When looking at budget stands, it's worth remembering that quantity does not necessarily equal quality. Sizes of stand vary from fairly petite to genuinely big and burly, all within the same narrow price range. At such bargain prices there are clearly going to be quality issues somewhere.
Try to ignore the weight of a stand and concentrate instead on the standard of construction. Do the tubing sections slide smoothly together or do they protest at each movement? What do the locking wingnuts feel like when being tightened or released? (Cheap threads will have an easily identifiable coarse action).
Levels of engineering
A stand that won't lock off properly after a couple of months of use is going to be a purchase you quickly come to regret. Try opening and closing the tripod as well, to assess the level of engineering. Some hi-hat stands will have more features or finer adjustability than others, so test as many as possible until you find one that feels comfortable.
The target audience for budget stands is largely made up of novice drummers. It stands to reason that this type of player is not going to require hardware that can cope with being gigged on a nightly basis. Nonetheless, many budget stands are suitable for a moderate level of use and, providing they are not abused, should give years - even decades - of service. Here's our top five picks to get you started…
5 budget hardware series from £15
5. CB Drums£17 - £27
Capable range of lightweight but double-braced stands from the highly regarded budget kit manufacturer. Individual stands include a three section upright cymbal stand (more versatile for reaching both higher and lower settings), short boom cymbal stand, a hi-hat and a snare drum stand. All stands feature a wide tripod spread for good stability, are well-built and superb value.
4. Percussion Plus 100 Series£23 - £53.75
Affordable range of stands split across three levels and price points. The cheapest option is a set of Chinese double-braced stands, while the mid and premium ranges are both Taiwanese manufactured, differing only in the weight of tripods (single- or double-braced). The top range examples are well-appointed while remaining good value.
3. Performance Percussion Classic Series£22.99 - £31.99
Competitively-priced range of double-braced stands from the largest family-owned independent musical retailer in the UK. Sourced from China, the stands are well built and sit on sturdy tripods. Both cymbal stands (upright and boom) are three-sectioned, and the boom arm is of a decent length. Hi-hat and snare stands are good too, making them great value all round.
Next page: Dixon Invader Series PLUS our top pick
2. Dixon Invader Series£24.95 - £59.95
Comprehensive range of hardware that is divided into three levels: light, medium and heavy. All weights sit on well-proportioned double-braced tripods, while features increase with each step up. Above the lightweight sub-range, cymbal stands are three-sectioned while the hi-hat stand tripods swivel. Memory locks are found on the heavyweight models.
1. Stagg 25/50/500/1000 Series£15 - £41
Scorching value stands from the Chinese manufacturer seemingly bent on world domination. The four different levels of stand vary from merely functional through to heavy duty, with all of the stands in the 1000 Series sporting menacing-looking spikes on each foot. Double-braced tripods feature throughout all four ranges.
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