Cost to Ship a Drum Set and How to Save Money

February 6, 2024

Shipping a drum set weighing around 55 lbs from Los Angeles to Chicago can cost $162.24 via FedEx company according to their Shipping calculator. However, many things can affect the price, including the distance, delivery time, weight, and dimension. The further the location, the higher the shipping price.

I spent two days doing very solid research on this topic. To be precise I compared 13 different shipping companies in the USA just to find the most popular, reliable, and affordable one. 

In order to find the best offer, I placed the average weight and dimension and put the different locations to get the precise prices for your drum shipping. Let’s check what is the cost to ship a drum set and how to save money on it!

Cost to Ship a Drum Set

How much does it cost to ship a set of drums?

The cost to ship a drum set depends on two things:

  • Weight of your package; 
  • The delivery commitment. 

Delivery commitment means that the distance will also affect your overall cost. They have 8 different Zones and each one of them is determined by miles. You can check FedEx Standard List Rates for your region and weight, but it is always better to use their calculator because it is easier and more precise. 

FedEx company is one of the most popular shipping companies and they offer very fair prices. They own their price list for each continent they ship to according to the package weight and also by the time when the package is going to arrive. The same goes for international drum shipping as well.

Let’s see an example. The average weight of a drum set is around 55 lbs. This means that to ship a drumset that weighs 55 lbs for instance from LA to Chicago, it can cost you $162.24 according to the FedEx shipping calculator.  

This is the lowest price that I found and the deal is that the package will be delivered 4 working days after the shipment – weekend not included.

However, if you want it to be delivered by, let’s say 5.00 PM, it can cost you as much as $690.58, and by 08.00 AM it would cost $756.29. Pretty significant price difference, right?

packing drums in boxes

How to Pack and Ship a Drum Set 

The best way to ship a drum set is to separate hardware, drums, and shells. Then, it is crucial to protect each piece so it won’t get damaged in transit. However, we are going to try to make these boxes as light as possible, this way you can save a lot of money. 

Before we move on to packing, let’s see what you will need:

    • Boxes of different sizes – including the biggest ones for shells, which are supposed to be  4 inches larger than your bass drum. This means that if your drum is 22”, the box should be 26”. Include the smallest one as well for things like drumheads.
  • Ziploc bags – the smallest pieces of equipment can be put in Ziploc bags to make sure not to get mixed up in the boxes.
  • Bubble wrap – for extra security, we will need a bubble wrap to wrap up each piece of equipment.
  • Kraft paper – this one is the best choice for filling in the empty space in the box, so your drum equipment won’t move. 
  • Packing tape – to secure your boxes, take packing tape and stick it from all sides of your boxes.

Now let’s see the thorough steps on how to pack a drum set for shipping one box at a time.

How to pack shells

Shell are the biggest part of the drum set but luckily they can all fit into one big box. In order to do so, you need to remove the drum heads from each drum and place the shells in the box one on top another going from the biggest to the smallest one. 

Make sure that the drum rims are still on so we can protect the bearing edges from getting damaged in the transport. Once they are stacked, fill the gaps with some Kraft paper, close the box, and secure it well with the packing tape. 

As for the drumheads, you can wrap them up in bubble wrap and place them, again, one on top of the other in another box that is more practical – this means smaller dimensions including a shallow box.  

How to pack cymbals

We pack cymbals separately from the shells. All you need to do is put your cymbals in their cymbals bag and wrap them in bubble wrap for extra protection. 

If you do not have a hard plastic bag for cymbals, but instead a fabric bag, we suggest buying one. Plastic bags protect cymbals much better and are much more durable, even if something heavy falls on them, it cannot damage them. 

Once wrapped, place them in a suitable-dimension box and fill it with Kraft paper. Even though this will make them more heavy, we need to protect our equipment at the highest level. 

How to pack hardware

Last but not least is the hardware which is the heaviest piece of drum equipment. Even though distributing the weight over a few boxes might sound easier, it is not. More boxes mean more money for shipping. 

Also, more boxes mean a bigger mess and a higher chance of mixing things up. Aside from that, placing all the hardware in one box will be heavy but much more practical and cheaper. 

Ensure to remove all the drum claws and the tension rods from the shells and place them into the Ziploc bag. You can additionally wrap them in bubble wrap and once secured place them in the box. 

Do this with your tom legs and cymbal stands. Wrap them in bubble wrap and securely place them in the box. For extra protection, put the Kraft paper to fill the voids. Do this for each piece of hardware and put the extra padding so they can’t move. 

ship drums

How Do I Ship Drums Internationally? 

One of the best options to send your drums internationally is to compare the shipping companies and choose the one that provides you with not only the cheapest option but the most secure one as well. Some of those companies are DHL, FedEx, and UPS. 

Each of these companies has a shipping calculator that will give you a precise quote of how much your shipping is going to cost. Here you can check this calculator:

All you need to provide them is the exact address from where are you sending, the address of the end destination, the shipping date, the weight of your package, and the dimensions. 


Can you ship drums with UPS?

Yes, you can ship your drum set via UPS. UPS is just as popular as FedEx and DHL, and the prices are very similar. You can get your UPS quote here

How To Save Cash on Shipping Drums?

One way to save money on shipping is to pack the drum set yourself. Professional packers charge on average around $60 per hour to pack your belongings, which means $60 saved into your bank account. 

The second way is to check all the available shipping companies, compare the prices, and choose the one that you find the most affordable one. 

The third thing you can do is send the package to the business address. The reason why this is less expensive is that the shipping company uses less fuel and manpower.

If you have someone, a friend, to send your package to, you will save even more cash, but that mostly depends on the destination. If you are able to fulfill all of these three tips on how to save money on packing drums, you can end up with an extra $50 in your pocket.

Wrap up

The cost to ship a drum set can vary from less than $100 to $700. The end destination – the distance, the weight, and the dimension all have a huge effect on the shipping price. That’s why it is important to pack by yourself and compare the prices of each shipping company.

Thus, some of the best companies are FedEx, DHL, and UPS, so make sure to compare them. Last but not least, do not forget to ship the package earlier and choose the option to arrive by the end of the day instead of a specific time. This will cost you much less which will save you a huge amount of money!

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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  1. Thanks you for this helpful information!!!!!!

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