Best Mini Compact Portable Drum Kits For Tight Spaces – 2019

There is nothing more exciting than buying new drum devices. This is not only true when you are a beginner looking forward to taking up a new skill, but it is also applicable to experienced drummers. Owning a suitably portable drum kit that allows you to play on any occasion is a huge step towards being able to practice and perform while on the go.

Moving to an apartment can feel like a moment of doom for drummers. If you’re like me, you’ve run the gamut of soundproofing and space-saving solutions; electronic kits, blankets over the snare drum, removing excess hardware, etc. Ultimately, the drum set is clunky, and not exactly something you can take out for gigging.

This is what inspired me to research compact and portable acoustic drum kits. I wanted to find something that would fit in a cramped apartment and could be volume-reduced, yet also would feel and sound like real drums enough that it could be used at shows. 

Comparison of the Best Compact Drum Kits

Product

Rating

Price

Pearl Roadshow

Pearl RS584CC91 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Wine Red

Best Overall

Traps Drums A400 Portable Acoustic Drum Set

Traps Drums A400 Portable Acoustic Drum Set

Runner-up

Ludwig Breakbeats

Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack with Riser, Black Sparkle

Best for the Money

Roland V-Drums TD-4KP Portable Electronic Drum Set

Gretsch Drums Catalina Club

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack - Satin Walnut Glaze

What is a Compact Drum Kit? 

Affordable and easy to use, compact drum kits are revolutionary in that they allow the drummer to travel easily and efficiently. They are advantageous for drummers who look to move between rehearsal places and gigs without efforts. A compact drum kit is an invaluable asset to the band as well.

The compact size of such drum kits takes up less space, making them a critical asset for the gigging drummer. Therefore, compact drum kits are best for quick and easy transportation and are perfect in small-stage settings. 

How to Choose a Compact Drum Kit

Selecting the best compact drum kit for you is essential in achieving your goals. Therefore, you need to consider a series of aspects before making a purchasing choice, especially when there are so many compact drum kits on the market. To make it easier, these are the main things that you need to keep in mind: 

Type of Setup

Drum kits are extremely varied. They come as two-piece up to nine-piece setups; however, most drummers begin their journey with a basic five-piece drum kit. It is important to acknowledge that these shells do not come with cymbals, meaning that you might need to purchase them additionally. 

Space Considerations

Moreover, the available space should also be a defining factor in your decision; for the smallest spaces, electronic drum kits might be the best. 

Material

Lastly, pay attention to the wood the drum kit is made from, as different woods are better for certain music genres; for instance, mahogany or birch are ideal for low-end frequencies, while maple is perfect for slightly boosted lows and high frequencies. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Compact Drum Kits

The following section reviews the best compact drum kits we have carefully selected, which can provide different advantages. Keep reading to discover their advantages, disadvantages, and buyers’ opinions.

Pearl RS584CC91 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Wine Red

PROS

  • Takes up a small amount of space.
  • Great beginner set with the smaller bass drum.
  • Hardware is a step up from other drum sets. 
  • Great little travel/gigging kit that is good for transportation.
  • All-in-one drum set (drums, hardware, cymbals, sticks, stick bag, drum key, posters).

CONS

  • Low-quality sound and cymbals.
  • Entry-level kit, but more of a jazz/fusion type of drum set with the smaller bass drum.

What Recent Buyers Report

This drum kit comes with all the needed hardware, including the pedals. Both the stands and the hardware have sturdy construction and it is easy to put together. Overall, this product provides excellent value and high quality of fit; the rack toms and snare are pre-tuned, while floor tom and the bass have to be tuned. 

Why it Stands Out To Us 

This set is the best tool for beginners as it is extremely easy to put together, has superb quality, and contains all the hardware needed. The product embodies professional features such as a chain-drive bass drum pedal and locking geared stands. It is a complete drum kit that includes 9 ply 7mm Poplar shells and 1.2mm triple-flanged hoops. 

Who Would Use This Most?

The target demographic for this product is certainly students or beginner players, as it can be easily transported on the rush and is suitable in a wide variety of situations. This kit is also great for those who want a convenient way to practice. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Pearl RS584CC91 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set is the best asset for a student, beginner, or dedicated practitioner. The kit is easily assembled, offers great quality, and requires very minimal space, making it great for gigs and small stages. 

Traps Drums A400 Portable Acoustic Drum Set

PROS

  • Authentic sounds and quality.
  • Can be set up for both left and right-handed players.
  • Easily dialed in sound-wise; load in and out is very easy.
  • Extremely robust after setup due to substantial steel tubing.
  • Enhanced playability due to the four large rubber feet (doesn’t move).

CONS

  • Product does not come with cymbals.
  • Snare becomes loose after some time.

What Recent Buyers Report

This drumkit performs wonderfully after you set it up. The toms and the bass drum are pre-tuned, the load in and out is extremely simple, and they are easily dialed in sound-wise. The setup time is half compared to other compact drum kits and the components are quite easy to tune. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum kit is amazing due to its rapid setup and great professional sound quality. It is an amazing travel kit that includes an acoustic drum set and a rack mounting system. Overall, the robust construction offers stability and the drum kit offers great value. 

Who Would Use This Most?

This product is best for beginners and for practicing. It is easy to transport and set up; therefore it is ideal for gigs and rehearsals. In addition to this, it is the best option for players because the portability of the drum kit does not compromise on quality. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Traps is a highly convenient drum kit that sounds exactly like another regular drum kit. It has a robust construction made of steel tubing, which ensures a high degree of playability compared to other drum kits; it also has four large rubber feet and the rack is extremely strong. It is one of the best shell-less kits available. 

Best for the Money:
Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats

Ludwig LC179X016 Breakbeats 4 Piece Shell Pack with Riser, Black Sparkle

PROS

  • Tonal versatility.
  • Includes velvet storage bags.
  • 5x14" matching wood snare drum.
  • Remo heads and 45-degree bearing edge.
  • Apartment-friendly and space-saving drum kit perfect for cabs and tight spaces.

CONS

  • Snare stand, cymbals, and cymbal stands are not included.
  • Bags included not suitable for transport, only to dampen the sound.

What Recent Buyers Report

This product has great sounding toms both in high and low tuning. It is great for use in small places, such as apartments and on the street. The black is subtle and easy, a design that looks amazing under the stage lights. It is easy to move it between gigs, but it does not compromise on the sound quality. 


Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum kit offers great value for the money and a very high-quality sound. The best feature is its size, which makes it perfect for apartments, street performances, and transportation by car. It plays like a full-size kit, but it is also packable, portable, and stackable. It ensures tonal versatility due to its Shell and Bearing Edge Shells, which are made from 7 ply hardwood.

Who Would Use This Most?

This product is best for beginners, street performers, and practicing, but also for professionals. It has a high-quality sounding and it is easily stored or transported between gigs due to its size and compact construction. The product is great for practicing inside the house or the flat, as it does not occupy much space. Lastly, it has professional sounding tonal versatility, which is strongly preferred by professionals. 

Bottom Line

Ludwig Breakbeats is the best choice for any drummer looking for incredible versatility in their portable, stackable drum kit. 

PROS

  • V-Drums sound and quality in a portable kit.
  • Snare and tom pads have rubber surfaces for enhanced comfort.
  • Includes the TD-4 Percussion Sound Module with numerous functions.
  • Foldable design suitable for houses, apartments, bedrooms, and small venues.
  • Contains eight pads: kick, three toms, snare, hi-hat, crash and ride cymbals, DF-8 Hi-Hat Controller.

CONS

  • Flat sound.
  • Pads need rebound.
  • Limited physical configuration.

What Recent Buyers Report

This drum kit has a high degree of versatility and portability. In addition to this, the sound quality is relatively high compared to its size. The main advantage is that it does not take much storage space and it can be easily transported between venues. That said, being an e-kit, it might be more suitable for practicing only rather than for gigging. The functions included, especially coach/quick record are extremely useful and comfortable to use. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Roland V-Drums portable electronic drum kit is specially designed for mobility and has an easy-to-fold design. It boasts a wide range of sounds and practice features and is perfect for small spaces such as bedrooms, lesson studios, and other limited spaces; at the same time, it does not compromise on quality. 

Who Would Use This Most?

This drum kit is perfect for extensive practice. It is extremely convenient and is ideal for beginners who might be traveling and do not want to miss out on practice. It is great for practicing in studios, apartments, and rooms because it is compact and has a relatively small size. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Roland V-Drums electronic kit is a convenient way of practicing the drums at any time, in any space. It offers high quality sounding with eight pads. In addition to this, it includes the TD-4 Percussion Sound Module, which benefits from a wide range of functions, such as Coach and Quick Record/Play. 

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack - Satin Walnut Glaze

PROS

  • Remo Drumhead.
  • 30-degree bearing edge.
  • Bass drum claw with gasket.
  • Contains 1.6 mm triple-flanged hoops.
  • New tom holder design with integrated cymbal holder.

CONS

  • Kick pedal is not so good.
  • Quite solid and throaty sounds.
  • Only shell pack, so you'd need to buy the rest of the accessories, such as cymbals.

What Recent Buyers Report

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz offers great value and comes with a timeless design. It is a pleasure to play and it sounds amazing after tuning it accordingly. It is a very versatile drum kit and it also has a sturdy construction. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This drum kit is invaluable because it combines classic sounds with contemporary hardware innovation. The configurations have 14” deep bass drums that deliver warm, vintage, and punchy tones. All drums are fitted with Remo drumheads, coated batters, and clear resonance on toms/snare with the possibility of add-on drums. 

Who Would Use This Most?

This drum kit is highly versatile; thus, it is useful for the entire range from beginners to professionals. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this drum kit offers great quality that furthers the commitment of Great Gretsch Sound. The compact size does not compromise on sound quality and it is a great option for versatile drummers who like high-quality construction. 

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Compact Drum Kit

The most important criteria when judging drum kits is that they do not compromise on quality. Bearing that in mind, there are numerous benefits of investing in a quality compact drum kit from our list. Let’s take a look at them:

Practice Anytime

If you choose a high-quality drum kit, you will be able to play your favorite songs any time, anywhere. As a drummer, you need to practice to become better, and investing in a quality compact drum kit will help you achieve this. 

Storage and Transport

Storing and transporting a high-quality compact drum kit is easy. So, if you play in a band or want to perform, having a compact kit will help you move it without damage.

Increases Comfort and Confidence

A well-made drum kit will inevitably make you enjoy playing more, as it attends to your needs and ensures comfort throughout the performance. As a beginner or a professional, you need to practice consistently to achieve a great standard, so choosing the best drum kit will be a definite part of your success as you gain confidence. 

So Which is the Best Portable Drum Kit?

I ultimately chose the Ludwig Breakbeats because I loved the sound it produces. I thought downsizing would mean sacrificing some tone, but the Breakbeats sounds even better than my full-sized kit. It’s perfect for the home studio that needs a top-notch compact drum set for recording.

If you’re not quite as picky about the sound, the Pearl Roadshow is a really strong alternative. Frankly, it still sounds great. It’s equally compact and portable as the Ludwig Breakbeats, yet includes all cymbals, hardware, and accessories. This saves you a couple hundred bucks, and a few hours of effort compared to buying everything separately.

Last but not least, if space-saving is your ultimate goal, the Odery CafeKit is truly a marvel of design. It’s really as compact as you can get while still qualifying as a legit hardwood drum set. The tone may not be quite as rich, but it will absolutely suffice for practicing, gigging, and recording demos.

Tone Comparison

The next most important factor is how these drums actually sound. You can build drums as small as you want; the challenge is ensuring they still sound like drums.

Ultimately, I was impressed by how all 3 sounded given their compact sizes. However, there was a clear winner in my book.

Compact Drum Kit Size Comparison

If you have a tight space to fill, one of the most important factors when choosing a compact drum set is how small it actually is. This includes its dimensions when packed up and, say, driving to a gig, as well as its dimensions when assembled in your practice space.

Assembled Dimensions

Note: Assembled dimensions are approximate since drum spacing varies with personal preference.

The Odery CafeKit is by far the most compact, thanks to its 14” kick drum, which is the size of most floor toms, and its dual cymbal-drum stands. The hi hat stand attaches to the snare, and the crash/ride stand attaches to the tom. This allows you to space things closer together.

The Pearl Roadshow and Ludwig Breakbeats are larger, but still very compact compared to a standard 4-piece drum kit. The Pearl has a slightly larger kick and floor tom, but features a cymbal stand built into the kick drum to save space. The Ludwig has smaller drums, but requires standard cymbal hardware.

Odery CafeKit Demo

Right off the bat, I was impressed by how much this tiny kit actually sounds like a standard kit. You can absolutely use it to practice, write music, even play shows. The one thing I wouldn’t do with it is record. The kick drum and floor tom do not quite have enough “boom.”

Pearl Roadshow Demo

The Pearl Roadshow is a big step up. It has a much deeper kick drum and tom drums, which gives you a more classic drum tone. I thought the kick and snare could’ve used a little more punchiness, but it’s possible some tuning tweaks could improve that.

Ludwigs Breakbeats Demo

The Breakbeats don’t just sound good for a portable drum kit -- they sound good compared to any kit. I was blown away by how deep and punchy the kick sounded, the tightness of the snare, and the deep “thud” of the toms. Skeptical, I went to the music store to try it myself and yes, even a kit straight off the shelf sounded this good.

What's Included?

The Pearl Roadshow is the only kit that arrives fully complete, including cymbals, a throne (stool), and sticks. The Odery includes hardware, but still requires you to purchase cymbals and a throne separately. The Ludwig includes none of these, meaning you’ll have to budget a few hundred extra if you don’t have accessories already. (As a conciliatory gesture, it does include travel bags for taking the Breakbeats on the go.)

If you’re a beginner, or just somebody who doesn’t have spare drum parts laying around, the fact that the Roadshow comes complete is a huge plus.

Conclusion

Overall, this article aimed to help you sort out the tremendous amount of information and options on the market by offering you the best drum kits that will most likely suit your every need. If you've come this far, you probably already know that compact drum kits are perfect for beginners or drummers who need to move between gigs, street perform, or practice at home.

Additionally, a compact drum kit needs to be chosen according to your needs, especially regarding space, skill level, and type of music. Lastly, investing in a high-quality compact drum kit is highly beneficial in the long-term; we hope reading this article helps you achieve your musical objectives.