The Highest Rated Electronic Drum Sets Under $500
Alesis Debut Kit
The Alesis Debut is Alesis' electronic drum set geared towards kids and beginner drummers.
It's a bit smaller compared to the other electronic kits in their lineup.
The module comes with 10 preset kits, a built-in metronome and an integrated drum coach feature to help you build your timing.
It also comes with everything you need to start drumming, including the sticks, headphones and the drum throne.
- 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
- Drum throne, sticks, headphones, and cabling included
- Melodics learning software included
Along with the great feel of the mesh heads, users found the USB midi out to be useful for triggering drum kits and drum education software on their PC and tablets.
The drum rack might be small for some as this is geared towards younger beginners.
If you or your little one wants to get started on their path of drumming, grab this drum set from Alesis, one of the more reputable brands in electronic drums.
The LyxJam 7-Piece kit is actually a 5 piece kit which counts the bass, snare and 3 toms.
They manufacturer must be counting the ride and crash as pieces which is not the norm.
This drumset boasts 209 sounds, 50 play-along songs, a 1-Song recording capacity and a built-in metronome.
More than enough for a beginner drummer looking to practice his or her chops.
- 3 x 8” Mesh Tom Pads
- 1 x 8” Mesh Snare Pad
- 1 x 8” Chokeable Crash Cymbal
- 1 x 8” Chokeable Ride Cymbal
- 1 x 8” Hi-Hat Cymbal with Controller
- 1 x Kick Pedal
- 1 x Sound Module with 209 Sounds
- 1 x Drum Sticks, Cabling & Drum Rack
Users praised the great feeling tension adjustable mesh drum heads. Also, this kit has been recommended by buyers as a great balance between sound, playability, price and portability.
There was a report of a kick trigger breaking in less than 3 months after purchase. Careful handling is recommended with these beginner electronic drum sets as they were not designed to take the same kind of abuse that some of the more professional models are.
If you're looking for an excellent value for money way to learn the drums without waking the neighbors, the LyxJam 7-Piece electronic drum kit is worth a look.
The Donner DED-100 electronic drum set is a 5 piece all mesh drum set that features 200 sounds from 15 kits, 20 play-along tracks and a built-in metronome.
You can also record yourself straight into the drum module.
It has an aux in to play along with songs from your phone or other device and works as a MIDI controller via its USB MIDI output.
- 1 x Sound Module with 200 Sounds
- 1 x Hi-Hat 10’’
- 1 x Ride 10’’
- 1 x Crash 10’’
- 3 x Mesh Tom-tom 8’’
- 1 x Mesh Snare 8’’
- Hi-Hat Pedal and Kick Pedal
- Drum Rack, Cabling, Drum Sticks, Audio Input Line and Drum Key
Users have described this drum kit as being perfect for beginners looking to try the drums. According to those who bought this set, it's easy to assemble and very quiet when used with headphones which is especially appreciated by parents.
There were some who complained about the hi-hat and kick pedal sensitivity being too sensitive or not sensitive enough. This might be fixed by adjusting the sensitivity setting in the module which is explained in the instructions.
If you want to test the drumming waters without investing too much money before knowing if you want to go all-in or not, the Donner DED-100 is a great choice.
The LyxJam 8-Piece kit is a 5 piece kit like the LyxJam 7-piece kit but with a kick drum tower as opposed to a foot triggered button.
This drum set is better than its sibling for practicing traditional bass drum foot techniques.
It comes with a dual zone mesh snare and mesh toms, 448 sounds, 70 play-along songs, a generous 15-song recording capacity and a built-In metronome.
- 3 x 8” Mesh Toms with Rims
- 1 x 10” Mesh Snare w/Layered Rims
- 1 x 8” Hi-Hat Cymbal
- 1 x 12” Ride Cymbal w/Edge & Choke
- 1 x 12” Crash Cymbal w/Edge & Choke
- 1 x 6” Kick Pad Tower
- Hi-Hat Controller
- Sound Module with 448 Sounds
- Drum Sticks
Users praised the built in sounds as being of higher quality than even Alesis' or Donner's offerings. They also enjoyed the fact that the snare drum was bigger than the toms for a footprint a little closer to acoustic drums.
There was a user who complained about the hi-hat's feel and sound but it wasn't repeated in other reviews.
If you want the LyxJam drum set with the bigger cymbals and conventional kick drum tower for practice that's more translatable to acoustic drums, this is the one for you.
Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set Under $500.
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.
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-post rack is 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:
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 (and don't need a dual-zone snare), and you prefer a 4-post stand for a little more stability, then this is your best choice.
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
- 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...
- Drum Sticks: these come in different weights with 5A being the most popular - check out our Drum Stick Guide.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Complete List of Gear You Need to Start Drumming
Kick Tower or Kick Button Pedal
Beginner Electronic Drum Set Selection Methodology
The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on July 28, 2021.
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 10,500 sources from regular users and experts, including the most data up to late July of 2021. 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
As an experienced producer and musician, Alden loves to help fellow musicians find the right gear for the job. Aside from music, Alden's interests include: CS:GO and MLBB.
The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.
The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.