Top 10 Best Drum Brands

The Top Ten
1 Pearl

I have been using Pearl drums for many years, and they are hands down one of the best drum kits I have ever played on. From the shell of the drums to the high-end quality of the sound that is coming out of the drums, there is no other drum company that even comes close to comparison. I have used many other drum companies, and it's just not the same as Pearl drums! I would recommend Pearl to any drummer who wants great looks, well-made drums to stand the test of time, high-end quality sound, and just overall the craftsmanship and the amount of time and effort put in to truly make the best in class drums... no question asked!

2 DW Drums

All the other companies make great gear. However, the attention to detail that goes into every DW drum kit is what makes the difference. John Good has come up with some amazing ways to get drums to sound the way everyone wants them to.

They are very pricey (my new 7-piece, drums only, comes to $5,000 - and I got a screaming deal). But I believe the quality is unmatched. I have owned one Yamaha kit, two Pacific kits (PDP), and a Taye kit. I am super stoked about my newest adventure.

Like I said, the other companies on this list make great gear too, just not as "perfect" as DW in my opinion. I spent months looking for a new kit. DW came out on top, but a close second were Mapex and Tama. Third was the Yamaha PHX, and fourth was Gretsch. Pearl and Yamaha kits were further down the line.

Pearl has always seemed "mass-produced" to me, and so does a huge portion of the Yamaha line. While I know people will tout the Pearl Master Series, I had a friend who owned a set. Even though he had them tuned well, there was still a feeling of "mass production" to me. They were nice drums, very nice by today's standards. I just didn't feel that the quality surpassed other kits. When you hold a DW drum and then hold another drum, I think you can feel the difference in quality.

3 Ludwig

I remember my father coming home with a champagne sparkle 1969 Ludwig. At first, I didn't like the set because of the look. Being a kid of the '80s, it didn't seem to fit the style of music I wanted to play. But when I started picking up on rudiments and technique better, the set became the grounding force in the beginnings of my drum playing.

Later on, I remember trading my set and getting a Mapex Saturn series drum set, which only lasted a couple of years until it fell apart on me! Thirty years later, I've come full circle and bought a Ludwig Keystone champagne sparkle set with a 13-inch rack, 24-inch bass drum, 16-inch floor tom, and 18-inch floor tom with a 402 14" x 6.5" snare.

In all the drums I've owned through the years, ranging from Yamaha to DW to Tama as well as Mapex, I can say in my heart Ludwig will always have an iconic sound that no other drum can duplicate!

4 Tama

Tama is unmatched and the best, with DW coming in a strong second. Tama drums have the best sound quality, durability, and longevity, all at a competitive price. They're easy to tune too.

Tama and DW sound a lot alike in my opinion, but the price is very different. Whole paycheck DW's versus half paycheck Tama's. The bottom line is you're getting your money's worth out of both kits, no doubt about that. Really, it's whatever your preference is, but mine has always been TAMA = BEST and always will be. They're the king of drums!

5 Sonor Drums

Man, Sonor is so underrated. Their kits sound so nice, and the people put so much effort into making the drums and are so passionate. The quality has to be higher than any other brand. I recently watched Sonor's Prolite video on YouTube, with two guys touring the factory and playing the drums. The video shows how much more effort is put into an individual drum than many other drums.

The high-end Sonor drums sound nicer than any high-end drums from brands like DW, Pearl, Tama, etc., in my opinion. Sonor should be number one!

6 Gretsch

I have had many kits over the years, from Pearl to Yamaha to Tama to Ludwig and many others, but none have compared to the sound that Gretsch produces. Their kits are affordable, and the sound is just as good on a cheap Gretsch kit as on an expensive Pearl kit. The shells are some of the best I've had the pleasure of listening to, and their tone is pitch-perfect.

I've talked to many drummers over the years, and most agree that Gretsch is either the best or second-best make ever. Gretsch kits can accommodate any type of music, from jazz to heavy rock. If you're a beginner, I would recommend a Gretsch kit. Their sound quality and feel would welcome a beginner easily. Their German engineering rings true when you hear the mighty beats of a Gretsch kit.


PDP is definitely underrated. These drums are very light, and even though they aren't high-quality maple or birch, the sound is still amazing. I have tried most drum companies, and PDP is definitely one of my favorites. It deserves to be number four on this list, in my opinion. Great hardware and awesome pricing for great sound... you can't beat that.

I have had a CB 700 5-piece, then moved up to a Tama Swing Star. I've been without a set for four years now. But I think, after looking around, I have fallen in love with the PDP 7-piece. I hear and see nothing but good things about PDP, and it's very affordable. I have my mind made up, PDP for sure!

8 Pork Pie

I heard the Pork Pie kick drum and the depth of tone that it had and knew I had to have it. I then heard the snare sound and that finalized my decision. I bought a set three years ago and have never looked back. I have had Pearl, Tama, Ludwig, and DW sets, and the Pork Pie set blows them away.

Their custom-built drums are signed and dated, and their service is amazing. They also have the coolest finishes. Check out the rosewood/zebra wood kits. Fantastic!

My first drum set sounds great, and customer service was absolutely amazing. I will have this set for many years!

9 Yamaha

Yamaha drums are by far the best-sounding drums I've ever played (besides DW). Yamaha's higher-end drums, such as the Maple Custom series, produce a really deep, fat, warm, resonant tone that I really haven't heard from some other companies. The durability of the drums is outstanding due to the fact they use the diagonal seam system, which keeps the drums from warping. Yamaha also uses the Air Seal System, which takes all the moisture out of the drums and keeps it out, so you don't have to worry about humidity affecting the sound. I was really shocked to see Yamaha so far down the list. In my opinion, Yamaha should be up in the top 3.

10 SJC Custom Drums

SJC has the best service I've ever experienced with an instrument company. Yes, they may be expensive, but they are so worth it. Their custom designs are absolutely amazing, and it seems like there is nothing they can't do. Their customer support is absolutely perfect. Their network for artists and personal artist relations managers is amazing.

I've been talking to SJC for a while, and they treated me like I was an endorsed artist before I was even endorsed. The SJC family is just perfect, and I have nothing bad to say about them. If I had to say one word to describe them, I'd say perfect.

The Contenders
11 Mapex

Mapex has been my favorite brand for almost four years. When I started playing, I had an entry-level Pearl drum and intended to upgrade to another Pearl set. But I switched to Mapex after a friend recommended them. Needless to say, they were right, and I've loved every Mapex set I've had.

The prices are reasonable for what you're getting, which is a great instrument that will last years. The only reason I've traded up is personal taste, but I would be very content to have a Mars series set for the rest of my playing days.

Currently, I've got a custom order set, but just a few months ago, I had been using a Saturn V MH Exotic Rock 3-piece shell pack with an additional 16x16 floor tom. The hardware is great on these drums. They are easy to tune and manipulate to your liking.

I would recommend this brand to anyone looking for a drum set, beginner or otherwise.

12 Fernando

This kit is yet to be the cheapest to be found in the market, especially in Asia, but it won't fail you for the sound. Their beginner kits are good sounding, even the high-end ones. The only downside is the hardware from the lower-end kits, including the free drum heads. Just replace it and everything is good to go.

Fernando drums, from my experience, are not the best. The drums are cheap and only need some tuning. However, what makes them subpar is their cymbals.

This drum is cheap and, for me, one of the best starter sets. The heads are Remo coated. Just tune it, put on an O-ring, and upgrade the stock cymbals.

13 Premier

I've played Premier all my life and never really thought of changing. I was given a Mapex shell pack over the summer, so I will give those a go in a gig environment.

I have been a drum teacher for 22 years now and am truly amazed when youngsters get an electronic kit for Christmas. The sounds are amazing, and when used with an iPhone/iPod, the world of drumming is truly opened up.

Keith Moon, among many other drummers, has used this brand of drums. I had the pleasure of playing a Premier set a few weeks back, and it was the best set I've ever played.

14 Rogers

Like the legendary Stradivarius violin, Rogers drums from the Covington, Ohio era in the early to mid-sixties are simply the finest musical instruments ever crafted. Only the highest quality materials were used in constructing the heavy shells that produced a rich, warm resonance. Superior machining ensured durable hardware built with precision unmatched elsewhere.

For those of you searching for the perfect snare drum, I challenge you to come up with a better instrument than the legendary Dynasonic. No finer drum (including the Gretsch Billy Gladstone, Slingerland Radio King, or Ludwig Black Beauty) comes close!

15 Crush Drums

What I like the best about Crush is that you feel like part of a community. When you go out and see someone else playing Crush, there's an immediate connection. I never felt this connection with the top three brands. You see someone else playing Pearl, and it's not a big deal. But if I see another drummer behind a Crush kit, I can't wait to find them later and ask them about their kit and their experiences with it. The folks who run the company are also present on forums and social media, which you won't find too much of from the big three.

Crush has made a lasting impression on me, and I'm excited to be part of their family.

16 Jinbao

This is also one of my drum sets. I think it is good because I made it better by just changing all the toms and snare heads, and updating all cymbals.

17 CB Percussion

I have a 1984 model CB set. Played it for years, always lubed lugs and polished chrome on it. Bought a Pearl Maple, awesome for gigs, but still have the CB setup with Aquarian heads as a practice set. Sounds damn good, worth every penny.

Amazing value for money. It was my first real kit. I still have it. Great starter kits!

Great value for a great price. Just put some new heads on it and enjoy playing! It can achieve the sound of more expensive kits.

18 Pulse

I believe Pulse is underrated. The quality and sound that you get from this drum set are incomparable considering how cheap they are to buy. Many people think that because they are less expensive, it means that they are cheaper. Not the case.

Make sure to give Pulse a chance. I've played on a Yamaha Custom Stage, and a standard Pulse is better sounding and has higher quality.

19 Slingerland

Has Slingerland been forgotten? This was the kit to have in the 70s. Great sound and durability. Buddy Rich used these. An old, reputable company. Top 5 for sure.

I played Slingerland in three rock groups from 1967 to 1972. They had a great sound, and the shells stood up well to hundreds of gigs. The chrome snare was the best.

I played a Slingerland Super Dual for decades. Best snare ever! Neil Peart continued to use his Slingerland snares even after signing with Tama!

20 Dixon

Give these drums another decade, and because of their quality and affordability, they will be the top drum provider in the world. Then they will realize how big they are and sell their good products for higher prices, and everyone will hate them, and they'll die.

Great new brand. Big things have small beginnings. I think Dixon drums are really going to boom, especially after signing Gregg Bissonette and their impressive precision coil drum pedal.

What Dixon drums have done in the last few years is truly amazing. The quality (workmanship and sound) of the drums goes head to head against Pearl, Tama, and DW.

21 C&C Custom Drums

C&C drums are really nice. They have six-ply shells and everything is custom.

22 Sound Percussion

Inexpensive. BUT 5 lugs per head and thin heads. Decent shells. Made in China like all of the best toys.

I own an SPL drum set. The quality is good, and the price is amazing. A very good beginner set.

23 Truth

Have a look at what these guys can do in regard to not only sound but also the presentation of the kit itself. Any design you can think of, these guys can pull it off.

Look at the artists who play with Truth Drums as opposed to those who play Yamahas or Sonors. No comparison. Truth should be number two, directly behind Tama.

Great looks, good wood, good sound. The right way to go for metal bands.

24 Spaun

I have had the pleasure of playing many brands of kits, ranging from my youth to current, and their current state of gig time. Here's my list:

1. 1968 Ludwig psychedelic red 4-piece - In protective storage!
2. Gretsch - Sold.
3. Ludwig "mutt" kit - Traded for a lot of Remo Rototoms.
4. Pearl World series 9-piece, red - So AWESOME! Will NEVER EVER lose them. Many miles on them, now in "protective" storage with the Psych Reds.
5. Spaun Custom birch 5-piece.

My Spauns are so dynamic. Low-end color with a subtle and variable high "thack." My kick was thunderous out of the box. Actually, the whole kit was unbelievable out of the boxes.

25 Roland

Top-of-the-line, highest-quality electronic drums on the market.

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