Electronic vs Acoustic Drums

If you’re looking to buy your first drum set, there’s one big question that you must first answer – do you want to go with an electronic drum kit, or an acoustic drum kit?

While you can certainly learn to play the drums on either, there are some key differences you need to be aware of. You’re going to need to take into consideration both what your environment will allow you to have, and what your drumming goals are.

acoustic vs electronic drums

What Kind of Drum Set is Best for My Home?

When it comes to drumming, you’re going to need to be realistic about what kind of set you can use.

If you live in an apartment or townhome that has shared walls, you likely shouldn’t buy an acoustic drum set. Unless you know you have outstanding soundproofing, the complaints you receive from your neighbors will have you evicted!

You may also need to go with an electronic drum kit if you own your home but other people in the house can’t stand to live with the noise from your hours of practice. Check out a list of our best electronic drum kits for beginners if this is you.

electronic drumming

A final issue that could arise for those hoping for an acoustic drum kit is the amount of space they take up. Acoustic drums are big and bulky, they take up a ton of room so you really need to have a dedicated space for them. You also won’t want to be moving an acoustic set very often as you risk damaging the drums or knocking them out of tune.

An electronic drum set is much more compact, easy to store, and easy to move around as needed.


Electronic Drums vs Acoustic Drums Differences

Let’s go over the biggest differences between electric and acoustic drums, some of which we mentioned above…

Storage Requirements

As we mentioned above, you need a lot more space to store an acoustic set of drums and won’t be able to move them around or break them down easily. An electronic drum kit can be setup or torn down in minutes, and can be collapsed as needed for easy storage or portability.

drum storage


The sound produced by these different instruments is one of the biggest differences. With an acoustic drum kit, the kit itself produces all the sound you need! You’ll have metal cymbals and tuned drums which will respond to your striking drum sticks.

With an electronic drum kit, your sound is going to be generated electronically. An electronic drum kit will have a central control module that all the drum components will need to run a cable into in order to register hits. On that module, you can typically change the kit sound (rock, jazz, hip hop, etc).

electric drum module

An electronic kit will require a separate amplifier if you wish to play your music allowed, otherwise you can plug a set of headphones into the control module in order to practice quietly which is a great feature.

The advantages of the acoustic drum set here is that it doesn’t require you to run any cables or have a power source in order to make music.


When it comes to comparing costs between an electronic and acoustic drum kit, it really depends at what experience level you’re buying at. You can find a great acoustic drum kit for beginners for around $400-500, and you can find similarly priced kits for electronic drum kits as well. Someone buying an electric kit might also need an amplifier which will cost anywhere from $100-300 depending on your needs.

So for beginners, the starting costs are pretty close. However, as a musician advances their skills, they will likely want to upgrade their acoustic kit which can be expenses. Many drummers find that the cymbals that come with beginner kits are the first thing they want to upgrade.

Performance Goals

While the skills you gain drumming will certainly transfer between the two types of drum sets, if you have a specific goal in mind it’s best to be comfortable with that kind of drum kit if possible.

If your goal is to play on-stage with a live band, then an acoustic drum kit is most likely what you’re after. The feel and authentic sound from a set of acoustic drums are highly desired for live performances.

If you’re primarily looking to record music to a computer to compose your own songs, then using an electric drum kit is the easiest way to do that as you don’t need to setup a slew of extra mics to capture your performance.


Learning to Play

Once you get your drum set, you might be interested in learning to play from a group of the world’s best drummers! Check out our drumeo edge review to see how this innovative drumming site is changing the way drummers learn and practice.