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Tongue drum or handpan?

Instrumente Vergleich: Tongue Drum und Handpan Drum gegenübergestellt

Different focuses and special features

A frequently asked question from people is what are the differences between the two instruments Tonge Drum, also known as Tongue Drum, and Handpan, as well as which instrument suits their needs better. In this article we will briefly discuss the most important points on this topic. You can find our handpans in the handpan catalog including our tongue drums .

Although both instruments belong to the same type of instrument, despite some similarities, they are two completely different musical instruments. Handpans have a clearer tone and a magical, bright, ceramic and smooth sound with medium to high sustain, while tongue drums have more of a fuzzy sound with a long sustain. Handpans are made from different materials to suit different playing styles, from fast, percussive playing to slow, meditative styles, while tongue drums are only known for slow and meditative playing. While notes are limited to tongue drums, handpans can be made with up to 22 notes or even more, making them more flexible.

Although tongue drums are generally smaller, they are much heavier than handpans because they are made of thicker sheet steel. Also, the standard size of handpans is 18-23 inches, so a small handpan (mini handpan) can sometimes be the size of a tongue drum but still be much lighter. Both have their own unique sound.

Since handpans are much more complicated to make, their price is much higher than tonge drums. As mentioned at the beginning, these are two completely different instruments. Paying less here means anything but getting the same.

Sound fields

This is where handpans and tongue drums differ significantly from each other. The tone field or the playable notes look completely different and feel different to play. The handpans contain dimples and dents that are made without drilling through the steel, while the tongues of the steel tongue drums are cut into the steel in various shapes.


Overall, comparing handpans and tongue drums is like comparing an apple to an orange. Both are round, similarly shaped and yet completely different fruits with different taste and nutritional value. If you are attracted to a handpan, a tongue drum cannot be a substitute, and conversely, if you are considering a tongue drum, go for it. We will help you make the right investment for you through auditions.

Buy a tongue drum or handpan?

 Tongue drums and handpans are both wonderful instruments that offer a unique sound experience. Both have their respective special features and focal points that set them apart. If you decide to buy such an instrument, you should consider which one best meets your needs.

Buy a tongue drum? This instrument gets its name from the type of mallets used to play it. It consists of several metal tabs or discs attached to its lower end. It is a relatively light and portable instrument and can be played with various mallets. The sound quality is warm and melodic with lots of depth and atmosphere. It is an excellent instrument for meditation and relaxation as well as improvisation and composition.

Pantam / Handpan: The Handpan / Pantam is able to produce a variety of sounds. It is slightly larger than the tongue drum and consists of two offset metal discs with several cymbal variations in the middle. The sound quality is breathtakingly clear and smooth with a rich tonal spectrum from low to high. It is perfect for composers, musicians and performers as it offers many options for interpreting different styles of music.

Regardless of whether you want to buy a steel tongue drum or a steel pan, with these instruments you are choosing musical diversity and numerous possible uses in different music genres such as jazz, rock or folklore. With every musical expression you have the opportunity to create new melodies or vary existing rhythms; Ultimately the decision is yours! So if you have to decide between buying a tongue drum or handpan, it's definitely worth testing both options to find out which one is your personal preference!

It is obvious that each tool has its own advantages and limitations. Depending on your playing style, you can make the best choice. If you are looking for an instrument that you can play quickly and percussively, a handpan would be the right choice. Handpans are made from a variety of materials, come in a variety of sizes, and can be made with up to 22 notes or more. This flexibility means they are suitable for different playing styles, from fast, percussive playing to slow, meditative styles.

On the other hand, you can buy a tongue drum. Tongue drums are generally smaller and lighter than handpans because they are made from thinner sheet steel. However, the note selection is more limited and it is only known for slow and meditative playing.

When deciding between Tongue Drum or Handpan Drum / Pantam, you should be aware of what type of music you want to make and what characteristics are most important to you - size, weight or number of notes - in order to find the right instrument!

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