The best drum kits in the world today

16th Jun 2010 | 10:18

The best drum kits in the world today
The best drum kits in the world today
From mid-priced kits to custom pro sets

This is a constantly updated gallery of the best drum kits on the planet - from mid-priced kits to custom pro sets. Scroll through the gallery for an overview of some of the highest-rated drum kits in the MusicRadar archive.

Our picks are collated from Rhythm Magazine’s gruelling review process, buyers’ guides and MusicRadar’s own best-of-the-best drum round-ups.

The best drum kits in the world today
Pearl Export Series drum kit
£785

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Making an impressive return, with new shells, tom mounts, lugs and hardware package, the Export shakes up the scene again with its cutting-edge drums and hardware at a blinding price.

FULL REVIEW: Pearl Export Series drum kit

The best drum kits in the world today
Tama Silverstar drum kit
£800

MusicRadar’s verdict:

With its easy-to-control, all-birch tone, Tama's Silverstar is, like Premier's new Birch Genista, a professional quality kit at an intermediate price.

FULL REVIEW: Tama Silverstar drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kit
£875

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Gretsch delivers the goods once again.

FULL REVIEW: Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Odery Eyedentity Series drum kit
£899

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Stunning finishes, top quality materials, superb attention to detail and exceptional value. A couple of easily sorted hardware quibbles aside, Odery's Eyedentity is an exciting alternative to the norm.

FULL REVIEW: Odery Eyedentity Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Sonor Force 2007 Rock drum kit
£905

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Sonor's reputation for providing excellent quality instruments extends to the lower end of its range as well as the custom kits. The manufacturing quality of the Force 2007 is excellent, with fetching finishes and well-designed and well screwed-together drums once again redefining 'mid-range'.

FULL REVIEW: Sonor Force 2007 Rock drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Crush Drums Acrylic drum kit
£949

MusicRadar’s verdict:

A beautiful kit with an incredible sound to match - and all at a surprisingly wallet-friendly price.

FULL REVIEW: Crush Drums Acrylic drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Ludwig Club Date Special Edition drum kit
£925

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Ludwig's Club Date is different from anything else on the market - a vintage design successfully updated, resulting in a surprisingly flexible alternative kit.

FULL REVIEW: Ludwig Club Date Special Edition drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Yamaha Rock Tour kit
£980

MusicRadar’s verdict:

As the name implies, these drums feel strong enough to cope with the rigours of being thrashed each night on tour. Rock on…

FULL REVIEW: Yamaha Rock Tour Kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Hayman Showman Big Sound drum kit
£999

MusicRadar’s verdict

The original Hayman was a pro set, played by many of the big stars of the day. This new version is a 'semi-pro' compromise. But with its distinctive lugs, white interiors, and loud, bright sound, the kit honours the spirit of Hayman and we'd recommend anyone trading up to their first serious gigging kit to check it out.

FULL REVIEW: Hayman Showman Big Sound drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Crush Sublime E3 drum kit
£1,099

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Crush has gone all-out to ensure the tone created is authentically vintage - just add years of smoke and a touch of sweat and we think that they will come extremely close.

FULL REVIEW: Crush Sublime E3 drum kitreview

The best drum kits in the world today
Gretsch Renown Maple drum kit
£1,179

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Gretsch has come up with a kit that combines classic looks with the sort of sound quality and build standard that will both appeal to and cope with the energy levels of younger drummers. For the price-point it's well equipped and has the added lustre of the brand's heritage. An equivalent Gretsch USA Custom kit is four times as expensive and, while the Renown Maple is not going to match it for sheer finesse, it's nonetheless a pretty versatile set of drums.

FULL REVIEW: Gretsch Renown Maple Drum Kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Drumcraft Series 8 Maple drum kit
£1,199

MusicRadar’s verdict:

GEWA clearly has serious aspirations for DrumCraft, as this kit demonstrates - it's definitely a brand to watch.

FULL REVIEW: Drumcraft Series 8 Maple drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Premier Genista Maple and Genista Birch drum kits
£1,336

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Bringing back the highly-regarded Genista with its distinctive lug is a positive move. The Taiwanese build-quality and finish seem excellent along with the updated choice of American maple or American birch, with or without ISO mounts.

FULL REVIEW: Premier Genista Maple And Genista Birch drum kits review

The best drum kits in the world today
Natal Maple and Bubinga drum kits
£1,388

MusicRadar’s verdict:

An excellent, well-designed debut kit from Natal at good price.

FULL REVIEW: Natal Maple and Bubinga drum kits review

The best drum kits in the world today
Gretsch Renown '57
£1,606

MusicRadar’s verdict:

A tasetful and unique kit which lives up to the Gretsch name. It's good value for money at this level, too.

FULL REVIEW: Gretsch Renown '57 review

The best drum kits in the world today
Dixon Artisan Custom Traditional Maple Series kit
£1,650

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Gorgeous, and it's well designed and built. The drums look and sound fabulous.

FULL REVIEW: Dixon Artisan Custom Traditional Maple Series kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Natal Walnut drum kit
£1,746

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Natal's already glowing reputation is guaranteed to be cemented with this well-appointed, excellent value kit. Expect more from this British brand!

FULL REVIEW: Natal Walnut drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Echo Custom Drums Apollo 2 drum kit
£1,750

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The partnership of the excellent Evans 360 heads and the aluminium shells seems inseparable - what a great-sounding, versatile kit, suitable for almost any genre.

FULL REVIEW: Echo Custom Drums Apollo 2 drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
C&C Drum Company Player Date drum kit
£1,775

MusicRadar’s verdict:

There is an unpretentious and honest feel to this kit that is appealing. The drums are based on uncomplicated designs, are well made from quality materials and sound utterly fantastic. The simplest of recipes can also be the tastiest.

FULL REVIEW: C&C Drum Company Player Date drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
DW Performance Series drum kit
£1,780

MusicRadar’s verdict:

DW seems to have got the Performance Series spot on. The kit is located firmly in pro territory; the standard of the shells and components is unquestionably high and the usual DW details abound. While being distinctive enough to stand alone from other DW products they are clearly DW drums. Without testing the drums alongside a custom DW kit it's hard to say how they differ tonally, but the sheer quality of the sound they produce is on the money.

FULL REVIEW: DW Performance Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Spaun Custom drum kit
£1,799

MusicRadar’s verdict:

For a custom drum-maker, moving into more affordable pastures is a tricky manoeuvre to pull off without diminishing the brand's core qualities and reputation. The TL kit succeeds because it feels and sounds every inch a Spaun set of drums - the design, attention to detail and performance is unmistakable.

FULL REVIEW: Spaun TL Series Drum Kit

The best drum kits in the world today
Gretsch Brooklyn drum kit
£2,050

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Built in the USA, Gretsch's new Brooklyn mixes the vintage and the new in a pleasing cocktail that offers a real alternative pro-line Gretsch at a more competitive price.

FULL REVIEW: Gretsch Brooklyn drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Yamaha Live Custom drum kit
£2,058

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Built with Yamaha's usual attention to detail, the Live Custom is a powerful new addition to the market.

FULL REVIEW: Yamaha Live Custom drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Mapex Black Panther Collection Retrosonic drum kit
£2,069

MusicRadar’s verdict:

A kit that's thoroughly modern in construction but with a vintage appeal.

FULL REVIEW: Mapex Black Panther Collection Retrosonic drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Mapex Black Panther Velvetone kit
£2,210

MusicRadar’s verdict:

With three other BP kits to choose from, which one will be the most popular remains to be seen, but the Velvetone will be hard to beat. A sure-fire hit.

FULL REVIEW: Mapex Black Panther Velvetone kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Gretsch USA Standard drum kit
£2,489

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Gretsch drums are renowned for their unique sound and charismatic design, and the USA Standard range makes them more accessible wirhout demystifying the brand.

FULL REVIEW: Gretsch USA Standard drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Spaun Custom LED drum kit
£2,499

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The ultimate visual stunner from a top-notch custom drum builder.

FULL REVIEW: Spaun Custom LED drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Animal Custom 2012 Series drum kit
£2,550

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Animal takes a big leap forward with the 2012 series which displays genuine craftsmanship with its thin shells, lightweight aluminium lugs and gorgeous finish. Above all, the drums sound terrific.

FULL REVIEW: Animal Custom 2012 Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Yamaha Club Custom drum kit
£2,606

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Yamaha delivers an original, great-sounding pro series at an attractive price - about five per cent less than the Absolute Birch and Maple.

FULL REVIEW: Yamaha Club Custom drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
RCI Starlite acrylic drum kit
£2,779

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Handmade in America, RCI have the most solid and resonant acrylic shells we've seen. Additionally, the range of colours and patterns is massive, while the prices - considering American custom drums are never cheap - are realistic. The attack is sharp, the tone exceptionally pure. It's a slightly different sound from wood and metal, but not as much as you might imagine.

FULL REVIEW: RCI Starlite drum kit

The best drum kits in the world today
Tama Starclassic Bubinga kit
£2,799

MusicRadar’s verdict:

"Tama's reputation suggests that it would never rush into a decision and a great deal of preparation has clearly taken place before the transferral of the production of one of its flagship lines to China. It has all the components of a fully-fledged pro kit - solid build, quality components, careful detailing and amazing sounds - just like the more expensive kit it replaced."

FULL REVIEW: Tama Starclassic Bubinga drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Guru Drumworks kit
£2,848

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Guru offers a great range of exotic timbers from sustainable sources. Prices are realistic and a one-off boutique kit is an increasingly attractive alternative.

FULL REVIEW: Guru Drumworks Kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Jalapeno V-L Series drum kit
£3,000

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Pricewise it's up there with some of the most prestigious brands, but it competes well in quality and sound terms. Considering the hours spent creating the kit, it's a steal.

FULL REVIEW: Jalapeno V-L Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Mapex Black Panther Widow drum kit
£3,208

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Drums have to be special to join Mapex's Black Panther range and the Black Widow kit definitely fulfils the entry requirements.

FULL REVIEW: Mapex Black Panther Widow drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Pearl Masters Premium Legend drum kit
£3,225

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Pearl's expertise is all over this solidly-constructed, great looking and exquisite-sounding kit.

FULL REVIEW: Pearl Masters Premium Legend drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Chequerplate Drums LED Series drum kit
£3,352

MusicRadar’s verdict:

A visually-stunning, aurally-pleasing kit that delivers in spades on many levels. The price tag may frighten some, but you are paying for supreme quality, and if it's a custom-made kit offering something a little different that you're after, this would be a top choice.

FULL REVIEW: Chequerplate Drums LED Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Guru Drumworks Walnut kit with Oak snares
£3,900

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Genuinely personal, bespoke drums made with love to truly brilliant standards. What Guru offers is real individual custom-drum building - with a price to match.

FULL REVIEW: Guru Drumworks Walnut kit with Oak snares review

The best drum kits in the world today
Liberty Drums Maple Shell Pack
£3,954

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Even in this continuing recession, it seems there is little to dampen our thriving custom UK drum industry. The level of build quality is excellent with some beautiful machining/finishing on those particularly thin shells.

FULL REVIEW: Liberty Drums Maple Shell Pack review

The best drum kits in the world today
Sonor Prolite drum kit
£4,060

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The ProLite shell pack and the snare are undeniably expensive but if you can afford it then why not treat yourself? It's worth every last Pfennig!

FULL REVIEW: Sonor Prolite drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Pearl Ian Paice Signature Kit
£4,999

MusicRadar’s verdict:

This is one imposing kit (cymbals, drums and hardware et al), with its exemplary build quality and fantastic sound. It is also highly collectable, so I think I would get those skates on and grab one while you can!

FULL REVIEW: Pearl Ian Paice Signature drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Pearl Reference Pure Series drum kit
£5,321

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Expressly tailored for the studio with its dark and focused sound, the Reference Pure is a top quality instrument.

FULL REVIEW: Pearl Reference Pure Series drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Tama Star Maple drum kit
£5,914

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Drum kits just go on getting better and Tama's new Star series, substantially changed from the already excellent Starclassic, is another step towards Drum Heaven... at an eye-watering price.

FULL REVIEW: Tama Star Maple drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
Tama Star Bubinga drum kit
£6,514

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Two grand for a bass drum is scary. But Tama has gone to great lengths to achieve its goal of maximum shell resonance and woody tone via a series of ingenious solutions which call on the old and the new.

FULL REVIEW: Tama Star Bubinga drum kit review

The best drum kits in the world today
DW SSC drum kit
£8,564

MusicRadar’s verdict:

In a marketplace which is populated by an ever-growing number of custom drum builders, DW drums still stand out. The company's reputation has been built on its quality of workmanship, level of innovation and willingness to react to drummers' needs. This kit scores full marks on all three of these criteria. A fourth - its sound - also bags maximum points.

FULL REVIEW: DW SSC drum kit review

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