Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?

Acoustic drum set - acoustic vs electronic drums - which one is right for you

The answer to that question is going to depend on multiple factors. Considerations include your budget, acceptable noise levels, current skill level, and even what kind of room you have available for a drum set. These all need to be taken into consideration.

I started my drumming journey over thirteen years ago, and during that time I’ve played both acoustic and electronic drums. Each have their pros and cons, and I’ll break them down in the sections below.

My goal is for you to have a solid understanding of acoustic vs. electronic drums so you’ll be confident knowing which one is right for you.

Acoustic vs. electronic drums – Acoustic pros and cons


  1. First and foremost, acoustic drums provide the most authentic sound. They are capable of producing a wide range of tonal variations, allowing you as the drummer, to express yourself in a truly rich and dynamic way.
  2. Acoustic drums have a more dynamic response to the drumstick as opposed to an electronic set’s typical mesh head which may not feel as ‘natural’. Acoustic drums allow the drummer to utilize a wider range of expressive techniques such as ghost notes, rim shots, and intricately placed drum rolls with superior control.
  3. Acoustic drums have a certain visual and physical appeal that many people are drawn to. During a live performance on stage, an acoustic drum set will enhance the overall stage presence, often becoming the focal point for many concert goers.
  4. Since we’re on the topic of live performances, it would be fitting to mention that acoustic drums are particularly well-suited for the job as they produce such a powerful sound. Acoustic drums are capable of filling a venue with sound without any need of amplification. Just don’t forget the ear protection if you’re the drummer!


  1. As mentioned above, acoustic drums can be quite loud. This can be an issue for practice sessions and especially for environments where loud noises will result in complaints from your neighbors. There are ways of toning down the sound such as using drum mute pads or other similar dampening devices. The downside, however, is that they will change the feel of the drum heads.
  2. Another aspect that often gets overlooked is the fact that regular maintenance is going to be required. This includes, but is not limited to, occasional cleaning of the shells, tuning the drumheads, and replacing them if and when they wear out. These are all time consuming jobs, and it’s likely that they will require a bit of technical know-how.
  3. One big downside to acoustic drums is the space you’ll need for playing or storing them. They require a lot of real estate. If you don’t have a dedicated spot in your home, or you live in a small area, you might be better off getting an electronic drum set.
  4. Finally, acoustic drums can bring some challenges when it comes time for recording in the studio. Issues such as room acoustics and microphone placement can negatively affect the quality of a recording.
Drum set - acoustic vs. electronic drums - which one is right for you

Acoustic vs. electronic drums – Electronic pros and cons


  1. What acoustic drum sets lack in volume control, electronic drum sets more than makeup for. They can be played with headphones which dramatically reduces sound output. You can adjust the volume in your headset to whatever desired level you choose, making them great for late night practice sessions or when playing in noise sensitive environments. Your neighbors will thank you.
  2. Most electronic drum sets come with a wide variety of pre-programmed drum kits you can experiment with and decide what kits you like the best. You can often even customize or create all new sounds which you can integrate into your kit to expand your creative possibilities.
  3. One great aspect of an electronic drum set is the minimal space requirement. They are typically more lightweight, more compact, and less cumbersome than their acoustic counterpart. This means they are a far superior choice for space efficiency and transportation.
  4. Electronic drums can easily be connected to computers and recording equipment such as Reaper. This eliminates the need for any microphones and allows the drums to be recorded digitally. Electronic drums can also be integrated with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), which you can learn more about here: !NAME OF ARTICLE!


  1. Despite the variety of sounds that electronic drum sets typically provide, they simply can’t fully replicate the rich and complex sounds you can achieve with an acoustic set. In fact, many electronic drum sets may sound ‘processed’, limiting the drummer from adding any subtle nuances that would otherwise be easily achievable with an acoustic drum set.
  2. Another drawback of electronic drums when compared with acoustic drums is going to be the response you receive from the mesh heads. Many drummers find that the electronic drum heads lack the authentic feel of an acoustic set. The rebound can feel a bit unnatural, or perhaps not as satisfying.
  3. Top of the line electronic drum kits can be quite expensive compared to an entry-level acoustic set. The price tag will increase even more if you are looking at purchasing additional equipment or software for your drum set. However, don’t let this scare you away as there are plenty of mid tier electronic drum kits that sound very good at a reasonable price. I would recommend taking a look at the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit. It’s one I’ve personally used and it worked flawlessly.
  4. Finally, one last thing to consider. Electronic drum sets are going to bring particular challenges for live shows. While they may be suitable for smaller venues, there is simply no replacement for the impact and power of an acoustic drum set. This is especially true when performing in front of larger crowds or during outdoor performances.

Acoustic vs. electronic drums – conclusion

Personally, I love the look and feel of acoustic drums. They are a powerful instrument. In my opinion, there is nothing that catches the eye more than a beautifully crafted acoustic drum set. You just can’t replicate the feeling of smashing the toms and crashing the cymbals with an electronic set. Companies are getting close, but I’m not sure they will ever be able to capture the true essence of a genuine acoustic set.

Now with all that being said, there is definitely a time and a place for an electronic drum set. If you are limited on space, need to keep the volume levels down, or just like the idea of owning an electronic drum set, then by all means go for it!

Unless you really skimp on the quality of the electronic drum set, you probably aren’t going to regret your purchase. There’s also something fun in trying out the various drum kits that many drum sets have programmed in.

If you have the room, and noise isn’t so much of an issue, I recommend purchasing the real deal and go for an acoustic drum set. You will get the most authentic experience with an acoustic set.

So either way; relax, enjoy, start playing some grooves, and make sure you have a comfortable throne with good support for those long musical sessions I’m sure you’ll be doing in no time!

Acoustic drum set - acoustic vs electronic drum set

What to do next?

If you are completely brand new to drumming and don’t know where to start. Check out some of my other articles:

How to Hold Drumsticks

Is it Really That Hard to Learn Drums?

After that, feel free to head over to Zzounds and take a look at all the drum sets they have for sale. You might just find the new drum set you’ve been waiting for!

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Andrew has been a life long lover of music. Although starting his musical journey on the guitar, (we won't talk about his skills on that particular instrument) he found his true passion was for drumming and making music to share with others. He also enjoys writing blog posts about off the wall subjects that are very much real—such as Bigfoot, UFOs, and what's up with European mayonnaise. Why is it sweet???
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