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The 9 best electronic drum sets for kids 2021: top child-friendly electric drum kits

The 9 best electronic drum sets for kids 2021: top child-friendly electric drum kits
(Image credit: Roland)

An electronic drum set is ideal for budding drummers taking their first steps with the instrument, and with the trickle down of top features from high-end electronic kits, the best electronic drum sets for kids have become far more advanced, inspiring and fun to play than ever before.

Learning the drums is majorly gratifying, particularly for kids and learner drummers. Hit a drum pad and it makes a sound, and most people can pick up a basic drum beat with ease. However, acoustic drum kits are extremely noisy, so a parent- and neighbour-friendly electric drum set with a set of headphones is the ideal choice.

Best electronic drum sets for kids: buying advice

For the uninitiated, a starter electronic drum set consist of a series of rubber 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. Sounds can be heard either through headphones or a separate amplifier.

Many electronic drum set modules also offer developmental tools such as training programs, a metronome to help with timekeeping, built-in backing tracks to jam with plus smartphone connectivity for playing along to songs on Spotify, YouTube or other streaming services.

If space is an issue, you may want to consider a compact desktop drum kit rather than a full-size kit. These one-piece setups are ideal for introducing kids to the layout of a drum set and learning simple beats. However, they may quickly want to progress to a full-size e-kit so could prove to be a false economy.

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.

Now let's take a look at the top pick of electronic drum sets for kids from big names likes Yamaha, Roland, Alesis and beyond.

The best electronic drum sets for kids available today

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1. Yamaha DTX402K electronic drum set

Hands-down the best electronic drum set for kids

Launch price: $493/£376/€436 | Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare, 3x cymbals, 1x bass drum tower, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal | Kits: 10 | Sounds: 287 | Connections: USB, aux-in, stereo headphone output

Wide selection of quality sounds
Excellent training functions
Enhanced with app-connectivity
Limited tom positioning options

Yamaha’s DTX402 series is aimed squarely at young and first-time drummers. There are three kits in the 402 line-up, but the 402K is the cheapest in the range and offers plenty to help newbies master their first beats and develop their playing. The kit features a sturdy rack plus quiet, natural-feeling drum and cymbal pads. The DTX402 module is packed with 287 expressive drum and percussion sounds, 128 keyboard sounds, 10 customisable kits and nine reverb types. 

In addition, aspiring players will find multi-genre playalongs, recording functionality and ten training tools to boost timing, speed and expression. The DTX402 is also compatible with Yamaha’s free DTX402 Touch app (iOS/Android), which enables deeper kit customisation, additional playing challenges and rewards as players progress.

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2. Roland TD-1K

Up your budget and kickstart your drumming journey with Roland

Launch price: $537/£409/€475 | Pads: 3x rubber toms, 1x mesh snare, 3x cymbals, 1x beaterless bass drum pedal, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal | Kits: 15 | Connections: Headphone output, aux input, USB to computer

Roland products have a strong reputation
Independent bass drum and hi-hat pedals
Cool coaching functions
T-shaped rack is sturdy but limits positioning

The TD-1K 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 rubber pads for toms and snare, choke-able dual-zone crash and ride cymbal pads, and a hi-hat pad. Spend a little more on the TD1-KV model to bag a mesh-headed, dual-zone snare. The TD-1K features standalone bass drum and hi-hat pedals so they can be positioned where it feels most comfortable. 

On board the sleek module are 15 preset kits of reasonable quality, covering everything from standard acoustic kits, to electronic and percussion set-ups, Roland's Rhythm Coach feature to help beginners boost their playing skills, a metronome and 15 jam tracks. The quality of construction and USB connectivity (for recording or triggering alternative sounds) means this kit won't be outgrown in a hurry.

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3. Alesis DM Lite electronic drum set

A great looking electronic drum kit for kids that grows with the drummer

Launch price: $300/£229/€266 | Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare, 3x cymbals, 1x beaterless bass drum pedal, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal | Kits: 10 | Sounds: 200+ | Connections: 1/4" main left and right outputs, 1/8" stereo headphone output, 1/8" aux input, USB MIDI port

Visually striking
Stable four-post rack
Alesis has a strong reputation in the e-kit world
Not a huge selection of sounds

The DM Lite is the most stylish looking electronic drum set here, from the sleek module and height-adjustable four-post rack that enables drummers to customise their setup, to the LEDs inside each blue drum and cymbal that light up when the pad is struck. Aside from the performance-ready looks, there’s plenty of other features to entice kids to splash out. 

On-board coaching functions provide exercises and challenges to help boost time keeping and other essential drumming skills, while USB connectivity makes it easy to link the DM Lite with a computer for recording or triggering virtual instruments. There are only 10 kits on-board the module, but there’s enough variety to cover most popular genres and 30 built-in backing tracks are great to jam with.

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4. TourTech TT12S

Quality build and features collide on this ace entry-level electronic drum set

Launch price: $261/£199/€231 | Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare, 1x bass drum and hi-hat pedal, 3x cymbals | Kits: 30 | Sounds: 250 | Connections: 2x 1/4" TRS Jack Line Master Outputs, CD/MP3 aux input, USB/MIDI, MIDI in/out, stereo line/headphone outputs

Sturdy pad and rack construction
A range of quality sounds
Might be outgrown by bigger kids

TourTech has recently emerged as one of the key players when it comes to well-built, affordable entry-level and mid-range electronic drum sets, designed to last far beyond the first few drum lessons. On the TT12S, five rubber tom and cymbal pads feature velocity sensitivity, meaning they will react dynamically to expressive playing while the snare drum offers dual zones, so players can trigger two distinct sounds from the same pad – think a traditional snare sound plus a cool cross-stick tone, for example. 

The module delivers 30 kits (20 preset, 10 user-defined) giving drummers plenty of sound options. A boon at this level, pad sensitivity and crosstalk can also be tweaked to the drummer's liking. If you're just starting out you'll will most likely be jamming along to your favourite tunes, so 20 built-in backing tracks should come in handy, or you can plug a device into the aux input and plumb the depths of Spotify for inspiration. Multiple adjustment points mean pads can be positioned for playing comfort and the sturdy rack folds neatly when practice is over.

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5. Digital Drums 400 e-kit

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

Launch price: $236/£180/€209 | 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

Sleek, contemporary module
Loads of coaching functions
Lightweight construction
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.

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6. Yamaha DD-75

Drum anywhere without taking up space

Launch price: $236/£180/€209 | Pads: 4x rubber toms/snare/cymbal pads, 2x controller pedals | Kits: 75 | Sounds: 570 | Connections: Phones, aux-in, MIDI in/out, line out

Responsive rubber pads
Massive choice of sounds
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 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.

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7. Alesis Compact Kit 7

Kickstart their drumming journey without breaking the bank

Launch price: $168/£128/€148 | Pads: 7x rubber toms/snare/cymbal pads, 2x controller pedals | Kits: 45 | Sounds: 265 | Connections: USB MIDI, phones, aux-in

Loads of playalong tracks
Battery or AC powered
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.

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8. Cahaya Roll Up Electronic Drum Kit

A great, child-friendly introduction to drum sounds and basic beats

Launch price: $47/£36/€41 | Pads: 7x pads, 2x controller pedals | Kits: 1 | Connections: USB, phones, aux-in

Super cheap
Could be outgrown fast

This kit takes the compact electronic drum set concept to a whole other level. Offering the same layout of strikeable pads as the Alesis, plus hi-hat and bass drum pedals, the desktop Cahaya can be rolled up neatly in between practice sessions and takes up practically no space when stowed. While stick response won’t be nearly as good as the rubber pads of other kits listed here, it serves as a fun introduction to the world of drumming and is capable enough to help beginner drummers grasp their first beats. 

Pads can be played with either sticks or hands and there isn’t any noticeable interference of cross talk when playing multiple pads at once. Sounds are limited but functional and audio can be played through speakers, or headphones if you want a quieter life. There are two options to power the device: micro USB or 2x AAA batteries.

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9. Drum and Beats Drum Kit

This fun-packed electronic drum kit could inspire a future Dave Grohl

Launch price: $59/£45/€52 | Pads: 2x pads, 2x cymbals, 1x bass drum pedal | Connections: phones, aux-in

Looks like a real kit
Plenty of features to keep kids occupied
Noisy plastic pads
Limited sounds

The Drum and Beats Kit is aimed at kids aged three and above. Unless your toddler is performing complex rolls and fills, this kit is the perfect starting point to introduce them to the idea of drumming. The kit comprises two plastic drum pads, two cymbals and a bass drum that lights up when struck for added fun-factor. There’s loads to occupy kids with the Drum and Beats Kit: they can record their playing, learn basic rhythms and timekeeping and play along to upbeat backing tracks. 

If they have a favourite song it’s easy to connect a phone or mp3 player and jam along via built-in speakers or through headphones. The kit also comes complete with a stool and sticks. There’s plenty of fun to be had with the Drum and Beats Kit and it could be the spark that starts a future rock star on their journey towards a full-sized electric or acoustic drum set.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce/Deals Editor, I play drums (and guitar, badly) and I've worked in the music gear industry for 16 years. I manage all buyer's guides on the site and it's my sole purpose to help musicians find the right gear and the best prices.