7 Best Kids Drum Set: Your Easy Buying Guide (2018)

kids drum set

Every drummer I’ve ever met has been in more than one band, and usually at least three, using a vast array of styles to blend into any setting. To their enormous credit, they were often generous with their time, and willing to fill in at short notice. The fact remains, though, that there just aren’t enough drummers to go around. I would call the shortage an epidemic. To that end, I think it’s incumbent upon parents of would-be drummers to encourage them as much as possible. If they put in the time (and you put in the patience with the noise), they’ll most likely be rewarded with steady work on stage or in studios. Nothing can replace the feel and instincts of a real drummer, and to that end, we’ve got to empower more of them to take up the sticks whenever possible.

We’ve presented the following list in order of cost, from cheapest to most expensive. All options on this list are drum kits under $500, but with room to move up as the drummer in your life grows both physically and in ability. Some are junior sized, and some are full sized, but for the most part, drums are relatively adjustable.

To give your budding drummer their best shot at learning, here are our picks for the top ten best drum sets for kids or beginners.

What Are the Best Kids Drum Kits Available in 2018?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Real wood shells
  • Adjustable throne and cymbal arm
  • Comes with sticks
Price: $139.21 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Comes with throne and sticks
  • Junior sized
Price: $101.33 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comes with hi-hat
  • Comes with throne and sticks
  • Replaceable heads
Price: $199.49 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comes with throne and sticks
  • All fully-tunable drum heads
  • Full kit for short money
Price: $149.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Legendary Ludwig name
  • Comes with throne and sticks
  • Real wood construction
Price: $249.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Remo Pinstripe and UT heads
  • Pro-level budget option
  • Seven-ply poplar shells
Price: $399.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Nine-ply poplar shells
  • Chain-driven pedals
  • Geared, locking stands
Price: $479.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. TKO 99TKO99MR 3-Piece Junior Drum Set

    Pros:
    • Real wood shells
    • Includes adjustable throne and sticks
    • Cymbal arm is adjustable
    • Color-matched bass drum rims
    Cons:
    • Snare and tom only have four lug adjustments
    • No hi-hat
    • No room to grow
    • Some boxes don’t include instructions for setup

    Moving up the value chain slightly, this TKO set looks a bit more like a professional kit. The focus is still on younger drummers with this junior-sized set, and the included drums are the same — 10 inch snare and tom, 16 inch bass drum, and a brass cymbal.

    One notable upgrade on this unit is that the cymbal arm is tilted and adjustable. There’s also an aesthetic upgrade on the bass drum with color-matched rims. On the whole, this one is a bit more rugged. It’s also correspondingly more expensive for the same size, which means you probably wouldn’t want to upgrade to it unless a cheaper set has failed. It’s a good, solid option at this price point.

    Other colors are available, but at the time of this writing, it appears that only the red one sells at this price point.

    Why you would choose this one: The adjustable, tilted cymbal arm makes for a nice upgrade on a junior kit.

  2. Mendini by Cecilio 16 inch 3-Piece Kids Junior Drum Set MJDS-3-BL

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Junior sized for kids 2 1/2 feet tall to 5 feet tall
    • Includes throne and sticks
    • One year warranty
    Cons:
    • No hi-hat
    • Bass drum pedal mechanism is fabric
    • No room to grow
    • Just a step up from toy sets

    If you’re not sure yet that your child will stick with drumming, you’ll probably want to keep your initial investment low. This set should do the trick, without being merely a cheap toy. As soon as you get this set out of the box and setup, you’ll have everything needed for your young drummer to get started.

    This kit includes a 16 inch bass drum, a 10 inch tom, 10 inch snare, and a 9.5 inch cymbal. It’s also sized for kids, so once your drummer grows beyond five feet tall, it probably won’t be of much use. However, it’s still an ideal learning set, with everything needed to begin honing coordination and keeping time.

    The kit comes with a pair of sticks and a throne, making this a complete setup. To help entice your little drummer, this kit comes in red, black, blue, green, silver, and purple. Let them learn on this and move up the line once they’re committed and loving it.

    Why you would choose this one: You want to start cheap to be sure your child will stick with it.

  3. Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker

    Pros:
    • Sharp-looking black and white color scheme
    • Includes hi-hat and stand
    • Includes throne and sticks
    • Replaceable top and bottom heads
    Cons:
    • Not much room to grow
    • Cheap hardware
    • Parts replacement may be difficult
    • Some reviewers complain of rusted parts upon unboxing

    Looking every bit the part, this SPL kit seems immediately impressive in the two-tone, high-contrast scheme. It gets a considerable upgrade from the first two at this price point, as well: the addition of a hi-hat. A lot of styles rely on heavy hi-hat use, making its inclusion in a junior set a good addition, even for the absolute beginner.

    Reviewers on other sites noted the surprising tone from this reasonably-priced unit. The multi-ply wooden shells on the eight inch tom, 10 inch snare, and 16 inch bass drum sound huge for the money. The cymbal stand on this one is adjustable, too, so a comfortable setup is virtually guaranteed.

    If, for some reason, the striking white and black doesn’t work, you can also buy this set in wine red or red.

    Why you would choose this one: You think having a hi-hat right out of the gate is important.

  4. GP Percussion GP55BK 5-Piece Junior Drum Set

    Pros:
    • Five-piece kit at a three-piece price
    • Includes throne and sticks
    • All fully-tunable drum heads
    • Big step up from toy kits
    Cons:
    • Throne doesn’t adjust very much
    • Cymbals sounds are lacking (as with most at this price)
    • Bass drum pedal mechanism is fabric
    • Could be complicated to set up for non-drummers

    If you shell out an additional $13, you’ll be rewarded with a full five-piece junior kit. This includes two rack toms, a floor tom, snare, cymbal, and a hi-hat. Everything typically included in a standard drum kit can be purchased for not much more than the three preceding entries on the list.

    All the drum heads are tunable with the included key, although they are only four lug for the professional drummer parents out there. The rack toms measure eight and 10 inches, respectively, with a 12 inch floor tom, 16 inch bass tom, 10 inch snare, 9.5 inch ride cymbal, and eight inch hi-hat. The new drummer will have a full complement of sounds to learn on, even if they might not quite yet be ready for all of them.

    The set comes in black and blue, though the blue one is more expensive for reasons that are unclear.

    Why you would choose this one: You want your child to have the full complement of drums right away, but you still want to keep the price below $200.

  5. Ludwig Pocket Kit White Sparkle

    Pros:
    • Legendary Ludwig name on a children’s set
    • Includes throne and sticks
    • Real wood construction
    • Includes free lessons from Questlove
    Cons:
    • No second rack tom like some cheaper kits
    • Throne doesn’t adjust very much
    • Beater angle on bass drum isn’t adjustable and may be too far back
    • Cymbals are merely okay (but can be upgraded later)

    Ludwig is one of the big names when it comes to drums, right up there with Pearl, Gretsch, and Tama. The company got their big break when The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, with their logo appearing clearly in front of Ringo.

    These days, especially for the beginner market, it’s Questlove of The Roots providing the star power. This Pocket Kit was designed with his collaboration to address the beginner market and create one of the best drum sets for kids. While it doesn’t include two rack toms, you do get one 10 inch rack tom, as well as a 12 inch snare, 13 inch floor tom, 16 inch bass drum, ride cymbal and hi-hat. This particular kit is meant for kids four to 10 years old, but in the video below, Questlove himself is playing it, so there’s a little room for growth here.

    It is a bit more expensive for a new drummer, but it is possible to save money on this kit if you think of it this way: As soon as a new musician gets a few lessons under their belt, they pretty quickly start thinking about brand. If your young drummer is likely to start looking around at what the pros play and begin asking for an upgrade, perhaps you need only buy one set and make it this Ludwig one.

    Why you would choose this one: You can afford to spend a little more and you think highly of the Ludwig name.

  6. Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack

    Pros:
    • Remo Pinstripe and UT heads
    • Pro-level budget option
    • Seven-ply poplar shells
    • Velvet bags included for moving
    Cons:
    • No cymbals nor second rack tom included
    • Bass riser may shift while playing
    • Badging looks as though it may wear off quickly
    • Better positioned for funk or drum-n-bass than a variety of styles

    When just starting out, more focus is generally better than more options. Just as a new guitarist shouldn’t worry themselves about pedals, a new drummer doesn’t actually need a full set to get started. It would also be ideal if the kit could fit in a small space, since it’s unlikely that a practice spot will be available right away. To that end, we return to the Questlove/Ludwig collaboration for another gem.

    By sizing down the drums, Questlove sought to create a kit that would be both compact and easy to move. The focus is on the 16 inch bass drum, 10 inch rack tom, and 13 inch floor tom — no cymbals are included at all, though there is a mounting spot for an auxiliary boom for later on. This simplicity makes it an easier kit to live with and start drumming on. It’s approaching pro level in terms of tone, especially with careful tuning, though musicradar notes the decidedly gritty, vintage vibe.

    This small, focused kit is available in this Black Sparkle, Azure Blue, and White Sparkle.

    Why you would choose this one: You want good quality tones and compactness on short money.

  7. Pearl RS525SCC706 Roadshow New Fusion 5-Piece Drum Set

    Pros:
    • Nine-ply poplar shells
    • Solid enough sound for gigging
    • Chain-driven pedals
    • Geared, locking stands
    Cons:
    • No throne included
    • Cymbals clearly still entry-level
    • Getting expensive for just starting out

    Pearl is another legendary drum maker. You’ve almost certainly seen a professional playing a Pearl set at least once in your life. The Roadhshow line is their entry-level kit, and although you spend quite a lot more than the first few in this list, you’re buying into a solid kit right off the bat. Moreover, you get four different configurations to choose from, all of which come in under $500.

    We’ve gone with the New Fusion set here, which includes a 22 inch bass drum, one 10 inch and one 12 inch tom, a 14 inch floor tom, a 14 inch snare, a 16 inch ride cymbal, and 14 inch hi-hats. This configuration will probably familiar to most players. You can instead opt for the following sets, too:

    • Fusion: 20 inch bass drum, 14 inch floor tom, 10 inch rack tom, 12 inch rack tom, 14 inch snare — $404.10
    • Jazz: 18 inch bass drum, 14 inch floor tom, 10 inch rack tom, 13 inch snare — $341.10
    • Rock: 22 inch bass drum, 16 inch floor tom, 12 inch rack tom, 14 inch rack tom, 16 inch snare — $449.10

    There’s no drum throne included, but you do get two pairs of sticks in a stick gig bag. The poplar shells will produce a warm, well-rounded sound with softer highs and mids. Colors on this excellent kit include the Charcoal Metallic above, Jet Black, Wine Red, and Bronze Metallic.

    Why you would choose this one: You happen to have a set of really nice cymbals to complete this nearly professional-level kit.

See Also:

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