goes without saying, but the more expensive the stand, the better the quality. If I am thinking about purchasing new hardware, I personally prefer to do this in-store to physically inspect the hardware for quality and stability purposes.
The cymbals themselves can be priced anywhere between $100 and $700.
There are also cymbal packs that can be purchased, to ensure all cymbals in your kit are matching. These kits can go from $200 to $400, or more, depending on the brand and the number of cymbals in the pack.
You will want to think about what kind of music you will be playing and purchase the cymbals accordingly, as there are many different kinds that are best suited for different styles of music. A few great cymbal brands to check out are Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste and Meinl.
The two intermediate kits with maple shells that I wanted to mention are the Gretsch Catalina Maple and Pearl Decade Maple drum sets. Both of which will sound amazing in a recording studio and on stage, as those maple shells are dynamic and can be adapted to any musical style.
With a different wooden shell and Remo heads included, the Gretsch Catalina Maple (5-piece) drum set will be around $1,099, while the Pearl Decade Maple (7-piece) kit would be in the range of $1,299, but could be lower with a reduced number of pieces in the kit.
|Intermediate acoustic drum sets|
|Pearl Export Series||$929|
|Gretsch Catalina Maple||$1,099|
|Pearl Decade Maple||$1,299|
The average cost of an intermediate acoustic drum set is around $1,000.
The exact value can fluctuate based on factors such as included hardware, type of shell, drum heads already installed, and/or the addition of more rack toms or an extra floor tom.
The first professional kit to look at is the DW Performance Series.
I have seen many professional drummers behind DW kits and they are easily recognizable by their sleek and unique design and always sound incredible.
At a price of $2,999 on Sweetwater, this professional drum set is hand-crafted in Califonia, USA, and is deemed to be one of the more affordable professional-level kits.
Another professional drum set worthy of a mention is the Ludwig Vistalite Zep. This is a recreation of John Bonham’s iconic acrylic set.
I have had the privilege of taking an acrylic drum set for a spin at one of the Guitar Center stores near me, many years ago. They are louder than you’d expect, but they sound incredible.
If you like loud music then you absolutely must try an acrylic drum set. This unbelievably fun and loud kit will cost you $3,999.
One brand of drums we shouldn’t leave out of the discussion is Sonor.
My personal drum set is Sonor and I cannot say enough about them. They’ve been reliable drums for years and sound amazing every time I sit down to play, rarely going out of tune.
The Sonor SQ2 Series is perfect for the professional drummer that wants to customize every aspect of their kit. The customization options are almost endless, but an average 5-piece kit from this Sonor series would have a bill around $6,470.
|Professional acoustic drum sets|
|DW Performance Series||$2,999|
|Ludwig Vistalite Zep||$3,999|
|Sonor SQ2 Series||$6,470|
The average cost of a professional drum kit will be around $4,500.
This number is subject to change as some companies offer packages where every piece of the kit can be customized, driving the price higher and higher.
There are only a handful of brands that offer electronic drums at the beginner, intermediate and professional levels, such as Simmons, Roland, and Alesis, to name a few.
Some of the more well-known brands that you’ve probably heard of, such as Pearl and Yamaha put their focus on professional-level electronic kits.
Electronic drum sets are very consistent when it comes to what is included in the kit, regardless of beginner or professional level. You will usually get a 5-piece kit with a couple cymbals and hi-hats, with a module that allows you to programmatically change various settings within the kit.
By spending more money on an electronic drum set, you can expect the kit to:
The price range for beginner-level electronic kits is in the range of $300 to $800.
The drums themselves are typically shaped like a practice pad on cheaper kits while pricier kits will have rims and look more like an acoustic drum head.
Cymbals are usually made of silicone and depending on the brand, can either come on their own stand, or the kit may come with a rack to hold all of the drums/pads and cymbals.
This Alesis Command Mesh kit is a great beginner’s kit if you’re willing to spend a little more money.
The mesh heads allow you to adjust the feel of the head, for a more firm, or squishy feel compared to unadjustable and bouncier rubber pads.
The cymbals also have technology that allows drummers to grab the cymbal and stop it from ringing, as you would on an acoustic drum set.
|Beginner electronic drum sets|
|Alesis Command Mesh||$799|
The average price of a beginner electronic drum kit is roughly $500.
The major difference between a beginner and intermediate electronic drum kit is the brain (module/control panel).
Most beginner kits have basic modules with limited presets and connections for laptops or other devices, while intermediate-level kits have modules with many more preset sounds, tracks to play along with, and so much more.
The Yamaha DTX6K2-X is a fantastic mid-level electronic drum set. The DTX-PRO Module could be considered professional-grade with the amount of presets and features that come with it.
The rubber heads offer a different feel than mesh heads or standard acoustic drum heads, but for the price of $1,499 you’re looking at an intermediate electronic drum set with plenty of advanced features to make this a worthy investment.
|Intermediate electronic drum sets|
|Alesis Strike Pro SE||$2,699|
The average price of an intermediate electronic drum kit is $1,700.
A professional electronic drum set averages out around $5,100.
The Roland V-Drums TD-50K2 Electronic Drum Set will surely blow your mind with how many different configurations and options it comes with.
The snare drum is the same size as most standard acoustic snare drums and has palm-detecting technology to recognize when the drummer is performing rim clicks. This drum set and cymbals do a great job of mimicking the look and feel of an acoustic drum set.
At a price point of $6,399, this is one of the best and most expensive professional electronic drum kits on the market.
|Professional electronic drum sets|
|Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid||$4,859|
|Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD 506||$4,899|
Professional drummers absolutely love the Roland TD-50K kit.
Check out the following video from Sweetwater where Nick D’Virgilio gives his personal experience with the Roland TD-50K, as well as explaining why some of the other and more affordable electronic drum sets are also worth checking out.
The drum sets listed in this article are just a taste of what is offered from each of the companies mentioned. Check the manufacturer’s websites to see all of the different kinds of drum sets that they offer.
After researching drum sets on retailers such as Guitar Center, Sweetwater and the manufacturers themselves, here is a comparison of price ranges between some of the different drum companies ranked from lowest to highest and broken down into entry levels and drum shells only versus full drum sets:
|Beginner price comparison by brand (shells only)|
Based on our research for beginner drum sets (shells only) Ludwig has the cheapest models while DW has some of the most expensive ones.
|Beginner drum price comparison by brand (full kit)|
Same as for shells only, for a full beginner drum set the cheapest brand is Ludwig and the most expensive brand is DW.
|Intermediate drum price comparison by brand (shells only)|
Based on our research for intermediate drum sets (shells only) Pearl has the cheapest models while Yamaha and DW have some of the most expensive ones.
|Intermediate drum price comparison by brand (full kit)|
Same as for shells only, for a full intermediate drum set the cheapest brand is Pearl and the most expensive brands are Yamaha and DW.
|Professional drum price comparison by brand (shells only)|
Based on our research for professional drum sets (shells only) Gretsch has the cheapest models while Yamaha has some of the most expensive ones.
|Professional drum price comparison by brand (full kit)|
Same as for shells only, for a full professional drum set the cheapest brand is Gretsch and the most expensive brand is Yamaha.
We can see that there are affordable drum kits at the beginner level for just about every brand.
Intermediate kits can vary in price so keep in mind that the average prices listed above can fluctuate, depending on how many pieces you choose to buy with your kit, the shell packs, drum heads, hardware, cymbals, sticks, pedals and throne. The same can be said for professional grade drum sets.
One tip I’d like to leave you with - if you have extra room in the budget I highly recommend a comfortable throne. Your best drumming will come from a comfortable position behind the kit!
Music runs in Kyle's family and he discovered his talent for drumming at an early age. He has performed with various bands in Ontario, Canada and the US, and even had the opportunity to open for popular acts like Protest The Hero and Belvedere.
In 2021 Kyle won a local competition and returned to the stage after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022. Now Kyle is focusing on learning the technical side of drumming with the goal of becoming a teacher in the future.
AboutDrumming.com is run by a group of drum teachers, drumming professionals and hobbyists. We love all things drums, and when not drumming we spend our time adding more awesome content to this website!
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