Shell Pack or Drum Kit
Which Should I Buy?

Buying a new set of drums can often be somewhat confusing. With a huge range of options available, from full drum kits to shell packs, snares, cymbals & hardware, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed!

In our guide, we'll take you through the ins and outs of buying a new kit. Explaining what everything means and what to look for, we'll ensure that you can find the perfect setup for you.


When you start looking for a new drum kit, or maybe even your first drum kit, you will undoubtedly come across the term 'shell pack'. You might not even clock it at first, because most of the time the images will just show a full drum kit, often with cymbals, stands, a stool and a snare included. Continue reading to discover the actual definition...

Shop Drum Kits! Shop Shell Packs!

So what is a Shell Pack?

Well, firstly it’s not just another name for a drum kit. The key thing here is what you get in the box. With a drum kit, whilst it will vary slightly, it will usually include enough that you can buy the kit and just add sticks (you might need to add cymbals and a stool, although sometimes these are included too).

A shell pack, on the other hand, doesn’t come with hardware, or at most the bare minimum (i.e. tom mounting arms). Now, you might be thinking - "What’s the point? Surely I would be better off getting the matching hardware?"

Not necessarily. If this is your first kit, then maybe, as having everything in one package might be the best option for you. Generally speaking, a cheaper kit will come with cheaper hardware, so a beginner can be sure that their entry level kit will have hardware that matches their budget.

However, you will also be letting the manufacturer decide how many stands you want for cymbals, which kick pedal is best for you and how you want to mount your toms (if they’re rack-mountable). By going down the shell pack route, you take back control to customise your kit to better suit the room you’re using it in, or the setup that you want. But more on that later...

How do I know what’s included?

On all of our product pages, we list what is and isn’t included with a drum kit or a shell pack. Sometimes we can’t get hold of the right images (some kits are one-offs or custom builds), so the images don’t always accurately reflect what’s in the box. We recommend that you always read the description carefully to ensure that you know what you’re getting.

If you’re in any doubt, you can always call our team for more information, or contact us.

Customising your setup

Now comes the fun part – choosing how to set up your kit. There will be certain things that just feel right to you when you’re playing, such as the height of your stool or the angle and height of your snare, for example. But it’s always worth experimenting with your kit, so move things around and try different stand combinations.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make to your playing to remove or add in extra toms, raise your hi-hats or move your ride cymbal. Each of these elements will be unique to you, there is no right or wrong, it’s just what feels good.

It’s also worth looking at what your favourite players do. How many toms do they have? How do they set their snare up? Often the sounds they achieve will be as a result of the way they play, and the way they set their kit up.

If you’re local to us, come in store and play around with different configurations. Try out some different bass drum pedals and find out what you like – it’s different for everyone.

Choosing your hardware

At Andertons, we have more hardware to choose from than you can shake a (drum) stick at, and at first, the choice might seem a little daunting! So let’s try and demystify some of the jargon for you.

Single vs Double-braced Double-braced hardware is sturdier and less inclined to wobble about when loaded up with drums and cymbals. Not only are they pricier than single-braced, but they’ll likely weigh more. Every time you add gear to your setup, think about your back and having to lug this stuff out of a gig at 1am!
Boom Stand Unlike straight stands, boom stands have an angled, adjustable section at the top which helps position cymbals exactly where you want them.
Thrones or Stools It usually comes down to the manufacturer whether it’s a throne or stool – they’re actually the same thing really...
Tom vs Floor Tom A floor tom is a free standing drum, usually the larger of the toms in a setup.
Rack-mounted Some setups have toms mounted on a rack that spans the width of the kit. This rack can also be used to mount cymbals.
Cymbal Arms These are a lightweight way to mount cymbals on a rack or cymbal stand. If you get creative, you can mount multiple cymbals and drums off of one stand!

Shop Drum Hardware!


So ultimately, the decision to buy a shell pack or a drum kit comes down to you. If you want to buy an all-in-one package that’s ready to go right out of the box, then a drum kit is probably your best option. But if you want to take control of your setup, a shell pack offers more customisation. It also gives you the ability to mix and match to your heart’s content!