Top Ten 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 its 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 over all the craftsmanship and the amount time and effort put in to truly make the best in class drums... no question asked!

My parents recently bought me a pearl 12 piece master custom it cost them 8000 dollars for the drums only without cymbals, I have 7 rack toms, 2 floor toms, 1 gold plated ford corian snare and double bass drum. I also got 16 zildjian k series cymbals set, which include 7 crash, 4 splash, 2 china, 2 rides, 1 hi hat. I think the k series ride sounds bad, so recently I've bought a stewart copland blue bell ride, which cost me 1000 dollars. I found the best sound drums of pearl is the rack toms, they sounds so sharp and it doesn't even need a plastic ring to stop the sound continuing. The reason I choose pearl is because they sound too awesome for their low price. They are also the best looking drums ever made! My pearl master custom rocks with all my cymbals!

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 untouched. I have owned 1 Yamaha kit, 2 Pacific Kits (PDP), and a Taye kit. I am super stoked about my newest adventure.

Like I said, the other companies in 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. 3rd was the Yamaha PHX, 4th 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 about the Pearl Master Series. I had a friend who owned a set. And while he had them tuned well, there was still a feeling a "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 the drum 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 and 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 a little better the set became the grounding force in my beginnings of playing drums. Later on I remember trading my set and getting Mapex Saturn series drum set which only lasted a couple years until falling apart on me! 30 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 with a 402 14" x 6.5" snare... In all the drums I've owned through the years ranging from Yamaha to DW to Tamma as well as Mapex, I can say in my heart Ludwig will always have a iconic sound that no other drum can duplicate!

Ludwig USA kits are an absolute classic. The new Atlas series hardware can stand with the best of them. Just about everyone in the world has heard a Ludwig snare drum... assuming they've EVER heard music played.

There are many great drums, but Ludwig is an absolute classic.

Younger players have never seen the Tama "Star" and the Pearl kits from the 60's... Those companies worked up from the bottom... they were the "generic" drums of the day... Ludwig was the kit we all used to aspire for... and many of us still do. No disrespect to the other makers.. there's lots of great drums out there. Ludwig has too many FIRSTS to forget them. A legend in the percussion business.

4 Tama

Tama is unmatched and the best, besides DW coming in a strong second. Tama drums have the best sound quality, durability, long lasting and all at a competitive price, there easy to tune to. Tama and DW sound a lot alike in my opinion but however the price is very different, whole paycheck DW's versus half paycheck Tama's. Bottom line is you're getting your money's worth out of both kits no doubt in that and really its whatever your preference is but mine is always been TAMA=BEST and always will be, there the king of drums!

I've been with Tama for years, in my own personal opinion they are the all round best drum company. They are built very strong with many attachments anyone can get. You can get custom made or just a basic set. I started with a simple 5 piece swingstar and now it's a crazy set I play with my industrial band and sessions I do. They are just built to last that's why I've had mine for 13 years, not to say Tamas Iron Cobras are built just as strong and last forever. Just my own opinion, my best friend plays pearl which is just as strong but I stick with Tama baby.

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 yt 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 1!

Sonor is best for jazz music or even other music. It has good tone quality. The shells and the drums itself is excellent when it comes to durability and it is the drummer's drum.

It isn't so expensive yet its not cheap but it's price is affordable and the quality is so brilliant. Maybe other brands like pearl, yamaha, tama and other are far more bigger manufacturer of drumset but Sonor is far more better that those drumsets.

6 Gretsch

I have 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 cheap and the sound is just as good on a cheap Gretsch kit than on a 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 talk to many drummers over the years and most agree that Gretsch is either the best or second best make ever. Gretsch kits can accustom 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.

While not the least expensive, Gretsch Renown's can go up against any kit in the marketplace. When I purchased my kit, there was a DW kit for twice the price next to it on the floor. I was amazed that the Gretsch kits tone seemed to be superior to the the DW. I tune my drums low and w/ Aquarian Performance 10 heads, I receive many compliments from sound engineers commenting on the quality of sound they produce. Just for jazz, I don't think so. These drums sounds like absolute thunder when properly tuned. Best of all, the American name is a true survivor. Gretch... Their slogan says it all... "That Great Gretsch Sound. "


Pdp is definitely underrated these Drums are very light and even though, they aren't high quality maple of birch the Sound is still amazing I have tried most drum companies and PDP is definitely on of my favorites.. it deserves to be num 4 in this list in my opinion...
Great hardware and awesome pricing for great sound... 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 4 years now. But I think after looking around I have fallin in love with the PDP 7 Piece. I hear and see nothing but good things about the PDP and very affordable. I have my mind made up, PDP for sure!

I have the pdp eight piece double drive and lemme tell you. It's awesome I would completely recommend it. But you may want new drum heads. The heads are good don't get me wrong but they don't have the best quality. And the rev used pdp. R.I.P.

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 3 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!

Way underrated, some of the best feeling & sounding drums I've owned were Pork Pies.

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 seem system which keeps the drums from warping. Yamaha also uses the airseal 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.

Just lovely instruments to work with. I like the craft, they are skilled men in Yamaha. Solid shells, top notch chrome fittings, professional painted finishes, easy to tune, versatile with any ply heads. The Stage Custom has nice tones for the working drummer especially now it's all birch. The Hip Gig series were fine drums. a combination of Birch & Mahogany shells. The MK Junior is back on the scene, designed for kids and pros like them too. Recording Custom's are back with a bang boom ra ta ta too boss. Beautiful sounds from these babies. Updated with a 30 degree bearing edge and north american birch with those famous weighted lugs. The finest sounding drums I've ever played and am blessed to own a set. They make slightly beautiful pianos too those boys in Yamaha.

Declan Campion

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 are 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.

If you haven't heard of SJC Drums then you don't know what your missing, they are by far the most customizable drum kits on the planet, those kids will literally do what ever you like.
All drum companies high end drums are great, dq collectors, pearl masterworks, Spaun, etc etc. OCDP however is HIGHLY overrated, I ordered a snare from them for 1200 and was VERY disappointed at the total lack of quality, needless to say I was pissed. If you honestly think OCDP is amazing because Travis Barker plays them you need to get a clue, there are hundreds of other companies that make custom kits for less money which arnt just Keller shells with Gibraltar hardware.

The Contenders
11 Mapex

Mapex has been my favorite brand for almost 4 years. When I started playing I had an entry level Pearl drum, and had every intention of upgrading to another Pearl set. But I made the switch 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, and what you're getting 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. Easy to tune and manipulate to your liking.

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

All the top brands have good gear, but Mapex is a stand out for sure. They give you a variety of quality drum kits to select from. All the different series sound great and the top of the line Mapex Saturn is the best kit I've ever heard.
I decided to try out every single kit in a big drum shop and the best sounding kit by far was the Mapex Saturn IV. Not to mention that the variety of colours you can choose from with Mapex kits is outstanding.
The stands and pedals are unbelievable. They feel great to use, they are very easily adjustable and they pack down to fit in your stands bag.

12 Premier

Played premier all my life. Never really thought of changing. Was given a Mapex shell pack through the summer, so 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 have used this brand of drum. I had the pleasure to play a Premier set a few weeks back, best set I've ever played.

I still have a set of Premier Signia marquis and they are simply fantastic. Easy to tune, great tone. I won't sell them for any other brand.

13 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 Gretch Billy Gladstone, Slingerland Radio King, or
Ludwig Black Beauty) comes close!

A legendary brand of drums from New York. Can't go wrong with a Rogers kit. So many famous and amazing drummers that have played these kits. They have such a perfect tone to their drums and they're just perfect for Jazz, Blues, Soul, and Classic Rock.

14 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.

I have two Crush kits. I fell all over in love again with my drums when I changed after I played Pearl Drums for 25 year. Crush drums are A-MA-ZING. The finishes on their drums are stunning, deep and warm tones, and very solid build. I own currently the Sublime Maple and the Limited Reserve Wenge. The price - quality is another win win in my opinion. I do not believe you can find a better, more stunning, high quality kit anywhere else for the price you pay for drums like this.

15 Jinbao

This is also one of my drum set, I think it is good because I make it more better within just change all the toms and snare heads, and update all cymbals...

Not sure why jinbao is even on the list. It's cheap and you get the quality you paid for.

Very sound has jinbao

16 CB Percussion

I have a1984 model cb set played it for years always lubed lugs and polished chrome on it,bought pearl maple awesome for gigs, but still have cb setup with aquarian heads as practice set sounds damn good worth every penny.

Amazing value for money was my first real kit, still have it, great starter kits!

Great value for a great price.just put some new heads on it and enjoy playing! Can obrtaine the sound with more expencive kits.

17 Pulse

I believe pulse is underrated. The quality and sound that you get from this drum set is uncomparable considering how cheap they are to buy. Many people think that because they are less expensive means that they are cheaper, not the case. Make sure to give pulse a chance. I've played on a Yamaha Custum Stage and a standard pulse is better sounding and has higher quality

18 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 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!

19 Fernando

This kit is yet to be the cheapest to be found in the market specially in Asia, but it won't fail you for the sound. Their beginner kits are good sounding even the high end ones. The only down side 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, not the best but the drums are cheap and only needs some few tuning, But what makes it suck because of their cymbals

Because this is my drums

20 Dixon

Gives these drums another decade and because of their quality and affordability they will be the top drum provider in the world. Then they will realise how big they are and sell their good products for higher products 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 Bisonette and their impressive precision coil drum pedal.

What Dixon drum has done in the last few year is truly amazing. The quality (workmanship/sound) of the drum goes head to head against Pearl, Tama and DW.

21 C&C Custom Drums

I bought a clear acrylic from Mr Cardwell a few years back... The snare exploded after 3 gigs and the build of the kit looked like a 12 year olds first shop project. When I sent the snare back to him for some explanation and not only did he NOT return the hardware I purchased from said drum. He told ME that I must have been abusive to the drum. The man is of low quality just like his kits... Jake on the other hand at least "tried"

C and C drums are real nice. They have 6 ply shells and every thing 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 a 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 regards to not only sound but 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 2, directly behind Tama.

Grate looks good wood good sound right way to go for metal bands

24 Spaun

I have had the pleasure of playing many brands of kits. They go in this order, from my youth to current and their current state of gig time.. 1) 1968 Ludwig psychedelic red 4 pce. In protective storage! 2) Gretch. Sold. 3) Ludwig "mutt" kit. Traded for an assload of Remo Rototoms. 4) Pearl World series 9 pce, 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 pce.
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.

AMAZING got a custom series set used cheap! Blown away. 8ply maple. If you have the money buy them!

A GREAT boutique drum company that can do it all. Great fit, finish, and tone.

25 Roland

Top of the line, highest quality electronic drums in the market.

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