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Best Beginner Electronic Drum Kits: Smashing Choices

Best Beginner Electronic Drum Kits: Smashing Choices

Learn to play the drums without waking the neighbours

If you decide to take up the drums, you may find that starting out with an acoustic kit is simply not viable, whether it's due to noise constraints, space constraints or even budget. Thankfully, we've put together the best beginner electronic drum kits that are designed for beginners to play through headphones, that takes up very little room, and definitely don’t require a huge financial investment.

Benefits of an electronic drum kit

Acoustic kits, although they sound awesome, can be very loud, take up an awful lot of space and be a little daunting (or annoying) for some as everyone down the street can hear everything you’re trying to play. Learning can be a little awkward sometimes if you’re nervous about people hearing your mistakes, but even though that shouldn’t put you off, being able to isolate the sounds and play the drums via some headphones make electronic kits a good choice for the beginner who wants to be able to practice any time day or night.

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Practise makes perfect

Remember, as a drummer our job is to make everyone sound good. You can have a great drummer with a terrible band, but if you have a bad drummer, it doesn’t matter how good the band is, the whole thing will sound terrible. So, there’s a lot of responsibility when it comes to playing the drums - which is probably why you’ll find drummers practice all the time to get their timing right, build up their stamina and hone their skills. Practice makes perfect, but unfortunately hitting an 18-inch kick drum in the middle of the night won't be warmly received by the person who lives next door to you. Therefore, the electronic kit is a great way to practice on and of course, learn with.

There are plenty of electronic drum kit options out there and picking one can be tough if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, if you plan on becoming the next Dave Grohl, Samantha Maloney, Sheila E or Travis Barker, we're here to help.

Our top choices to get you started

We’ve compiled a list of the best beginner electronic drum kits to get you started:

  1. Carlsbro CS D100
  2. Alesis Turbo Mesh
  3. Carlsbro CS D120 Compact
  4. Carlsbro CS D400 Full Mesh
  5. Alesis Surge Mesh

1. Carlsbro CS D100

image of an electronic drum kit

Carlsbro has decades of experience in crafting professional-level digital percussion. When it comes to an affordable, high-quality electronic kit for beginners it doesn't get better than the Carlsbro CS D100.

Built around a solid and reliable rack system, the hardware feels stable and responsive to encourage new drummers to play with enthusiasm. The telescopic frame is height-adjustable to suit players of all ages, and the kit is supplied with all necessary mounting hardware and cables to get you up and running are in the box.

The CSD 100 is a 7-piece kit that includes a dual-zone snare pad, which enables you to assign different sounds to the centre of the snare and the rim. There's an upright kick drum pad and kick drum pedal, hi-hat and hi-hat pedal, crash and ride cymbal pads, and a trio of tom pads.

The brains at the core of the kit is the Commander 100 sound module, which boasts a generous collection of drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments for you to get to grips with. With 10 preset kits, 108 percussion voices, and 10 demo songs that are ready and waiting, all you need to do is switch on the sound module and go for it.

CS D100 Specs

  • 1 × Commander 100 Sound Module
  • 1 × 7” Snare pad
  • 3 × 7” Tom pads
  • 1 × 8” Hi-hat cymbal
  • 1 × 8” Crash cymbal
  • 1 × 8” Dual-zone ride cymbal
  • 1 × Bass kick pedal
  • 1 × Hi-hat controller pedal
  • 1 × Height adjustable 4-legged drum rack
  • 1 × Pair of drum sticks

SHOP Carlsbro CS D100

SHOP Carlsbro CS D100 Exclusive Bundle including headphones and drum stool

2. Alesis Turbo Mesh

image of an electronic drum kit

The Alesis Turbo Mesh electronic drum kit offers Alesis' famed mesh-head technology at an affordable price for beginners to get stuck into. The hardware is as solid as they come, whilst the mesh heads offer a more comfortable and realistic feel than that of a typical rubber pad. Therefore, drummers can develop technique on a more consistent and responsive kit. You can consistently pound away for hours on this kit without noticing.

Realistic playing feel

The ride and crash cymbals feature "choke detection" so that you can grab the cymbal after hitting it to bring the sound to a sudden end - just as you would with an acoustic cymbal. The snare is equipped with Alesis' single-zone technology to enable rim-shots and powerstrokes to be sounded out with absolute clarity.

Practical Sound Collection

Rather than fill the Turbo Mesh kit module with a daunting amount of sounds to go through, there are 10 practical and ready-to-use kits with 120 drum and cymbal sounds in total. As the kit if fully USB/MIDI compatible, you can connect directly to your computer to play along with your DAW of choice - or any other piece of musical equipment for that matter.

If you want to practise into the wee hours then the headphone output allows you to keep things nice and quiet. Want to play along to your favourite tracks? Simple connect your external sound source - CD players, MP3 player, Phone, etc. - to the stereo input and you're good to go.

Learn in style

For those who are picking up the sticks for the first time, the Alesis Turbo Mesh features 30 built-in songs that help you develop your dynamics and timing skills in a fun and easy to follow way. The interface is delightfully intuitive so that you aren't befuddled by a plethora of buttons and dials. The easy-to-read LED display and control panel keeps you on top of things.

SHOP Alesis Turbo Mesh

SHOP Alesis Turbo Mesh Exclusive Bundle including headphones and drum stool

3. Carlbro CS D120 Compact

image of an electronic drum kit

The Carlsbro CS D120 Compact offer the superb build quality, playability, and sound engine that we've come to expect from the British manufacturer. Pouring all of their expertise into crafting a masterful kit that is great for getting beginners up and running, the CS D120 kit provides acclaimed technology at an affordable price.

The 8-piece kit features pads with “Real Feel” touch that is extremely close to an acoustic kit, due to the specially selected Silica/rubber, chosen for all CDS models by professional drummers. Snare drum Pad is dual-zone, allowing open/closed rim-shots, plus dual Chokeable Cymbals. The CSD120 has a foot trigger bass drum pedal and has been designed with apartment users in mind as vibration is cut to a minimum. 

The Commander 120 sound module is home to 10 user drum kits, 20 preset drum kits, 250 voices and reverb effect. You can also play along using your smartphone, mp3 player or tablet via the aux jack. Midi in/out is not often seen on kits at this price point is an additional feature. 

image of a folded electronic drum kit

Designed to fit into any space, Carlsbro has made the CS D120 as compact as possible, which is perfect if you're looking for a kit that will slot into the corner of a bedroom, study, apartment, etc. The rack is light yet very stable, allowing it to be folded complete for easy storage and transportation. 

CS D120 Specs

  • 1 × Commander 120 Sound Module
  • 1 × 7.5” Dual-zone Snare pad
  • 3 × 7.5” Single-zone Tom pads
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone Hi-hat cymbal pad
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone crash cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone ride cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 × Bass pedal
  • 1 × Hi-hat controller pedal
  • 1 × Ultra-compact, portable 3-legged drum rack with all mounting hardware and invisible cabling
  • Includes drum key and cable management strips
  • Drumsticks included


CS D130 Specs

  • 1 × Commander 130 Sound Module
  • 1 × 2” bass pad with a kick pedal
  • 1 × 7.5” Dual-zone Snare pad
  • 3 × 7.5” Single-zone Tom pads
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone Hi-hat cymbal pad
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone crash cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 × 10” Single-zone ride cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 × Hi-hat controller pedal
  • 1 × Ultra-compact, portable 3-legged drum rack with all mounting hardware and invisible cabling
  • Includes drum key and cable management strips
  • Drumsticks included


4. Carlsbro CS D400 Full Mesh

image of an electronic drum kit

The Carlsbro CS D400 Full Mesh kit is an 8-Piece Electronic mesh head Kit comprises of the Commander 400 sound module, five mesh drum pads (1 x 8” Bass pad with kick pedal, 1 x 10“ dual-zone snare and 3 x 8” dual-zone toms), three cymbals (1 x 10“ single-zone Hi-hat,2x 10” Single-zone crash and ride cymbals with choke) features 12 user-defined drum kits, 29 preset drum kits, 358 quality percussion voices 20 demo songs 3 band EQ, 2 reverb settings.

This electronic drum kit should definitely be on your list to try out. Designed for both beginners and intermediates alike, and a very budget-friendly option you could even gig with.

Carlsbro CS D400 SPECS

  • 1 x Commander 400 Sound Module
  • 1 x 8″ Mesh Bass drum pad with bass kick pedal
  • 1 x 10″ Mesh Dual-zone Snare pad and rim shot
  • 3 x 8″ Mesh Dual-zone Tom pads
  • 1 x 10″ Single-zone Hi-hat cymbal pad
  • 1 x 10″ Single-zone crash cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 x 10″ Single-zone ride cymbal pad with choke
  • 1 x Hi-hat controller pedal
  • 1 x Sturdy 4-legged drum rack
  • Mounting hardware
  • Drumsticks and Drumstick clip holder included

SHOP Carlsbro CS D400

5. Alesis Surge Mesh

image of an electronic drum kit

Next up is the superb Alesis Surge Mesh kit. This 8-piece slice of pure genius offers incredible value for money for everyone from beginner to pro.

Play like a pro

The 10-inch mesh snare boasts dual-zone technology, which means that the pad and rim can trigger different sounds for greater expression during performances. Not only that but each of the toms also feature dual-zone technology too.

Alesis' mesh technology within the Surge kit affords excellent accent control to ensure that your rudiments are executed with absolute precision. The thin rubber hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals all feature choke-detection to ensure that your playing experience is as joyous as possible.

Packed with kits

The Alesis Surge is home to 40 ready-to-play kits that have been sampled exquisitely. Altogether there are 385 voices to play with taking you from stadium-filling rock kits, tight as a nut studio kits, EDM kits for uptempo grooves, and so much more. Speaking of the metronome, there's one built-in to keep you on track no matter what. To be fair, it goes from 30 to 280 bpm, which should offer more than speed for you to be getting on with.

Play your way

Thanks to built-in USB/MIDI connectivity you can connect directly to your DAW of choice for recording at home or in the studio with ease. For times when you want to practise in silence or simply shut out the outside world and play to your heart's content, there's a stereo headphone output so that you can do just that.

Each Alesis Surge kit is supplied with drum sticks and drum key, along with all hardware required to get you up and running. All you need is a stool and you're good to go.

SHOP Alesis Surge Mesh

Get in touch

So, there you have it, our list of the best electronic drum kits for beginners that will really help you learn this awesome instrument at your own pace without costing you a fortune.

As always you can check out our extensive collection of Electronic Drum Kits over at the Dawsons website. If you would prefer to get your hands on something then head to your local Dawsons Music store, and our instore specialists will be more than happy to help.

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For more information on the tech behind the kit, read here to find out "How do electronic drums work?".

To beef up your knowledge, check out "10 Essential Drum Rudiments" from pro drummer and Jake Bugg's stickman, Jack Atherton.

Product recap

Quick recap of the products highlighted in the article:

Start Playing Now With Rock On! Music Academy

If you're just beginning your music career then Ben Scott Drums / Rock On! Music Academy has you covered with a series of drum lessons that will take you from beginner to pro in no time!

Dawsons Music & Sound Stores

Visit your nearest Dawsons Music & Sound Store where our in-house specialists can guide you through the decision-making process.

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