collection of snare drums laid out on the floor
Image from: Reddit

Ah, the snare drum. The backbone of any good drum kit. Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned pro, choosing the right snare drum size can make all the difference in your drumming experience.

Today, we'll explore the ins and outs of snare drum sizes, from the diameter to the depth, and everything in between. So, grab your drumsticks, and let's dive in!

For all you budding rockstars, garage band enthusiasts, and weekend warriors out there, this snare drum size guide is for you. We know that snare drums come in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. 

But by the time we’re done, you'll be able to make an informed decision that will take your drumming to the next level. Join us as we explore:

  • The different parts of your snare drum shell and how they affect the sound
  • How snare depth and diameter influence the sound of your snare drum
  • How to pick the perfect snare drum size based on your style, musical genre, and skill 
  • Popular snare drum sizes and where to find the best deals for them

So whether you’re part of a snazzy jazz band looking to update your kit, or a rockstar jamming to The Beatles in your garage, or simply looking for percussion drum for marching band, we know just what you need. 

Stick around and perhaps like Kasturba Khosla, you too will come back to tell us how you made the best purchase of the year when you find your perfect snare drum.

This was one of our best purchases this year. Great sound, great price and great customer service.”

The Skinny on Snare Drum Sizes: A Guide to the Basics of Snare Drum Shells

Are you tired of beating the same old drum? Or perhaps you’re wondering how you can spice up your drumming game? 

Well, today’s your lucky day because you’re in exactly the right place to learn how to do that.

But first, let's get better acquainted with some snare drum basics so you can have a clear understanding of what each part is, and how it can potentially impact the snare drum sound, and therefore, your preference.

parts of a snare drum with labels
Image from: Keller Central Percussion

So here’s a quick snare drum anatomy you’ll need to have at the back of your mind as we proceed:

  • The shell: The body of the drum that produces the sound
  • Batter head: The top layer of the drum that is struck by the drumstick
  • Snare head: The area where the snare wires are placed
  • Snares: The metal wires that run across the bottom head of the drum and give it its characteristic snare sound
  • Lug casing: The hardware that holds the drumhead in place and allows for tuning

Good. With that out of the way, now we can get down to brass tacks, that is, drum size and how it influences the sound of a snare drum. 

You see, the diameter and depth of your snare drum’s shell will directly influence not only the quality of sound but also:

  • The tone and volume of your drum
  • Your physical comfort while playing
  • The best-suited musical genre and playing style

For context, here are examples of some popular snare drum sizes, and the different musical genres and playing styles they are suited for:

  • Drum Kit Snares (14" diameter, 5 - 6.5" depth): These are the most versatile snare drum size, which makes them a popular choice in a variety of musical genres. They are the go-to snare drum size if you’re in the market for something with no fuss or frills. 

  • Marching Snares (14" diameter, 12" depth): Do you likely remember the rapid-fire rhythms from your high school or college marching band drummers?

    Chances are, they were able to create such intricate beats on a marching snare—the perfect tool drum for outdoor use, and the added benefit of a loud, cutting sound.

  • Orchestral Snare (14" diameter, 3 - 4" depth): As the name suggests, these are designed for use in orchestral music. Unlike their marching counterparts, they produce a warm, mellow sound designed to accompany other instruments in an orchestra.

  • Piccolo Snare (13" diameter, 3 - 4" depth): These drums produce a bright, crisp sound that makes you want to jump on your feet and shake your tailbone. Perhaps this is why the piccolo snare is a staple in funk and jazz music.

  • Soprano Snare (12" diameter, 5" depth): These little guys are another powerhouse commonly used in marching bands and drum corps. Don’t let their demure size fool you, what they lack in size, they make up for in a powerful high-pitched sound, usually enough to cut through the roar of a crowd like during a packed football game.

  • Pipe Band Snare (14" diameter, 4 - 4.5" depth): Aye, the crisp, bright sound of the pipe band snare is almost as distinctive as the bagpipe itself. The snares are specifically designed for use in Scottish pipe bands.

a variety of premier snare drums displayed on a rack
Image from: Reddit

With this basic appreciation of snare drum kit components, you’re a step closer to finding the perfect drum for your style and music preference. 

Of course, if you need some help picking out the best snare drum for yourself, consult the experts at Geek Stands. 

With over two decades of experience supplying professional music equipment to artists, and one of the best customer support services, there’s no one better to help guide you. 

To help ease your decision-making process, let's dive deeper so you know exactly what to ask for during your consultation.

Understanding Snare Drum Diameter for the Perfect Sound

Snare diameter, or the distance across the drumhead from one side of the shell to the other, is one of the primary factors that affect snare drum sound. You see:

  • The larger the diameter, the deeper the sound
  • The smaller the diameter, the higher the pitch

Different drumming styles and music genres take advantage of snare diameters to produce their desired sound quality. 

To paint a picture, let's explore some commonly used snare diameters and the features that make them ideal for different musical applications:

  • The 10-inch snare drum: This is the smallest snare drum we stock at Geek Stands.

    The 10-inch snare is most commonly used in jazz music thanks to its crisp, high-pitched sound. But to achieve this quality of sound, it gives up some of the depth that’s desired for some of the other styles of music.

    Griffin Popcorn 10" Snare Drum

  • The 12-inch snare drum: This is one of the more versatile snare drums available on the market.

    It can produce that crisp sound common in smaller snare drums while retaining its depth, to produce a full-bodied sound, with the ideal balance between high and low frequencies.

    This is what makes it so versatile, and a real contender if you’re looking for a snare drum that can do it all.

    Ludwig Class Maple 12” snare drum
    Image from: Reddit

  • The 13-inch snare drum: If your drummer inspiration is Led Zeppelin's John Bonham, then this is likely the snare diameter for you.

    The 13-inch snare drum is most commonly used in rock music thanks to its deep sound and amazing projection—just what you need to rock out at your next gig.

    Griffin Piccolo 13 Snare Drum

  • The 14-inch snare drum: This is the most common snare diameter used in drum kits. The 14-inch snare produces a wide range of sounds, which makes it ideal for use across different genres and styles.

    The 14-inch snare drum also comes in various depths, further increasing its versatility and sound profile. (more about how depth affects sound in the section.)

    Griffin Birch Wood Shell 14" Snare Drum

  • The 15-inch snare drum: This size of snare drum is a little less common than the other options mentioned above. It produces a deeper, fuller sound that’s suitable for niche genres such as orchestral performances and some marching bands.

Cherry Hill Custom 15 snare drum
Image from: Imgur

Learn More: In a previous article, we outlined the features of the 14 inch metal snare drum. This GRIFFIN drum is known for its long sustain and bright tone.

These are the typical applications for the different snare drum sizes, use them as a guide when selecting the perfect drum for you. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with unexpected options and think outside the box in your quest for the perfect match.

For help navigating the different options, get in touch with us at Geek Stands. With our wide selection of quality snare drums and expertise, we’ll help you find your perfect drum.

GRIFFIN Snare Drum - Poplar Wood Shell 14" x 5.5"

GRIFFIN Snare Drum Birch Wood Shell 14 X 6.5 Inch

Snare Drum by GRIFFIN - 14" x 5.5" Black Hickory PVC

Digging into Snare Drum Depths: The Lowdown on Snare Drum Shells

snare drums of different depths

Snare depth refers to the height of your drum shell from the top to the bottom. Snare depth is critical in determining the tone, sensitivity, and volume of your snare drum. 

You see, a deep snare drum will typically have a low fundamental pitch and high resonance, while a shallow snare depth will yield a high fundamental pitch and low resonance. 

Clearly, understanding snare depth is essential to finding your ideal snare drum. So how about we explore the different snare depth available and their unique sound characteristics?

Shallow Snare Drums

These are snare drums that typically have between 4” – 5” of shell depth. Shallow snare drums are popular in applications that require quick, bright sounds and clear projection. As such, they are commonly used as drum kit snares in jazz and funk bands. 

However, this lack of depth comes with some limitations. For instance, they lack the depth of sound and volume necessary to create rock or metal music. 

Let's put it like this, if you’re trying to recreate some of the iconic grooves from bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, shallow snare drums may not be the right fit for you. 

Medium Snare Drums

This refers to the snare drums that feature between 5.5” – 6.5” of shell depth. Medium snare drums produce a rich and versatile sound that can be tuned high or low, depending on your needs and style. As such, they are great in a wide range of music genres, including pop, rock, and country.

Bonus Tip: How do you perfect your snare drum’s sound? Here is our comprehensive tuning guide.

Something to keep in mind though, is that this versatility also means that medium snare drums are a little lacking in the extreme high and low end.

Deep Snare Drums

These typically feature between 7” – 8” of depth. They are known and loved for their booming, full-bodied sound with a tone of depth and sustain. 

Deep snare drums play a key role in creating heavy music genres like the hard rock style of bands such as AC/DC, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses. If this sounds like your vibe, then a deep snare drum is exactly what you need 

Just remember, these drums are loud. They may not be ideal in all settings, for example, if your drum setup lives in your bedroom, and you don’t have the right sound insulation. 

To help your decision-making process along, here’s a quick snare drum size guide table for easy comparison.

Snare Drum Size Diameter (inches) Depth (inches) Popular Musical Genres
10" 10 5.5 – 6.5 Pop, Funk, Jazz
12" 12 5.5 – 6.5 Rock, Pop, Jazz
13" 13 5.5 – 7 Rock, Metal, Funk
14" 14 5 – 8 Rock, Metal, Funk, Jazz
15" 15 5 – 8 Marching, Pipe Band

To find your perfect match, allow your preference, style, and music genre to guide you. It may also be a good idea to try out different snare drums to get a feel for what works best.

Expert Tip: How do you pick the right snare drum? This article covers all the basics and more.

Here's a video showing the difference between shallow and deep snare drums:

But no matter what you’re looking for—a shallow snare drum for jazz gigs, a medium snare drum for studio recording, or a deep snare drum for heavy metal shows—know that Geek Stands has you covered with our wide selection of quality snare drums to choose from.

Snare Drum Size Guide: How to Choose the Right Snare Drum for Your Needs

Now that you know how snare depth and diameter can influence the sound of your drum, you’re ready to move on to the next stage of choosing the right snare for you. 

While this can seem daunting at first, if you lean on your knowledge, and with some testing, finding the perfect match for you will be a breeze.

But to help you along, here are some other factors you should consider and some tips on how to test different snare drum types:

Factors to consider when choosing your ideal snare drum :

  • Playing style: Consider the type of music you create and the playing style you use.

    For example, if you’re a rockstar or dabble in heavy metal, you may want a deeper and louder snare drum. But if smooth jazz is more your vibe, you may prefer a more responsive and higher-pitched snare drum.

  • Musical genre: Your music genre will dictate the snare drum size you should use.

    For instance, marching snares are usually shallower and have a higher pitch, while orchestral snares are deeper and have a mellow tone. Consider your genre, and let it influence your decision-making.
  • Skill level: Your skill level as a drummer can also play a role in choosing the right snare drum size.

    If you're a beginner or intermediate player, you may want a snare drum that is more forgiving and easier to play. If you're a more advanced player, you may prefer a snare drum that is more responsive and challenging to play.

Keeping these considerations in mind, here are a few tips on how you can test out different snare drum sizes:

  • Visit a music store: The best way to test different snare drum sizes is to visit a music store and try them out in person. Most music stores have display kits where you can try out different drums and get a feel for their sound and responsiveness.

  • Borrow from friends: If you have fellow drummers in your circle, borrow their snare drums to test out different sizes and narrow down your options. This is a great way to get a feel for different snare drum sizes without having to invest in one right away.

  • Attend drum clinics: Drum clinics typically feature demonstrations and workshops on different snare drum sizes and their sounds. Attending clinics will give you valuable insights into the different snare drums and how you can use them in different musical settings.

These are some of our tried and true tips and techniques to help find the perfect snare drum. 

But once you have your options narrowed down, where do you go to buy your drum? Well, lucky for you, we know just the place….


Geek Stands: Your One-Stop Shop for Quality Snare Drums

man adjusting snare drum stand

Since 1999, our team at Geek Stands has been working to provide musicians like yourself with high-quality music equipment and accessories over different platforms, at the most competitive rates on the market.

Over the years, Geek Stands has blossomed into a leading online retailer built on a community of musicians and music lovers. 

We’ve also built a reputation for ourselves for amazing customer service and quality products, as is evidenced by the 99 percent customer satisfaction rate across our platforms.

So if a high-quality snare drum is what you’re looking for, there’s no better place to start your search than at Geek Stands. To that end, here are some of our most popular snare drums and their features to get you started:

  • GRIFFIN Snare Drum: Poplar Wood Shell 14" x 5.5" with Black PVC & Coated Head - Acoustic Marching Percussion Musical Instrument Set with Drummers Key.

    This snare drum features a poplar wood shell with a black PVC and coated head, making it perfect for use in marching percussion. It also comes with a drummer's key for easy tuning. 
  • Piccolo Snare Drum 13" x 3.5" by GRIFFIN: 100% Poplar Wood Shell with Black Hickory Finish & Coated Drum Head - Drummers Acoustic Marching Kit.

    This piccolo snare drum is perfect if you’re looking for a compact and lightweight snare drum. It features a poplar wood shell with a black hickory finish and a coated drum head. It would make a great addition to your acoustic marching kits.
  • Popcorn Snare Drum by GRIFFIN: Firecracker Acoustic 10" x 6" Poplar Shell with Zebra Wood PVC - Soprano Mini Concert Marching Percussion Instrument.

    If you're looking for a unique and compact snare drum, you cannot go wrong with the Popcorn Snare Drum by GRIFFIN.

    With a poplar shell and zebra wood PVC, this firecracker acoustic snare drum is perfect for use in soprano mini concert marching percussion.

At Geek Stands, we understand the importance of having a high-quality snare drum that meets your individual needs. We offer a wide variety of snare drum sizes, styles, and prices so you’re sure to find your perfect fit, no matter your budget. 

Here is a brief walkthrough video on the GRIFFIN snare drum:

Beyond that, our knowledgeable and friendly customer service team is here to help you find the perfect snare drum for your musical journey. 

Like Jeanie Boyer said when describing her experience with Geek Stands, our team was super friendly and even wrote her a personal letter thanking her and letting her know to contact us if anything went wrong. In her words:

I absolutely love this snare. It definitely gets five stars. The company was so user friendly that they even wrote a personalized thank you letter saying if anything was wrong to personally contact them.”

So if you’re ready to start rocking your beats like a pro, check out our selection today, or get in touch for help finding your perfect snare drum.