How Much do Drums Cost: How Much is Not Too Much
Congratulations! The willingness to become a drummer is great, but do you know how much money you need to buy the right kit? In this guide, I explain how much do drums cost depending on various factors so that you can prepare and avoid under-or overpaying for a kit. So, how much are the drums of your dream? I bet your arms are itching to set up your new kit, so let’s figure it out!
To understand how much is a drum kit, you need to know what’s it made of and for. I’ve split all the drums into 4 basic categories to make it easier for you to see the difference.
1. Junior Kits
Junior kits are usually the cheapest as they don’t have the same sonic quality as full-sized adult drums and include 3-5 pieces plus a couple of generic cymbals and no-name sticks. These characteristics are sacrificed to introduce drumming into small kids’ lives at the lowest price possible.
The most basic options with a kick, snare, and high-hat or a tom plus high-hat cost from $85 to $100. Five-piece junior kits with a crash/ride cymbal and a high-hat cost from $140 to $300 for average models. If you really want to let your kid learn how to play and not just a cheap toy that will be abandoned in a month or two, you should get a good kit for $250-$450. That’s the only way to get good sound quality in a compact junior shell. If you are looking for a junior electronic drum kit, be ready to pay from $150 to $400. Again, the cheapest option isn’t likely to motivate your kid to move in the right direction.
2. Average Kits
Average adult-size drum kits start at $300-$600 for beginner-level models. Superior beginner-level instruments can reach $850 if they include higher-quality cymbals, shells, and pads. Standard kits within this price range usually include an 18”-22: bass drum, one or two 10”-14” rack toms, a 14”-18” floor tom, and a 12”-14” snare drum. High-hat, rides, and crashes come along quite often as well, but the quality is rarely good enough to go beyond the basics if you invest less than $600. Brands like TAMA, Pearl, Ludwig, etc. provide excellent entry-level kits within the price range. These brands have spotless histories, and you can really trust them. The sonic quality of drums below $850 is usually quite enough for small gigs, small venue concerts, and, say, church services.
3. Pro Kits
If you are planning to prepare for touring or making records in a studio, you should look for a professional drum kit. The price range for this type of drum is usually around $1,500 and above. All the popular brands, including DW, TAMA, Ludwig, Sonor, Pearl, and many boutique names offer flagship professional kits.
The truth is that you usually have to get the cymbals and some hardware additionally as default components are usually quite mediocre and don’t serve well for recording purposes. I recommend you to wear out the standard cymbals while learning and invest $400-$800 into high-quality cymbals and hardware to have a complete gig and recording-ready professional set.
4. Hardware & Cymbal Prices
Your hardware setup depends on the music you play, so you can either stick to the standard items or go for an advanced percussion set for hundreds and thousands of dollars. In most cases, drummers start with upgrading a kick drum pedal to a smoother single or double model and a high-hat stand to a sturdier one. Stands and pedals usually go up to $100 per piece. I recommend you to look for special hardware offers by kit manufacturers to save up buying a kit along with some hardware with a discount.
As for cymbals, they can get quite expensive, depending on the manufacturing technology. For example, hand-hammered cymbal sets by Zildjian can soar to thousands of dollars, but you can also opt for more budget options by Paiste or Sabian. You can either buy separate cymbals to achieve the needed sound or opt for a full cymbal set, which is usually cheaper. While good separate cymbals and high-hats usually come for $100-$200 per unit, cymbal packs may save you up to $100. You definitely need a decent high-hat, crash, and ride and may also wish to have such popular extras as China cymbals, splashes, or a cowbell each for an extra $30-$150, depending on the size. Hand-hammered China cymbals can run way higher than that.
5. Electronic Kits
If you live in an apartment with thin walls, or you have to keep quiet for some other reason, an electronic drum kit is your best friend. Of course, hitting the rubber feels totally different, and you may dislike it from the start, but being able to play late at night wearing headphones is a huge benefit. It’s also extremely cool to switch between a galaxy of sound banks and experience the sound of various famous drum kits without actually changing them. Any electronic drum kit is also connectable to a computer via a USB, MIDI, or ¼” TS jack. This means that you can use it for two types of studio recording: direct audio recording or controlling a VST drum kit (or any other instrument) installed in any DAW on your computer.
Electronic drum set prices vary from $150-$400 for kid-friendly options, and from around $500 to $1500 and more for intermediate and pro-level instruments. The price usually depends on the quality of materials, the size of the kit, the toughness, and versatility of the drum rack, the complexity of the processor unit and controls, the number of memory banks, etc.
Alternatively, you can start with an electronic drum pad, which is a much more compact instrument that works similarly to the full-sized electronic kit and sometimes even includes kick and high-hat MIDI pedals! The price is usually from $250 to $800 and depends on the number of pads and the same characteristics as a full-sized kit. It’s a great option for beginners and even small professional home studios.
Have more questions? I knew that and prepared several quick answers to the most probable of them. You can also drop me a line in the comments if your questions are beyond that.
Are drums expensive?
As you already know from the paragraphs above, a drum kit cost depends on multiple factors. The average drum set price varies from $300 to $1,000, but many professional flagship models may cost up to $2,000–$10,000 as they feature rare shell materials, restrengthened metal parts, and unique color options. Similar to any other instrument, drums can be expensive, but there are well-made beginner and medium options as well.
How much is a full drum set?
Generally, a ‘full’ drum set is one that includes 5 pieces and 2-3 basic cymbals. The price for models with cymbal stands and cymbals included starts from $400 and can get anywhere up to $10,000. The good news is that you can get the same number of pieces for any price in this large gap. As for the cheapest options, you should remember that the default cymbals are usually enough only for the first 2-3 months.
What drums are best for beginners?
You can pick one of the best beginner drum sets with the help of my reviews, but it’s important to understand your actual drumming needs first. There are great electronic and acoustic beginner sets on the market and most of them include everything you need to start playing from scratch. The short rule is to consider the size of your room, ask neighbors if they mind you playing loud, and get the kit that doesn’t rip you off. You need to eat while learning, after all!
What is the cheapest drum set?
The cheapest drum set on the market right now is Mendini By Cecilio Drum Set For Kids. It starts at just $140. It’s too small for adults, though. The cheapest adult kits include Alesis Nitro Mesh (electric), Pearl Roadshow, Yamaha Stage Custom, and some more. These options are all below $400-$500.
How much do electric drums cost?
Full-size electric drum prices start at 280 bucks for the most basic models and rarely surpass a $1,500 price tag. Drum pads and kid-friendly kits can be even below $200 and usually don’t require any extras to learn how to play. Due to extreme versatility, even cheap electric drum kits provide great sound quality, and they are obviously more compact than most acoustic kits in the same price range.
Prepare The Budget
Now that you know the drum set price range in detail, you can easily tell if the suggested pricing for the kit of your choice is fair or not. Remember that the best item in the category isn’t always the most expensive and a suspiciously cheap kit by a no-name brand can be a piece of crap. I hope you get your set delivered soon! Make sure to study the notation basics along with doing the basic training.
You can make your kit as individual as you want and become a pro with a minimalistic 3-piece kit or go ‘Van-Halen’ and build a custom monster with an uncountable number of pieces. What would you choose for now? You can drop me a line in the comments, and we’ll try to figure out the best drum kit for your budget and needs.