The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Beginner Drum Kit under 500 + Reviews
If you want the best beginner drum kit under 500, but you’re too busy to run extensive research on the topic, we have here the information you seek. Our research team identified the Gammon 5-Piece Junior Starter as the one to be really worth the money. Everything you need to start practicing, from cymbals to the stool, is included in this kit. The drum shells are made from real wood, which is a pleasant surprise, seeing the total price of the product. The high gloss finish makes the drums look cool. If you cannot find the Gammon 5-Piece Junior Starter anymore, we also recommend the Gammon Percussion Full Size.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Searching for a good drum kit under 500 can be challenging, given that high-performance models usually demand a premium price. You can take advantage of the following list we provide below to get started on the path of finding the perfect drum kit.
Gammon 5-Piece Junior Starter
The good news is that you won’t even have to buy a drum stick to have your setup complete when you opt for this one. The only thing that remains for you to do is to start practicing so you can get better. Besides the cymbals, the drums, the sticks, and other components that make a drum kit, you will also get a stool.
You might not expect to get so much for the price, but this company goes the extra mile to please their customers. You will only need to care about putting together the kit, and seeing that all the hardware needed is also supplied with your purchase, you will find the entire process easy.
The chrome rims make the drums look cool. Any young drummer will appreciate this kit as a gift, and there is no wonder that this is one of the best sellers for the manufacturer.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Gammon Percussion Full Size
You even get a stool, so you will not have to wish for anything. Now you can start practicing like a professional, the moment the kit is delivered to your home. The five drums are included, and so are the cymbals, the pedals, the stands, and the sticks. The hardware needed for assembling the kit properly is also provided.
The real wood drums are one of the highlights of this kit. You might not think that a kit of this quality can come at such a decent price, but the company making this one wants to change your mind.
The glossy black finish makes the drums look as professional as possible, so you will not only have a product that acts the part but one that looks the part, as well. The chain driven pedals are convenient, and overall, your possibilities to train like a pro are increased.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($259.95)
GP Percussion GP50BL (B000PH1Y7G)
The total weight of this kit is 34 pounds, and it has the size of a professional kit, so you will not feel like you are getting something less just because you pay an affordable price. You will get a 10-inch cymbal and the hi-hat, as well as a bass drum pedal so that you can keep the tempo. The needed drum sticks and drum key are included, as well.
Some assembly is required but fret not. The manufacturer offers all the instructions needed, and you will not have to work hard to put the entire kit together.
It is highly advised to get a kit that contains all the needed components, even if you need to practice as a beginner. This way, you will know, right from the start, that you will not have to spend extra to have the right setup. That is why the GP Percussion GP50BL is a recommended buy.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($178.07)
Mendini by Cecilio MDS80-BL
First of all, it must be mentioned that the shells are made from laminated poplar, and they look very nice. The hoops and lugs are black coated for a more elegant appearance. All in all, you will like looking at and utilizing this kit.
Next, it must be said that all the necessary components are included in this set. You will get a bass drum, two tom-toms, a snare drum, a floor tom, hi-hat and crash cymbals. No matter what musical arrangements you want to organize, you will be able to obtain excellent results.
You might even want to invite over some friends and create a band, although someone playing the banjo might not integrate that well with the rest of the instruments. The drum throne you will get is padded and comfortable, and you can adjust its height as you see fit. Setting up the kit is easy, per the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($249.99)
Mendini by Cecilio MJDS-1-BL
This model is created for the youngest drummer category; boys and girls aged 3 to 8 years old can learn how to play drums using this kit. Even if it is designed to cater to young drummers, this kit doesn’t miss anything important. It has a bass drum, a mounted tom, and a snare drum, as well as a cymbal, along with its arm.
The drum throne is padded, and your little drummer can adjust its height to reach the components well. The necessary bass drum pedal is included, and a nice pair of wooden sticks is available, too.
The kit comes with a complete set of instructions, so you will encounter no troubles when you want to set it up. Your kids will surely love it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109.99)
Alesis CompactKit 7
Equipped with seven velocity-sensitive pads, as well as two pedals, this electronic model will help you produce realistic sounds just like an acoustic kit. One of the biggest advantages of this type of model is that it comes with presets so that you can create a musical arrangement with great ease.
There are no fewer than 100 songs included, and you can play along with them, having a fun experience while you are learning how to use it. You will be able to record your performance, as it has such a feature included, and the built-in metronome will help you keep the pace.
The drum kit works with 6C batteries. Be aware that the manufacturer doesn’t include them, so you will have to purchase them separately. This model is highly portable and convenient.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($169)
Rise by Sawtooth Full Size
Considered a student’s set, this one includes a bass drum, two tom-toms, one floor tom, and a snare drum. As you can see, you have all the needed components for your setup. The poplar shells contribute to the overall appeal of this drum kit, as well. All the hardware needed is included, as well, such as a hi-hat stand, a stand for two cymbals, a bass drum pedal, and drum sticks.
You will also get a drum throne so you can sit comfortably while you practice. While it is designed for beginners, the manufacturer wants to point out that it should not be considered a toy. The sound produced is soft and warm, and you will love it.
This happens due to the poplar wood used for the shells. The even tone produced by these shells offers you consistency while practicing, which is required for solid results.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($260.83)
Yearly Guide & Report
If you are interested in getting the best drum kit under 500 right from the get-go, you will also be interested in a bit of advice that can help you purchase a model that comes equipped with all the needed components, and does not make you break the bank for it. Here are our findings and recommendations.
Check the kit for all the essential components
They are called drum kits for a reason, and that is that they need to include as many necessary elements for a complete setup as possible. Of course, seeing that we are talking here about affordable drum kits, you may not get all the components you would expect to see in a full-size professional setup.
That being said, you can still get some of the components that make a professional setup, so that you can practice with ease. The five drums should be mandatory unless you need a kit for a very young drummer. There are four and three-piece kits on the market that can satisfy your needs as a beginner, but, given a choice, we advise you to go for a five-piece model.
Next on your list should be a hi-hat stand. Two cymbals are the minimum required for optimal performance as a beginner, but, if you can get more, that is always a good idea. Two tom-toms are not a bad idea to have, either, and, as you can see, you are slowly making up your ideal kit.
We will talk more about accessories, later, as well as the assembly of such a kit. You will see that there are many models offered on the market, and it is not that difficult to find one that is right up your alley.
The shell material and why it is important
You will notice that many manufacturers mention the material the shells are made of. Just like a cello or a violin, the drum shells are usually made from wood, and the quality of the material used can greatly influence your performance. Do not expect cheap models to have their shells made from expensive woods like mahogany.
A decent choice for the best electronic drum kit under 500 is poplar. This wood is lightweight, and it also has the property of delivering consistent sounds, which is exactly what a beginner needs most and foremost. The even tone supplied by poplar is also warm and soft, so it is ideal for many music genres.
Those who are professionals and want to get a top-notch drum kit are expected to pay more, and the quality of the material used for the shells can be a clear indication why some of the models you can find on the market are more expensive than the rest. For instance, maple is capable of delivering a sound that is warm and bright, something appreciated by jazz performers.
Birch is the choice of recording engineers, due to the darker, more ample sounds it can produce. Harder woods like mahogany, are capable of offering high-quality performance, but, as already mentioned earlier, it is unlikely to find shells made of such woods in an affordable model.
Make sure to get a kit with a comfortable drum throne
You will notice that most of the models available on the market come with a drum throne included. This may not sound like an essential aspect of your performance, for the simple reason that you don’t use it to play. However, you must bear in mind that a drum kit is not the same thing as a digital piano.
You cannot grab just any chair and use it to play the drums. One of the rules of thumb is to get a drum throne that is comfortable. That means that the throne should be padded and offer you the possibility to spend a long time on it, without experiencing any discomfort. A round model is usually preferred by drummers.
Another thing your drum throne should have is adjustability. Seeing that you might purchase a drum kit for a young drummer or a beginner, nothing could impact their ability to play more than the inability to properly reach this or that component.
There are kits on the market that are offered for drummers as young as three years old, so you can easily see why an adjustable stool is exactly what they need. The good part is that a drum kit doesn’t require music stands that are specialized for it.
Hardware, accessories, and assembly
There are a few hardware components that your drum kit should have. For instance, stands for cymbals are a must, and so are a drum pedal and a pair of drum sticks. Of course, the more complex and professional the drum kit must be, the more hardware components you will need. For instance, you will need cymbal arms, if you need more than a hi-hat stand.
You may want to purchase a drum kit that is made by a manufacturer that specializes in drums and drum accessories, but you may even find trumpet brands that create all sorts of musical instruments, drums included.
You might need to contact customer support if something doesn’t work as intended, and it is good to know if the person on the other end knows what you’re talking about, and they’re not just a jack of all trades.
Assembling a drum kit is easier than replacing mandolin strings, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t need instructions at all. It is highly advisable to purchase a drum kit that comes with a clear set of guidelines regarding its assembly.
This way, you will know that you will be able to start practicing right away, instead of wasting precious time calling customer support. Usually, assembling a drum kit does not require any tools, but it serves to know which component goes where so that you don’t end up scratching your head and wondering why your setup doesn’t work.
Frequently asked questions about affordable drum sets
How much does a cheap drum set cost?
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent drum kit, but it always helps to shop around for a bit until you can have a clear idea of what manufacturers offer. It can be said that cheap models can vary from 300 to 500 dollars, and you will find many drum kits in this category.
To know that you are getting a good deal for your money, you must compare different kits while considering other aspects, too. Is the drum kit recommended just for beginners? What components are included? What brand is making the respective model?
What’s the difference between electronic and acoustic drums?
If you shop around a little, you will notice that there are both electronic and acoustic drum kits available. Naturally, you will wonder what the difference between them is. Electronic models are convenient because they are portable and they don’t take up a lot of space.
However, they need to use various electronic components to imitate the natural sound of an acoustic drum kit. The latter is highly recommended if you intend to practice and become a professional. Acoustic drums sound as they should sound, and they are the real deal. An electronic model, however, can introduce you to the beautiful art of playing this instrument.
How hard is it to learn how to play the drums?
The drums are not the most difficult musical instrument out there. It takes little time to understand how to produce a basic beat, and that makes many people wrongfully think that playing drums is easy. However, while the initial learning curve is easy, mastering the drums is a steep road.
Teachers recommend starting easy and taking it slow. Do not hurry to try to master some elaborate techniques as that may only make you frustrated and want to give up. Instead, focus on learning one thing at a time.
Are cheap drum sticks any good?
High-end drum sticks will not make you a better drummer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should settle for the cheapest you can find. There can be issues with really cheap models, so you must pay attention to a few things.
For instance, your sticks should be straight, without any unsightly curvatures. This will help you hit the drums and cymbals the right way. Also, even if you go for cheap sticks, make sure that they are decently balanced. Unfortunately, getting used to bad quality sticks can askew your skill, too, and this is not something you want.
What other things do you need for a comfortable drumming experience?
Regardless of whether you have just taken drumming, or you are already a bit of an advanced drummer, you cannot deny the importance of comfort while spending hours after hours hitting the drums with your sticks.
To start with what might be the most obvious, don’t hesitate to spend a bit on a pair of drumsticks that can help you practice in perfect comfort. Remember that you will have those sticks in your hands for hours, and if they are uncomfortable, that will show.
Did you know that your drum sticks can affect the sound you will produce when you are hitting the drums? Spend a bit of time to learn a bit about every type of drum sticks out there, so you can decide on one that is what you seek, both sound wise, and comfort wise.
Unbalanced drum sticks will make you feel fatigued after a while, not to mention frustrated that you cannot hit the drums well. That is why our ultimate advice is to invest a bit of time in searching a high-quality pair of drumsticks.
You need to have a comfortable position while playing. This means two things. One is that you need to be able to reach any component of your drum kit. If the components are too far apart, after a while, you will feel strained, and you will have to cut your training session short.
The other thing that must be mentioned is that your drum kit should not be positioned in such a manner that you will feel cramped. You will end up holding your hands in awkward positions and that, in turn, will have an unpleasant impact on your overall performance.
That being said, bear in mind that you can practice for hours, but, for this, you will need maximum comfort. A good quality drum throne is essential for your overall comfort. Some drummers go as far as to say that it is not worthy to get a drum kit that does not come with a comfortable drum throne, no matter how appealing it may look to you.
The drum throne should have good padding and allow you to turn left and right, as the need arises. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a model whose height can be adjusted. If you purchase a drum kit for a young drummer, one that has an adjustable stool is a great choice, because it will allow the drum kit to grow with your kid.
Another thing that you should not neglect is the necessity of purchasing a good pair of headphones. The amount of noise you can create with your drums is quite big, and that means that you should be able to protect your ears. Covering them with headphones is the easiest way to do that.
Your headphones do not have to block the sound entirely, as you still need to be able to hear the music you create. So they should have some form of noise regulating feature included in their construction.
Final buying tips
As a beginner, there are quite a few things that you should bear in mind when you go shopping for a drum kit. We organized them below, so you can quickly learn what it takes to find that drum kit that is worth the money.
Designer labels are worth checking out
While you might expect affordable drum kits to be made by so-called no-name companies, the truth is that reputable manufacturers of musical instruments often create low-entry or starter kits that cost less than the other models they sell. That being said, it would not be a terrible idea to check out what these manufacturers have on sale.
Do not expect quality out of this world, but don’t compromise too much either
Another buying tip that can help you get your hands on the budget drum kit of your dreams is to balance quality and price. Accept that even those made by designer labels will have components made in China or Taiwan, as that is a means for the company to cut some costs.
At the same time, if a drum kit feels like it is too cheaply made, do not throw money out the window, and continue to shop around. A cheap kit is not worth the money, no matter how affordable, if, in the end, you will use it only for a short time.
Shell quality matters
It is understandable that manufacturers will not use the most expensive woods to make the shells for their budget oriented drum kits. However, this doesn’t mean that you should settle for just anything. Shell quality is important, and the shells must be made of wood.
Poplar is an inexpensive choice, and it is capable of producing a consistent, pleasant sound. Also, make sure that the shells are glued into the rims, and not just held together by tape. This way, you will know you will not throw your money out the window.
Opt for drum kits with included hardware
Instead of purchasing the necessary hardware separately, go for a kit that comes with it. A hi-hat stand, a stool, and a bass drum pedal, for instance, are necessities, not extras. If your kit doesn’t include them, you will have to buy them, and that may lead to unexpected expenses.
Another thing that should be included with your purchase is a stool or a drum throne, as it is also called. Experienced drummers insist on the necessity of a comfortable stool for the simple reason that you will be able to practice for longer hours if you don’t feel the need to get up every hour or so.
The overall appearance matters, too
Even if you are just a beginner, you want a drum kit that looks cool. That means that it doesn’t hurt to have a model with a nice finish for the drums. While this may be just an aesthetic consideration, it can be a sign of the effort put into creating the kit by the manufacturer.