The best handpan this year is not going to come to you cheaply. And like it or not, the best handpan is not going to be found lurking on the sales pages of Amazon either. This guide will provide information on the best handpans, and which handpans to avoid.
My Favourite 3 Handpans, Scales and Brands
|1||Gio’s Instruments||E Kurd Extended 16|
|2||Oasis Sound Sculpture||Sound Healer 432 Mruganandana 12|
|3||Yishama Pantam||F Integral 11|
What follows is an introduction to many of the best handpan makers and instruments that you will [rightly] not find on Amazon. Beginning with my favorite three handpans, by brand and scale.
There are no prices or waiting times published in this guide, but to buy a good handpan, expect to pay in excess of $1500 and more still for a very good quality one.
There are exceptions that can be uncovered.
The Best Handpan Brands do not Pay Commission for Referral
The best handpans are not available through affiliate links and list posts, some of which dominate the search results on google when you search for ‘best handpans’
In actual fact, many of those ‘best handpans’ are a long way from the best quality instruments you can find in this class and find themselves in recommendations ONLY because the writer of the article can add an affiliate link which will result in a small commission if you purchase one.
This article has links to all the mentioned brands and makers but not a single affiliate link.
With that, you can be assured that this article is based on facts and not an incentive.
1. Yishama Pantam (Isreal)
Yishama are makers held in the highest regard in the handpan community. Founded in 2014 they have been producing high-quality instruments with a free first retuning service. (Which you shouldn’t need for years with proper playing technique and care)
You may have to wait a while as each instrument is made to a specific order.
They have an email service and waiting list, which you can join and you will be contacted when they are ready to begin discussing your requirements.
This discussion process is essential to ensure that what you want and what can be achieved with the Yishama Pantam is achievable.
Differing sizes of between 50-56cm depending on the scale arrive weighing in at around 4.5kg
What Yishama Say
Yishama has a very well thought out blog on their website too, where insight is provided. I particularly like the difference between high and low-quality handpan and what Yishama ensure to arrive in the former category.
What Yishama Players Say
For me, the tonal quality that they’re able to produce even on some of the most complex layouts makes them amazing. The activation of notes and clarity of notes without any muffled or shrill overtones, very negligible crosstalk, if any makes them a cut above the rest. A testament is if you go around the Handpan world, almost all the to artists swear by it!! Starting with the great Kabe!!Handpan Instruments Facebook group
2. Veritas Sound Sculpture (US)
Josh Rivera would have been one of the first few people in the US to receive and play a PANArt Hang in 2006. Little did he know or probably expect at that time that just a few years later he would venture into tuning and by 2020 be the creator of one of the most loved melodic handpans around the world.
Using nitrided steel shells from Ayasa, you can be assured of a top quality instrument from a top quality maker.
I’m in no position to let you know how a handpan is built, but Josh is with his incredibly insightful ‘how to build a handpan‘ page from his website.
What Veritas Users Say
I have purchased an A2 Pygmy with 11 notes. This instrument has a really satisfying deep & warm sound. Its excellent craftsmanship. Josh is an awesome maker and promptly answers all your questions while his handpans are fairly priced. I have met and enjoyed talking to him on the UK Handpan Festival Hangout. Thank you for this instrument!Bilge T. Kilic
3. Ayasa (Netherlands)
Ayasa is probably as well known for its supply of top quality nitrided shells now as the instruments themselves that have been in productions since 2013.
Occasionally you’ll find an instrument available for sale for immediate shipping, but they will not last long so you’ll have to be quick. Otherwise, it is a simple ordering process online for the handpan player.
Regularly considered as one of the top handpan brands in the world within the handpan community, you know they are recommended by players themselves.
4. Echo Sound Sculpture (Switzerland)
Anyone fortunate enough to own an AsaChan handpan knows they have a work of hammer excellence in their possession. Undoubtedly one of the best handpans on the market created by the skilled team at Echo Sound Sculpture of Ezahn, Flavio Brant Alvim and Valerio Menon.
Again as with all of the best handpans, you can expect to wait while your handpan is crafted specifically for you. In this case, 1-3 months is a typical lead time.
What AsaChan Players Say.
If you have any doubts about this brand, listen to the words of David Charrier from MasterTheHandpan
I first met Ezahn a long time ago, in 2011 when he was still working from a very small basement. In fact, as soon as I heard that someone else on this planet was making what we now call handpans, I jumped in my car and went to visit him. At that time, apart from PANArt, very few people were able to make this kind of instrument, you could literally count them on the fingers of one hand. Then I discovered the AsaChan…Wow!David Charrier
5. Pantheon Halo (US)
Here is Dan Mulqueen playing a Pantheon Steel Halo. Founded by Kyle Cox, the Halo is a much sought after handpan model. Especially some of the older models moving around the pre-owned space.
DID YOU KNOW: Kyle Cox is accredited with coining the term ‘handpan’ as an alternative to ‘Hang’
The original American handpan may come in more costly than European instruments but you are assured of owning one of the best handpans in the world.
I had the chance to play a beautiful new batch generation 5. This Halo is full of sounds, full of dynamic, full of clear harmonics. A wraparound instrument as it was in the past. – The high notes are so bright that it is impossible to get tired of playing them. The deep bass are powerful and wrap you in a full 360 degrees.Alessio Massi – Hardcase technologies
6. Gio’s Instruments (Mallorca -Spain)
As mentioned at the top of this article this is my favourite instrument, and this video is one of my favorites. I listen to it at least once a week. every week.
I only discovered Gio’s handpans when browsing through YouTube videos one day and I’m so glad I did. A fantastic and communicative guy to work with, for me, the E Kurd Extended from Sergio is the best handpan money can buy.
When you know Malte Marten and Yatao are happy to recommend these instruments, you can buy with confidence knowing Sergio Huerta Perez.
Sergio Huerta Perez, a passionate and gifted handpan maker who lives together with his wife in the middle of nowhere in Mallorca, channels all his love into making his instruments. Touching his instruments, one feels Sergio’s calmness and devotion. Each handpan for itself has little peculiarities that one can implement in one’s playing.Malte Marten – Yatao Music
7. SPb (RU)
The SPb Pantam is the creation of Victor Levinson in Russia and is one of the best handpan instruments you can own and play.
The one thing you can be assured of with the SPB pantam is that there are not thousands flying around the world. In fact, of the top level handpans, these are probably less well known or owned, but rest assured, any waiting time to have the tone fields created by Victors hands is worth it.
They are highly regarded and sought-after
Among all the handpan instruments, the SPB’s have perhaps the most recognizable character and tone. These instruments are made by Victor Levinson in Russia and are very rare. This was my first “top shelf” instrument and I love it!Dan Mulqueen
8. Axiom (US)
While Axiom are dedicated fully to exploring the craft of tuned steel and producing the best handpans available they will also produce an instrument both unique in look.
Just check out how great this Double Ding Golden Avebury looks! That is without considering what a beautiful pitch it has on this scale too. Single center note dings are available too.
Axiom offer handpan at different sizes as well as different instruments too. They ship internationally making them available if you are outside the US.
If you’re down Nevada way, why not try out an Axiom
9. MAG Instruments (Hungary)
MAG produces highly regarded handpans, revered, and recommended by the highest level players of the instrument. The video below demonstrates perfectly why.
I 100% guarantee you will not get that level of quality from the best handpans on Amazon! When it comes to the evolution of the steel drum, MAG continue pushing forward.
Accessible worldwide but conveniently positioned in Hungary for European handpan enthusiasts.
10. Zephyr (UK)
Read why Zephyr are considered one of the best handpan for beginners
Another one of the best handpans in the list crafted in the UK. This time by Dean Richardson in Hampshire.
I cannot claim to have played a Zephyr handpan, but will vouch for Dean wholeheartedly given the exchanges I have had with him in investigating a good scale for me.
You do not have to concern yourself with sound quality as you can tell from the video above, but what you also get is stunning aesthetic design and a unique sound of the handpan.
I actually bought 4 Zephyr Handpans for myself in June 2019. I was so astonished by their outstanding quality and price (the best price/quality ratio I’ve ever seen since almost a decade that I’ve been playing), that I thought that these would be the best instruments to recommend to my students.Gerard Spencer
11. Meridien (UK)
When Adrian Portia chooses a handpan and takes it all the way from the UK, halfway around the world to his base in Australia, you know you are dealing with one of the best handpans available.
Duncan Arnot has been producing handpans since 2015 from his base in Bristol UK. Each instrument is hand crafted with a view to attaining perfection.
Some would argue that is the result each and every time.
12. Manik Sound Sculpture (Spain)
13. Saraz (US)
Saraz are one of the bigger brand names in the hanpan world and in particular in the United States.
They craft the best handpans across 19-21inch instruments in nitrided or stainless steel. Incredibly popular with the meditation and sound healing crowd.
14. Symphonic Steel
Symphonic steel certainly think they have the best hanpan in the world.
I’m not about to argue with creator Sean Beever who has been tuning steel since he was just 12 years of age.
For my first handpan, I searched an inexpensive model and found the Iskra Motif series by Symphonic Steel. Despite the price, no compromises were made regarding the sound – it sounds perfect to me. I love it!Iskra Motif Pygmy Owner
15. Makai (Hawaii)
David Gallagher discovered handpans in 2007. Since that discovery, further exploration has led to the Makai Instruments range of tuned steel handpans, which can be regarded as one of the best handpans in the world.
David at Makai makes great instruments. I have had my pans for over 2 years now and haven’t needed to retune them. Play them properly, take care of them and you’ll only need a touch-up every handful of years.Kyu Reed on Facebook Handpan Community
How do you know these are the best handpans?
Thanks to the handpan community, which remains relatively small to this day, I have collated hundreds of experienced opinions on the best handpans available. This goes hand in hand with my experience of a limited number I have played. This includes 2 that are not on this list!
The Best Handpan has yet to be created
The best handpan may or may not have already been created. Design, evolution and experiments continue onca daily basis from creators with a vision to explore unknown territories and push the boundaries of what is possible in the musical world of steel
Types of Handpan
In this list, you will find a reference to hanpan, pantam, and space drum. The first thing to understand is that they are, broadly the same instrument, collectively known these days as a handpan. Inspired by the PANArt handpan, invented in Switzerland, which in turn was inspired by Steel pans.
A spacedrum is the brand name for the handpan created by Metal Sounds, whilst the Pantam is the name often given to handpans in the eastern end of the world, arguably derived from difficulty in pronouncing handpan. Who knows? Who cares? Somebody probably. But ultimately, we are talking about the idiophone instrument, ‘handpan’.
One final note before you get to the list, the Idiophone is a classification of percussion instrument where the entire body of the instrument vibrates in the delivery of the sound when played.
Where did the handpan come from?
Originally created from taking inspiration from the Trinidadian Steel pans, Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer created the first Hang, under the PANArt brand. They took the original steel instrument, flipped it inside out, and experimented until this beautiful instrument was created and handpan music came to the world.
QUICKLINKS to best handpan maker lists
If you would like to narrow down this list and look for information on a handpan maker closer to you, which will help with being able to see, fell and meet the maker, I have collated the information of many into separate pages, based on the Us and UK. I would like to complete page for Europe and Asia/Australasia soon
What is this list of best handpans for?
The list of handpan makers on this page is to give you some information on where you can find a handpan maker that is as local as possible to you.
Try to make a visit, meet the makers, see, tounch feel and play a scale in the workshop and find out what a handpan really is before spending a fortune on one.
When spending this amount of money on a musical instrument, you need more than an affiliated, incentive driven recommendation, from someone, who, in all probability has not even seen, played or heard the instrument in question.
Disclaimer: I have of course neither seen, heard or played a handpan from every manufacturer on this list. I would have needed to have spent in excess of $100,000 to do so, and quite frankly that’s a way out of my financial capabilities.
How to use this list of best handpan and makers?
My ongoing advice when looking to find the best handpan and buy a handpan for the first time, is where possible, try to meet your chosen creator, or visit the workshop.
Thankfully in these modern times, it is not absolutely essential as there is a great deal of information available backed up by videos of the instruments being played, by skilled players.
As long as you do a good deal of research, you will avoid buying a bad handpan. So try to accomplish the following in the quest for the best handpan closest to you
- Make a shortlist of makers close to you
- Watch lots of videos of the handpans being played
- Try to visit your chosen manufacturer
- Join a handpan community on Facebook
- Ask questions of people with handpans about their opinions
- Do not try to find cheaper handpans (it will hurt)
- Be patient and save if you do not have the budget to buy right now
- DO NOT use affiliate links for handpans on Amazon
Why are these the best handpans?
Handpans can also be known as Hang Drums, Pantams, Spacedrums, and sometimes, tongue drums, hank drums and
This article is a labor of love. I have put over 30 hours into writing it, and the aim is to beat most every other page to rank for the term best handpan. The reason for this is when I searched the term, I found a lot of misleading articles at the top of the results recommending products that quite frankly are below par and not the best handpans at all. NOT BY A LONG WAY.
To back up my passion for this cause is to point out that there are no affiliate links in this article. In fact there are virtually no affiliate schemes paying commission for the best products in the handpan sector.
Why? For one, promotion is not needed to sell these handpans. Secondly, demand of the best outstrips supply and waiting times become counter-productive pushing potential unaware buyers to more available and poorer quality instruments.
Yes this website does have affiliate links for products, but you’ll find this is not the case for handpans at all – and never will!
Handpans are special. too special to be pushed by financial incentive. Handpan fans would not do so, and manufacturers who care for their art will not entertain such practice. Long may it continue
The handpan is a special instrument. The handpan is a relatively new instrument that for the first 20 years of its existence was rather under the radar. In recent years it has become more popular.
This is not a handpan buying guide, not will it provide advice on finding a cheap handpan.
The best handpan is not a cheap handpan, a good handpan is going to cost you, in most cases, in excess of $2000
There are some exceptions but are few and very far between. For more details on how to avoid buying a bad value handpan, please check out my guide on budget handpans.
The popularity of handpans, made famous by the likes of , Hang massive, Yatao Music, Daniel Waples and Nadishana to name just a few, and an exploding viewership on YouTube has led many more people into discovering handpans
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Handpans?
Here is answer a few related questions regarding the best handpans available. Most of these questions are answered in more depth on the website and where appicable i will link and refer you do amore in depth answer
How long should I wait for the best handpan?
Usually you will find a waiting list when wanting to buy one of the best handpans on the market. This could be anything from between a month up to 1 year. If the wauting list is longer than a year, then i would suggest moving to your second choice and seeing how long the wait will be there.
On some occasions, you may find an instantly available handpan. This could be for a number of reasons. A canceled order, a buyback instrument from the same maker who retunes, conditions, and offers for sale once again, or just an extra instrument or two created in a quieter ordering period.
How to choose a handpan if you are a Beginner?
Choosing a hanpan as a beginner is no mean task. trust me I ahve been there and it took me forever to finally decide on a scale, and thenyet longer to choose a maker, and longer stil to get the money together. here is a simple list
- Choose a scale by listening to as mny videos as you can and selecting the one that you ‘feel’ the most
- Take a look at local makers to you, so that you might have the opportunity to visit the workshop and see the actual instruments
- Narrow down and select your maker
- Make a few sacrifies to you budget if you don’t already have the cash and get excited about reaching the target
- Do not be tempted to buy cheaper instruments from Amazon or Ebay or Facebook sponsred ads.
Read my handpan buying guide which opens with a section on Buying your First Handpan.
Why is it so difficult to buy a handpan?
It is not difficult to buy a handpan. You can simply log into Amazon, and a couple of clicks later you will be $1000 lighter in your poscket and have a great big boz of disappointment on the way!
Buying a handpan is no more difficult in the type of choices and consideration you would give buying your next car.
It just takes the same time and effort you would put into spending around $2,000 on anything!
What is the best beginner handpan scale?
There is no best beginner handpan scale, although there are probably some that sould avoid as a starter,
Thanks fully there is a huge choice of scales to choose from and most makers have a very good range and will discuss a bespoke scale for you and the possibilities should you wish.
From experience I would say go with a Major scale to get started, they are brighter, more hopeful and happy. Mystical and deeper more thoughtful scales can be a little tricker to connect with until you become a little more adept with your playig technique.
I go into scales a little more in an article I wrote about choosing a handpan scale.
How much do handpans cost?
- Never below $1000
- Between $1000-$2000 with caution
- Over $2000 with a recommendation
Generally, you should not consider paying less than $1000 for a handpan. Any handpan. There is a huge range of handpans priced between $1000 and $2000 but there are a good number of dummies in there too.
Seek as much advice and find forums to ask experienced players what they think of some of your considerations. You will soon find out if you are looking at a dummy or not.
If you are looking at a price tag over $2000 you should be moving into far safer territory, but that’s not to say there is not a scam out there trying to do you for your money. again, ask around, you’ll soon fund out.
Do not buy budget handpans, it will not be the best handpan you could get for your money.
Where to buy a handpan and avoid getting ripped off.
Directly from a maker is where you want to be spending your money. That is not to say there havenever been unscrupulous creators out there who have taken money and run.
You really need to get into the handpan community in places like facebook and ask around, or use a maker in this article, and open a conversation with them about what you want and how much it i going to cost you.
Can i buy a handpan in stores or on the internet?
Is the handpan hard to learn?
You will be able to play a tune that will not make you feel ill, the second you sit down at the best handpans straight out of the box.
Thanks to the tuning and notes in the scales used on handpans, they are very easy to play.
In fact, with 20 hours of play, you will have pretty much become an expert.
How should I store a handpan?
A handpan should always be stored in a dry place. never in a bag for any length of time.
If you do need to store in a bag for more than a day, perhaps you are traveling or something like that, then you can use those chap silica gel packets to eat up any moisture stuck in the bag
Moisture is not a friend of your handpan
Can I start with a budget handpan and move up?
You can ultimately do whatever you like to do, but I would advise just hanging on and waiting to get a handpan in the upper reaches of cost. If it is a matter of just not being able to afford $2000 right now, but you are desperate to get a handpan, just work that bit harder, or save that bit longer to send the right mney
Buying a budget handpan is fraught with danger. At best you will get a sub-par instrument that you may even fall in love with, and that would be great. At worst you will have still spent a considerable amount of money and may find the experience puts you off ever wanting to invest three to four times as much on another. And that would be a shame.
Do I need a stand to play a handpan?
You do not need a stand to play handpan, most frequently you will see players sat with the instrument on thier lap.
However, there may be occasion when you would like to stad and play, or are unable to sit onthe floor, or play comfotrably sat on a chair.
There are a range of stands made for handpan specifically, but also some options like snare drum stands that work equally as well.
Why haven’t you called it a hang drum?
The reason i have not called it a hang is because the term hang drum is trademarked by PANArt, the original maker of this instrument.
Because of this, the worod handpan, mainly because it is a steel pana nd played by han, the terms handpan has become the widely accepted nae of the instrument.
you will find terms such as hang drum used incorrectly, you’ll also find Spacedrum, which is a brand, and Pantam which is another name for handpan used in various places. As you learn more about the best handpans, you’ll become used to the names and the brands that you can trust.
More Handpan Brands
The remaining brands on this list can also be considered better than the affiliated sale brands from Amazon, So feel free to check out the handpan makers lists I have on site, or just head straight for the websites of these makers.
- Jan Borren
- Aggion Pantam
- Colin Foulke
- Manik Sound Sculpture
- Soulshine Sounds
- Leaf Sound Sculptures
- PanStream (UK)
- Pepis Noblet
- Soma Sounds
- Pandora Pantam
- Spirit Hanpans
- Lupan Hanpan
- Oasis Sound Sculpture
- Agharta Pantam
- Tala Hanpan
- Heaven Sound
- Harmonic Art
- Celestial Sound
- Atom Handpans
- 45. Dave’s Island Instruments
- Sacred Rhythm
- Karumi Steel
- Sierra Sound Sculpture
- NAOS Instruments
- Harmoney handpan