- Find the best drum sets for kids!
- All budgets covered
- Your questions about junior drum kits answered
Finding a drum set that your child is comfortable playing is essential for inspiring them to excel on the instrument. It’s not easy to tell which kit to invest in, though.
We’re going to be considering kits for children 12 and under, and specifically kits designed for kids who cannot comfortably play a full-sized kit.
The kits will be evaluated on value for money, features, durability and sound.
What are the best drum sets for kids?
The best drum kit for kids is the Pearl Roadshow Jr. This five-piece kit offers great sounds, looks and quality for around $350!
The best drum set for children on the premium end of the market is the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit, which is a four-piece kit at around $400, and also offers excellent value.
The best budget drum kit for kids is the Donner DED-80, which is an electronic drum kit which has everything you need to get started for around $290.
The full lineup of kits we’re looking at today is:
- Pearl Roadshow Jr (Our Pick)
- Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit 4-piece Drum Set (Best Premium Option)
- Donner DED-80 Electric Drum Set (Best Budget Option)
- Yamaha DD-75 Portable Digital Drums (Best Portable Option)
- Mendini By Cecilio Kids Drum Set (Ultra Low Budget Option)
Pearl Roadshow Jr – Our Pick
Born out of Roadshow's white poplar shell construction and specially configured to smaller players and their tastes, the Roadshow Jr. is a quality all-in-one drum kit that kids and creatives of all ages will love spending time behind.
The Pearl Roadshow Jr is the best starter drum set for children and is a great all-around performer. You can pick up this premium five-piece kit for around $350 and it’s a quality little kit for the price!
- Proper hardware and tuners
- Good quality shells for the price
- Five-piece kit with two cymbals
- Around $350
The Pearl Roadshow Jr is a six ply poplar drum kit that’s designed for beginner players 10 years and under.
It’s a pretty good quality kit for the money so it can even be used as a mini portable kit for serious players who want to busk or do shows with a quick setup.
It’s better quality than the average junior kit, but it’s still a budget kit made in China. So be careful when tuning and adjusting the hardware because it’s easy to strip screws and the like.
There’s a two-year warranty so there is some peace of mind there if there are any problems.
The drum kit has a 12” x 4” snare drum, 16” x 10” bass drum, and the following toms: 8” x 5”, 10” x 5.5” and 13” x 8”.
There’s also a 13” crash, 10” hi-hat, kick pedal, and throne.
You get a proper adjustable hardware setup and tunable drums so you have everything you need to get the kit sounding great.
Like all kits at this price range, if you wanted to get the best out of the kit, replacing the skins and possibly cymbals would be the way to go, as the stock ones are not good quality.
Upgrading the cymbals would be costly but the advantage of this upgrade is that they can be moved easily to the next kit you buy.
Pearl offers a choice between black and silver sparkle finishes, and both options look great.
- Good quality serious mini kit
- Can get great sounds out of it with proper tuning
- Full five-piece kit setup
- Hardware is good for a junior kit but still need to be careful with it
- Cymbals and heads not good quality
Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit 4-Piece Drum Set – Best Premium Option
If you've been looking for a complete, well-priced children's drum kit in a box, your day has arrived. Thanks to Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ludwig, your little rocker can now enjoy a capable, great-looking drum kit that comes complete with everything you need
The Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit is the best drum set for kids at the premium end of the market at just under $400. This is a legit little quality kit – definitely not a toy!
- Four drums and two cymbals
- Drum key, sticks and lessons included!
- Under $400
This four-piece drum kit with two cymbals was designed in collaboration with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, drummer of hip hop act The Roots – who are the house band on Jimmy Fallon.
Included is a 5″ x 12″ snare drum, 12″ x 16″ bass drum, 6″ x 10″ mounted tom and 10″ x 13″ floor tom.
The kit is designed for kids aged four to ten. Note that the throne can only get so low – so for smaller kids you may need to source an alternative chair.
You also get a crash mounted on the bass drum and a freestanding hi-hat
The drums and hardware are pretty high quality for a junior drum set, as you’d expect from the price, which is higher than the average junior kit. The kit also looks great and comes in a range of colors.
The included drum skins are not so great, while the cymbals are just OK, so if you want to get the most from the kit consider replacing these.
In addition to handy extras like sticks and a drum key, there are also video lessons included on how to set up, tune, and play the Pocket Kit.
The videos are a handy inclusion as if you’re not a drummer you’ll be in for quite a task to set up and tune the kit.
- High quality junior kit
- Looks amazing
- Full four-piece kit with proper hardware
- Throne can only get so low
- Skins and cymbals could be better
Donner DED-80 Electric Drum Set – Best Budget Option
The DED-80 drum set can be linked to DAW software through the USB MIDI interface, as a tool for your music creation, and with headphones for silent practice without disturbing anyone.
The DED-80 is the best drum set for youth aged approximately 5 to 12 if you want an affordable electronic solution! You can pick up a bundle with everything you need to get started for around $290!
- Five drums and three cymbals
- Throne, sticks, and headphones included
- Around $290!
The Donner DED-80 is a smaller-sized electronic kit that is marketed at young beginners.
The kit includes four drum pads and a beater-less kick drum pedal, as well as two crashes and a hi-hat.
The drums have mesh heads and are 7” single zone, while the cymbals are 10” single zone.
The beater-less kick and stand-less hi-hat are not as responsive as the real thing, but to get a kit this cheap, there’s gonna have to be corners cut somewhere.
The basic package is great value and includes headphones, sticks, and a throne.
If you require a drum amplifier then you can order that separately or order one of the Donner DED-80 bundles on Amazon that include an amp, which are in the $350 to $420 price range.
- Very affordable
- Includes necessary accessories to get started
- Full five-piece kit with three cymbals
- No drum amplifier
- No standalone size hi-hat and kick has no beater.
Yamaha DD-75 Portable Digital Drums – Best Portable Option!
For the drummer new to Yamaha products or the proud user who knows and loves the features and benefits of the Yamaha DD-65 Portable Digital Drums, Yamaha offers a worthy successor: the DD-75.
The DD-75 is one of the best electronic drum kits for children in a portable format. Unlike most junior kits this has a full drum kit setup with eight regular pads and two foot pads – all for under $300!
- Eight pads plus two foot pads
- Portable and lightweight
- Can be played with hands or sticks
- Under $300
The Yamaha DD-75 Portable Digital Drums is actually designed as a general-use portable kit – not specifically for kids. But the small size makes it an excellent choice as a first drum kit.
You can carry the DD-75 under your arm and move it around very easily. It weighs in at 4.2 kg (without batteries) and the dimensions are: W 602 mm (23-11/16″) x H 180 mm (7-1/16″) x D 411 mm (16-3/16″).
The eight drum pads are laid out like a normal kit, but in miniature. The foot pads control the bass drum and hi-hat.
The little foot pads are cheaply made and aren’t as responsive as real foot pedals are. It’s possible to upgrade them with full-size foot pedals though.
The core unit is pretty durable but the stock foot pads are the weak point and wouldn’t survive a lot of mistreatment.
Yamaha has packed a lot into this small frame, with 570 voices (which can be assigned to any pad), 105 play-along songs, 75 stock drum kits, 32-note polyphony, and a hand percussion playing mode.
You can also control the master EQ, reverb, and the sensitivity of the eight pads plus the bass drum pad.
In terms of connectivity, there’s a headphone jack, an auxiliary in for playing along with music, and MIDI in/out.
Yamaha included integrated stereo speakers with a bass port. They sound good for the price but it’s not exactly hi-fi audio.
To get the most out of the audio, you can use the headphone jack to send the audio to an external speaker or PA. This means the DD-75 can be used for gigs.
One downside of this setup is there’s no line output and using the headphone jack disengages the integrated speakers, so you can’t use them as your drum monitor if you’re sending the headphone jack out to another speaker.
In terms of power options, you can plug in the Yamaha DD-75 to the wall or power it with batteries.
- Full kit in a portable size, with eight pads and two foot pads
- Good value with the huge library of sounds and kits
- Customizable pad sensitivity
- Foot pads are cheap and not very responsive
- Can’t use the integrated speaker as a monitor if using a headphone jack
Mendini By Cecilio Kids Drum Set – Ultra Low Budget option!
This Mendini by Cecilio 5-Piece Junior Drum Set with Cymbals is an 'all-in-one' fully functional drum set designed specifically for entry level drummers. This set has everything you need to get set up and playing in no time.
The Mendini By Cecilio Kids Drum Set is a very affordable five-piece junior kit that ranges in price between $160 and $250 depending on which finish you choose.
- Five-piece kit with two cymbals
- 4-lug tunable drums
- Between $160 – $250 depending on finish choice
This is the way to go if you want a drum kit for under $200. You get a five-piece kit and two cymbals, as well as adjustable hardware and tunable drums.
The kit includes a 10 x 6” snare drum, 16 x 11” bass drum and the following toms: 8” x 6”, 10″ x 5″ and 12″ x 10″.
You also get an 8” hi-hat, a 10” crash mounted on the bass drum as well as sticks, a kick pedal, and a stool.
Each drum has only four tuning lugs, which makes it harder to tune than a regular kit.
As you’d expect, this is not a high-quality kit – there’s only so much you can do with a couple of hundred bucks. It’s nonetheless a good affordable way to let your kid test the waters with drumming and see how they like it.
Be careful when making adjustments because it’s easy to damage the hardware. For this reason, this is also not a good kit for a kid who loves to roughhouse.
The kit is marketed at children aged 6+ but with its small size, a more accurate age range would be approximately 3 to 8 years.
- Some versions under $200
- Full five-piece kit with tunable drums
- Only four tuning lugs on each drum
- Easy to damage the hardware
- You get what you pay for
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What is the difference between a junior drum set and a normal one?
A junior drum set has smaller dimensions for the drums and hardware that enable it to be played more comfortably by children. Such kits are often designed for children up to 10 years old, as children beyond that age are often comfortable playing a regular drum kit.
In addition to having smaller dimensions, a junior drum kit is typically a budget set and has fewer cymbals and drums than a normal adult drum kit. For example it might only have three drums, a hi-hat and a single cymbal.
The reason why they’re often lower quality is that the child will soon outgrow the kit so most consumers aren’t going to invest a lot of money into something that in a few years will only be good for collecting dust.
Should kids use smaller drumsticks?
Elementary school-aged children can usually comfortably use 7A size sticks, which are small, lightweight sticks for adults. I’ve observed this while teaching drums for many years.
If the child is quite young (say five or younger), or has small hands, then they might struggle with 7A sticks. In which case you could try smaller drumsticks specifically made for kids, such as the Vic Firth Kidsticks, Pocket Stix or Vic Firth American Custom SD1 Jr.
Once kids get to high school age they’re usually fine to use the common adult stick sizes like 7A or 5A. 5A is the most common stick size but players of any age with smaller hands may prefer the smaller 7A size.
To get the full story on the best drumsticks for beginners, check out our guide here.