Best Handpan For Beginners

The handpan, also known as the hang drum, is a magnetic new percussion instrument that creates melodic tones. For anyone looking to start learning the handpan, choosing the right tool as a beginner is essential. 

You’ll want an entry-level model that is well-made yet reasonable. Some key factors to consider are the type of steel used, the number of tones, portability, and ease of playability. In this article, we will analyze some top choices for beginners and break down the features that make them great choices for those just starting. The Cosmos handpan offers a standardized C major scale tuning and durable 301 grade stainless steel construction, making it a versatile option for beginners to explore.

We’ll look at handpans from trusted brands like Pantheon Steel and Ling Ling that offer excellent value and playability at an essential level. Overall, the goal is to help point new handpan students toward instruments that will allow them to have fun, learn proper technique, and start their musical journey with this magical steel drum.

What is a handpan?

Handpans are an amazing percussion instrument invented in 2007. Originating in Bern, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, handpans could also be digested as a transformation of steel pans from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930s. Known also as hang drums, pantams, or UFO drums, handpans consist of two curved sheets of steel glued together, featuring tuned notes on both surfaces playable by hand. 

Various names refer to these amazing devices constructed of steel domes tuned by hammering stainless steel discs into musically tuned notes or pans. The special tones are built by striking different areas of the steel shells, each one resonating with a particular pitch.

Why is the handpan unique?

The handpan has acquired a unique niche market where people admire the metallurgy and craftsmanship that goes into each one. Given the wonderful time and expertise required to formulate these drums, buyers understand the high price point. Like gamelan instruments, playing a handpan can relax both your mind and body

Allowing free-flowing thoughts without strain. As one’s skills improve, the handpan enables stress relief and self-expression beyond words. Simply unwinding with musical strikes works to calm the mind and relax tension. The harmonious tones soothe while allowing inner revelations, perfect for destressing after busy days.

How much does a handpan cost?

Handpan prices vary based on material, brand, design, and craftsmanship. Budget pans cost as little as £15, while high-end luxury steel drums range from £3,500. Cheaper options prove unwise long-term due to low-quality metals. Where expensive handpans warrant the investment for serious players, aspiring owners should see the buying guide below. 

It details factors like steel composition and track records of leading producers. An affordable starter instrument allows exploring this complex art, though the experience and tone of pricier professional-grade pans build a lifelong appreciation for the craft. Quality remains key to the handpan’s appeal.

How does it sound like?

The Om hand pan emanates serene, calming tones through resonant metal notes. Its clear, melodic sounds generate a tranquil environment ideal for relaxation and meditation. Peaceful harmonies flow easily from this handpan, its ambiance conducive to loosening tension. Whether unwinding solo or adding mellow accompaniment, the Om’s tranquil voicings soothe the mind.

Handpan buying guide for beginners

For those looking to start their handpan journey, navigating the options available can seem daunting. This brief guide aims to point beginners towards quality instruments suitable for learning the basics. Key factors like material, layout, portability and producer reputation will be covered. The goal is to find an affordable handpan that sounds beautiful while aiding the development of the technique. Let’s explore the top choices.

Om Hanpan

The Om handpan features rubber feet providing stability during play, allowing focus on music without unwanted movement. As a beginner or experienced musician, this accessory bundle enables an easy start. Included are a protective bag, two beaters for tone variations, and protective feet keeping the instrument steady under dynamic performance. A complete package, the Om launches users’ journeys with quality craftsmanship.

Saraz Handpans

Renowned in the handpan sphere, Saraz offers customized stainless steel drums nitrided in multiple note configurations. Known for custom series quality, their accessories including microfiber cloths, protective carrying case, rust prevention wax and rain cover maintain instruments. Additional offerings comprise a sound enhancer, evapad and more for extended musical pursuits. Browse Saraz’ collection praised for fine crafting and versatility.

Meraki Handpans

Meraki Handpans, an Italian producer, offers steel hand drums across diverse scales. Their meticulously crafted pans emanate resonating tones for musical expression and enjoyment.

Ayasa Handpans

Renowned Ayasa Handpans craft extraordinary steel pans using high-quality materials. Models include the Ember steel with rounded sustain tones and rust protection taking on hues, and Stainless AISI 430 with deep sustain through nitriding. A variety of accessories maintains instruments, such as hammers, sticks, rust protectant, and cleaner for dirt removal.

Aura Handpans

Aura Handpans offer renowned tone quality across lines. Beginner, Azure, Pantam, and Resonance cater to various skill levels with mixed colors at prices ranging from affordable to discerning aesthetes. Handmade through strict quality control, each emits balanced warmth suitable for novices and pros alike seeking exceptional craftsmanship and musicality.

The Best Handpan Accessories

  • Case – Protective storage and transportation
  • Hammers – Tuning tools in different sizes
  • Beaters – Variety of materials for tone colors
  • Cloth – Soft cleaning and rust prevention
  • Guide – Note placement and tuning references
  • Stand – Hands-free secured display
  • Pad – Muffle sound for technique practice


What is the best handpan to start with?

The Pantheon MIDI is often considered the best handpan to start with.

How do I choose my first handpan?

Factors like size, scale, material, and price point can help you choose your first handpan.

What is the beginner scale for handpan?

The C major scale is generally recommended as the beginner scale for handpan.


The Pantheon MIDI handpan makes an excellent choice for those just starting their musical journey. Its balanced size and standard C major tuning allows beginners to focus on developing proper technique without frustration from an instrument that is too small or features an unfamiliar scale. Further, the MIDI connectivity opens up possibilities for practicing with backing tracks. 

However, some may prefer an acoustic-only pan. In that case, considering a model from Om, Seraphim, or Pygmy Marimba within a similar size and scale range will also serve new players well as they discover the joy of handpan music. Whichever option is chosen, the best handpan is one that inspires the player to keep exploring their creativity.

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