Steel Drum: Ultimate Buying Guide (2021)

You are decided to buy and start to play the steel drum. But, do you even know anything about it? 

I suppose the answer is no, so we present you Ultimate Buying Guide for Steel Drum.

When you read this article, everything will be crystal clear for you, and then you will decide it is this amazing thing for you or simply it’s not your cup of tea.

Steel drums are something you need to invest in. It’s not cheap, but it’s something that lasts really long. 

I need to mention that the prices of steel drums have increased because of the global steel crisis.

Price may vary from 80$ for smaller versions, of low quality, to a few hundreds of dollars.

For example, you can find cheap low-quality steel drums on eBay or Amazon, or you can check out some of the best manufacturer of the steel pans.

Here you can find a list and you can compare prices between steel drums. 

You can see how the price can vary.  

Where to buy a steel drum?

Like I already said, the best option is to buy your first steel drum from a reliable seller or manufacturer. Amazon and eBay may seem like good options, but just if you find a reliable seller.

Here is a list of reliable sites where you can find steel pans:

These manufacturers are well known all over the world in music land so you don’t need to worry about quality or shipping. You will be satisfied for sure.

Now when we are in the middle of the talk about the best manufactures of steel drums, here you can find all the important information.

Steel Drums Manufacturers

Some of the best steel drum manufacturers are: 

  • Handpan Guru
  • Meinl
  • Pearl
  • Beat Root Drum
  • Zenko 
  • Guda Drum
  • Regis

Handpan Guru

Handpan Guru began as an informational/buyers guide website in 2016 and has since shifted to working with handpan makers and selling instruments directly to performers.

They are dedicated to producing high-end handpans, ranging from painted steel to high-quality stainless steel options.

They offer a range from 7 notes up to 13 notes and a possibility of custom-made scales of your choosing. Instruments are shipped inside a wooden box for maximum protection, and they come with a backpack-style carry bag. 

Best Handpan Guru

The newest piece from Handpan Guru 13 Note Handpan in D Minor Pro Series has superior quality and clarity over their older handpan series. It’s a perfect handpan drum for both beginners and professional musicians.

The best part is that you may customize any of these 13 notes by sending an email to Hanpan Guru after placing your order and selecting your preferred custom scale.

The con of this drum might be the price which can be higher than you would usually give for a handpan drum, but it surely matches the quality of the product.

Overall, if you want a high-end durable instrument with a wide range of customizable scales, you will get your money’s worth with this drum.


Meinl company is a manufacturer of musical instruments based in Germany. 

One of the reasons why Meinl is one of the best steel drum manufacturers is because practitioners use their models therapeutically for stress management, depression, and anxiety relief.

When it comes to steel drums one of their best-reviewed models is Meinl Percussion Sonic Energy Tongue Drum.  

Best Meinl
steel hand drum

Sonic Energy Tongue Drum

The steel tongue drum has a black powder coat. It has a fixed tuning system that lasts.It may be played with or without mallets. 

Meinl offers other design styles for a similar price as well.

The pro of this model is that it is good for both beginners and experienced players. 

The cons are a bit higher price and the fact that the tuning is not adjustable. 

Also, if you are a fan of colorful designs, it will probably not be your first choice. 

Overall, if you are not looking for a bright, colorful design, this drum is an excellent choice.


Pearl is one of the most famous manufacturers in the world of percussion instruments and drums.

Their drums became so popular that the company ‘Pearl Musical Instrument Company’, is known by the people simply as the ‘Pearl Drums’.

Pearl is the right choice for drum lovers on high-end. 

One of the reasons why Pearl is famous in the world of steel tongue drums is their new Awakening Series Tongue Drums, consisting of 8-note and three 9-note drums.

One with the best reviews is  Pearl 9 Note C – Awakening Series Steel Tongue Drum.

Best Pearl
steel tongue drum

9 Note C – Tongue Drum

The model offers many colorful and playful options. It also has note ranges that create pleasant tones.

The cons of this drum are that it is expensive and the scale can’t be altered.

Overall, if you don’t mind spending on it, you can’t go wrong with this model.

Beat Root

It was during MusikMesse 2014 in Germany, that Beat Root gained many international distributors. 

It was this opportunity that allowed them to grow. From that moment, they started manufacturing a large number of instruments.

However, their breakthrough year was 2015. 

When it comes to their brand, it is praised by the reviewers as one of the best because of the quality of their steel tongue drums and for their neat packaging and designs. 

One of this steel drum manufacturer’s best-reviewed drums is the Multi-Scale Beetroot tongue drum.

Best BeatRoot
steel pan drum

The Multi-Scale tongue drum

The model is excellent for you to experience different scales with your tongue drum.

According to the reviews, the pros of this steel tongue drum include the depth of the sound it makes.

The cons are that new players need some time to adjust to it and that the smallest tongue on the drum does not have a clear tone as the others.

Overall, if you are an experienced player, this drum will help you enjoy deep sounds.


The Zenko is a stainless steel melodic percussion instrument that is fresh and revolutionary. 

It is a member of the “Steel tongue drums” family, which was created in the early twenty-first century. It’s made by hand at the Metal Sounds workshops in France. 

Since 2005, their team has specialized in the fabrication of metal instruments, and in these short years, they have established a worldwide name for quality, innovation, and customer service. 

When you purchase a steel tongue drum from Metal Sounds, you are certain to be completely happy!

One of Zenko’s best sellers is Zenko ZEN01 Melodic Percussion Steel Tongue Drum. 

Best Zenko
steel drum instrument

Zenko ZEN01 Steel Tongue Drum

The Equinox scale is an innovative B minor scale. A G3 in the center will provide a deep bass that will serve as a pivot. 

This scale is unique in that it includes a major mode in the Key of C (with a 3rd in E), making it incredibly adaptable and used in any creative composition and/or jam session. 

Artists who are “open-minded”! The Zenko may also be played standing up

The cons can be that placing areas are small on this model, so I will recommend playing with sticks, not your hands. 

Overall, If you are a beginner, or even a teacher playing with kids and beginners and it’s okay to you to spend some more money, you won’t regret buying it.

Guda Drum

Well… Guda is something different and new on the market. This is a stunning product.

GUDA is a one-of-a-kind instrument that was formerly thought to be a cross between a tongue drum and a handpan. 

The presence of octave harmonics in the sound is provided by the complex tongue structure (the same effect has handpans, pantams, and steel pans). 

When GUDA is performed, it generates the fundamental sound plus an octave higher sound.

This is detail-oriented manufacture and they put a lot of effort into electronic and sound effects. 

Some of their products like Guda FX or OM Pickups can be internal or externally equipped. Guda Drum Freezbee is one of their best sellers.

Best Guda
steel drum

Guda Drum Freezbee

The pros of this steel drum are design and uniqueness, and the fact that you can purchase a customized scale for your Guda Drum.

The cons of this well-designed drum is price. The quality is great for this price, but for someone who is a beginner may this be an obstacle.

Overall, great professional steel drum made for professionals.


This is by far the greatest budget choice at a considerably cheaper price than the others. It’s only 6″ tall and weighs less than 2 pounds.

Despite its name, it is built of titanium rather than steel. They are available in a variety of colors and come with mallets and a bag. 

Regis pitches the drum towards younger players or those searching for cheap entertainment.

Regis Steel Tongue Drum 11 Notes may be the best option for first buying.

Best Regis
beginner steel drum

Regis Steel Tongue Drum 11 Notes

Cons about this product can be lower pricing invariably imply higher quality control difficulties. 

Many first-time players may not notice if the tune is wrong.

Overall, great choice for beginners. This stel drum is a great bang for buck.


I truly hope that this ultimate guide for steel drums helped you just a little bit, for playing or buying your first steel drum. If you have any advice questions or comments, write me in the comment section.

Denis Loncaric

Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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  1. […] pieces of mallets. In this way, you can find out which one can produce the best output for your steel drum. Since the process is easy and doesn't consume your time, crafting multiple mallets won't be a […]

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