A small snare drum is an excellent tool for drummers on the go. The compact construction of a small snare drum makes them easy to bring virtually anywhere! Therefore, they make an excellent addition to a portable drumkit.
You may like to read: Pearl Snare Drum Review: 8 Excellent Snares for All Genres!
Furthermore, beginners can utilize a small snare drum for paradiddle and pattern practice. As a result, making them an excellent practice tool that’s easy to transport, especially if you play in a marching band. In this light, I collected 8 of the best small snare drum that packs a punch for both practice and performance.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Small Snare Drum— A Buyer’s Guide
Buyers, especially beginners, can easily confuse a small snare drum with a student snare drum kit. Firstly, both snares provide drummers with a good practice platform; and secondly, they both look identical without the extra accessories. Therefore, I crafted this buyer’s guide with the intent of helping you find the best small snare drum for you!
Every snare shell material produces a unique sound. Therefore, buyers should pay close attention to the kind of material the small snare drum they are using.
Manufacturers typically use the following shell drums:
- Maple- delivers a warm tone that lies within lower frequencies.
- Beech- utilizes a rough grain which produces a low-fat tone.
- Birch- durable wood with an aggressive tone and incredible projection.
- Basswood- inexpensive wood perfect for budget-friendly snare drums.
- Poplar- inexpensive wood which sounds similar to mahogany and birch.
- Mahogany- offers a warm and rich tone with a punchy mid-range.
- Oak- delivers excellent projection which packs ample low-end.
- Bronze- offers a warm and dark tone softer than other metal-based shells.
- Steel- has a bright and cutting sound with a long sustain.
- Brass- comes with a warmer tone in comparison with steel.
- Copper- perfect for orchestra percussionists because of its dark and warm tone.
- Aluminum- offers a dry tone with less sustain in comparison with other metal shells.
Similar to a bass drum head, a snare drum’s sound also varies according to its drumhead material and construction. Firstly, the smaller a drum head’s diameter, the higher the snare’s pitch will be. Secondly, a 1-ply drumhead provides a brighter tone while a 2-ply drumhead delivers a warmer sound. Therefore, before buying a small snare drum, buyers should consider the drumhead of the snare they are getting.
Typically, the standard sizing for snare drums is 14”. However, since we are looking for small snare drums, I advise buyers to look for snare drums from 10” up to 13”. Still, if you want a smaller snare, some manufacturers offer micro snare designs that could go down to 8” in diameter.
4 of the Best Small Snare Drums for all Budgets
LP Micro Snare Drum (Standard)
Brand: Latin Percussion
Type: Micro-style Steel Small Snare Drum
If you’re looking for the smallest snare drum construction in this list, then the LP Micro is for you! Firstly, the snare’s chrome-plated steel shell produces a bright and cutting sound. In addition, the snare features an 8” diameter and 3 ¼” depth, making it easy to transport and mount.
Secondly, the LP Micro Snare features a design compatible with 3/8” and ½” clamps. Moreover, Latin Percussion designed this micro snare to mount on most bar-style holders. Therefore, making them easy to fit within any existing drumkit.
- Chrome-plated steel shell
- 8” snare diameter
- 3 ¼” depth
- 3/8” and 1/2” clamp compatibility
- Black drumhead colorway
- Boasts a compact and portable construction.
- Perfect for drummers on the go.
- Offers a virtually limitless clamp and mount compatibility.
- Users can easily tune this snare using a standard drum key.
- Not suitable for drummers looking for a deep and warm snare.
Tama Metalworks Steel Snare Drum
Type: Steel Small Snare Drum
The Tama BST1055MBK Snare delivers an incredibly crisp and bright tone for its size. Moreover, thanks to Tama’s impeccable craftsmanship, the snare’s 1.2mm black steel shell delivers a cutting projection perfect for loud musical settings. In addition, the utilization of a center reinforcement ridge provides a more durable performance against hard-hitting drummers.
Furthermore, the 8-hole triple-flanged hoop provides the snare with a decent sustain and sound. Finally, users can tune the Tama Metalworks Steel Snare according to their needs. For instance, lowering the snare’s tuning results with a full and smooth tone. Therefore, making the Tama BST1055MBK excellent for drummers looking for a versatile and durable snare.
- 1.2mm black steel shell
- Center reinforcement ridge
- 8-hole triple-flanged hoop
- 10” snare diameter
- Black hardware
- Suitable for higher and lower tuning.
- The snare easily cuts within a mix.
- Ideal for both studio recordings and live performances.
- Offers an extremely versatile performance considering its price point.
- Beginners may become easily overwhelmed with the snare’s features.
Pearl Short Fuse Snare – Jet Black
Type: Poplar Small Snare Drum
The Pearl Short Fuse utilizes a 6-ply poplar shell, delivering a warm and resonant classic tone for vintage-sound enthusiasts! Moreover, Pearl incorporated an ISS mount on the snare’s construction. Thus, allowing users to mount this product using a standard tom arm.
Furthermore, the snare’s 10”x4.5” sizing provides a tight, cracking, and poppy tone that punches through a mix. Lastly, the incorporation of a quick-release snare strainer makes the Pearl Short Fuse an incredible side or main snare.
- 6-ply poplar shell
- 10”x4.5” snare size
- ISS mount
- Single-point dual lugs
- Quick-release snare
- Capable of being used as a main or side snare.
- Features a tilting clamp mount and ISS mount, making it easy to position within a kit.
- The utilization of single-point dual lugs provides a better shell tone and resonance.
- Delivers incredible tone and versatility within a drumkit.
- I hope Pearl could’ve crafted the drum’s hardware with smoother materials.
PDP By DW Black Wax Maple Snare Drum
Brand: PDP by Drum Workshop
Type: Maple Small Snare Drum
The Black Wax Maple Snare Drum incorporates a hand-applied wax sealer on 10-ply maple wood. Consequently, protecting the snare’s exterior while providing an earthy matte finish. In addition, the snare’s 10” diameter delivers an expressive voicing and a snappy sound.
Moreover, the Black Wax Maple also comes with a PDP TB105 tom bracket, making the snare compatible with 10.5mm L-Arms. Thus, enabling drummers to position this snare on a standard stand or using a tom arm. PDP also utilizes DW/Remo Tuning Sequence Heads, providing users with better tuning stability in every performance.
- 10-ply Maple shell
- 10” snare diameter
- PDP TB105 Tom Bracket
- True Pitch tension rods
- DW/Remo Tuning Sequence Heads
- Compatible with 10.5mm L-Arms, making it easy to mount as a second snare.
- The utilization of hand-applied wax-based sealer provides the snare with an earthy finish.
- Delivers a focused and snappy attack perfect for multiple genres.
- Features multiple tuning hardware that enhances tuning stability.
- The snare’s 6” depth might be too large for drummers looking for a portable snare drum.
4 of the Best Piccolo-style Small Snare Drum
Ddrum Modern Tone Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
Type: Steel Piccolo-sized Small Snare Drum
If you’re looking for an affordable piccolo snare, then the DDrum Modern Tone is perfect for you! Firstly, the DDrum Modern Tone features a 3.5”x14” size which packs a punch and explosive projection. Secondly, the Modern Tone features easy snare removal, providing users with a cracking timbale sound. Thus, making the Modern Tone an excellent primary or auxiliary snare within a kit.
Thirdly, DDrum designed the Modern Tone Steel with triple-flanged hoops, providing a better stick feel and tone. Moreover, the utilization of a 1mm steel shell delivers a bright tone and durable performance.
- 1mm steel shell
- 3.5”x14” snare size
- Triple-flanged hoops
- 8 top and bottom staggered lugs
- Included swivel/lever
- Perfect for drummers within a budget.
- Boasts a bright tone and powerful attack perfect for live performances.
- Excellent as an auxiliary or main snare drum.
- Features an easy snare removal for a cracking timbale sound.
- The Modern Tone Steel lacks in terms of tone against other snares within this list.
Mapex MPST4351 Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
Type: Steel Piccolo-sized Small Snare Drum
The Mapex Steel Piccolo Snare delivers an explosive projection despite its measly size. In addition, this snare is capable of punching through dense mixes. Therefore, making the Mapex Steel Piccolo Snare a must-have for live performances.
Furthermore, Mapex’s utilization of Remo UX drumheads provides the snare’s tone with warmth and a dry pop attack. As a result, making the Mapex Steel Piccolo an excellent accompaniment for any musical setting. Moreover, the piccolo’s steel shell dishes out a high-pitched crack that sounds like a timbale without the snare wires.
- 14”x3.5” piccolo-size
- 1mm steel shell
- Remo UX Drumhead
- Chrome hardware and finish
- Triple-flanged hoops
- Delivers an explosive and cutting projection.
- Excellent for live performances and recording sessions.
- Boasts an extremely lightweight construction.
- Features eye-catching all-chrome hardware and finish.
- I wouldn’t recommend this for indoor practice sessions.
Pearl Piccolo Snare Drum 6-ply Maple
Type: Maple Piccolo-sized Small Snare Drum
If you’re looking for a more compact-sized piccolo snare drum, then the Pearl Maple Effect Piccolo is for you! Firstly, the Pearl Piccolo utilizes a 13”x3” sizing that delivers a tight and powerful tone. Moreover, the Pearl Piccolo Snare’s 6-ply Maple construction produces a clear and bright high-pitched sound that will surely cut.
Secondly, the 100% maple construction of the snare offers an even frequency that is excellent for all musical genres. Thus, making the Pearl Piccolo Snare an extremely versatile instrument to be reckoned with. Lastly, Pearl’s incorporation of precision-fit tension rods and brass receivers improves the snare’s tuning stability.
- 6-ply Maple shell
- 13”x3” drum size
- SR-018 Strainer
- CL-05 Dual Lugs
- 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops
- Allows users to easily remove the drum’s snare because of the SR-018 Strainer.
- The inclusion of CL-05 Dual Lugs provides the snare with incredible tuning stability.
- Delivers a cutting bright tone for all musical settings.
- Ideal for jazz, hip-hop, rock, and more.
- Although this is a good snare for live and recording sessions, it’s still miles behind the Ludwig Carl Palmer Signature.
Ludwig LW0414CP Carl Palmer VENUS Signature Green
Type: Premium Piccolo-size Small Snare Drum
The Carl Palmer Signature Piccolo is a small snare drum that serves both looks and tone. Featuring a 3.7”x14” lacquer green shell, this snare delivers a high output while retaining its clarity.
In addition, the Ludwig LW0414CP uses brass-plated tension tube lugs, providing the snare with an aesthetically-pleasing contrast. Moreover, this piccolo snare utilizes die-cast hoops, providing it with an aggressive and cutting tone.
- 3.7”x14” drum size
- Lacquered green finish
- Brass-plated tension tube lugs
- Die-cast hoops
- Carl Palmer Signature
- Offers premium-level aesthetics.
- Delivers an explosive projection without losing its clarity.
- Excellent for practice, live performances, and studio recordings.
- Ideal for professionals looking for a no-nonsense snare.
- The most expensive small snare drum within this list.
Frequently Asked Questions about Small Snare Drums
What is a small snare drum called?
Drummers sometimes refer to small snare drums as micro snares. However, “piccolo snare” is a more popular term used when referring to small snare drums. Typically, a piccolo snare delivers a higher pitch than standard snares due to its smaller size.
What size snare drum should I get?
As we know, snares come in various diameters and widths. For instance, standard snares typically feature a diameter of 14” and a width of 6.5”. However, if you’re looking for a small snare drum, we advise buyers to look for a diameter of at least 10” and below. Buyers could also get snare drums with a width of 5.5” and below.
What hand do you use for snare drum?
Realistically speaking, you could play snare with any hand. However, the standard hand for snare drums is the left hand. In addition, drummers play with their hi-hat hand crossing on top of their snare hand.
Which snare drum is best?
The best small snare drums according to tone and durability are the following:
- LP Micro Snare Drum
- Tama Metalworks Snare Drum
- Pearl Short Fuse Snare
- PDP by DW Black Wax Maple Snare Drum
- DDrum Modern Tone Steel Piccolo Snare
- Mapex MPST4351 Steel Piccolo Snare
- Pearl Maple Piccolo Snare M1330114
- Ludwig Carl Palmer Venus Signature
How many lugs should a snare drum have?
Typically, a snare has 10 lugs to have workable tuning stability. However, small snare drums typically feature at least 8 lugs and below.
With over 30 years of experience, drumming has been a huge part of Joe’s life. He has experienced every stage of drumming imaginable – from playing in my parents’ garage, to playing local venues and to doing national tours.
Today, Joe tutor kids on how to play drums and shares all the things he has learned about drumming to all of BasicDrummer readers. He also reviews the best drums and gadgets not only for kids but also for beginners as well.