Best electronic drum sets for kids 2022: our pick of child-friendly electronic drum kits

Young woman sat at an electronic drum set
(Image credit: Getty)

An e-kit is the ideal first instrument for budding drummers picking up the sticks for the first time. These days, with so many features trickling down from higher-end electronic kits - from engaging learning tools, to high-quality sounds and responsive pads - the best electronic drum sets for kids have never been more accessible, advanced or inspiring for new players.

We've spent years developing our own drumming skills and teaching others to play here at MusicRadar, so we can safely say that learning the drums is a massively gratifying pursuit, particularly for kids and learner drummers. Hit a drum pad and it instantly makes a sound, and most people can pick up a basic drum beat with very little effort.

On the other hand, acoustic drum kits (the ones with wooden shells, plastic drum heads and metal cymbals) are extremely noisy, so a parent-and neighbour-friendly electric drum kit paired with a set of headphones or a personal monitor with a volume control is the ideal way to introduce percussion to the household. E-kits also promote regular practice at home, meaning development can potentially be quicker.

In this guide, we’re looking at the best e-kits for kids that will help them take their first steps with the instrument - with options for almost any budget. While we would always recommend going straight for a full kit with individual pads, we've also included 'desktop drum pads' which house all playing surfaces within a smaller tabletop unit. These are a great introduction to the concept of drumming, but won't deliver the full experience, so unless space is an issue, we would recommend a full kit every time.

So, whether they're heading back to school and plan on starting music lessons, or they simply want to learn a new skill, this guide is a great place to start.

Best electronic drum sets for kids: MusicRadar's Choice

There are so many criteria that child-friendly e-kits have to meet, that choosing the best electronic drum set for kids is a tough call. It might sound trivial, but young drummers will want an instrument that looks cool first and foremost, as it will potentially take pride of place in their bedroom. Then you want ask yourself does it sound good? Is it easy to use and adjust so it can be played comfortably? Is it compact enough to fit in the bedroom without taking up too much space? Is it geared up to help them learn? The list goes on...

Ticking most of the above boxes are two kits that truly stand out as the best electronic drum kits for kids - the Alesis Turbo Mesh and the Roland TD-1KPX. 

The Alesis Turbo Mesh (opens in new tab) takes the number one spot for us. It’s the perfect combination of fun and serious, with the onboard learning tools being a huge selling point. The module dishes out backing tracks for jamming along with, time-keeping exercises, plus 120 drum and cymbal sounds, as well as realistic-feeling mesh heads - making this e-kit a near-perfect option for beginners and kids.

The compact Roland TD-1DMK (opens in new tab) is similarly built with beginners and children in mind and comes packed with cool coaching tools and loads of great sounds on-board the TD-1 module. The kit also features all-mesh pads for toms and snare, so it will have that authentic feel of acoustic drums from the off. This kit is one of the most expensive options on our list, but you’re buying into Roland's sterling reputation and the benefit of decades of R&D, in addition to a quality kid's electronic drum set.

Best electronic drum sets for kids: Product guide

The best electronic drum kit for kids!

Specifications

Pads: 4x mesh tom/snare pads, 3x cymbals
Kits: 15
Kick pedal: Electronic
Ideal for: Learning the ropes, trying out the drums, having fun

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent coaching features
+
Solid price point
+
High build quality
+
Mesh heads  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as many features as the Nitro Mesh 

The Alesis Turbo Mesh is perfect for kids and beginner players alike. The module is simple and easy to use, featuring 10 drum kits and 120 sounds. There's a coach mode which grades you on how well you play along with different time signatures, as well as 30 play-along tracks and a metronome. As we mentioned earlier in the guide, these modes are the perfect place for kids to start when learning drums.

This kit comes complete with mesh heads, a drum key and a pair of drumsticks, meaning - providing you’ve got a seat or drum throne - you’re ready to go right out of the box! Kids will love how many cool features there are to play with here and will be happy to get stuck straight in.

Overall, the Alesis Turbo Mesh is an excellent value electronic drum set. All mesh heads feel great and almost as realistic as an acoustic drum head, the drum sounds are great for the price and the coaching modes on-board the module are helpful in helping your child learn their first rhythms and master time-keeping. If you’re on a budget or just looking to have a go at drumming, this kit is well worth your money.

Read the full Alesis Turbo Mesh review 

Up your budget and kickstart your drumming journey with Roland

Specifications

Pads: 3x mesh toms, 1x mesh snare, 3x cymbals, 1x bass drum pad, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 15
Connections: Headphone output, aux input, USB to computer

Reasons to buy

+
All-mesh pads astounding for the price
+
Roland products have a strong reputation
+
Independent bass drum and hi-hat pedals
+
Cool coaching functions

Reasons to avoid

-
You may outgrow the module

The TD-1DMK might cost a little more than others featured here, but with Roland products you pay for decades of experience and R&D which translates to reliable products with pedigree. 

This kit includes four single-zone mesh pads for toms and snare, choke-able dual-zone crash and ride cymbal pads, and a hi-hat pad. The TD-1DMK features a standalone hi-hat pedal that can be positioned where it feels most comfortable and bass drum pad mounted to the rack designed to work with a traditional bass drum pedal. This is a great touch as it gets new drummers used to the feel of a 'normal' pedal from the off.   

The supplied TD-1 module is packed with quality backing tracks, practice aids and some challenging coaching functions. Despite missing some bells and whistles, the module’s simplicity makes it incredibly user friendly, so it’s particularly well suited to new to intermediate drummers. The 15 kit presets on-board are varied in style and provide a usable selection of sounds that cater for many styles of music. The two-ply mesh heads respond well and there’s a pleasing dynamic range afforded by the module. Want delve deeper into Roland's V-Drums range? These are the best Roland electronic dum sets around.

Read the full Roland TD-1DMK review (opens in new tab)

3. Millenium MPS-850

The best value electronic drum set for kids

Specifications

Pads: 4x mesh top pads, 1x mesh snare pas, 1x mesh bass drum pas, 4x rubber cymbals
Kits: 30
Kick Pedal: Separate
Ideal For: Kids, total beginners or budget-conscious players

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic price
+
Great value package
+
Module has loads of features

Reasons to avoid

-
Mesh pads not as good as Roland

German retailer Thomann, the brains behind electronic drum brand Millenium, knows a thing or two about producing quality gear for those on a tighter budget. The MPS-850 is no exception, with this e-kit bundle delivering a fantastic value package. The 10-piece kit  comprises an array of mesh pads and rubber cymbals and they even throw a bass drum pedal and hi-hat stand into the mix. If you want to get as close to layout of a real acoustic drum set, then this is the one for you. 

For us, the biggest selling point of this kit is the module, which is not dissimilar from modules bundled with kits that you’d pay far more for. It’s easy to navigate and create your own custom kits, there are plenty of connections for hooking up to a computer (if you decide to record the kit further down the line) or connecting a smart device for playing along to your favourite music, and the physical faders enable quick mixing of individual parts of the kit.

The only thing to consider here is that the MPS-850 features larger pads than most of the options in this guide (10-inch snare pad, 10-inch and 8-inch tom pads, 12-inch cymbal pads), so may be on the larger side for smaller players. That said, this is a kit to grow into and the rack is very adjustable so can be positioned to accommodate even the most pint-sized players. 

4. Alesis Debut

Children and total newbies won’t go wrong with this bargain

Specifications

Pads: 4x mesh drum pads, 3x rubber cymbals
Kits: 10
Kick Pedal: Electronic
Ideal For: Kids, total beginners or tentative hobbyists

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly fair price 
+
Sticks, stool, headphones all included 
+
Mesh heads 

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be outgrown fairly quickly 

We love Alesis electronic drum sets here at MusicRadar. They have always been excellent when it comes to value for money and the Debut only reinforces this. For ~$300/£200, the Alesis Debut delivers everything you need to start your drumming journey. Thoughtfully, it includes a stool, sticks and headphones, as well as a comprehensive metronome and Melodics learning software bundled in.

The drum heads are mesh instead of rubber, which is the far better and more realistic option. The module has 120 sounds on board, divided up into 10 kits, as well as 30 songs to play along to and smartphone compatibility; meaning you can play along to your favourite music on apps such as Spotify.

With a generous amount of features at a very low price, this kit feels like an open-arms invitation for children and beginners to enter the world of drumming. Solid build quality, Melodics software and the succinct learning tools on board the module will provide brand new drummers a jumping off point to help build vital rhythmic foundations.

5. Digital Drums 400 e-kit

The ideal e-kit for top-end features on a budget

Specifications

Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare, 3x cymbals, 1x beaterless bass drum pedal, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 10
Sounds: 108
Connections: phones, aux-in, USB, MIDI out, line out

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, contemporary module
+
Loads of coaching functions
+
Lightweight construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Unforgiving rubber pads

The Digital Drums 400 electronic drum set is sold exclusively by online retailer Gear4Music, who know a thing or two about quality budget music gear. At the heart of the kit is a stylish, simple to navigate module that delivers loads of features that belie the price (the DD400 is the cheapest full-size e-kit on this list). For starters, drummers have the choice of 10 pre-configured kits, or they can program their own custom setups using the 108 on-board sounds. 

With your bespoke kit loaded, drummers are free to practice rudiments, jam along to music on their smart device via the aux input, or explore the module’s exhaustive training tools, including 40 drum patterns to learn and play along with. The lightweight aluminium tubing of the adjustable rack makes the kit a breeze to set up and move into place.

6. Yamaha DD-75

Drum anywhere without taking up space

Specifications

Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare/cymbal pads, 2x controller pedals
Kits: 75
Sounds: 570
Connections: Phones, aux-in, MIDI in/out, line out

Reasons to buy

+
Responsive rubber pads
+
Massive choice of sounds
+
Space-saving

Reasons to avoid

-
No training functions

If you lack the space, or your child isn’t quite big enough for a full-size electronic drum set just yet, a compact kit like the DD-75 from Yamaha is a great entry point into the world of percussion. And it’s portable, too. While it won’t feel like a full kit, the position of the eight rubber pads introduces new players to the layout of a drum set, while two supplied pedals take care of bass drum and hi-hat control. 

Pads are responsive enough that most techniques can be played on them. The DD-75 has its own module of sorts, loaded with 75 pre-configured kits and 570 sounds which can be assigned to the pads – being Yamaha (makers of some of the best Yamaha electronic drum sets) sounds are mostly of great quality. The unit comes with a pair of sticks too, so it's ready to rock right from the box.

7. Alesis Compact Kit 7

Kickstart their drumming journey without breaking the bank

Specifications

Pads: 7x rubber toms/snare/cymbal pads, 2x controller pedals
Kits: 45
Sounds: 265
Connections: USB MIDI, phones, aux-in

Reasons to buy

+
Budget-friendly
+
Loads of playalong tracks
+
Battery or AC powered

Reasons to avoid

-
Clunky controls

Alesis’ take on the compact kit concept delivers fewer sounds and seven rather than the eight velocity sensitive pads found on the Yamaha DD-75, but for a snip of the price. That doesn’t make it any less of a viable electronic drum set for kids, though. Playing along to songs is a great way for young drummers to get comfortable with timing and locking in with other instruments, and for that the Alesis is ideal. 

On-board are 100 jam tracks of varying styles and lengths, a metronome and even the facility to record a performance so players can revisit and assess their drumming. There are plenty of percussion sound offerings too and pads can be played with hands so there’s fun to be had by the whole family. The icing on the cake is that the Alesis Compact Kit can be powered by 6 C class batteries, making it a truly portable machine.

Best electronic drum sets for kids: Buying advice

Young girl holding pink drumsticks plays an electronic drum set

(Image credit: Getty/Elena Degano / EyeEm)

How do kid’s electronic drum sets work? 

Why you can trust MusicRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

A starter electronic drum set consists of a series of rubber or mesh trigger pads, representing tom toms, snare drum, cymbals and bass drum. Pads are mounted to a rack, along with bass drum and hi-hat pedals on the floor. Everything connects to a module which contains a selection of sounds which trigger each time a pad is struck with a drumstick.

Because the sounds are simulations as opposed to real noises, they need some form of amplification in order to be heard. As such, headphones for drummers are the best choice for kids; although a personal electronic drum amplifier can also be used for those who want to play out live and loud.

Sounds are housed on a drum module (or 'brain'). Most modules come with pre-configured kits aimed at different genres of music. Some modules also feature slots for 'user kits' so the player can create their own custom kits mixing and matching the sounds on-board the module.

What comes with a kid’s electronic drum set?

When you’re buying your first beginner electronic drum set, almost everything usually comes in the box. That means the kit itself - including pads and the rack - plus hi-hat and bass drum pedals and a pair of drumsticks. If you’re lucky, a pair of headphones may also be bundled. The one thing you won’t get is a drum throne, which you’ll need to budget for on top.

Do these e-kits come with educational tools? 

Most electronic drum set modules - especially those aimed squarely at kids - will offer developmental tools to help direct those first 20 or so hours of practice. Such training programs will focus on precision and timing; two fundamentals of drumming. The essential metronome will be there to give a steady hand to keep young players in time. You’ll also often find built-in backing tracks to jam with, plus smartphone connectivity for playing along to songs on Spotify, YouTube or other streaming services.

Man and girl both site next to each other behind electronic drum sets

(Image credit: Roland)

Does my child need a full-size electronic drum kit?

In an ideal world, the answer is yes. The best way for a child to get used to the layout of a drum set is to experience the real thing from the word go. If you’re concerned about the kit being too big to begin with, it’s worth noting that electronic drum sets feature plenty of adjustment options for both the rack system and pad positioning, so you can set everything up close at hand when your child is first starting out, then move them further away as they grow.

Many of the full kits featured in this guide are also designed to be compact, as well as foldable, so they can be tucked away in a corner or moved from room to room. 

If space really is an issue, you might want to consider a compact desktop kit. First and foremost it is important to note that these don’t do the proper job of getting a child used to the way a drum kit is ergonomically laid out; since they are flat pads as opposed to a full kit. If this doesn’t bother you, or even if you are looking at introducing your child to percussion as opposed to full kit drumming, definitely keep this option open.  

What is a good age for kids to start learning the drums?

In short: as soon as they express more than a passing interest. If your child is tapping away on their leg whenever they hear a catchy rhythm, perhaps it would be a good idea to see if they enjoy transferring this to drumsticks and one of the kits listed in this guide. For some kids this might be age four, others age 12. It really depends on when they’re inspired and what inspires them.

One scroll through YouTube will show you that there are kids around the world, of all different ages, who have a passion for the drums. What this highlights is that there is no “right age” per-se, to begin learning the drums. Only that when a child does show a level of interest, it would be a very good idea to nurture this as early as possible.

Alesis Nitro Mesh mesh head close up with a pair of ProMark drum sticks

(Image credit: Future)

Where should kids start when learning the drums? 

At the early stage, having fun is the most important element of learning the drums. If it’s not fun, they won’t stick with it for long. Playing along to songs via Spotify and YouTube, or the backing track supplied on your module, is a great way to engage with the drums – and it’s super easy to connect a smart device via the mix-in connection that comes as standard on every e-kit module. This could start as simply as aiming to match the snare drum hits in a song (a band like AC/DC and their drummer Phil Rudd are a great starting point), before building up to introduce the bass drum and hi-hats as their coordination improves. 

Another area that kids should learn in tandem with this is rudiments. These are the building blocks of rhythm, and practicing these will help drummers train certain muscles and help them feel more natural behind the kit. They could start with something as simple as a 4/4 metronome going at 90BPM, and hitting alternating sticks between left and right hands on the snare drum pad in time with every beat. From here they can branch out into double strokes with each hand, before exploring more complex rudiments like the paradiddle. 

From here we would recommend utilising the basic training programs included on most modules to improve time-keeping and accuracy. The more of this they do, the more they will be able to jam with music (and other people!). Of course, all of this can be done even more effectively under the watchful eye of a qualified drum teacher.

At this entry-level the quality of sounds, hardware and pad response won’t match more expensive electric kits that boast mesh heads and more powerful modules, however the options in this guide represent an accessible, affordable and feature-packed starting point for budding drummers.

Man in purple jumper plays a black electronic drum set

(Image credit: Getty/Daisy-Daisy)

Which brands make the best e-kits for children?

There are countless kid’s electronic drum sets online, but not all are created equal. The child-friendly options from brands like Alesis, Roland and Yamaha are a great place to start if you’re looking for a respected name with a strong pedigree from child to pro level. Other brands worth exploring include Millenium, Digital Drums and Simmons.

How much should I spend on an electronic drum set for my child?

You don’t have to spend a huge amount to get yourself a quality electronic drum set for kids. As evidenced in this guide, spend between $250/£199 and you’ll get your hands on a perfectly functional e-kit with basic versions of all the features you’d want at this level. Push your budget a little more and you’ll be into the realms of well-known brands like Alesis. 

Naturally the more you spend, the better the hardware and the more impressive and realistic you’ll find the sounds on the module. Push your budget up to around $/£500 and you’ll be able to get your hands on a kit bearing the Roland name - now you’re in serious e-kit territory.

If these figures are well out of your price range, a desktop kit like the Alesis Compact Kit 7 is a more cost-effective introduction to drumming. However, you may find it will need upgrading to a full kit sooner, so could be a false economy.

How we test kid's electronic drum sets

The MusicRadar electronic drum set review process is editorially independent and not influenced by any third parties. Our review samples are almost always sourced directly from the manufacturer or via a local distributor. Sometimes review samples are supplied by retailers. 

Our expert e-kit testers use each featured kit for at least two weeks, evaluating the instrument in the following categories:

  • Ease of use/setup
  • Sounds
  • Build quality and durability
  • Connectivity
  • Other features

This enables us to produce accurate, well-balanced and real-life kid's electronic drum set reviews to help you easily figure out whether the kit you’re interested in really is the best choice for you.

Our testing criteria in detail:

  • Ease of use/setup: How easy is the kit to construct out of the box? Once built, how easily can the kit be adjusted to fit the setup needs of the average drummer? Is the module user-friendly?
  • Sounds: What level of quality are the supplied sounds? We’re not necessarily looking at quantity here. A large number of sounds is often an attempt to cover up a lack of quality. We’re also looking at the variety of sounds on offer, and the level of editing functionality for those sounds.
  • Build quality and durability: Here we assess the physical feel of the pads/cymbals and the response of the playing surfaces. Are the components - such as wing screws, cymbal arms, ball and socket joints, module mounts - of an adequate quality and designed to last?
  • Connectivity: How easy is it to connect pads to the module? Is there an opportunity for expansion with more pads? Is there also USB/MIDI connectivity for recording?
  • Features: What additional features come complete with the kit or module and how well do they work? For example, many e-kits now feature Bluetooth connectivity, but how reliable is it and how easy is the connection process? Is it possible to add your own sounds to the module? If so, how easy is this process?

Our testing team includes:

  • Expert reviewers with years of hands-on experience testing and owning a wide range of electronic drum sets and with a deep understanding of e-kit technology as it has evolved.
  • Industry professionals who have worked in the drum/music industry for decades, including Editor positions for leading drumming magazines and websites. Some of our reviewers are also drum teachers.

Read more about how we test music making gear and services at MusicRadar.

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. It's my job to manage the buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear and the best prices. I'm a guitarist and a drummer and I've worked in the music gear industry for 18 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance writer working with many of the world's biggest musical instrument brands including the likes of Roland, Boss, MusicRadar and Natal.

With contributions from