The 5 Best Intermediate Drum Set Reviews

You’ve learned the fundamentals of drumming and now you’re ready to ditch that beginners’ set and get the best intermediate drum sets. If that starter drum kit is no longer going to cut it, it’s time to buy a more versatile drum kit.

This isn’t easy to do though as drum set quality ranges from excellent to the mediocre. Using my experience, I assessed the top drum sets for intermediate level drummers.

I’ve included as much useful, practical data as I could. I have also prepared this chart that will make it easier for you to compare their features.

Top 5 Intermediate Drum Sets: Comparison Chart

Cymbals Included
Other Features
View On Amazon
Snare, bass, 2 floor toms, 3 rack toms
Die cast claw hooks, graduated counter loops
Snare, bass, 1 floor tom, 2 rack toms
TH-945B 3-hole receiver, birch drum shells
1 floor tom, 2 rack toms, snare, bass
100% poplar shells, mounting hardware
1 floor tom, 2 rack toms, snare, bass
Remo drum heads, Gretsch locking and mount
3 toms, 3 cymbal pads, bass, snare
SuperNATURAL-enhanced sound engine, icon interface

Best Picks of Intermediate Drum Sets

#1: PDP By DW 7-Piece Concept Maple Shell Pack with Chrome Hardware Pearlescent White

PDP has developed a reputation for creating some of the best professional drum sets ever, and this 7 piece set does not disappoint. Even among the many quality products of this company, this drum set stands out.

The kit includes a 5.5″ x 14″ snare drum, 14″ x 16″ floor tom, 12” x 14” floor tom, 9” x 12” tom, 8 x 10” tom, 7 x 8” tom and a 22” x 18” bass drum. Each drum is made from high quality components for durability and versatile sound.

PDP By DW 7-Piece Concept Maple Shell Pack with Chrome Hardware Pearlescent White
  • Dual-Turret Lug, True-Pitch Tension Rods and Die-Cast Claw Hooks
  • Graduated Counter Hoops
  • 7-ply Tom/Kick Shells and 10-ply Snare Shells
  • MAG Throw-Off and Fully Chromed Snare Wires w/ Carbon Steel Coils and Brass End Plates
  • Stands and Cymbals Not Included

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The drum set includes top notch hardware such as die cast claw hooks, graduate counter hoops and copper snare wires.

These drums are known for its excellent tone, depth and range. The drums and toms are all rich and full, enabling you to generate more sounds.

Each of the drums works fine on its own but is better when combined. The bass drum has a rich deep sound and the snare drum has a good tone as well.

The five toms – 3 mounted, 2 floor – complement one another. There’s a mount for the 8 inch tom provided, and a mount for the 12” and 10” drums.

The drum kit is maple and should last a long time even with heavy use. Compared to a beginner’s set this is more advanced.

I have come across a lot of 7 pieces sets and this is one of the better ones yet. PDP is known for its impressive drums, but this set manages to hit its mark.

Highlighted Features
  • Carbon steel coil, chromed snare wire
  • 10 ply snare shells
  • 7 ply tom
  • True Pitch tension rods
  • Graduated counter hoops
  • Available in 8 color finishes
  • Brass end plates
  • Die cast claw hooks

#2: Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack – 20″ Kick, Raven Black

The Yamaha Stage Custom is one of the best drum sets for those on a budget. While this is for those looking for an affordable drum kit, its features are enough for discriminating drummers.

The drums and toms have a bright, punchy sound. Compared to other five piece sets you’ll b able to do more as the drum set has greater versatility.

Like the other Stage Custom drum sets, the drums have exceptional tonal range and resonance. In terms of quality and sound precision, these drums can do more than an entry level drum kit.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack - 20" Kick, Raven Black
  • Included Drums: 20x17 kick, 10x7 rack tom, 12x8 rack tom, 14x13 floor tom, 14x5.5 snare
  • Included Hardware: TH-945B 3-hole receiver with (2) YESS tom mounts, (3) floor tom legs
  • 100% birch drum shells with air seal system
  • 45-Degree bearing edges and Absolute-style lugs
  • No cymbals, stands, or kick pedal, or throne included

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The versatile design of the Yamaha Stage Custom means you can use it for pop, metal, rock or jazz. The all around capability stems from its drum construction.

With its staggered diagonal seam enabled Yamaha to use a thin shell for the drum. This ensures the drum shell always remains round.

The set sports a high quality lacquer finish, and the drums’ shells enhances its durability and tone quality. I also have to say the low mass lugs improves shell vibration, leading to superior sustain and tone.

All the drum shells used the Yamaha Air Seal System to make certain that the built is even. This also ensures performance consistency.

The Stage Custom includes a 14 x 13” floor tom, a 10 x 7” rack tom, a 14 x 5.5” snare and a 20 x 17” kick. If you’re searching for an affordable drum kit for intermediates, the Stage Custom should fit right in.

Highlighted Features
  • Different colors available
  • 45 degree bearing edges
  • Air seal system for drum shells
  • Multiple floor tom legs
  • YESS tom mounts w/ TH-945B 3-hole receiver
  • High quality drums
  • Excellent sustain
  • Rich tone

#3: Tama IP52KCHLB Imperialstar 5-Piece Complete Drum Kit with 22″ Bass Drum & Hardware, Cymbals – Hairline Blue

The Imperialstar has received some of the best drum sets under 1000 reviews, and after checking it out I have to concur.

This 5 piece drum set includes a floor tom, a couple of rack toms, a snare and bass drum. You also get a hi hat, crash and ride cymbals to complete the set.

The necessary mounting hardware are included as well as a comfortable drum throne, kick pedals and cymbal stands. A lot of intermediate drum kits don’t include the cymbals and kick stands so you save money here.

Tama IP52KCHLB Imperialstar 5-Piece Complete Drum Kit with 22" Bass Drum & Hardware, Cymbals - Hairline Blue
  • A great-playing 5-piece drum kit for an unbelievably affordable price^This complete kit comes with everything you need - hardware, cymbals, stands, and pedals included!^Poplar drum shells provide you with a satisfyingly full sound with plenty of natural warmth and balanced dynamics^Precision-crafted bearing edges provide enhanced sensitivity, a wide tuning range, and great resonance^Quality Meinl cymbals include a set of hi-hat, a ride, and a crash

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Imperialstar is lighter than average drum sets, but it’s got big sounds. Strike the drums and you’ll hear the depth, range and clarity, plus the cymbals have greater range than other drums.

The Imperialstar utilizes Accu-Tune loops than the usual t-rods and claw hooks, it is easier to fold up after you’re done playing.

As an intermediate level drummer, you should look for a drum kit with a high quality sound and easy set up. That is what the Imperialstar offers, which is why it is suitable for those who are done with the beginner’s level.

The Tama Imperialstar comes with the full package but it’s surprisingly compact.  This allows you to place the drums where you want them with ease.

This is a solidly made drum kit, with lots of features, excellent sound and overall good quality. The cymbals sound great and the drums are stylishly made, giving the whole set a nice, professional look.

The Imperialstar faces a lot of competition, but it’s a good one.

Highlighted Features
  • Drum throne provided
  • Kick pedals and cymbal stands bundled
  • 100% poplar wood 8 ply shells
  • Ride, hi hat and crash cymbals
  • Highly accurate bearing edges
  • Wide tuning scope
  • Essential hardware included
  • Drum key

#4: Gretsch Drums Catalina Maple CM1-E605-WG 5-Piece Drum Shell Pack, Walnut Glaze

One of the top intermediate drum sets online, the Catalina Maple is a 7 piece set that’s as versatile as it is beautiful. The set consists of a 5.5 x 14” snare drum, a 14 x 14” floor tom, to two rack toms  – 7 x 10” and 8 x 12” – and a 16 x 20” bass drum.

These maple 7 ply shells are exceptionally well made, with powerful yet bright sounds emanating every time. The diverse tonal range enables you to improvise and come up with a unique approach to drumming.

Gretsch Drums Catalina Maple CM1-E605-WG 5-Piece Drum Shell Pack, Walnut Glaze
  • 16x20" Bass Drum, 7x10" & 8x12" Rack Toms, 14x14" Floor Tom, 5.5x14" Snare Drum
  • Gretsch-formula 7-ply maple shells, round Catalina Maple badge & Remo drumheads
  • 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops, 30-degree bearing edge
  • New Gretsch bass drum mount plate & Bass drum claw with gasket
  • New tom holder design with cymbal holder & New low-profile Grestch tom bracket

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The snare and bass drums are terrific, and the inclusion of five toms provides even more flexibility. The drums are as also stylishly made, consisting of a satin finish and an interior shell that’s been hand tinted.

Remo heads and hardware are provided for easy set up. You get single and double tom holders, tom mount brackets, a GTS mounting system and a gas bass drum mount.

The tom mounts have a post opening for cymbal tubes, and all the necessary bolts and screws are provided so you can the drums quickly.

The die cast claws have rubber isolators to keep the hoops looking sharp. There are also Gretsch T Wing bolts and screws plus a Catalina Maple badge to make the drums more exciting.

The drums come with telescopic bass drum spurs and 30 degree bearing edges and a hoops for the toms. All the drums come with a Remo heads for superior resonance and durability.

For style and performance, the Gretsch is hard to match.

Highlighted Features
  • Remo Drumheads
  • Round Catalina Maple Badge
  • 30-degree bearing edge
  • 3mm triple-flanged hoops
  • Gretsch-formula 7-ply maple shells
  • “T-Wing” wingnut
  • Bass drum claw with gasket
  • Low profile GTS

#5: Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set

Based on features and performance, the TD-11K-S is hands down one of the best drum sets for the money. This is an electronic drum kit that comes with all the major drum pieces and lots of tech innovations to boot.

This kit includes a snare drum, a bass drum, 3 cymbal pads and 3 toms. The drum stand and hi hat controller are also included.

The set up and looks may take some getting accustomed to if you’re used to a regular rum set. While it’s appearance may be different, the sounds are what matters and the D-11K-S shows you what an electronic drum set can do.

Roland Electronic Drum Set (TD-11K)
  • Kick Pedal NOT included. Shown for photography purposes only.
  • Supernatural-enhanced sound engine with Behavior Modeling provides an expressive and natural drumming experience.
  • Professionally recorded backing songs onboard, ideal for play-along practice and performance. Diverse sound library covers a wide variety of musical genres.
  • Practice features include Quick Record/Quick Play, plus a unique COACH function that helps players of all levels build drumming skills effectively.
  • Large LCD and icon-driven user interface for easy operation.

Last update on 2020-05-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The set comes with several preset samples obtained from genuine instruments, so when you play the drums it sounds like the real thing. Apart from the 25 presets you can create your own and customize them.

Once you’ve got the sounds the way you want, use the ports to record your music. You can even plug this in your mobile device.

The sounds are excellent and the preset audio sound natural. Programming can be simple or intricate depending on what music you want to record.

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with electronic drums, the D-11K-S has a complete set of guides so you’ll know what to do. The cymbals also sound great, with harder strikes producing louder effects, similar to the real thing. This is a great way to get into electronic drums.

Highlighted Features
  • Built in ports for recording
  • Can connect to your mobile device for song jams
  • Comes with hi hat controller and 3 cymbal pads
  • Sounds can be customized
  • Coach mode for improving performance
  • LCD with intuitive interface
  • Allows you to add samples
  • SuperNATURAL-enhanced sound engine

What’s the Best Intermediate Drum Set?

All brands and companies will say they have the right one, but only you can decide what is best. The finest intermediate drum sets however, must have the features you’re looking and still being affordable.

I chose these five drum sets because they combine powerful features with ease of use. They’re also affordable and well within the budget of most drummers.

An intermediate drum moreover, has the right balance of progression and ease of use. These are not only easy to use but give you the opportunity to expand your creativity.

How to Choose an Intermediate Drum Set

Drum sets come with different number of pieces, but the following are the most common.

  • Bass drum
  • Snare drum
  • Hi hat cymbal
  • Ride cymbal
  • Crash cymbal
  • Rock toms
  • Floor toms


  • The thicker the drumhead the more concentrated and darker the sound. Thick drumheads emphasize the drum’s pitch and lower resonance.
  • The thinner the drumhead the clearer and brighter the sound. This produces greater resonance and makes the drum sound lighter and more subtle.
  • A clear drumhead produces a clearer, more attacking sound. A coated drumhead provides more control and has a darker tone.
  • Most drummers use clear headed toms and coated snares.

Drum Sizes

The size and numbers depend on the type of music you want to play. If you’re into metal and hard rock, you’ll need a 20” or bigger bass drum, 5 to 7 toms or more, cymbals, snare, the whole works.

If you’re into jazz, a standard 4 or 5 piece drum set will do. Depending on your musical style you may or may not need cymbals.

Configuration Options

Most drum sets come with four or five drums and giving you the option to add more. Some set up options:

  • For jazz, a 20” or 18” bass drum, a 14” snare, 14” and 10” toms will do.
  • A typical 5 piece set includes a 14” snare, 16”, 13” and 12” toms and a 22” bass drum. This configuration is suitable for jazz, rock and other musical styles.
  • The fusion setup consists of a 22” kick drum, a 14” snare and three toms, 14”, 12” and 10”. This set up is often used for funk, hip hop and R&B because it has rich, deep bass and groove.

How to Set Up Your Drum Set

  • Sit on your drum throne.
  • Position the pedals where your feet can comfortably reach them. If you’re right handed, place the bass drum pedal to the right. The hi hat pedal should be to your left. Do the reverse if you’re left handed.
  • If you’ve got a double bass drum pedal, set it up after the rest of the drum kit has been positioned. Double bass or not, the drums and cymbals should not yet be in position.
  • Position the bass drum behind the bass drum pedal and attach the two.
  • Place the snare drum between the pedals.
  • Place the toms on the floor and/or mount.
  • Put the cymbal stands in place and add the cymbals.
  • Adjust the height of your throne if necessary. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle.
  • Adjust the snare drum height. Some drummers like the drum parallel while others tilt it up a bit, it’s your choice.
  • Adjust the floor tom height so it is approximately the same as the snare.
  • You can adjust the rack toms using its clamps or its mounts.

Top Intermediate Drum Sets Brands


Roland has earned its spot here by making high quality electronic drum kits for players of all skill levels. Their drum kits are also known for versatility and being easy to customize.


Gretsch is famous for its drum kit mount system and patented locking and quality built. The brand is also famous for its 5 piece sets and quality sound.


Tama earns is place here due to the number of quality drum kits they’ve made through the years. Their beautiful and versatile drum kits are especially appealing to intermediate users.


For decades, Yamaha has become synonymous with quality music instruments, and their drum kits are among the best in the business. Yamaha also manufactures accessories for their various instruments.


The name Pearl should be familiar to anyone who’s had experience with drums. Their drums kits are among the most versatile and suitable for different music genres.

Final Verdict

Selecting these drum kits wasn’t easy and neither was picking a winner from the list. But after comparing features and value, it’s clear to me the Roland TD-11K-S offers the most value for your money and time.

This is a versatile and enjoyable electronic drum kit. The various presets allow you to play different types of music, and the interface is intuitive.

The Coach mode speeds up your training and all the samples are pro level, features you’d expect from one of the best intermediate drum sets.

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