The snare drum is arguably the most important part of your drum kit. It’s the drum that you play the most along with the bass drum. With it being so vital, you need to have a solid platform to position it on.
There are hundreds of different snare stands that you can get. Entry-level kits typically come with snare stands to begin with. However, you’ll need to upgrade if you want a solid one that will last you many years.
I’m going to give you some options in this article that you can look through and compare to see which one will suit you best.
What to Look for in a Snare Stand
There are a few things to look out for when buying drum hardware. Snare stands, in particular, have multiple facets to them that affect how they feel and function.
There’s a list of things you should check for when looking through different snare stands. If it checks the boxes, it shows you that it’s a great stand to get.
Here are the criteria you need to look out for:
Single-Braced vs Double-Braced
All drum hardware is either single-braced or double-braced. Single-braced hardware refers to when the legs of the hardware only have one post on each foot. Double-braced hardware is when the leg posts have two metal brackets, giving the stand extra support at the bottom.
Double-braced snare stands are always sturdier and heavier. Single-braced stands sacrifice sturdiness for lighter weight.
Both types of stands are beneficial in varying settings. Many drummers I know swear by double-braced stands, but they don’t have to travel as much with their gear as gigging drummers. You should choose which stand to get based on the settings you find yourself playing in the most.
Diving in a little bit deeper to the topic, weight is something you have to check out in every stand you’re considering. Heavier stands will typically be more durable. I’ve had heavy stands that I’ve used for several years, and they’re still in top-quality condition today.
However, heavy stands aren’t ideal if you’re someone who takes your kit to play gigs regularly. It should be your aim as a gigging drummer to make your hardware bag as light as possible so that it’s easy to travel with.
Whether the stand is light or heavy, you need to weigh that up with everything else it offers and make a decision on how worth it the stand will be for you.
The tilting mechanism is where you’ll find the biggest difference between different snare stands. Some stands will have a ball-and-socket mechanism to adjust the snare basket while others will have a simple ratchet-style tilter.
The latter is what you’ll find on cheaper stands. Ball-and-socket stands are typically more expensive as they allow much more adjustability.
Some snare drum stands have clever innovations that are based on these two tilter styles. So, this is something you need to check out with every stand you look at. It may just be the biggest selling point.
Brand choice should be the last thing you think about. As long as you’re getting a decent snare stand, it doesn’t matter which brand it is. However, some brands are known to make better hardware than others. So, there are choices to make that will be slightly safer if you go with these brands.
If the stand is from a trusted brand, you’ll know that it will serve you well. There are so many snare stands out there that are low-quality, especially from brands that make cheap drum sets. While they’ll do the job decently, they’ll never be as good as any hardware from a mainstream drum brand.
Best Snare Drum Stands
All the stands I’m going to suggest in this list have been picked according to the criteria above.
Here’s a quick summary of what you’re looking out for:
- Hardware type
- Tilting mechanism
I’ve also divided them up according to their weight. Let’s jump in!
Best Heavy-Duty Snare Stands
Pearl S930 Double-Braced
Pearl offers the S930 in both single and double-braced versions, but I’ve picked the double-braced version as I feel it’s the better deal of the two.
This is an incredible snare drum stand that is durable at a relatively affordable price. It’s fairly heavy, yet light enough to carry around with you to different gigs with no problems.
It has a Uni-Lock tilter that allows you to swivel the basket back and forth before locking it into an optimal position.
The claws that latch onto the snare drum are quite large. I found that their size makes this stand difficult to use for a rack tom.
- Heavy, yet light enough to travel with
- Trusted Pearl sturdiness
- Surprisingly more affordable than the single-braced version of the S930
- Not ideal for a rack tom
DW 9000 Series Airlift
The DW 9000 Series Airlift stands are the Lamborghinis of snare drum stands. This is one of the most luxury snare stands you’re going to come across. It’s also the most expensive.
Starting at the bottom, the stand has incredibly well-built double-braced legs that don’t move an inch when they’re planted on the ground. The stand is built like a tank, and it’s rooted in these legs.
The stand has a very cleverly designed tilter that allows you to adjust the basket in any possible way you can think of. The airlift mechanism makes raising and lowering the basket very smooth and easy to do no matter how heavy your snare drum or tom is.
Lastly, the basket arms have Neoprene isolation pads at the tips that hold the drum. These pads cut off virtually no resonance from the drum, making this stand excellent for toms that sing as well. It can even hold a 16-inch floor tom quite comfortably.
- Luxury snare stand
- Highly adjustable tilting mechanism
- Neoprene isolation pads are excellent
- Wildly expensive
Yamaha SS-950 Ball and Socket
Ball-and-socket snare stands aren’t massively common or popular. However, the design on this Yamaha SS-950 is incredibly innovative and shouldn’t be overlooked. I personally love it and highly recommend it to anyone looking for something different from your standard tilting mechanism.
The tilting mechanism allows you to adjust it in any direction. While it can be difficult to get it sitting flat, it will stay there forever once you lock it in.
Another thing that I love about this stand is the retractable spikes on the feet. They dig into the ground firmly, stopping the stand from ever moving. Features like this are what make the stand a bit more expensive than common snare stands.
The SS-950 is a double-braced stand, making it another highly durable and rigid stand on the list.
- Very adjustable ball-and-socket design
- Rubber feet have spikes for stability
- Quite rigid and sturdy
Gibraltar 9706 9000 Series Pro Ultra
The Gibraltar 9706 stand is another ball-and-socket stand that I highly recommend. Gibraltar advertises it as a “gearless” stand, reflecting how the tilting mechanism moves around incredibly smoothly.
One thing that I love about this stand is how large the feet are. They give it a greater sense of stability and sturdiness. This is the type of snare stand that I’d want with a studio drum kit that doesn’t ever move from the space it’s in.
The rubber pads at the end of the basket arms are fairly standard, so it’s not offering anything fancy there. However, the oversized feet and the gearless tilter are the selling points of the stand.
- Infinite angle adjustability
- Very sturdy thanks to oversized rubber feet
- One of the most affordable ball-and-socket designs
- Not a great snare stand for traveling
Best Lightweight Snare Stands
Yamaha SS-3 Crosstown Advanced Lightweight
Moving onto the lighter stands, the Yamaha SS-3 Crosstown snare stand is one of my absolute favorites. It kind of looks like it will blow away in the wind, yet Yamaha has somehow designed this stand to be very sturdy and able to hold heavy snare drums.
It’s made of aluminum, so it’s much lighter than standard snare drum stands. It also has a satin finish that is scuff-resistant, so it will always look in pristine shape no matter how often you end up using it.
The stand has a classic tilter that is easy to work with. It’s not massively adjustable like the heavy-duty stands. However, it makes up for it with portability.
- Specifically designed for traveling and gigging
- Easy to set up and pack down
- Surprisingly sturdy
- Not ideal as a permanent snare stand in a practice room
DW 6000 Series Ultralight Retro
The DW Ultralight stand is another popular lightweight snare stand available on the hardware market. The drawcard for this particular stand is that it has a vintage design that is highly reminiscent of the snare stands in the 60s.
You could pick this stand up with your pinky finger and happily carry it around it’s so light. The biggest contributing factors to the vintage appearance are the flat legs and the old-school snare basket.
I love how DW has managed to make a vintage stand that still has enough sturdiness to be functional.
- Vintage design
- Very light
- Smooth Glide Tilter for changing snare angles
- Expensive as it’s a DW stand
Best Budget Snare Stands
Gibraltar 4000 Lightweight
While this stand is labeled as a lightweight stand, it’s certainly heavier than the portable stands above. It’s a much more affordable option to get than the top-end stands that cost over $100 each.
I’ve used a Gibraltar 4000 stand on my teaching kit for a few years, and it’s served me brilliantly. While it doesn’t offer anything fancy in terms of features, it does the job of holding a snare comfortably without any hassles.
It’s a great stand for drummers who are on a tight budget or drummers who aren’t interested in high-end features. Sometimes, you just need a piece of hardware to do a simple job.
- Very affordable
- Doesn’t offer any fancy features
PDP 700 Series Lightweight
The great thing about this PDP 700 snare stand is that it offers you top-tier design quality at a much more attainable price. Similar to the previous Gibraltar stand, this stand doesn’t offer anything fancy. But it offers the same trusted and loved quality that all the DW stands offer as PDP is a brother brand to DW.
One thing about it that I love is the corkscrew basket adjustment. It’s so easy to twist the screw to raise the basket arms. You can even do it easily when a snare is mounted on the arms.
Whether you’re using it to keep in a practice room or to play gigs, this is a fantastic affordable snare stand to use.
- Shares the same design process as DW snare stands
- The corkscrew basket adjustment is great
- I know a few drummers who don’t like how thin the stand is
Answer: The question of which drum company is the best will never have a definite answer. Most established drum companies make very decent hardware. However, there are a few drum brands that have strong reputations for making incredible hardware.
Pearl and DW are known to make excellent heavy-duty hardware. You pay top dollar for it, but it will last you a lifetime.
Gibraltar is known to make excellent affordable hardware. They’re one of the only brands that specialize in purely producing drum hardware, so they put all the effort into making great products.
Answer: Out of all the snare stands I listed above, the best one is arguably the DW 9000 Series Airlift stand. It’s one of the most heavy-duty snare stands out there, and it has an amazing air lifting system that makes adjusting it a breeze.
The offset basket also allows for optimal positioning of your snare drum, especially in a double bass drum pedal setup. You’re going to pay an arm and a leg for the stand, but it’s well worth the cost.
Answer: Yes! Many drummers love putting their rack tom on a snare stand instead of mounting it to the bass drum or a cymbal stand. Having your rack tom on a snare stand is one of the best ways of ensuring that it resonates as freely as it can as it’s not mounted or tied to anything.
It can be a bit uncomfortable at first with the positioning, but it’s great once you get used to it. I found that mounting your rack tom like this works best with toms that are 12-inches or bigger.
You can also use a snare stand to mount a practice pad on.
Answer: Ideally, it should be as adjustable as possible. However, there are a few checks you should do to see if it’s adjustable enough for you.
If you’re playing matched grip, the snare drum should be able to be positioned at a flat angle. A slight tilt backward or forward is good too. If the stand can’t sit directly flat, you’re going to have issues with it.
If you’re using it with a traditional grip, the angle needs to be a bit bigger. You also need to be able to position that stand at a sharper angle for mounting a rack tom on.
Once you’ve established how light or heavy and what tilting mechanism you want, the search for a snare stand will become much easier. All the stands that I’ve mentioned on this list are fantastic choices that will work well in most settings.
If you have an unlimited budget, the DW 9000 Series Airlift stand is arguably your best option. The Yamaha SS-950 follows close behind. However, the Gibraltar 4000 and PDP 700 are perfectly useable stands that don’t cost the world.
If you gig very often, I highly recommend getting either the DW 6000 Series or the Yamaha Crosstown stands.
You just need to establish a budget and then find a stand that you love within it. Good luck out there. Remember that the search for gear never really ends. Once you’re happy with one stand, you’ll find yourself wanting another one somewhere down the road!
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