10 Best Drum Sets for Kids & Beginners (2018)

drum sets for kids

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.

There are several reasons for this. For one thing, it costs a lot more to get started on drums than it does with just about any other instrument. While our list below seeks to answer that with some reasonably-priced options, the fact still remains that you can learn how to play guitar on some comparatively cheap equipment.

Another major reason is that drums are notoriously loud. Sure, you can buy an electric drum set, but it’s not the same. It can be much more difficult to learn proper technique when the surfaces don’t feel like real drums. And unlike guitars, you can’t just pick up a mini amplifier and plug in headphones for practice. Everyone (including the unwilling neighbors) will hear your early struggles.

Finally, drumming is actually pretty hard for most people. With most instruments, you need to coordinate your two hands and that’s it. On drums, you need to coordinate all your limbs in perfect time over the course of many minutes. It’s an entirely different discipline. It might even be fair to say that it’s unglamorous — in a lot of cases, the drums work best when you don’t necessarily notice them. As fans of any teenage band will attest, as soon as you start to notice something, it’s usually not for the best.

With all that said, 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. As you weigh your options, you can also see our best beginner electronic drum sets here to compare.

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.

Junior Drum Kits

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

Image of mendini 16 junior drum set


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.

Note: At the time of this writing, the Mendini by Cecilio MJDS-1 appears to be on sale for less than this item, but we’re not clear on how long it will stay that way.

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

Price: $99.99

Buy the Mendini by Cecilio 16 inch 3-Piece Kids Junior Drum Set MJDS-3-BL here.


  • Inexpensive
  • Junior sized for kids 2 1/2 feet tall to 5 feet tall
  • Includes throne and sticks
  • One year warranty


  • No hi-hat
  • Bass drum pedal mechanism is fabric
  • No room to grow
  • Just a step up from toy sets

Find more Mendini by Cecilio 16 inch 3-Piece Kids Junior Drum Set MJDS-3-BL information and reviews here.

2. TKO 99TKO99MR 3-Piece Junior Drum Set

Image of tko 3-piece junior drum set


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.

Price: $130.81

Buy the TKO 99TKO99MR 3-Piece Junior Drum Set here.


  • Real wood shells
  • Includes adjustable throne and sticks
  • Cymbal arm is adjustable
  • Color-matched bass drum rims


  • Snare and tom only have four lug adjustments
  • No hi-hat
  • No room to grow
  • Some boxes don’t include instructions for setup

Find more TKO 99TKO99MR 3-Piece Junior Drum Set information and reviews here.

3. Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker

Image of sound percussion labs lil kicker

(Sound Percussion Labs)

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.

Price: $139.99

Buy the Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker here.


  • Sharp-looking black and white color scheme
  • Includes hi-hat and stand
  • Includes throne and sticks
  • Replaceable top and bottom heads


  • Not much room to grow
  • Cheap hardware
  • Parts replacement may be difficult
  • Some reviewers complain of rusted parts upon unboxing

Find more Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker information and reviews here.

4. GP Percussion GP55BK 5-Piece Junior Drum Set

Image of gp percussion gp55bk junior drum set

(Gammon Percussion)

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.

Price: $153

Buy the GP Percussion GP55BK 5-Piece Junior Drum Set here.


  • Five-piece kit at a three-piece price
  • Includes throne and sticks
  • All fully-tunable drum heads
  • Big step up from toy kits


  • 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

Find more GP Percussion GP55BK 5-Piece Junior Drum Set information and reviews here.

5. Ludwig Pocket Kit White Sparkle

Image of ludwig pocket kit


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.

Price: $249

Buy the Ludwig Pocket Kit White Sparkle here.


  • Legendary Ludwig name on a children’s set
  • Includes throne and sticks
  • Real wood construction
  • Includes free lessons from Questlove


  • 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)

Find more Ludwig Pocket Kit White Sparkle information and reviews here.

Full-Sized Beginner Drum Kits

6. Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set

Image of gammon percussion full size adult drum kit

(Gammon Percussion)

If the new drummer you’re buying for happens to be an adult, teen, or just a tall child, it makes sense to also consider budget options among full-size kits for the best drum set for kids. This particular option is the number one best seller on Amazon with strong reviews to support it. Most of the negative reviews note the difficulty of the set up and the fact that the drum heads and cymbals are cheap. We’re not going for pro-quality here, so that is to be expected.

Included in this set is a 22 inch bass drum (12 lug), 14 inch snare, one 12 inch tom and one 13 inch tom, 16 inch floor tom, 12 inch hi-hat, and a 14 inch ride cymbal. One nice detail is that the pedals for both the bass drum and the hi-hat are chain-driven and adjustable. The cymbals aren’t the best in the world and the drum heads shipped with it are plastic, but both of those are upgradable later on.

At this price, you could almost afford for even a young child to take their first swings at it, but it will also grow with any aspiring drummer. At the time of this writing, the available colors are black and blue, though wine red and metallic green are also listed.

Why you would choose this one: Your beginner is big enough for a full-sized kit, but a value set will still do the job.

Price: $259.95

Buy the Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set here.


  • Full-sized adult kit for not much more than junior kits
  • Chain-driven bass and hi-hat pedals
  • Can be upgraded and expanded
  • Starter DVD included


  • Hardware on the cheap side
  • Comes with plastic drum heads (which can be upgraded)
  • Cymbals are only adequate
  • Negative reviews almost uniformly mention difficult assembly

Find more Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set information and reviews here.

7. ddrum D120B MB D Series Drum Set

Image of ddrum d120b drum set


This fusion-style kit makes a handsome upgrade to the Gammon above. It’s also a full set, including the throne, and the black hardware gives it a distinctive look. That may be a bit of a drawback later on, as stands are generally chrome-colored, so you might have a Frankenstein’s monster look going on if you change anything out.

That being said, this set offers good value for the money. The 14 inch hi-hat and 16 inch ride cymbal are thin and nothing to write home about, but at least they’re included here so you’ll get your practice in. The rest of the set consists of a 20 inch bass drum, 14 inch snare, one 10 inch and one 12 inch rack tom, and a 14 inch floor tom. The basswood shells are certainly entry-level, but as with similar guitars, can provide a lot of value and sound respectable. Toss on your favorite heads and eventually swap out the cymbals and you’ll be in good stead for awhile with this set.

This is a compact set that will be more than enough both for just starting out and for a great practice set for years down the line. Colors include black and red.

Why you would choose this one: You’re looking for a solid mid-range kit that will keep up even as you improve.

Price: $360

Buy the ddrum D120B MB D Series Drum Set here.


  • Compact, but full set
  • Throne included
  • Includes ride cymbal and hi-hat
  • Upgradable


  • Cymbals won’t cut it for anything beyond practice
  • No assembly instructions
  • Some hardware issues, particularly with the hi-hat
  • May need professional assistance to tune the heads

Find more ddrum D120B MB D Series Drum Set information and reviews here.

8. Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack

Image of ludwig breakbeats drum set


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.

Price: $399

Buy the Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack here.


  • Remo Pinstripe and UT heads
  • Pro-level budget option
  • Seven-ply poplar shells
  • Velvet bags included for moving


  • 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

Find more Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack information and reviews here.

9. PDP CENTERstage 5-Piece Drum Set

Image of pdp cneterstage drum set


Another big-name drum maker is DW, and much like Squier is to Fender, Pacific Drums & Percussion (PDP) is to DW. They’re a value line that shares some of the same hardware and design philosophy of its more-famous parent.

While it doesn’t include a throne (browse for one here), it does otherwise include a full five-piece kit with a 14 inch snare, 16 inch floor tom, one 10 and one 12 inch rack tom, and a 22 inch bass drum. As usual with a beginner drum set, the cymbals are fairly middling, but these will get you started until you can upgrade later. The birch hybrid shells are good for boosting the high end with decent low punch, but you may notice a little bit less midrange.

There are trade-offs here for sure, but this is a solid budget kit and worth considering. It comes in this Sapphire color, as well as Onyx, Ruby, and Diamond.

Why you would choose this one: You want an entry-level kit with solid enough hardware to carry you through a few upgrades.

Price: $399.99

Buy the PDP CENTERstage 5-Piece Drum Set here.


  • Birch hybrid shells
  • Excellent tone for a budget set
  • Sturdy hardware
  • Telescoping bass drum spurs


  • No throne included
  • Middling cymbals
  • May want to replace stock heads
  • May not come with assembly instructions

Find more PDP CENTERstage 5-Piece Drum Set information and reviews here.

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

Image of pearl roadshow drum set


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.

Price: $404.10 (10 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pearl RS525SCC706 Roadshow New Fusion 5-Piece Drum Set here.


  • Nine-ply poplar shells
  • Solid enough sound for gigging
  • Chain-driven pedals
  • Geared, locking stands


  • No throne included
  • Cymbals clearly still entry-level
  • Getting expensive for just starting out

Find more Pearl RS525SCC706 Roadshow New Fusion 5-Piece Drum Set information and reviews here.

See Also:

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