It’s no surprise to find out that electronic drum kits have become more and more popular since their introduction into the music industry. They used to be very expensive, but several brands have put out affordable kits to cater to a wide audience in the past decade.
While acoustic drum brands are plentiful, there are only a few electronic drum brands worth mentioning. The other ones are still trying to find their feet, and their kits aren’t as readily available as the ones from the main brands.
So, here’s a guide on the top electronic drum set brands. If you’re looking for a new e-kit, these are the ones you should look out for.
Best Electronic Drum Kit Brands
Roland is the undisputed king of the electronic drum kit world. The brand has innovated the most, and their products are always incredibly good.
Most electronic drum kits these days have mesh drum pads. Roland was the company that invented those. That tells you just how influential the brand is in the drumming world.
Their products are incredibly popular, meaning you can find a few Roland drum sets in just about every music store out there.
Regarding Roland’s products, one of their best entry-level drum kits is the Roland TD-1DMK. It’s a fantastic starter kit with responsive mesh pads and a simple module with excellent sounds.
The brand’s best mid-range kit is the Roland TD-27KV. They refer to it as a mid-range kit, but everything about it is high-end. It’s a full-on professional set with amazing features.
Roland have two flagship drum sets. The first one is the Roland TD-50KV2, which is the best kit in their V-Drums line. The second flagship kit is the Roland VAD706, which is arguably the most premium electronic drum set on the market. Both these kits are run by the powerful TD-50 drum module, but the VAD706 has full-sized acoustic shells to give it the appearance of a regular set.
The big downside of Roland electronic sets is that they’re all very expensive. Even the entry-level ones are expensive compared to competing products from other electronic drum set brands.
Yamaha is another massive entity in the music world, and the brand has an impressive range of both acoustic and electronic drum sets.
Most of Yamaha’s electronic kits have their trademark TCS heads. These are silicone pads that feel slightly different from the mesh pads that you find on other e-kits. Some drummers prefer them, as they give excellent stick response.
One of the best things about Yamaha drum modules is that they sample drum kit sounds from their own range of acoustic kits. There are some top-tier Yamaha acoustic kits available, so you get those high-quality samples in even the most affordable Yamaha electronic kits.
Yamaha has a fairly unique system where they only offer a few drum modules. While the other brands have several drum modules across all their products, Yamaha uses the same module for all their mid-tier and high-end kits called the DTX-PRO. The exception is that their flagship kit uses the DTX-PROX. This means that you can get a great drum module even if you purchase one of the lower-end kits.
The brand’s mid-tier set is the DTX6K3-X. This kit has far better hardware than most other electronic kits in its price range, and the DTX-PRO module is brilliant.
Yamaha’s flagship set is the DTX10K. It’s packed with realism, and the sounds and features from the DTX-PROX drum module are astounding. It’s one of the best e-kits on the market, and it costs a lot less than the flagship kits from Roland.
Alesis is the final brand that falls under the “big three” of the electronic drum kit world. Alesis drum sets are also highly popular, mainly due to the fact that they’re incredibly affordable. All Alesis kits are cheaper than their rivals from Roland and Yamaha. This makes them excellent choices for drummers who don’t want to spend a lot of cash.
With that being said, most Alesis drum kits are inferior to the options from Roland and Yamaha, so you’re paying less for a drum kit that doesn’t sound and work as well.
Alesis is arguably the best electronic drum kit brand for beginners. They offer several kits that cost under $1000, giving new drummers plenty of choice within that budget. The other electronic drum brands only offer one or two kits at that price.
The Alesis Nitro Mesh is the most popular entry-level kit from the brand. It’s also the most affordable e-kit on the market that has a full set of mesh pads as well as a standard kick drum tower and pedal. This kit alone is one of the biggest reasons why Alesis is such a popular beginner drummer brand.
The Alesis DM10 MKII Pro is the mid-tier option. It’s essentially a larger version of the Nitro Mesh with much better sound quality and module features. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite rival the sound quality you get from Roland and Yamaha kits in the same price range.
Alesis’ flagship kit is the Alesis Strike Pro SE. This is one of the best value-for-money electronic drum sets available. It’s a pro set, and it’s large enough to feel like you’re playing a standard acoustic set. It’s only a fraction of the price of the flagships from Yamaha and Roland, and it has many comparable features.
If you’re thinking about getting an Alesis drum set, we suggest you pick from their entry-level or flagship kits. You’ll get a better mid-range kit from Roland or Yamaha.
Pearl is mainly an acoustic drum kit brand, but they’ve dipped their toes in the electronic drum kit world a few times over the years. They currently only have one electronic kit available, and it’s called the Pearl e/Merge.
While it’s the only available kit from the brand, it’s one of the best electronic kits available. It has an incredible drum module that was designed in collaboration with Korg. It has amazing preset sounds, but the real value is the depth at which you can edit different sounds.
You can pretty much load your own sounds into the module and tweak them extensively. It’s very possible to sample your own acoustic kit and then get the same sounds coming out of the e/Merge.
Pearl was one of the first companies to design an electronic kit that looks like an acoustic kit. It was called the E-Pro Live, but they stopped production as it didn’t sell too well. Even though it wasn’t the biggest success, it paved the way for other brands to use that idea.
There are a few other electronic drum brands worth mentioning. They don’t have extensive product lines like the big three do, but some of their kits are well worth considering if you’re looking for something to get.
Behringer has the XD80USB kit. It’s the only electronic kit that the brand makes, and it’s very inexpensive. It’s a good option for beginner drummers looking for something that won’t break the bank. The brand also has an impressive range of drum machines. Those are a lot more loved than their single electronic drum kit option.
KAT Percussion is a similar brand to Alesis. Their products are all aimed at beginners with low budgets. They have a few electronic drum kits on offer. All of them have mesh heads, but the sound quality you get from the modules is nowhere close to what you get from the big three brands.
EFNOTE is another good electronic drum brand to check out. Their products are all high-end options, giving you a stark contrast to the entry-level kits from the previous two brands. All the EFNOTE kits have large acoustic shells, giving you realistic playability. The modules also have excellent features and sound quality.
Which Drum Brands to Get For Certain Purposes
Reliability and Resale Value
You can’t go wrong with a Roland drum kit if you’re looking for reliability. They have a well-known reputation for lasting decades, as many drummers are still playing Roland kits that were released in the early 2000s.
Since Roland kits are so durable, they have the best resale value out of any other electronic drum set brand. You’ll be able to easily sell a Roland kit for a decent price. This also means that there are hundreds of good Roland kits being sold.
So, new Roland kits are very expensive, but you can easily find a good deal on a used Roland kit if you look around.
Yamaha comes in second place here. The kits are also just as reliable, but they don’t have the same resale factor.
Alesis comes in at stone last. We wouldn’t recommend buying a used Alesis drum kit. Many of the brand’s kits are known to have quality control issues, and those tend to get worse over the years. They’re good starter kits, but the cheap ones aren’t what you’ll want to keep playing for years to come.
Best Acoustic Drum Sounds
The answer here is a tie between Roland and Yamaha. Yamaha kits have the edge as they’re coming straight from Yamaha’s range of acoustic kits. However, Roland’s high-end drum modules use the Prismatic Sound Modeling engine, and the sound quality that comes from that is simply incredible.
With that being said, the sounds still don’t match up to what you get from acoustic drum sets, and the best way to get premium sounds from any electronic drum set is to hook it up to a VST. Those sounds are always much better than the stock ones on drum modules.
If you’re not up to getting a VST and you want to just use whatever is in front of you, Roland and Yamaha kits will be the best options. Even their entry-level kits have great sound quality.
Alesis kits sound inferior in the entry-level range, but the pro-tier Alesis Strike Pro SE has amazing sound quality.
Most Affordable Options
Here’s where Alesis drum kits thrive. The brand caters extremely well to drummers who can’t buy high-priced kits. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll get the best value for your money with an Alesis drum set.
Most of their entry-level kits have mesh pads, whereas the entry-level kits from Roland and Yamaha have rubber pads and kick trigger pedals. This means that the cheap Alesis kits feel much better to play. They just don’t sound as good.
However, you could hook an inexpensive Alesis kit up to a VST through your computer to get some amazing sounds.
You’ll need to spend a bit more if you want good playability features. This includes things like being able to play the bell of a ride cymbal pad and getting multiple trigger zones on each drum.
The beginner Alesis kits don’t offer those things, so you’d need to spend a bit more on a higher-quality kit. If you’re going to be spending more, then it will be better to get a kit from Roland or Yamaha.
The kits from KAT Percussion, Behringer, and EFNOTE should be considered on a case-by-case basis. They’re not as readily available, but you may find that one of those is a better option that meets your requirements and budget.
Final Thoughts on Electronic Drum Brands
At the end of the day, nothing beats playing a good Roland electronic set. Roland kits have the best build qualities, and most drummers agree that they sound the best compared to other electronic kits. If you want an easy option, Roland is the brand to go with.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, Yamaha is the next best thing. They have some incredible kits on offer. Alesis is the brand to go with if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. While the kits don’t sound as good, they have unreal value for money.
The other brands have decent options, but they’re not as well-known, and that makes it a bit riskier to buy one of their products. However, you should do your own listening tests and research to see if you may like what they offer.