The best electronic drum kits for music production

Write songs without destroying your relationship with the neighbors.

Professional drummers, music producer, and drum enthusiasts everywhere know just how complicated owning a traditional set of drums can be. On one hand, few things are as innately gratifying as banging with sticks to keep a beat. On the other hand, if you’re sharing a wall with someone else or have a tiny space, you’re setting yourself up for a seriously fraught relationship with your instrument.

Music manufacturers have come up with the perfect solution to these all-too-common problems in the form of lightweight and practically silent electronic drum kits that you can play with nothing more than a pair of sticks and a pair of headphones. In addition to being more portable than traditional kits, they also require basically no maintenance at all, which means money saved on expensive drum heads and metal hardware. Since electronic drum kits are digitally controlled and often come with a huge variety of different sounds, they can be an indispensable tool for music producers, too.

Best entry-level: Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit

Throws In 40 Free Hours Of Drum Lessons From Melodics

Everything you need at a beginner’s price. Amazon

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This electronic kit from Alesis is the perfect entry-level rig for small studios and drum students. The mesh heads offer a sensitive and realistic response to touch while minimizing stick noise and overall weight. Hook up each of the eight pieces to the included drum module, jam out with 40 different kit sounds, and practice your chops using the 60 included play-along tracks. The whole thing is mounted on a lightweight, foldable aluminum rack so you can quickly contract and expand the kit based on your changing space needs.

Best value: Yamaha Electronic Drum Set

Rock Out With Headphones Or An Amp

Studio-ready sound samples. Amazon

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Few drum manufacturers are as well-established as Yamaha, who have built up quite the reputation for their traditional acoustic drum kits. The company’s foray into electronic drums brings forth the DTX432K, a super-portable and lightweight kit with quiet rubber pads and a whopping 415 different drum sounds that were recorded professionally in a studio. A feature unique to this kit is the iOS-enabled record function, which allows you to review and monitor your performances and even share them with your friends or teachers. This kit would be perfect for a home recording studio, where ambient volume needs to be considered, or for a drum student who wants to record themselves as a practice tool.

Best for travel: Paxcess Electronic Drum Set

Comes With Rechargeable Batteries

A fun, convenient, and professional tool for trips. Amazon

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Though it’s a bit of an outlier on this list, this roll-up electronic kit truly offers a level of portability that the others don’t. Measuring at only 17 x 11 inches, this kit is ideal for traveling drummers and young students who need to keep up their musical chops on the go. The onboard rechargeable batteries offer up to 10 hours of continuous play on a single charge, and you can either use headphones or opt for the built-in speaker. There are two plug-in pedals included for the kick and hi-hat too. It’s got a handy MP3 player input for practice and will satisfy kids and professional drummers alike.

Professional level: Roland Electronic V-Drum Set (TD-25K)

Stage and Studio-Ready

If you’re in a situation where you’re looking for a no-compromise recording replacement to traditional drums, this kit is the way to go. Amazon

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For those who require the most versatile and expandable electronic drum setup, this Roland kit is far and away the best choice. The included TD-25K drum module includes a plethora of natural modeled sound samples with the added bonus of a coaching mode, which makes it ideal for studio players, home recordists, and serious players who are looking to practice every day and take their skill to the next level. This kit includes pads for a snare, three toms, crash and ride cymbals, and hi-hats, but you can add even more pads separately as your needs change.