The Best Junior Drum Sets For Kids - A Guide For Grown-Ups

Junior Drum Sets


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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.


The Best Junior Drum Sets for Kids

Things to Know Before You Buy a Drum Set 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: Vic Firth 5A at Amazon - Vic Firth 5B at Amazon.

  • 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 Set 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.

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

GP Percussion GP50: 3-Piece


90 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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


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


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.


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.


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

Sound Percussion Labs Lil Kicker: 3-Piece


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

Street Price: 

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


  • 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


"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.


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.


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

Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit: 4-Piece


85 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 


Ludwig has partnered with renowned drummer Amir "Questlove" Thomson to create the Pocket Kit made for children ages 4-10 years old. Aside from the hardware, it also includes all access to a series of web-based lessons to help with key setup, adjustment and playing technique.

Items Included in this Drum Set:

  • 16" x 12" Bass drum
  • 10" x 6" Tom tom
  • 13" x 10" Floor tom
  • 12" x 16"Snare drum
  • Foot pedal
  • Hi hat stand
  • Cymbal arm
  • Snare stand
  • Drum throne
  • Drum sticks
  • Drum key
  • Heads
  • Hi hates
  • Crash/Ride Cymbal


  • Hardwood shell material
  • Comes in a black, silver or red sparkle finish


A lot of reviewers praised the quality of its hardware, especially the construction of the shells. Its cymbals also have a fairly decent sound for a beginner kit. Many of them found it quite easy to assemble and tune within a few hours with the help of the video tutorials. Additionally, one user pointed out that it had extra useful components that usually not found in inexpensive drum sets, such as memory locks for the cymbal arm, thread lubricant for the lugs and a rubber protector pad that's used to attach the kick pedal to the kick drum


There were some reviewers that mentioned its factory heads were not as good sounding as they would have liked, and replaced them with new drum heads. Some also were disappointed that it did not come with an instructional manual, although the videos on the manufacturer's website were informative.


This is a great beginner's drum kit with an exceptional value for its price.

Ludwig LJR106 Junior: 5-Piece


87 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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


  • 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.


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.


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.


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

Best Junior Drum Set Selection Methodology

This guide was first published on Jan. 24, 2017 and last updated by Denise Azucena & Jason Horton on Apr. 19, 2018.

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 and created a short-list of 13 kits for detailed analysis. We gathered information from both customer and expert reviews which we have summarized in the descriptions above. We also fed that data into the Gearank algorithm to produce the Gearank customer satisfaction scores out of 100 that you see above - over 2,400 individual rating sources were examined during this process. We then selected the highest rated models to recommend. For more information about our methodology see How Gearank Works.

Need Help Selecting a Child's 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.


All of the options listed

All of the options listed above are suitable, however I wouldn't get the more expensive ones unless you know they are committed to playing long term.

My son is 9 years old but the

My son is 9 years old but the size of an 11 year old. This would be his 1st drum set. What would be your recommendation? He is 5ft weighing 125pd...

Your son is already getting

Your son is already getting too tall for one of these small drum kits, so he would be much better served with a full adult sized kit which he won't outgrow.

Take a look at our guide to Beginner Drum Sets.

Unless you're absolutely certain he's going to stick with playing drums, I'd go for one of the less expensive options in that guide.

My son has turned everywhere

My son has turned everywhere to drum in the house since he was 20 months. Can I get a drum for him for his birthday? The passion was too much. He will be 2yrs old in few days.

Hi, my son is almost 7 but is

Hi, my son is almost 7 but is already about 4' 3" and growing about 2.5 - 3.0 inches per year. He is having lessons on a full size kit and copes OK but it is a little wide for him. If he keeps going as he is presently, I expect to buy his first kit at the end of the year, would you agree I'm best choosing a full kit for him that he will soon grow into? Many thanks!

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