Best Snare Drum: How to Choose the Suitable One

Did you know that the snare drum is the most important part of the entire drum set? It is the drum that keeps the music going and adds the “pop” to the song. Because snare drums are so important to the music, you need a good quality one for your drum set. While every drum set on the planet comes with a snare drum, it might not be the kind of quality you were hoping for.

If that is the case, and you are ready to upgrade your factory snare drum to a more professional quality one, then you are in the right place. In this review of the best snare drums on the market, we’ll provide you with what we think is the best snare drum around, give you an alternative buying option in our runner-up category, and provide you with some models for beginners, the professional, and the budget conscious.

Best Snare Drum Review

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch
  • FEATURESGreat color
    Quality design and construction
    Made from maple
MAPEX MPML4800BMB MPX Series Maple
  • FEATURES high-quality sound
    6.5 mm thickness
    Includes synthesizing options
Pearl VPX Snare Drum
  • FEATURESHigh gloss finish
    Available in black
    Choice of hardware color

1. Best Snare Drum: Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×5.5

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14x5.5

Yamaha continues to prove that they are a world class drumming company with this 14-inch snare drum. Featured in honey amber finishing, this all-birch shell is sealed with a high-gloss finish which lends the beauty and sophistication of this drum. It measures 5.5 inches in depth and has ten lugs surrounding the drum ring to very precise tuning. There are 45-degree bearing edges for comfort and style. This snare drum is part of a larger series of drums from Yamaha called Stage Custom Birch.

It is a professional series class of drums, and the devil is in the details with this snare drum. The shells have been upgraded to be much thicker, and several features, like the lugs, have been upgraded as well. This snare is great for drummers of all playing levels; it’s a beautiful drum to learn to play on, and it’s perfect to improve your drumming skills on as well.

The die-cast claws featured on the snare provide durability and stability while playing. It’s a great value and looks great too. The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14 inch snare drum is our choice for the best snare drum on the market today.

  • Great color
  • Quality design and construction
  • 6.5 mm thickness
  • Made from maple
  • 8-inch depth
  • 14-inch diameter
  • Remo drumheads for high-quality sound and playing experience
  • Part of larger series of drums so you can add or expand your drum kit with ease

  • Might be overwhelming for new drummers to adjust so many lugs


2. Runner-up for Best Snare Drum:  MAPEX MPML4800BMB MPX Series Maple

MAPEX MPML4800BMB MPX Series Maple Snare DrumCompeting against the best snare drum in this round-up review is not an easy thing, but the MAPEX does a pretty good job in second place. This is part of the MPX line of drums, and features a black finish that is stunning. The shell is made from maple and is 6.5mm thick. There are 20 lug heads on this drum so you can adjust the sound and tension until your heart’s content.

There are Remo drum heads on this series of drums, including this snare model. It is also a professional series snare drum, but great for drummers of any skill level. Imagine learning to play the drums on a snare of this quality. You’d have an advantage over many others who learned on lesser drums. It has flanged steel hoops and adjustable throw-offs as well. It’s thicker than the Yamaha snare, measuring almost twice the depth at 8 inches. But this is a great option for anyone in the market for a snare drum.

  • Great color
  • Quality design and construction
  • 6.5 mm thickness
  • Made from maple
  • 8-inch depth
  • 14-inch diameter
  • Remo drumheads for high-quality sound and playing experience
  • Part of larger series of drums so you can add or expand your drum kit with ease

  • Might be overwhelming for new drummers to adjust so many lugs


3. Best Snare Drum for Beginners: Pearl VPX Snare Drum Black 14×5.5

Pearl VPX Snare Drum Black 14x5.5

While any snare drum is suitable for beginners, some people might appreciate an easier to tighten and tone snare drum. We like the Pearl VPX as our choice for the best snare drum for beginners because it only has eight lugs, so it’s not too overwhelming for new drummers to take on. It has an attractive design and is finished in black or ivory hardware.

You have your choice with this design. The shell is black and made from birch. It provides that snappy pop that snares are expected to have, but in much more approachable way. This snare measures 14 inches in diameter and is only 5.5 inches in depth. It weighs less than 10 pounds so it’s easy to move around so you can practice anywhere in your home or garage.

It’s got steel rims that measure 1.6mm and its adorned with a limited edition badge that reminds you of the quality Pearl provides. If you are new to drumming, this is a great snare drum to pick up and learn on.

  • 14-inch diameter
  • 5.5. Inch depth
  • Weighs less than 10 pounds
  • Eight lugs, easy to adjust
  • Birch shell
  • High gloss finish
  • Available in black
  • Choice of hardware color
  • From Pearl, a leader in drumming accessories and products

  • Sometimes it’s hard to match limited edition products to an existing drum kit


4. Best Snare Drum for Professionals: Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch all maple

Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch all maple snare drum in natural finish with chrome hardware

The Mapex MPX14 is our choice for the best snare drum for professionals for a number of reasons. First, Mapex is a well known and trusted brand in the drumming world. Second, this snare is made from an all maple shell that provides the kind of warm tones professionals often seek in their drums. It provides a full sounding resonance and is made from highly durable materials. The snare measures 14 inches in diameter and 5.5 inches in depth, which makes it ideal for any kind of music.

The hoops are solid and measure 2.3mm, which provides easy access and adjustments. The drum heads are from Remo, so you know they are good quality, and it comes with a lifetime limited warranty on the shell construction. It is sealed in a glossy finish and is beautiful overall. It is part of the Mapex maple series and is complimented with chrome hardware all around the drum. It has ten lugs for maximum adjustment, and it is wonderful to play. If you are in the market for a professional quality snare drum, this is the one for you.

  • High-quality design and construction
  • Made from maple
  • Beautiful finish
  • 14-inch diameter
  • 5.5-inch depth
  • 10 lugs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • There aren’t any complaints about this snare drum; it delivers


5. Best Economy Snare Drum: GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student

GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck for a snare drum, choose the GP Percussion SK22 snare drum. This is designed for students to learn on, but that doesn’t mean that anyone couldn’t pick it up and start playing. It is made of metal so it won’t provide the same warm sounds a wood drum would. It has ten lugs for adjustment, and it measures 14 inches in diameter. It has a standard depth of 5.5. Inches, and it has a double braced stand that comes with it.

What’s more, you get a carrying bag with this snare drum. It’s designed for students to take it to and from their lessons, but the bag is great for storing the drum for travel or when not in use to keep it safe. It also comes with a practice pad, which is a nice touch, and you get drumsticks as well. Overall, the GP Percussion might not be the best choice for a really experienced drummer, but it’s a great place for a newbie to start.

Plus, you get tons of value in this kit with the bag and the drumsticks, as well as the practice pad. So we love it for our economy choice for the best snare drum overall.

  • Standard size
  • Comes with lots of extras
  • Great for new drummers to learn on

  • Not suitable for more experienced drummers
  • Made of metal


Snare Drum Buying Guide

Here are a few things you should know before you buy a snare drum. If you are buying your drum as part of an existing kit, you might try to match your snare drum to that kit, but if you are looking to upgrade and don’t care about matchy-matchy drum sets, then go for the best you can afford.

What Will You Use The Snare Drum For?

If you are a professional drummer, you are going to want to invest in a robust and solidly constructed snare drum. Because of the amount of use the snare drum gets, you need something that can stand the test of time and performance schedule you might keep. If you are new to snare drumming, an entry-level snare drum will do the trick and help you learn the ropes before moving on to an upgraded model later on.

Wood vs. Metal Construction

Whether you choose wood or metal is a personal preference. Both are excellent quality, but the sounds can differ slightly. For a new snare drum player, you might not worry about the nuances and differences, but for a professional, they will know what they want in their sound quality and materials.

Rigid Construction?

You know your snare drum has been crafted well if the shell doesn’t bend or warp when you tighten the drum head rings. A cheaper metal shell will bend, while a thin wooden shell might also bend. This is where thickness and quality of construction come into play. Be sure to pay attention to the construction, thickness, and rigidity for the best results and longevity.

Thickness of Shell

Depending on the type of material you choose in your snare drum, the thickness of the shell might vary. If you are opting for wood shells, get at least ¼” thickness to help with resonance and rigidity.


Any time you invest in a piece of musical equipment; you want to make sure the product has a good manufacturer’s warranty. At the very least, you want a one year manufacturer’s warranty that covers defects. Some really good warranties will cover damage of certain types, but to protect your investment, watch out for a manufacturer’s warranty.

Depending on where you buy your snare drum, some retailers will offer extended warranty service at their location as well. Just do some research about what they are offering as some extended warranties are useless for certain damage and use.

Overall Thoughts

Choosing a great snare drum can be made easier when you have all of the information you need to decide the kind of drum you want or need in your life. If you are new to drumming, opt for a snare drum that will grow with you. Even if you don’t know how to adjust all of the lugs or get the perfect sound, getting a snare drum that offers slightly more than you need now, means you get more value out of it in the future.

Our pick for the best snare drum on the market is the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×5.5 Snare Drum. Not only does it look amazing, but it also sounds great, and it’s accessible to every drumming level. The beautiful birch finish reminds us of classic drums, and the brand tells us that it’s good quality. Whatever you choose, be sure to get the best snare drum you can afford. You won’t regret it.

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