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The 15 Best Snare Drums of 2021

The 15 Best Snare Drums of 2021

The 15 Best Snare Drums of 2021

We have had the pleasure of reviewing dozens of the world’s finest snare drums over the last 12 months. At this time of the year, we like to reflect on the year that was by compiling a list of the very best. A meager, “Top 10” list seemed inadequate, given how many snare drums we’ve covered, so this year we bring you The 15 Best Snare Drums of 2021!


#15 - Zikit Pro Kit on Sonor AQ2 Snare Drum

This 14" Sonor with the Zikit inside, is made from 7-ply maple (3 plies of Chinese maple in the middle, 2 plies of Canadian maple inside & outside). AQ2 snare drums are rich and warm, with well-balanced mid- and high-range frequencies. This drum also comes fully equipped with Sonor's redesigned lug system, and enables a real-time switching between 10’’ 12’’ 14’’ for limitless musical performance.


#14 - Tama S.L.P. G-Maple 14x6 Snare Drum

The 14x6 G-Maple snare drum at Drum Center of Portsmouth is built on the foundation of a thicker 11mm, 13-ply Maple/Mappa Burl shell that gives it a bright sound, along with increased volume and sensitivity. Its 2.3mm flanged hoops and separate low-mass lugs enable the shell to resonate naturally, and enhance its punchy sound. Tama's Super Sensitive 20-strand Hi-Carbon snare wires and Evans G1 Coated batter and clear snare-side heads provide excellent tone right out of the box. The beautiful Mappa Burl outer ply along with shimmering black nickel drum hardware gives this drum an impressive and attractive look.


#13 - Pearl Sensitone Heritage Alloy Snare Drum - 14x5

From stage to studio, the Black Nickel plated Brass snare has long been a go-to drum for countless pro players in search of the ultimate snare tone. The SensiTone Heritage Alloy Brass snares 1mm beaded shell delivers the beautiful tone of a timeless classic with enough sonic flexibility to make it fit in any genre. Features CL Bridge lugs and Pearls classic SR017 snare strainer.


#12 - Rogers Powertone Steel Shell Snare Drum 14x5

Rejoining the Rogers family is the distinguished PowerTone series. A true all-around workhorse, the long-celebrated PowerTone snare drum is the ultimate tool for every player, delivering warmth, power and projection to complement any musical style. Features the classic beavertail 8-lug profile and meaty 2.3mm chrome hoops. Finished in high-luster chrome, Rogers’ Steel Shell PowerTone models are not only visually breathtaking, but these proprietary 1.0mm shells deliver volume and cutting power on demand, while also maintaining superb tone and dynamic sensitivity for even the quietest of ghost notes.


#11 - DW Collectors Bell Brass Snare Drum 14x5.5

The 5.5x14 Collector's Series Bell Brass Snare Drum by DW is rolled from heavy-gauge brass alloy. The sound is distinctively brass, but with more body and fatness at low mid range frequencies and a beautiful high end crack. DW's True Hoops let the shell ring out with unabashed overtones. If you a/b this snare against (much) more expensive bronze snare drums, you might be pleasantly surprised! Trust the Drum Center of Portsmouth for all your DW snare drum needs!


#10 - Noble And Cooley Solid Ply Tulip Snare Drum - 14x6

1/4" solid Tulipwood is hand-picked for grain consistency and run through a steam bending process dating back to the Civil War. Their single-ply shells vibrate more freely than the multi-ply shells commonly used, giving the SS classic its warmth and legendary bite.  Breathy, aged quality that emphasizes mid - and low-range frequencies with the personality of old military-style marching snares. Stick strokes are dry, focused, and fat. Noble and Cooley Solid Shell snare drums are unmistakably classy and timeless.


#9 - Canopus 'The Maple' Snare Drum 14x6.5

One Maple Snare Drum To Rule Them All! Sporting a classic Natural Oil finish, "The Maple" by Canopus is a staff favorite here at Drum Center of Portsmouth. This is one of those snare drums that will do it all. The 8-ply shell configuration is optimized for maximum projection. 8 premium, brass-plated single point lugs give it just the right balance of openness and tunability. It's responsive and thick at lower tunings, and it screams when it's cranked up. Canopus diecast hoops tame the overtones just enough. This is the ultimate instrument for the serious drummer!


#8 - Tama Star Reserve Hand Hammered Aluminum 14x6.5 Snare Drum

Bright and exhilarating, the Star Reserve Hand Hammered Aluminum snare drum shatters the traditional image of an aluminum snare with its innovative sound. This 3mm, meticulously hand hammered shell delivers deep resonance, sensitivity, and control, while maintaining a bright and quick attack. It is extremely versatile, offering rich, low frequencies along and powerful highs without the need to tune the drum up in pitch. The Tama TAS1465H has a very unique sound that is not found in any other model, and is recommended for both the seasoned drummer and those new to the aluminum snare drum experience. Get all of your high-end Tama gear at Drum Center of Portsmouth!


#7 - PDP Concept Select Snare Drum 14x6.5 3mm Steel

This new PDP Concept Select snare drum features a beefy, 3mm CAST STEEL shell with insane projection. PDP set out to get drummers talking and created a new line of snares to do just that. This new line of marquee snare drums offer world-class tones and are visually provocative. From a curated metal shell selection to the unique laser-engraved Art Deco insignia emblazoned on each drum, these babies are worth checking out…and showing off!


#6 - Pearl Stavecraft Thai Oak Snare Drum - 14x6.5

Yielding solid shell tonal snare spike from a bright mix of hardwoods, Pearls StaveCraft snare drums are the perfect fusion of old world workmanship and new school performance. Each 25mm thick shell starts from two layers of meticulously beveled solid Thai Oak staves. Using a principal exclusive to Pearl, an added stave of exotic Makha wood is inserted into the center Dado channel formed by each stave. Like pieces in an intricate puzzle, this DadoLoc joint increases total shell strength by 50%. The shell is then lathed to a perfectly round 25mm thickness, hand finished, and fitted with our Swivel Tube Lugs and MasterCast die cast counter hoops for added volume and tuning precision. Producing sharp sonic focus and piercing volume for the heavy player, StaveCraft snares are a startling addition to any pro player's drumming soundscape.


#5 - Dunnett Classic Dreamtime Jarrah Snare Drum 14x7 Australian Blackwood

This magnificent Dunnett snare drum is crafted from plys of exotic Australian Blackwood, known for its exceptional hardness. Its deep 14x7 inch shell projects extreme volume, with the ideal blend of wood and metal sonic properties!


#4 - Ludwig Acrolite Snare Drum 14x6.5 Classic

The 6.5x14 Ludwig Acrolite Classic snare drum is a Drum Center of Portsmouth staff favorite for its classic brushed aluminum shell with 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops, 10 classic bowtie lugs, the new P88AC strainer/butt, milled center bead, and classic Blue/Olive Badge. Find out why this student snare from the '60s has gained so much notoriety through the years!


#3 - Gretsch USA Solid Aluminum Snare Drum 14x6.5

Aluminum shells are known for their dry, focused attack with minimal overtones. The cast 3mm reinforced shell takes those tonal properties to another level. Shell exteriors have the classic center Gretsch knurling pattern, are not plated and are finished with a light coat of lacquer.

Micro-Sensitive throw-off, die cast hoops, tube lugs, snap-in key holder, Gretsch Round badge, Permatone coated top head, and 42-strand snare wires.


#2 - Keplinger Stainless Steel Snare Drum 14x5.5 8-Lug

Gregg Keplinger is a rare hybrid of drumming talent and percussive artisan. He builds no-nonsense, BEEFY snare drums that are the not-so secret weapon of the world’s best recording studios. This 14x5.5 8-lug Stainless Steel has THAT secret sauce!


#1 - Canopus Zelkova 14x8

The Definitive Boutique Snare Drum! The one, the only, the flagship of Canopus Drums - The Zelkova. This magnificent snare drum is equal parts genius, eccentricity, opulence and madness. Each Zelkova shell is HOLLOWED FROM A STUMP of precious 200 year old Zelkova wood, also called Akagi or "red wood." The wood is then seasoned naturally for 3 YEARS and treated to reduce the moisture content down to 9 percent. Canopus has perfected this process, and the result is nothing short of miraculous. Believe the hype. Fun fact - The idea for an 8-inch deep Zelkova was conceived at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!


There you have it! The top 10 greatest snare drums, according to us. Let the drum experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth help you find YOUR ideal snare drum for the upcoming year!

1 month ago