A steel tongue drum is a fantastic instrument to play. This musical instrument is both elegant and playable, appealing to all sorts of musicians. They aren’t as complicated to play as hang drums.
Steel tongue drums resonate with amazing sounds that leave most people in awe.
My top pick is the Yinama Steel Tongue, it has a well-rounded base and comes at a very affordable price.
My budget pick is the FOUR UNCLES Steel Tongue Drum. This product will barely dent your bank if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.
The 10 Best Steel Tongue Drums (2023)
And now onto the full list:
1. Yinama Steel Tongue Drum
The Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is the top pick for many reasons. While offering the sweet middle-ground which is 11 notes and 12 inches in diameter, it has a durable structure due to the high-quality steel that produces amazing sounds through beautiful resonance and vibration.
- Excellent value-for-price ratio
- Perfect middle ground (11 notes, 12 inches)
- Durable drum with great sound quality
- Widely used and approved product
- A little heavy for some
If you’re looking for a good value-for-price product, I doubt you will find a better choice than this one. The Yinama Steel Tongue Drum has many benefits with little to no issues. With amazing aesthetics, this drum is a durable and playable instrument that best suits students and teachers. This accredits to its wide use by so many people in general, also because it hits the sweet spot with 11 notes. The only drawback is that it might be a little heavy for some but that is definitely no deal-breaker here.
|Material:||Steel, titanium alloy|
As I mentioned before, there is a reason why the Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is my top pick. With so many benefits and little to no drawbacks, this steel tongue drum is the best all-around choice.
2. FOUR UNCLES Steel Tongue Drum
The FOUR UNCLES Steel Tongue Drum comes in three sizes but this particular one is 6 inches, hence the price and the reason behind my budget pick. Granted a few steel tongue drums have different sizes but this one offers so much for that size and price.
- Extremely affordable product
- Great tuning capabilities
- Clean and atmospheric sound
- Good quality material
- Small steel tongue drum
Apart from the size of this product, the FOUR UNCLES Steel Tongue Drum has a very clean and ethereal sound while offering excellent tunability. The quality material is all the more amazing considering the price of this steel drum. Made from special precision-crafted alloy steel, this drum is also anti-corrosion all the while being really aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
A highly affordable steel tongue drum that has great sound and good quality components, crafted for the pleasure of many. Considering the price, this drum would make for a great gift also.
3. VIVOHOME Steel Tongue Drum
The VIVOHOME Steel Tongue Drum has many great capabilities. A great and well-rounded steel drum with a reasonable price attached to it. This steel drum offers great craftsmanship and amazing sound while also coming with accessories like mallets, a bag, music book, which is a big plus.
- High-quality material
- Great-sounding drum
- Beginner and budget-friendly
- Multi-occasional steel drum
- Not so portable and easy for transport
The VIVOHOME Steel Tongue Drum offers 13 notes that produce fine sounds while being very appealing to the eye. Its made from titanium alloy which credits the product’s durability, aesthetic looks, and amazing sound qualities. Aside from the fact that it’s a bigger product and not very portable or easy to transport, you won’t find much fault with this steel drum.
|Material:||Titanium alloy steel|
If you’re looking for a good-looking and amazing-sounding steel drum that is durable while having a good price, then the VIVOHOME Steel Tongue Drum is the one for you.
4. Beat Root Tongue Drum Multi Scale
The Beat Root Multi Scale tongue drum is a fantastic option which has an impressive tuning system that allows you to quickly switch between 6 different scales (easily done using magnets). It contains a built-in microphone and a 1/4″ jack connection that can be hooked into an amp or interface for live shows or recording.
- High-quality sound
- 6 different scale options
- Fine tunability
- Built-in microphone
- Very nice carry bag and mallets
This is tuned by default to G major (with the option to change to 5 other scales).
Alternatively, you can get the Full Tone tongue drum by Beat Root, which offers 7 notes of the C scale (and 4 scales in the same instrument).
It sounds really nice, has lovely overtones, and looks great. Both of these tongue drums also come with a very good quality bag.
If you want to get the most amount of versatility out of your instrument, then choosing a tunable steel tongue drum is a very good option. The built-in piezzo microphone would also make this great for busking with an amplifier or for musicians that want to add it to their setup with minimal hassle during sound check! The Beat Root Multi Scale tongue drum is certainly one to consider.
|Notes:||8 notes (tunable)|
|Extra features:||Piezo pickup (¼ inch jack connection) for connection to amplifier or PA system, tuning magnets and stickers for easy tuning.|
Note: These tongue drums are tuned to standard 440Hz tuning; therefore, they will sound nice with other standard instruments. However, you can also request the tongue drum to be tuned to 432Hz instead (which can sometimes be preferred for meditation, etc.).
5. IPHUNGO Steel Tongue Drum
The IPHUNGO Steel Tongue Drum has an excellent design with high-quality material that comes at a very affordable price. The durability of this product is by far its best attribute due to the titanium/steel material.
- Highly durable steel tongue drum
- Appealing design
- Great-sounding product
- Wide application
- Scratchable surface
Considering the price of this steel tongue drum and the qualities it possesses, this choice is a good purchase. A durable yet design-pleasing steel tongue drum that offers great sounds and applies to a variety of different fields. It offers 11 notes with good sound for meditation, music education, yoga practice, healing, and all sorts of activities.
An all-in-one product hands down. The IPHUNGO Steel Tongue Drum is widely used for many different reasons and activities.
6. MouKey Tongue Drum
The MouKey Tongue Drum is a beginner-friendly product that is easy to play. A perfect middle ground tongue drum that has a good sound and healing properties as well. Also, it’s a very portable product and can easily fit in a backpack for those on the move.
- Beginner tongue drum (easy to play)
- Budget-friendly product
- Great for stress relief and healing
- Comes with a carrying bag (well packaged)
- Prone to scratches
The MouKey tongue drum is very suitable for beginners and those looking for a good healing tongue drum. The sounds of this drum relieve stress and are very good for meditation or music therapy. Of course, this product needs careful care as it’s susceptible to scratches as well as the fact that it’s not the most durable tongue drum. It also comes with a travel bag so that’s a big plus.
The MouKey Tongue Drum is a good healing drum for those on the look for Drum with healing properties, suitable for zen and meditation. Treat with care and this drum will last you a long time.
7. Luvay Steel Tongue Drum
The Luvay Steel Tongue Drum is the perfect fit for those who don’t want to break their bank and are looking for a portable option. Considering the price, this steel drum has so many good qualities which makes it a good buy.
- Portable, lightweight drum
- Highly affordable product
- Quality material
- Resistant to rusting
- Not the most versatile
- Small steel tongue drum
This steel tongue drum is made from steel titanium alloy which gives this product good durability. The sturdiness is also complemented by the nice finish which is anti-corrosion, all the while affordable and super lightweight. Granted, this steel tongue drum is small, hence the price and the lesser versatility, it still makes for a good and sturdy product to keep in mind.
|Material:||Steel, titanium alloy|
Whether you’re on the look for a portable and overall good-sounding steel tongue drum, this one has both, while also providing good quality material and a nice finish.
8. Pearl Steel Tongue Drum
The Pearl Steel Tongue Drum has it all. It’s a pro drum for those looking to upgrade to a premium-quality tongue drum. With very appealing aesthetics, this steel tongue drum gives excellent sound.
- Great tunability
- Accurate and quality sound
- Beautiful design
- A sturdy product
- It’s pretty small
The only drawback to this steel tongue drum is the size in both notes and diameter. Considering the high price of this product, most would expect more versatility and a bigger drum. This does not however take away from the positives of this product.
The Pearl Steel Tongue Drum offers good quality sound and durability, with an excellent finish that is appealing to the eye. It has great tunability due to the accurately cut tongues and is a pro-grade tongue drum for a reason.
|Material:||Pearl, Rubber, Steel, Metal|
The Pearl Steel Tongue Drum is one of the few that offer 9 notes as opposed to 8 or 10. This quality product is a good and unique choice if you have the budget for it.
9. GUDA DRUM Freezbee
The GUDA DRUM Freezbee is definitely a one-of-a-kind steel tongue drum with its amazing design and finish. This drum is premium quality for a reason and you can see that just by looking at it. Suitable for all types of music aficionados.
- Beautiful handcrafted design
- Widely applicable
- Comes with great packaging
- Pretty lightweight
- Material is not the best considering price
Due to the high price of this product, it’s surprising that the material is not as top-notch. It’s also a very light steel tongue drum. Aside from that, you find much fault with this one.
The GUDA DRUM Freezbee is an incredibly appealing drum that is widely applicable to any situation or activity, or even as a decoration (for those that have the budget). As far as sound, this drum has a very good-sounding base with custom scale requests (A C D E F G A C).
The GUDA DRUM Freezbee is a hybrid mix of a handpan drum and steel tongue drum with top-of-the-shelf aesthetics and offers a good sound.
10. Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum
The Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum has a good well-rounded base for those looking for a one-in-all product. With great sound, this steel tongue drum won’t break your bank, all the while having a stainless surface.
- Great value for money
- Perfect middle ground product
- Melodic sound
- Wide application
- Not the sturdiest build
This steel tongue drum, apart from the build quality which could be better, is an excellent choice that resonates a melodic sound and hits the sweet spot with size and notes. It’s a widely applicable product that is usable for any occasion. The best thing to note about this drum is that every product is unique in the sense that each is crafted by hand and therefore no two are alike.
Those on the look for an all-around steel tongue drum will get a good purchase with this product. Great sound and excellent value for money.
What is a Steel Tongue Drum used for?
The steel tongue drum is part of the idiophone family because it creates the sound without the need for additional resonators, strings, or other similar components. The main purpose for which the tongue drum is used is for relaxing and healing purposes.
The steel tongue drum resonates with beautiful sounds that relieve stress and are incredibly useful for meditation. Most people also use it for music therapy or music education. Because of the beautiful-sounding nature of this drum, it’s widely used by many across the globe.
How does a Steel Tongue Drum work?
As mentioned earlier, the steel tongue drum is part of the idiophone family of instruments. It has a variety of cut-out tongues in different sizes. Since the tongues are constructed in a variety of sizes, they generate distinct frequencies, which is how different notes are produced. The sounds that come from this instrument are simply breathtaking and the good thing is, it’s really easy to learn and play this drum.
What does a Steel Tongue Drum Sound like?
Steel Tongue Drums are usually played with a pair of mallets in a standard C key. Most notably, the sound of the steel tongue drum has a noticeable long sustain compared to other instruments. It produces a very melodic and soothing sound, hence why it’s widely used for meditation and healing.
Many words come to mind as to how to describe the sound of the steel tongue drum: calming, beautiful, melodic, ambient, ethereal. But I think the most appropriate word is soothing. This instrument provides relaxing sounds that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age.
What is a Reasonable Price for a Steel Tongue Drum?
The prices for steel tongue drums can range from $20/30 to as high as $300/400 depending on the manufacturer. Lower priced ones will generally get you a basic tongue drum, whereas premium tongue drums are often much better put-together, have a better sound, and may have other features (such as a built-in microphone or tunability).
Considering the list above, most fit this price range and offer a well-rounded base for a steel tongue drum. Most steel tongue drums come with their own set of accessories like drum mallets, drumsticks, fingerpicks, note stickers, and even a travel bag.
What is the Difference Between a Steel Tongue Drum and a Hang Drum?
Steel tongue drums are generally smaller, cheaper, and don’t have as rich a sound as hang drums or hand pans.
You might already know the hang drum or hand pans which are percussion instruments. These come up a lot when on the topic of steel tongue drums and the reason is that they are very similar in a few ways.
First of all, the steel tongue drum is way more economical than the hang drum. Secondly, hand pans are larger instruments compared to the tongue drum and produce a more percussive sound. Lastly, their looks might be the reason behind the comparisons because they resemble each other in a way, but nevertheless, they are different instruments.
What to look for in a Steel Tongue Drum when Buying one?
I think the first obvious thing is to consider the price of the instrument. Taking time to evaluate and figure out your price range before purchasing an item like this is always a good choice. As I said, you can find very good steel tongue drums in the price range of around $80/100, but you might not get all the features and sounds you want.
The other thing to consider is the quality of the product. Most steel tongue drums, while having similar prices, are not made from the same durable material. You can locate a strong product, like a titanium alloy steel tongue drum or another excellent quality drum, to match the description.
Another key feature to keep in mind is the notes. Look for a steel tongue drum around the perfect middle ground which is 8/10 notes. These steel tongue drums offer good versatility in sound while not incredibly expensive. You can find affordable ones with notes that will suffice for you.
Size and weight are the last things. If you are looking for a portable option then search for ones that are lightweight products and can be easily transported. If you want a more heavy and durable one, then you can also find a steel tongue drum that is not so portable but offers great quality and sound. Luckily this list has them all.
How do you Tune a Steel Tongue Drum?
Most Steel Tongue Drums are tuned to a specific scale. Many are tuned to the C major pentatonic scale, but there are plenty of tongue drums use alternative scales. Some also have tunability, which allows you to make some adjustments (but often just a semitone or so, therefore you can’t tune these like a guitar for example!). Some offer a custom pitch preference when ordering (such as 432hz)
The two best ways to tune a steel tongue drum are with magnets and heat. Magnets are the safest option as they won’t damage the tongue drum in order to tune it, and you can quickly switch between tunings.
Heat must be applied with pressure and therefore reverts the tuning back to its original form, and you really have to be very careful when doing this, otherwise you could damage the instrument.
How many Notes does a Beginner Need?
A beginner should opt for 8 to 10 notes when getting a steel tongue drum. This is the sweet spot for almost anything regarding the steel tongue drums. You can also opt for a 6-note steel tongue drum (included on the list as budget options) and start from there. As time goes on and you feel like upgrading then maybe go up to 8 or 10-note ones.
Steel Tongue Drums were first introduced in 2007 by Dennis Havlena. They are amazing and beautiful-sounding instruments. They are also very versatile and can be played in a multitude of scenarios.
Steel tongue drums are often used for creating gentle, heart-opening sounds that can be used in meditation or yoga. They also include a nice and wide range of notes. While 8 to 10 notes tend to be the preferred choice, beginners can also explore different options with 6 notes. Luckily, this list has it all.
My main recommended product is the Yinama Steel Tongue Drum which offers a well-rounded quality regarding sound and build structure, suitable for most anyone. My second recommended product is the FOUR UNCLES Steel Tongue Drum for those on a tighter budget looking for a good quality steel tongue drum.