7 Best Snare Drums For Rock (Ranked By Tone & Dynamics)

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  • Learn how to recognize great snare drums for rock
  • Check our list of best snare drums currently out there
  • FAQ on what to look for when picking a snare drum
  • Also, check out our post on the best snare stands!

Playing rock requires energy. There are not many music genres where the energy of band members is as important. You want to sound powerful, with just enough looseness to get the crowd to feel the flow.

Much of this energy is packed in the snare drum. In fact, many rock bands rely heavily on their snare sound for their songs to be recognizable.

Bear in mind that picking a great snare drum is highly dependent on the snappiness and loudness of the sound. You want to emphasize your beats and cut through the swathe of distorted guitars, and that all starts with a quality snare.

With that in mind, I would like to bring you a list of the 7 best snare drums you can use in your rock drum set. I will also share some tips on how to pick the best snare head for rock.

What Is The Best Snare Drum For Rock?

The best snare drum for rock is the Eastrock 14×5.5. This model packs a strong punch ideal for rock music, with enough warmth and timbre while staying easy to control. It is also durable and beginner-friendly for newbies who might bash their drum kit a bit too hard, all while maintaining an excellent price-quality ratio.

In this roundup, we’ll go over 7 of the very best snare drums for rock:

  1. Eastrock 14×5.5 Snare Drum (Best Overall)
  2. TAMA SLP Maple Snare Drum (Richest Sound)
  3. Griffin Poplar Snare Drum 14×5 (Best for Heavy Music)
  4. Ludwig Accent CS Steel 14×5 Snare Drum (Best for Grunge and Punk Vibe)
  5. Lexington SD403S 14×5.5 Snare Drum (Loudest Snare Drum)
  6. DW PDP Wax Maple 14×6.5 Snare Drum (Best for Beginners) 
  7. Gretch Blackhawk 14×7 Snare Drum (Best for Classic Rock)

1. Eastrock Snare Drum (Best Overall)

Best Overall
Eastrock Snare Drum

The Eastrock Snare Drum is an affordable, lightweight snare ideal for drummers of all levels. Rock players looking for a snare that packs a punch and has underlying warmth will love this snare.


Why We Love It:
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
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First up, check out the Eastrock snare drum as a great and affordable option for beginners and semi-professionals.

Snare drums are commonly used to introduce a student to the drum set and have them practice some of the basic drumming techniques.

I picked the East Rock snare drum as the top option because of the simplicity, the weight, and the quality of the sound.

Moreover, the overall responsiveness of the batter head and snares is more than enough for beginners and regular giggers.

It comes with a 10 mil, one-ply coated film snare head, yet it is durable enough to withstand the initial mistakes until a beginner learns to dose their beats.

The snare wires are responsive and provide a good rock snare sound that resonates well with the drum’s poplar shell.

The poplar gives a warmer and more powerful timbre, easy to adjust to most rock covers and the typical rock snare sound.

Felts inside the drum do a great job of catching unwanted overtones.

The whole setup gives off a loud, snappy, deeper timbre, great for keeping the rhythm while rocking. The steel rims feel great while doing rimshots.

Key Features:

  • Poplar shell
  • 1 ply 10 mil coat film
  • Mylar batter head
  • Steel rims and lug casing
  • Steel tuner
  • Size: 14in x 5.5in

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Light, easy to carry around
  • Durable
  • Basic rock snare drum for beginners
  • Pure head timbre
  • Powerful and adjustable for various rock songs

Cons

  • Sounds a little generic
  • Responsiveness far from perfect
  • Tuning a little tricky to handle

2. TAMA SLP Maple Snare Drum (Richest Sound)

Richest Sound
Tama S.L.P. Studio Maple Snare Drum

TAMA's SLP Studio Maple snare drum is one of the best balanced affordable snare drums on the market. Part of TAMA's Sound Lab Project (SLP), the SLP Studio Maple snare drum was designed to give hard-working drummers a great all-around maple snare drum at a price anyone can afford.

Why We Love It:
  • Rich and loud sound
  • High-quality and durable
  • Elegant and stylish look
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The SLP snare drum is one of the top-notch, almost boutique-style snare drums. It’s been crafted with high attention to detail and great experience.

TAMA SLP delivers a thick, rich sound with a recognizable timbre. The choice of materials is behind the highly responsive and loud tone.

Its base is made of 13-ply Maple (10mm) with Tamo ash as a coating to give it a great finish.

It co-exists well with softer and ring-y brass casing and rims. This gives a good ring to the overall sound, filling the sonic canvas of the deep maple resonance.

Snares are very specific in TAMA’s models. They come with high carbon steel for toughness and flexibility, which goes well with the brass casing.

Their Sound Arc hoops are developed to add sustain to the snares, along with giving out more options when it comes to tuning.

The response is also packed with a wider frequency range, making every beat a mouthful of sonic blast.

TAMA snare drums are known to be loud when they need to be, so drumsticks don’t need to hit off that hard to get the loudness out there.

This is great for larger gig venues as it gives more volume control while already being loud enough.

This is also one of the options for drummers that look for highly specific sounds. If you are looking for something more classic and even louder, you can check out the SLP Black brass series.

It’s, in our opinion, one of the loudest brass snare drums out there that also go great with distortions and overdrives.

Key Features:

  • 13-ply 10 mm Maple casing
  • Brass Rims and lugs
  • Sound Arc lower hoop adds sustain
  • High carbon snares
  • Warm, rich, deeper sound with brass overtones
  • Size: 14in x 7

Pros

  • Rich and loud sound
  • High-quality and durable
  • Elegant and stylish look
  • More options for tuning and frequency range
  • Durable brass casing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some drummers find the sound too specific

3. Griffin Poplar Snare Drum (Best for Heavy Music)

Best For Heavy Music
Griffin Poplar Snare Drum 14x5

The Griffin Poplar Snare Drum provides a sharp, aggressive attack with a powerful punch. It features eight tuning lugs for a more stable, higher-quality sound compared to six-lug drums.

Why We Love It:
  • Reliable
  • More adjustable tuning lugs
  • High-pitched sound
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Rock drummers often use thinner snare drums for high pitch. You would need this to penetrate the eardrums of your audience to get them to listen.

The Griffin Poplar series is a great and versatile snare drum that packs a punch to deliver a high-pitched sound with a lot of overtones.

It gets this from the three-ply poplar (7.5mm), a thinner base for more resonance and responsiveness.

It’s coated with black PVC for protection and great gloss for a little more style.

It goes well with the white coating of a durable batter head and the transparent snare drum head that shows off the 10-strand steel snare wires.

In addition to the regular snare drums, Griffin poplar has 8 lugs instead of 6. This gives more control for tuning and arranging the drum head while playing.

It adds more stability when the drum is tuned on the lower end and adds a little more overtones overall.

The snare switch is highly reliable and arguably one of the best on the market in its category. It makes life easier when loosening, muting, or tightening the snares without locking up or getting stuck.

Overall, this is a great and reliable snare drum that can bring a beginner to a professional and still stay with them. The snare drum can be used as the main or a side snare for an added blast.

Key Features:

  • Three-ply 7.5mm poplar
  • PVC Coating
  • 10-strand snares
  • 8 tuning lugs
  • State of the art throw-off
  • Punchy, snappy, and cracky sound
  • Great for rock/metal crossovers

Pros

  • Classic rock sound
  • Reliable
  • More adjustable tuning lugs
  • High-pitched sound
  • Looks great

Cons

  • Not that many overtones
  • Tuning can be set off easily
  • Not of top quality

4. Ludwig Accent CS Steel Snare Drum (Best for Grunge and Punk Vibe) 

Best for Grunge and Punk Vibe
Ludwig Steel Snare Drum 14×5

Having been one of the most popular snare brands to be used by players of all levels, the Ludwig Steel Snare Drum quickly became the choice of pro players in need of a snappy, resonant snare with high-frequency overtones.

Why We Love It:
  • Very loud and snappy sound
  • Great for large venues
  • Awesome for many rock songs
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Steel and aluminum snare drums are a different story. They are more resonant and snappier, giving off a powerful sonic blast with a lot of high-frequency overtones.

Ludwig Accent is said to have the best snare drum head for rock out there.

Many players around the world choose Ludwig Accent for its powerful and loud sound, for playing covers, and for original songs.

Many drummers covering the bands like Queen, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and The Rolling Stones decided to pick the loud Ludwig steel drum.

The snare set gives off a lot of great overtones and adds to the glassy timbre of the drum overall.

Some prefer to move on with a new set of snares, yet most drummers are very happy with the original snare set.

It also packs 8 logs instead of six, giving it more versatile sound setups and tuning; it doesn’t lose as much of the frequencies when tuned lower.

Metal snare drums are great for larger concert halls where you need a loud and resonant drum.

While you can hear it in some acoustic settings, these are specific gigs that need a little boost to the splash and resonance.

A great alternative to steel is aluminum casing. You can check out Pearl Sensitone and compare the difference before deciding which does the job better for you.

Key Features:

  • Steel casing
  • Great batter head
  • Size: 14in x 5in

Pros

  • Very loud and snappy sound
  • Great for large venues
  • Awesome for many rock songs

Cons

  • Not as great for acoustic setups

5. Lexington SD403S Snare Drum (Loudest Snare Drum)

Loudest Snare Drum
Lexington SD403S Snare Drum

The Lexington SD403S steel Snare Drum is constructed with durable chrome and nickel. Precise craftsmanship ensures correct tension when the lugs and rods are fully set up. It delivers a clear, powerful, and punchy sound with an aggressive attack.

Why We Love It:
  • Blasting and aggressive timbre
  • Tight and responsive attack
  • Versatile
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The Lexington has a very tight batter head that doesn’t need a lot of force to produce an aggressive and loud sound.

Used often by students and beginners, it doesn’t have to stay in the closet for semi and full professionals. If you are looking for some school vibes in your bend, Lexington is a great drum to be on the lookout for.

The snare head is also very tight with its 12-strand steel snares that give off a bright and punchy sound.

Many drummers consider it the best snare head for a rock, especially as the secondary snare is used for choruses and places they want to emphasize.

This is also one of the quality steel snare drums, made of rolled steel with a thickness of 1.2mm.

It’s specific because it has ten lugs instead of the regular six. More lugs allow the drummer to experiment with various sounds and tuning, and the drum is made so that it still works great when tuned to higher frequencies.

Key Features:

  • Rolled steel 1.2mm shell
  • 10 tuning lugs
  • Quality batter head
  • Great snare head
  • Heavy duty throw-off
  • Chrome finish

Pros

  • Durable and longlasting
  • Blasting and aggressive timbre
  • Tight and responsive attack
  • Versatile

Cons

  • No internal muffler
  • Loud and specific when it comes to gig setups
  • Heavy

6. DW PDP Wax Maple Snare Drum (Best for Beginners) 

Best for Beginners
DW PDP Black Wax Maple Snare Drum

The PDP Black Wax Snare Drums feature a matte black finish over a 10-ply maple shell. The smooth finish is a hand-applied wax-based sealer which gives this collection a deceivingly understated look. The 10-ply design gives the shell a voice with an articulate attack, while the maple pulls it together to offer the warm, full sound and volume expected from a 14x6.5 snare. 

Why We Love It:
  • Very satisfying, rock sound
  • Deep and warm attack with flashy overtones
  • Great throw-off
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This is one of the DW’s masterpiece snare drums made of 10-ply Maple and encased with composite steel/brass lugs and rims.

The waxed maple softens and soaks much of the ring-y and unwanted overtones while adding depth and warmth to every attack.

Along with the snares, it gives off a throaty and resonant timbre many drummers look for, who are after for a heavier sound.

The DW’s true-pitch tension rods come with composite steel/brass inserts that go a long way – not only in terms of durability but also slightly adding to the overall sound.

The dual-turret lugs keep the tune well and for a long time. The fact that there are ten lugs gives more options to adjust the sound.

A great drum comes with a great throw-off. It is very responsive and reliable, though some players feel it’s bulky and sticks out too much of the snare drum as a whole.

Key Features:

  • Durable and snappy batter head
  • Quality snare head
  • 10-ply maple with wax finish
  • Bras inserts on tension rods
  • Quality Mag throw-off

Pros

  • Very satisfying, rock sound
  • Deep and warm attack with flashy overtones
  • Great throw-off
  • 10 Dual Turret lugs

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Heavy
  • Throw-off is bulky

7. Gretsch Blackhawk Snare Drum (Best for Classic Rock)

Best for Classic Rock
Gretsch Drums Blackhawk Snare

The perfect add-on to any drum kit, the Gretsch Blackhawk snare drum is built to the classic Gretsch spec with a 30º bearing edge, poplar shell with jet black wrap, and a 12.7 mm mount for easy setup as a side snare. 

Why We Love It:
  • Vintage rock sound
  • Light
  • Easy placement
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Gretsch is a name that stands out along drum manufacturers. Their seven-ply poplar 14x7in snare drum looks amazing with stylish tension rods that hold the triple-flange hoops in place.

The poplar shell and the size give off a deeper timbre that can almost be used as a tom.

The steel snares add piercing and resonating overtones to the sound, giving it more power and brightness.

The Blackhawk snare drum can be used as a side drum as well for hard rock classics in any drum kit.

It gives a nice pop with every beat and a few more loose overtones that fit the rock sound used back then.

Six tuning lugs make it easier and faster to tune. The batter head can be upgraded after a while if you know what specific sound you are after.

Key Features:

  • 7-ply poplar shell
  • Triple-flange rims (1.6mm)
  • Shiny finish
  • 6 double-turret lugs
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Size: 14in x 7in

Pros

  • Vintage rock sound
  • Light
  • Easy placement
  • Fast tuning

Cons

  • The batter head can be upgraded
  • Throw-off is clunky

That was our list of the best snare drums for 2022. I tried to add various drum setups for the different needs and preferences of all rock drummers out there.

Check out our FAQ section for more details about quality snare drums!

FAQs

How Much Is A Good Snare Drum?

Snare drums go from $60 and up. Beginners can go a long way with $80-100 snare drums.

Quality snare drums can be found for around $300 and up to $800 for custom-made and aftermarket pieces.

What Is The Most Popular Snare?

Recently, PDP, Ludwig, and Gretch compete for the most popular snare. Blackhawk, PDP Maple series, Ludwig Accent, and Black Beauty are among the most popular models.

TAMA is on the rise in demand for those that are looking for more expensive models. 

Are Steel Snare Drums Louder?

Steel snare drums don’t necessarily need to be louder, though, by default, they are some of the loudest out there. They can be out-volumed by brass and aluminum drums.

Steel drums often need some kind of material to dampen their timbre and get rid of unwanted frequencies. Depending on the material, they can be less loud than wooden snare drums.

You can easily work around this by changing the muffling material in the steel drum.

Keen to start drumming? Check out our article on the 7 Best Online Drum Lessons/Courses (For All Skill Levels)!