Snare drums are arguably the most popular piece of drum gear apart from cymbals. It’s the main drum that you play on a kit, and a drum kit wouldn’t be complete without one.
Most experienced drummers start building snare drum collections over the years, as there are so many unique snare drum options out there, and they all offer something special in terms of sounds and build quality.
If you’re looking to add a new snare drum to your collection, you may be wondering how much snare drums cost (as separate to prices for whole kits). This guide will break everything down for you that you need to know about.
Snare Drum Categories
When looking to buy a new snare drum, it’s important that you understand how snare drums can be categorized. This will give you more clarity on price ranges, and it will help you make an informed buying decision on a snare drum that will suit your level and budget.
Here are all the snare drum categories to know about (excluding snare pads for electronic kits).
Stock Snare Drums
Stock snare drums are snare drums that come with drum sets. These snares are from the same line that drum kits are from, so they have the same finishes and tonal qualities.
You can buy stock snare drums on their own, and their price depends on how expensive the drum line that they’re from is.
They’re similar to camera lenses, though. When photographers buy new cameras, they never use the stock lenses that come with those cameras. That’s pretty much how stock snare drums work for professional drummers.
That’s not to say that they sound bad. You could get a stock snare drum that comes from a $2000 drum kit that sounds fantastic. A stock snare from a $300 drum kit will sound quite poor, though.
Again, it’s very difficult to put a price on stock snare drums. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $1000for one.
However, we wouldn’t recommend purchasing a stock snare drum. They’re great when they come with drum sets, but you can get a unique snare drum that is much better for a similar price.
Here are a few examples of stock snares:
Beginner Snare Drums
Another term for beginner snare drums is entry-level snare drums. These are the most affordable snare drums that you can buy, and the ones from reputable brands cost between $100 and $300.
You can find a lot of snare drums being sold for less, but they’re made by unknown brands, and their quality is always very poor.
You’ll get the best beginner snare drums from brands like Ludwig, PDP, Pearl, Gretsch, and Tama.
Entry-level snare drums are typically made from poplar, maple, or steel. Steel is the most affordable metal shell to use, while poplar is the most affordable wooden shell. Snare drums made from maple are slightly more responsive in their tone, but they’ll cost a bit more.
When it comes to hardware, all beginner snare drums have baseline hoops, throw-offs, and snare wires.
Entry-level snare drums that are sold on their own are typically better than stock snare drums that come with full entry-level drum sets. So, you can upgrade your snare drum sound quite affordably by getting one of these if you have a beginner kit.
Here are some of the best options:
- Tama Steel Snare Drum
- Pearl Modern Utility Snare Drum
- Ludwig Supralite Snare Drum
- PDP Concept Steel Snare Drum
Intermediate Snare Drums
Intermediate snare drums have a broader range of shell options, and they typically cost between $250 and $600.
With wooden intermediate snare drums, you’ll find ones made from poplar, maple, mahogany, oak, and beech. With metal intermediate snare drums, you’ll find ones made from steel, brass, aluminum, bronze, and titanium.
This is one of the larger categories, as you’ll find dozens of snare drum options from every brand in this price range.
These snare drums are more than capable of being used professionally, and a lot of them can be heard in popular albums.
If you want to take your drum kit sound to the next level, getting a good intermediate snare drum will give you a much better tone from your backbeats.
Here are a few popular options:
- Pearl Sensitone Heritage Alloy Snare Drum
- Mapex Black Panther Shadow Snare Drum
- Tama Starphonic Series Snare Drum
- Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum
- Pork Pie Percussion USA Maple Snare Drum
- Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Kapur Snare Drum
Professional Snare Drums
Professional snare drums are some of the best-sounding snare drums available. You can pick one up from between $600 to around $1200, and these are snare drums that you’ll end up using for decades.
There are two main reasons for these snare drums being pricier than intermediate options. Firstly, professional snare drums have much better hardware. They have heavier hoops, more intricate throw-off designs, and sturdier snare wire control.
The other reason for them being more expensive is that a lot of them are signature models. Signature snare drums are drums that were designed by brands with the help of drummers. They develop a snare drum that fits a famous drummer’s preferences, and then they sell it to the public.
That whole process is costly, so the snare drums are sold for more. They also share all the same top-tier design features as regular professional snare drums.
With that being said, some signature snare drums fit into the entry-level and intermediate categories, but most of the signature snare models available on the market are high-end options.
Here’s a list of popular professional snare drums:
- Ludwig Copper Phonic Snare Drum
- Ludwig Black Beauty Snare Drum
- DW Private Reserve Snare Drum
- Pearl Music City Custom Solid Walnut Snare Drum
Here are some popular signature snare drums:
- Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Drum
- Pearl Matt Halpern Signature Snare Drum
- Sonor Benny Greb Signature Snare Drum 2.0
Luxury Snare Drums
The final category of snare drums to check out is luxury snares. These are the best snare drums available on the market, and they’re not very commonly found. Most of them can be purchased through custom orders from drum companies.
Luxury snare drums cost anywhere from $1200 to around $3000. They’re very expensive due to them being made from rare materials and having unique designs.
Many luxury snare drums have solid-stave shells, meaning they only have a single shell and not multiple plies like other snare drums.
They also have the best possible hardware, including pristine hoops, throw-off designs, and snare wires.
Luxury snares are some of the best options to get for snare drum collections, as they have the most unique sounds out of all the snare drum categories. However, they’re so expensive that most drummers would rather buy a full drum kit or a set of high-quality cymbals for the same price.
Here are some options to check out:
- A&F Drum Company Raw Copper Snare Drum
- Dunnett Classic Titanium Snare Drum
- Sonor Special Edition Cottonwood Snare Drum
- Craviotto Private Reserve Snare Drum
Is Getting a Good Snare Drum Worth the Money?
Getting a good intermediate or professional snare drum is well worth the money. However, you should aim to upgrade your cymbals first if you’re still playing on a beginner drum kit.
Once you have a good set of cymbals, then you can think about getting a better snare drum. Cymbals can’t be tuned to sound better, but snare drums can.
If you’re simply looking for an extra snare drum to use for various purposes, then you should look for a good intermediate one that is vastly different from the snare drum that you currently have.
If you have a wooden snare drum, it’s a good idea to get a metal one. You’ll be surprised at how different it sounds and feels.
Once you buy a second snare drum, you’ll soon find yourself buying a third and then a fourth. This is how every drummer’s snare drum addiction starts.
Final Thoughts on How Much Snare Drums Cost
Every drum brand produces snare drums that cater to all price ranges. If you have a set budget, you’ll have no problem finding a decent snare drum that fits within it.
Here’s a quick overview of all the price ranges that we discussed above:
Beginner snare drums – Between $100 and $300
Intermediate snare drums – Between $250 and $600
Professional snare drums – Between $600 and $1200
Luxury snare drums – Between $1200 and $3000
When looking to buy a snare drum, it’s also important that you know what you’re getting. We strongly suggest that you learn about how shell materials affect sound, and how different hoops affect how the snare drums feel to play.
When you know about all that, buying a new snare drum becomes a lot easier, and you’ll be able to get a snare that you’ll love and use regularly.
Also, never be shy to look at secondhand marketplaces for some sweet deals on used snare drums. You’ll get them for much lower prices!