Alesis Surge Versus Alesis Nitro: Side by Side Comparison

guy sitting and holding drumsticks on hand

As a brand, Alesis has steadily carved out a name and a niche for themselves in the electronic drum set market. Today, they are a widely celebrated as one of the best brands to turn to if you want an electronic drum set that will not only deliver but also give you extra value for money by lasting longer, behaving as it should and producing all the right sounds depending on the settings.

One of the best series in the long line of Alesis products is the Alesis Nitro series. This is an entry-level electronic drum set that is perfect for beginners or any drummer who is on a budget. Another wonderful option is the Alesis Surge which is the perfect electronic drum set you would go for is you wanted something that resembled the acoustic drum option.

Let's take a quick look at both these electronic drum sets from Alesis and see how they stack up against each other:

  • Who are they for?
  • What are its features?
  • What are there pros and cons?
  • Should you get yourself a set and if so, which ones and why?

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Review

The very first thing you will hear about the Alesis Surge Mesh series is that it entered the market as one of the cheapest mesh head options known to man. That alone is already a huge advantage and reason why you should consider this electronic mesh head. However, just because it's affordable doesn't mean that you should buy it out of blind economic faith. What else does it offer?

What Will You Find in the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Box?

Take a look at what you will get when you purchase the ​Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

  • A dual-zone snare (10 inches)
  • Chrome rack (4-piece)
  • A single drum key
  • Three dual-zone toms (8 inches)
  • A reliable power source
  • Three cymbals (10 inches): ride, crash, and hi-hat
  • Surge drum module: 385 sounds, 40 kits, and 60 play-along songs.
  • An aux input that you can use to connect external devices like your MP3 player or your smartphone
  • A pair of cool drum sticks

Now let's take a look at some of the features.

Features of the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Box

Inbuilt sequencer: This is one of the standout features of the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit; it has an inbuilt sequencer. This allows you to record your own sounds and playing. You can simply connect your MP3 player and jam to your favorite songs. You could also record MIDI using the on-board USB / MIDI inputs / outputs.

A variety of drumming pads: With this kit, you get 8 drumming pads in total with 5 being mesh heads and the other three being cymbals.

An effective kick pad: The set comes with a single 10" snare. It also has three 8" toms. What has been a bone of contention with many is that the kick pad is only 8" in diameter. The problem has been that some people think it's too small for a bass. However, as it turns out, Alesis knew what they were doing and not only is the 8" compact enough but it also works extremely well thanks to the sturdy build.

Turnable mesh heads: The five pads that come with this kit are all made out of real mesh heads and are turnable. They all work as well as an acoustic head. This kit allows you to pitch, set up your rebound as well as sensitivity. Basically, you have a lot of room for customization.

Four-post chrome rack hardware: The hardware is not only sturdy, but it's also very easy to set up. While the hardware doesn't include the slotted poles that the brand offers in its more high-end options, the truth is that this four-post chrome rack does a wonderful job of holding all the components together in place with almost no movement whatsoever.

Sound Module: The sound module offered here is the same one that you would find in the Alesis Nitro model. The main difference is that this one is new and improved so as to accommodate the kit upgrade. It comes with a 6-centimeter LCD screen, which makes it very easy to operate.

Pros and Cons of the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Box


  • It offers you excellent sound quality
  • The mesh heads are of excellent quality and very affordable
  • You can tweak the mesh head to feel very close or similar to an acoustic drum set. This is because you can increase and decrease (customize) the tension in the mesh heads
  • You can play it right out of the box (almost)


  • The kick pedal has a toe stop which is about 2 inches away from the top of the deck. This makes it difficult and uncomfortable for people with big feet to entirely place them on the deck

Alesis Nitro Kit Review

What Will You Find in the Alesis Nitro Kit?

Take a quick look at what you will get when you buy the Alesis Nitro Kit.

  • Kick Pedal
  • Module User Guide
  • Kick Pad Tower including a bass drum pedal
  • Hi-Hat Pedal
  • Cable Wrap Strips
  • Drum Sticks
  • Power Supply
  • Safety and Warranty Manual
  • Cable Snake
  • Drum Key
  • Kit Assembly Guide
  • Aluminum rack

Now let's take a look at some of the features that come with the Alesis Nitro Kit.

Features of the Alesis Nitro Kit

Tunable Mesh Heads: This is one of the most noteworthy novelties that the team at Alesis has included in this option of their electronic drum kits. It has new heads for the tom heads and snare. Bear in mind that the kick pad is still rubber, and so are the cymbals. That, however, isn't that big of a deal as it's a common feature in most high-end drum set that is all mesh.

These turnable heads bring a more natural feel when compared to the cheaper rubber options. The fact that they are turnable means that you can easily customize the sensitivity and rebound.

Excellent hardware: You have 8 drumming elements which include a kick pad, drum pads, and cymbal pads. Within the hardware you will find an 8" dual-trigger snare as well as 3 tom pads (single zone). While these pads are not as massive as some may like them to be, they are still very easy to play on.

You also get a crash cymbal with choke, a ride cymbal, and hi-hat. The hi-hat has excellent foot control and doesn't exactly use an actual hi-hat stand. All these cymbals are 10". You also get a kick tower that lets you use a bass drum pedal.

Reliable software: The kit uses the usual Nitro Module so if you have used anything in this line before you will be familiar with the software. It's easy to use, reliable, and allows you to easily switch between drum kit and recording.

It has about 60 preset songs and its MIDI-compatible meaning you can easily connect your kit to your computer as well as other components such as an amplifier or a PA.

Recording: You have three options when it comes to recording with the Alesis Nitro Kit; simply hit the "record button" when playing, use the audio outputs to connect to a recording device, use the MIDI outputs to connect the sound module.

Pros and Cons of the Alesis Nitro Kit


  • The mesh heads are simply stunning and of wonderful quality for this price range
  • Excellent quality drum module
  • It's very easy to use and quite suitable for beginners


  • The mesh heads, although of excellent quality, are much smaller than other options in the market but they still play very well
  • Comes with an aluminum rack which has some adjustability issues

    What Separates the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit from the Alesis Nitro Kit?

    Truth be told, there isn't very much that separates these two electronic drum kits. That is not to say that they are exactly the same, but there are some similarities. For example, the Module on both these kits, despite having a different name, look quite the same and function in quite the same manner. That being said, here are some things that separate the two electronic drum kits:

    • The Surge rack is made out of chrome while that of the Nitro is made out of aluminum
    • The Surge has a bigger kick drum pedal when compared to the option that comes with the Nitro. What this means is that you can use a double bass pedal with one (Surge) but not the other

    That's about it as far as the differences are concerned. So which one would you choose? It all depends on your aesthetic taste. The chrome rack makes the Surge look a bit more professional when compared to the Nitro.

    So if you are going out of gigs and would rather have a chrome rack than an aluminum one, then that would be the tipping point. Other than that, these two are very similar to one another, and any one of them will be a wonderful addition to your musical repertoire.

    About the author


    NJ Sekhar - September 2, 2020

    Is the Nitro bass drum tower big enough for a double kick pedal? (apologies for the beginner-level question!)

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