Electronic drum kits are far more in style than they used to be. Even a few decades ago there were only a couple electronic drum kits out on the market, and they weren’t even close to the ones you can buy today in terms of quality.
These days, there are many different products with a vast array of high-quality sounds, realistic playing feel, and vast memory storage capabilities.
The beauty of these kits is that you can find many of them for under $500. This is perfect for those who are just starting and don’t want to spend a lot of money on an instrument they may never play, or for those who are on a strict budget.
In this article, we’re going to break it down and give you some of the best electronic drum kits on the market that you can find for under $500!
1. Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit
When you consider the amount that you get when you purchase the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, it’s hard to define any other as the “best budget electronic drum kit on the market”.
Alesis has always been known to provide high-quality, yet affordable, electronic instruments, and the Alesis Nitro is no different.
The set comes complete with eight different drum pieces and an aluminum mounting rack that is both lightweight and durable. We really dig the Nitro drum module that is programmed onboard, giving you hundreds of presets to choose from, as well as 50+ tracks to play along with.
From practicing to recording, this baby can do it all. You can even use it as a MIDI device with the USB port and 5-pin MIDI. This is perfect for getting that realistic feel when you’re laying down programmed drums.
Beyond the drums, you get everything that you need to start playing including sticks, headphones, a drum throne, and a kick pedal, which most of these drum sets don’t come with right off the bat.
Bottom Line: It is honestly surprising to us the amount that you get with the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit at such a low price. You’ll love the variety of onboard sounds, and realistic mesh feel too!
The Alesis Surge is a lot like the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit and is also an upgraded version of one of Alesis’ low-end budget kits, the Alesis Forge.
The main differences that you’ll notice right off the bat are that the Alesis Surge has a chrome rack instead of aluminum and the kick drum is much larger. It still retains the same mesh drum heads that are nice and quiet so that you can play during the wee hours without any angry neighbor complaints.
The drum heads also give you a far more realistic feel without the unnecessary rebound that comes from cheaper rubber materials.
There are almost 400 different sounds inside of the Alesis electronic module, and you can also use the MIDI functions so that you can play your programmed drums. Beyond that, you even get 60+ tracks that you can play along with, perfect for anyone who is in their learning phase.
Bottom Line: The Alesis Surge is a bit cheaper than the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit, though we believe better for playing live, as it has that professional chrome look to it. Besides that, the characteristics are very similar, making either one of them an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for a kit that is both compact and perfect for beginners, I highly recommend looking at the Roland TD-1K. It’s the ideal kit for smaller apartments or rooms thanks to the slim build.
It’s no question that Roland knows a thing or two about building high-quality electronic drum components, and even on a budget kit like this, they’ve done their best to mimic the characteristics of higher quality products.
For example, you can choke the rubber cymbals just like you would an acoustic cymbal, and you can also play them in two separate “zones” for different sounds.
The built-in metronome function and performance coach makes this kit perfect for beginners, as it helps to refine your skills by providing feedback when you play.
There are 15 preset kits built into the drum set, each of which presents surprising realism, especially when it comes to the cymbals. Like most electronic kits on the market, you can also use this bad boy for recording MIDI.
Bottom Line: The Roland TD-1K is the perfect electronic drum set for absolute beginners, or for those who don’t have much space to store one with a wider build. You can even upgrade it with Roland’s signature mesh heads as you get better!
The Alesis DM7X is an excellent mid-range kit in Alesis’ DM line that came out only a few years ago. There are a lot of reasons to love the DM7X including the vast array of controls, including metronome, voices, patterns, etc., and USB MIDI recording capabilities.
The amount of memory onboard the module is excellent, allowing you to record up to 5,000 notes with ease. This makes writing and programming drums an absolute breeze!
Winthin the electronic module, you have 385 high-quality sounds to choose from. You can pick from one of the 40 kits if you’re not in the mood to build your own.
The drum heads are made from an ultra-quiet rubber material that gives you the perfect amount of rebound, as well as a low noise Stealth Kick.
The drum heads include dual-zone playability, and the cymbals include a choke feature that makes them much more realistic.
For those who are living in a compact space, the preassembled, fold-out design makes them super easy to fold up and stow away in the corner when you’re done playing them.
Bottom Line: The Alesis DM7X is an excellent mid-range kit with a wide variety of capabilities that allow for never-ending playability and experimentation. If it weren’t for the rubber heads, it would have probably been at the top of our list.
The Carlsbro CSD130 is another one of those electronic drum sets perfect for beginners, as it is incredibly easy to set up and take down. It also comes with a wide variety of playing options that make it exciting to sit down with every time.
You get 250+ voices to mess around and build your own drum kits with. If that doesn't quite work for you, there are also a good number of pre-made kits that you can choose from.
The connections include a headphone out for playing quietly, an AUX input for uploading new sounds, and USB/MIDI ports for programming capabilities.
The beautiful thing about the Carlsbro CSD130 is that it sits within the same price range as most tabletop kits, yet has a professional feeling, stand-up design. Thanks to the small size, it’s effortless to practice with in much smaller spaces.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a compact practice kit that is cheap and perfect for smaller spaces, the Carlsbro CSD130 might be the set calling your name. With a surprising amount of features and tons of connection options, it is a wonderfully versatile budget kit for any drummer who is just starting out.
A “best of” list wouldn’t be complete without an entry from Yamaha. Their DTX400K kit is the ultimate practice kit that provides not only a soft, quiet sound but also total realism when it comes to mimicking the feel of an acoustic drum kit.
This baby comes with pedals for the kick instead of a beater, making it far less annoying to roommates or neighbors. But one of the most unique features of this set is that it comes with a very nice drum throne that you can even use for serious gigs.
There are 297 built-in sounds, each of which are incredibly high-quality. You can use those sounds to create up to 10 different kits too.
The partnered iOS app allows you to easily customize your drum kits, import new sounds from your own drum sample libraries, or use the training programs to help you reach your goals as a drummer.
Bottom Line: The fully functional Yamaha DTX400K is a top-tier electronic drum set in its price range and is perfect for those who are looking for the quietest set around. Thanks to the iOS app, you can continue to build your kit and learn long after you purchase.
The RockJam Electronic Drum Set is one of the cheapest electronic drum kits out on the market that gives you mesh heads to play with.
There are nine pieces included with this set, some of which include choke-ready cymbals and the non-beater kick.
The mesh pads feel far more like real drum heads, giving you better playability and feedback that is more reminiscent of acoustic kits.
You can play with a wider velocity range as well depending on how and where you hit the drum heads. Beyond all that, mesh is way quieter to play, making it perfect for those with grumpy neighbors.
The sound module onboard the RockJam set has 30 different kits built into it. While it may not seem like a lot, they each sound great, and they allow you to explore multiple genres with the press of a button.
Lastly, you have your typical connections like USB/MIDI, headphone out, and line out for when you’re ready to rock.
Bottom Line: We’re surprised how great this kit feels at such an incredibly low price. It just goes to show that you don’t need something with a popular name brand to get a high-quality feel.
The Pyle Pro Electronic Drum Set is perfect for someone who is on a serious budget. The set comes with five different drum heads that are made of a high-quality, durable rubber.
There are 11 different built-in preset kits onboard, each with four different level variations so that you can adjust the drum tone. This means that any drummers from rock to jazz will be able to find a sound that they like.
In terms of connections, you get your typical outs like the USB/MIDI and headphone jack.
he full adjustability not only makes it great for fitting into odd or small spaces, but the set itself is pretty compact, making it easy to take with you on the go or fit into small apartments/rooms.
Bottom Line: If you’re okay with springier pedals and a frame that might not be the most sturdy for heavier genres like death metal, the Pyle Pro is an excellent choice for beginners. We recommend it solely as an inexpensive, at-home practice kit.
Electronic drums help to open a world of possibilities for drummers new and old. They can give you the feel of playing on a real kit while also allowing you to practice quietly, play in smaller spaces, and have access to endless libraries of sounds that were never possible to play on drums in the past.
Overall, we recommend the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit. With a variety of high-quality, built-in presets and a responsive mesh feel, you get an insane amount of value for the money spent!
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