10 Of The Best Drum Brands In The World

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Whether you’re a beginner and buying your first drum set or an expert looking for a new set to practice with, knowing the best set to choose from can make all the difference.

But with so many brands to choose from and many factors to consider—from a four-piece kit to a seven-piece, or single bass or double bass—finding one suitable for your needs can be daunting.

That’s why here, we’ve listed 10 of the best drum brands for you to go over, and hopefully find something you like. Let’s get started.

1. Tama

Japanese musical company Hoshino Gakki manufactures the world-renown TAMA drums. They have a long history of making quality drums since 1961 and are the inventor of octobans, or tube toms.

The TAMA Imperialstar is one of their most popular 6-piece drum set options. It includes the basic kit—bass drum, tom toms, floor toms, snare drum—hardware, and cymbals.

TAMA drums are known for their state-of-the-art, durable hardware and drum shells for long-lasting music. Its affordable price is most attractive to beginner drummers, though more experienced players still gravitate to their drums.

2. Yamaha 

This list cannot be complete with Yamaha, one of the most well-known companies to manufacture musical instruments. From pianos to flutes to drums—they have it all.

Yamaha USA Drums was founded in 1967. They manufacture acoustic and electronic drum kits, as well as drum hardware, marching band equipment, and other percussion instruments. Their headquarters is located in Hamamatsu, Japan, with branches worldwide.

The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Shell Pack is one of their most popular 5-piece drum set options. These drums sound better than others that cost double the price.

The set comes with a pair of rack toms, a floor tom, snare drum, and bass drum to give you the whole experience of playing a set. All Yamaha drum kits are designed with perfect craftsmanship, value, and quality.

3. Sonor

One of the oldest percussion companies in the world, Sonor is a family-owned brand founded in 1875. With headquarters in Bad Berleburg, Germany., they have dedicated themselves to making the highest possible quality percussion instruments.

The Sonor AQX Jungle 4-piece Shell Pack is one of their popular 4-piece drum set options. This particular set is lightweight for drummers ready and willing to take their drums on the road. The affordable shells have a depth range between 6 and 15 inches, along with a diameter ranging between 10 and 16 inches.

4. Pearl

Formally known as Pearl Musical Instrument Company, Pearl Drum is headquartered in Chiba, Japan, after being founded by Katsumi Yanagisawa in 1946. They also have facilities in Nashville, Tennessee.

One of the best-known kits from Pearl is the Export EXX725S/C 5-piece drum set that includes the snare drum. This includes a bass drum pedal and three cymbals. This series comes with excellent hardware and a professional finishing at a relatively affordable price.

Aside from drum sets, you can find a variety of other percussion instruments from Pearl, as well as hardware and accessories.

5. Gretsch 

For over 130 years, Gretsch Drums has been providing drummers with great sound. Friedrich Gretsch founded the company in Brooklyn, New York. He changed the history of drums by inventing the first warp-free drum hoop.

Years later, he would create the first multi-ply shells for his drums that would give that deep quality sound Gretsch drums are sought for.

If you’re looking for some top-quality Gretsch drums, our recommendation would be the Catalina Maple CM1-E826P. It is a 7-piece shell pack with snare drum. Catalina Maple drums have warm colors that give a more expensive look to these affordable drum kits.

6. Mapex 

From the acronym Music And Percussion EXcellence, we have Mapex. This is a Taiwanese-based musical instruments brand established by KHS Musical Instruments in 1989.

Mapex is one of the younger drum brands; however, they have stunning features that you don’t typically see on higher-end brands. The Mapex Armory series, for instance, has toms that mount to the cymbal stands rather than the bass drum. This craftsmanship is standard in their lower-priced sets.

The Armory 6-piece Studioease Fast Shell Pack is one of their most popular kits. With a fusion of maple wood and birch, this set delivers unparalleled sound worthy of concerts.

7. DW 

Drum Workshop Inc., better known as DW Drums, began as a drum teaching studio in 1972. Founded by Don Lombardi and John Good, they started making their own drum equipment to cover the costs of their teachings. This lead to finally manufacturing drums.

The first thing that DW drums are known for is the sound due to their pioneer tone enhancer and True-Pitch Tuning System. The second thing is their competitive prices, with sets that can go as low as $1,600.

Pro drummers who might be on a tight budget can go for their DW Performance Series, a 4-piece shell pack with 22-inch bass drum. Their DW Design Series are more suitable for beginner to intermediate players who want quality without breaking the wallet.

8. Ludwig 

Based in the United States, Ludwig Drums was established in 1909. The popularity of these drums wouldn’t be as high as it is now without the legendary Ringo Starr, drummer of the Beatles.

Ringo played on a Ludwig drum set, skyrocketing the brand’s name to fame. Other famous drummers who played on Ludwig drums are from bands such as Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, and Fleetwood Mac. 

Ludwig’s NeuSonic 3-piece shell pack with 22-inch kick is one of this brand’s most popular sellers. The set is lightweight, portable, and perfect for all experience levels. The ultra-thin shells show the high quality of this drum set, providing its unique sound.

9. PDP Drums 

Pacific Drums and Percussion (PDP) was established by the previously mentioned drum company DW Drums in 1999. This merging of companies was to take the craftsmanship of DW’s drums and create more affordable drum kits from PDP drums.

Unlike DW drums, PDP drums are manufactured in China instead of in the United States. Another key feature of their drums is the true-pitch tuning rods and the MAG snare throw-offs that allow people to save money rather than spending a lot on other sets.

The Concept Exotic 5-piece shell pack is the most well-known kit from PDP’s Concept series. This kit is similar to the Yamaha Stage Custom; however, the PDP Concept offers pro-level sounds at an affordable cost.

PDP drums are solid and durable, giving them a longer lifespan than other drum sets. The hardware and manufacturing of these kits are one of their top strengths.

10. Roland 

If you’re looking for a more modern sound rather than traditional, you might consider drums from Roland. Founded in 1997, they are most known for their line of electronic drums, though acoustic sets are also available.

The V-Drums TD-17KVX electronic drum set is the most popular V-drums introduced by Roland. The most technologically advanced presets, including wireless Bluetooth and a built-in sound engine, give first-rate opportunities to build your sound and support your music.

Mesh pads, or heads, of Roland electronic drums give drummers a custom playing response. Weight-optimized cymbals swing and sway like traditional metal ones, giving you the experience of playing on a shell set while allowing optimal controls on the tuning, muffling, and strainer tension.

Summing Up Our List Of Drum Brands 

Drummers always have to pay attention to what equipment they’re buying since the sound of their instrument relies heavily on craftsmanship, not just their own individual skill.

There are many factors to consider when looking into different drum brands. Whether you want an older or newer brand, your drums will represent you and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

We hope this list of brands has helped you in your search for the best drum brand for you. Happy drumming!

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.