The Best Cheap Electronic Drum Set For Beginners

Beginner Electronic Drum Sets


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When it comes to buying a cheap electronic drum set, not all are created equally. Even though budget sets for beginners have come a long way, no one wants to make the wrong purchase.

This is why we did extensive research, vetted electronic drum kits available at major online retailers under $500 using the Gearank Algorithm to find the most responsive, most playable and absolute bargains this current generation of electronic kits.

Aided by my 18 years of drumming experience, we'll find you the best starter kit for your specific needs. Let's get into it.

Note that there are limitations with beginner level kits, notably having fewer zones on drum pads and many lack chokeable cymbals, so if you're looking for more advanced features then take a look at our guide to The Best Electronic Drum Sets.

The Best Cheap Electronic Drum Sets For Beginners

Author & Contributors

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

I'm a drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. I also studied music for 6 years majoring in percussion and jazz studies with a minor in classical piano.

The Highest Rated Electronic Drum Sets Under $500

Alesis Debut Kit


91 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alesis Debut Electronic Drum Set


  • Button style pedals are a bit finnicky
  • Can be outgrown quickly because of its small size


  • Compact drum kit for small spaces
  • Student friendly features
  • USB MIDI out for drum education software
  • Great feeling mesh heads

First on our list we have the Alesis Debut Kit. Aimed squarely at younger beginners and smaller players, this kit is designed to be the ultimate learning tool with a tiny footprint for small budgets.

It sports mesh heads, a plethora of sounds, and 60 free lessons from Melodics. The module comes with 10 preset kits, a built-in metronome and an integrated drum coach feature to help build your timing. It also comes with everything you need to start drumming, including the sticks, headphones and the drum throne.

Along with the great feel of the mesh heads, the USB midi out is useful for triggering drum kits and drum education software on their PC and tablets.

The button style pedals are a bit finnicky to trigger with your feet. They could have done more with the Melodics partnership with users reporting only 5 minutes a day of free lessons even with the promo code. I feel this is a missed opportunity to provide value beyond just promoting another product.

The Debut would be a perfect choice for all budding musical families, if not for its small size which makes it slightly unergonomic for larger players. Still, this is a good pick if you have drastic space limitations.

Good to start for younger players but due to the limitations in size, you might outgrow this kit fairly quickly. If you want that Alesis goodness with better ergonomics for adult sized beginners, I'd recommend the Nitro Mesh.


  • 4 x 6-inch Adjustable Mesh Head Drums
  • 3 x 10-inch Cymbals
  • Bass Drum and Hi-Hat Floor Pedals
  • Sturdy metal mounting rack
  • DM-Lite drum module with 10 kits and 120 sounds
  • Connect to a computer or music player for play-along via USB-MIDI Output
  • 2 x 1/4" Output, 1 x 1/8" Headphones Output, 1 x 1/8" Aux Input
  • Drum throne, sticks, headphones, and cabling included
  • Melodics learning software included


Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit


93 out of 100. Incorporating 6300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alesis Nitro Mesh Electronic Drum Set
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set Under $500.


  • Mesh heads can be springy if not tuned properly
  • Cables are a bit thin
  • Needs headphone amp for high impedance headphones


  • Good value for money
  • Tunable mesh heads
  • Versatile sound options and easy to use
  • With USB and MIDI connectivity

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit gives you quite a lot for the money. As the name implies it features all-mesh pads along with a hi-hat, crash cymbal and ride.

The 8" dual-zone snare features mesh material that gives it a feel closer to an acoustic snare than regular rubber pads. The same material is also used on the kit's three 8" mesh toms. Completing the set are three 10" cymbals, a hi-hat pedal and kick pedal with a tower. All of these are mounted on its four-post rack, which is a definite plus if you like to strike your drums hard. While the posts are tough, the cables are a bit thin, so proper handling and cable setup is needed.

The mesh heads have a springy trampoline feel to them that might not be for everyone, but they're tunable so you can mitigate this somewhat by dialing in the tension to taste.

All of these connect to the Alesis Nitro drum module which offers 40 drum kit sounds, 385 individual sounds, and 60 play along tracks right out of the box. More importantly, all these features are easy to access, making this kit viable even for those zero e-drum experience.

Other features include built-in metronome, headphones out, Aux input, USB and MIDI connectivity. Its included MIDI input/output separate from the USB-MIDI output and 2 inputs for pad expansion provides unrivaled connectivity in its price range. Note that the headphones out is meant for low impedance earphones. Volume will be noticeably lower when using high impedance headphones, or when you use headphones with built-in mics and a non-TRS plug. You'll need a dedicated headphone amplifier to achieve proper volume levels. I personally use an Audio-Technica ATH-M50x for quiet practice.

All things considered, the Nitro Mesh is what I personally recommend. It is the best electronic drum set for under $500 you can get barring the second hand market. Good job Alesis! I've gigged with this and it's very usable for an entry level kit. The sounds are limited and I wouldn't go as far as to say that they are "real" sounding but I would use it in a pinch for live performance like I did in this video:


Me playing the Alesis Nitro Mesh in a live recorded performance:


  • 1 x 8" Dual-zone Mesh Snare Pad
  • 3 x 8" Mesh Tom Pads
  • Kick Pad Tower
  • 10" Hi-Hat Pad
  • 10" Crash Pad
  • 10" Ride Pad
  • Hi-Hat Pedal and Kick Pedal
  • Alesis Nitro Drum Module with 385 sounds
  • 40 Preset kits
  • 60 built-in play-along tracks
  • USB/MIDI connection for using it as a MIDI controller with your computer
  • 2 x 1/4" Output, 1 x 1/8" Headphone output, 1 x 1/8" Aux Input, 1 x MIDI Input, 1 x MIDI Output, 2 x 1/4" Pad Expansion Input

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Music Radar Tom Bradley 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Yamaha DTX402K


90 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Yamaha DTX402K 5-Piece Electronic Drum Set


  • Older release that still uses rubber pads
  • Single-zone snare


  • Reliable and durable beginner friendly drum kit
  • Responsive rubber heads with good rebound
  • Seamless integration with drum software
  • Chokeable cymbals

The Yamaha DTX402K was released in 2018 and while not quite as popular as the newer Alesis options (likely due to being priced higher than them) it has been well received by those who bought it.

This is one of the entry-level descendants of the electronic drums I currently have at home, the DTXpress 1 launched in the year 2000. And it retains what's good with Yamaha electronic drums, with rubber heads that are responsive and durable - a no-frills solution to triggering.

They don't feel like real acoustic drums, but in this case they don't have to, because thy are good enough for novice to intermediate level drumming. I even use the pads with the module turned off, the rebound is nice enough to get a late night drum workout. While this kit is aimed at students, even experienced drummers like myself still find good use with this kit.

It lacks a dual-zone snare but partly makes up for that with chokeable cymbals - a feature beginners are more likely to use. The rubber pads can be a deal-breaker for those who prefer the feel of mesh heads.

Another good feature of this kit is its seamless integration with drum sample software. Being able to edit and create your own kits on the drum module (using the DTX402 Touch App) gives this more tweakability than some of the cheaper options.

Gearank Alden's Yamaha DTXpress 1
An old photo of my Yamaha DTXpress 1 that features similar rubber pads. Apart from the slightly louder sound I've never had a problem with the feel.

If you want a bit more flexibility with your sound setup, and you don't mind the rubber pads, this is a solid option from a reputable company.


  • 1 x 8" Single Zone Snare Pad
  • 3 x 8" Single Zone Tom Pad
  • 2 x 10" Cymbal Pads With Choke
  • 10" Hi-Hat Pad
  • Hi-Hat Pedal
  • Kick Button Pedal
  • DTX 402 Drum Module With 10 Customizable Preset Kits
  • 415 Percussion Sounds
  • 9 Reverb Types
  • 10 Play-Along Songs
  • 10 Training Functions
  • USB-MIDI Output
  • 1/4" stereo out for Headphones
  • 1/8" Aux Input
  • iOS and Android app for training features and customization
  • iOS only Rec'n Share App for recording and publishing YouTube videos

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Beat It Editor 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.


Additional Option

I know this is beyond our price range but this list would be remiss without mentioning the top brand in electronic drums, Roland - so I wanted to place this as an aspirational choice in case your budget can accommodate it.

Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK


91 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK Electronic Drum Set


  • Basic module with just 15 kits
  • Limited audio output options


  • Great feeling 2-ply mesh heads
  • Responsive chokeable cymbals and kick pad
  • Professional and authentic sounding kits
  • Reliable and feels solid

Straying a bit from our hypothetical budget of below $500 is the Roland TD-1DMK. For the extra money, you get a great Roland kit with 2-ply mesh heads. It doesn't come with a kick pedal, drumsticks, throne or external speaker but you do get a great quality electronic drum set.

The strength of this kit is its quality mesh heads, which feel much closer to an acoustic drum head. It has good bounce and has impressive sensitivity, similar to more premium e-drum kits. The kick pad is also quite good, it's small and attached to the main rack, but it has good sensitivity and wide enough to accommodate double pedals. You also get good control over your sound on the chokeable cymbals and hi-hat. I'm not a fan of the hi-hat pedal, it would've been nice if it used a mechanical hi-hat stand.

Configuration wise it might be similar to the offerings of Donner, I wouldn't be surprised if Donner patterned it off this and other Roland e-sets, but the quality and robustness of this kit more than makes up for the price bump.

The main downer for this kit is the limited features found in its module. It only has 15 kits, and there's not a lot of customization available. It doesn't have a 1/4" or XLR output, the only audio output is a 1/8" out for headphones, and even that requires a dedicated headphone amp to work properly. It's like you're getting professional quality heads and cymbals, paired with a basic practice module. Thankfully, the included 15 kits sound professional and authentic, which at the end of the day, is the most important factor. The module can be swapped to a stage ready one, but they are priced much higher.

Given that this is from Roland, it's a given that this kit can last you for years. So if the brand means anything to you, it might be worth it to jump up to the TD-1DMK. This is a good albeit pricier option for beginners, if you want to explore other options at this price range, do check out our guide to The Best Electronic Drum Sets.

Roland TD-1DMK set up on stage
Roland TD-1DMK set up on stage


  • 1 x 8" Dual-zone Snare Pad With 2-ply Mesh Head
  • 3 x 6" Single-zone Tom Pad With 2-ply Mesh Head
  • 1 x Kick Pad Compatible With Double Kick Pedal (Kick Pedal Not Included)
  • 3 x 10" Dual-zone Cymbal Pads With Choke(Plus Hi-hat Control Pedal)
  • Four-post type rack stand, MDS
  • TD-1 Drum Module With 10 Trigger Inputs, 15 Drum Kits, 15 Songs
  • Coach, Metronome and Recording Functions
  • 1/8" Stereo Input
  • 1/8" Stereo Output

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
MusicRadar Tom Bradley 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.


Electronic Drum Set Still Not Quiet Enough?

The rubber drum pads found on electronic drum sets are much quieter than acoustic drums, mesh pads even more so, but sometimes the sound transmitted through the floor from the pedals and rack can still be troublesome.

To prevent as much noise as possible being transmitted to the floor it's best to have a mini drum riser with some isolation padding between your drums and the floor. This is often done by sandwiching tennis balls between two sheets of plywood or MDF.

Here's a video showing a basic home-made sound isolation drum riser that didn't require tools other than a drill:

Here's a more complicated option, but more stable:

Things To Consider When Buying An Entry-Level Electronic Drum Set

Complete List of Gear You Need to Start Drumming

Most electronic kits don't include a few of the essentials you need so make sure to leave room in your budget for any of the following items that you don't already have:
  1. Drum Sticks These come in different weights with 5A being the most popular - check out our Drum Stick Guide.
  2. Drum Throne This is what a drummer's stool is called - they are much better than regular chairs and you can find the highest rated ones in our Drum Throne Guide.
  3. Headphones or Amplifier Most electronic drum kits don't provide sound on their own, instead you have to plug your drum's brain or sound module into headphones or an amplifier. To practice quietly (and not annoy the neighbors) get yourself a set of closed-back headphones - I personally use the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. If you're going to play with other musicians or just want to enjoy the sound of your drums in the room, you'll need an amplifier. There are a range of different amps that are good for drums - see our guide to Drum Amps and for further information read Things To Consider When Buying An Amplifier For Electronic Drums.


If you want to use it as a MIDI controller or to record drums directly on your computer then you'll need one that sends out MIDI, which in this price range will usually be MIDI over USB. All of the kits on this list have this feature. This is the best way to break free from the built in sounds of your e-drum kit and start getting into the world of music production.


Drum pads with multiple zones are ones which you can hit in different areas to trigger different sounds. Zones are usually concentric circles. For example a snare pad with multiple zones allows you to play regular snare sounds as well as selecting a rim-shot sound for the outer circle. The more zones you can get the wider the sound pallet is that you can work with in a single preset or custom kit saved in your sound module.

Choking Cymbals

Some electronic kits come with cymbals you can choke - this means that after you strike them you can grab them with your hand and the cymbal sound will immediately stop just like with an acoustic kit. Some of the cheaper models don't have this option so read the details carefully if this is something you want.

Kick Tower or Kick Button Pedal

Some electronic drum sets come with a kick drum pedal that is triggered by a button on the bottom of the pedal and some that act more like a conventional kick drum pedal with a tower trigger that is struck with a beater. There are some pros and cons to each variation like the conventional kind (kick tower) is closer to the feel of acoustic drums but can produce a louder sound than the kick button type, so be sure to consider this when making your selection.

Beginner Electronic Drum Set Selection Methodology

The first Edition was published in 2016 and the current Edition was published on April 21, 2022.

We looked at all electronic drum sets currently selling at major American online music gear retailers for less than $500 and placed the 20 most promising on our short-list for closer analysis - see the list in the Music Gear Database. We then looked at ratings, reviews, videos and forum discussions about them, which tallied to over 15,700 sources from regular users and experts, including the most recent data up to late mid April of 2022. All these data were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 you see above. Finally we selected the highest rated options to recommend above. For more information about our unique methods please read How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

I'm a drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. I also studied music for 6 years majoring in percussion and jazz studies with a minor in classical piano.

The drumming gear I use includes Zildjian Cymbals, Gretsch Drums (acoustic), Yamaha electronic drum set, Evans Heads, Pearl Hardware and Vic Firth Sticks and Earplugs.


Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the Yamaha DTX402K and Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

Except for the Yamaha DTXpress which was photographed by Alden Acosta and the Roland TD-1DMK set up on stage which was photographed by Alexander Briones, the individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.


I appreciate your in-depth

I appreciate your in-depth reviews! What are your thoughts on the Alesis E-Drum Total for a beginner/child (age 7)?

thank you for your insightful

thank you for your insightful post! I was wondering if there was any specific reason you hadn't mentioned Drum from OWOW?
It does seem like an interesting concept, what are your thoughts?

Although it looks like it

Although it looks like it might be fun to play with, it's a MIDI controller for playing 'air drums' which doesn't meet the definition of an electronic drum set so it's not eligible to be considered for this guide.

Any good for a kid learning?

Any good for a kid learning? Table-top Electronic Drum Foldable Rubber-coated Water-resistant Pedals Sticks for $110.10.

Table top electronic drum

Table top electronic drum pads can be a lot of fun to play with but they don't do much to help in terms of learning how to play a drum kit. In particular they don't teach you how to use your feet on the hi-hats or kick drum.

If the kid is receiving instruction then they can use a table top set to practice basic stick control with actual drum sounds which you don't get with practice pads.

The bottom line is that they're more fun than practice pads but you can't learn important drum kit techniques using them.

Great that answers addresses

Great that answers addresses my concerns. My son will be starting drum lessons of sorts next year at school. I believe it's many different forms of percussion i.e. bongos etc and it's only for one term unless he really takes to it and I'll look at investing further. The table top will as you say will assist him with grasping the basics and I'm hoping they take head phone so that he can play as much as he wants without driving me nuts. My daughter want to play piano so I'll grab her a keyboard. She's 5 so between the two of them it'll be full noise. Which I am 100% behind and I play guitar and a bit of drums but there are limits.. haha! Thanks a lot.

Thanx for the guide. I really

Thanx for the guide. I really like the Roland TD-1K, the chokable cymbals, the sound ... Finally I went for the Yamaha, since I am a beginner and the fact that you have to pay almost 200$ for a kickpad in the Roland. The technique of the kick is missing otherwise. The Yamaha has surprised me in its integration with iphone. You can create your own kits, the training mode is amazing, can import midi songs as backingtracks. What I like most is to control garageband's drum kits and recordit. No computer, no usb interface, just the camera kit adaptor!

HI Guys,

HI Guys,
appreciate to know from you guys as i am a beginner also from United Arab Emirates, may know which low priced edrums to buy. Here it is expensive to buy such things. can anybody help me getting a new one or second hand one for $200 and can ship to my address....Thank you email id -

Hi, is the roland kits

Hi, is the roland kits upgradeable?
would like to have a multiple zone snare & toms pads on it as space is pretty much an issue in my apartment..

Roland have a more advanced

Roland have a more advanced version for $100 more that has the features you want with multiple trigger snare and toms - check out the Roland TD-1KV.

Hi, was wondering, what is

Hi, was wondering, what is the best value for absolute beginners but I'm thinking to use it for long term also, so maybe not the very basic ones (im thinking Forge kit, if I can find a good deal or even 2nd hand).

Another thing, I live in a flat in Spain, and the wall is kinda thin, so I'd like to know how loud is the edrum?

Last, (nippun already ask this but i just wanted to confirm), to start playing the edrum, I just need to buy the stick & the stool?

Thanks a lot

The Alesis Forge Kit does

The Alesis Forge Kit does sound like the right choice for you - although they might be difficult to find second hand - plenty of people are selling old Alesis DM kits but I haven't seen many Forge Kits second hand yet.

The rubber heads on the snare and tom pads of the Forge basically have the volume equivalent to hitting a thick piece of rubber with a drum stick - so not very loud.

The only extras you'll need, other than the obvious drum sticks, are a set of headphones so you can hear your drums and backing tracks without annoying your neighbors, and a drum throne to sit on.

Thanks for your reply

Thanks for your reply

Now, I'm more determined to buy and finally learn to play drums :)

Noisewise, at least now I know I cant play the drums at night, but lets see how noisy it is when I've bought it!

Btw, 1 question, in terms of quality, which 1 better, Medeli or Fame, as I saw plenty of 2nd hand with good price in Europe.

And I'm sure wont need amplifier & I have studio headphones already.

We haven't analyzed either

We haven't analyzed either Medeli or Fame electronic drum kits yet, not because we know of anything wrong with them, but because they haven't had widespread availability in the USA when we've been doing detailed research on electronic drums.

The European focused website audiofanzine does have some user reviews:
- Medeli
- Fame

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the links.

Thanks for the links.
I like what I see with fame, and with €350 I can get brand new DD5500 pro (I think mid level), now im just browsing for good deals, or 2nd hand, and reviews on youtube.

Hey I was wondering if having

Hey I was wondering if having multiple zones on drum pads makes it more difficult to learn.

Personally, I don't think so.

I personally don't think so - at least not by much.

The small amount of additional accuracy required when hitting the pads is relatively minor compared to learning to get your right arm and leg to work independently in order to play mildly syncopated hi-hat and kick patterns - at least that was my experience.

For someone who's just beginning to learn drums, I don't think it matters too much if they get a single zone snare meaning they won't be able to play rim shots - the same goes for single trigger cymbals that don't allow you to strike the bell.

If you start with a basic kit now and your proficiency later increases to the point where you want to use more advanced techniques, then you can always either upgrade your pads/triggers or move up to more advanced kits like these.

Hey, am buying a new kit as

Hey, am buying a new kit as beginner..i would like your professional opinion on Alesis Forge Kit as it is also priced $500 same as the Roland TD1K.

I noticed that the Alesis Forge kit is overall bigger sized compared to the Roland which in my personal opinion look like a toy..would the size of the electronic drum kit affect my ability to learn acoustic drum in the future?

Thanks in advance!

You will always have slight

You will always have slight adjustments changing between kits including changing between acoustic kits.

The size of the kit won't have much effect on learning acoustic drums later - the main thing is that your electronic kit has 5-pieces + hi-hats and at least 1 cymbal - 2 cymbals are better.

The Alesis Forge kit is fairly well rated - you can see its Gearank score here.

I am buying my first electric

I am buying my first electric drum kit and I wanted to know that along the drum kit is anything else required for example an amplifier.
Please answer.

Good question Nippun.

Good question Nippun.

If your drum set doesn't include one, you'll need a Drum Throne (Amazon affiliate link) to sit on while playing.

To hear your drums you'll either need a set of Headphones or an Amplifier. The main options chosen by electronic drummers are Drum Amps, Keyboard Amps or a Powered PA Speaker. If you're not sure which would be best for you then read Things To Consider When Buying An Amplifier For Electronic Drums.

Lastly, it's always a good idea to have a couple of spare sets of Drum Sticks (Amazon affiliate link) sitting around just in case.



What about the Millenium budget kits sold by Thomann? They have a $300 one (MPS-150) that reviewers constantly praise on their website.

Then there is the MPS-425 on the same price range as the Roland TD-1K but with a mesh snare and also excellent reviews.

I would love to know how good these Millenium ones really are as I want to get a budget kit to learn drums that I won't outgrow anytime soon, but I don't want to risk spending $500 if I can spend $300 because I don't know how good I am going to be.


We are currently focused on

We are currently focused on music gear that is sold by the major American retailers so we don't have any data on Millenium kits at the moment.

The behringrer XD80usb

The behringrer XD80usb cymbals do choke. It takes a specific touch, but they do.

Great guide!