Best Electronic Drum Set for The Money 2017 Reviews & Guide

Best Electric Drum Set
Buying Guides

Being a garage musician has never been easier, whether you’re buying an edrum kit for you, for your friends or for your kids, the technology has reached a point where it will take years for you to outgrow them.

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 Alesis Forge KitTX400K Electronic Drum SetTD1K Electronic Drum Set
 Alesis Forge KitTX400K Electronic Drum SetTD1K Electronic Drum Set
Amazon Rating
MSRP$$$
Lowest Price$499.00Amazon See it$449.99Amazon See it$499.00Amazon See it
BrandsYamahaRoland
TypesElectric Drum SetElectric Drum SetElectric Drum Set
ModelForge KitDTX400KTD-1K
Weight55.4 pounds39 pounds26.01 pounds
Product Dimensions27.6 x 47.28 x 43.32 inches35.1 x 12.4 x 22.7 inches38 x 38 x 38 inches
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The Benefits of buying an electronic drum set

Great parties

A musical instrument is always a show stopper for boring parties and an accelerant for fun one. It doesn’t really work with fondue parties but it’s way cooler than karaoke, or you can combine it with karaoke and make that actually fun and less …karaoke-ish. Anyway, it’s great for chilling with guests or friends. It sets a relaxed mood and awakens the rocker or smooth kat in most people.

Great for unwinding

If you have a 9-to-5, you have limited free time on your hands. So you need concentrated fun in that time-frame. I know of 2 ways to do that to unwind faster than it takes for a roast to heat up in the oven. Well 3, but only 2 that keep this blog post child-friendly. One of them is working out, and the other is jamming. And when it comes to percussion, it’s both if you do it right. Speaking of jamming…

Great for jamming

There’s a reason drummers are always the chill guys. Drummers don’t perform; they just spill music into a room while playing. It’s like a subtle hegemony, imposing your rhythm and energy over everyone in a room, without yelling “look at me” or breaking out the hip trusts like an unsubtle chimp in heat or a lead guitarist.

Makes you a better person

Ok, maybe I was harsh on guitarists. In truth, any instrument makes you a well-rounded person. Playing music activates new brain pathways. You literally need to think differently and this forces the pathways you use at work to shut down. And among all instruments, the drums are the most cathartic experience you can have outside of a boxing ring. It’s a constant struggle between you and time to get that perfect tempo. It’s a transformative process at the end of which you will be a better human being.

Makes you enjoy music more.

Adding to the layers of who you are, your knowledge of music grows after you learn to play. And with that knowledge I dare you to listen to a Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin album and marvel at the nuances you missed. Congratulations your eyes have been opened, and now you can appreciate the work of the Gods, the Rock Gods.

(and no jazz fans, I did not forget your greats, it’s just that more people know of Kenney Jones than do of Kenny Clarke, I’m actually more of a jazz drummer myself and my views on drum kits would if anything resonate more with you than the rockers)

How to buy a good Electronic Drum Set?

I hope the intro wetted your appetite, but before you go full Keith Moon and just order the first drum set you see on Amazon, take a moment to consider some limitation of your new calling of being a Rock God, or a jazzy cool cat.

Space available

The drum set is the largest piece of musical equipment that you can buy apart from a piano. Ideally, you would have a jam room, and your partner wouldn’t object to that. But we don’t live in dreamland, so this is probably the most tangible limitation of what drum set you can get. So measure your space and pick the drum set that fits, there’s a lot of compact options that perform just as well as their bigger competitors.

Experience

Whether you have it or not, the experience is a big factor in how much enjoyment you can get out of a drum kit. And it goes both ways; amateurs will take years to find the difference between mid thousand kits and thousand dollar kits. While musicians will hate the binary feel of most low-end equipment and would have simply wasted the money. If you are an experienced musician and have maybe even played on some acoustic gear before, try the kit out before buying. There’s a lot of variation among producers and kits. You will find one that “feels good” to you.

Length and jam session durations

Music is the pain of materials, and it’s physics. Sounds are created by impact, force, intensity and resistance. There’s a reason why, when it comes to instruments, things can get expensive, very fast.

An instrument is trailing on a thin line between resisting impact and opposing it, over and over again, for decades sometimes. So, if you plan to play it like a rockstar day in and day out, or want to try going pro, invest in quality always, because with every note you play, that instrument gets closer to breaking.

How well do you get along with your neighbors?

One man’s training is a neighbors frustration.

But the beauty of electronic kits is that you make some great music without much sound spilling out of your home or at least not so much sound that it floods the neighborhood. And there’s an added benefit here for the more frugal musician: A great set of headphones is much cheaper that a great sound system and amp. And because the sound is electronic, the reverb, echo and fill will still be there and won’t depend on the room you’re playing in.

Do you like to produce or tinkering?

Another benefit of electronic is that you can play with the music. So if you like to tinker with post production the sound module that comes with the kit, can be just as important if not more than the actual toms or cymbals. Also, never neglect the input/output connections you have at your disposal. There’s a lot of variation here, and you should look at a unit’s potential more than just its present day performance. This is an extension of the expandability point below. There’s no such thing as too many ports. And this is a general rule, whatever you buy, there will come a time where you wish you had more connectivity.

Tips on choosing the best drum kit

Expandability

Your skill level will grow absurdly fast in the beginning. You will develop a style or something that you think is a style. Anyway, so you don’t spend even more in less than a year time, you need to consider how experience-proof the kit is. How much can you personalize it, grow it and how much it can serve the drummer you will become in one year or 2 years time. The best way to do this is by listening to more experienced players than you that understand the difference between how a newbie plays and how an amateur plays. You will want the precision and control that comes with a kick drum and a shockable cymbal.

Does it fit?

This is the back-hand of space availability. The compact sets won’t be for everybody. Drumming is an expansive, expressive performance. You own your space, and for me, at least, it can get really aggravating to minimize my movements because the frame and kit is too small. On the other hand, bigger kits may be less comfortable for smaller people or children.

Is it good enough?

This is another side of the point about how beginners don’t know what’s not good enough. Intermediate players need a minimal good enough so they can enjoy playing something. And not all drum sets are good enough, almost none of a certain price point will provide you with a deep enough playing experience. And if you ‘re coming from an acoustic set, well, replicating that dynamism will not be cheap. But there are some budget options that are good enough for you to be able to fun with. This isn’t snobbery or elitism; this is just adaptation at work. You learn to play with the material and it’s quirks and it’s hard to replicate that with cheaper materials or when you go digital.

How cheap is it?

Whether you outgrow in skill, the instrument or give it up entirely, there comes a time when most of us will sell our gear, and then devaluation hits hard. Especially if you’re a student and can barely scrounge up enough money for your next rent payment. And here, durability, physical durability and manufacturer support reign supreme. Now, I’m not saying that this should be a major factor, but if you’re a parent for example and want to buy something for your kid, this may be a factor that will pay off sooner than you might expect.

Portability

If you have gigs, even if they are gigs in the opposite dorm room, this is very important. It’s so important that it’s a well-known joke. Ask any musician why drummers are always late, the smile will be immediate.

If you are the kind of person that get aggravated at cleaning up after themselves or packs only one handheld bag on vacation, this will be a major factor. Lightweight is a feature that will pay dividends for each trip you make. However don’t sacrifice sturdiness, it’s better to be late than to have a broken drum kit.

Electronic Drum Set Reviews

Alesis Forge Kit | Eight-Piece Electronic Drum Set

Alesis Forge Kit | Eight-Piece Electronic Drum Set

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I did not have great expectations from the forge. I was betting on it being outclassed by the Yamaha and the Roland when I started reviewing. But the Forge surprised me; it’s a great kit with features that provide dept to the playing experience regardless of your skill level, with great feedback and solid feel from snare to crash.

And it rewards you with great sound despite not having the database of the bigger manufacturers.

It comes with a lightweight, but the strong aluminum frame and the double clamping system makes it take a beating like a top tier gear. That combo of durability and feel makes it walk a very fine line that you end up inevitably measuring other kits to.

On the electronics side, it has probably the best in class sound module, because it comes from a much more expensive 1000$ drum kit. And that’s what this feels like, a scaled down much more expensive drum kit that forgot it’s price point and forgot to cut any corners.

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Roland TD-1K Electronic Drumset

Roland TD-1K Electronic Drumset

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The TD1K’s primary selling point is that it’s compact, really compact. You can’t get smaller than this. If space is a major factor, this is your kit.

It feels good to play and comes with some amazing sounds even better and the great 808 kit, which is a mythical kit you should add to any drum kit you would get. That’s it’s second selling point, it just sounds better than anything on the list, if you really want the best sounds out of the box.

It’s soft pads also make it very silent, especially with some of the accessories Roland has to offer.

In the long term this would be a great base for enthusiasts, it has a lot of expandability options and is fairly customizable, if you get used to the size.

Finally, because it’s a Roland resell value is excellent, and if you take that under consideration this becomes a cheap Electronic Drum Set. You may end up losing less than 150$ on this purchase. Something you would be grateful for when selling off the cheaper competitors.

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BEHRINGER XD8 Electronic Drum Set

BEHRINGER XD8USB

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To be fair, it comes with some decent sounds for the money. And the gear isn’t all bad, with Dual-zone snare and a kick drum which some more pricey competitors lack.

It’s cheap in a good way, and it comes at the price of a practice pad. If you really don’t know if drumming is for you, this is an affordable experiment.

And for the money you get some decent I/O options and some user slots.

Again, I would use this as an input device, and it’s a good option for producers that need to input percussion in their computers. But, that would be weird to input sound with a kit that costs less than your software.

The materials look rugged and utilitarian and will probably survive some heavy-duty drunken jam sessions.

It’s an also option for parents of kids that don’t know if they even like playing the drums or for people that just want a bare-bones experience to play once every few weeks.

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Yamaha DTX400K Electronic Drum Set

Yamaha DTX400K 10 Customizable Drum Kits Electronic Drum

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Great build quality and feel. This is sturdy and great for smashing despite its price point. The materials used in both the sound elements and frame are top notch.

Music module is feature rich, but bare bones, but most features are 1-button away. I like this design the most out of all the kits. The panel feels sturdy, and you can’t miss a setting when you’re all sweaty and hyped. And for the more elaborate settings you have the Ipad apps, which make for a best in class sound mixing experience.

The apps and great connectivity make it a great contender for the most feature rich “sound module” in practice despite not actually coming in the package with the actual kit.

A stand out feature of the app are the training routines and very fast sound editing. This makes it very enjoyable for tinkerers like me. They make it a top contender overall and probably the most useful kit out there for most drummer out there, beginner or intermediate.

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Carlsbro CSD130XXX Electronic Drum Set

Carlsbro CSD130XXX Electronic Drum Set

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Sometimes you don’t need an acoustic experience, feel or sound. The drum kit is also a tool and in that case you just want to have a way to trigger that MIDI. In that sense, the CSD 130 is a respectable choice for the music producers. It has MIDI Input and Output which is more than respectable for even kits that come at double the price.

It’s lightweight and small; you can lift it with one hand. It’s a great tool to have if you are a producer and just need to lay down some percussion in the cheapest way possible.

Complementary to the I/O options the soundboard has 250 sounds and 20 kits.

You also get a Kick Drum/pad, adjustable snare. It supports rimshots, and the crash and ride have choked.

Great for kids, but very bare bones are playing experience.

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Final Recommendation

<drumroll please>

The Forge, obviously. And it’s not even because it does everything better than the rest of them. I prefer the tablet “sound module” in the Yamaha; the Roland sounds “warmer”.

But the Forge does enough really well, that you stop caring about the rest. I love tinkering with sounds, and that soundboard is made for the perfectionist in me. And you got plenty of things to tinker with, the sound library alone will keep you experimenting for years.

But more importantly, I think this strikes a great balance of being both more than most people will even need and being a decent downgrade for musicians, even acoustic musicians. It’s an important middle point that, if you think about it, is really something for Alesis to be able to achieve at such a low price point.

SEE WHAT OTHERS SAYS ABOUT THE ALESIS FORGE KIT