Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (2023)

By Contributing Author Dango

Read our comprehensive Pearl Export review to find out if this drum set is a good fit for you!

Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (1)

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The Pearl Export Series has been around since 1984 and was a huge pioneer in the field of entry level drums.

These kits were super durable, sounded really good, and the technology has only continued to improve.

In the late 90’s I owned my first serious kit which was the Export Select. The color was Teal Mist and featured a wood grain lacquer finish with a matching wood snare drum. The basic model back then came with a metal snare and a wrapped finish.

I eventually took that kit to college with me to the prestigious music school Belmont University in Nashville. I have very fond memories of that kit and still believe it was a solid drum set.

The Pearl Export is advertised as the best selling drum set of all time, and for good reason. For quite a while now, this has been the kit to have for all up and coming students to gigging players.

Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (2)

Pearl Export 5-pc. Drum Set w/830-Series Hardware Pack (Cymbals not Included), Burgundy (EXX725/C760)

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  • 6-ply/7.5mm poplar/Asian Mahogany shells
  • Choice of durable covered finishes
  • Opti-Loc tom suspension system

At a Glance: Key Features of the Kit

The Export Series features 6-ply shells of white poplar and Asian mahogany, which has really become part of its signature sound and definitely sets it apart from its competitors.

The kit comes with a matching wood snare made from the same shells. Pearl says they are inspired by the Reference Series shells, but the Export kit has been around so much longer and really has its own voice.

The kit comes with durable double braced hardware, including the recent addition of a single pedal. It is also available with the upgrade option of a Zildjian cymbal pack, though it does not come with one standard. The throne is not included with this kit.

Overview of Features:

  • 6 Ply poplar / mahogany shells with 45 degree bearing edges
  • 830 series double braced hardware
  • P930 Demon Style pedal
  • Opti-Loc Tom suspension system – one of the first available on an mid level kit
  • 5.5×14 matching wood shell snare
  • Finishes Available: 7 wraps
  • Remo heads made in China
  • SST Toms


There are three basic options to choose from when it comes to the different configurations.

The Kit comes with a 22×18 kick or a 20×16 kick (back in my day it only came in 22×16). All kits come with a 5.5×14 snare, but the options for toms vary based on which kick drum you choose.

Tom Options with the 22″ Kick:

  • 10×7, 12×8, 16×16
  • 12×8, 13×9, 16×16

Tom Options with the 20″ Kick:

  • 10×7, 12×8, 14×14

Pearl also offers a 24×18 kick and an 8×7 tom available as add-ons.

It’s kind of unusual that there are no longer any 6-piece configurations, as my kit back in the 90’s came standard with 10,12,14,16 toms and then I added on a 13 as well.

But you can basically piece together any configuration you want, they just don’t offer as many stock options as I’ve seen in the past.

Formerly they offered a double bass setup as well. But with the recent addition of the pedal and now the possible cymbal package, they continue to try and please their main market of buyers.

The Pros OF A Pearl Export KIT:

Let’s take a look at the aspects that bring the biggest value with this kit.

  • Sound – This kit beats most of the kits at its level for having mahogany in the shells which give them a warmer sound than straight poplar.
  • Price – Without the cymbal pack, this kit is in the $800 range.
  • Look – The lacquer finishes look really good. The wraps look decent. A couple of the colors have never changed.
  • Durability – These things are built like a tank as far as drums go. The hardware is even quite solid for not being Pearl’s toughest. The shells and the wrap finish are solid.
  • Pedal – This is a really nice touch at this price range and not every kit offers this.
  • Bearing Edges – These are solid 45 edges and these drums tune up easily.
  • Reputation – This kit and series have been around forever and there’s a reason they haven’t had to change much.

The Consof a Pearl Export Kit:

With the reasonable price of the kit comes a few tradeoffs, so let’s take a look at those.

(Video) Pearl Export Series Kit - Drummer's Review

  • Heads – The stock heads are made by Remo but are still fairly cheap. Upgrading to higher quality heads at any point will improve the sound.
  • Cymbals – The packs available as an upgrade are just awful. Definitely buy the kit without a pack and add on cymbals as you go.
  • Configurations – The available configurations are more limited now than in the past. I’m sure there’s a reason why Pearl did this, but since the Export is such a popular series, I’m surprised they don’t have more setups available. Pearl also used to offer Lacquer finishes as an upgrade option on Exports but apparently has dropped that in recent years.
  • Snare – The matching snare is my least favorite sounding part of the kit. I wished they offered a deeper wood shell, or the option of a metal shell like they used to. The shallow depth doesn’t allow for much versatility when actually gigging.

Who is the Pearl Export Best Suited For?

Whether you’re just starting out or if you’re gigging in clubs, churches, or doing videos for social media, it’s a great entry-level to mid-level option.

Although this is not a pro-level kit, these kits have ended up as backline gear in many venues and even some studios around the world, due to their popularity and mass production.

I can remember more than once hearing a kit live or in a studio and thinking “I can’t believe that was a Pearl Export”.

For a kit under a thousand bucks, you really can’t go wrong here.

Pearl Export Drum Set Pricing

The Export comes in at around $800, which is amazing because it cost that much 30 years ago.

There are now a lot more kits in this price range than when the Export first came out, but it still holds its own. Order it on Amazon with free shipping and it’s really a steal.

You can find more affordable drum kits on our list of the best drum sets under $1000.

Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (3)

Alternatives to The Pearl Export Kit

The Export featuring mahogany shells stand out to me over the Tama Superstar or the Yamaha Stage Custom in similar price ranges.

The PDP Classic Maple is the serious contender in the conversation because it features all maple shells and most don’t at this price range either. So it totally comes down to personal preference.

Both the PDP and the Export are solid sounding, well-built kits.You can read our full PDP Concept Maple Kit review to decide.

Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (5)

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Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (7)

Final Verdict: Are Pearl Export Drums Worth It?

I will always have a fond place in my heart for the Pearl Export.

I think it’s a great option under a thousand bucks and I think it’s an easy kit to get sounding good.

There are plenty of options today and you may be partial to another brand. But if you like Pearl, this kit is definitely worth checking out.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option for a beginner, check out our review of the Pearl Roadshow kit.

Pearl Export Review: A Solid Kit at a Great Price - Drum Gear Guru (8)

Pearl Export 5-pc. Drum Set w/830-Series Hardware Pack (Cymbals not Included), Burgundy (EXX725/C760)

  • 6-ply/7.5mm poplar/Asian Mahogany shells
  • Choice of durable covered finishes
  • Opti-Loc tom suspension system

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  • Gammon Drum Set Review
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