metal handpan musical instrument

Handpans are becoming increasingly popular for their unique sound and ability to create a calming and meditative atmosphere. However, not all handpans are created equal. If you're looking for the best authentic handpans with accessories, we've got you covered.

What is a handpan?

Handpans are a unique instrument, invented in the early years of 2007. They supposedly originated in Bern, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer although it could be argued that the steel pan came from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930s as an adaption from another steel pan drum. The "handpan", "Hang Drum", "pantam", and "UFO Drum" are various names for a family of closely related musical instruments. Made of two convex steel sheets glued together, they feature tuned notes on both the top and sometimes bottom halves, playable with the hands.

Why is the handpan unique?

With the hand pan being such an unusual musical instrument it has developed its very own niche market. Within this market, people understand both the quality of the metal used as well as the craftsmanship involved in developing such an instrument. Due to the time and skill that it takes to produce a single handpan, people are willing to pay such a high price for them.

One of the benefits of a handpan is that it’s similar to a gamelan in that it relaxes you and lets your mind settle or wander freely without worry. As you play, you’ll feel your mind and body start to relax, and you’ll be able to express yourself in a way that words cannot. It’s the perfect way to relieve stress or simply unwind after a long day.

Comparing it to Tongue Drums and Steel Drums

Handpans produce a clear, bright, and smooth sound with medium to high sustain, giving them a magical quality. In contrast, tongue drums have a fuzzier sound with a longer sustain.

Steel tongue drums are typically smaller but heavier than handpans. They are constructed with thicker steel and resonate for a longer duration than handpans.

How to play the handpan drum

The handpan itself is designed to be played in a similar way as the drum. It is played by using your hands to play keys on the pan itself, each time producing a unique sound depending on where you hit the pan and the way in which you do so. Over the past decade, musicians have learnt to use the hand pan to produce sounds and the melodies of songs that would usually be played by a more classical instrument such as the violin or piano. 

How much does a handpan cost?

The price of a hand pan can vary depending on the material that it is made from, the brand, design and the techniques used to make it. Prices typically can range from £15 for a budget cheaply made pan - £3500 for a luxurious steel high quality instrument.  

When you buy a cheap instrument, it will soon become obvious that the cheaper option was not the best way to go due to it being made from poor quality metals. If the thought of owning one of these exquisite instruments interests you then see our buying guide below.

How does it sound like?

The Om metal hand pan produces resonant tones that are soothing and calming. Its clear and melodious notes create a peaceful ambiance, perfect for relaxation and meditation.

Handpan buying guide for beginners

1. Om Hanpan

om handpan

The Om hand pan come with rubber feet on the bottom to provide extra stability while you play. With this feature, you can focus on your music and not have to worry about your handpan moving around. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, the handpan with accessories is a great choice. With its cool Gheri carry bag, two beaters, and rubber feet for stability, you’ll have everything you need to get started on your musical journey. Purchase the Om Handpan here.

2. Saraz Handpans

Saraz is a well-known company in the handpan community, they are known primarily for their custom series stainless steel pans that are nitrided and come in various different scales and note variations. On their website they also have a selection of accessories such as microfibre cloths, carry case, soundpan rust wax, rain cover, evapad and more. Check out the Saraz Handpans here.

3. Meraki Handpans

Meraki Handpans are an Italian company that produces steel handpans that come in a variety of scales.

4. Ayasa Handpans

Ayasa Handpans are known for their extraordinary instruments. Their handpans are made with high-quality steel. The two main separations in design are the Ember steel class which consists of a rounded sustain, ceramic like sound, rust protection, more stability, patina temperature colours ranging from bright gold to purple or blue. The Stainless AISI 430 class which has a 1mm nitrided steel shell allowing for a more deep sustain sound. They also offer a variety of accessories such as tuning hammers, tuning sticks, phoenix oil for rust protection, scotch brite ultra fine for cleaning dirt and rust particles.

5. Professional Handpan

Metal handpan (A Scale)

These professional hardpans come in two different scales, these are; A scale with the following progression: A, C, D, Bb, G, E, D, F, A and the G scale variation has the following progression: G, Eb, D, F#, A, C, D, Bb, G. Buy the Professional Handpan here.

6. Aura Handpans

Aura Handpans are known for their sound quality, mixed colour options and different series for musicians who are at a different stage of learning. These series include the beginner series, Azure, Pantam and resonance. There are subtle differences between each series and the price varies from the low end of the scale to the upper range but is mainly based on aesthetics. Each handpan is made by hand and undergoes strict quality control to ensure it meets the highest standards. With a warm and balanced sound, Aura Handpans are perfect for both beginners and experienced players.

The Best Handpan Accessories

Investing in quality accessories can enhance your playing experience and protect your handpan. When it comes to accessories, there are a few key items that every handpan player should have. Here are a few must-have accessories for any handpan player:

Hard Case

A hard case is essential for protecting your handpan during transport. Look for a case that is padded and has a secure locking mechanism to ensure your handpan stays safe.


A stand can make playing more comfortable and enhance your sound quality. Look for a stand that is adjustable and stable to ensure your handpan stays in place while you play.


Mallets are essential for playing your handpan. Look for mallets that are specifically designed for handpans and have a soft rubber tip to produce a warm and rich sound but also feel free to experiment with different types of mallets to produce different sounds. 

Handpans (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the purpose of a handpan?

The handpan exerts a profoundly harmonizing and calming influence on our minds. The gentle tones it produces signal to our brains that it's conducive to unwind and release stress and tension.

Are handpans waterproof?

High-quality handpans are more durable than you might expect. Spyros Pan, a skilled player from Greece, once submerged his Halo handpan in a swimming pool for a two-hour photoshoot. After thoroughly drying it with a regular microfiber cloth, six years later, it remains completely free of rust.

How heavy is a handpan?
Handpans typically measure between 45cm and 65cm in diameter, stand 15cm to 30cm tall, and weigh between 2.5kg and 4.5kg.
Can anyone play a handpan?
You don't require classical training or music theory knowledge to play the handpan. Each handpan is tuned to a specific musical scale, eliminating the concept of wrong notes and the fear of making mistakes. As a result, handpan playing is accessible to everyone, regardless of musical background.
How to maintain a handpan?
After each use, gently wipe the instrument with a soft, clean, dry cloth, preferably microfiber. Clean your handpan every 6 to 12 months to eliminate dirt and oils: You can use isopropyl alcohol or a milder rubbing alcohol (with an isopropyl alcohol or ethanol base of 50-75%, diluted with water).

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