Best Snare Drums of 2020 – Complete Review

If you are a drummer or thinking of getting into drumming, then this review is for you. This is about finding the right snare drum for your personal music style and taste and what to look for. Let's take a look at what snare drums can offer you.

Comparison Chart of the Best Snare Drums

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Ludwig (LB417)

  • It has a nice, antique, black shell
  • It has a beautiful, chrome finish for the metallic look
  • The brass-beaded shell gives it overall beauty
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TAMA (SC145)

  • A nice chrome finish on the hardware gives a nice aesthetic look
  • You get a carbon-steel snare drum installed
  • It is well-built and finished for overall good looks
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Pearl S1330B

  • Best for the money
  • With the PEARL Piccolo, you get a tight sound and brilliant attack
  • The crisp attack allows it to be used as a primary and secondary snare
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DW Collectors Series (DRVB6514SVC)

  • This snare drum is strongly built to give you a long life of quality sound
  • With this snare, you get that classical brass snare sound
  • It is suitable for many types of music genres
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Gretsch S1-6415-BRH

  • The unique sound of this snare drum makes it great for adaptability
  • This is a nice mix of warm wood and a snappy steel snare drum
  • The brass shell makes it an eye-catcher
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What is a Snare Drum?

There are a variety of snare drums available on the market, all with their own unique characteristics and special features. This drum sometimes called a side drum but mostly called a snare drum, is a drum with snares stretched over the bottom head.

The snares can be either made from nylon or gut or even steel or silk, as well as the wire. As the snares vibrate with the lower head, the vibration is transferred through the air inside the shell. This causes a high-pitched sound in the drum. Snare drums are also available in different types.

What to Look For When Buying a Snare Drum

When buying a snare drum, there are quite a few things to look for that will determine the tone and pitch.

Size

The size of the drum, as well as the construction, is relative to the tone and pitch of the snare drum. The materials used in the making of a snare drum will also influence the final sound that it will produce.

The different types of snare drums available can be used in many different types of applications. These applications may include recording or performing and teaching, as well as rehearsing or practicing.

Features

Many extra features are added to the snare drum to make it easier to use with all the different types of applications.

Throw-Off

A throw-off is attached to the strainer that is holding the snares tight to the bottom head. This throw-off can then be used to quickly loosen the snares for a much different effect, such as the tenor drum effect.

Snare

The snare itself is made in many different ways and then used for a variety of different effects.

Materials 

Different materials are used for a variety of different sounds and tones, as well as for pitch.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best snare drums:

  1. Ludwig (LB417)
  2. TAMA (SC145)
  3. Pearl S1330B

Review of the Best Snare Drums

To be able to find the right snare drum, you need to look at a few different models to determine which one will suit you.

Ludwig Snare Drum (LB417)

PROS

  • This snare drum is very easy to tune
  • It has a 6.5"x14" shell for a deeper sound
  • Supra-phonic snares are supplied with this snare drum
  • An included snare throw-off provides a nice tenor effect
  • With this snare drum, you get a seamless, single-piece shell

CONS

  • No stand is included
  • It does not come with a case

What Recent Buyers Report

This snare drum is amazing, and it gives you that classic snare drum sound that everybody loves. The sound is of great quality, and this is a must-have snare drum for all drummers. This drum is worth the money spent on it, and it performs exactly as it should.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The overall beauty of this snare drum comes from its chrome finish, which gives it a distinctive look and feel. You can tune this snare drum very easily with the simple tuning mechanism that is included with it. You will notice the nice tenor effect that you get with the throw-off, as well as the sensitivity it provides.

Who Will Use This Most

The great versatility that is provided with the 6.5"x14" shell makes it perfect for the pop and rock drummers. This is also a great snare drum for the beginner if you can spare the cash for it. Overall, it can be used with a variety of music styles.

Bottom Line

It has a high price tag attached to it, but the great quality of this drum will make up for it. This drum has a strong and nice sound that makes it perfect for any beat you throw at it. It has an overall nice, quality sound to it.

TAMA Snare Drum, Silver (SC145)

PROS

  • The chrome lugs included allow for easy tuning
  • A die-cast batter hoop is installed with the drum
  • You also get a snare throw-off with this snare drum
  • This drum has a single-piece, 1.5-millimeter brass shell
  • It has a triple flange bottom hoop for the unique Copeland sound

CONS

  • It has no protective casing included
  • This drum comes without the stand included

What Recent Buyers Report

This Tama snare drum is a high-quality and beautiful drum that gives you a great classic Copeland sound. This drum is very loud, and it gives a cracking and brash sound that fits the music genre it is played in. From low to high range, this snare drum exceeds expectations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a true replica snare drum for that classic sounds that Stewart Copeland produced in most of the Police’s songs. The triple flange bottom hoop helps in recreating the Copeland sound. The great, metal-like, aesthetic looks of this snare drum give it a unique beauty.

Who Will Use This Most

The shell size of this snare drum makes it perfect for hip hop music, as well as rhythm and blues. It is also the right drum if you are playing music similar to the Police in your band. It is also good for entry-level and professional drummers.

Bottom Line

It does have quite a high price tag attached to it, but you get great value with this snare drum from Tama. Also, this drum will fit into any drum kit set up for versatility. Overall, you have great value and a unique classic imitation. 

Pearl S1330B 13 x 3 Inches Black Steel Piccolo Snare Drum

PROS

  • The drum is very easy to tune and set 
  • Black and silver makes for a nice contrast
  • An easy snare throw-off comes with this drum
  • The shell is available in different types of materials
  • You have a black, lacquered, steel shell with this drum
  • This snare drum has a nice, low price tag attached to it

CONS

  • There is no stand included
  • Has a thin shell for piccolo only
  • Needs muffling to be used for more music genres

What Recent Buyers Report

This snare drum has quite a loud cracking sound to it and is a great sounding drum overall. This is a great snare drum, and it can be used for any type of music. Plus, it comes at a great price. This drum offers great value for your money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The PEARL piccolo snare drum comes with quite an attractive price point. It is very easy to set and tune this snare drum for different types of music styles. The black, lacquered, steel shell makes for quite an attractive look, as well.

Who Will Use This Most

This snare drum from PEARL can be used for different types of applications, as well as for a duel snare drum. The versatility of the drum makes it quite suitable to be used in many modern music genres. This item is very suitable for the jazz players out there. 

Bottom Line

You can get this snare drum with a maple, steel, or brass shell for different tone and voicing. The price you pay for this snare drum makes it a favorite. This snare drum is definitely a great investment for any drum kit.

DW Collector's Series Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum 6.5x14' DRVB6514SVC

PROS

  • Included is a carbon steel snare for brightness
  • An internal muffler is included with this snare drum
  • All the lugs are made from die-cast iron for durability
  • You also have a patented throw-off for great tonal effect
  • You get a thin, industrial-standard shell plated with black nickel

CONS

  • No bag is included
  • This snare drum is quite heavy
  • It must be hit in the center for great sound

What Recent Buyers Report

The throw-off makes it quite easy to put the snares up or down and offers easy access. This snare drum is quite expensive, but it does its part by producing great tone and sound. This snare drum has everything you need in a snare.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With the included tap-style internal muffler, you have a variety of selections for more or for less sustain, depending on your choice. An easy access throw-off also gives you much better control over the attack of your snare drum. This makes the snare suitable for different types of applications.

Who Will Use This Most

This snare drum is very suitable for the brass snare sound that is unique to most nuances of jazz music. It is also a great choice for use with a modern rock band, as well as for with a metallic tonal character. It is also great for any other type of music.

Bottom Line

At a medium price point but with quite high-quality features, this snare drum is suitable for the professional drummer. Also, for anyone who is interested in playing a variety of music styles, this is the perfect snare drum. Rightfully so, this is a sought-after collector’s snare.

Best Gretsch Full Range Snare Drum:
6.5"x14" Hammered Brass Snare Drum

Gretsch Drums Full Range Series S1-6514-BRH 6.5x14' Hammered Brass Snare Drum

PROS

  • Chrome hardware comes attached with this snare drum 
  • Remo heads are the standard for this high-quality snare
  • This snare drum has a 1.2-millimeter, hammered brass shell
  • A fully adjustable throw-off is included with this snare drum
  • You have die-cast hoops for great reliability and extra durability

CONS

  • This snare is a bit heavy
  • No protection bag is included
  • You do not get a stand with this drum

What Recent Buyers Report

For the price, this snare drum is great, and it sounds fantastic with a nice ring to the sound. This snare drum is versatile and can be used for many different types of music styles. It is very reliable and steady, and it is well designed and strongly built.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fully adjustable, side pull throw-off with fixed butt plate included makes the control of the snares quite easy. This is great when you are changing the tune quite often for different music styles and a variety of tones. The looks of this snare make it an eye-catcher and a favorite.

Who Will Use This Most

This snare drum is suitable for use with any type of music genre, as well as for the professional and the beginner alike. It is, after all, a versatile snare drum and can be used with most music applications and styles. That makes it the perfect drum for every drummer out there.

Bottom Line

With the Gretsch hammered brass shell snare drum, you get great value for your money and a very durable drum. This drum will last for a very long time and will give you a lifetime of drumming pleasure. Overall, it is the best from a steady brand of good quality snare drums.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Snare Drums

As with all products, a snare drum has both advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at these below.

Pros

First, let’s take a look at the upsides:

  • The snare drum is used to set the pulse of the music piece and also for the rest of the instruments. This is great for a piece of music where the percussion is an integral part of the music.

  • The many different types of materials that are used in the construction of the drum may give a unique sound. Each type of snare drum, with its unique sound and pitch, is suitable for a different type of music and application.

  • Snare drums are usually used in popular music in a backbeat style that will help create and maintain a rhythm. The deeper the snare drum is, the more body it has. The shallow snare drum is more sensitive.

The opposite is possible for a marching band, where the front beat is created with the use of the snare drums.

Cons

And now for the very few downsides:

  • If a snare drum is not properly tuned, it may throw the pitch of the whole piece off. This is mostly the case for lesser quality snare drums that can not be correctly tuned.

  • Metal snares may not be suitable for other milder types of music and will give it some kind of wrong pitch and sound.

How to Assemble a Snare Drum

Here is how you can assemble your snare drum easily and quickly:

  1. Start by placing the head of the drum on top of the shell. 

  2. Now, you can place the hoop on top of the head and shell.

  3. Line the holes of the hoop up with those of the shell.

  4. Next, install the tension rods by dropping them in the holes of the hood.

  5. You can then thread the rods into the castings on the shell.

  6. Screw the tension rods all the way down and tighten every one of them with your fingers. 

  7. Now, you can use the drum key and start tightening the tension rods lightly with it.  

  8. Use the star system by tightening a rod opposite the one you just tightened.  

  9. You can repeat the process of tightening until all the screws are tightened. 

  10. This method of tightening the rods helps to tighten the drum evenly. 

  11. Before completely tightening it, you can tune the head by tapping on it and listening to the pitch. 

  12. This final tightening will also help to tune the drum. While tapping, you can tighten for a higher pitch, or you can loosen the rod if you want a lower pitch. 

Please refer to the following YouTube video for complete instructions on how to assemble the drum.

Conclusion

Always remember that not all snare drums are made equal, and you have to listen to the drum to make a decision. Use your newfound knowledge of snare drums to guide you as you pick the one that suits you best. 

People Also Ask

Before you can commit yourself to the final choice, you need to get some nagging questions off your chest. This question and answer section will provide you with the answers to questions regarding snare drums. For your benefit, it is necessary to have the knowledge provided here. 

Do Snare Wires Make a Difference?

More wires will provide a much brighter and crisper sound to the snare drum. Fewer wires will move toward a purer drum sound. The tighter they are, the more it will influence pitch. Snare wires will have quite a significant influence on the final sound of the drum.

How Tight Should the Snare Wires Be?

The tighter the snares, the more they push up into the snare head, thus creating a higher pitch. Looser snares will give you a looser snare sound that will make the pitch lower.

Each of these settings can be used in different music styles. The high pitch is typically used for rock.

How Would You Describe the Sound of a Snare Drum?

There are many descriptions regarding the sounds that are provided by a snare drum. It may sound metallic or shrill or may have a sharp sound to it. Another sound may be described as hissing or even shuffling or rattling. These sound effects depend on the tightness of the snares.

How Do You Stop a Snare Buzz?

Here are a few ways to stop the buzz of your snares:

  • Center the snares on your snare head so they are exactly in the center of your head
  • Even the snares out so they do not rattle
  • Tune the snare drum correctly
  • Balance the head's tension equally

Is a Snare Drum a Membranophone?

A snare drum is, in fact, a double-headed membranophone that has a cylindrical body that was developed in the early centuries. 

It originated in Europe but is found nowadays all over the world wherever a civilization developed. A membranophone is any musical instrument that produces sound by vibrating a membrane.

How Do You Tune a Snare Drum Perfectly?

You should tune the bottom head when it sounds wet. You should tune it until the sound is sharp and crisp again.

Test the bottom head for tightness. You should only get a little give, and the head should be clear.

Snare Drum Buyer Guides

In the market for a new snare drum? Luckily, we've compiled all of our buyer guides related to snare drums and related content. Feel free to review each guide and find the one that fits exactly what you're looking for. Be sure to check back soon as we'll be updating this page frequently.