Mapex Tornado III Review: A Great Starter Kit

The Mapex Tornado III drum kit stands out as an impressive entry-level option that caters to beginners and aspiring drummers looking for a well-rounded package at an affordable price point. Offering a solid balance between quality and affordability, the Tornado III showcases Mapex’s commitment to providing accessible instruments without compromising on sound and playability. This kit is a great option compared to other popular beginner kits such as the Pearl Roadshow.



  • Great Value

  • Warm & Resonant Tone

  • High Quality for a Beginner Kit

  • Includes Drums, Cymbals, Hardware, Pedal, Sticks and Throne

  • Included Cymbals Aren't the Best Quality


The Mapex Tornado 3 comes with:

  • Bass Drum: 22″ x 16″
  • Rack Tom: 10″ x 7″
  • Rack Tom: 12″ x 8″
  • Floor Tom: 16″ x 14″
  • Snare Drum: 14″ x 5″
  • Hi-hat Cymbals: 14″
  • Crash/Ride Cymbal: 16″
  • Drum stool
  • Kick drum pedal
  • Drumsticks

*Note that this is a common setup for the Mapex Tornado 3, but there are a few different versions with slightly different drum sizes

Build Quality and Design:

The Tornado III boasts a sturdy construction, featuring basswood shells that offer a surprisingly warm and resonant tone for an entry-level kit. The wraps on the shells come in a few different colors, most commonly a sleek black or wine red finish that both look clean and classic. The hardware, while not the most advanced, is well-built and functional, ensuring a stable setup during practice and performance. For the price you pay you’re getting a better than average quality kit that will last awhile if you take good care of it.


Considering its price range, the Mapex Tornado III’s sound quality is quite commendable. The basswood shells deliver a balanced tone with decent projection, suitable for a range of musical genres from rock to pop and beyond. The drums aren’t super punchy, so some genres like punk may require specific tunings and different drum heads to get the sound you’re looking for. The included snare drum offers a crisp attack and decent sensitivity, although some drummers might consider upgrading it for an even better sound experience.


One of the standout features of the Tornado III is its user-friendly playability. The kit comes with a complete set of hardware, including sturdy double-braced stands, a kick pedal, drum sticks and a throne, allowing beginners to set up and start playing right out of the box. The responsive tension rods make tuning a relatively straightforward task, even for those new to drumming.

The kit is relatively compact, you’ll probably need about a 5′ by 5′ area to comfortably play this kit. It’s pretty easy to transport (at least as far as drum kits go, they’re never really that easy) and overall quite hassle free in terms of obtaining and playing. It is a slightly older model, so it isn’t going to be as common online but there are some great used deals that you can find.

Value for Money:

When evaluating the Mapex Tornado III, it’s essential to consider its value for money. This drum kit offers an excellent balance between price and performance, making it a great choice for beginners and young drummers who are just starting their musical journey. While more experienced players might eventually outgrow its capabilities, the Tornado III remains an ideal stepping stone towards more advanced drum kits.


What we didn’t like:

My only real complaint of this kit is the cymbals. The hi-hats are alright for a beginner, but they aren’t superb and anyone serious about drumming will definitely look to upgrade these quickly. Similarly, I’m not really a huge fan of crash/ride cymbals in general, and if I bought this kit would promptly substitute this cymbal for individual crash and ride cymbals. Obviously this is a bit more pricy, but I think good cymbals make a huge difference in overall drum sound. Nevertheless, if you’re just a beginner learning the ropes then these cymbals are totally ok.


The Mapex Tornado III drum kit impresses as an accessible entry-level option with solid sound quality, thoughtful design, and user-friendly playability. While it might not match the tonal depth and nuanced features of high-end kits, it certainly provides a remarkable platform for beginners to hone their skills and explore the world of drumming. Mapex’s Tornado III deserves recognition for its commitment to offering quality instruments at an affordable price, making it an appealing choice for those taking their first steps into the world of drumming.

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