Drumming is one of the oldest instruments known to humankind. We have excavated drums thousands of years old from archaeological sites, representing the instrument in some form in virtually every civilization throughout history. Then, it’s no surprise that people of all ages have an innate urge to make music with their hands. Even babies – give them a wooden spoon and a pot and watch them go!
There are many ways in which children can benefit from exploring the world of drumming. Not only can they develop musical ability, but there are also gross and fine motor development benefits. If you’ve got a toddler or young child at home who shows a strong interest in drumming and you’re interested in upgrading them from the cooking pot kit, you’ve come to the right place.
How Do Acoustic Drums and Electric Drums Work?
Acoustic drums are one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Hit it with your hand, and it makes a noise. But what exactly is happening? When you hit the drum with a drumstick or your hand, the drum head vibrates, creating the sound. You can change the sound slightly by changing the frequency at which the drum head vibrates, the tension of the drum head, the material it is made of, or what it is struck with. Straightforward enough!
Electronic drums, on the other hand, are a different story. An electronic drum kit has two main parts: ‘triggers’ and the ‘brain’. The trigger pads are the bit of the drum kit that you play. Most electronic drum kits will have trigger pads roughly the same configuration as an acoustic drum kit, with bass, snare, tom drums, and a cymbal or two. The pads are covered with rubber or mesh. When they are hit with a drumstick, they transmit a signal to the ‘brain’.
The brain is the module that is responsible for sound production. Think of it as a synthesizer were all drum sounds come from when the transducer modules are struck. Most electronic drum sets will come with a few different preset kits – whether you’re playing along with a jazz song or a rock track, you can choose the kit sounds that would suit the song best.
How Can a Drum Set Contribute to a Child’s Development?
There is a surprisingly wide range of benefits drumming can contribute to child development! First, the obvious: musical skills and a sense of rhythm. They learn to multi-task and coordinate their hands with their feet, fine-tuning their fine and gross motor skills.
Doing one thing with your feet and another with your hands is something even adults can struggle with! They also learn to focus when learning a new skill and work together with others if they play in a band.
Playing the drums is beneficial for the brain, as well. Making music is typically associated with the right side of the brain, the creative side. But drumming also stimulates the left side of the brain, which is associated with math, logic, and learning sequences.
Learning How to Play
Are lessons needed? The answer is – it depends. The biggest factor is age. Although there are exceptions, music teachers often suggest that students wait until age 6 or 7. Before then, children lack the focus needed during the lessons and the internal drive to practice regularly. If you’re unsure about paying for classes, you can always try YouTube and see how it goes.
There are some beneficial channels out there offering lessons showing basic techniques. However, with online classes, there’s no opportunity to have feedback from another person who knows what they’re doing, which is invaluable when learning.
If you have a child over the age of 7 who is serious about learning how to play the drums, lessons can be important – and your ears might appreciate listening to an actual song instead of random crashing, too!
Parents might want to consider the song’s content when finding songs for kids to learn to play along with. A few pieces that are great for beginners to learn and don’t have explicit lyrics are Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Happy by Pharrell Williams, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, and Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.
A Word On Safety
When buying an acoustic drum set, there are always people offering sound warnings – for the parents. But the drummer’s ears are at risk, too. Sound levels have been measured at between 100 decibels and 120 decibels at the drummer’s ears.
The regular conversation typically clocks in at 60 decibels; repeated exposure to noise levels over 90 decibels can cause hearing loss over time. Children are susceptible to this. It’s recommended to get some noise-canceling headphones to help protect your child’s sensitive ears from prolonged exposure to loud noises.
Our Selection of the 10 Best Drum Sets for Kids
The list below is an updated list of our drum sets for kids. With it being an updated list, we had the advantage of using our database to see which products were our reader’s favorite. We believe in providing the highest quality of products to our readers. To do this, we used the numbers provided by Amazon – the rating, the number of reviews, and the overall feel we received from the reviews. This helps us determine the opinions of people who have used the product themselves.
5 – 10 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
4 Drum Pads, 3 Cymbals
23.6″ x 35.4″ x 37.4″
Consider an electronic drum set like the Alesis Debut Kit Drum Set for kids for small spaces, apartment living, or if you don’t want to hear drumming at all hours of the day! With an electronic drum kit, you can access ten different kits, 120 different sounds, and 30 tracks your child can play along to.
It comes with four six-inch drum heads, three ten-inch cymbals, a metal rack to mount all of them on, a padded and adjustable drum throne, headphones, drumsticks, and all the relevant cables you will need. Even better for small spaces, this drum set can fold for storage!
Another cool feature of the Alesis Debut Kit is that it comes with access to free lessons! Hook up to your computer or tablet and access 60 free drum lessons. The classes are a quick 5 minutes per day, so your child can have a short lesson and then get to work practicing what they’ve just learned!
With the included headphones, your young drummer’s music can stay quiet or use the output cables to hook up to a drum amplifier, purchased separately, and show off their skills.
3 – 8 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
3 Drums, 1 Cymbal
18.5″ x 17.5″ x 12″
Are you looking for a compact toddler drum set that will give you a big bang and crash for your buck? The Best Choice Products Kids Beginner Drum Set is a well-made, sturdy set that can take a good beating from kids and produce a great sound. The drums have shaped and sealed wood shells that give a dynamic tone, and all of the hardware you’ll need comes included.
You get three drums – a bass drum that measures 10.5 inches in diameter and two toms that measure 8.5 inches and 10.5 inches in diameter, respectively – and an 8-inch crash cymbal for lots of noisy fun. Other accessories include a bass pedal, two drum sticks, and a cushioned stool that sits 12 inches high. The drums have a high gloss finish and are available in shiny blue, black, or red.
Because of the small size, this kids’ drum set is best suited for young children who love to make noise and are being introduced to the world of drumming. Rest assured, this isn’t a toy, though – the sound quality is excellent for a reasonable price. It’s the perfect introduction to drumming for kids aged 3 to 8.
3 – 8 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
3 Drums, 1 Cymbal
16″ x 15.5″ x 15.25″
The Mendini by Cecilio 13-inch 3-piece Drum Set for kids and toddlers has a lot going for it. It has a small footprint, so it won’t take up tons of room in your house and could even fit in a smaller space like a child’s bedroom. The quality is excellent for the price you pay.
The drum shells are hardwood, and triple-flanged hoops and drum heads are replaceable if worn from too much use. It has a very durable set with great sound quality, and it looks good too! It’s available in five sparkly colors – black, royal blue, light blue, green, and red.
You can see it as adult quality scaled down in size for kids, and this drum set includes an 8” x 13” bass drum with two drums mounted on it. The snare drum measures 4” x 10”, the tom drum measures 6” x 8”, and an 8-inch crash cymbal.
The Mendini by Cecilio drum set for kids comes with all the hardware you’ll need, including an adjustable padded drum throne and a set of wooden kits drum sticks. Between its compact size, excellent quality, and price, this set will be a great introduction drum set for kids.
3 – 8 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
3 Drums, 1 Cymbal
25.59″ x 29.5″ x 25.59″
Another affordable drum set for toddlers and young kids, the Music Alley 3-Piece Kids Drum Set, is ideal for young beginners between the ages of 3 and 8. It has three drums, including a 14-inch bass drum, 8-inch snare drum, and 8-inch tom.
There’s also a 10-inch cymbal for lots of noisy fun! For everything your little aspiring rock star will need to get started, this toddler drum kit also comes with a bass pedal, adjustable padded drum throne, and a set of child-sized drumsticks.
The Music Alley 3-Piece Kids Drum Set comes in three great colors – red, blue, and metallic black- with stylish black drum heads. The drums have wooden shells, like an adult drum set, metal hardware, and tuneable skins. This set also includes a drum key to help you tune your drums. If you’ve got a little one who wants to rock out, this set could be just what you’re looking for.
4 – 10 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
3 Drums, 2 Cymbal
20.2″ x 21.2″ x 21.2″
The Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit for Kids is maybe the slickest looking drum set on our list. It comes in three stylish colors, black sparkle, white sparkle, and deep red wine. The manufacturer suggests an age range of 4-10 years old. Still, this set is such high quality that many adult drum enthusiasts have reported happily playing it themselves, including videos of Questlove himself playing!
It is made for children – the bass drum measures 16 inches, the floor tom 13 inches, and the snare drum 12 inches – but the drums are made of high-quality birch, and the sound quality is excellent. This drum set is priced higher than others on our list, but a corresponding increase in quality makes this set attractive to drummers outside of the suggested age range, too.
This set also comes with a 12-inch hi-hat cymbal, a 14-inch crash cymbal, foot pedal, drum sticks, drum throne, and a drum key for tuning. There’s also access to an easy online six-part lesson plan with Questlove to give your child something to practice. This set is much heavier than many others on our list, checking in at 62 lbs. It doesn’t need to be a big deal if you don’t plan to move it around much.
5 – 12 Years
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
5 Drums, 2 Cymbal
48″ x 36″
If you want a complete five-piece drum kit for your aspiring young drummer, look at the Ashthorpe 5-Piece Drum Set For Kids. You get everything you would have on a bigger, more expensive intermediate drum set, just scaled down in size for kids.
You get a bass drum (16” x 11”), a floor tom (12” x 10”), a snare (10” x 5”), two mounted toms (10” x 6” and 8” x 6”), an 8” hi-hat cymbal, and a 10” crash cymbal. They made the drums of poplar hardwood shells, and the cymbals are made of brass, resulting in a rich, dynamic sound.
It’s great to look at, too, with a shiny finish available in five fantastic colors to suit any child’s taste (red, blue, green, purple, and silver). It has all the required hardware, two pedals for the bass drum and hi-hat cymbal, a padded drum throne with adjustable height, two drumsticks, and a drum adjustment key. Assembly is required, but Ashthorpe includes detailed instructions to make it easy. Priced at under $200, this complete drum set for kids is a great deal.
Type of Set:
Number of Pieces:
1 Piece Drum Pad
12″ x 17″
The final product on our list, QoQoba Electronic Drum Set For Kids, is slightly different from the others we’ve looked at. This isn’t a full-sized drum set but a portable silicone pad that you can roll up for easy transportation and storage. Whether you’ve got a young drummer who likes to have something to do with their hands on the go, or if space constraints limit you, this portable drum pad could be the perfect solution.
The foldable pad comes with seven drum pads, representing one snare, three toms, one crash cymbal, one ride cymbal, and one hi-hat cymbal, plus one bass pedal. It’s got eight demo songs and five different tone settings – pop, rock, Latin, electro, and percussion – to give you various sounds. You can plug a phone into the drum set and use it to play your favorite songs or into your computer for recording music.
The QoQoba Electronic Drum Set comes with built-in speakers and headphones, so you can decide whether or not you want to share your child’s drumming with the whole neighborhood. This set is powered by a rechargeable battery that provides up to 10 hours of playtime for every charge. Despite its small size, this little drum set can get a lot done!
What Makes a Drum Set Suitable for a Beginner?
There are a few things to look for differentiate a beginner’s drum set from an intermediate or professional kit. First, you’ll probably notice that the price is much lower. That’s because of a difference in the quality of the materials used.
Beginner sets will use a cheaper wood, such as poplar or basswood instead of maple or birch, and less expensive hardware. That’s ok because your child isn’t using the drums with the same frequency or intensity as Meg White or John Bonham.
You’ll also notice a difference in size – not just the size of the drums – the ones on our list are all junior-sized, suitable for kids, and the number of drums included in the set. Many beginner sets include only three drums, but intermediate kits typically have at least five drums.
Beginner sets are lower priced so that more people can be introduced to the instrument, but if your child is taken with the drums and wants to pursue it, there may be an intermediate set that can withstand harder playing in your future.
When it comes to the size of the drums, look to see if the kit is adjustable. Kids grow faster than you think they will, so if you can adjust the height of the seat, the cymbals, and the drums, you can get more years out of a junior-sized set.
Selecting the Best-Sized Drums
Here are two things to consider: your child’s current age and size and the kit’s ability to grow with your child. Measure your child’s height and the height of a chair or stool they can sit on with their feet comfortably resting on the floor. You’ll want to ensure that the seat, or throne, that comes with the set can adjust low enough so your child can operate the foot pedals for the hi-hat cymbal and bass drum.
This is especially important if you’re buying a set for a very young child. Look at the recommended age range from the manufacturer as well. Some junior sets are made for young kids – roughly 3 to 10 – while others are made for older kids and preteens – around 7 to 15 – so consider that. For example, if you’re buying for a seven-year-old who wants to learn and thinks it could become a long-term interest, it would be more economical to buy the set for bigger kids so they can grow into the set.
What Are the Different Drums Included in the Set?
Like our list, beginner drum sets for children typically come in 3- or 5-piece kits. Typically, drums included are a bass, snare, and tom (sometimes just a floor tom, others include mounted toms as well), plus cymbals – either a hi-hat cymbal or a crash cymbal, or both.
The snare drum is the most frequently played drum, and in a kit, it is usually positioned between the drummer’s legs so you can play it with both hands. Snare wires on the underside of the drum make a distinctive snare sound. The bass drum is the big one that sits upright on the floor, and it is played with a foot pedal.
It’s also called the kick drum and makes a low, thumping beat. The floor tom is the second-biggest drum supported off the floor by four legs. It has a deep sound like a bass drum. The high toms on beginner drum kits are often mounted on the bass drum and add some diversity of tone to your drum kit.
Now for the cymbals! A beginner drum kit can come with one or both of these types. The first is the hi-hat, which comprises two cymbals that crash together when operated with a foot pedal. You’ll often use them to keep up a beat and keep a band playing together at the right tempo.
The crash cymbal is probably the most fun and iconic part of the drum kit and does what the name says – provides a big crash at emphatic moments! Parents might cover their ears, but kids will love it.
What is the Best Place to Set Up Your Drums?
The best place to set up your drum kit will be different for everyone. Drum kits can take up a lot of room, particularly acoustic drums. Some electronic drum kits can fold up and put away when not in use, so if you don’t have the floor space to set a drum kit up, electronic may be the best option.
If you’re lucky enough to have a rec room or a family room, that can be an ideal space to keep the drums set up for easy access, as long as there are no younger siblings in the house who might find it irresistible to try out their brother or sister’s drums! If your child has enough space in their bedroom, that could be a great spot to keep the drums out of sight of anyone who might be tempted to have a go.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Drum Set for Kids
Electronic or Acoustic Drums
Which one should you buy? This will depend on a few variables, including the space available for storage and your neighbors’ tolerance for a bit of noise. Whichever way you decide to go, there will be pros and cons. The significant point in favor of electronic drum kits is the noise factor or lack thereof.
While it’s not silent – there can be some noise from the sticks hitting the mesh pads and a stomping sound from the bass drum. It’s much quieter than acoustic drums, making it a very attractive option for people living in apartments or an area where houses are very close.
Space is another factor, as electronic drum kits can take up roughly half the floor space of an acoustic kit. You’ve also got a bigger library of sounds to choose from, as most electronic drums allow you to program different sounds, such as bells.
This might not be a big factor for kids who are just beginning. But for older kids who want to experiment a bit more, being able to play around with different sounds already programmed into your drum kit without having to purchase individual accessories can be a big plus.
That’s not the only way electronic drum kits can lower costs. Although the initial kits are often comparable in price, with an acoustic kit, you will have to replace items such as drum skins, cymbals, and drum sticks, particularly if you have an older child or teen who plays regularly.
So if they’re louder, bigger, and more expensive to maintain, why do people buy acoustic drum kits? The answer is hard to quantify, but it mostly depends on how the drums feel.
Drummers often say that it’s hard to get nuance in their playing with electronic drum kits, and electronic drum kits just can’t match the feel and precision of an acoustic kit. It’s also, let’s face it, just more fun, especially for young kids who are as excited by the experience of banging on a drum as they are about the sound they make.
Electronic kits are great for practice and older beginners, but if you have a child who is serious about getting into drumming, or a young child who is generally just excited about making noise, consider an acoustic kit.
When a drum set says that it has all hardware included, it comes with everything – racks and stands for the drums, pedals, stools, etc. That’s an important distinction because sometimes drums are sold in “shell packs, ” meaning just the drums and nothing else.
These are more popular for advanced musicians who might want to switch a single drum in their kit for an upgraded one. This is probably not something you will have to worry about for a very long time if your child sticks with drumming, so for now, just make sure you are buying a kit that comes with everything you need.
Number of Pieces
This will vary by the drum set. Read the description carefully because most of the time, when you see “3-piece drum set” written, it refers to the number of drums and doesn’t include any cymbals that come with the set.
Occasionally, a set might be described as a “5-piece” but include only three drums and two cymbals. Check the data points on our product reviews, where we clarify how many drums and cymbals are included with each set.
Ease of Assembly
Drum sets are usually relatively simple to set up, often taking less than half an hour. Instructions are included, and if you get stuck, check out YouTube – you can find virtually anything on there, including videos showing how to set up many different drum sets.
Shell Construction and Drum Heads
Beginner acoustic drum sets shell constructions are often made of less expensive hardwoods, such as poplar or basswood. Many of the sets on our list are made of poplar.
Drum heads are traditionally made of leather or hide, these days drumheads are most often made of materials. Mylar is currently one of the most popular.
Drum Thrones and Drumsticks
A “throne” is what we call the padded stool that comes with the drum set. It’s almost always adjustable to suit a range of sizes.
Drumsticks can come in a range of sizes. The ones that come with a junior-sized drum set will be smaller than adult-sized drumsticks. If you want to upgrade to a bigger or stronger set, drumsticks are readily available at most local music shops and are very affordable.
Junior or Full-Sized Drum Kit?
It all depends on age and whether you think their interest in drumming is a passing phase or a prolonged interest. Since junior drum sets are much more inexpensive than full-sized kits, I’d probably go with a junior-sized kit for a child under 12 until you’re sure this will be a long-lasting interest worth investing a little more money in.
One of the best things about drumming is how accessible it is to people of every age. Even babies love to bang on things and make noise! That said, for an actual drum set, a minimum level of coordination is needed to sit on the drum throne and work the foot pedal while banging away.
An enthusiastic two-year-old could probably get a lot of enjoyment over an appropriately toddler-sized drum set, but that’s probably the youngest age group I would recommend. Most of the sets on our list are appropriate for kids between 3 and 12.
Drum sets on our list are all made of high-quality wood, typically poplar. More expensive sets are usually made of more expensive wood, such as birch or maple. Traditionally made of leather or rawhide, drum heads are often made of plastics such as Mylar.
Price is affected by the size of the drum set and the materials it is made from. Beginner sets made for children are smaller and use less expensive wood such as poplar or basswood. The set price will increase accordingly when more costly materials, such as birch or maple, are used.
Do Electric Drums Have a Rechargeable Battery?
There’s no straight answer here – it depends on the drum set. One of the electronic drum sets on our list comes with a rechargeable battery, and the other does not. When looking at an electronic drum set, check the product description carefully to determine if batteries will be a regular expense.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Good Drum Set for Beginners?
Depending on the age of the beginner, check out our award winners in the drop-down menu for our picks for the best drum set for toddlers and the best drum set for kids!
Can You Learn the Drums by Yourself?
Many of the greatest drummers of all time are self-taught, but whether you can learn how to play the drums independently will depend on your musical ability. You can always try it on your own, and if you’re not making progress, look into lessons.
Should I Buy a Drum Set for Kids or an Adult Drum Set?
This will depend on your child’s age and how much money you can invest in a drum set. Sets for children are smaller and generally less expensive than adult sets. However, if your child is older than 11 or 12, at the rate kids grow, you may find a set made for kids is outgrown quickly, so buying an inexpensive full-size set may be a better option.
Should I Get an Acoustic Kids Drum Set or an Electronic Drum Set for Kids?
This will depend on both your living situation and personal preference. Buying an electronic set for families living in close quarters, such as apartments, could make the neighbors very happy.
Electronic sets are also great for kids serious about drumming and who want to experiment with different sounds. On the other hand, if you have the space for it, the physical experience of banging on a drum set is hard to replicate, especially for young kids. I’d suggest thinking about what you’re hoping your child can get out of a drum set and making your choice based on your situation.