Famous for its UFO shape, the hang drum (or more accurately named ‘handpan’) has gained global popularity rapidly. Learning to play the basics doesn’t require any musical knowledge or skills, so getting started is extremely simple.
Handpans produce a very warm, mesmerizing, and melodic sound that’s a whole vibe. Today, the market has some great options with high-end products as well as more moderately priced handpans.
My top recommended hang drum is the As Teman Handpan. This is a modestly-priced handpan in D minor with a 22-inch stainless steel design.
My second recommended hang drum is the Lomuty Hand Pan Steel Drum. This is a budget-friendly, carbon steel handpan in D minor.
Note: Avoid Scam or Bad Quality Handpans. There are a growing number of low-quality merchants selling very poor versions of these instruments. They are effectively piggybacking off the popularity and high-value expectation of these instruments, while effectively offering poor-quality junk metal!
If you want to grab a handpan quickly from an online store then check out the options below, we’ve also listed some other great brands below these and where you can find or order a handpan directly.
- The 7 Best Hang Drums (Handpans) (2023)
- 1. As Teman Handpan
- 2. Lomuty Hand Pan Steel Drum
- 3. Sela SE 201 Handpan D Kurd
- 4. Lark Music Steel Hand Pan
- 5. MEINL Sonic Energy HD3
- 6. Kelisiting Steel Hand Pan
- 7. Acolyte Handpan
- What is a Hang Drum (Handpan)?
- A Few Words About the Inventors
- Bad Terminology
- Where to Buy a Handpan? Avoid Getting Ripped Off
- Hang Drums for Sale
- Steel Tongue Drum – A Good Alternative?
The 7 Best Hang Drums (Handpans) (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. As Teman Handpan
The As Teman Handpan is a popular option for a 9-note hang drum that carries a modest price tag, considering the hefty price ranges for a handpan.
This hang drum is made from Nitrided stainless steel and has a certain aesthetic appeal. It comes properly tuned in D minor (432 Hz). This 9-note handpan drum can play A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, and D3 notes.
This particular handpan comes as a bundle set that includes a handpan bag, handpan mallets, a handpan stand, and a dust-free cloth for maintenance. For the given price, it’s a fairly-priced and popular option for a handpan made from quality materials and produces nice notes.
2. Lomuty Hand Pan Steel Drum
The Lomuty Hand Pan Steel Drum is a more affordable handpan option but a decent one at that. It is a 9-note, 22-inch steel hang drum that produces quality sounds.
This hang drum is made from carbon steel and has a beautiful black, 9-note design. There are also 10-note designs with different colors to choose from. This particular hang drum can play D3, A3, C4, E4, G, A4, F4, D4, and B3 notes.
Considering the hefty price tags of professional handpans, this is a very budget-friendly option with decent quality and beautiful sound.
The Sela SE 201 Handpan D Kurd is a pro-grade hang drum made from high-quality materials and produces mesmerizing and soothing tones, along with a beautiful finish.
The SE 201 is a high-end but high-quality handpan in D Kurd tuning and can produce 9 notes, particularly D3, A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, and A4. The stainless steel construction ensures longevity and the brushed gold finish offers pleasing aesthetics.
If you want a pro-grade handpan that comes with a padded carrying bag and produces high-quality tones, the Sela SE 201 is the ideal choice.
4. Lark Music Steel Hand Pan
The Lark Music Steel Hand Pan is another budget-friendly option for handpan enthusiasts who want to try out this beautiful instrument. It comes with a soft carrying bag for protection and easy transportation.
This hang drum is tuned in D minor and can produce 9 notes, more specifically D3, A, Bb, C, D, E, F, G, and A in 440Hz frequency. It measures 22 inches in diameter and 10 inches in height. Naturally, it is also made from steel and alloy steel body material.
For the given price, this beautiful, black, 9-note hang drum is a great option to consider, especially for those looking to buy an affordable handpan to try it out.
The MEINL Sonic Energy HD3 is a high-quality hang drum made from durable material and sports a beautiful black, 8-note design.
The Sonic Energy HD3 can produce a clear and smooth sound with D#, G, A#, C, D, D#, F, and G notes at your disposal. The handmade construction adds that much more value and is made from durable steel and comes with a padded nylon carrying bag with a faux fur interior for added protection.
When it comes to pro handpans, the HD3 is a battle-tested drum hailing from a reputable manufacturer with a history of quality-made products.
6. Kelisiting Steel Hand Pan
The Kelisiting Steel Hand Pan is the most aesthetically pleasing hang drum on this list with a mesmerizing silver print design. Plus, it’s moderately priced (considering handpan prices).
This 10-note hang drum can produce soothing A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, G4, F4, A4, C5, and D3 notes and has a beautiful silver print design. It’s made from durable nitrided steel and comes fully tuned in D minor, at 432 Hz frequency.
This handpan comes with a handpan carrying case, handpan drumsticks, a steel hand pan stand, and a cleaning cloth for maintenance. For the price range, you get great value from this product.
7. Acolyte Handpan
The Acolyte Handpan is a USA-made hang drum with quality steel construction. It’s made with a special powder coating process for greater protection and adds longevity.
The hang drum measures 21 inches in diameter and can pump out beautiful A3, C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, and D3 notes. It’s tuned to a 440hz frequency standard and comes with an embroidered soft carrying bag.
Its price range is more modest than most professional handpans and the quality materials and sounds make this an all-rounder of an option to consider.
What is a Hang Drum (Handpan)?
First of all, this instrument has a pretty simple principle of working. Simply said, there are two half-shells joined together, which create a convex lens-like shape with a hollow left inside.
Basically, it acts as a Helmholtz resonator. If you’re not a physicist, then just remember your childhood and times when you were blowing over an empty bottle, and you’ll know what is this about.
While the bottom of the hang features a plained surface with one rolled hole at the center, the top of the instrument has a so-called Ding, or a center note, and seven or eight additional tones positioned around the center.
A Few Words About the Inventors
The development of this instrument started in the ’90s. Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer are two enthusiasts from Bern, Switzerland, that founded a small company named PANArt.
The first hang drum was finally completed in 2000 and presented one year later at the Musikmesse Frankfurt. After a great reception, Felix and Sabina continued with the further development, so we can classify hang drums into four main groups these days.
The original, first-generation hangs were produced between 2001 and 2005. The second generation has brought several design improvements and more colorful sounds. These days, few can also talk about integral and free integral hangs.
While PANArt was in the process of expansion to abroad markets, other manufacturers started to produce the same or similar products. This resulted in the use of different instrument names.
Today, some of the common names are hang, hang drum, handpan, pantam, cupola, etc. Still, the hang drum remained the most common, though a disapproved name by the inventors.
According to Felix and Sabina, the hang drum sounds quite offensive, since this instrument isn’t played like a drum, and also refers to emotional and mental turbulence. In Swiss-German, Hang actually means “hand and hill”.
Where to Buy a Handpan? Avoid Getting Ripped Off
Despite growing popularity, handpans aren’t mass-production instruments. The good ones are generally handmade, which means that you will hardly find good versions of such instruments in stock in a marketplace. Even if you find some of them in a local music store, or if you check on online marketplaces, you probably will struggle to find high-quality handpans that are produced in bulk.
The best way is to contact a reputable brand directly. In most cases, these are very small companies, led by a small group of enthusiasts, where the owner is also a builder in most cases. Therefore, you can speak directly to a master and talk about your specific requirements.
Keep in mind that, in most cases, these manufacturers don’t have too many products in stock. So, you will probably have to sign in to a waiting list and wait to get your instrument. The main takeaway is that not all handpans are equal.
Hang Drums for Sale
These days, a list of handpan brands is quite long. Builders from all around the world are offering their products. As we already mentioned, most of them work by order, but there is also a certain number of brands that offer their products in places like online shops, local stores etc.
Building a handpan requires a lot of skills and time, so you shouldn’t be surprised with high prices. In most cases, a quality handpan costs thousands of dollars. Of course, you can find more affordable products, but there is a big chance that they will be nothing more than a decoration for your apartment.
Therefore, my advice would be to stick to renowned brands.
Here are a bunch of good options, in no particular order. We are in no way affiliated with any of these brands.
Omana is one of the better-known handpan makers in Europe. The Ukraine based company makes handpans the usually by order, so you should count on a waiting list. Once you order a certain handpan, it takes between two weeks and two months to get. This depends on many factors, such as materials, scale, acoustic issues etc.
Generally, the quality is pretty good. There are three main types this manufacturer offers. All models are made of steel, which is of pretty good quality. You can get your handpan nitro-carbonized, which slows down corrosion and also affects the sound quality. Most expensive products are made of stainless steel.
Founded in 2014 by Yhonatan Ale-Yahav, this company is these days known as a highly-renowned handpan maker. It is located in Israel and led by Yhonatan Ale-Yahav and another enthusiast, Ido Siri.
Generally, you can get any kind of handpan from this manufacturer. Basically, there are three sizes in the offer. There are handpans that measure 50, 53 and 56 cm (19.7, 20.8 and 22 inches) in diameter. All models are completely hand-made and a great thing is that you can order pretty much any exotic scale you can find. Practically, you can order any combination of notes between E2 and E6.
Although there are periods when you can find some instrument for a flash sale, you will probably have to sign up to waiting list.
Meraki Instruments is a well-known name in the business, despite the fact that this manufacturer doesn’t even have a website. The best you can get from it is a Facebook page. Even there, you won’t find too much information about the manufacturer, products, prices etc. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that Meraki handpans are amazing. All products are hand made in Italy. The overall quality is very good. The manufacturer pays a lot of attention to details, so the final touch is amazing.
Founded by Kyle Cox, Pantheon Steel has been around since 2004. For these 15 years of work, it became one of the leading companies among handpan makers. The products may look expensive to you, but be sure that the overall quality is amazing.
The company has a wide range of products in its offer. There are different series of so-called “Halo” handpans. A New-Era Halo is particularly promoted as the flagship handpan. This is a new product, characterized by the use of some new technologies and more sophisticated building process. Not only that the steel quality is improved, but these handpans also have a little bit different shape of foundation. All these things have a huge impact on the sound quality and overall playing experience.
The company usually have some of its products in stock, but if you’re looking for something more exotic, you will probably have to wait for a couple of weeks.
When your products feature great quality, you don’t need any kind of advertisement and Sibiria Sound Sculptures is a perfect example. Based in Russia, this small company offers products that are relatively affordable but give a lot of quality in return. The only way you can contact this manufacturer is via Facebook, and even there you won’t find too many details about the products. The fact is that this handpan maker has been specialized for custom handpans and the best thing is that prices are very reasonable.
A couple of enthusiasts led by Victor Levinson were among the first ones that started to make instruments based on the original PANArt hang drums. These days, it produces some of the finest handpans in the world.
Interestingly, SPB doesn’t have a website, but rather just a public group on Facebook, where you can sign to a waiting list, but also gather a lot of useful information. This is where Victor Levinson stands out from the crowd. Despite being a true master in building handpans, he is actually a humble guy, who is always open to share any kind of information you need about the building process and similar things.
As a professional banker, Soma Sound Sculptures’ owner never imagined that he will replace his life in fancy suits with a workshop. These days, this is a highly reputable name among handpans. The first thing that you’ll notice is a variety of products in the offer. Basically, there are two main groups of products, Major and Minor mood handpans. Within each group, you will find a bunch of handpans with different tunings, mostly typical major and minor modes, though there some exotic scales as well.
In most cases, you will have to sign up to a waiting list, although products for immediate purchase can be found on the webshop as well.
Based in the Netherlands, this company is actually a group of self-taught enthusiasts heavily inspired by eastern philosophy and yoga practice. Considering that handpans are made of steel, it’s no wonder that the company was named “Ayasa”, which means iron in Hindi.
The quality of these handpans is great. Also, you will definitely appreciate the fact that a certain number of products is always in stock. Just visit their website and you will easily find the “Available Now” section. A variety of products is great and includes various kinds of common and exotic scales.
Steel Tongue Drum – A Good Alternative?
The biggest issue with hang drums is the price. If you’re not willing to invest a decent sum of money, then consider steel tongue drums instead of getting a low-quality handpan.
These instruments are pretty similar, though the price goes significantly lower. For a relatively affordable price, you can get an instrument that is kind of close to a hang, in terms of sound and playing technique. They’re still great fun to play, so I highly recommended them to those who are newbies to the world of hang drums.
There are several reasons why the handpan is an amazing instrument. Even though a typical handpan has a pretty high price tag, there is no reason why you shouldn’t try one. This is an instrument for everyone. Simply, it doesn’t require any real musical knowledge or skills to get started, so learning to play the basics is an extremely quick process. However, becoming an expert is quite a journey.
My top pick is the As Teman Handpan, a modestly-priced handpan in D minor with a 22-inch stainless steel design.
My budget pick is the Lomuty Hand Pan Steel Drum, a budget-friendly, carbon steel handpan in D minor, perfect for beginners.