The Top 5 Best Junior Drum Sets For Kids

Junior Drum Sets

This guide is intended for adults, including both musicians and non-musicians, who want to buy a drum set for children around 10 years of age or younger. If the intended recipient is much older than that, or if they're tall for their age, then please refer to our guide for full-sized beginner drum sets.

Things to Know Before You Buy a Drum Kit for Kids

  • What age groups are Junior drum sets for?

    There's no exact answer here because it depends partly on their height but in general these are best suited for children aged from 3 to 10. For children who are taller than average, or older than this range, then we recommend getting a full-sized kit - see our guide to The Best Beginner Drum Sets.

  • Does it have everything kids need?

    Some junior drum sets don't come with hi-hats. If you want your kid's drum set to help them to learn to play properly then it will need to have hi-hats, at least 1 crash cymbal, at least 1 tom, a snare, a bass/kick drum and a throne/stool to sit on. We recommend getting a 5-Piece kit if possible because if the child really gets into drumming then this will give them a better grounding in drumming techniques. All of the drum sets we've recommended below are full kits including cymbals, hi-hats and all necessary hardware.

  • What does the number of pieces mean?

    Only the drums are counted as the pieces - cymbals and other items are not included in the count. So when a drum set has a snare, kick drum and 3 toms, this adds up to 5 pieces.

  • Drum Sticks

    Usually these are included when you buy a junior drum set but not always and it's frustrating to have your kit delivered without sticks. I recommend buying a couple of sets of different weights - you can get them at Amazon.com.

  • Drum Sizes

    In this guide we state the diameter first, then the depth. So a 10" x 5" snare is 10" in diameter and 5" deep. Some manufacturers and retailers state the measurements the other way around.

Some Helpful Drum Terminology

  • Ply - a ply is a single layer of wood. Drum shells are typically made from multiple layers of wood so a 9 Ply shell means it has 9 layers.
  • Drum Kit vs Drum Set - these terms are essentially interchangeable and mean the same thing at music retailers.
  • Drum Throne vs Drum Stool - both these terms mean the same thing, it's the seat you sit on to play drums..
  • Kick Drum vs Bass Drum - in terms of drum sets these terms are also interchangeable and mean the same thing. Technically a kick drum is designed to be used with a kick pedal but there are bass drums not designed for that purpose such as ones you might see played in an orchestra or marching band.
  • Drummer's Key - These are used to loosen and tighten the lugs on your drum heads in order to tension and tune them to the pitch you want.

Methodology

We looked at all the junior 3-piece and above drum sets listed for sale at the major online music equipment retailers in the USA including Amazon.com and then gathered information from both customer and expert reviews. We fed that data into the Gearank algorithm to produce the Gearank customer satisfaction scores out of 100 that you see below - over 1,750 individual rating sources were examined during this process. We then selected the top 5 based on Gearank scores. For more information about our methodology see How Gearank Works.

The Best Junior Drum Sets - Sorted by Price from Low to High

Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker: 3-Piece

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$140
Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker 3-Piece Acoustic Junior Drum Set

This is a simple budget 3-piece drum set which has received many positive reviews from people who bought it for children 5 years old and under.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16” x 12” bass drum
  • 10” x 4” snare
  • 8” x 5” tom
  • Hi-hats
  • Crash/ride cymbal
  • Adjustable height cushioned drum throne
  • Kick pedal
  • Drum tuning key
  • Drum sticks
  • Set up instructions
  • All stands and hardware included

Specifications:

  • CPSIA certified for ages 3 and up
  • Available in black, wine red and white finishes
  • Multi-ply wood shells
  • Tunable and replaceable drumheads
  • Single braced hardware

Pros

"A good starter kit for toddlers" was a common sentiment in customer reviews. Most people were happy with the sound of the bass drum and snare. Although it only has single braced hardware most people reported that it was sturdy enough for children.

Cons

Many people who know a bit about drum sets said the cymbals were rather weak sounding but that's a common complaint with junior kits. One reviewer actually counted this as a positive because the cymbals weren't very loud.

Overall

Most parents and grandparents reported that their little drummers were very pleased with their new drum kit when they got this.

GP Percussion GP50: 3-Piece

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$159
GP Percussion GP50 Acoustic Junior Drum Set

This is another budget kit and the highest rated 3-piece junior kit available at the time of publication.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16" x 11" Bass Drum
  • 10" x 5" Snare
  • 10" x 6" Tom
  • 10" Crash Cymbal
  • Hi-Hats
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Throne
  • Drum Key
  • Drumsticks
  • All stands and hardware included

Specifications:

  • 6 lug bass drum
  • 5 lug tom
  • Single braced hardware

Pros

Many people said in their customer reviews that it was fairly easy to set up when it arrived, however some said the exact opposite. The number of people who found assembly relatively easy well outnumbered those who had trouble with it.

Cons

The main complaints were about the quality of the cymbals. There were a few complaints about the difficulty in setting up the kit, some suggested there should be better instructions included and some said parts should be labeled.

Overall

There were several customers who said that this kit is good for 8 year olds or younger, but probably too small for older children.

Gammon Percussion Y1049: 5-Piece

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$170
Gammon Percussion Y1049 5-Piece Junior Acoustic Drum Set

This was the highest rated 5-piece junior drum set at the time of publication, however the Ludwig LJR106 was a very close second.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16" Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • 2 Mounted Toms
  • Floor Tom
  • Crash Cymbal
  • Hi Hats
  • Throne/Stool
  • A Pair of Drum Sticks
  • Kick Pedal
  • Drum Key
  • All necessary hardware included

Specifications:

  • Single braced stands
  • 12 lug bass drum

Pros

"Great value for the money" or words to that effect were common in customer reviews. Many people also said they found setting it up relatively straight forward.

Julian Jeun, the Principal Percussionist with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, said in his review, "Overall, I would highly recommend the Gammon Junior Drum Set to parents looking for a first instrument for kids 10 and younger.".

Cons

There were a number of customer reviews that complained about the low quality of the cymbals but this complaint is common to nearly all low cost and junior drum sets.

Some of the product images contradict each other meaning that they show different drums or hardware. One knowledgeable drummer who wrote a customer review said the toms he received did not match the dimensions of the ones photographed, and I saw different types of bracing in different photos.

Overall

This drum set has the most customer reviews and highest ratings of all the 5-piece junior kits on the market.

GP Percussion GP55: 5-Piece

83
GEARANK

83 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$179
GP Percussion GP55 5-Piece Junior Acoustic Drum Set

This kit was rated equal 5th along with the PDP Player PDJR18KTCB and the reason I selected the GP Percussion GP55 for the Top 5 is because it offers better price/performance for young children than the alternative.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16" Bass Drum
  • 10" Snare
  • 8" Mounted Tom
  • 10" Mounted Tom
  • 12" Floor Tom
  • 9.5" Cymbal
  • 8" Hi-Hat Cymbals
  • Throne/Stool
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Drum Key
  • Drum Sticks
  • All necessary hardware included

Specifications:

  • All drums have 4 lugs
  • Single braced hardware

Pros

A good representative summary of customer reviews is "good for the price but not professional quality". Many people recommended this as a good starter kit for children under 10.

Cons

There were several complaints, including some from experienced musicians, that the hardware and cymbals were not as well made as they expected - these are commonly reported issues with cheaper drums sets like this one.

A number of people said that the included setup instructions were for a 3-piece kit instead of the 5-piece kit that it actually is - if this happens to you then download the official assembly instruction from GP Percussion.

Overall

This is one of those kits you buy to save money when you're not sure if the child will really take to playing drums long term.

Ludwig LJR106 Junior: 5-Piece

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$299
Ludwig LJR106 Junior 5-Piece Acoustic Drum Set

Ludwig is the biggest brand included in this guide and their full-sized professional kits are endorsed by a large number of successful and well known drummers.

Although the lower-priced Gammon Percussion Y1049 above got a slightly higher Gearank score, this more expensive drum set comes with higher quality hardware. The reason this kit received slightly lower ratings than the previously mentioned 5-piece kit is because Ludwig appears to have been held to a much higher standard than lesser-known brands.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16" x 10" Bass Drum
  • 12" x 4" Snare
  • 8" x 5" Mounted Tom
  • 10" x 5" Mounted Tom
  • 13" x 10" Floor Tom
  • 10" Crash Cymbal
  • 8" Hi-Hats
  • Throne/Stool
  • Kick Pedal
  • All necessary hardware is included
  • NB: Drum Sticks are not officially listed as part of the package and although some people say they did get sticks with their order it would be wise to also buy a set of sticks - you can order these from Amazon.com.

Specifications:

  • The Hi-Hat stand is double braced.
  • The other hardware is single braced.
  • The shells are multi-ply but the number of plys is not specified.

Pros

The overall quality was cited positively in many customer reviews and there were even positive comments about the cymbals - sometimes with a disclaimer that they're not professional cymbals but rather good for the price.. The sound of the drums were also cited quite positively for a junior kit. There were also many experienced drummers and musicians who gave this kit positive reviews.

Cons

One of the most common complaints was that assembly instructions were not included with delivery, although this was not the case for everyone - you can download detailed assembly instructions from Ludwig. There were some experienced drummers who didn't like the drum heads or cymbals and said they would or have replaced them - these people seemed to be measuring this junior kit against the standards they're used to from full sized Ludwig kits.

Overall

If the child you're buying a drum set for already has experience and has displayed an interest in continuing to improve their skills, then it's probably worth the additional investment in buying this kit.

Here's a video of a 3 year old playing a Ludwig LJR106 Junior 5-Piece Acoustic Drum Set

If you have any questions about junior drum sets just ask them in the comments section below and a member of the Gearank team or our musician audience will answer them for you.

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