It’s no secret that the handpan isn’t exactly the most affordable instrument, however, with more and more handpan builders entering the market, affordable options are becoming increasingly common.
If you are looking for your first handpan and on a budget, then this is the article for you. - Today we’ll walk you through all the options to scratch your handpan itch at every budget level, from $0 to $5,000+ in our list of the best handpans for every budget!
[The following list is meant to be impartial and Planet Handpan does not receive any compensation for listing any of the following companies.]
Budget: $0 - Digital Pantam App
If your handpan dreams are still a long way off financially-- don’t fret. There are still a few cheap ways to get your fingers moving. Head to the Google Play or Apple App Store and download the free Digital Pantam app. This neat little app will let you play a touch screen handpan right from your phone. This app has both free and paid versions and gives the option of several handpan scales, some percussion sounds, a metronome, and even the ability to record and playback your ideas. If you’ve never played a handpan before this is a fun way to get familiarized with the handpan layout and sound.
Budget: $10 - Connor Shafran’s PanSamples
Priced at only 7€ composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist Connor Shafran’s “PanSamples” handpan sample library might be the most bang for your buck in the world of handpan samples. While you may not have the ease of playability you get with a handpan app, if you are a music producer and looking to add the handpan sound to your next piece, Shafran's “PanSamples” might be the way to go. This library was made specifically for Ableton Live however it can be used with any DAW program and can be played with either your computer keyboard or a midi controller. *2023 Update* Connor is currently working on an update to his PanSamples library and a new edition of this sample pack will be available publicly soon.
Budget: $120 - Cinematique Instruments Pandrum
Rounding off our digital handpan options is the new Pandrum virtual instrument from Cinematique Instruments. Released in 2020, PanDrum is built on samples from 6 handpans and 2 steel tongue drums. The VST features 18 preprogrammed scale modes, tone-shaping (EQ, reverb, delay, etc.), layered instruments, and presets to take the handpan sound to a whole new level. If you are a composer or music producer Pandrum might be a great option for you as not only does it give you versatile access to the handpan sound, but also allows you the creativity and flexibility to do things impossible with a traditional acoustic handpan.
Budget: $620 - MAG Tongue Drums
While not technically a handpan, the first physical instruments on our list are the phenomenal Steel Tongue Drums from MAG Instruments. These beautifully handcrafted instruments share the same layout and scales as traditional handpans at a fraction of the price. With tuned harmonics in each tongue, these instruments produce a rich and full-bodied tone that is sure to inspire you to explore new musical horizons and unleash your inner creativity. With their versatile sound and intuitive design, the Steel Tongue Drums from MAG Instruments are perfect for anyone exploring the world of handpan music. We have MAG Tongue Drums in stock here!
Budget: $800 - RAV Vast Steel Tongue Drum
The RAV was created in Russia in 2014 by Andrey Remyannikov and belongs to the Steel Tongue Drum family of instruments. Like the handpan, RAVs are made in diatonic scale sets with pitches arranged in a circular zigzag pattern. Unlike some steel tongue drums, the RAV is tuned with up to 5 harmonic overtones in each individual tongue. The resultant sound is ethereal, otherworldly, and different from the handpan in its own unique way. Prices range from $730 - $830 before shipping.
$900 - Aura Handpans Beginner Series
For the first real-deal handpan on our list, we have the beginner series from Aura handpans. Aura is no new name in the handpan scene having been crafting their instruments since 2013. Starting at only $875 their new beginner series offers an affordable entry point for new handpan players while still offering an exquisitely made instrument. Built on untreated low carbon steel, Aura’s beginner series is offered in eight different seven-note sound models and includes 10% off the purchase of a future Aura handpan.
$1,200 - Colin Foulke’s Xenith7
For the $1,200 price point look no further than the newly created Xenith handpan by handpan pioneer Colin Foulke. Providing an accessible entry point into the handpan marketplace, the Xenith is sure to impress, boasting a myriad of features, a vibrant sound, and incredible attention to detail for a handpan at this price point. Built on nitrided steel the Xenith7 features a tuned port, Helmholtz, shoulder tones, a finished metal rim, and comes with an included soft backpack case. The Xenith7 is available in 10 different seven-note sound models.
$1,500 - $2,000
At the $1,500 to $2,000 price point, the available options for choosing a handpan broaden quite a bit. Here are a few handpan makers I would recommend looking into that fall within $1,500 - $2,000.
$2,000 - $2,500
Within the $2,000 - $2,500 price range you’ll have even more options. Here are a few makers I would recommend that will land you within this budget.
$2,500 $3,000 - Custom Handpan
Up to this point, most of the options we have laid out are for handpans that are either already built or are only available with certain scale and layout restrictions. If you find yourself with a budget in the $2,500 - $3,000 range, I would recommend you work with a handpan builder to design a custom instrument built to your liking. Ever wanted some extra notes on your bottom shell? Maybe a mutant note or two? While most builders have additional charges for these add-ons, if you have a budget approaching $3,000 you should be able to design an instrument that fills your heart's every desire.
(Most of the handpan builders mentioned previously do custom designs so if there is a builder above you resonate with consult with them about a custom build.)
$3,000 - $4,000 - Pantheon Steel Halo or Halo+
Nearing the top of our budget we have Missouri-based Pantheon Steel. Pantheon Steel was the first-ever handpan manufacturer in the United States and Pantheon Steel founder Kyle Cox is even attributed as coining the term, “handpan”, so it’s safe to say the Pantheon Steel team knows their way around a tuning hammer. Pantheon Steel currently creates both the Halo, a traditional style handpan, and the Halo+ an extended variation of the traditional handpan layout which offers up to 12 notes all on a single shell. The level of clarity and precision of the halo is next to none so if you’re looking for something truly next level, make sure to check out this American company.
$4,000 - $5,000+ - Yishama Pantam
We reach the apex of our list with Israel-based handpan maker, Yishama. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of handpan building, Yishama boasts some of the most diverse and exquisitely built instruments available today. Not only does Yishama produce one of the most sonorous and rich-sounding instruments you can obtain, but moreover their true specialty lies in the mastery of their unique and groundbreaking designs. Whether it’s super mutant 22 note instruments, or ultra-low scales Yishama has done it all. While the Yishama is unarguably a beautiful work of art their creations will set you back quite a pretty penny, so if budget is out of the question definitely look into this top-shelf maker.
So, what are you waiting for? There is a way to enjoy Handpan music for every budget. Get started today, for free, and then take the next step based on your budget. You’ll be glad you did! Looking to buy your first handpan? We've got you covered! Planet Handpan partners with the world's best handpan makers to get you an instrument you're sure to love. Every builder, every sound model, and every instrument is individually selected by us to guarantee you end up with a handpan that is truly the best of the best.
Head to the Planet Handpan marketplace to browse handpans from around the globe.