DW Drums Best to Worst – All Series Compared

December 29, 2023

Onto our next best-to-worst drums review are the DW drum sets. Many popular artists including Travis Baker, Aaron Gillespie, and Jimmy Chamberlin use the DW drums, and there’s a reason for that. 

Thus, if you want to try them as well, I am here to help you choose your perfect kit.

In this article today I will go through the DW drums best to worst, I will explain to you why is that specific series the top notch or the entry and what things set them apart. 

Buckle up and get ready to explore the world of the DW drum series. 

Heads up: Collector’s Series is the ultimate winner here but you will need a deep pocket in order to own them, and let’s hear why.

DW Drums Best to Worst

Collector's Series

Performance Series

Design Series

Which DW Drum Series is Right for You?

For Beginners

dw design series

Design Series

Affordable North American Maple, HVLT shells, great resonance, ideal for budget-conscious pros and intermediates.

For Intermediate Players

dw performance series

Performance Series

Mid-priced, HVX shells, strong attack and resonance, great value, suited for discerning drummers.

For Professionals

dw drums best to worst

Collector's Series

Fully customizable, pure wood options, advanced hardware, pro-level Remo heads, ideal for professionals.

dw drums best to worst

Collector’s Series

If you are seeking the best out of the best DW drums, look for their Collector’s series. The first and most important thing that sets this series apart from others is that it is fully customizable from drums to hardware.

This means that you can make your own drum kit with your preferred sizes. Whatever you think of, the DW manufacturer will fulfill your wishes. However,  as you would guess, this will boost the price a bit.

The second thing that makes this series best in DW lineup is wood. Collector’s series have their kits in 100% pure wood including Pure Oak, Pure Maple, Purpleheart, Pure Brich, and Pure Cherry. Others, on the other hand, are much more restricted in wood selection.

But, if you thought that’s it, it’s not. The Collector’s series also offers hardware customization

Some of my favorite hardware features in all the Collector’s Series kits are the snare drum throw-off systems, the true-pitch tension rods, perfect large turret lugs, and last but not least,  the STM suspension mounts.


Thus, if you want to create your own kit, create your own sound, and create your own drum feeling, Collector’s Series is the perfect choice for you.  

Who is DW Collector’s Series perfect for? – It is perfect for professional drummers who seek customizable drum kits, perfectly tailored to their needs, style, and performance. 

dw performance series

Performance Series

If I could put the Performance Series in one sentence it would be this one: A mid-priced professional drum kit with high-quality components but at an affordable price. In other words – Mid-range series that can be a good alternative to DW Collector’s Series

The Performance Series is the second one on our DW drum’s best-to-worst list because it doesn’t have highly customizable options like the Collector’s series. 

Before we dive into the features of this series, I want to state a couple of advantages of why is this a good substitute for our previous model

In compare to Collector’s series that cost from $5,000 to $10,000,  Performance Series cost $2,000 to $3,000. Second, even though this kit doesn’t have a high customization option like the previous series, it still has a lot of sizes to choose from.

When it comes to wood, the Performance Series kits are made of DW’s HVX shells. Now you are probably wondering what are those, especially if you are a beginner. 

DW’s HVX shells are handmade shells all in order to reach the maximum attack, resonance, and strength. 

As for the hardware customization, the Performance Series doesn’t offer it. However, you will still receive the MAG throw-off and the true-pitch tension rods, just like in Collector’s series. 

The biggest difference between this model and the previous one is the lugs. Lugs on the Performance models are much smaller which results in less resonance-dampening contact with the shells.

Who is the DW Performance Series perfect for? – For any drummer who wants the flawless sound of the DW drum kit at a reasonable price without compromising the sound.

dw design series

Design Series

The Design Series is a good alternative to the Performance Series. Let’s get this straight. The drum kits from this series are also breathtaking and although this is entry level drum kit, it’s the one made by DW and that changes everything. 

They have good features and but high price for entry drum kit.


This kit is perfect for beginners who are ready to pay around $1500 for their kit. But let’s check what makes this series last on our list.

The first thing I noticed is the smaller lugs. You can see the difference right away and when you play it you can see that there’s no half of the strike the Collector’s and Performance Series have. 

The second is that this series is not designed and assembled in the same way as previous ones. The Design Series is made of North American Maple and assembled in Taiwan. This way they managed to cut down on labor costs.

On the other hand, this series features true-pitch tension rods and MAG throw-off just like the previous two. So now let’s switch focus to the good side of this series.

The sound and its resonance are incredible. The sound is different compared to our first series but at this price point (bear in mind that this kit is around $1500) it delivers beautifully. 

While personalization is not so high, the Design Series comes with 5 different finishes and 4 different configurations which is still pretty good.

Unlike the previous two series, the Design series has a different shell configuration process known as HVLT (Horizontal Vertical Low-Tension). And now you wonder what’s that? 

In order to achieve their desired shell configuration, the DW uses a combination of cross-laminate plies, horizontal exterior plies, and interior plies with vertical grains.

Who is the DW Design Series perfect for? It is perfect for beginner to intermediate drummers who prefer DW’s sound and are ready to pay more for it since DW is obvious more expensive than othe manufacturers like Pearl, Tama and Yamaha.


In this article I compared all 3 series in DW’s lineup.

Choosing any drums in the mentioned series will make a perfect choice because you cannot go wrong with them. I hope this list of DW drums best to worst at least relieves making the right decision.

However, if you are a pro who wants everything you ever dreamed of in a drum then opt for Collector’s series. 

If you are searching for alternatives, Performance Series is your perfect choice. And last, yet very not least is the perfectly compacted and affordable Design Series. 

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.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Drum That