Steel Tongue Drum or Handpan?

How do I find the right instrument? A few tips for the purchase decision

Finding the right instrument that suits you is not that easy. Do you want to buy a Handpan or a Steel Tongue Drum? Which manufacturer do you choose, which scale, which material, which frequency and how long do you finally have to wait until you can hold it in your hands?

We want to simplify the tedious process of choosing the right instrument for you. In our handpan store you will find a variety of instruments (handpans and steel tongue drums) from different manufacturers, tunings and materials. All instruments can be tested and are usually available for immediate purchase.

If you want to get some information in advance, we have compared some basic information, differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of handpans and steel tongue drums in a compressed form for you.


Steel Tongue Drum

The sound field of a steel tongue drum is cut or lasered into the instrument. Steel tongue drums are usually smaller, but heavier than handpans. They are made of thicker steel and resonate substantially longer than handpans. They have a meditative, calm sound.


  • very inexpensive (purchase price is about 1/3 of a handpan)
  • very robust, can not detune
  • can be played with mallets
  • not sensitive to cold or heat (-10 to +45 degrees)
  • smaller volume, handier


  • quieter than a handpan
  • the playing surface of the notes is smaller than that of a handpan (you have to hit more accurately)
  • heavy


The sound field of a handpan is created with the hammer.

Handpans are louder and fuller in sound than steel tongue drums and have a magical sound that captivates.


  • large note fields, easier to hit
  • fuller sound volume
  • is much louder than a steel tongue drum and can still be heard well even with louder background noise
  • light
  • Variety, greater choice of manufacturers, materials, scales


  • more expensive than a steel tongue drum
  • more sensitive, sensitive to heat, can become detuned more quickly
  • must be regularly retuned (depending on the type of game, handling, manufacturer and material)

Best to try on the spot what is right for you

We advise you in all questions around the topic Handpans and Steel Tongue Drums. In our store in Mainz you have the possibility to test and buy different instruments - without waiting time. We carry a wide range of different manufacturers and scales (tunings) and accessories. Also feel free to check out our section used handpans. Maybe there is already a suitable instrument for you.