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5 of the Best Snare Drums for Your Kit

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The snare drum is the heart and soul of any good drum kit. Snare drums are a uniquely crafted drum that comes with a set of wires that runs along the resonant heads, or the bottom side of the drum. When struck, snare drums produce a sharp, instantly recognizable staccato sound that comes from the tension vibrating in those wires.

Any pro drummer will tell you that finding the best snare drum for you is of the utmost importance. If the drummer is the heart of the band, in that they set the rhythm and lead the band into the sound, the snare sets the rhythm for the kit itself.

There are lots of great drum brands on the market who make snares for drummers at any level of experience. Keep in mind the manufacturing of the rest of your kit. If the rest of your drums are steel Tamas, for instance, you might want to avoid a wood Hendrix, unless you’re drumming at an advanced level and are going for a deliberately off-kilter sound.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the best snare drums of 2021.

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1. Pearl Modern Utility Steel Snare Drum

The Japanese Pearl Musical Instrument Company is known for its excellent range of wood drums, but this steel snare drum from the Modern Utility line takes the cake.

While steel doesn’t produce as deep or resonant a sound as a wood drum might, some drummers actually prefer the untamed, throaty tone that rips out when you batter this snare.

2. Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga Snare Drum 14×6.5 Gloss

Hendrix Drums specializes in making snares, and their Stave series is outfitted with a godly panoply of incredible features.

The ultra-thin ¼” stave shell is reinforced with ½” thick reinforcement rings carved from the staves. They’re part of the shell itself. The S Hoops, equipped on the top and bottom, combine the best of the flanged hoop and die-cast hoop design together — they’re made of rolled steel, so retain an open and full-bodied sound while being lightweight. The dual adjustable snares wires are the cherry on top, allowing you to tighten or loosen your sound to achieve the best ghost notes and light rolls.

3. Tama Starphonic Aluminum Snare Drum 6×14

Tama has been an industry leader in the drum space since its inception in the mid-’70s. Any of its snares could just as easily have made the list, but the Starphonic Aluminum Snare has an awesome tone that makes for incredible rim shots and a smooth throw-off.

Changing heads on this snare is also incredibly easy thanks to Tama’s shell-bearing edge and grooved hoop.

4. A&F Maple Club Snare

The best snare on the list for a mid-range sound, A&F’s Maple Club Snare has a beautiful finish and durable design that makes for a long-lasting, resonant sound.

A&F is a boutique drum outfit based in Austin, Texas, so the price may edge out buyers on a budget. But if you can stretch your dollars, the raw brass hardware and reverse baseball bat bearing edge give this a snare a distinct sound that rounds out any kit.

5. British Drum Company Merlin Snare Drum

The Merlin Snare from British Drum Company is just as magical as its name. This all-black-everything drum has a 20ply shell of alternating horizontal and vertical veneers wrapped in a stunning black tulip finish, inlaid with double maple pinstripes.

The Remo USA heads and palladium lugs give this drum versatility and rich resonance.

Bottom Line

Decided on your perfect snare yet? Bear this list in mind as you head down to your nearest drum store and try them out for size — you’re sure to find the best fit for you.