Although it’s not always present in all drum sets or kits, the snare drum is an integral piece of a complete drum set. A lot of snare drums are available in the market, but it takes knowledge to choose the best snare drums.
There are thousands of snare drums out there, so, it takes time to choose one, unless you have a guide.
So, with our team of professionals, we’ll trim down your choices to ten products.
Through the buying guide that we’ll provide towards the end of this article, you’ll be able to successfully pick your ultimate choice.
Whether you are a professional drummer or just someone interested in drums, it’s important to feed your mind with knowledge about the following snare drums.
Here are the 10 best snare drums in 2021 (reviewed)
- Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Snare
- Pearl Piccolo Snare Drum
- Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum
- Pork Pie Little Squealer
- PDP By DW Black Wax Maple
- Gretsch Drums Silver Series
- Mapex MPX14
- DW Design Series Black Nickel
- MAPEX MPML4800BMB
- Ludwig Supralite
Considered to be the best snare drum, the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Snare is definitely a must check from Yamaha. You already know that Yamaha is a famous brand from Japan that produces excellent quality musical instruments, and this one is no exception. This 8 x 7-inch snare is made of Birch featuring Absolute-style lug, die-cast claws, and more.
To be able to offer better value and sound quality, Yamaha upgrades the shell to have the same ply thickness as the Custom Live with more rounded bearing edges for better head-to-shell contact. This means fatter and better sound quality.
- Has great sound, given that it’s from a cheaper line
- YESS mounting system is superb
- Great warm birch sound with better sustain
- Snare has no muffler
- No other complaints, it’s a great product
Get the snare drum you will love. Pearl Piccolo Snare Drum is a compact snare with plenty of snap. You’ll enjoy its brilliant attack with better projection. This 13 x 3-inch snare is available in Maple, Steel or Brass.
It’s among the widely used snare drum today, so you are assured of its quality and sound. Professionals use it as either a primary or a secondary snare.
- Excellent projection with tight and crisp attack
- Compact size, very easy to move around
- Versatile and can be used to play pop, jazz, reggae and more
- Comes with playable heads, but need replacement
- Need to muffle it if you don’t want to make more noise
If you’re looking for a versatile snare perfect for symphonic to arena rock, have the Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum. It’s a 14 x 6.5-inch snare, which is very responsive and aided by their enhanced triple-flanged hoops. We love this snare because of its great projection and fat tone.
Made with chrome metal shell construction, you’ll surely get a bright and crisp sound perfect for classic pop and jazz. Lastly, the snare drum has 10 classic lugs with P-85 throw-off, which is very common in Ludwig drums.
- Has versatile deep snare sounds
- Consistent and durably made
- Performance guaranteed, coming from a reputable company
- Brass easily wears out after several uses
- On the expensive side
Pork Pie is a company dedicated to making great snare drums known for its true sound. So, we’ve included Pork Pie Little Squealer Snare Drum in this list because it deserves to be among the best snare drum choices. With the Little Squealer, the company puts an extra effort and attention, making this 13 x 7-inch snare drum a choice for a lot of drummers worldwide.
We love the black ebony satin finish and all-black hardware because it’s so gorgeous. This is an 8-ply Maple snare with hand-sanded bearing edges for better resonance and sound quality. Additionally, it comes with cast hourglass lugs and 2.3mm heavy-duty hoops.
- Awesome drum with great tone
- Warm tone from the Maple shell squeals out every time you play
- Different tuning and adjustment offers different sound output
- Vent cover loosens after some time
- Some tuning rods loosen when doing a lot of rimshots
A well-made snare drum is best to complete a wonderful drum set. The PDP by DW Maple Snare Drum is just too great to overlook. Made of 10-ply Maple shells, this 13 x 7 drum is uniquely made to offer high tuning range with a perfect mix of depth, body, and pop.
It has true-pitch tension rods with brass inserts, Remo tuning heads, and drop-style throw-off. The finish is stunning with hand-applied wax-based sealer, you’d think it’s a premium snare. In addition to the elegant look of this drum, you’ll also produce amazing sounds.
- Sound is articulate with clear voicing
- Has good tonal vibrations from either a rimshot or a roll
- Easily tuned to get the best sound quality
- Throw-off seems loose in a short period of time
- Maple grain is nice to see, but it appears to be dark gray rather than black wax
Gretsch is a very popular brand of drums. And, we are very eager to include this 100% Brass-made Gretsch Drums Silver Series snare drum. Brass is a widely accepted drum material that offers a warm tone, bridging the gap between wood and steel snare drums.
We are particularly excited about the hammering pattern that Gretsch used to reduce the overtones when playing, giving more focus and power. This 14 x 6.5-inch snare drum comes with 30-degree bearing edges, chrome hardware, 10 lugs, and fully adjustable throw-off.
- The drum is versatile and sturdy
- Fits into just any drum set and any genre
- Definitely last for years of playing
- Kind of expensive compared to the average price in this list
- No other cons found
A high-quality sound is what we expect from Mapex MPX14 since it’s made of real Maple shells. This 14 x 5.5-inch snare drum is designed to offer warm, crisp and fuller sounds. It’s versatile and durable for several years of playing.
This snare has 3mm hoops with solid rims and has Remo stock heads, which are very reliable. The hoops are easy on the hand, while the stock heads are very easy to tune. Overall, you’ll get a good-sounding and easy to set up the snare.
- High-quality Maple drum shells
- Batter head and snare are quick and easy to tune
- Comes with solid rims, which are of great quality
- Bottom skin has poor quality
- Batter hoop is way better with an upgrade to a Pearl
The DW Design Series snare drum is particularly popular, so we include it in our list. It’s widely accepted by drummers primarily because of its design and nickel over brass feature. This isn’t only good aesthetically, but also in terms of sound.
This 14 x 6.5-inch snare drum features a rolled 1mm, bead-reinforced brass shell and fitted with MAG Throw-off and true-pitch tuning system. It has a stock Remo batter head to ensure that you can play it right away. Hence, you can easily get aggressive and round attack with musical nuances.
- Drum is well-constructed
- Has beautiful sound, which is easy to tune
- Stock Remo heads exceeded our expectations
- Has cheaper alternatives
- No other drawbacks found
You don’t necessarily need to spend too much when you’ll get a fantastic tone out of the MAPEX MPML4800BMB. It belongs to the Mapex MPX line introduced right after the Mapex Black Panther Series becomes a success. This 14 x 8-inch snare drum is made of Maple, but also available in steel and birch shells.
It features flanged steel hoops, low-mass lugs, fully adjustable throw-off, and Remo drumheads. When both drum heads are well-tuned and in the same lug frequency, you’ll ultimately get a crisp snap, which goes darker as you tune down the drums. Everything seems solid and reliable, especially the hardware and the drum shells.
- Delivers better projection even with minimal tuning
- You’ll get deeper and darker tone when turning down the tune
- Excellent-sounding snare drum
- Tonal range is towards low-end, you may need to change the stock heads
- Tuning lugs tend to loosen after hours of using
We are down to the last product on the list and no way we consider it as the least. In fact, the Ludwig Supralite snare drum is best is if you’re looking for a loud and powerful snare with bright crack. This 14 x 8-inch snare drum is made of 1.55mm steel shell, mirror-polished for an all-chrome technical look.
You’ll see that it comes with 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops and brass snare wires, so you know it’s a good choice for drummers. Not only that, it’s Ludwig which is trusted by drumming legends like Ringo Starr and John Bonham, etc. So, do you still have any second thoughts?
- Well-crafted and has a very good chrome finish
- Very loud, if you want to cut through the mix
- Durable and suitable for all types of music, especially rock and metal
- You better dampen the batter head to have enough ring
- Upgrade to die-cast 3.00mm hoops for even better results
What to Consider When Buying a Snare Drum
When buying a new snare drum, you don’t just jump into picking what’s the best-selling online or in your local store. Be wise and find the best snare drums that are great in all aspects and the fittest in your application and the kind of music you want to play. So, we will share with you our top considerations on how we get the ultimate snare drum every time.
If you don’t have any budget range in mind, you’ll easily get lost in the sea of snare drums whether online or in the store. You might be spending too much for a snare that’s too fancy for you or you think that you’ve saved a lot, but end up getting a completely useless snare drum.
No rule book says you should spend this much or that much because that depends on your application and how much you are willing to spend for a snare. Perhaps, the most typical budget for buying a snare drum alone is no more than $500. A Snare drum that costs $1000 may be too pricey.
The Sound You Want to Get
There are different kinds, sizes, and types of snare drums for a reason. For example, the snappy — a low-resonance piccolo snare is perfect for hip-hop or R&B. The mid-depth maple is great for pop, progressive or punk, as explained by zZounds in one of their blogs. Don’t rush and explore your music aspirations to learn what snare to buy.
Size and depth
You might have observed that we mentioned the dimensions (diameter and depth) of each snare drum. It’s because it’s a critical consideration when you need to buy a snare that fits your music and style.
The diameter of the snare affects the pitch. Hence, snares are called by the length of their diameter. Snares with 14-inch diameter are called standard, those with 10-inch diameter are called popcorn and those with 12- to 13-inch diameter are called soprano.
The depth of the snare, on the other hand, affects the body or the “fullness” of the drum sound. They are also referred to differently in terms of their depth.
Piccolo has a depth range of 3-inch to 4.5-inch. The standard has 4-inch to 6.5-inch and the deep has 7-inch to 10-inch.
Snare drums come in different materials — wood, metal and other materials. Wood snares are made of single, mixed wood or multiple plies of maple, birch, mahogany, poplar, Bubinga, and so on. For the metal, the most common is brass, bronze, steel, and aluminum.
Though we haven’t mentioned one in this list, there are snare drums made of acrylic, glass, titanium, and carbon fiber explained the Modern Drummer. Different drum shells produce a different kind of sound for different applications or music genres.
In general, wood snares have warmth and fatness in the overall tone, while metal snare drums tend to be bright and ringy. Acrylic drums have a punchier and louder response. So, it’s really up to you which kind of tone you want to achieve that best fits your budget.
There’s just too much to learn before you can pick the best snare drum for you. So, on top of the buying guide that we provide, we also found a video that will help you understand, and made sense of some parts and design of the snare drum.
Here’s a YouTube video that will show you some products that we mentioned on our list with a more in-depth explanation. It gives a very comprehensive discussion on the material used, application, and sound. Within the discussions, you’ll also learn from the tips and tricks that are presented in this video.
How to Choose a Snare Drum?
Finding the best snare drum is a little tricky. And, really having the best one for your needs might be very difficult to achieve. Especially now, that drum sets already come with a matching snare, which is offered way cheaper than just a snare drum alone.
Though there are already a lot of deals out there, it’s still very important to get what you need and not because it was offered at a discounted price that’s why you buy it. Below are the things you need to check in a snare drum.
Frame Material (and, Design)
The shell material affects the sound snare drums produce. However, the compact frame and design play a critical role in producing great sounds.
Snare drums are made of different materials, including birch, poplar, mahogany, among others, and you can also find metallic, acrylic and carbon fiber ones.
So, it’s better to try them out to know which is the best sounding snare drums among them. Also, you have to check the configuration (die-cast and triple-flange metal hoops) which affects the ringing of the snares.
After checking the frame, you should check the sound itself. The lugs, aside from the shells, also impact the sound quality of snare drums. Tube and split lugs affect the sounds differently.
Since the heads are also another factor that affects the sound of the snare drum, it should be checked upfront. A few more things that affect the sound quality of snare drums are the snare wires and the snare beds.
If the snare is hard to tune or maintain, don’t ever think of buying it even if it’s cheap. The snare drums should be low maintenance and it should be durable and will last longer. The drum should be able to withstand even the hardest beating from players.
Our Top Pick
This is a tough call, as all drums in the list are the best snare drums we’ve found. However, if you consider the reputation, construction, performance, and price, our number one choice is the unbeatable Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Snare.
Firstly, Yamaha is a Japanese manufacturer very well-known in the world of musical instruments. With years of experience, you know they only have quality products and undoubtedly, this snare is one of them.
Secondly, from the 100% birch shells used to the lugs, the die-cast claws and the rounded bearing edges, all speak of quality. Therefore, the fat tone and desirable sound quality are achieved. We forget to mention the YESS mounting that provides maximum sustain with minimal contact to the drum shells.
Finally, the price. We’d like to say that it’s not because it’s the cheapest one on the list that we pick it as the best. We saw the best value for the money and we saw a lot of potential for this snare drum.