FREE Drum VST Plugins

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We’re taking a look at the best free drum VST plugins for digital audio workstations on Windows and macOS.

Drums are widely considered the foundation of most music, but I prefer to consider them a framework for constructing songs.

Think about it.

You have the four-on-the-floor drums for rock, the classic “boots and cats” beat for EDM, the “Un-tz Un-tz” drums for trance, the train beat for country music, the swing beat for jazz, the surf beat for surf, the D-beat for punk, the blast beat for black metal, etc.

That’s obviously an oversimplification, but whatever drumbeat you play, that’s the type of music you’re making. So you could say that drums are somewhat important.

As such, drum VST plugins are a fundamental component of your music production software collection.

Drum VST Plugins (2023 Update)

We listed the best drum plugins you can get for free. The list includes acoustic drum kits, drum synthesizers, drum samplers, and drum machine romplers.

  • SSD Free
  • MT Power Drum Kit 2
  • LABS Drums
  • MODO Drum Custom Shop
  • Organic Calfskin Kit
  • Addictive Drums DEMO
  • Monster Drum
  • Jamstix Free
  • Drumgizmo
  • EXC!TE SNARE DRUM
  • ChowKick
  • Sitala
  • Speedrum Lite
  • MiniSpillage
  • DrumNet
  • BPB Cassette Drums

All featured drum plugins are 100% free to use.


SSD Free

SSD Free by Steven Slate Drums

Steven Slate Drums is an iconic free drum plugin. If you produce rock, metal, or pop music, this is the plugin you’d get recommended the most.

Nowadays, we have access to the SSD Free edition, and I’m happy to say that it sounds great.

You get one kit, the “Deluxe 2 Kit”, with three variations, but you also have complete control over the mix, can import your own samples, and the plugin even comes with a few MIDI grooves included. Perfect for a beginner if you want to really learn your way around one of these.

The included drum kits sound great. SSD Free is among the best acoustic drum plugins you can download for free. It’s also completely royalty-free, so you can use it in your commercial projects, too.

Highly recommended as a starter drum VST plugin for rock music and its subgenres, but you can also process the sounds to make them work in hip-hop, electronica, and other genres.

More info: SSD Free


MT Power Drum Kit 2

MT Power Drum Kit 2 by Manda Audio.

MT Power Drum Kit 2 was released in 2012 but has recently gone freeware. It’s a free acoustic drum kit plugin with a built-in mixer and a groove collection that you can use to build songs.

I’ll be honest, MT Power Drum Kit 2 doesn’t sound as realistic as some of the other drum plugins on this list, but that’s not where its strengths lie. To my ear, it always sounds like those classic 80s over-compressed drums you hear in rock and pop songs of that era.

So, if you’re producing retro rock music or synthwave with acoustic drums, I’m sure you’ll love the sounds included in MT Power Drum Kit 2.

If you want a free drum plugin that hits hard and cuts through a busy mix, this is it. MT Power Drum Kit 2 also has a massive library of MIDI grooves, which might be worth the price of admission alone.

More info: MT Power Drum Kit 2


LABS Drums

LABS by Spitfire Audio

I am a HUGE proponent of LABS and its great-sounding sound libraries. What do you care if a plugin isn’t in-depth when you can download dozens of the highest-quality sound packs for it?

LABS Drums is an acoustic drum library for the LABS plugin. It delivers mix-ready drum sounds for rock and pop.

I don’t know what it is about this one, but it sounds lovely. It also offers more than enough in the dynamics department and has more percussion sounds than you probably need. In fact, it’s specifically tailored to General MIDI specifications, so if that’s something you use, this is a fantastic option.

More info: LABS Drums


MODO Drum Custom Shop

FREE MODO Drum Custom Shop

MODO Drum Custom Shop is the free edition of IK Multimedia’s flagship MODO Drum software. It comes with one free drum kit and can upgrade your sound arsenal with expansion kits.

The included Studio kit sounds great and has been one of a few industry standards for many years. But the best thing about the free version is that you get the complete MODO Drum engine. Any tweaking you can do in MODO Drum 1.5, you can also do in the free Custom Shop plugin.

The instrument uses IK Multimedia’s modal synthesis technology to create authentic drum sounds. If you’re looking for a great-sounding starter drum kit, MODO Drum Custom Shop is a very good choice.

More info: MODO Drum Custom Shop


Organic Calfskin Kit

Organic Calfskin Kit by Organic Drum Loops

Organic Calfskin Kit is a fairly realistic-sounding drum VST plugin. You can add additional drum kits from the developer’s website, and it’s one of the few offerings that cover different performance articulations, like brushes or mallets.

The controls are simple, but there’s also a pitch modulation effect labeled “Weirdness,” which I really appreciate. If you’ve ever used a Korg Volca Sample, then you know how much fun pitch-modulating drum sounds can be.

More info: Organic Calfskin Kit


Addictive Drums DEMO

Addictive Drums DEMO

XLN Audio offers a generous free demo version of Addictive Drums. Yes, it has limited functionality, but there are no time limitations or reductions in sound quality.

Addictive Drums DEMO includes a single drum kit based on the Fairfax Vol. 1 ADpak. It consists of a kick drum, a snare, hi-hats, and a crash cymbal. Obviously, it’s missing a ride cymbal and toms, but the included drums sound great.

So, if all you need is a simple acoustic drum kit without any bells and whistles, the free demo version of Addictive Drums is worth considering. It’s a useful free drum plugin for rock, pop, and indie music.

More info: Addictive Drums DEMO


Monster Drum

Monster Drum by Monster DAW.

Monster Drum is a monstrously versatile drum plugin developed by Monster DAW. It features a huge collection of analog drums, with regular sound updates and new expansion kits.

All included drum kits are pre-mixed and ready to use in a project. That’s a convenient time-saver when starting a new jamming session in your DAW. Just load up the Monster Drum plugin and select a kit that works for your song. You can always fine-tune it later.

Another convenience is the multi-out feature that lets you route each drum element independently in your digital audio workstation’s mixer.

More info: Monster Drum


Jamstix Free

Jamstix Free

Jamstix is another interesting take on the “virtual drummer” concept. It comes in a variety of differently priced editions, one of which is completely free to download and use.

The freebie version of Jamstix offers a limited amount of velocity layers and fewer drum kits than its paid counterparts. It also lacks MIDI export, kit customizations, and several other more advanced features.

However, it’s perfectly usable as a beginner-friendly drum VST plugin. It comes with eight drummer models, several playing styles, and 200 drum samples to help you get started with music production.

More info: Jamstix


Drumgizmo

Drumgizmo

Drumgizmo is an open-source drum plugin. There are numerous acoustic drum kits that you can download. A tool for creating your own drum kits for Drumgizmo is also available.

The plugin itself is still a work in progress, but you can download a stable version for your DAW. Drumgizmo is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

More info: Drumgizmo


EXC!TE SNARE DRUM

EXC!TE SNARE DRUM

Yes, I’m excited about the snare drum. That’s the best type of drum!

On a more serious note, the EXC!TE SNARE DRUM is a niche drum plugin. It lets you model an acoustic snare drum and fully customize the sound to your liking.

You can also play the plugin directly if you have a snare pad or a piezoelectric disk. Not something you’d throw on every track, but definitely helpful to have.

It would be fantastic if the developer followed up with a similar plugin for kick drums and hi-hats.

More info: EXC!TE SNARE DRUM


ChowKick

ChowKick by Chowdhury DSP

I reviewed Chowdhury DSP’s free ChowKick plugin back in July, and it left quite an impression.

It sounds fantastic, there’s tons of functionality built-in, and it’s fantastically laid out. I’ve used various paid kick-modeling plugins before. While some offer more profound sound sculpting possibilities, I think ChowKick’s straightforward approach and carefully curated controls are more immediately tweakable.

Don’t miss this one.

More info: ChowKick


Sitala

Sitala by Decomposer

Sitala is my drum sampler of choice – it’s lightweight, simple, and has all the controls you’re actually likely to use (unless you’re sampling your handmade cello or something weird like that). If you’re on Reaper, routing is done automatically.

It’s beyond intuitive, and while it looks deceptively simple, there’s actually a lot of functionality packed in.

Sample trimming, beat slicing, a pretty great-sounding compressor, and a Tone knob that actually adapts based on each individual sample’s pitch content.

If you already own a collection of drum kits in WAV format, a sampler like Sitala is the only drum VST plugin you’ll ever need.

More info: Sitala


Speedrum Lite

Speedrum Lite by Apisonic Labs

Speedrum Lite is the other choice when it comes to the best freeware drum samplers.

There’s really not that much to say about Speedrum Lite that’s different from Sitala.

There’s a little more control over the Attack and Decay of each sample, as well as dedicated Lo-Pass and Hi-Pass filter knobs.

If you prefer this workflow over Sitala, however, you might want to check out the full version of Speedrum. It comes with more controls for sound shaping your samples, as well as a lot of really cool effects like distortion, compressor, transient shaper, humanizer, and more.

More info: Speedrum Lite


AudioSpillage MiniSpillage

AudioSpillage MiniSpillage

This is another free version of a more full-featured paid product, but I wouldn’t dare call MiniSpillage “stripped down.”

It’s actually a very impressive drum synth with more controls than I can reasonably get into here, but it’s a lot.

This free version comes with 3 of the 12 drum synth engines of its bigger brother, namely – Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, and Wood Drum. Somewhat disappointed they didn’t offer their snare engine instead of the Wood Drum to really round out the trio, but I guess you can’t give out the goods that easily.

More info: AudioSpillage MiniSpillage


DrumNet

DrumNet is a powerful AI drum generator.

DrumNet is a powerful AI drum generator.

DrumNet is an 8-slot drum sampler that uses AI technology to generate drum sounds. The free version offers all of the functionality included in the paid edition, apart from the ability to export AI-generated sounds.

The instrument works great as a free drum VST for use in hip-hop and electronic music. You can build entire kits from scratch and customize the sounds to fit your project.

It also includes a step sequencer that lets you create drum patterns. If you’re looking for a versatile free drum plugin that doesn’t require importing external samples, DrumNet is definitely worth a look.

I often use DrumNet as a temporary drum instrument while starting a new song. It helps me get a drum groove going. Later on, if I need custom sounds, I replace it with another drum VST or a drum sample pack.

More info: DrumNet


BPB Cassette Drums

Cassette Drums (Free Drum VST/AU Plugin)

Last but not least, our BPB Cassette Drums instrument bundle includes three different drum plugins – Cassette 606, Cassette 808, and Cassette 909.

The plugins were designed by Crimson Merry and based on drum machine sounds captured by Edgar Maguyon, Gregor Zemljic, and Reddit user Anderson303. BBPB’seditor Tomislav Zlatic resampled the source sounds from a tape recorder, adding saturation and grit.

Each drum plugin comes in three different flavors – Clean, Warm, and Hot. Clean gets you completely unprocessed raw samples, whereas Warm and Hot offer varying degrees of saturation.

More info: BPB Cassette Drums

The Best FREE Drum VST Plugins – The Conclusion

So there you go, a curated selection of very different drum VST plugins for whatever type of music you might want to use them for.

We purposefully went in and selected plugins that would complement each other and fill in any potential blind spots in your productions.

You might not need all of them, but you should definitely try whichever catches your eye.

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.

37 Comments

    • Michal Ochedowski

      on

      They do not generate or trigger sounds. They provide further enhancement of what’s already created. Perhaps that’s the basic criterion in this post.

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Those are effects (although they are indeed great plugins). This article focuses on virtual instruments. Thanks for the tip anyway! :)

    • In terms of content Drummic’a is an absolute no brainer.

      As far as the sounds are concerned, quite a bit of tweaking has to be done in order to get it where you want it to be. Otherwise, it is indeed excellent.

      • Sure, but LABS Drums is also a drum sample library. Once you load it into the associated playback engine (in this case Spitfire Labs player) it’s not much different from a dedicated drum plugin.

        Hence Virtuosity Drums would be a great addition to the list, in fact it might be even superior to all the other stuff in the list. Why? Because not only has it many round-robins and many velocity layers, but the recording quality is superb. It doesn’t work for all genres, since it’s more geared towards jazz and acoustic genres (which makes it even more unique on the overall plugin market, where you find thousands of drum libraries geared towards rock, metal and pop, but not too many for pleasant and intricate acoustic sounding stuff.

    • Unfortunately it’s not free for a long time now (it doesn’t work in Kontakt Player for a few years now). Also I can’t find it anymore on their website, the link in every post lead to the main page and it’s all. So I guess it’s no longer available.

  1. I second drum gizmo. I wish it would be marketed and promoted and comunity developed. Gives one the feeling of recording one’s own drums. If you have ever done that and processed things from scratch you’d know how much fun it can be and how much more raw the drums can sound. Sooooo good for ANY lo fi.. shoegaze… vapourwave… indie… jazz…

    The one trick to learn for it is to send the outputs to multiple seperate mixer tracks..

    After that.. ENJOY fixing phases… adding all your own processing and really ending with a truly unique and custom sound.

    We NEED the comunity on this one!

  2. Good list! I would add Poise to the drum samplers category, it got velocity layers and round robins which Sitala and Speedrum Lite (both are great freebies) are missing.

  3. Dean (aka Nekro Machine)

    on

    Cheers Tomislav, the rest of the BPB crew and everyone who has left suggestions.

    I’ve not noticed the Perfect Drums acoustic drum ROMpler & in the full version features sample triggering/stacked user loadable multi-samples also which can be blended with the sounds of the drums from the factory library, it’s very intuitive/quick to use with a solid, malleable enough sounding kit provided in the free version which is had via using the Perfect Drums Player.

    So just in case Perfect Drums homepage URL: https://theperfectdrums.com/
    and Perfect Drum Player, the free version webpage URL: https://theperfectdrums.com/pdplayer

    Despite having many of the usual suspect acoustic drumkit solutions,
    including many Kontakt 3rd party libraries along with often tracking big kits with many shells
    and quadruple the number of cymbals, triggers on every shell…etc.
    I genuinely am always interested in trying pretty much anything and everything out since
    the price point to me does not at all always equate to “better” because there is no such
    thing as objectively better in reality when it comes to obtaining the ideal drumkit sound
    which depends totally on one’s aims and goals along with audio/sound in general being
    equally subjective.
    Therefore for me, it is simply about what does and more importantly what does not work
    within the context of whatever the material that I am working on, if it is my own work then
    that is when I will or rather am able to take what feels like aeons longer to create a drum
    sound where everything has been paid detail to, which is especially when I will and do
    make use of anything, so there might just be a handful of great sounds I discover from
    using some of these freeware gems which I was not aware of, by taking the time to go
    through them and try them within a mix is the only way I’ll find any of those multi-sample
    and save layered up drum and/or cymbal sound.
    Naturally, the useful areas and sound which are made up of many layers I will bounce with
    a MIDI track triggering each multiple times for however many velocity layers makes sense,
    give it a name/tag it with the pertinent information, add it into my own personal library &
    continue so that if a similar need arises when engineering (tracking and mixing most of the
    the time in my case) then I have a pretty solid starting point to deploy and so goes on that
    never-ending cycle.

    .
    Obviously YMMV, all the very best to all as always on behalf of me and mine to yourselves, your families and loved ones, cheers!

    \m/ Dean and family \m/

  4. All of the http://drumgizmo.org/ drum kits that you can download from the website are listed as Attribution 4.0 International license or something similar.

    So when the samples are used in a composition, any context in which other credits (e.g. to performers) are presented must include an attribution (according to the website).

    This might not be ideal for some users, and should be pointed out in your write-up. Frankly, I feel if you are going to give something away, you should just give it away without strings attached, but apparently not everybody feels that way.

  5. Excite Snare is kind of a masterpiece. I hope the devs keep it up with this and I’ll be grateful for Excite Snare 2 as well if they expand on this idea. It might be the best all around alacarte snare synth.

  6. Bruno de Souza Lino

    on

    One thing to add for MODO Drum is it requires a CPU with AVX instructions. Without them, you won’t even get past the installer.

  7. I would also add Bucket Pops, Full Bucket Music’s awesome KORG Mini Pops-7 emulation, which is also a complete tweakable drum synth on it’s own plus sequencer!

  8. Scrapebox Proxies

    on

    fantastic points altogether, you just gained a brand new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made a few days ago? Any positive?

  9. Private Proxies

    on

    Great post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!

  10. Hi
    Not being all that clued up in this area of vst’s can I ask can any of these be triggered from an electronic drum kit? I used to have ez drummer many years ago but have since lost it and while searching for a free solution, found your site.

    Thanks

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