IF YOU’VE EVER WONDERED WHO THE BEST DRUM BRANDS ARE OR WHICH BRAND MAKES THE BEST DRUM SETS, WE’VE ROUNDED UP 10 OF OUR FAVOURITES TO HELP YOU DECIDE.
When it comes to deciding who makes the best drum sets or who the best drum brands are, there are a selection of world-renowned companies that you can rely on. We’re not going to choose our number one favourite here because these drum brands have different features and benefits that will suit some drummers better than others. So, we thought we’d just round up all of our favourites and show you some of the coolest drum kits that they make. Here are our top 10 best drum brands in no particular order.
1. BRITISH DRUM COMPANY
Pictured: The British Drum Co. Legend Skye Blue 22" 4-Piece Drum Kit. British Drum Company is easily one of the best drum brands in the world today. Slowly taking over the market with their higher-tier drum kits that utilise a range of exotic woods, hard-wearing hardware and ingenious design features that make drummers’ lives easier.
In case you didn’t know, BDC is owned by Kasabian drummer Ian Matthews, pub landlord comedian Al Murray, well-respected drum builder Keith Keough, Verve drummer Pete Salisbury, top military marching drummer Stu Warmington and product designer Alan Kitching - all people who know everything there is to know about drumming. They’ve gone from strength to strength and have only been operating since 2015.
In a few short years they’re now contending with the heavyweights and it’s easy to see (and hear) why. One of our favourite kits comes in the form of the British Drum Co. Legend series (pictured). This particular kit is the British Drum Company Legend Series 22” Skye Blue 4 Piece Drum Kit. It features a 22” x 16” Undrilled Bass Drum, 10” x 7” Rack Tom, 12” x 8” Rack Tom and 16” x 16” Floor Tom constructed from 100% Scandinavian birch. The cool thing here is that each piece of Birch ply has been hand cut and then the shells are cold press moulded making a major impact on the sound. As for the rest of the drums in their back catalogue, they include more unique features like Palladium lugs, 2 ply reinforcement rings and 45 degree bearing edges all contribute to this brand being heralded as one of the best drum brands. The British Drum Company is slowly taking over the drum scene – you won’t be disappointed.
Yamaha Drums has been in operation since 1967, creating high-quality kits for professional players that won’t let you down. Their list of artists is longer than the drum solo on Moby Dick and they make a wide range of drum sets for beginners, to intermediates to professionals – chances are they’ll have a kit that’ll appeal to you.
We love Yamaha Drums as they’re just so reliable and hard working. Whether you choose the beginner level Yamaha Rydeen kits with included hardware or pro-level kits like the Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid. There's something for everyone when it comes to Yamaha kits whether you need a complete set with hardware or just the shells.
Pictured: Tama Star Walnut 4pc Drum Shell Pack Garnet Japanese Sen Burst. Tama drums is another fantastic drum company and easily one of the best drum brands out there who create everything a drummer could ever need. Whereas some brands stick to making shells or kits, Tama Drums make everything from full kits to hardware, sticks, snares and everything in between. You could quite comfortable only play Tama drum stuff for the rest of your career – they make everything you need.
Since it was founded in 1974, Tama drums has been a mainstay in the live and studio arena thanks to their reliable kits. They’re comfortably one of the most respected and well-received drum brands in the world, so much so that a host of international artists use them on stage and in the studio. Again, Tama creates a range of drum kits that cater to all budgets. You have the likes of the Tama Club Jam Mini Shell packs that are perfect for those who need a small, portable drum, or those who are just starting. You then have intermediate options like the Tama Superstar classic which is perfectly catered towards the gigging musician.
When you want to make the jump to the pro-leagues you have the option of going to the Tama Starclassic and Tama Star series. Lars Ulrich plays them, Brann Dailor from Mastodon uses Tama drums and Stewart Copeland from The Police is a Tama drum endorsee – you’re in good company! One of the best “drum sets brands” that make complete kits you can gig with straight out of the box.
Pictured: Gretsch GR808214 Shell Set USA Brooklyn Satin Dark Ebony. In case you didn’t know, Gretsch don’t just make guitars. They also make absolutely killer drums and are one of the best drum brands out there that professional players love. Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters is an endorsee, as is Tre Cool from Green Day and Phil Collins. Again, you’re in good company when you choose Gretsch drums.
Now, Gretsch drums are a little more expensive than other brands, but they’re totally worth it. Gretsch Drums has been in production since 1883 and have been creating world-class guitars and drums since then and have an in-depth knowledge of tonewoods. With this in mind, they have transferred this knowledge of which tonewoods sound best into the drum world.
When you pick up a Gretsch drum set you instantly feel the quality of the tonewoods used, whether it’s a Mahogany or Maple kit. Hit the drum and you’re in tonal heaven. We think Gretsch Drums is one of the best drum brands as they offer exceptional playability and have developed some cool features that improve your sound. The Mini GTS tom suspension system allows your drums to resonate clearer and the Gretsch T-Wing screws are reliable – no loose heads here! We recommend checking out the Gretsch Energy kits, Catalina Maple and the Gretsch Brooklyn kits when you’re looking to graduate to the big leagues.
Pictured: The Mapex Mars 5-Piece Rock Shell Pack Driftwood with Hardware Mapex Drums is another drum brand who create everything you need including hardware, accessories and of course full kits. One of the major benefits of playing Mapex drums and one of the reasons we feel they’re one of the best drum brands is their use of premium grade hardwoods like Maple, Walnut, Birch and Basswood. These tonewoods are highly sought after for their sonic properties which you can really hear on Mapex kits. Each hit really rings out beautifully.
Some of the key features that set Mapex kits apart such as their lacquer coating techniques and hardware help provide an enjoyable playing experience. Their lacquer coated drums have eight-coat, hand-rubbed, high-gloss lacquer applied to each shell which makes them a breeze to maintain and help make the shells far more durable. This is ideal for the gigging musician. Their isolated Tom mounting system also helps ensure you don’t get any of that horrible dead sound which can sometimes creep in when using stands. Bearing edge options and easy set bass drum claws are also a great addition.
The Pearl Export kit is a classic intermediate kit that beginner drummers usually aim to upgrade to. It’s also a hard-wearing, great-sounding touring kit that won’t let you down. The Pearl Export series has been the number #1 selling drum kit in the world thanks to its great value and the fact it often comes as a package including hardware and cymbals. We highly recommend it. If you’re looking to upgrade to a pro kit, we love the Pearl Masters Maple kits which feature an EvenPly 6-layer maple shell construction and Superhoops.
This kit utilises slightly thinner woods in conjunction with the SuperHoop II hoop design. This allows for an increased articulation when playing so your hits don’t get lost in the mix – everything sticks out! Another cool feature with Pearl kits is the ability to customise your drum kit. You can speak to any of our house of drum experts and we can organise your dream kit for you including custom finishes, different hardware colours and more. From Jazz to Metal, to Rock and Country – the Pearl drum kit is ubiquitous throughout the music scene.
Pictured: The Ludwig Legacy Mahogany Van Buren Pro Beat 3 Piece Shell Pack. Although it was established in 1909 by William F. & Theobald Ludwig, Ludwig Drums didn’t take off until the 1960s thanks to the endorsement of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. After that – you couldn’t find a stage without a set of Ludwig Drums! Some of the worlds greatest drummers have used Ludwig including John Bonham, Keith Moon, Nick Mason, Charlie Watts, Bill Ward, Questlove, Ginger Baker and so many more we couldn’t list them all.
Ludwig is what we would call one of the “best drum sets brands” as they create complete kits designed for musicians who demand pro-level sound and functionality. They create hardware, snare drums and some of the best sounding shells you’re likely to play! One thing to note is that you do have to purchase cymbals separately – but that’s not really a problem and is often the norm with most drum kits. We love the Ludwig Questlove Breakbeats Shell Pack which is a gorgeous portable drum kit for those with limited room and players who need a professional level kit that they can play small gigs with.
We also recommend the likes of the Ludwig Element Icon kits for intermediate players and of course the Ludwig Legacy Mahogany kits (pictured) which provide incredible sound thanks to its 3 ply Mahogany and American poplar shells. This kit offers a warmth and articulation that sets them apart. If you’re wondering “is Ludwig a good drum set?” the answer is a resounding yes. They create high-quality kits that couple classic design with modern reliability. You won’t be disappointed.
Pictured: The Sonor SQ1 3 Piece Shell Pack in Roadster Green. Benny Greb, Danny Carey (Tool), Aaron Spears, Nicko McBrain (Iron maiden), Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Shannon Leto (30 seconds To Mars) and Leah Shapiro (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) are just some of the endorsees of Sonor Drums. If you’re wondering “are Sonor Drum Kits good?” these professional drummers from some of the most important bands in musical history rely on them. So yes, you could say that they’re good!
Sonor has been producing drums since 1875 and have perfected the craft of making drums for players of all levels. We love the budget-friendly AQ2 series in particular as it features 100% all Maple shells for a low-frequency punch and snappy articulation. The use of the Smart Mount tom mounting system encourages optimal sustain and stops any dead areas dampening your sound. The SQ1 series is also incredibly well put together as you have 100% European Birch shells which is a great all-rounder – part of the reason they’re used in recording studios.
These kits also utilise a new Sound Sustainer technology. This enables complete isolation of the metal mount and the wooden shell which then guarantees a particularly long-lasting and clean decaying sustain that you really notice. With a legacy as long as they have and an impressive artist list, there’s no wonder why Sonor drums are known as one of the best drum brands.
Pictured: The DW Collector's Series Drum Kit 22/10/12/16 - Gold Abalone. Drum Workshop, or as it’s widely known as DW Drums or DW, for short, is a relative newcomer in the world of drums. Founded in 1972 as a teaching studio, DW drums first started creating useful products for drummers to cover the costs of their teaching studio. The first product being the height-adjustable trap seat. Fast forward to today and not only do they create some of the most iconic and useful hardware, but a range of amazing drum kits.
One of the key benefits you get with a DW kit is found within the tonewood. DW actually pioneered the process and timbre-matching technique which involved grouping a set of drum shells together by listening to the note each shell holds before it's sanded. This means you get a clear, balanced sound across each shell that you can really notice. The DW Performance series kits are incredibly well-rounded shell packs which feature 45-degree bearing edges and exclusively chrome hardware which are reliable and visually appealing. The DW Collectors series kits are also the pinnacle of DW’s drum offering. These kits utilise responsibly harvested tonewoods and have a superb warmth that drummers should appreciate.
Pictured: The Natal Originals Walnut 22" Shell Pack in Vintage Burst. Natal Drums, formerly known as Natal Percussion Company became famous in the 1960s thanks to the fact Santana, T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple and The Rolling Stones used their fibreglass congas. Fast forward to today and the brand is now owned by Marshall Amplification and produce some of the coolest drum kits and are played by the coolest drummers. You can jump to the Natal Originals Walnut series when you’re ready to go professional.
These shells are made using 7-plies of Walnut which offer warmth and a solid depth. If you’re a beginner player, we recommend the likes of the natal EVO kits as they are around £300 and come with hardware and cymbals. A great drum brand that is perfect for drummers of all levels.
Honourable Mentions In The Electronic Drums Category
If you wanted to go for an electronic drum kit, there are a few great options out there and a selection leading brands that have consistently produced quality electric drum sets. Roland Drums is the industry-standard electronic drum brand creating kits for beginners and consummate professionals.
Alesis electronic drums are also incredible value for money and offer a realistic feel thanks to mesh heads. Finally, if you’re looking for an incredible selection of sounds and great playability, then the Tourtech series of drum kits are probably the best cheap electronic drum kits on the market today.
Shop a full series of drum kits over at PMT Online today or visit your local PMT store where we have dedicated House Of Drums sections featuring some of the worlds best drum brands. Here, you can create your very own drum kit, shop a full range of complete drum kits and speak to our experts about the best kit for your sound.