The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Hang Drum + Reviews
When looking for the best hang drum you might stumble across many articles containing hang drum reviews, but none of them as concise as this. Here you will find the best models, and if you’re in a hurry, you’ll get what you’re looking for really fast. Our team of experts analyzed the most popular hang drum models out there and they found out that the ShengTang Steel Tongue Drum is an instrument that you should surely look at. It’s one of the better sounding instruments, thanks to how well it’s isolated from a sound perspective. It comes with 3 small feet that help it stand on any surface. Each one of its 11 tongues is precisely cut to ensure the best quality sound – the result is ideal tuning. If you can’t find it for sale, try to look for the Richday Mini Tongue Drum Steel, which comes with similar features.
Our Top Choice
Coming with great soundproof capabilities, this instrument will produce clear sounds that give a relaxing feeling. The 3 legs help keep it stable and stick to any surface. It has 11 tongues, each of them precisely cut with lasers. The tonal variety is wide, and the sound quality impressive.
Created by a Chinese manufacturer, this instrument comes with an instructions manual written in poor English.
Few tongue drums give you the feeling you need when you’re trying to ease your mind. This one offers unique moments thanks to its ethereal sound. It’s a handcrafted masterpiece that looks beautiful.
When playing this instrument you have 8 distinct sounds placed in the D major key, and that offers you the possibility to play any song in that key. The drum is covered in a protective lacquer finish which keeps scratches away. Measuring only 10 inches across, it’s a compact instrument.
Tuning is not a selling point for this instrument, as it appears the tongues haven’t been cut precisely.
With its beautiful matte black finish and the mystical sounds, it can produce in such a compact body, this instrument can be a great companion for those looking for spirituality or just to play it for fun.
Having its tongues slightly larger than other models, this instrument is good for those with bigger fingers. Each of the tongues is cut using precise laser techniques, and this means the tonality should be perfect. The 11 tongues arranged in pentatonic scales give increased versatility.
The instrument doesn’t have a protective layer of lacquer in order to keep scratches and scuffs away.
Constructed using hardened steel, it’s the kind of hang drum that lasts for years. Everybody can use it, and that is its main advantage, but don’t forget that it’s heavy and carrying it is not an easy task.
10 Best Hang Drums (Updated Reviews) in 2020
We took the time to analyze the best hang drums out there, and that means we looked at the most popular models, we saw what experts have to say about each of them, and we also took some input from reviews. Here is the top list of our preferred hang drums.
- 1. ShengTang Steel Tongue Drum
- 2. Richday Mini Tongue Drum Steel
- 3. OcarinaWind 12 inches Steel Tongue Drum
- 4. OcarinaWind 10 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum
- 5. Vbestlife Steel Tongue Drum
- 6. OcarinaWind 5.5 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum
- 7. QStyle 10 Inch Tongue Drum
- 8. Antetok Lotus Handpan Tongue Drum 11 Notes
- 9. Gdrasuya 10/9 Notes Professional Black Hand
- 10. Nmsla Tongue Drum 12 Inches Steel
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. ShengTang Steel Tongue Drum
This hang drum will give you a wide range of sounds, just what you want from an instrument like this. Coming with 11 tongues that are all precise cut with the help of lasers, this instrument is perfectly tuned. These tongues vary the sound a lot and they can be played with both fingers and mallets.
An interesting thing about this instrument is that it’s handcrafted by skilled artisans, and as a result it can produce an ethereal and clean sound, giving you the Buddha-like feeling it should. It is a drum that can relieve stress and offer you relaxed moments.
It’s a hard instrument to scratch, thanks to the protective lacquer finish that also prevents tarnishing or scuffs. To make sure the drum is isolated from other objects, the 3 rubber feet separate it sonically from its environment. This is the kind of instrument that you can use in any kind of field, from meditation to music education.
It is an instrument that is isolated very well from a soundproof perspective, and for that reason, it can give out the most ethereal sounds possible.
The 3 feet ensure that it will stay put on any kind of surface.
This instrument comes with 11 tongues, each of them being precisely cut with the help of a laser. This means the sounds will be more precise, and the tuning is ideal.
It comes with a protective layer that ensures you can’t scratch it even if you wish to do so. Tarnishing or scuffs are also prevented.
Because it is a drum handcrafted by the most respectable artisans, it is unique and capable of producing a clean sound capable of giving you relaxation and relieving stress.
Made by a Chinese producer, this instrument comes with an instructions manual that is written in poor English, and it’s hard to understand.Buy from Amazon.com for ($105.99)
2. Richday Mini Tongue Drum Steel
Those looking for mystical tones put together in a compact instrument that can offer you the utmost moments of relaxation, this hang drum is for you. It comes in a beautiful matte black finish, and it has been created using hardened steel so you can enjoy playing it for years to come. It is 10 inches in diameter, and weighs just over 4 pounds, meaning that it’s not a heavy instrument.
This drum will let you play a total of 8 sounds, all in the D major key. This means you have a wide enough range of sounds to be able to play most kinds of music. The lacquer finish acts as a protective layer against scratches, tarnishing, or scuffs, so even if you drop it, the drum should still be fine.
You can play it anywhere, and thanks to the 3 rubber feet, it will have the grip to stay on the slickest surfaces.
Offering you 8 sounds in D major, this drum gives you the possibility to essentially play anything in that key.
You won’t have to worry about scratching this drum as it comes with a protective lacquer finish. Furthermore, this finish won’t let it get scuffs or tarnished.
This drum comes with 3 feet that keep it put on any surface, no matter how slippery.
The feet also help in sonically isolating the instrument, so you can get an unaltered ethereal sound.
A compact instrument, this drum only measures 10 inches and weighs just about 4 pounds, so you can carry it with you anywhere.
It is a solid instrument, as it has been made using hardened steel. It will last for a long time.
There isn’t much said about how the drum is made, but it seems to lack the precise tuning that you would expect from it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($96.99)
3. OcarinaWind 12 inches Steel Tongue Drum
Because playing a hang drum like this you will be able to relieve stress and bring relaxation in your life, this model is highly recommended for everybody. It is made using hardened steel and it can last for decades. Measuring 12 inches in diameter, it is slightly bigger than usual, but this shouldn’t affect how you play it.
The 11 tongues are cut to precise dimensions using lasers, and that gives a perfect tuning. These tongues give the player a wide range of sounds, and they can be played with fingers or mallets. The 11 sounds consist of pentatonic scales that give a diverse range of playing options. It is an instrument that can be used in a variety of fields and arts, from music education to meditation and mind healing.
Along with this instrument, you also get 2 drum mallets, a padded drum bag to keep your beloved instrument intact and a tone sticker.
This is a steel hang drum that is bigger than other models and this can help those that prefer to play it using their hands instead of mallets.
The fact that the tongues are precisely cut using lasers means that the instrument will be in perfect tune and you won’t need to change anything to it.
There are 11 tongues, arranged in pentatonic scales. This should give the tonal flexibility needed to play any kind of song.
Constructed using hardened steel, this drum should serve you well for years.
The fact that this drum comes with a large hole in the bottom part means it won’t produce a sound that has too much sustain. The hole lets the air escape and volume is reduced as a result.
There is no lacquer finish to protect against scratches, but the actual finish on the instrument is made to disguise any eventual scratches that will appear.Buy from Amazon.com for ($139.99)
4. OcarinaWind 10 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum
If you’re looking for a compact drum that can be taken anywhere and played for moments of relaxation, this is the choice for you. It has a beautiful finish that, although doesn’t prevent scratches, will hide any marks that the instrument may eventually get if mishandled. It measures 10 inches and weighs about 3.5 pounds, which puts it in the lighter class of hang drums.
The drum is highly portable, and because it’s made of hardened steel, it won’t get damaged even if you throw it in the trunk. It is the sort of instrument that you can use in all kinds of activities, from music education to yoga meditation, but because it’s so easy to learn, it is a great choice for kids or beginners that want to tap into the world of music.
This drum comes with 11 tongues that give out tones creating pentatonic scales.
It is one of the most compact such drums you can find on the market, and this is great for kids that have smaller fingers, or for those who want to take it with them everywhere.
This drum is one of the more durable ones, as it is constructed using heavy-duty steel. You can drop it and it won’t get damaged.
You can use this drum for all kind of activities, but it’s best when it is used by kids or beginners that want to learn how to play a simple instrument.
It has 11 tongues, each of them giving a different sound, in pentatonic scales.
It doesn’t come with a lacquer finish to protect against scratches or tarnishing, but it has a design that hides eventual scratches.
This is not a good drum for those with bigger hands that need more room to play. Being small, it also produces a sound that lacks in volume.Buy from Amazon.com for ($139.99)
5. Vbestlife Steel Tongue Drum
Solid yet lightweight, this hang drum is great for those that want to take the instrument with them during travels. While other models are made of hardened steel, this one is constructed using stainless steel, which means it won’t get corroded and it will be lighter. It is 5.5 inches across and weighs around 27 ounces, so it’s minuscule.
Kids will enjoy playing it, but adults can use it too. The design of this instrument is an interesting gone, coming in a tan color, and being pretty shiny. The carrying bag is colorful with a psychedelic design on it. The two mallets that come with this instrument are made of wood with rubber heads.
As is the case with many similar drums, you can use it for religious meetings, but it’s great for meditation, spiritual healing and more. It is an instrument that can help you get calmer.
It is a small instrument and it’s easy to learn – this makes it ideal for children. They can use their small fingers to play it or the mallets that the instrument comes with.
The 8 tongues are cut to extreme precision and that will give a pleasant tonality in a wide range of sounds.
It’s an instrument made using stainless steel and that ensures a long life, even under harsh conditions, or rain.
This drum comes with 3 small legs on the bottom of it, and that allows it to be isolated from the environment.
The ethereal sounds of this drum will help you get your mind focused and your body relaxed.
It’s so small that you can’t really play it with your fingers, but it does decently with the help of mallets.
The drum is too small to produce a crazy sound volume and you will have to hit it harder to hear it well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($85.19)
6. OcarinaWind 5.5 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum
Handcrafted by talented craftsmen, this drum can be the unique instrument that you have been searching for. It only measures 5.5 inches in diameter, which makes it a very compact and portable instrument that you can take with you anywhere. Constructed using steel, it is a drum that will serve you for years to come.
Despite being so small, it can still offer 8 tones forming pentatonic scales. This should offer a wide-enough range of sounds for you to play a variety of music. Usable in a diverse range of fields, from music education for children to mental healing, or yoga meditation. The drum comes with a set of scores that are easy to play, even for beginners.
Precisely cut with the help of lasers for a perfect tune, the 8 tongues can be played with fingers or mallets. The mallets would be better, however, taking into account the instrument’s size.
You have a set of scores to follow and learn how to play the instrument or to get into the deeper aspects of playing this drum
Teachers can use this instrument with great success when trying to get their new students into learning the basic principles of music.
When playing this drum you can feel how your body gets more relaxed and your mind focused.
It is made of durable steel, which means you can enjoy its beautiful sound for a long time.
The instrument also comes with a carrying bag and 2 mallets.
The 8 tongues will offer you the possibility to play a variety of sounds in pentatonic scales.
It’s a bit too small and if you’re an adult you can’t really play it with your fingers.
Because it’s so small it won’t have much sound volume and resonance, but it, fortunately, has good tonality.Buy from Amazon.com for ($53.99)
7. QStyle 10 Inch Tongue Drum
Coming with everything you need to start playing and learning, this hang drum will be a great addition to any musician’s inventory. The set includes the drum, 4 finger picks, 2 mallets, the travel bag, 1 notes sticker, and an instructions book that will teach you how to play.
The instrument is covered in high-quality protective lacquer, and this helps to prevent scratches, scuffs and does a good job against tarnishing. Made of a special steel alloy, the drum is constructed to last a lifetime, and still produce a clean and ethereal sound.
Measuring 10 inches in diameter this drum comes with 11 tongues, each giving out a different tone, in pentatonic scales. The notes are pure and soothing, and the instrument has the structural strength to give good volume, but that makes it a bit heavier. The fact that it comes with an instruction manual means that children will learn it fast.
This hang drum is split in 11 tongues, which is more than most such drums can offer. You thus have the needed variety to play a large diversity of songs.
The drum comes with anything you would need to play it, from the two mallets to 4 finger picks and the travel bag.
It has a beautiful design, and a matte black finish covered in lacquer meant to protect the instrument against scratches or anything like that.
This drum is large enough to be played with mallets, fingerpicks, or even with hands if it is a child playing it.
The instructions manual will serve you well in trying to find out the secrets of such a meditative instrument.
Although a great way of making the instrument more powerful and resistant, the added weight of the alloy makes it heavier and more difficult to carry.Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
8. Antetok Lotus Handpan Tongue Drum 11 Notes
Handcrafted instruments are more often than not capable of delivering great sounds, and this is the case with this drum. Created by hand by a creative craftsman, this instrument can deliver an elegant, clean and special sound. It comes covered in protective paint that not only keeps scratches away but also protects against abrasion and rust.
This drum comes with all the needed accessories to make your world better – it comes with 2 mallets, 4 finger sleeves that you can use to protect your fingers, a carrying bag to keep the instrument safe, tone stickers to identify each tongue, and a manual with instructions.
The manual contains a variety of music scores of different difficulties, and that makes it a good choice for almost all kind of players. The material used in making this instrument is high-quality steel. Measuring 12 inches and coming with 11 tongues, it’s one of the biggest models.
This is an instrument that has been handcrafted to perfection. You can really see the attention put into making this hang drum instrument.
You have a variety of colors to choose from when buying this drum, from simple white or black to purple, pink, or gold.
Every part of the instrument is covered in a protective paint that keeps rust, abrasion and scratches away.
There are 3 small legs upon which the drum can sit, acoustically isolating it from the environment.
It comes with 11 tongues, and as such you have the liberty to play a large variety of sounds.
The package comes with all the needed accessories to allow you to start playing immediately.
Despite being a strong instrument, the tongues bend a bit too easily.
It is one of the biggest models, and the whole package weighs almost 8 pounds, being difficult to carry by some.Buy from Amazon.com for ($149)
9. Gdrasuya 10/9 Notes Professional Black Hand
With a design that stands out in the crowd of hang drums, this drum from Gdrasuya will impress those looking for a more classical model. This kind of drum is what you usually see used by street performers, but it is also a good choice for festive celebrations or gatherings. The package comes with a carry bag that fits the instrument nicely.
We should also mention in this hang drum review that the instrument comes with a tripod chair on which you can place it when playing it. A metal stand is added to the group of accessories. There are 9 musical notes that you can produce using this instrument and, although they don’t come with stickers on them, you can learn them using the instructions booklet.
The instrument also comes with a couple of mallets, but it sounds better when played with hands and fingers. Made of carbon steel, it’s a durable instrument, although not so good-looking.
The package offers you all the accessories that you would ever want from something like this, including a small chair on which you can place it.
Each of the 9 notes has been checked with a tuner to ensure that the pitch is perfect.
Constructed using carbon steel, it is one of the lightest such drums out there, and it’s also sturdy.
Made in the USA, this instrument makes sure that the product you receive is a quality one.
We need to take into consideration the looks, and from that point of view, this really looks like a pan that has been turned upside down and dents have been made on it.
The instrument comes with no rubber feet to isolate it acoustically, and if you hold it on your lap while playing it, your body will absorb some of the sounds and prevent it from giving out its full potential.Buy from Amazon.com for ($599.99)
10. Nmsla Tongue Drum 12 Inches Steel
This portable tongue drum can be the companion you wish to have alongside you when you are traveling. It measures 12 inches across and it comes with 11 tongues, each of them providing a different sound. This is a great choice for stress relief as it can create a clean, ethereal and Buddha-like sound.
It will be able to bring relaxation to your life through a steel-titanium alloy body that has been handcrafted. You won’t have to worry about it gathering dust or rust, as it comes with a protective lacquer finish that also keeps scuffs and scratches away.
The 3 rubber feet placed at the bottom help keep this instrument sonically isolated for a clear tone. It is an instrument that can be used in a variety of fields, including music education for younger ones. Using it for yoga meditation, mind healing and so on is great too.
With this instrument, you also get everything you need to get things started – the drum itself, mallets, a music book that teaches you how to play the instrument, a carrying bag, and stickers.
It’s a beautiful drum, and it gives you the feel of a musical sculpture that has integrated modern technology with ancient healing techniques.
The fact that it is a hand-built instrument means that the tuning has been done manually by experts, and the result is an accurate tone.
Rubber feet act as a silence footpad, and they are durable, wear-resistant and capable of absorbing shocks while not slipping.
The fine spray paint and hand polishing give this instrument a first-class impression.
Steel and titanium combined in an alloy mean that this instrument won’t have to worry about corrosion.
Being white, it is a beautiful instrument, but it also means it will get dirty fast when you’re playing it with your hands.Buy from Amazon.com for ($130.82)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
There used to be a time when hang drums were expensive, but nowadays you can find an affordable hang drum that can still provide some great sounds. Hang drum music is all about the atmosphere that the instrument can create. Here are some things to consider when buying a hang steel drum.
This is an instrument at the end of the day, and for that purpose, it needs to provide a good sound. Fortunately, tongue drums don’t have much to get wrong here. When playing one of them you can feel how good they are, and compared to hand-pan models, they have a stylish look.
A tongue drum differs a bit from hand-pan models, despite having the same playing techniques used and basically the same structural features. Each model has its own spectrum of sounds, and distinct beats that it can use. A certain sound is heard when played with fingers, compared to when the instrument is played with mallets.
Such a drum can have the conventional vibrating sound of drums, but it can also emit smooth sound frequencies.
Because these models are usually metallic, there is always the risk of them not doing well against corrosion. Drums are susceptible to rust, but makers nowadays come up with various solutions of preventing that from happening. Color varnishes and protective lacquers do a great job most of the time.
Nevertheless, when buying cheap hang drums you need to make sure the instrument has been kept away from hot or damp environments. The drum needs to look good and play just as well. Furthermore, you can also take into consideration the material the drum has been made of. Stainless steel won’t get rusty in the long run but it might be more susceptible to bumps compared to solid steel.
When you have a good stand you know that the instrument will have a place where to sit when you’re playing it, and it will also give a better sound. A cheap hang drum will probably not come with a stand, or it will be one made of poor plastic. This is why it’s a wise idea to consider a steel frame if you seriously intend on playing this instrument.
Keep in mind that each kind of drum has its own style of play, and needs different types of stands. Some hang drums don’t even need stands. While still having to be strong, a stand should also be light enough to allow you to transport it, especially if you’re going to play the instrument on the streets.
Let’s not forget about mallets. There are models with a wooden stick, which are the most common, and these models most often have a rubber or leather enclosed head to protect the drum. There are bass models that have thicker heads, and that allows for deeper notes.
Mallets are a cheap addition, and even if your drum doesn’t come with some, you would still want to buy some.
The hang drum is no ordinary instrument – it has been created to produce ethereal sounds, and if you’re going to buy an instrument like this, why not make it special? Look for something that has a unique design, something that you feel inspires you. If you don’t have an instrument that you like you won’t play it that often.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are hang drums?
Created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer, in Switzerland, the hang drum is an instrument constructed using two halves of steel sheets. Initially, they were the only ones producing this kind of instrument, and they only named it “hang”, saying that the idea of “hang drum” was a misnomer while strongly discouraging the use of this name.
The two halves making the instrument are glued together and have an inner cavity and the overall shape of a convex lens. The top side is named Ding and it has a center note along with seven or eight notes alongside it. All of these are hammered in on older models. Nowadays, tongue drums are made using similar procedures but the notes aren’t indentations but rather shapes cut into the top side.
On the bottom of the instrument, you have a hole in the center that allows for air to flow. This hole can also create a note in older models.
Q: How do you play a hang drum?
Such a drum is usually played rested on a player’s lap. You don’t play the older models using mallets, but rather the hands and fingers. Playing the drum in that manner produces a sound rich in overtones, a softer and warmer sound compared to traditional instruments played with the help of mallets.
Depending on how the instrument is played, the top side will sound like a harp, or like bells, or even like harmonical steelpans. There is a certain tone pattern for each note, from left to right, and when holding the instrument in the right position, a player can ascend or descend the musical scale with both of his or her hands.
Despite the fact that the instrument seems a simple one, each of the tone fields has one or more overtones that are oriented towards the dome. As a result, for each note played you get the base tone, and two overtones tuned higher.
Q: What is the origin of hang drums?
First developed around 2000, the hang drum doesn’t have such a long history. Nowadays you can see the instrument being played by street performers, and because it’s not a drum that you see so often, it’s an impressive sight.
It should be noted that the actual name Hang is a registered trademark of the PANArt Hangbau AG company, the one where Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer registered their instrument. When creating this instrument they had many years of research in playing steelpans and other similar instruments.
There were several variations over the years, and while the first generation started to be sold in 2005, the second one appeared in 2007. This was also the year when other companies tried to copy the model, and the tongue drum was invented as a result of that. Based on the same principle, the tongue drum has cuts in its body instead of dents.