Arming the Artists

What to consider when buying a Drum kit

Posted: 21 October 2022

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or 21st kit buying a new drum kit can be quite overwhelming, and there are always a number of things to think about before making a decision. In this article, we’ve broken down what you need to think about before you make your decision.

Read time: 3 mins

Will your kit fit?

Whether it’s the kit sizes themselves or your space limitations, size is possibly the most important thing to think about before looking into a new kit.

Checking what space you have available before you start shopping is vital, this factor could determine whether you go for a full acoustic kit or either an electric kit or a practice kit. For example, the standard drum kit footprint is about 152 cm by 122 cm (60″ by 48″) so as long as you’ve got that space available, you should be able to fit an acoustic kit. Not to worry if space is an issue, there are alternatives - an electric kit or a practice kit would take up less room by just under half the size at 69cm by 115cm (27” by 45”), they are also a fair bit quieter too which could be better depending on your living situation.

Once you know what space you have available and what sort of kit you can fit, you can look at the kit sizes and setup. One of the blessings of playing the drums is that drum kits come in so many different size configurations, ranging from smaller Jazz/Bop kit configurations to big, rock setups. The main thing to remember is that the smaller the diameter of the drum, the higher pitched it will be when it’s tuned. So depending on whether it’s a bass drum or a tom, the same concept applies. The shell depth of a drum is mostly responsible for how loud the drum will be and the articulation of the sound, so a shorter drum will have a sharper attack and it won’t ring as long as a deeper drum would.

what's your kit made from?

The material used for your kit is something else you'll need to consider - this can be influenced by your budget, what genre you play or even the particular tones you prefer.

Woods such as Maple, Walnut and Birch are quite evenly balanced in terms of frequencies so they’re widely used for their versatility with different genres. They can be quite a bit more expensive compared to something like Poplar, which is primarily used in a lot of beginner kits so if your budget is your biggest limitation this might be the best option for you.

You can find out more about the best material for your drums here. 

To gig or not to gig?

Deciding whether you want it as a gigging kit or a home practice kit can make a massive difference in what you go for. If your kit is mainly going to be used for home practice use, typically something small like the DNA Stealth or an electric drum kit is a drummer's preferred option. As well as saving you space both of these options are substantially quieter in comparison to a full acoustic kit - however if gigging is something that you plan on using your kit for then the versatility of a full acoustic kit might be the best option you.

New or Used?

There are pros and cons of buying either new or used kits.

With a brand new kit, you get the item in perfect condition, unused and you get the certainty and guarantees from the retailer, but this comes at a cost. It’s more expensive to purchase a kit brand new compared to second-hand, but you do get assurance that the kit is of the highest quality.

If you’re wanting something on a budget but have a particular kit in mind then second-hand could be the way for you. If you're lucky, you might be able to get the kit of your dreams for a fraction of the price, although there will almost certainly be knocks and marks on it, and sadly no guarantees or warranty on it.