Regarding buying shell packs, I'm aware they don't come with heads or hardware, but what all does hardware encompass? Is it just cymbals and stands? Or does it also mean hoops and lugs? Thanks in advance.
Hardware is in general bass drum and hi hat pedals, cymbals stands etc, tom holders and floor tom legs are also classed as hardware but they should come with the kit. Cymbals are a seperate entity.
My advice would be to do some reading a buy a second hand kit which includes some decent mid level cymbals and hardware.
OP- i am not sure, you may get heads, IIRC i got heads with my gretsch set, but if you do factory heads are shit most of the time anyway.

+311 Beezerkbuy a used completed sec off of craigslist would be the way to go.

the only reason i have three sets is because of how used gear is going and the market. drum sets are hit the hardest, people are still having their houses forclosed, and not able to play them anywhere else or where they go, or they need the money or their 13 year old kid didn't stick with it, whatever it may be, the market is on your side. look for like a Pearl Export set or the equivalent in Tama (swing star not positive though). i have seen pearl export sets going for <$400 with decent cymbals, and stands/decent bass pedal.