4 Best Snare Drums Under $300 in 2022 Reviewed
A good drum set lives and dies by its snare. The snare is the most distinctive drum in any drummer's set, so it has to be of good quality if you want to sound good.
Shopping for a snare has never been more difficult, but that's a good thing. With so many excellent manufacturers making snares of all sizes, materials, and colors, you'll have more options than you know what to do with—and you don't need to break the bank to afford them either.
Our team has packed our picks for the best snare drums under $300. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, our team of drum enthusiasts and industry veterans have played drums in the most spectacular venues. We can advise whether maple or brass is better for your set or to go for a 28x6 or a 14x6.5.
Read on for reviews of the top four best snare drums in 2022 for under $300.
Our top picks:
- Best for beginners: Pearl Sensitone Heritage Alloy Snare
- Best looking: Tama Metalworks Matte Black Steel Snare
- Best for ambient sound: Gretsch Brooklyn Steel Snare Drum
- Best upgrade pick: Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Snare Drum
Pearl is one of the most reliable manufacturers on the market today. Their Sensitone snares have a bright, vital tone and a thoroughly modern aesthetic.
This Sensitone Heritage Alloy Snare drum has a 1mm beaded chrome shell with a vivid, polished finish. Coming in at 14x6.5, this drum is more portable than many, but its steel body gives it the depth and power to compensate.
Triple flanged hoops make up for any weaknesses in shell width that might concern you. It has a reactive, sensitive snap that harkens back to classic tunes.
- Punchiness - this is a drum that packs a distinct power.
- Compatibility - Order multiple Heritage Alloys or mix and match with a different snare for something lower and more resonant.
- Hard to blend - The problem with steel snares is the same as their great strength - their power. Steel snares are typically thinner than their wood counterparts. Because of this, they vibrate much more freely.
- Too responsive - that steel rattling can be hard to mesh together with the rest of your sound.
The Heritage Alloy Snare is one of the highest performance snares at this price point. Drums like the Heritage Alloy Snare have featured in famous, chart-topping rock songs. For less than $300, it's definitely good enough for the average drummer. This drum will add serious pizzazz to your overall set.
There's a lot of competition out there in the world of drum-making. There's only so much you can do with tone, material, and shell thickness. Sometimes, the aesthetics of the snare become the selling point.
This matte black steel snare from Tama is hands down the best-looking drum on this list. The bright tone and crispy crack it'll give you aren't too bad either. Tama has always made quality instruments, and their Metalworks line is one of their best releases of the past few years.
The matte black lugs topped off by shining chrome bolts give this drum a simultaneously futuristic and classic look. However modern this snare looks, the sound is anything but that. You'll be getting that nice, dark tone you can hear in rock standards. The ghost tones stick out as you go from the edges to the center.
- Stunning look - The 1.2mm steel shell with center ridge coated in a gorgeous matte black finish is easy to pair with any color of drums.
- Great buzz - All that coating around the thick shell makes the buzz stick out on this one.
- Whip Crack - This drum has a terrific crack on the backbeat.
- Overtone ringing - One of the cons of this type of drum is that they're prone to overtone ringing. The Metalworks line is greatly improved when used with damper pads to bring that ringing under control.
All in all, this is a solid drum with an edge and tone to give you dynamic play. The clear tone and pleasing ring from the snare wires won't leave you wanting for anything.
The Brooklyn Series by Gretsch is a much-beloved line. They're known for their classic musical tones and excellent tuning range. This snare from the Brooklyn steel line is top-notch.
Gretsch's lightning throw-off with these snares is excellent, making for a silky smooth ring and overall clean sound. The Brooklyn is another steel snare, but this Gretsch snare has a bark, unlike the Tama and the Pearl. There's a heft to the drum, and the overtones are deep and heady.
The cross-stick sound is a particular highlight. Slice through absolutely any live noise, no matter how metallic, echoey, or chaotic, with this steel snare.
- Solid construction - The signature Gretsch “302” 3mm shell with double-flanged hoops is the thickest in this lineup.
- Accessories - The Brooklyn Steel snare comes with a lightning throw-off, butt plate, and “snap-in” drum key holder, which makes this a powerful drum that is also versatile.
- Open sound - The timbre can go more ambient than most. You can really play with that open sound.
- Snare wires - The snare wires are a standard 20 wire arrangement. That's fine for most snares, but on this particular model from Gretsch, you might need to change out or add some wires to get an enhanced sound.
You can't go wrong with any piece in Gretsch's Brooklyn Steel series. These beautifully appointed drums are decked out with premium features, from the lighting throw-off to the ultra-thick shell. Crown your drum set with this absolute jewel of an instrument.
The final stop on our tour is Yamaha's Stage Custom Birch Snare. The only wood snare on this list, this beautiful, cranberry red, 100% birch drum is a deluxe addition to any drum kit. Its six-ply structure gives it an expansive open sound that soars through any arena with ease, no matter the acoustics.
This affordable snare is good for anyone from the least dedicated of hobbyists to the most advanced professionals.
- Rockin' rumble - The birch shell gives this snare what Yamaha calls a “rumble.” The six-ply shell gives it structural integrity, making for a crisp, throaty sound.
- Snappy - The 45-degree bearing edge gives the drum plenty of snap.
- No customization - The irony of the stage custom series is that nothing is customizable. You aren't wedded to the cranberry red finish; there are four other wrappings.
There are little to no flaws in this snare. It's not the very top of the line, but for its price point, you'll be drumming happily for years with this Yamaha.
No matter which snare you choose on this list, you'll be getting a great product at a steal of a price. But you won't be getting the same sound across the board. Do your research before buying because a good snare will alter your kit's whole sound.
If you ever have questions about potential purchases for your drum kit, get in touch with the Drum Center of Portsmouth team. We can answer any question, no matter how big or small.