The 4 Best Cheap Snare Drums – Reviews 2023

best cheap snare drum

Photo by j.sutt / CC BY

When buying a drum set, the snare drum is one of the most important parts of the kit and an item you should arguably focus on the most.  This is because snare drum is crucial for the set’s overall sound, so if you’re thinking about taking the budget-friendly route, you better make sure you know what you’re doing.

Luckily, the market does offer some very good snares at low prices, but it’s also saturated with low-quality cheap models that sound like plain garbage.

Kick, depth, and resonance are the crucial parts of the sonic mixture, and with those factors set as priorities, here are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap snare drums on the market.

Griffin Snare Drum

The first item we have in store is very much worthy of your attention! It goes by the name of Griffin Snare Drum, and from the right retailer it can be yours for dirt-cheap.

Considering what you get for this low sum, this is a genuine bargain. The sound is meaty and punchy, a bit more on the rock ‘n’ roll side, and bound to suit the needs of every player of beginner and intermediate level.  The sound is deep with an outstanding low end while overall build is sturdy enough to secure high durability.

The product comes with a 1 year warranty, an included drum key, 100% poplar wood body, a 7.5 mm shell thickness,  chrome finish, and elegant white coating.

For this price, you will not find a better instrument. This is by far the best cheap snare drum for the money.

Mapex MPBW4350CDK

Up next is an interesting option from Mapex known as the MPBW4350CDK, a budget-friendly option perfect for players in pursuit of a middle-range fueled kick in a slim package.

As you have probably already noticed, this is a slim snare drum, and we can say it packs a surprisingly rich tone. The middle frequencies really cut through the mix and secure a distinctive punch, a factor that can easily be utilized to develop a signature tone.

The item comes with a 7.2 mm poplar shell wrapped in sleek black finish. Also included in the mix are steel flanged hoops with chrome hardware, as well as a set of Remo UC Heads for top quality sound.

What we like about this guy, apart from the obvious portability, is how easy it is to tune it. You will spend much less time in finding the perfect pitch than you might spend with other models, making this Mapex a perfect options for beginners.

Beginners are usually struggling with drum tuning, and having a snare that is easy to tune is a huge advantage in the early stages of musicality development.

Mapex 14x3.5 Piccolo Snare - The Drum Shop North Shore

Hisonic Signature Series 4518

Up next is the big bucket – the Hisonic Signature Series 4518. This is a deep snare drum packed with an incredibly rich low end, but also a sensitive fella that can express some genuine emotion.

So, if depth is what you’re all about, but not just that metal and rock type of depth, but a more refined low end groove, this one is the choice for you.

The item features total size of 14 inches x 6.5 inches, utilizing a set of six top and six bottom lugs that permit even tuning. So once again, we are looking at a user-friendly snare that’s easy to tune, a perfect factor for beginner musicians.

Also included in the mix is a lever action strainer that operates smoothly and even further increases the aspect of user friendliness.

The price also includes a set of quality sticks and a classic drum key. If you like versatility and a variety of low end colors, this product’s for you and should be on anyone’s list of the best cheap snare drums.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch

Depending on your percussion budget, you might not think of this as “cheap,” but considering that it lives up to the Yamaha company’s reputation for both sound and build quality, it certainly safe to call it an incredible value.

The original version of this drum was released in 1995 and set the standard for affordable all-wood snares. This new take on the design upgrades the hardware to give it 1.5mm steel triple flange hoops and Remo heads with a B-type side throw-off.

It’s the birch shell that’s the true superstar of this drum, though (see full specs). Shells of solid birch are popular on higher-end drum kits because of how well they resonate and carry vibrations from the impact surface. It responds well to subtle dynamic shifts and has a full, warm tone. The six-ply construction also makes the shell incredibly durable, meaning it’ll last you a while even if you’re a daily player.

It’s true this Yamaha snare will set you back a bit more than the other drums on this list, but compared to how much you could spend on a drum of similar quality it’s an incredible bargain. If you love the rich, full sound the birch shell gives you, you’ll find it’s well worth the extra investment.


What to Look for When Buying a Cheap Snare Drum

When searching for a cheap snare, there are two crucial sides to look out for – sound and durability.

In the sonic department, it is an absolute must that your snare packs as much punch and depth as possible without going into overdrive or sonically cracking at the seams. Look for the sound that cuts through the mix and makes itself distinguishable in band environment, providing groove rather than sonic mess.

As for durability, well, look for durable stuff. Avoid cheap parts, and although certain quality cuts are a must with cheap items, make sure that cuts are NOT made on crucial segments of the instruments.

In our opinion, each of the listed items does just that. If you are looking for a stellar piece of pro equipment, these won’t do, but if you want a stellar piece of intermediate or beginner gear, these boys will do just fine. Treat yourself with a new snare as early as today, and they get practicing!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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