Top 5 Best Electronic Drum Set

Best Electronic Drum Set

Electronic drum sets used to be relatively niche and were often not that great as actual instruments. Things have changed.

The last few years have seen professional electronic drum sets take several steps up in quality, and budget sets for learners and amateurs have followed the upward trend.

Elements like mesh heads becoming standard and the arrival of better drum modules has driven the development of new levels of sound and playability – though you still have to tread carefully to find the best sets.

We’ve taken a look at the best sets out there, and if you’re going to get the best there is, we’d recommend the Roland TD27-KV as the cream of the crop.

Why the TD27-KV?

You can never go wrong with the build quality on a Roland, and the TD27-KV has a cymbal pad that gives you unsurpassed snare and ride. Added to that, the module on the TD27-KV will make you smile on a cloudy day.

If you’re looking for a great electronic drum set, but you don’t have Roland money to burn, we’d say try the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit. It’s the best electronic drum set we’ve found for a more affordable price.

As the name suggests, you get mesh heads all the way with the Alesis and a module that leaves you feeling safe.

Take a look through our brief guide to the best electronic drum sets available for both newcomers and seasoned drummers, and see which most appeals to you.

Best Electronic Drum Set

Roland TD-27KV

Roland TD-27KV Electronic Drum Set

The Roland TD-27KV beats all-comers in our list for several reasons. Let’s talk build quality. Roland is famous as a drum-maker to some of the most prestigious musical acts in the world.

The TD-27KV has a sturdiness that carries the legend forward and feels built to take everything you can give it and more.

Another thing that sets the TD-27KV apart is the quality of its snare and ride pads.

This is often where you can tell the quality of the set, and it’s an area where the TD-27KV shines, giving you a snare pad with a crisp sound and a ride cymbal pad that rings out and gives you the shiver up the spine associated with the original.

When you hit rim shots, ghost notes, and even do some side-sticking, the modeling of the sound is extraordinarily true to tympanic reality, rather than the slightly ‘off’ version you may associate with older or less well-built sets.

We’d go so far as to call the Roland’s sound modeling on these two pads the best on the market right now, which is a big reason why the TD-27KV stands head and shoulders above the crowd.

Pros:

  • The modeling on the snare and ride pads is the best currently available
  • The drum module overall is excellent, giving a realistic sound
  • The build quality is exceptional
  • Using the set as a MIDI controller for VST plugins works well

Cons:

  • The set struggles for much stage presence
  • You need to buy a separate hi-hat stand and snare pad stand to complete the set
Roland TD-27KV Electronic Drum Set
  • TD-27 Module w/ Over 700 Sounds, Reverb Sampling Technology
  • State-of-the-Art Digital Pads w/ Mesh Heads
  • Large Display w/ Direct Edit Knobs & Drum Kit Selection Wheel
  • BlueTooth Audio
  • 3 x Digital Trigger Inputs

Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit

Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit - Electric Drum Set with USB MIDI Connectivity, Mesh Drum Pads, Kick Pedal and Rubber Kick Drum, 40 Kits and 385 Sounds

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is not the entry-level electronic drum kit you expect it to be. It’s so much better than that.

Naturally, when a set is entry-level, you revise your expectations down, but the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit encourages you to revise them right back up again. The drum module here is very playable.

Give it its head and the module will surprise and please you with its modeling and responsiveness.

Added to that, you probably revised your expectations away from all-mesh, despite the name of the set. Back you come – all-mesh, all day, right here with the Alesis Nitro.

It’s also very feature-rich for a set at its price-point, which appeals to everyone.

If you’re looking for the best entry-level electronic drum set, the Alesis Nitro, with its all-mesh heads on the snare and tom pads, is probably the set you’re looking for.

Pros:

  • All-mesh pads on the snare and tom pads, giving you better performance than you’d expect at this price point
  • The module brings decent modeling to play
  • A highly affordable set, this is a great option for beginners
  • It uses a convenient MIDI-over-USB connection
  • The Alesis Nitro uses a real kick pad for a more authentic playing experience

Cons:

  • The mesh heads are on the small side
  • The module lacks some depth of sound

The Alesis Nitro is set up like an acoustic drum kit, so drummers can train and practice on it as if on an acoustic and get directly transferable skills.

While many entry-level kits use bass pedals without a beater, that doesn’t deliver the realistic sensation of playing the bass drum. Using a real kick pedal and pad on the Alesis Nitro, drummers develop the habit of playing an acoustic bass drum.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is the product of a continuing evolution at Alesis, which began with its DM-6 kit and became the Alesis Nitro Kit. This Alesis evolution stood out as being a cut above most e-drums at the time.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit continues this evolution by the use of all-mesh pads on its snare and tom pads, and the addition of a real kick pedal, moving the playing experience closer to the acoustic version.

The module helps underscore that move towards the acoustic experience too and is surprisingly advanced for a set in this price range.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit has 40 different kits and 385 different drum sounds programmed into it, and a ‘learning mode,’ which helps drummers develop their skills.

The module also features tracks so you can play along, a metronome, recording and sequencing functions, and MIDI over USB. It’s more or less a self-contained drum school.

So – the perfect electronic drum set, then? Not quite. Higher-priced sets will give you better responsiveness, as you’d expect.

But for bringing everything you get with the Alessi Nitro Mesh Kit down to the price point at which it sells, it gets our vote for the top budget set.

A comprehensive set that’s still great value for money.

Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit - Electric Drum Set with USB MIDI Connectivity, Mesh Drum Pads, Kick Pedal and Rubber Kick Drum, 40 Kits and 385 Sounds
  • Next generation mesh Performance: All-mesh drum heads deliver the most realistic, responsive and immersive playing experience modern drummers demand
  • Premium 8-piece configuration: 8" Dual-zone snare pad, (3) 8" Tom pads and (3) 10” cymbals: Ride cymbal, hi-hat, crash with choke
  • In-demand sound: Nitro drum module with 40 ready-to-play classic and modern kits, 60 play-along tracks and 350 plus expertly curated sounds
  • Powerful educational features: 60 built-in play-along tracks, sequencer, metronome, aux input and performance recorder help to hone and develop your drum skills
  • Everything you need: 4-post aluminum rack, connection cables, drum sticks, drum key and power supply included

Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition

ALESIS STRIKEPROSE ALESIS Super Drum with 18 Sounds

The Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition is a set that takes the fight to some of the industry’s more expensive models. It’s richly featured but sells for a much lower price than those flagship sets.

Striking a blow for the electronic option, it brings real wooden drums to the electronic age, giving it the look – and with the 20-inch kick drum, also the feel – of an acoustic set.

But it blends that traditional feel with 136 kits, 45,000 samples, a range of impressive effects, faders, mixers, and custom sampling.

Trad meets techno in the Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition. Everybody wins.

The addition of all-mesh pads takes it the next step forward towards authenticity.

While the initial Alesis Strike Pro e-drum had a bunch of build quality issues, the Special Edition has done away with almost all of them, while taking the evolution of Alesis electronic drum sets on another generation.

We’d put the sounds you can get out of the Alesis Strike Pro drum module up with the likes of Roland or Yamaha.

The Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition is a large, well-featured electronic drum set at a bargain price that will appeal to a lot of drummers. But obviously, it’s not all sunshine and roses.

There are still a few niggling build quality issues with the Special Edition. When you compare it with manufacturers like Roland and Yamaha, those remaining issues become more noticeable.

And there’s no escaping the fact that neither the snare, the ride, nor the hi-hats on the Special Edition stand up to a set like the Roland TD-27KV.

The Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition offers a lot of features at a competitive price point, with a drum module that’s in the major leagues.

That’s all the more amazing when you remember the difficulties the standard edition faced when it launched.

Pros:

  • A superbly-featured drum module that supports custom sampling
  • A huge number of stored sounds (136 kits and 45,000 samples)
  • Impressive mesh heads give you a responsive reaction
  • The set has impressive stature for performances
  • It’s sold at a good price point for such a highly featured set

Cons:

  • When compared to some Roland sets, the triggering of snares, hats, and rides is weak

Roland TD-1DMK

ROLAND Electronic Drum Kit (TD-1DMK)

What are we looking at with the TD-1DMK?

Let’s start with 4 tuneable Roland mesh pads. That gives you a great basis on which you can learn to play the drums.

If you need them – or heck, even if you just want them, you can add some double bass pedals and really start to stretch the kit.

The TD-1DMK is a mark of changing times at Roland. All-mesh pads only used to be available on its mid-level and flagship kits, but now, beginners can get an early feel for what all-mesh pads are like.

If you get a Ferrari, you don’t necessarily let your newly qualified nephew take it for a spin. That’s worth remembering when you consider the drum module in the TD-1DMK.

It’s by no means able to compete with more mid-or-high-end drum-brains. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to be a good introductory module for beginners, and in that capacity, it works very well.

Roland V-Drums technology is one of those treats you allow yourself when you’ve been very good. If you can afford it, it’s worth splashing the cash to add in the V-Drums technology to the TD-1DMK.

Oh, and remember – if you want to get your kick pedal on, it’s going to be sold separately. Want a double bass pedal? Try the Tama Iron Cobra 200 double pedal with this kit and prepare for some next-level drumming fun.

The Roland TD-1DMK is an entry-level set you could use for your practice sessions long after you’ve stopped using other entry-level sets. It’s a compact set with all-mesh heads, and above all, it’s a Roland.

Pros:

  • All-mesh heads feel more like a traditional drum kit
  • Roland build quality is evident everywhere in this set
  • As a practice set, the TD-1DMK will give you years of service

Cons:

  • The price is steep for an entry-level kit
  • The module feels strangely limited
ROLAND Electronic Drum Kit (TD-1DMK)
  • Roland’s Acclaimed durable double-mesh drum pads providing incredible durability and freedom to alter the tension using the included drum key all whilst maintaining the market leading low-latency triggering.
  • Sturdy, yet lightweight drum rack to hold your pads in place whilst playing and easily folded up able to move to store when not being used.
  • Connect your audio device to your Module and play along to your favourite drum tracks using the “Mix In” connection.
  • Connect the Module to your computer to record your playing via MIDI.
  • Develop your playing and technique by using the 10 on-board Coach Modes. Expand this further by logging on to Melodics and take advantage of the 40 Free Lessons on offer for you to download and keep.

Alesis Command Mesh Kit

Alesis Drums Command Mesh Kit - Electric Drum Set with USB MIDI Connectivity, 600+ Electronic & Acoustic Drum Kit Sounds and Dual Zone Mesh Pads

Like regular acoustic heads, you can tune the drum heads on the Alesis Command Mesh. That gives you a realistic acoustic sensation when playing. The dual-zone snare and tom pads just add to the realism.

The drum module here is rich with features. You can control the type of sound you want, control the sensitivity of your playing, even customize your drum kit. There are 70 pre-set kits in the set, along with a sequencer and a MIDI connector.

Given the price point of this set, it delivers a lot of bang, crash, and even kapow for your buck. If you’re a producer, an engineer, or anything up to an intermediate drummer, you’ll be able to get lots out of the Alesis Command Mesh.

If you want to go above and beyond the entry-level, the Alesis Command Mesh Kit might well have your name on it. When you put quality mesh heads, an impressive module and a large kick drum together, you have a set-up that will make people take notice.

The Alesis Command Mesh Electronic Drum Set takes you significantly on from entry-level, with a lot of well-considered features offering good value at its price point.

It’s very well designed and put together, with everything fitting into the drum rack, with the exception of the kick pad and the hi-hat pedal.

The result is that all the drums, including the snare, are comfortably placed for your playing pleasure, and the cymbals are where your muscle memory expects them to be.

Pros:

  • High-quality mesh heads give a great drumming sensation
  • The module is impressive, taking you on from entry-level into a more complex drumming environment
  • Solid hardware, speaking of quality construction
  • Considering everything that comes in the set, this is very affordable
  • The large kick drum pad is great for use with double bass drum pedals

Cons:

  • While most other things fit in, the hi-hat has a standalone pedal
Alesis Drums Command Mesh Kit - Electric Drum Set with USB MIDI Connectivity, 600+ Electronic & Acoustic Drum Kit Sounds and Dual Zone Mesh Pads
  • Natural feel, premium response, 8 inch mesh kick drum tower with kick drum pedal (included), 10 inch dual zone mesh snare and three 8 inch dual zone mesh tom pads
  • Express yourself, (3) 10 inch cymbals: Ride cymbal, Hi hat, crash w/choke
  • In demand sound, command drum module with 70 kits, 60 play along tracks, 600 plus sounds, custom sample loading via USB
  • Connectivity covered, inbuilt sequencer to record your own playing, connect your MP3 player to the aux input for jamming to your favorite tracks or record / control midi using on board USB / midi inputs / outputs
  • Everything you need, 4 post chrome rack, connection cables, drum sticks, drum key and power supply included

Buyers Guide

Electronic Drum Head Types

If you’re looking for the best electronic drum heads, it’s a straight-up knock-down-drag-out between Roland’s mesh heads and the Yamaha TCS pads.

Again, ‘best’ is subjective – if you want quieter pads with less bounce, go, Yamaha, all day. If you like the bounce and embrace the noise, Roland is your go-to.

Ideally, consistency is worth paying to forget the same type of head on your snare and your toms, so you’re not confused by the mix-and-match while playing.

Rubber Pads

Rubber pads are the main type of electronic drum heads that have been used for decades. The upside is that they’re relatively cheap. The downside is that compared to mesh or TCS, they play like…well like you’re hitting a mound of rubber. Boing!

Mesh Heads

The introduction of mesh heads brought electronic drum sets on from almost being toys to being really worth buying. Designed very much like acoustic drums, synthetic material is stretched over the sensitive pad, for a much more drum-like feel.

The trigger in mesh heads is very sensitive, meaning you can use them to practice, and even learn your basics without lacking the responsiveness of acoustic drums.

Quieter than rubber or mylar, they’re among the first upgrades any electronic drum learner goes for when their budget allows. Naturally, there’s an internal market, too – the higher-end your mesh heads, the better result you’ll get from them.

If you have a budget to burn, some of the higher-end kick towers now come with mesh heads too. If you don’t have a budget to burn, though, they’re not a necessity.

Yamaha TCS Pads

TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) pads are a Yamaha specialty, and so you’ll usually find them on Yamaha drum sets. Quieter and less bouncy even than mesh heads, they suit drummers trying to get closer to the feel of acoustic drums.

Mylar Heads

Speaking of getting closer to the acoustic experience, mylar heads use the same type of material used on acoustic drums. They’ll get you closer than rubber pads, certainly.

Sadly, mylar heads were still much louder than most other types of e-drum heads, and so have largely bitten the dust in the last few years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Electronic Drum Set Brands?

This is a tough question because the best-known brands each tend to be ‘best’ at Something, while other brands are best at Something Else. As a general rule of thumb, though:

  • Roland – Best for hardware, triggering, and innovation.

Roland sets tend to be extremely inventive and pleasurable to play.

  • Yamaha – Padmasters, and creators of TCS.

Going high-end with Yamaha unlocks extra pleasures. Will always be a favorite for the quieter, less bouncy vibe of its TCS pads.

  • Alesis – Best for affordable sets that perform beyond their price.

Known first and foremost for delivering a lot of competent features on an attractive budget, Alesis is starting to make a name for itself across the price and quality spectrum with sets like the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, Command Mesh Kit, and the Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition.

  • Other noteworthy brands include the likes of Percussion, Pearl, Simmons and ATV.

How Loud Are Electronic Drum Sets?

Somewhere between the teeth-rattling thunder-god racket of acoustic drums and hitting cushions with drumsticks.

Importantly, they are not silent, so apartment-swellers, it’s time to break out some rugs if you want to keep your place. You could hit the electronic drums more softly, but what sort of drummer does that?

Put it this way – in moving from acoustic to electronic, you’re already being a good neighbor. Additional soundproofing would undoubtedly buff your drum-angel halo, but shouldn’t be absolutely necessary in most cases.

Put your headphones on and rock electronically out.

Ideally, TCS heads will be your friends – and your neighbors’ friends too. If not TCS, go mesh. Never – and we can’t stress this highly enough – never go mylar if you want anything approaching a quiet practice at home.

Your neighbors will think you’re being shot and call the cops on you