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The best new snare drums in the world right now, as voted for by you

(Image credit: Mapex)

Ask 10 drummers about their perfect snare drum sound, and you’ll get 10 different answers. As the core of our kit, choosing the right snare for the job presents myriad options. This year is no different, with the snare drum category easily walking away with the title of ‘longest shortlist’. But you’ve voted, and chosen the snares that got you rattled this year.

The MusicRadar Best in drums awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer

1. Mapex Black Panther Series

(Image credit: Mapex)

We could have given the 2020 Black Panther series its own category, with a 14-strong redesign across the range. Here, Mapex has proved yet again why its snares continue to make the perfect mid-price upgrade or addition to your collection

2. Tama Star Reserve Hand Hammered Brass 


(Image credit: Tama)

Brass snares are considered the quintessential rock snare sound, and Tama knows more than a thing or two about doing it right. The hammered shell on this bad boy gives you a dryer sound, but it comes with all the attack and body you could want too. It’s an expensive, but very special drum indeed!

3. Yamaha Steve Gadd Recording Custom Signature Snare

Yamaha Steve Gadd Snare

(Image credit: Yamaha)

If you think a 14” x 5.5” steel-shelled snare is a little pedestrian, go tell it to Steve Gadd. Dr G helped re-introduce the RC line a few years ago, and this year Yamaha released a limited edition snare with the great man’s name on it: testament to the adaptable nature of one of the most common metal snare shell materials out there.

4. Ludwig Black Beauty 8-Lug

Ludwig Black Beauty 8-lug

(Image credit: Ludwig)

The Ludwig Black Beauty is one of the most revered snare drums of all-time, and for 2020 Ludwig produced this much-asked-for 8-lug version which gives us the Black Beauty punch, power and sensitivity but with a more open sound and less fiddly tuning.

5. British Drum Co Nicko McBrain Icarus

British Drum Co

(Image credit: British Drum Co)

It’s been a whirlwind five years for BDC since its launch, and now it has not one, but two signature snares with Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain. The Icarus is a visual and sonic masterpiece, crafted from birch with a black oak fishtail veneer to provide Nicko (and now us!) with a deep, bright and loud snare sound. 

6. Sonor Benny Greb Signature snares

Sonor Benny Greb

(Image credit: Sonor)

You wait 10 years for a Benny Greb snare update, then you get two. First is the ‘upgraded’ version of Benny’s beech snare, followed by the new brass-shelled, 14” X 5.75” snare. We love the vintage patina, monorail dampener and overall sound of this drum, and so do you!