A decade ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a high-quality, name brand drum kit with included cymbals and hardware for under a grand.
Luckily, with innovative drum manufacturing and newly discovered materials, buying a professional kit for under a thousand dollars is very doable.
Many major drum manufacturers have begun using Poplar on their kits instead of more expensive, less available woods such as maple or birch. They’ve also been cutting deals with major cymbal companies to help provide higher quality cymbals with their full kits as well.
Let’s dive in and check out some of favorite kits that won't break the $1000 level.
1. Pearl Decade Maple
One look at the Pearl Decade Maple and you know that this drum set means business. With the classic look and 6-ply maple wood, it’s a professional set that is perfect for almost any style of playing.
It’s also one of the few complete drum sets for under a thousand that uses maple wood. There are also a variety of colors available, giving you the option to flaunt your style however you please.
The resonance on these drums is gorgeous thanks to the thick maple shells. You can create some pretty thunderous tones with the toms too, as they come with an opti-loc to ensure that they don’t wobble when hit.
The other hardware includes uni-lock, gearless tom arms, and air suspension floor tom feet, helping to give these drums a signature tone and feel as you bang away.
All of this and you get a limited lifetime warranty, which tells you how sure of this set Pearl is.
Bottom Line: For classic style, exceptional hardware, and a maple tone that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else for the price, the Pearl Decade Maple is one of the best and most versatile kits around.
2. Gammon Full Sized Adult Set 5-Piece
Best Budget Option
The Gammon full-sized adult kit is the perfect budget kit for drummers who are new to the game and need a full set to start. It comes with everything you need including cymbals, hardware, sticks, a throne, and even an extra boom cymbal for safekeeping!
The hardware is double-braced for extra durability, and you get 20 lug bass upgrades for a more pro look and sound. One of the great things about this set is that it comes ready to play right out of the box, which is fantastic, as tuning can be daunting for first time players.
It even comes with a key in case you want to take a shot at your own custom tuning.
Bottom Line: Overall, this is an excellent starter kit for those who are on a budget and looking to play rock music, or something similar. There are not many sets as full as this at such a low price that still retain quality builds, meaning it’s undoubtedly a budget kit to get your hands on.
With high-quality Sabian SBR cymbals and traditional Ludwig teardrop lugs, the Gretsch Energy kit is an instant classic. This beginner-intermediate 5-piece kit is incredibly versatile, giving you just about everything you need to play most styles of music.
It also comes with some of the more widely used dimensions like the 22” bass drum. For a kit well under a grand, we’re surprised as to how incredible the wood snare sounds on this thing. From the Gretsch look to the sound, it’s got it all.
The 7-ply poplar on this kit is the reason why they’re able to sell it for so cheap, though it still sounds fantastic. The rack toms are made to be a bit shallower than most, making them perfect for drummers of all sizes, especially beginners.
The hardware includes some double-braced chrome stands that are durable and lightweight, making them excellent to gig with.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking to get solid, quality drums for a price that won’t break the bank, the Gretsch Energy 5-Piece is the perfect option. It’s a versatile kit that is perfect for beginners and easy to build on as the years go by.
The Pearl Export has been around for quite a while, though in the past few years they have made some serious upgrades that put it in the ranks for one of the best beginner-intermediate level kits around.
With superior poplar and Asian Mahogany shells with a 6-ply configuration and Pearl’s opti-loc, rack mounting system, you’re getting a surprisingly high-quality kit for the amount you’re paying.
The shell build is something to be proud of, as you won’t find a combo like that in many other drum kits within this price range.
This particular set does not come with cymbals, though you can upgrade to Sabian’s SBR series pack for an extra cost.
You can purchase the kit in wrapped or lacquer finishes in a wide variety of different colors and styles to best fit your personality.
Bottom Line: The Pearl Export has been crowned the most popular drum set of all time in multiple instances. Thanks to the upgraded hardware and unique mahogany/poplar design, it is retaining its legacy in modern times as well.
The Ludwig Element Evolution is the perfect intermediate kit for the drummer who is looking to step up to the next level.
his beautiful kit comes with 6-ply poplar shells that give you a large, open tone and warm, low overtones for that sweet, chest pounding punch that will get people grooving at the club.
Whether you are laying down some ultra-fat rock backbeats or groovy latin rhythms, the Element Evolution will be there for you.
This bad boy comes complete with Ludwig’s durable, double-braced hardware, thick, triple-flange hoops, and classic keystone lugs for that traditional look.
Not many “budget” drum kits come with a solid set of cymbals, so we were happy to find out that the Ludwig Element comes with a Zildjian ZBT series set. They sound great and can be smacked to no end without cracking.
Bottom Line: The Ludwig Element Evolution is the perfect mid-range kit for any intermediate player. Not only do you get a classic aesthetic that only a company like Ludwig could offer, but you also get a fat tone, responsive feel, and a durable design that will last you many years to come!
We’d be surprised if you had never been graced by the wonderful sounds of Yamaha’s birch kits. They’ve been making them forever, and they’ve always sounded incredible.
This particular kit comes with 6-ply shells, each 6.6mm thick with a straight-sided, butt-jointed design. Of course, Yamaha’s unique diagonal seams make the shells a stand out from others on the market.
The bass drums on Yamaha kits have always been a favorite of mine too. They give you that massive, low-end tone with tons of resonance and a soft decay. The toms are similar to the kick in that sense as well, helping you to cut through the rest of the band as you fill to the day’s end.
Thanks to the birch design, you can easily tune the toms to get a quicker and more focused sound. The same goes for the snare, as you can tune it tight to get that whip and crack, making it great for deep funk.
Bottom Line: Some drum kits defy their cost. One of those drum kits is the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch. With unique shell designs and a deep, rich sound, it is truly the perfect live kit for any player.
A few years back, PDP decided to put out a birch and maple drum kit at a price that didn’t break the bank. DW has always been known for its high-end, custom drum kits, so the fact that they provide drums at this price is pretty awesome.
There are a lot of impressive features on this kit that reflect more high-end kits. One of those features is the tuning rods, which are true pitch, and allow you to tune your drums more accurately. When you consider the thick hoops as well, you have drums that are close to pitch-perfect.
The copper snare wires included give your snare a nice snap, and the lacquer finish create a wonderfully high-grade tone.
Beyond that, you get a stunning look with the circular lugs and dual-turret legs. DW even put their logo on the bottom of the kick, something we’ve never seen with PDP before.
Bottom Line: The PDP 5-Piece Concept set gives you a high-quality sound that you would never expect. With perfect tuning and maximum punch, these drums deliver a pro sound far above their price point.
The Tama Imperialstar 5-Piece Drum Set gives you everything you need to rock, including some high-quality Meinl HCS cymbals.
The Imperialstar line has been a favorite of Tama fans for a long time, and now they’ve upgraded heavily. One of the main upgrades is the double-braced tripod and top-tier hardware.
The shells are made from an 8-ply poplar with an incredibly bold sound. Imperialstar worked uniquely in the design to glue the entirety of the shells’ surfaces rather than spot gluing them. This provides an open tone with tons of resonance, which also helps to get rid of buzzing.
One of the other unique things about the Imperialstar 5-Piece is the precision-bearing edge design, which helps to give the drums an incredibly wide dynamic range. The action on the kick drum is smooth as butter thanks to the included Cobra 200 kick pedal.
Lastly, you can pick between a black nickel or vintage red finish too, each of which is absolutely gorgeous.
Bottom Line: The Tama Imperialstar 5-Piece includes just about everything you need for heavy-hitting, live sound. For a remarkable kit that will last you a lifetime, you truly can’t go wrong with this bad boy.
The Mapex Rebel 5-Piece is an excellent drum set for anyone that is just starting out in the world of drumming. With stands, cymbals, a throne, and five high-quality shell pieces.
The shells are made of a top-tier poplar that gives you a beautiful low-end and an energetic punch. The tom depth makes this set perfect for smaller adults or children who may have trouble reaching the rack toms.
The hardware on this set is pretty sturdy with the double-braced design, and the brand new Mapex lug design gives it that classy look that we know and love from higher-end Mapex kits.
In terms of the look, there are a few different colors to choose from, each with a sleek finish that gives the drums the impression that they are far more expensive.
Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a beginner drum set that you can grow into, the Mapex Rebel 5-Piece is an excellent choice. It has a high-quality sound that you wouldn’t expect from a kit in this price range.
Ludwig is one of those brands that seems to bring the thunder no matter the price range that they are in. The Ludwig Accent 5-Piece is definitely on the budget side of things for Ludwig, though it delivers a high-quality sound that makes it functional for any drummer strapped for cash.
When you purchase the Ludwig Accent, you get five, 9-ply poplar shells, each with a 45-degree angle bearing edge, and one 16-inch crash, 20-inch ride, and hi-hats.
Ludwig has always been known to deliver a warmer, punchier tone. There is a lot of low-end energy and a buttery resonance that will provide shivers every time you hit the kick.
We dig how durable the 200-series hardware is, perfect for taking a beating when gigging. With that said, it’s a better kit for recording or playing at home than playing larger venues.
Bottom Line: The Ludwig Accent is an excellent choice for beginners who need a full package and like the signature Ludwig sound. At an incredibly affordable price, these are drums that will last you forever.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to find the ultimate drum set for all your rhythm needs.
The beauty of these kits is that you can continue to build and modify them as you become a better drummer.
With that said, in our opinion, the Pearl Decade Maple is the best around if you have to spend less than $1000. Not very many drum manufacturers are making their budget kits with maple, so even that fact makes it second to none.It is also incredibly versatile, allowing you to play anything from funk to rock to jazz and beyond.
Good luck and keep the beat strong.
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