Nothing will ever replace the traditional drum set’s sound, feel, and responsiveness.
However, acoustic drums are big, unwieldy, heavy, and, more importantly, impractical for people living with roommates or in small apartments.
Electronic drums were invented to tackle some of these issues. Since they are smaller and much lighter, drummers can easily pack them in virtually any vehicle when gigging/touring.
Their customizable sound makes electronic drum sets perfect for sonic experiments, cover bands, and live performances. Their versatility is one of the biggest benefits electric drum sets have to offer.
Like traditional acoustic drums, no two electric drum sets are built the same. Some are sturdier than others; some feature a broader range of selectable sounds & effects; some are extremely compact, while others possess all the abovementioned characteristics.
In this article, I will show you the six best electronic drum kits on the market and dive deep into why they’re superior to popular alternatives.
What Are The Best Electronic Drum Kits?
Objectively, the title of the best electronic drum kit goes to Roland TD-50KV2. As the largest, best-sounding e-drum set that will rightfully put a dent in your pocket, it’s Roland’s flagship drum kit and the kit that every other is measured up against in terms of feel, playability, sound and durability.
That said, not everyone has a budget that large. For a decent midrange-priced kit, we deem the Alesis Drums Surge to be the best value pick. While the drum sounds aren’t as convincing as Roland’s, it performs well in terms of feel, playability, and responsivity.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the full list:
Roland TD-27KV Electronic Drum Set Gen 2(Our Pick)
Alesis Drums Surge (Best Value)
Roland V-Drums TD-50KV2 Electronic Drum Set (Best Premium)
Roland VAD103 Acoustic-Style Electronic Drum Kit (Best Looking)
HXW SD6-4 Mesh Electric Drum Set (Best Beginner Kit)
1. Roland TD-27KV Electronic Drum Kit Gen 2 (Our Pick)
This Roland model falls somewhere in the middle of its lineup. It’s not the most premium, but it’s up in the middle echelon of features and quality. Smaller pads and a few features are stripped from its bigger brothers, but the TD-27KV does not compromise on sound, feel, and durability.
Dimensions: 59.5 x 47.25 x 47.25 inches
Weight: 70.9 pounds
TD-27 sound module
8-sensor snare pads
5-sensor ride pads
USB MIDI interface
3 trigger inputs
Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
Importable WAV via SDHC
If you love but can’t afford the TD-50KV2 kit, I’m sure you’ll love the TD-27KV e-drum set. This model packs the same audio engine as the TD-50KV2 (although it does not feature as many onboard sounds).
I briefly mentioned Prismatic Sound Modeling (PSM) a moment ago; it’s an advanced technology enabling you to fine-tune, tone, tweak, or muffle any sound present in TD-27KV’s audio library. The Pure Acoustic Ambience tech is usually present in far more expensive Roland drums, as well as this one; it’s used to simulate authentic soundstages and create a more life-like “feel” while drumming.
Differences Between Roland TD-27KV Gen 1 vs Gen 2
The Gen 2 comes at a higher price but includes upgraded models of their hi hats and cymbals, namely the CY-12C-T, CY-14C-T, and VH-14D. Roland state that they’ve been thinned down and “revamped for vastly improved expressive potential.”
The Gen 1 hasn’t been discontinued (yet), so you can save some money by purchasing the older model. Both are fantastic kits.
Unrivaled customizability of individual pads
Plenty of room for further drum kit expansion
Collapsible stands to save a bit of space when not in use
Powered by advanced technologies present in much pricier Roland models
The latest version of Bluetooth connectivity
Borders with expensive drums
Quite large but not huge
2. Alesis Drums Surge Mesh Kit Electric Drum Set (Best Value)
Alesis is one of the top manufacturers of electronic drums, drum machines, and multi-pads.
After introducing the acclaimed Nitro on the market, Alesis came out with the Surge Mesh Kit, which is currently one of the best premium electronic drum sets for drummers with slightly deeper pockets.
Dimensions: 27.6 x 47.28 x 43.32 inches
Weight: 50.93 pounds
40 drum kits
60 drum tracks
385 drum & keyboard voices
Alesis Surge has always operated in the shadows of Roland, but that’s not to say they make bad products. Alesis has done well to carve out a place in the market as a reliable producer of affordable electronic drum kits, and the Surge is one of their latest and most versatile electric drums at a great price point.
Aside from the fact that it’s supplied with numerous features, some aren’t as easy and intuitive to use but will give you the edge you need when gigging or recording your music.
Before reviewing its most notable features, I should mention that drummers on a cash-strapped budget that like but can’t afford Surge may want to consider the more affordable Alesis Nitro kit, which comes with smaller, single-zone pads.
The affordability does come at the expense of high-quality, realistic drum sounds, but if your aim is solely to use it as a practice kit — it succeeds at that. The drum sounds aren’t terrible, but they fall short compared to the Roland kits.
What separates Alesis Surge from your average electric drum kit is tom customizability. It’s outfitted with dual-zone toms and a broad range of customizable sounds.
You can use two different voices or effects simultaneously and assign them to each zone.
Its snare is also slightly larger than average. A larger hitting surface is a big plus for all drum sets, especially electric ones that produce the same volume wherever you hit.
If you’re searching for a kit that will feel similar to your acoustic one, Surge rocks mesh pad construction. This means superior responsiveness, sensitivity, and sonic realism.
I also loved its electric drum module. All the functions are neatly positioned in intuitive places, enabling you to quickly adjust volume, tempo speed, effects, and voices. With Surge’s drum module, you can also activate (or shut off) individual components of the kit.
A neat feature for beginners is that the module also comes with a “training mode.” It gamifies the learning experience by awarding you scores for successfully learning rhythms and beat structures. Additionally, the module comes with 60 play-along tracks for you to practice with.
Quality mesh pad construction
Feels and responds similarly to acoustic drums
3. Roland V-Drums TD-50KV2 Electronic Drum Set (Best Premium)
Roland is among the biggest names in the drum manufacturing industry, and its long-standing flagship TD-50KV2 is easily one of the finest e-drum kits ever made. Featuring the ultimate drum sound library, large customizable pads, and an intuitive interface, this drum kit is a dream come true for those who can afford it.
Dimensions: 49.21 x 64.9 x 59.05 inches
Weight: 123 pounds
TD-50X sound module complemented by Prismatic Sound Modeling
PureAcoustic Ambience tech
More than 900 unique sounds
Intuitive interface featuring buttons & faders for customizing, mixing, as well as selecting drum sounds
Multiple onboard effects, such as equalizers, reverbs, and compressors
4 AUX analog triggers
Inbuilt practice functions
The Roland TD-50KV2 is subjectively the most versatile, best-sounding drum kit this brand ever made. Not only does its library of sounds offer more than 900 unique kick, snare, cymbal, tom, and hi-hat voices, but finding the one you need is remarkably easy because of the streamlined design of its inbuilt interface.
The interface allows you to select, mix, and customize any sound (or combination of sounds), but that’s not the only UI on Roland TD-50KV2’s table. Namely, this e-drum kit sports another USB MIDI interface that lets you record and produce music on your PC or laptop.
With four AUX trigger inputs, you can expand this kit with additional pieces. Still, most people won’t need to since this electronic drum kit features an amazing 14-inch snare, a massive kick drum, and advanced cymbal pads were made 40% thinner compared to older V-Drum series cymbals.
What makes this electronic drum kit stand out from every other model on the current market is its unparalleled audio library, which features more than 900 sounds.
Furthermore, Roland’s TD-50KV2 is powered by various cutting-edge technologies, including Pure Acoustic Ambience, Prismatic Sound Modeling, Air-Damper Mechanics, and more.
The only two issues you may have with TD-50KV2 revolve around its price and size. It’s worth the hefty price tag, but most people struggle to move it around as it weighs over 120 pounds and is exceptionally large.
Unbeatable selection of fully customizable drum sounds
Plenty of presets for drummers that want to play and record with it out of the box
Built to last for decades
Extremely easy to play thanks to its highly intuitive interface
Dozens of sophisticated Roland-patented technologies
Considerably larger and heavier than most drums on the list
4. Roland VAD103 Acoustic-Style Electronic Drum Kit
As the entry point to Roland's V-Drums Acoustic Design series, the VAD103 is the affordable all-digital kit that captures the vibe and feel of a traditional acoustic set, complete with shallow-depth wood drum shells.
The Roland VAD103 is a unique and expensive beast, and one that caters to a very specific audience. It’s a kit for those that want to reap the benefits of electronic drums while retaining the look of a real acoustic kit.
Dimensions: 37 x 23 x 15 inches
Weight: 96 pounds
143 instrument voices
25 presets and 25 user-programmable drum kits
More than 30 effects
Tension adjustable heads
I mentioned that acoustic drums would never be replaced, but Roland almost managed to do so with VAD103.
It’s an electric drum kit engineered to replicate the look, design, and feel of a traditional acoustic drum set while granting the benefits of tone customization, dozens of voices, and a range of drum kit presets.
Its TD-07 module has 143 instrument sounds and 50 drum kits (25 preset, 25 user-defined). Additionally, you can use over 30 effects to experiment with your tone.
Bear in mind that due to the size of this thing, it’s not very portable, and weighs in at just under 100lbs.
Multi-zone tom pads
Over 30 effects and 143 instrument voices
Looks and feels almost exactly like an acoustic drum kit
Advanced V-drum module
Streamlined drum recording
5. HXW SD61-4 Mesh Electric Drum Set (Best Beginner Set Under $300)
HXW manufactures mid-range drums, percussions, guitar amps, and drumsticks.
Its SD61-4 is a quality 7-piece electric drum kit with simple features characterized by high responsiveness and versatility, at a price that won’t break the bank.
Dimensions: 34.9 x 15.25 x 10.9 inches
Weight: 35.1 pounds
251 drum & percussion sounds
25 drum kits
15 drum tracks
HXW’s SD61-4 is a bit of everything – it’s an affordable, well-rounded, good-sounding e-drum kit that can equally serve beginners and moderately experienced drummers.
Regarding versatility, it packs 251 unique drum & percussion sounds and 25 preset drum kits, all of which you can access from the SD61-4 drum module.
The module is basic, sporting functions such as the click track, play-along song on/off, record, and volume controls.
Sound-wise, it’s not the best electric drum set on the market, but compared to its similarly-priced counterparts, it sounds great, and would serve someone well who is just getting into drums for the first time.
Its individual components are larger than average and are made of quality silicone and mesh materials.
Over 250 drum sounds and 25 kits
Made of quality mesh and silicone materials
Average sound quality
Basic drum module
How Much Does A Good Electronic Drum Set Cost?
A good and fully-functional e-drum kit usually costs upwards of $500. Kits like the HXW SD61-4 come in under $300, and while are great for beginners, there is a high likelihood that you will want to upgrade down the line. So keep that in mind.
Do Electronic Drums Sound Like Real Drums?
The answer to this question mainly depends on the model and the drum pad material. Certain models were specifically designed to mimic the sound and design of “real” acoustic drums, and the best example of that is Roland’s VAD103-1.
Another important factor is the specific sound you are using; e-drums typically feature dozens (sometimes hundreds) of different voices, many of which can be dubbed plastic or digital.
Generally speaking, budget electronic drum sets rarely sound like real drums, while high-end models can be fine-tuned to sound almost exactly the same.
If you’re looking for acoustic-sounding e-drums, I recommend models that come supplied with mesh heads.