Free VST plugins allow beat makers & music producers to be more creative inside digital audio workstations.

Drum software plugins let you escape the limitations of stock drums in your DAW which can vary in quality between different DAW software.

So it’s time we take a look at some free VST drum plugins. Then you can determine which free drum VST plugins will best suit your musical style based on how much experience you have with music production.

After comparing numerous VST drums, we created a list of the top drum plugins for Windows & Mac that you can download for free:

10. Line of Legends (PC & Mac) – the best drum VST plugin for beginners

Predominantly geared for hip-hop drums, the Line of Legends drum plugin is probably the most accessible drum VST there is.

Its simple interface gives you instant access to drum and percussion sounds like a kick, snare, clap, click, tom, hi-hat, and crash hat, each with its own outputs.

You’ll get 47 professional-quality samples across these eight channels, and controls for attack, release and panning are available. While some of the samples sound better than others, this drum VST plugin is highly configurable for a variety of needs.

As a result, we think it’s the best free drum VST plugin for beginners.

9. Sennheiser DrumMic’a (PC & Mac)the best third-party drum plugin for Kontakt

Sennheiser DrumMic’a is a free drum VST plugin with over 13,000 pre-recorded samples. High-end studio microphones captured each sample while professional drummers made the noise.  

You can customize the position of the microphones in the DrumMic’a VST plugin and choose between different microphones on each drum head too!

Mixer controls allow you to adjust the level of each drum, and the channel strips feature an EQ, a transient shaper, and a compressor. But more effects include reverb, delay, and panning!

You can also adjust the velocity of each drum head and map the kit to your MIDI controller.

In short, Sennheiser DrumMic’a is a great drum kit VST if you’re a user of Native Instruments’s Kontakt virtual instrument.

8. AudioSpillage Mini Spillage (Mac only) – the best drum synth VST for percussion

Though it’s a Mac-only plugin (AU plugin format), Mini Spillage is a resourceful freeware drum synth that PC users will miss in their plugin arsenal.

Mini Spillage is a trimmed-down version of a paid drum synth – DrumSpillage ($75).

But Mini Spillage does use the same sound engine as DrumSpillage, though this freemium plugin features only three signal generators:

  1. The Kick engine is punchy with a deep, bassy sound.
  2. Next, the Hat engine can be as simple or as complex as you like.
  3. Finally, the Wood drum engine is capable of creating a wide range of tones and sounds.

Each of these generators utilizes LFOs and ADSR envelopes for sound shaping and modulation, and onboard effects like distortion and filters give you creative control over each drum generator.

And although Mini Spillage is a Mac-only plugin, it is not compatible with Apple’s M1 chip technology. You’ll want to keep that in mind if you have upgraded or are looking to.

7. E-Phonic Drumatic 4 (PC & Mac) – the best VST drum synthesizer

Like Mini Spillage, this is slimmed version of a paid plugin – E-Phonic Drumatic 4 drum synthesizer ($29.99).

But this freemium plugin is the best all-round VST drum synth because it utilizes a combination of FM, wavetable, and subtractive synthesis to generate sound!

Our 4 favorite E-Phonic Drumatic drum synth VST features:

  1. Over 40 noise types
  2. Two stereo noise oscillators
  3. Graphical envelopes for pitch, filtering, and level
  4. A plethora of professional presets

6. Native Instruments Urban Beats (Mac & PC)the best drum VST plugin for hip-hop

Urban Beats is another drum VST geared towards hip-hop drums, and it’s one of Native Instruments’s older virtual instruments. 

It features drum machine samples that are tailored towards hip-hop but do fit in club-focused genres like techno and house music.

Perhaps the biggest unique selling point of Urban Beats is that you can create grooves in one of three ways.

  1. Trigger individual sounds with a MIDI controller
  2. Trigger pre-programmed loops
  3. Create drum patterns with the step-sequencer in Groovebox mode 

You’ll find typical mixer features, but convolution reverb, delay, and saturation are also available.Consequently, Urban Beats is the best free drum plugin for hip-hop drums.

5. Manda Audio MT Power Drumkit (PC & Mac)the best virtual drum kit

MT Power Drumkit is widely renowned as one of the best VST drum plugins for acoustic drums. In fact, this sample-based virtual drum kit aims to replicate the sound of real drums!

Though being limited to acoustic drum samples isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the samples are professionally recorded and processed and they will cut through your mix.

Each drum mixer channel features a compressor that allows you to control the dynamics of each drum, in addition to level controls.

Furthermore, MT Power Drumkit gives you a list of MIDI grooves and presets that emulate a variety of playing styles too. Here you can combine different grooves and fill presets inside the plugin as you build your beat.

And you can drag the composition into your DAW when you’re done, or you can use this VST plugin to program other drum samplers. It should be clear now why MT Power Drumkit is the best virtual drum kit plugin…

4. Spitfire Audio Labs Drums (PC & Mac) – the easiest drum VST plugin to work with

Labs by Spitfire Audio is a project they launched not so long ago that offers a range of professional-quality sampled instruments – for free – inside a glorious host plugin.

Labs Drums is more straightforward and conventional than some other Labs virtual instruments and it’s been around for some time.

It’s a sample-based virtual drum kit with a collection of acoustic drum hits recorded with top-of-the-range microphones.

While It’s geared towards accessibility and ease of use, its basic shaping controls allow you to balance timbres and apply varying degrees of depth to the drum sounds. Therefore, it’s got to be the best VST drum plugin for ease of use!

3. StudioLinked Drum Pro (PC & Mac) – the best free drum ROMpler plugin

Drum Prop is a free drum ROMpler plugin that features 20 free drum kits, but you can add more with its paid expansions.

Though the plugin does encourage you to spend money, the free sounds inside Drum Prop sound great! In fact, a lot of the sounds are sourced from hardware such as Roland’s 808 and 909 drum synths.

You can control the shape of the drums with an ADSR envelope, and its mixer section allow you to control the blend of sounds further too. In addition to global controls, you can also access onboard effects such as reverb here too.

Finally, you can map those 12 pads on its interface to a MIDI drum pad and, access the sound of classic drum samples with your fingertips.

2. Sampleson Sub – (PC & Mac) – the best free VST drum machine

On the topic of classic drum samples, the Sampleson Sub is one of the best virtual impersonations of the classic Roland TR-808 drum machine

Its interface is easy to get on with as you work with analog samples inspired by the 808.

Though the plugin only offers pan and level controls, you will find some additional controls on the kick and snare channels, in addition to tuning for toms and congas.

But the Sampleson Sub has an additional feature – a sub-bass control. This is where the Sampleson Sub rides in its own lane.

The sub-controls allow you to thicken the low end of your kick drums, create long 808 kicks, and more which make Sub our favorite virtual drum machine.

1. SSD Free (PC & Mac)the best free acoustic drum VST

And in the number one slot, we have SSD Free!

SSD Free utilizes samples of real acoustic drum kits like MT Power Drumkit – albeit with a very different user interface.

And this is another stripped version of the paid Steven Slate 5.5 plugin ($149). But it really is better than other free acoustic drum plugins!

People such as myself are constantly raving about the sounds inside this drum VST. The sounds coupled with its excellent user interface make SSD Free the best virtual drum software. Although it features only one drumkit, this free version of Steven Slate 5.5 utilizes three different pre-mixed presets.

It’s a professional-sounding plugin that any and all beginners should have in their plugin arsenal. And that’s why we think it’s the best VST drum plugin that’s available for free!

Final thoughts

Now it’s time to start programming your free VST drums and cook some beats!

With the right drum plugin for your music and needs, you’ll be confident enough in your drums to finish music that you know sounds good.

But having the right sounds isn’t always enough – you’ve got to know how to motivate yourself and finish your tracks!

Well, this video will give you some out-of-the-box ideas to do just that…

But the sound of drum plugins can get boring after a while. That’s why it’s important to have access to samples that inspire you.

RouteNote Create offers premium samples for just $2.99 a month. You can browse hundreds of thousands of royalty-free sounds right now and download one-shots, loops, FX & full sample packs.

Don’t forget to sign up and claim your ten free sounds from RouteNote Create today, and subscribe for as little as $2.99 for 100 credits!