3 Best Digital Tabletop Drum Kits – 2021 Reviews

When you don’t have a lot of space, want to get something for the kids to start with or you just want something you can easily take on the road with you – electronic tabletop drum kits are awesome.

Heck, they’re even good just for no other reason than being fun to play around with. And the prices have got really good, even for high quality units from pro-gear manufacturers like Yamaha. Typical online prices are around $140 up to $200ish – which is crazy good value for what you can get.

So here’s my quick round-up of what I think are the 3 best digital tabletop drum kits for 2021.

1. Pyle-Pro PTED01

Summary: This is really nice piece of kit. It’s lightweight (but well made) making it nicely portable. The pedals are better than the Yamaha. The drum sounds are really good, lots of variety and it’s really, really easy to use. Also typically about $60 cheaper than the Yamaha. Find It On Amazon Here

Pile Pro PTED01

You may not have heard of Pyle Audio, but if not, don’t worry. Pyle are a serious audio and electronics company. They make everything from pro DJ gear to audio processing equipment, so they know about sound. Which does translate into the PTED01 – it sounds really good, whether through decent headphones or routed to a computer or through e.g. a keyboard amplifier.

The unit itself is nicely made and includes 7 drum pads plus 2 foot pedals. The pedals are pretty much essential of course as they trigger your kick drum and hi hat cymbal (just like a real drummer – it’s 2 hands plus 2 feet!). And they are quite a lot better than the pedals that come with the Yamaha unit.

TIP: use a non-slip rug or rubber gripper mat to put your pedals on though. This works so much better. Or just tape them down!

The main unit is really nicely portable as it only weighs in at 7.3 pounds, almost 2 pounds less than the Yamaha for example. The pads are good and responsive, you’ll probably find you get the odd missed hit once in a while with really fast drumming. But that’s to be expected with this type of gear.

Connectivity is good too – it has USB for connecting direct to a PC or Mac (it does MIDI in/out), and a headphone socket of course to practice quietly.

The drum sounds are really nice. It comes with 25 preset drum kits and 215 percussion voices and 128 GM (General MIDI) voices. You can create and store 5 custom kits of your own too, plus store up to 100 songs on the unit itself (unlimited of course if you connect to a computer). There is also a metronome system built in for helping with your timing/rythm.

Also included in the Pyle-Pro PTED01 package is a pair of drum sticks, a DC adapter so you don’t need to use batteries. Plus the two foot pedals of course. So it really is a complete package and “ready to play”!

You can find the Pyle Pro on Amazon here

2. Alesis CompactKit 7

Summary: A similar kit to the Pyle-Pro, which is a good thing as this one is also darn good. It has more sounds than the Pyle, the better foot pedals of the Pyle and again beat the Yamaha on price! Find It On Amazon Here

Alesis CompactKit 7

If you’re wondering who Alesis are, don’t be concerned! They have been in this industry since the 80’s and make all sorts of pro quality drum machines and keyboards. So you can trust the brand know what they are doing.

The Alesis looks quite similar to the Pyle-Pr. It has the same 7 pad layout, same body shape, the same foot pedals and weighs in at the same 7.3 pounds. All of which is good news.

The CompactKit 7 however offers 45 preset kits, 5 user kits and 265 drum/percussion sounds. The most out of the 3. It also offers USB-MIDI too, headphones output and has a built-in metronome.

The drum sounds are again really good quality – close your eyes, use good headphone and you’ll be struggling not to think these are ‘real’ drums.

There is also a neat button to switch to ‘Hand Percussion’ mode. This instantly adjusts the sensitivity to suit using the pads with your hands instead of sticks. Want to play bongos? Now you can!

The Alesis CompactKit 7 also includes drum sticks and an external power supply. There are no headphone included, but you’ve probably got some half-decent ones already anyway! And pricewise it comes in typically around $40 or so less than the Yamaha.

You can find the Alesis on Amazon here

3. Yamaha DD65

Summary: A great alternative to the Pyle-Pro. It costs a little more, and the pedals are a bit flimsy. The drum sounds are excellent though. Find It On Amazon Here

Yamaha DD65 drum pad

Don’t get me wrong, the Yamaha is a really nice piece of kit. Especially at this price point. It’s just that I think Yamaha have been caught resting on their laurels – the DD65 has been incredibly popular for a long time, so they haven’t done anything to improve it. Meanwhile, Pile-Pro came along and made the PTED01 which on the whole is just as good. But then Pyle add better foot pedals and now it costs less money!

But honestly. If you get either of these two, you’re not going to be upset. Both are great machines and do way more than most people will ever need. Whether you’re learning to drum, need a new toy or just want something to take on the road.

So the Yamaha has 8 pads and two pedals. The pedals are really just buttons rather than any attempt at a digital ‘pedal’ – as you can see in the photo above. They work, but just could be better. Note: you CAN upgrade these, but I’d suggest living with them for a while to see what you think.

The unit itself weighs in at a sturdy 9 pounds, so it is a couple of pounds heavier than the Pyle. If you want portability it’s worth being aware of, but that’s still pretty lightweight for lugging.

There are over 100 drum sounds organised into 50 different kits/custom kits. If anything this is where the Yamaha may have the edge. It’s close, but the drum sounds are really high quality – through quality headphones or an external amplifier you won’t know them from a real high quality drum kit.

TIP: I’ve seen some people criticise this unit for unresponsive drum pads. They didn’t read the manual though! Because you CAN adjust the sensitivity. If you find the pads are not triggering sometimes, then increase the sensitivity setting, and be happy again :-).

The DD65 unit has USB for MIDI in/out, and a headphone socket of course. It also comes with an external power supply (you can also use batteries), headphones, foot pedals and a pair of drum sticks.


You can find the Yamaha on Amazon here

So Which One Is Best?

All 3 of these digital tabletop drum kits are a lot of fun. They offer an absolute ton of great features at what has now become an incredibly low price. So if you go for any one of these 3 units you’re not going to be disappointed.

The kits give you everything you need in the box too, so they make a great gift for the kids, grandkids, significant other… or even yourself. 🙂

There are subtle differences between them, but these 3 are all essentially great buys. So if you’re not sure which to get, just get whichever one you can find for the cheapest at the time!

That said, if the prices are similar, I’d favor the Pyle-Pro PTED01 or the Alesis CompactKit 7 over the Yamaha DD65 – purely because those pedals are better. And for me, the Pyle just wins outright.

10 thoughts on “3 Best Digital Tabletop Drum Kits – 2021 Reviews”

  1. With the PylePro and Alesis models having exactly the same chassis, pads, buttons and pedals, how are the two any different from one another? I bought the Alesis, and I have an issue with the pedals ‘bouncing’ (i.e. registering an extra hit instead of the expected one on occasion when pressed).

    1. They are very similar – the Alesis has more sounds & kits. But either of them are a great buy.

      There are a couple of things you can try with the pedals. Firstly, with practice you can learn to minimize/avoid the double hits. But you can also try a bit of a hack. Try padding out the gap between the underneath of the pedal pads and the actual switches. Just glue in some small spacers made out of something dense but with a little give in it, e.g. dense foam or rubber is ideal. This can work really well. Hope that helps.

    2. I had the same problem and kinda solved it by inserting some spongy material inbetween the upper part and the sensor part, to increase the gap to avoid double hitting. It is a shame for Alesis though.

    3. Because these tabletop sets use a “switch” system for the foot pedals instead of a “trigger” system, (like large electronic sets) I found the pedals that are available for the Rock Band video game work a lot better than the original equipment switches. You will still want to use some sort of rubber floor pad or something similar to keep them from sliding around.

  2. Thanks for this article – super helpful. I’m looking to buy a tabletop drumkit for my 11 year old son, who is tall and growing fast. He loves to drum and will have lessons on a proper kit but we are very space-poor. How would you compare the Alesis Compact 4 with the Alesis Compact Kit 7? I understand one has more pads – will I be making a big mistake getting the ‘4’ if he really wants to do some ‘serious’ drumming? Many thanks!

    1. The CompactKit 4 is really good and a lot of fun too (it has 4 pads vs the 7 pads for the CompactKit 7). But as he’s going to be learning on a real kit too, I would tend towards the larger 7 pad version – it’s just going to be more versatile and last him longer. Unless space really is that tight, in which case he’ll still have a lot of fun with the 4. Hope that helps.

  3. Hello,

    I am also considering acquiring the Alesis CompactKit 7 (aka Medeli DD315, Millenium MD-90).

    I understood that the two pedals provided were only on/off switches without velocity. That’s why I plan to buy other pedals at the same time to replace them. I would like to know if the input for the kick bass drum pedal could eventually manage the velocity with another suitable pedal (the yamaha KU100, for example)?

    Thank you for your attention.

  4. Can I use the Yamaha KU100 kick pedal with the Alesis Compact7? I bought one and it doesn’t trigger, so I switched from the stereo lead that came with the Yamaha pedal to a mono lead. It still hasn’t worked. I read somewhere they were compatible so would be really grateful if there is a solution?

  5. Yamaha has an updated version of the DD65 that came out in 2017 called the DD75. That would be a better and more fair comparison. It is updated in virtually every component compared to the DD65. The DD65 is a great machine from 2007 and my main drum set for 13 years, and the updated DD75 is even better. I recently updated to it because of its expanded sound bank and customized kits. I still have my DD65 and it continues to work well. It has been quite the workhorse!

  6. I went with the Pyle-Pro PTED01, and the only “real” problem that I’m having with it is the snare pad doesn’t alway “sound” when I hit it with the drumstick. I don’t know if I’m holding the drumstick wrong or what. I have tried several different grip methods, but I can’t get the snare pad to sound each and every strike of the drumstick. I do know that if I give it a good whack with a lot of momentum behind it, it probably sounds 99% of the time, but I really want 100% performance. I’m just learning to drum, so I’ve never even tried drumming on a real percussion drum set. Tell me, do real snare drum have to be hit hard like that? Seems to me, I’ll eventually break the rubber snare pad if I keep hitting it hard like that.

    Would you please advise me, Max?

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