Let’s face it – it sucks to be a drummer while living in an apartment. It really limits your options for what type of drum kit you can play and when you can play it. If you don’t have a studio or some outside place to set up an acoustic kit, you might be stuck with not being able to play drums at all. That’s where electronic drums come in. They allow drummers to still play in their apartment, even if the conditions aren’t perfect.

What Makes a Good Electronic Kit For Apartments?

A serviceable electronic drum kit for an apartment will ideally have quieter pads and a smaller footprint so that it takes up less space. Space is a premium in most apartment situations. Of course these aren’t always the exact requirements, but that’s what has worked best for me while living in apartments.

Quiet Drum & Cymbal Pads

Not all drum pads are equal in terms of acoustic noise produced. Some will sound like practice pad, and some can be very quiet and not produce much tapping sound at all. It mostly has to do with the material used in the surface of the pads.

Mesh drum heads are the most ideal, and luckily that is the standard these days. Cymbal pads are still made from hard plastic and rubber though and in most cases the cymbal pads on electronic drum kits will produce more acoustic noise than the mesh drum heads.

The Bass Pedal and Bass Drum Pad Isolation

Bass drum pads are usually going to be the biggest issue if you have neighbors below you. Even with more quiet bass drum pads there will be some thumping and vibration going directly into the floor. Kick pad towers that use mesh drum heads can help, but they can still transfer vibration into the floor. Hard rubber kick pads will sound a little louder in terms of acoustic noise.

One remedy here is usually to place your kick pad and pedal on an anti-vibration mat of some type. There’s lots of options out there for this, from a smaller mat or pad that is just big enough for the kick drum pad and pedal, all the way to a full noise isolation platform for your entire drum kit. Another option is to use softer drum beaters. And yet another option is to plan ahead when moving and rent an apartment on the bottom floor so that you don’t have any downstairs neighbors.

Compact Size

Most people living in apartments aren’t going to want to sacrifice a lot of space for a drum kit. So in many cases it’s going to be ideal to have a kit that takes up less space, has a small overall footprint, and that is potentially light enough and has the ability to fold up to move out of the way easily.

Our Favorite Electronic Drum Kits for Apartment Drummers

We have some favorites that we like in different budget ranges. These kits will offer good play-ability and a compact size which won’t take up a ton of space.

The Alesis Nitro Max

Alesis Nitro Max Drum Kit

This is the latest version of Alesis Nitro line, which is a very popular entry level electronic drum kit. The Nitro Max is available for around $400 or less so it can be a good value and a low risk purchase. It’s on the smaller side, but its compact nature can make it ideal for drummers with very little space to work with in their apartment. It’s very light and super easy to fold up and move around.

The Nitro Max has a 10 inch, dual-zone, mesh snare pad which feels good to play and provides good response for a budget kit. It’s good to see Alesis getting away from 8 inch snare pads on the Nitro. The 8 inch, single-zone tom pads are also mesh and I like how the rims have a lower profile so it’s easier to strike the drum heads. The cymbal pads are all single zone pads and are pretty basic, but that’s to be expected in this price range. The hi-hat pedal feels pretty good for a budget kit. It also comes with a kick drum pedal which is a nice bonus.

I really like the Nitro module, especially when considering it’s price level. It’s easy to use and allows you to edit kits and save custom kits. The drum sounds have been updated from previous Nitro modules and the Nitro Max module has a new set of sounds from BFD. The sounds are pretty good, with my only issue being that some sounds could use a little more sustain. You also get a free version of the BFD player for your computer.

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The Simmons Titan 50

Simmons Titan 50 Drum Kit

The Simmons Titan 50 is a good entry level drum kit for under $500 that can be a great pick for apartment drummers. It has a smaller footprint, is lightweight and is easy to move around. It has a lot of the same pad features as the Nitro Max, but with a much more sturdy rack which I really like.

This kit has a 10 inch, dual-zone snare pad that has good response and does excellent rim shots. The 8 inch tom pads are single zone and also have mesh heads. The cymbal pads are all single zone. The kick tower is large enough to fit a double bass pedal if you play double bass. The rack sits high enough that it works well for me, and I’m 6′ 3″ tall. It also includes a kick pedal which is a nice bonus for the price.

The module has Simmons latest studio recorded drum sounds along with some of their classic electronic sounds which can be fun to play. I really like the sounds in this module, especially for the price level of this kit. The sounds are great and they have a good amount of sustain to them. There are 25 preset kits with 10 slots for saving custom kits. You can use the Simmons Drums 2 app to edit kits which is a little more visual than using the module interface.

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The Roland TD-1DMKX

Roland TD-1DMKX Drum Kit

The Roland TD-1DMKX is one of my favorite affordable drum kits from Roland. It only costs $600 and plays very nicely for it’s price. It has a very sturdy rack and a nice lineup of pads, even it is a little more basic all the way around.

This kit features the PDX-8 pad as the snare pad, which is a 10 inch pad with dual zone capabilities. It uses the PDX-6A pads for the toms which are 8-inch, single-zone pads with mesh heads. The cymbal pads are all single zone pads, even the ride pad which is a little larger than the others. The kick pad is a smaller pad that attaches directly to one of the rack legs, but it’s wide enough to support a double bass pedal. The hi-hat controller pedal is very responsive and it’s one of the best that I’ve used on a budget kit.

The rack is very sturdy and it sits a little higher than most other kits I’ve tried in this price range. I like that since I’m about 6′ 3″, and the height of this kit works great for me.

The TD-1 module is super basic. It has 10 preset kits which all sound really good, but there are no custom kit slots and no sound editing features. This module is designed more to just turn it on, pick a kit and play. I’ve been using this kit in my apartment quite a bit lately and the lack of sound design doesn’t bother me at all since I just need something to practice with and the preset sounds are more than good enough for practicing.

If you want more sound editing features but like the look of this kit, you should check out the Roland TD-07DMK which has a similar pad lineup as this one but a more capable sound module, and it’s a little more expensive as well.

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The Simmons Titan 70

Simmons Titan 70 Drum Kit

The Simmons Titan 70 is a nice step up from the Titan 50 and offers quite a few more features for it’s $800 price. It still remains fairly compact and lightweight even though it has more pads than the Titan 50, and it uses the same sturdy rack as the Titan 50.

The snare pad is a 10 inch, dual-zone mesh pad and I like how it handles rim shots. The toms are 8 inch, dual-zone mesh pads that can generate different sounds from both the head and the rim. This is nice if you want to be able to assign more cymbal sounds to the tom rims, for example. The hi-hat and crash cymbals are still pretty basic single zone pads, but the ride pad is a really nice triple zone pad that has a bell zone, which is pretty awesome for a kit a this price point. The kick tower pad is bigger than the one on the Titan 50, and it offers more overall surface area to work with.

The module is pretty nice and is specific to the Titan 70 kit. It contains a combination of Simmons latest modern drum sounds as well as some of their classic Simmons drum sounds. Much like the Titan 50, I really like how this module sounds. It has 50 preset kits as well as 15 custom kit slots. The Simmons Drums 2 app works with this module and offers a more visual interface for editing kits. There are enough sound design features to keep things interesting if you like to create custom kits and tweak sounds.

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The Yamaha DTX6K-X

The DTX6K-X drum kit by Yamaha is a very playable but small kit. This kit doesn’t take up much space with it’s small footprint and it is also lightweight, so it’s easy to move around or store away if needed. Considering how good the DTX-PRO module is and the fact that you get a triple zone ride pad along with the excellent TCS snare pad, this is a pretty good value at around $1000.

TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) drum heads are proprietary to Yamaha and provide a more natural response, less acoustic noise and less fatigue when compared to rubber pads. The kick pad is also nice and does a decent job of absorbing vibration which can be a positive for apartment playing.

The DTX-PRO module is going to be better than most other options at this price point, so keep that in mind if the module is one of your priorities. It has good sounds built in and some excellent sound design options if you like to really tweak the sound of your kits. There are 40 preset kits and 200 custom drum kit slots, which is way more custom kit slots than you’ll find on other modules at this price point. You can even import your own drum sounds which is another plus at this price point.

One drawback of this kit is the rubber drum pads used for the toms. They are only 7 inches in diameter and not mesh or TCS which would be preferable. But considering the other positives this kit has to offer the basic rubber tom pads are a decent trade-off.

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The Roland TD-17KVX2

Roland TD-17KVX2 Drum Kit

The Roland TD-17KVX2 is a great option for drummers who want Roland quality in a more compact package for apartment use. The compact size of this kit is mostly due to the compact rack that this kit uses, even though the pads are larger and not overly small.

This kit sells for around $1900 so it’s not overly expensive, but it’s also certainly not a budget level kit. Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide your own hi-hat stand and bass drum pedal though, which could add to the price.

The pads around this kit are really nice for a kit at this price point. The snare is the PDX-12 pad which is a great feeling 12 inch, dual zone pad. The toms are all 10 inch PDX-8 pads which offer dual-zone functionality as well. The crash cymbal pads are Roland’s newer CY-12C-T thin cymbal pads which are 12 inches in diameter and feel closer to acoustic cymbals. The ride cymbal pad is Roland’s newer CY-14R-T thin cymbal pad which is 14 inches in diameter and offers three zones including a bell. The hi-hat pad is Roland’s VH-10 hi-hat pad, which is 12 inches in diameter and it mounts on a standard hi-hat stand, and it has a good feel during play.

The TD-17 module is fun to use and it offers 70 great sounding preset kits along with 30 custom kit slots. This module can be fun for drummer who like to tweak the sounds of their kits. It has features such as loading your own samples, reverb, compression and multi-effects.

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The Efnote 5

Efnote 5 Drum Kit

The Efnote 5 is an acoustic design electronic kit that remains fairly compact in size, and it can be suitable for a smaller apartment drum kit. This kit sells for $2900 and that doesn’t include the hi-hat stand or the bass drum pedal that is seen in the photos, so that will cost extra.

This kit has a nice lineup of pads around the kit. For the drums there is a 16 inch kick drum, a 12 inch snare, a 10 inch rack tom and a 12 inch floor tom. It looks like a mini version of an acoustic drum kit but the drums sit just as high as you’d expect from a conventional kit. The cymbals include an 18 inch triple-zone ride, a 16 inch triple-zone crash, an 8 inch dual-zone splash and a 14 inch dual zone hi-hat. The sizes of the cymbals pads and their multiple zones help them feel very close to acoustic cymbals when playing.

The module focuses on offering natural sounding drum sounds with 17 preset kits and 83 user kit slots. There aren’t a ton of effects, but you can change the drum sound tuning, level, panning and muffling along with EQ for each pad as well as add ambience effects. The goal of this kit and it’s module is to sound like a well tuned, natural acoustic kit.

The response of the pads, especially the cymbal pads, is awesome for a kit at this price level. So if a very natural response from your cymbals is a high priority, this kit is well worth a look.

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The Roland TD-27KV2

Roland TD-27KV2 Electronic Drum Kit

This drum kit could be considered a premium pick for apartment drummers. This is the latest version and newest generation of Roland’s TD27KV drum kit. It’s pretty expensive at around $3,500. If you’ve got the budget for it, it’s well worth it. Keep in mind if you go with this kit that you need provide your own hi-hat stand, snare stand and bass drum pedal. Even though this kit is always pictured with those things, they are not included.

This kit features some of Roland premium level drum pads all the way around. All drum pads have mesh heads. The cymbals include Roland’s digital ride pad and two of their new thin crash pads. The hi-hat is Roland’s digital VH-14D pad which is very high-resolution and satisfying to play. While this kit has premium pads up top, they include a compact kick tower pad rather than a larger kick drum style pad. With the smaller rack design and compact kick tower, this is a very good premium level kit that will still not take up a ton of space in an apartment. It’s easy to move around or out of the way if needed.

The TD-27 module is really nice and it offers 50 great sounding preset kits along with a good amount of sound design features for creating custom kits and tweaking your sounds. Some of the standout features include the ability to layer sounds, adjusting room and overhead mics in the mix, multi-effects, compression and EQ.

In terms of play, this kit will have a feel much closer to an acoustic drum kit and practicing on this kit might translate better to later playing on an acoustic kit.

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