The 8 Best Drum Sets for Metal (2023)

Metal drum sets need to be punchy and loud enough to cut through a heavy mix of distorted guitars and vocals. Because of this requirement, not every drum set is suited for the genre. Luckily, the market is filled with good options in 2023.

My top pick is the Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch. These drums sound amazing and the shells are perfectly suited to metal music, whether you’re using it for studio or live use.

My budget pick is the Pearl Export, which is a very popular entry-level metal drum set.

Keep in mind the difference between “shell packs” and “full drum sets”. Shell packs only include the drums and essential hardware for toms and the bass drum (such as bass drum spurs). If you’re getting a shell pack, keep in mind that you will generally need to buy a snare, cymbals, and other hardware separately.

The Best Drum Sets for Metal (2023) – At a Glance

And now onto the full list:

1. Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch

Top Pick
Amazing drum kit for metal with shells made of walnut and birch.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The TAMA Starclassic Walnut/Birch is a very sought-after drum set and it’s our pick as the best drum kit for metal. The combination of walnut and birch wood gives these shells great dynamic range while having both great warmth and attack. They are very nicely suited to metal drumming.


  • Great range
  • Focused sounds
  • Shells made of walnut and birch


  • Pricey
  • Shell pack

The resulting sound of this shell kit is characterized by warm lows and mids (walnut) as well as highs with a punch and clear attack (birch).

With the Starclassic Walnut/Birch series, Tama replaced a longstanding classic, the Birch/Bubinga line, in its range in 2019. This series is also in the upper-middle class and is intended to appeal to ambitious players.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor tom)3 or 4 (depending on the version)
Bass Drum Size22 x 16 inches
Drum Shell MaterialWalnut and birch
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Shell pack

Anyone who likes assertive, tonally malleable, and generally more controlled-sounding wooden snares could find what they are looking for with the TAMA Starclassic Walnut/Birch.

2. Pearl Export EXX725

Budget Pick
Popular entry-level acoustic drum set with poplar and mahogany shells.
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The Pearl Export is a 5-piece drum set and is one of the most popular entry-level drum sets ever. If you get good drum heads and tune them well then you can make a very decent metal drum set out of this.


  • With good tuning, this kit can sound very decent.
  • Robust, flexible hardware
  • Very smooth tuning screws
  • A good demonator bass drum pedal
  • New Opti-Loc tom holder included


  • The sound can’t compare to the higher-end drum sets on this list
  • Cymbals may or may not be included (check with your retailer)

The Export is available in a total of four configurations. All the drums have a classic black foil, but the series is delivered in various finishes. The shells are made of Asian mahogany and poplar wood, a new six-layer mixing shell version.

The new Demonator bass drum pedal runs very smoothly and easily. The tuning screws on the entire set can also be adjusted extremely smoothly.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor tom)3
Bass Drum Size22″ x 18″
Drum Shell MaterialPoplar and Asian mahogany
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Full drum set (cymbals may or may not be included – check with your retailer)

The Pearl Export EXX is an overall good, durable drum kit partly because of the SST (Superior Shell Technology) design and the mahogany/poplar shells. You’ll unlikely find a better deal for the price.

3. PDP by DW - Double Bass Drum 8-Piece Shell Pack

Double Bass Drum Set
Good eight-piece drum set with double-kick configuration.
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This double drum set is an eight-piece shell pack. The drum from the sub-company, Pacific Drums and Percussion (PDP), is a brand from the famous drum manufacturer DW. The PDP Double Bass could best be described as an extremely good entry-level or intermediate set for metal drummers.


  • Double kick configuration
  • Good mix of sustain and punch
  • Includes eight pieces
  • Comes with three rack toms
  • Shell made from decent quality poplar wood


  • Just a shell set
  • 2 bass drums are not for everyone (takes up more space, they need to be tuned consistently, etc.)

The drum shells were made of 6-ply poplar wood. Poplar wood is very popular with cheaper drums because it is affordable. However, it has some sound similarities to the higher-quality woods such as birch and mahogany.

The overall design, poplar shells, and Remo drum heads offer a good sustain level while also providing enough punch for metal music. However, keep in mind that a double-bass configuration is not for everyone, it takes time to get used to so be sure before you purchase.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor toms)5
Bass Drum Size22″ x 18″
Drum Shell MaterialPoplar
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Shell pack

All in all, the PDP by DW Double Drive 8-Piece Shell Pack is a great option for those looking for something moderately affordable, good-sounding, decently made, and with a double-bass configuration.

4. Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design Electronic Drum Set

High-end, High-quality
High-end and high-quality electronic drum set for metal.
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With the new V-Drums Acoustic Design (VAD) models 306, 503, and 506, Roland is expanding its range of products, and they are going much more into the range of “hybrid drums,” which blends acoustic and electronic drumming elements together.


  • Great for use in more modern metal sub-genres
  • A great variety of sounds
  • Good pad response
  • Clean, solid sound and playability
  • Responsive digital snare and ride


  • Pricey
  • The e-cymbals don’t have the same sound or response as acoustic cymbals
  • Does not include the flagship TD-50 drum module (TD-27 is still good)

This is an electronic drum set that has the stage presence of an acoustic set, which is very important when it comes to metal music. This VAD 506 uses the great TD-27 drum module. The hardware is first-class, as we have come to expect from Roland, and the sensitivity of every part of this kit is fantastic. Everything is easy to adjust, with no hooking or sliding.

The sounds may not satisfy the taste of every drummer straight away. However, there are so many parameters that can be used that will surely lead to the result. Pretty much any sound can be created with pitch, compressor, or numerous effects onboard. Whatever is not there, you load it yourself quite simply via SD card in WAV format.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic-designed electronic drum set
Number of Toms (including floor tom)3
Bass Drum Size20 inches
Drum Shell MaterialPoplar
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Full electronic drum set

This is a drum kit for serious, professional drummers who have the budget and the means to push their music forward. Granted, the drum kit is pricey, but the value is still on-par when you consider the versatility and quality you get.

5. Tama Imperialstar IE52C

A great-value beginner drum set (with good cymbals).
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The Imperialstar is a very decent drum set that packs a whole lot of value. The shells are very decent for this price range, and the kit also includes Meinl HCS cymbals, which are leagues ahead of many stock cymbals that you often find on beginner drum sets.


  • Very decent shells
  • Good hardware
  • Meinl MCS cymbals
  • Affordable


  • The stock drum heads are not amazing

I started playing metal drums using stock cymbals that came with my budget Stagg drum many years ago, they didn’t take long to crack! The HCS cymbals on these are far more likely to last. Tama’s concept for the Imperialstar series is simple and clear. It’s an entry-level drum set with a reasonable selection of drums, functional hardware, and cymbals at an affordable price.

Despite its affordable price, this is a good-looking beginner drum set that packs a good punch for metal music. The poplar shells and durable construction result in an industry-standard choice for most drummers.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor tom)3
Bass Drum Size16″ x 22″
Drum Shell MaterialPoplar
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Full drum set

Overall, the Tama Imperialstar is a very decent entry-level set for metal music. This budget-friendly drum kit has everything you would need for a good start – decent sound, good construction, and best of all, a good price!

6. Pearl Export Double Bass Drum Set

Double bass drum set with a snare drum from a renowned manufacturer.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

I’ve already mentioned the pearl export range in this list. However, if you want to take it to the next level, check out this double bass drum set, which includes 2 bass drums, 3 rack toms, 2 floor toms, and a snare. If you want to have a big metal sound then this is a big enough drum set to make it happen.


  • Decent shells for this price range
  • 2 bass drums and 5 toms
  • Good shell hardware


  • Cymbals not included
  • The wrap finish on the shells could be better
  • Not the best stock drum heads

The Pearl Export Double Bass Drum Set has a similar kit configuration to the PDP by DW Double Drive 8-Piece Shell Pack which was mentioned earlier in this list.

This is a well-rounded drum kit with decent shells, 2 bass drums, and 5 toms, plus a snare. It’s not a coincidence that you see metal drummers with huge drum sets, and this one could easily serve as one. However, it is still a shell pack so you would need to purchase cymbals separately.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor tom)5
Bass Drum Size22 inches
Drum Shell MaterialMahogany and poplar
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Shell pack

Overall, the value-for-price ratio here is exceptional as you get many drum pieces for a good price. Granted, of course, you purchase quality cymbals and better drum heads, this kit could be made into an intermediate to pro-level easily.

7. Ludwig Element Evolution 6-Piece Set

Value For Money
Great value, full drum set with 2 floor toms.
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The Ludwig Element Evolution shells are made from poplar and have great character and overtones. Its second floor tom makes it very useful for metal music to get a deeper sound.


  • They look and sound great
  • Affordable price
  • 2nd floor tom included in this kit configuration
  • Comes with Zildjian ZBT cymbals


  • Could use better drum heads (stock heads are decent at best)

Designed as an intermediate drum set, this model includes everything you need to put together and be ready to continue your evolution as a drummer. It comes with 6-piece hardware and a Zildjian ZBT cymbal set, which are far better than your average stock cymbals on entry-level kits.

This kit has resonant poplar shells, amazing aesthetics, and included Zildjian ZBT cymbals for a good, bright, responsive attack and sustain suitable for metal music.

Drum Set TypeAcoustic
Number of Toms (including floor toms)4
Bass Drum Size22 x 16 inches
Drum Shell MaterialPoplar
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Full drum set

Overall, if you’re aiming for a good value-for-price kit, the Ludwig Element Evolution should be one of your main considerations. The only thing I’d advise would be to get premium drum heads for this kit as the stock heads are decent, at best.

8. Alesis Strike Pro SE Electronic Drum Set

The flagship e-drum set from Alesis, which offers a ton of value for its price.
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The Alesis Strike Pro SE E-drum is a major competitor to the top electronic drum set manufacturers such as Roland and Yamaha. It offers an absolute ton of value for its price. The SE stands for “Special Edition” and it corrects some of the build-quality errors that the original Alesis Strike Pro faced. If electronic drum kits are your thing, then this is definitely one to consider.


  • Great and expansive stage presence
  • Large selection of sounds
  • Diverse editing options
  • Rich selection of effects
  • Device-internal sampling function


  • Pricey
  • Responsiveness is not quite as good as Roland’s e-drum sets
  • Some build-quality issues may still persist

This drum set has a big enough presence to be great for practice and stage when playing metal music. Of course, this e-drum set will not work in all types of metal music, but there may certainly be plenty of sub-genres where this would fit in nicely.

The drum module on the Strike Pro SE is one of the best in the industry and outperforms even the popular Roland TD-50 and Pearl Mimic Pro in several different areas.

Drum Set TypeElectronic
Number of Toms (including floor tom)3
Bass Drum Size20 inches
Drum Shell MaterialReal hybrid wood
Shell Pack or Full Drum Set?Full e-drum set

In a nutshell, the Alesis Strike Pro SE E-drum is an excellent e-drum kit for metal music that offers superb versatility, excellent sound and effects, and a great stage presence.

What to look for when Buying a Drum Set for Metal?

There are several things to keep in mind when purchasing a metal drum set like the stock drum heads, bass drum configuration, material, size, and sound.

Drum Heads

I love to use 2-ply Remo drum heads for metal on the toms as you can get a really punchy sound from them. You can also use moongels to control the sound even further. Luckily, the market is filled with a variety of good drum heads to choose from.

Double Bass Drum Pedal or 2 Kick Drums?

A double bass drum pedal is more practical to transport, to set up and it’s easier to tune, whereas two bass drums look better on stage and they resonate independently when hit.

What Wood Type Should You Use for Metal Drumming?

In the lower price range, soft, inexpensive woods such as poplar and Asian mahogany are generally used. The sound of these woods is soft and rather dark and somewhat limited in terms of the dynamic range. However, they’re still very passable to use for metal music.

If you like it loud and flexible in terms of sound, you should try to buy drums that have maple shells or those with birch wood, which are offered by almost all manufacturers. Other commonly used woods are African mahogany, beech, linden, and various precious kinds of wood. However, it’s important to be practical here. It’s better to go for a more modest type of wood and invest in great quality drum heads, cymbals, and snare drum, rather than blow it all on your shell pack.

What Type of Cymbals Should You Use for Metal?

For metal music, consider using heavy, thick cymbals in your setup for increased volume and durability. You’re going to be going pretty heavy on the hi-hat, ride cymbal, and crashes, so you don’t want to have to keep replacing them! Check out our article on the best cymbals for metal.

Drum Set Size for Metal

It’s great to play a large drum set, but keep in mind that they are much more troublesome to carry around. In addition, it is more difficult and expensive to buy good drum heads. Lots of cymbals also seriously add up the expense!


In this list, I’ve included drum sets for metal that should work across almost every different sub-genre as well as budget. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate drummer, a professional stage or live drummer, or you are a rehearsal room manager looking for a drum set to use in one of the rooms, you should find something suitable on this list.

My top pick is the Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch, a great-sounding set with good shells for metal music.

My budget pick is the Pearl Export, a popular, beginner drum set with decent quality.

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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