Buying one of the best gifts for drummers can be a truly challenging feat. The world of drums and drum accessories is vast, and can be pretty overwhelming at times too - so it's worth asking yourself a few questions before you buy. What exactly do they need? Would they appreciate a novelty gift? Or are they after something a little more meaningful or useful? Then there's the question of whether you want to get them something that's likely to result in excessive noise!
If you want the easy way out when it comes to their next birthday, Christmas or other special occasion, then buying your dad a pair of drumsticks will probably be your answer - but beware. Drumsticks come in all different shapes, sizes and materials with different sized tips and from many different brands. Not just any sticks will do, either. Most drummers have a preferred brand, size and style, so there's still a fair bit of homework to do if you decide to go down this route.
Stuck for ideas? Here's a good place to start. This guide to the best gifts for drummers is full of great ideas - big and small - in three different price brackets to help you seek out the best value possible. We've even thrown in our recommendations for great, affordable acoustic and electronic drum sets.
Whatever your budget, all the products featured here represent great value for money, and would be welcomed by any grateful tub-thumper.
Best gifts for drummers: Under £/$50
Whether you’re playing a gig or about to perform a take in the studio, every drummer needs some of this in their stick bag. A little dab of this could be the difference between a fat, controlled sound and a ringing mess. They’re washable with soap and water too, so you can re-use them time after time.
Aside from your sticks, a drum key should be considered an essential accessory for any drummer. If you’re yet to invest in a serious key, you might as well make it the Rolls Royce of drum keys.
Remo’s QuickTech key feels sturdy and chunky in the hand, helping you make decisive tweaks to your tuning, while the extended height and rubber grip makes life infinitely easier. The ace up the QuickTech’s sleeve is an internal high-pull neodymium magnet to prevent tension rods from rattling or falling.
The QuickTech key, like all drum keys, is quite easy to lose - but thankfully, they're also cheap enough to buy a couple.
It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with anything from Remo if you’re looking to treat the drummer in your life to a gift. Drummers can get a bit anal about their drum head choices as there are so many variables to consider. Thickness, coating, number of plies, brand, size… the list goes on - but we don’t think you can go far wrong with the Remo Emperor.
What you get is a 2-ply coated head, of a medium-heavy weight. This makes it suitable for a vast range of styles, and the durable twin-ply Mylar should be difficult to break, too. The Emperor has been on Remo’s product list for what feels like an eternity, which is testament to how popular it is. If it’s good enough for Tre Cool, Benny Greb, Travis Barker, Taylor Hawkins and many others, then we think the recipient of this gift will be very happy indeed. Just make sure to check the size of the drum this head is going on first!
It’s easy to get set in your ways when it comes to your drum sound. Often we opt for the same tuning, the same heads, the same sticks. But experimenting with your sound is a great way to discover new textures and tones and add some extra spice to your playing.
Vater’s Vintage Bomber bass drum beater is a cheap and easy way to inject additional warmth and depth into your bass drum sound, all thanks to the cork centre and fluffy, sheep-like coating.
There’s nothing more annoying than setting up for a gig and finding that something is loose on your kit. Whether it’s rattling lugs, a troublesome kick pedal or just a head that needs changing, this 10 in 1 Meinl multi-tool will take care of all of your problems.
Meinl have generously equipped this tool with an array of flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, a 7mm socket wrench and many different hex drivers, as well as a trusty drum key. The attached carabiner clip means it’ll always be to hand, when you need it. The only thing it can’t fix for you is a mid-show beer.
Meinl, as well as being one of the world's leading cymbal makers, is always bringing the goods when it comes to accessories and care products. This helpful kit they’ve put together includes both a powerful cymbal cleaner and a protectant, to make sure that you spend more time playing your cymbals, and less time polishing them.
There’s no elbow-grease needed, just spray the cleaner on and wipe it off to restore your cymbals back to their original glory. Meinl also offers a Cymbal Care Kit that includes a polish instead of cleaner, so you don’t have to wait until your prized possessions get filthy to start taking care of them. They even include a rather fetching pair of gloves, to avoid fingerprints.
Best gifts for drummers: From £/$50 to £/$150
A drum practice pad, although maybe not quite as fun as a full kit, is absolutely vital for honing your technique and practicing rudiments. There are loads of sub-par practice pads available, some of which can put you at a big disadvantage when developing your chops.
The main playing surface is made from black neoprene, which, along with looking pretty cool, will help you to build up strength and muscle in your hands and fingers so those crazy blast beats don’t feel so impossible anymore.
Surrounded by a countersunk rim, you can practice other techniques like rimshots without destroying your sticks. The base is covered in a thin non-slip rubber, but this doubles up as a second playing surface for when you’re after a bit more rebound or volume.
The SIH2’s feature a redesigned larger driver in each ear cup for more powerful low end, clean mids and clear highs, so whether you’re playing along to music at home, jamming on your electronic drum set, playing a gig or recording a track, you'll get nothing less than a great sound. And if you're playing for hours, the cups and headband are designed for comfort too.
The original Big Fat Snare Drum dampening pad was a revelation when it launched a few years ago. This simple device rested on your snare drum head and instantly transformed it into a beefy, warm, ‘70s-inspired snare.
No need for permanent tape or wrangling with Moon Gel, this bad boy could be added and removed from song to song. This bundle includes the original 14” snare drum model, plus 10”, 12” and 16" sizes for your toms. You can thank us later.
Continuing the theme of drumming gadgets, this little beaut is the one when it comes to precision tuning. Ok, so using your ears is a fine approach, but if you really want consistent tuning across your drum heads then the Tune-Bot Studio comes highly recommended.
It’s simple to use: clip it to the hoop of each drum and strike the drum head, then the Tune-Bot gives you a measurement either in Hz or as a note. You can use this data to get even tension at every lug and supercharge your drum sound.
As drummers, we’re often told we’re just too darn loud. Playing hard and getting lost in the groove is what we all love to do, but that’s just no good if you can’t hear your metronome over your thunderous playing. That’s where the Pulse comes in - it’s a 50cm diameter wearable metronome that you can wear on your wrist, or even across your body using an optional extra long strap.
The Soundbrenner Pulse vibrates and flashes to help you keep that perfect tempo. You can set the speed by rotating the outer wheel, or tapping the tempo out. It’s even got a slick companion smartphone app, where you can change the LED colour, alter the strength of vibration and sync multiple Pulses together so even your guitarist can stay in time.
Best gifts for drummers: Over £/$150
Zildjian 'L' low volume cymbal models are ideal for low noise-level drumming applications, including practice, tuition or even a quiet gig. Each cymbal featured thousands of tiny perforations which can reduce the volume by around 80 percent - hence the name - without impacting the feel you're used to when playing traditional, full volume cymbals. L80s are available as individual cymbals in a range of sizes, or as sets comprising hi-hats, a crash and a ride.
Read the full Zildjian L80 review
This compact eight-piece kit is actually our number one pick for the best beginner electronic drum sets, and features mesh snare and tom pads for improved feel and response. The budget package is made up of a rubber kick drum pad, dual-zone 8" mesh snare, three single-zone 8" mesh tom pads and three single-zone 10" cymbal pads (one of which has choke functionality for use as a crash).
The module plays host to 40 kits, 385 individual samples that can be used to alter existing kits or create brand new user kits, plus 60 built-in MIDI sequenced playalong tracks. If that's not your bag, drummers can also plug in their smartphone and jam with tracks on Spotify and YouTube.
The applications of this Questlove-approved drum set are almost universal. The compact 16"x14" bass drum, 10"x7" rack tom, 13"x13" floor tom and 14"x5" configuration means it's a great drum set for children or beginners, but equally the small sizes make it great for small club gigs and busking. Included in the package is a riser to lift the bass drum and padded gig bags which double up as mutes. The big question is, how does it sound? The answer is tight, punchy and mightier than its micro size suggests.
Read the full Ludwig Breakbeats review
The EAD10 is a complete system for processing and recording your acoustic drum sound, while layering triggered sounds at the same time – it's one clever piece of kit. It does this via a sensor/microphone unit which performs double duty as a stereo microphone and a bass drum trigger.
The bundled module can be used to add reverb and effects to your acoustic drum sound, in addition to 700 on-board sounds that can be layered over your acoustic sound. It's a powerful device that is a great practice tool, a module for live use, and a quick and easy way of recording yourself, whatever your ability. No wonder it scored 5 stars in our review.
Read the full Yamaha EAD10 review
The TD-1DMK is a fantastic home practice kit, or an excellent choice if you're stepping up from something more basic. Roland makes some of the very best electronic drum sets, so anything from these folks will go down a treat.
The kit comprises an 8" dual-zone mesh snare pad, three 6" single-zone mesh tom pads, three choke-able 10" dual-zone cymbal pads (hi-hat, ride and crash), a hi-hat controller pedal and a bass drum pad. The newly-designed rack system allows for a built-in rubber bass drum trigger pad on the leg, which makes for an even more compact setup. While the TD-1 module is pretty basic, it offers 15 kit presets, playalong tracks and an aux-in and USB/MIDI for playing along to outside sources or connecting your kit to a computer.
Read the full Roland TD-1DMK review
The Pearl Export is the best-selling drum kit of all time, and one of the all-time best beginner drum sets - giving drummers the world over the best introduction to percussion. Therefore, if the ultimate drummer's gift for you is a new kit, the Export should be on your list. While it would be easy to sit on their laurels, Pearl has continually updated and enhanced the original winning formula.
The Export is available in a number of guises and configurations, including your choice of wrap or high gloss lacquer finishes. Shells are loud and resonant, hardware is reliable and adjustable and, most importantly, these kits won't break the bank. 30 years on, they're still going strong.
Read the full Pearl Export Series kit review