12 Best Free Drum VST Plugins – Drum Machines, Samplers and Grooveboxes

Martin Kristiansen

Martin Kristiansen

My name is Martin Kristiansen and I’m the founder and chief editor of HomeStudioIdeas.com. I’ve been playing, recording and producing music for the last 10 years.

Drums provide the backbone of all modern genres. Whether you’re looking for realistic acoustic drum sounds or emulated vintage analog drum machines, these free drum VST plugins add high-quality sounds to your productions. Without further ado, here are the best free drum VST plugins available!

More Free VSTs:

At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Free Drum VSTs

  • MT Power DrumKit 2
  • Drumatic 3 by e-phonic
  • Urban Beats by Native Instruments
  • Drums by Spitfire Audio
  • DrumMic’a by Sennheiser
  • Nasty Looper by Beat Assist
  • Sean Pandy Drums by Rob Chokehold
  • Vintage Drum Elements by SampleScience
  • MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage
  • SM Drumkit by SMM
  • Steven Slate Drums 5.5
  • Drum Pro by StudioLinked

Mini-Reviews of The Best Free Drum Software

MT Power DrumKit 2 by Manda Audio

Compatibility: Windows/Mac/Linux | VST/AU/AAX

MT Power DrumKit 2 is a free drum VST that offers high-quality acoustic drum samples straight out of the box. All sounds and samples have been tweaked and pre-processed to sit nicely in any mix.

Besides the realistic drum samples, MT Power DrumKit 2 comes with a pre-programmed groove library. These MIDI presets replicate a range of playing styles, and each groove has its own sub-library of fills which lets users mix-and-match their drum patterns before dragging them into their DAW.

So who is best served using this free drum plugin? Thanks to the ultra-realistic drum samples, both guitarists and composers looking for passable replacements of a real drummer will find this drum VST extremely useful. These samples are best suited for pop, rock, or alternative music.

One downside is that it doesn’t offer many tweaking options, and you’re limited to only one sampled acoustic kit. Each channel has its own compressor but that’s pretty much it when it comes to customization.

Download: MT Power DrumKit 2

Drumatic 3 by e-phonic

Compatibility: Windows | VST

Drumatic 3 is a free drum synthesizer that uses virtual analog synthesis to recreate sounds from analog drum machines. Unlike MT Power DrumKit 2, these sounds are 100% synthetic, which means they allow for huge flexibility and customization.

The Tone control defines the sound and the Noice section adds bite and flavor. These two sources are then mixed together and sent through a shaper and a filter.

The free version of Drumatic 3 includes 7 different sounds, covering bass drum, snare, clap, 2 toms, hi-hats, and rimshots/bell. Each sound can be customized using synthesis parameters like modulation envelope, pitch, and noise. Drumatic 3 also features an effect section with distortion, a bitcrusher, and a filter.

Overall, Drumatic 3 offers loads of scope for sound design, and it’s also a great starting point for beginners looking to learn drum synthesis. If you want even more features and have $30 to spend, you can upgrade to Drumatic 4.

Download: Drumatic 3

Urban Beats by Native Instruments

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

Urban Beats is a free drum VST that runs in Native Instruments free software bundle ‘Komplete Start’. At first glance, it looks like a simple loop player but it’s definitely more under the hood. Urban Beats contains drum loops, production kits, and drum samples.

The software lets users create drum patterns by triggering sounds via MIDI, load pre-programmed grooves, or with the built-in step sequencer. You can set up a total of 64 steps in up to 8 different tracks. You also have the Master FX sections with handy effects like filters, reverb, convolution, delay, and saturation. Along with the FX section, you have classic drum machine parameters like pitch and swing.

Thanks to the sample editor and various modulation tools, Urban Beats is one of the best free drum VST plugins available. You can tweak and modulate every sample as you like, and the vintage drum sounds are a perfect fit for anyone looking to create old-school hip-hop beats.

Download: Komplete Start (including Urban Beats)

Spitfire LABS Drums by Spitfire Audio

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

Spitfire’s LABS series features tons of great free VST instruments. Their drum VST contains samples recorded by drummer Oliver Waton and engineer Stanley Gabriel. It offers a wide variety of high-quality drum samples, recorded with premium microphones in a controlled studio environment.

The interface is clean, slick, and extremely user-friendly. All you have is 3 controls. The big knob at the center of the interface is reverb. The first fader is volume and the second one is for dynamics. The dynamics level control doesn’t make much sense on drum sounds but it’s quite useful on Spitfire’s other instruments, as it allows you to crossfade the velocity layer. 

Three parameters don’t give you many customization options. However, that’s not why LABS Drums is one of the best free drum VST plugins available. The high-quality samples are what makes this plugin unique.

Download: LABS Drums

DrumMic’a by Sennheiser

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

DrumMic’a by Sennheiser is a free drum sampler containing drum sounds from professional drummers. It’s a high-quality acoustic drum sample library for Native Instruments free Kontakt Player. The drum VST contains nearly 13.000 individual drum samples of standard 24-bit quality. You also get 1300 grooves in various styles which you can drag and drop into your DAW.

This free drum VST is extremely powerful, as it offers a wide range of features. All drum samples have been recorded with high-end microphones from Sennheiser and you have the ability to switch microphones to change the tonal characteristics. The interface also contains controls for overheads, reverb, transient designer, and equalizer.

Overall, DrumMic’a by Sennheiser is one of the most comprehensive free drum plugins available. Note that you need to register a free account on their website to get a serial number. One downside is that the entire website is in German which can prove difficult to navigate if you speak English. I suggest you visit their website, using the Chrome browser so you can use Google Translate.   

Download: DrumMic’a by Sennheiser

Nasty Looper by Beat Assist

Nasty looper

Compatibility: Windows | VST

Nasty Looper by Beat Assist is a free drum machine created by Duarte Vinagre. The interface features 16 pads that you may load with 16 or 24-bit .wav-samples. You can also map each pad to your MIDI controller and use it in your DAW’s piano roll.

What’s so cool about Nasty Looper is that every parameter can be mapped into a MIDI controller, which provides you with the possibility to perform live or improvise with all effects inside your DAW session.

Four pads out of 16 are designed for loops and vocals. These can be configured to tweak the start, end, delay, and filter of any loaded samples. Nasty Looper also has a built-in Brickwall Limiter, which prevents your samples to clip during live performances.

This free drum VST is the perfect combination of a drum sampler and a groove box. The Record function lets you record and saves your own loops within seconds, which expands the functionality even more. It can be a bit complicated at first glance but when you get the hang of it, it’s a workhorse in the studio or on the stage.

Download: Nasty Looper by Beat Assist

Sean Pandy Drums by Rob Chokehold

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

Sean Pandy Drums is a free drum rompler VST. It’s based on a sample pack created by heavy metal drummer Sean Pandy, and it’s one of the top choices if you’re looking for some heavier drum sounds in your mix.

The kit contains a kick, a snare, 4 toms, and a Sub Blower. Each channel on the mixer has a basic volume slider and a pan knob along with a mute button. This free drum VST is a great option if you’re looking to do drum replacements. Each drum sample has six velocity layers up to 10 random-robin samples. This prevents you from getting the repetitive machine gun effect when doing fast repetitions. 

This free drum plugin is definitely worth checking out if you’re producing heavy music like metal and rock. The built-in reverb sounds metallic so I recommend using a separate reverb in your DAW. There aren’t many great heavy drum VSTs by default in popular DAWs and Sean Pandy Drums is a great free option.

Download: Sean Pandy Drums by Rob Chokehold

Vintage Drum Elements by SampleScience

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

Vintage Drum Elements by SampleScience is a virtual drum machine, which emulates the sound of Yamaha’s flagship drum machine RX5. It’s not completely free but you can pay what you want for it, meaning you could get it for as little as $1.

This almost free drum VST features 4 different drum kits, 1 FX set, and 4 instruments. It has a nice warm analog sound that many vintage drum machines have, and the 12 pad interface is intuitive and extremely user-friendly. You also get effects like reverb and trim, along with amplitude range controls.

So who is this free drum VST for? Any producer who seeks that eighties vibe in their drum patterns. This is usually found in genres like synthwave, vaporwave, synthpop, or chillwave.

Download: Vintage Drum Elements by SampleScience

MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage

Compatibility: Mac | AU

MiniSpillage is a slimmed-down version of the premium plugin DrumSpillage. However, it still packs a punch as it consists of several kits and synth features. This free drum synthesizer plugin offers high-resolution 64-bit DSP processing and comes with three drum synthesis algorithms: kick, hi-hat, and wood drum.

The plugin offers a lot of built-in presets. However, it’s when you start creating your own sounds MiniSpillage really shines. It features one single oscillator for bass drum and a six-oscillator generator for hi-hats. The interface also lets users tweak and customize the drum sounds with a multitude of parameters. Each generator is equipped with LFO and envelopes, which means you can create interesting movements and sculpt your drums as you like.

One advantage is that MiniSpillage is still being updated, even if it was released a while back ago. Unfortunately, it’s only compatible with Mac computers, so if you’re a Windows user you’re going to have to look elsewhere. I’ve also seen some compatibility issues with Apple’s new M1 hardware.

Download: MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage

SM Drumkit by SMM

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

SM Drumkit by SMM is one of the most extensively and deeply sampled acoustic drum VST plugin available. It contains high-end samples from a Vintage Ludwig drumkit. All sounds are multi-sampled, featuring 127 velocity layers and 4 round robin layers per sample. Robin layers add variation and allow users to play fast drum beats without the kit sounding like a monotone machinegun.

The snare drum was recorded with 4 different microphone channels, featuring both top, bottom, left, and right overheads. The kick was recorded with a close mic and L + R overhead microphones.

If you use REAPER, the kit is ready to use out-of-the-box. If you’re a producer working in another DAW, all .wav-samples can be loaded into your sampler of choice (preferably Kontakt). This is a workaround but luckily all samples have been labeled which should make the mapping process easy.

Download: SM Drumkit by SMM

Steven Slate Drums 5.5

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU/AAX

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 is an acoustic drum VST by Steven Slate. It’s a stripped-down version of their premium plugin sold for $149. The difference? You only get one acoustic drum kit. However, even if it’s free, it sounds extremely good. It’s definitely a fully functional virtual instrument in its own right. It doesn’t limit the user in any way, compared to other free editions of commercial plugins.

The plugin consists of one drumkit with three different presets. Each preset have been processed to cut through the mix, and you have additional controls for dynamics. You have a total of 2GB samples, tons of articulations, and multi-channel outputs. As mentioned above, the only difference in the free version is that you only have one drum kit. Besides that, the interface and functionality are identical to the full version.

So who is it for? This drum VST is a great option if you’re looking for heavy acoustic drum sounds, and doesn’t want to spend a dime. I find it to be useful in Jazz, Pop, RnB, and Rock productions.

Download: Steven Slate Drums 5.5

Drum Pro by StudioLinked

Compatibility: Windows/Mac | VST/AU

Drum Pro by StudioLinked is one of the best free drum ROMplers for Windows and macOS. It’s a simple VST plugin featuring 8 drum kits, with an additional 12 hand-picked kits from StudioLinked’s expansions.

The interface is clean and if you’ve never worked with ROMplers you’ll find it extremely easy to use. It consists of 12 pads that have been pre-assigned to a keyboard note. Unfortunately, you can’t change the mapping or add your own samples to them. However, if you want additional sounds you can buy one of their expansions for as low as $9.99. This is great because you can choose drum sounds from almost any popular music genre, and you don’t have to pay for a complete bundle.

Each drum kit consists of 2 kicks, 2 snares, 2 claps, 1 closed hi-hat, 1 open hi-hat, and 4 various percussions. You also have separate volume faders and pan knobs for each sample.

So who is it for? It’s an ideal choice for producers looking for free drum kits for RnB, Hip-hop, Trap, and EDM.

Download: Drum Pro by StudioLinked   


What Is A Drum VST Plugin?

Drum VST plugins are like having a virtual drummer on your computer. It’s a piece of software that lets users add realistic drum sounds in their mix. This is a great option for bedroom producers who don’t have a professional studio with drum mics and multiple-channel audio interfaces at their disposal.

The term “drum VST” is rather broad, but usually includes software like:

  • Virtual drum libraries
  • Percussion libraries
  • Beat machines
  • ROMplers
  • Drum synthesizers

How To Use A Drum VST?

There are two ways you can use a drum VST. The first one is to run it inside your DAW, and the second option is to run it as standalone software. Adding your plugin to your DAW is the most common approach when you want to add drums to your songwriting or recordings. All free drum VST plugins on this list will run inside your DAW without any complications. 

Drum VST Formats

Plugins come in a few different formats, and which format you should download depends on which DAW you use. There are four types of audio plugins formats:

  • VST: compatible with most DAWs
  • AU: compatible with Ableton Live and Logic Pro
  • AAX: compatible with Pro Tools 10 and later versions
  • RTAS: compatible with Pro Tools 10 and earlier versions

You can check compatibility for every free drum VST reviewed in this post. Most of them are available in both VST-format and AU-format, which you can download on the developer’s site. 

How To Install Your Drum VST?


  • Download the free drum VST plugin
  • Unzip the VST file
  • Copy the .dll-file to your VST plugin folder
  • Restart your DAW
  • Rescan your plugin folder in your DAW


  • Download the free plugin
  • Unzip the file
  • Locate the .vst-file or .component-file
  • Copy it to your VST plugin folder
  • Restart your DAW
  • Rescan your plugin folder in your DAW

Wrapping up

So which one is the best free drum VST? It depends on what kind of drum sound you want and what kind of music you create. I’ve looked at both virtual drum libraries, ROMplers, and drum synthesizers, and they all have different use cases.

If you’re looking for a realistic drum VST, I recommend downloading Steven Slate Drums 5.5. Even if the free version only includes one drum kit, you get tons of functionality and premium samples.

Are you producing rock or metal music and looking to do some drum replacement, I recommend Sean Pandy Drums by Rob Chokehold.

If you want to take your beats to the next level, Drum Pro by StudioLinked got you covered. If you want some additional kits for Trap, RnB, or EDM, you can download one of their expansions for $9.99.

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