The 4 Best Drum Sets for Metal – Reviews 2024

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Photo by Metal Chris / CC BY

So why get a drum set for metal? While it’s true you can play metal on virtually every kind of drum set, will you be able to pull of those sleek blast beats, mini solos on timpani, or even hold a plain gallop without proper gear?

So called metal drum kits are made of special materials which provide a distinctively different set of sounds – the kick is deeper, cymbals are sharper and more pronounced, and the wooden elements are generally more thumpy. With these elements in mind, we’ve selected some sets that would be ideal.

Here are our reviews of the 4 best drum sets for metal on the market:

Tama Superstar Classic Custom 7-Piece Drum Set

The first drum kit we’re reviewing is Tama’s Superstar. Tama is one of the most renowned brands in the drumming world, and Superstar is among their best kits for metal so far. It has a standard bass drum of 22×18 inches, three toms (8×7, 10×8, and 12×9), two floor toms (14×12 and 16×14), as well as a deep 14×6.5 snare

Now, the reason why Superstar is so great for metalheads is because it features 7-ply maple shell construction. Metal drummers usually employ a greater level of force behind each strike on their drums, so a kit which is as durable is this is warmly recommended for consideration. The hardware also boasts incredibly sturdy steel mounts and multi-flange suspended hoops while the low-mass lugs ensure impeccable performance.

As for the sound, Superstar’s bass drum is deep and fat, ideal for fast-paced metal sub-genres, the snare is absolutely perfect for rimshots and are able to withstand long blast beats while the toms are able to stay in tune for quite a while. Overall, this is a professional kit tailored for metal drummers and one of the best drum sets for metal period.

New Tama Superstar 7 piece.kit.

Mapex MA528SFBAW Mars Series 5-Piece Drum Set

Mapex’ Mars Series is pretty popular among metal drummers, and for a good reason too. The MA528SFBAW features a 12×8 mounted tom, two floor toms (14×12 and 16×14), and a relatively big 22×18 kick drum. The 14×6.5 snare is pretty decent, but you might need to tinker with it a bit before it sounds as good as the rest of the pieces.

Generally, drummers like this kit as it boasts exceptional level of durability, all the while providing a natural, powerful sound. The shells are made of 100% birch, complemented with SONIClear edge and rack-tom suspension features for the most exquisite drumming experience.

Our previous pick (Tama’s Superstar) might appear to have more features, and, in comparison Mapex’s Mars MA528FBAW appears as if it was lagging in performance. Note, however, that this drum kit is ideal for intermediate level players rather than professionals.

On top of that, Mapex is for heavy hitters. The basic outline of features gives us plenty of reasons to conclude that it will withstand whatever punishment you dish out, hands down. The only problem is, like we’ve mentioned, that the snare isn’t exactly “perfect.” Overall, though, Mapex MA58SFBAW does a great job for the money.

Pearl RS525CC706 Roadshow 5-piece Drum Set

Even though “Pearl” sounds all fancy and shiny, rest assured – metalheads love this brand. Suffice to say, if Steve Asheim (Deicide’s drummer) can dish out hours of blast beats on Pearl drums (without them falling apart), it’s safe enough to conclude that their drums are made of something otherworldly.

We’ve decided to take a gander at the Roadshow (R525CC706), and we were more than pleased with what we saw. It comes with Poplar shells and triple-flanged hoops, as well as double braced hardware.

The 22×16 bass drum offers fast response, durability, and depth like no other, there are two toms (1×8 and 12×9) onboard, a single floor tom (16×16), and a neat little 14×5,5 snare. You’ll also get two cymbals – 16-inch brass crash and 14-inch hybrid hi-hat.

Some of the most notable benefits metal drummers could reap if they choose this kit include excellent build quality, gratis bass pedal, drum throne, and two tom holders, as well as a relatively affordable option—making this among the best drum sets for metal around.

Tama Imperialstar 5-piece Drum Set

If you liked Tama’s Superstar, you’ll also love their Imperialstar Drum Set. This kit contains a 22X18 kick drum, 10” and 12” toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 14” snare. While the popular shells don’t have quite the durability you’ll get from the birch used on the Superstar, the level of performance is similar, making them a great value for the money.

The Imperialstar kit doesn’t just sound metal—it looks the part, too. The finish on the shells has a high gloss and shine that make it eye catching on stage, whatever color you get it in. Of course, quality is more important than appearance, and you can count on Tama for that, as well. The hardware with this kit is solid. You can count on the Imperialstar to stand up to whatever you throw at it.

Professional drummers need a combination of durability and value. That’s what you’ll get with the Tama Imperialstar. This is a great drum set for both intermediate students and professional drummers who want an affordable road kit.

Tama Drums - Imperialstar finish - NAMM 2017


Drum sets are in abundance – the market is full of underdog brands, outdated models that aren’t manufactured anymore, and it’s hard to find a good kit without paying several grands. Knowing this, we felt the urge to compile a list of the best drum sets for metal for your convenience.

In general, Tama’s drum kits (see a bunch here) are the best, regardless of the price range – you might find it ironic that “Tama” actually means “darkness” in some Slavic languages. Mapex is doing great too – if you don’t wish to pay top dollar but are still looking for quality, their models are among the best.

Last, but certainly not least, Pearl drums (see them here) are straight out of this world. It goes without saying that some of the world-class metal drummers like David Astor (Pathology) and Nick Augusto (Corrosion) play on Pearl drums.

We’ve settled for three of the biggest names, but if you’re up for some research, there are plenty other brands that offer great drums for metal, such as DW, Gretsch, Yamaha, Zildjian, and others. Good luck!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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