The Best Cheap Electronic Drum Set For Beginners

The Highest Rated Electronic Drums Under $500


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There's no replacing the sound and feel of acoustic drums, but there are plenty of situations where electronic drum kits are more suitable. This is especially true for beginners who just need an affordable kit that they can practice on while keeping disturbance to a minimum.

The flexibility of using headphones for quiet practice, and using drum amps for jamming / performance are also important reasons why it is good to have an electronic drum set. In addition, some entry-level kits have student friendly features, like the Roland TD1K which can give you feedback on your timing.

Note that there are limitations with entry-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.

Otherwise, read on to see the highest rated sub-$500 electronic drum sets as of October 2020.

The Best Cheap Electronic Drum Sets For Beginners

Which is the Quietest Electronic Drum Kit?

Mesh heads tend to make the Alesis Turbo Mesh Kit and Nitro Mesh Kits the quietest on our recommended list, however pads alone aren't the greatest cause of noise heard in other rooms or apartments (assuming you're using headphones).

This is because a lot of sound is transmitted through the floor from the pedals and rack.

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 - see our guide here. If you're going to play with other musicians, or if you just want to be loud, then 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.

  • MIDI

    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.

  • Zones

    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 pre-set 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.

The Highest Rated Electronic Drum Sets Under $500

Alesis Turbo Mesh Kit


89 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alesis Turbo Mesh Kit - 7 Piece Electronic Drum Set

Entry level kits from Alesis have been a favorite with Gearank readers for several years now and it's not hard to see why with their consistently high ratings and excellent value proposition.

The Turbo Mesh Kit superseded their previously extremely popular Nitro Kit, and continues to attract high ratings with its improved mesh heads instead of the plain rubber ones.

Mesh heads provide a bit more realism to their feel and tend to be a bit quieter as well. A parent noted that the pads on this set are quiet enough not to cause problems for people watching TV in the next room, although probably not quiet enough to let the kids play while you're trying to sleep.


  • 1 x 8" Mesh Snare Pad
  • 3 x 8" Mesh Tom Pads
  • 1 x 10" Hi-Hat Pad
  • 1 x 10" Crash Pad
  • 1 x 10" Ride Pad
  • Hi-Hat Pedal and Kick Pedal
  • Alesis Turbo Drum Module with 120 sounds
  • 10 Preset kits
  • 30 built-in play-along tracks
  • Built-in coach and metronome
  • USB/MIDI connection for using it as a MIDI controller with your computer
  • Stereo line ouputs, Headphone output, CD/MP3 Aux Input
  • Steel Rack
  • Drum Key
  • Drum Sticks


Much of the praise this gets centers around it offering excellent value for money and being a great starter kit. The good quality of the mesh heads comes up time and again in user reviews, even when experienced drummers are offering their opinions. Most beginners, and those who bought it for children to learn on, are more than satisfied with the limited range of sounds and preset kits it comes with, although some more experienced players disagree.


You can't choke the cymbals and the pads only have a single zone, so if your playing technique is already developed and requires these features then it would be best to go for a more fully featured option. Some experienced musicians don't like the sound of the preset kits and prefer to use their own sounds via their computer instead - one user specifically complained about the presets having too much reverb which can't be edited out.


This is an excellent starter kit that even some experienced drummers say is better than they expected. If you have no experience with electronic drum sets, then this is a great one to start with and you can later move up to more expensive models once your needs exceed what a basic kit can offer.

Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit


93 out of 100. Incorporating 3150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alesis Nitro Mesh

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

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is more expensive than the Turbo Mesh kit, but it does give you quite a lot for the money, and 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.

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.

Other features include built-in metronome, Aux input, USB and MIDI connectivity.


  • 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
  • Headphone output, Aux Input


The four posts that the rack is mounted on make it a bit more stable than the cheaper Turbo Mesh Kit above, a definite plus if you like to strike your drums hard. Value for money often comes up in reviews, impressing many budget strapped users with its mesh toms and snare. Another common talking point in reviews is its ease of use, making it great even for those with zero drumming experience.


There are a few reports of cables failing, and other build quality issues, but these are issues that can be avoided with proper handling and careful setup.


Don't let budget constraints stop you from learning to play the drums, check out the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit.

This video gives you a good idea of what it looks and sounds like in action:

Donner DED-200


86 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Donner DED-200 8-pc Mesh Head Electronic Drum Set

The Donner DED-200 electronic drum kit comes with features that you'd normally only find on more expensive kits, notable features include all-mesh heads and chokeable cymbals.

It has everything you need to assemble and start playing - 8" snare, 8" kick drum, 3 x 8" toms, 10" hi-hat, 12" Ride (with choke), 12" Crash (with choke), hi-hat pedal, kick pedal, stands, pair of drum sticks, and drum throne.

It even comes with headphones so you can immediately practice silently without a speaker or PA system.

The drum module features 225 sounds and 30 demo songs to play with, more than enough for young upstarts or for jamming with tracks. The module has an aux in and headphones out.


  • 1 x 8" Dual-zone Mesh Snare Pad
  • 3 x 8" Mesh Tom Pads
  • 1 x 8" Kick Pad
  • 10" Dual Zone Hi-Hat Pad
  • 10" Dual Zone Crash Pad (with choke)
  • 10" Dual Zone Ride Pad (with choke)
  • Hi-Hat Pedal and Kick Pedal
  • Drum Module with 225 sounds
  • 30 built-in play-along tracks
  • USB/MIDI connection for using it as a MIDI controller with your computer
  • Headphone Output, Aux Input


"Great drum kit for the price" is a good summary of market sentiment towards the Donner DED-200. Owners are impressed with what they've got for the money - from its mesh heads, to its dual zone snare and cymbals, and it even has choke function. While most of the high ratings are from beginners, there are also many experienced drummers who have chimed in with their thumbs up, describing this kit as a good beginner kit.


Experienced drummers caution that sensitivity and sound quality may not be good enough for advanced drummers, but they do commend it for being a basic practice kit for students.


If you're looking for an beginner friendly affordable electronic drum set, then check out the Donner DED-200.

There are plenty of YouTube video reviews of this kit, this is just one of them that talks about the features and tests some of the available sounds.

Yamaha DTX402K


90 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Yamaha DTX402K 5-Piece Electronic Drum Set

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.

If you've played earlier Yamaha models before, then you'll be pleased with the improved response of the new rubber pads and chokeable cymbals on the DTX402K.


  • 1 x 8" single zone snare pad
  • 2 x 8" single zone rack tom pads
  • 1 x 8" single zone floor tom pad
  • 2 x 10" cymbal pads with choke
  • 10" Hi-Hat pad
  • Hi-Hat pedal
  • Kick Pedal
  • DTX 402 drum module
  • 10 preset kits which are all customizable
  • 415 percussion sounds
  • 9 reverb types
  • 10 songs to play along with
  • 10 training functions
  • USB/MIDI type B connection for using it as a MIDI controller with your computer
  • 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


The DTX402K is quite popular with parents who bought this for their kids to learn on, as well as more experienced drummers looking for a quiet solution for home practice. Several owners have commented on how easy it is to set up and also to store away. Being able to edit and create your own kits on the drum module (using the DTX402 Touch App) gives this more flexibility than some of the cheaper options.


It lacks a dual-zone snare but partly makes up for that with chokeable cymbals - a feature beginners are more likely to use.


If you want a bit more flexibility with your sounds than you get with the Alesis options (and don't need a dual-zone snare), and you prefer a 4-post stand for a little more stability than the Roland TD-1K, then this is your best choice.

Beginner Electronic Drum Set Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in January of 2016 written by Jason Horton. The latest edition was published on October 19, 2020 written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Jason Horton.

We looked at all electronic drum sets currently selling at major American online music gear retailers for less than $500 and placed the 16 most promising on our short-list for closer analysis. We then looked at ratings, reviews, videos and forum discussions about them, which tallied to over 5400 sources from regular users and experts, including the most recent ones up to mid October of 2020. 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.

Cheap Electronic Drum Kit Summary

You can see all of the electronic drums we have analyzed for Gearank here - if you feel there is a beginner kit that we've failed to consider then please say so in the comments bellow and we'll take a look at it - if it scores high enough we'll add it to this guide.


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!

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