Why Are Electronic Drums So Expensive?

E-drums are not as expensive as you think. Brands like Alesis have been pushing down the price while offering more value. Classic e-drum brands like Roland and Yamaha can still be quite expensive mainly because their brands can command a higher price due to their build quality and R&D costs.

Well-known brands can command the price just based on their reputation. That does not mean that they are not worth it, though. Roland and Yamaha have been around for a long time, and it’s only logical that they are the leaders when it comes to the newest e-drum technologies.

At a Glance

  • Reputable manufacturers like Roland and Yamaha have been around for decades and can command the price due to their status. However, there are a few companies like Alesis who make excellent budget-friendly e-drum kits.
  • Roland’s hybrid e-drum series (VAD) are some of the best electronic drums on the market and can cost as much as $9000. Alesis, on the other hand, offers excellent, affordable e-drums for around $400.
  • The difference between expensive and cheap electronic drums lies in the quality of the pads, materials, components, and sensor technology.
  • Higher-end e-drum kits include thicker rubber and higher-quality plastic, which makes them more comfortable to play on. To lower the price, some manufacturers only cover the area of the cymbal pads that you strike with rubber.
  • A huge difference is in the sensor technology used in high-end drums as opposed to budget ones. Roland has invested quite a lot in R&D to get the best possible result for sound, recording, and MIDI data.
  • A solid e-drum kit can cost you up to $1000 with added accessories that will suit all skill levels. However, if you have the budget, higher-end e-drums are worth every penny.

What’s The Difference Between Expensive Electronic Drums and Cheap Ones?

Roland’s flagship VAD e-drum kit can cost as much as $9000, but that is on the very high end of the market. Many companies such as Alesis have been driving the prices down in the low to mid-level market. So much so that you can now get an e-drum kit for a few hundred bucks, which will be good enough for practicing at home. More expensive e-drum kits have better components, such as the quality of individual pads, materials, processing, etc.

A significant difference between expensive e-drum kits vs. cheap ones is the quality of rubber that they use, especially in cymbals. More expensive drum kits have thicker rubber and better-quality plastic, making them feel better to play on.

Some cymbal pads don’t cover the whole cymbal in rubber. Instead, they only cover the part where you play it, and that’s where some brands cut down the cost to make the kits more affordable.

Also, and most importantly, the sensor technology is a lot different between more expensive and cheaper models. For example, Roland has invested quite a lot in R&D for their latest sensor technology. Because of that, their e-drum kits feel better to play, sound nicer, and have cleaner MIDI data, which is important if you are a professional drummer recording in the studio.

Tips on Saving Money When Buying Electronic Drums

The biggest thing you should consider when buying electronic drum kits is what features you need. We all want the newest technology and best features, but more often than not, e-drum kits that offer this are a lot more expensive and you don’t need all those features.

If you are a beginner drummer, features to consider are the metronome, different practicing modes that the drum module has built-in, sounds, and kits. Also, remember that you need to invest in some sort of an amplifier to hear your playing. For beginners and practicing, I recommend some good headphones as they are cheaper than anything else and do a pretty good job.

Things You Should Know Before Buying Your First Electronic Drum Kit

The first thing you need to worry about is that your electronic drum set is only as good as the audio source you’re listening to. For example, if you buy the most expensive e-drum kit on the market and listen to your playing through some cheap earbuds that come with your phone, it’s no surprise that it will sound pretty bad. So, consider your amplification source when buying your first e-drum kit.

Another important thing to keep in mind if you’re buying an electronic drum kit is that they do make noise. E-drum kits are much quieter than acoustic drum sets, but they still make noise. At the end of the day, you are still hitting mesh or rubber with a drumstick, so be mindful of that.

To reduce noise, you should use some kind of carpet under your e-drum kit because it’s the kick pedal that makes most sounds that transfer through walls onto other floors beneath you.

How Much Should You Spend on Electronic Drums?

Good-quality beginner e-drum kits cost around 400$, but you will need some accessories, which can cost from 100$ to 200$. You’re looking at 1000$ for an excellent e-drum kit for beginner & intermediate drummers who need superb features. If you are a beginner, you can get away with an even cheaper e-drum kit and be satisfied. Most Alesis e-drum kits are affordable and great for home practice.

Used vs. New Electronic Drums

One thing to consider is buying a used e-drum kit. There are a lot of pros and cons to buying new and used e-drum kits, but there are a lot of good used e-drum kits that you can buy. Just make sure you are not buying a model that’s been released for more than three years, as technology is growing rapidly and older technology in e-drums can quickly become obsolete.


The most expensive e-drum kits can be as high as $9000. There’s a lot of technology involved, design is still changing pretty fast, and there’s a lot of investing in R&D for electronic drum technology. In time, the cost will eventually go down, but even now, there are a lot of e-drum kits that are affordable and do the job well.

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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