It doesn’t matter if you are a new or a professional drummer because a good and reliable drum set is a must-have. 

Popular drum brands out there offer different solutions to your problems. 

Honestly, it all comes down to hardware. The rest is just marketing. 

The build quality is the most important thing, and there are minor differences between different drum brands. 

The best drum set brands offer high-quality hardware with great cosmetics. In this post, I will share with you what I believe are the best brands regarding the quality of your drumming. 

Also, for each brand, I will choose one drum set, which I believe is the best regarding price, quality, and accessibility.

Best Brands Up Front

  1. DW -versatile drum brand that includes custom and stock kits and hardware.
  2. Pearl – superior shell technology that makes shells airtight and resonates well.
  3. Yamaha -bearing edge shape that improves and optimizes tonal balance and enhances the sound.
  4. Mapex -Most of the Mapex drum kits offer stage and studio-ready sound.
  5. Tama -professionals repeatedly give positive feedback on high-end drum kits.
  6. Gretsch -consistent quality over the years.
  7. Ludwig – many professionals choose Ludwig drums because of their excellent build quality.
  8. Sonor -fast to evolve and innovate.


DW or Drum Workshop is an American drum and drum hardware manufacturing company. They are based in Oxnard, California, and are considered one of the classics amongst American drum brands.

The brand is endorsed by many artists, some of which are Scott Phillips (Creed), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Chad Smith (RHCP), Neil Peart (Rush). and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters).

What separates them

Versatility: Most of DW’s drums are custom, but they also have a line of stock kits and hardware.

My top pick: DW Collector’s Series Lacquer Custom 5-piece Cherry Shell Pack – Natural Lacquer

The drum is made from beautiful wood with irregular swirling grain in honey-colored light brown. The most noticeable aspect of this drum set is the quality of the finish. The only downside is it is pricey and not for all budgets.


  • Great build
  • Fine finishes
  • Warm tones
  • Innovative features


  • Not for all budgets


Pearl is a well-known name in the drum and percussion instrument industry. They are based in Japan and are formally known as “Pearl Musical Instrument Company.” 

Some of the famous drummers who play Pearl are Jeff Porcaro, Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Daniel Erlandsson, Dennis Chambers, Tanner Wayne (In Flames), Ray Luzier (Korn), Eric Singer (KISS), Jason Hartless (Ted Nugent), Jon Larsen (Volbeat), Mike Mangini (Dream Theater), and Todd Sucherman (Styx).

What separates them

Superior Shell Technology: this technology makes shells airtight and resonates well.

My top pick: Perl Export Series Kit

Perl Export Series Kit has upgraded shells, new lugs, a new tom bracket, and a superb hardware package. Instead of poplar shells, Peral has decided to go with Asian mahogany, giving the shell tone depth.


  • Entry-level kit with pedigree
  • Excellent hardware package
  • Mahogany/poplar combo sounds great


  • The snare drum is a weak link


Yamaha is unique since it is not only involved in the music industry but also in the industry of motorcycles and furniture. It is one of the most know names in the percussion industry, and in terms of percussion, the company produces everything from drums to pianos and chimes.

Some of the people Yamaha endorses are Paul McCartney, Elton John, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Sheryl Crow, James Blunt, Justin Timberlake, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Jamie Cullum, Chick Corea, Sarah McLachlan, and Gavin DeGraw.

What separates them

Bearing edge shape: it improves and optimizes tonal balance and enhances the sound.

My top pick: Yamaha Stage Custom Bop Kit CR

The company’s reputation was founded on birch drums, and that is because all-birch shells are superb. Drum kit offers pure but punchy dark sound with an uncluttered and classy design.


  • Uncluttered and classy design
  • Pure, punchy, dark, and warm sound.


  • No plastic or rubber mounting gaskets beneath any of the lugs


Mapex is based in Taiwan and is known to produce 7 lines of drums: Horizon, Voyager, MyDentity, Saturn, Orion, Mapex M, and Black Panther Series. Most Mapex drum kits are great for stage and studio-ready sound.

Some famous people who use Mapex drums are Brook Alexander, Shawn Beamer, Al Cleveland III, Dom Famularo, Maestro LaVille, and Ced Mitchell.

What separates them

Stage and a studio-ready sound: most Mapex drum kits offer stage and studio-ready sound.

My top pick: Mapex AR628S 6-piece Drum Set

This Mapex model is affordable and has a unique style with high-quality hybrid shells. The drum has a notable finish and curved bearing edges. With a few tweaks and upgrades, you can easily outperform your competitors.


  • Affordable
  • Notable finish
  • High-quality hybrid shells


  • Needs few upgrades


Tama is based in Japan but has many official offices around the world. The brand is versatile and produces drums for both beginners and professionals. The man behind Tama is Hoshino Gakki, who started manufacturing drums in 1965.

Some professionals who endorse Tama are Kenny Aronoff, Charlie Benante, Ronald Bruner Jr, Stewart Copeland, Peter Erskine, Simon Phillips, Mike Portnoy, and John Tempesta.

What separates them

Versatility: they manufacture both beginner and professional kits.

Customer satisfaction: professionals repeatedly give positive feedback on high-end drum kits.

My top pick: Tama Imperialstar Rock Kit

This kit features major shells, hardware, and signature snare improvements. Also, the drum is loud and sharp, featuring the familiar steel character of dry in the center but extra pingy at the edges. The only downside is bass drum spurs which are too clever for their own good.


  • Hardware, shells, and snare improvements
  • Added loudness and sharpness


  • Bass drum spurs are too clever for their own good


Gretsch was founded by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn, New York. The company has been working since its opening in 1883 and has delivered consistent quality products and services. They make everything from guitars, drums, basses, and ukuleles.

Some famous people who use Gretsch drums are Max Roach, Tony Williams, Art Blakey, Vinnie Colaiuta, Mark Guiliana, Phil Collins, Charlie Watts, Taylor Hawkins, Mitch Mitchell, and Steve Ferrone.

What separates them

Consistent quality over the years: The company proved that its main focus was to be constant when it comes to delivering high-quality equipment and satisfying its customer’s needs.

My top pick: Gretsch Catalina Club Rock Kit

The Catalina Club has beautiful finish options and is one of the most popular and affordable kits. Vintage style gives it a unique look. Shell configurations are amazing and improved when compared to other Gretsch kits. The only problem I encountered was tuning since it is very challenging to tune. 


  • Beautiful finish options
  • Affordable
  • Amazing shell configurations


  • Hard to tune


Ludwig company produces instruments of all kinds. The company is most known for providing different drums and percussion instruments. Ludwig was established in 1909, and its drums are one of the favorite options for professionals because of their high built-quality. 

The brand’s popularity quickly raised in the 1960s due to the endorsement of Ringo Starr (The Beatles). Some famous drummers who play Ludwig drums are Alex Van Halen, Questlove, and Paul McCartney.

What separates them

A great option for professionals:  many professionals choose Ludwig drums because of their excellent built quality.

Even though I mentioned that Ludwig offers many great options for professionals, the next kit will be focused on beginners. However, if you are a professional seeking a high-quality drum kit, Ludwig Vistalite is a great option, but it is not cheap.

My top pick: Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats Kit

Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats has an interesting and affordable design, making it great for those with a low budget. Drums, in general, are very portable and a great option for kids still learning to play drums. However, because the set is not expensive, the sound can sometimes feel a little bit off.


  • Interesting design
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • A great option for kids


  • Sound can sometimes feel a little bit off


Sonor was founded in Germany and is one of the oldest percussion companies. The company manufactures everything from drum kits and hardware to congas and cymbals. Sonor is best known for producing heavy drums, which earned them the title of “The Rolls of Drums.” Today they constantly evolve and innovate, making them leaders in the current drumming industry.

Sonor endorses Aaron Spears, Benny Greb, Chris Coleman, Danny Carey, Gavin Harrison, Glenn Kotche, Jack de Johnette, Jojo Mayer, Jost Nickel, Marcus Gilmore, Mikkey Dee, and many more.

What separates them

Fast to evolve and to innovate – The ability to adapt to new trends and innovate makes them one of the leaders in the current drumming industry.

My top pick: Sonor AQ2 Bop Drum Kit

AQ2 is a great option for those looking for a smaller drum kit. The kit has loads of different configurations for all playing scenarios. In addition, it has great finish options. The only downside is it isn’t for all due to the small bass drum.


  • A great option for those looking for a smaller drum kit
  • Loads of different configurations
  • Great finish options


  • It isn’t for all due to the small bass drum