Are you a musician looking for a percussive instrument to enhance your sound? In that case, you should consider purchasing a tambourine!
There’s nothing worse than composing or replicating a piece of music, only to find that the end result sounds somehow lackluster. It can be difficult and frustrating trying to work out what’s missing from your sound. However, the solution to your woes may be simpler than you think!
The tambourine is often overlooked in musical circles because of its reputation as a basic or even a children’s instrument. With that being said, the right tambourine can truly add an extra dimension and fullness to your sound.
Not only does it help to cement the rhythm, but the addition of jingling bells can lend a festive feel to the music.
If you’re looking for the best tambourine on the market, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best tambourines you can order today to take your sound to the next level!
The 10 Best Tambourines
OUR TOP PICK
Our best overall tambourine pick is the Musfunny Tambourine for Adults.
This is a fantastic all-purpose tambourine for different music styles, environments, and levels of ability.
Whether you’re a complete newbie to the percussion scene or a professional player, this tambourine provides enough ease of use and quality sound to suit anyone.
At 10 inches in diameter, the Musfunny tambourine is the optimal size for most users.
The ergonomic grip makes this a beginner-friendly and comfortable tambourine to use, while the polyester leather drumhead is vegan-friendly and produces a clear, bright, upbeat sound.
Musfunny’s tambourine is very affordable, and while it’s not a professional-grade instrument, it delivers great sound and playability for the price.
With that being said, the birchwood used in the construction of this tambourine isn’t the most durable, so this is a tambourine that should be handled with care.
- Polyester leather drumhead - Bright, clear sound
- Ergonomic grip - Easy playability
- 10-inch diameter - Optimal size
- Affordable - Budget-friendly
- Birchwood - Not the most durable
The Luvay 9-Inch Double Row Tambourine is a great alternative to our best overall pick.
This is another highly affordable tambourine that, despite its low price, can hold its own in serious musical environments.
The solid plastic construction of the frame ensures durability, while the double row of zills (totaling 20 zills altogether) delivers a very bright sound.
Thanks to the contoured grip, which has indentations for each finger, the Luvay 9-inch tambourine is comfortable to use and, since it only measures 9 inches, it’s not too heavy or cumbersome.
However, even though the tambourine features plenty of zills, it’s not the loudest tambourine on the market, and a certain amount of force is required to produce a powerful sound.
- Tough plastic - Durable construction
- Contoured grip area - Comfortable and ergonomic
- Double-row zills - Enhanced sound
- Affordably priced - Budget buy
- Not very loud - May not compete well with loud instruments
A good-quality tambourine should cost you more than some of the cheap, toy-like kids models out there. However, this doesn’t mean you need to blow your weekly budget on a tambourine just to achieve decent sound.
The Dreokee Tambourine for Adults is very inexpensive, but you wouldn’t guess that from the sound and ease of use that it delivers!
Dreokee has used birchwood for the frame of this tambourine, which admittedly isn’t the most durable wood, but the natural feel of the material lends a sense of authenticity to the instrument. Just be sure to handle it with care.
Meanwhile, the polyester leather drumhead produces a loud and clear sound, which is great for maintaining a rhythm alongside the melodious jingles of the metal zills.
At just 8 inches, this tambourine is portable and lightweight and can be used by both adults and children.
- Highly affordable - Budget-friendly
- Adult and child-friendly - Suited to all abilities
- Polyester leather - Keeps clear rhythm
- 8 inches - Lightweight and portable
- Birch frame - Handle with care
Best for Beginners
Although the tambourine isn’t a complicated instrument, it’s still helpful to have a beginner-friendly model when you’re starting out.
This tambourine from Rhythm Tech is advertised as the most played tambourine worldwide, and that’s because it’s so beginner-friendly.
It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but if you’re prepared to spend a little extra for a solid start in tambourine playing, it’s perfect.
The comfort grip, which features extra padding, is comfortable to hold for hours on end.
Rhythm Tech’s tambourine features brass zills that produce a rich, warm, and mellow tone. The tambourine sounds beautiful on its own and as an accompaniment.
The frame is made from tough, wear-resistant plastic that feels lightweight while maintaining good durability.
- Padded comfort grip - Ergonomic
- Brass zills - Warm, mellow tone
- Wear-resistant plastic - Lightweight yet durable
- On the expensive side - Not the best for tight budgets
Playing the tambourine can get uncomfortable after a while because of all the impact on your hands. An ergonomically constructed tambourine like the Latin Percussion Cyclops Hand Held Tambourine can help to resolve this issue.
The shape of this tambourine is unique because it’s been patented by LP. The shape is designed to allow for natural wrist movement and a more comfortable playing experience.
The padded handle, meanwhile, ensures a painless grip, although the instrument is slightly on the heavier side.
The zills are dimpled and made from a nickel-plated steel alloy, which delivers excellent sound projection without the need for a lot of force. The dimpling alters the vibrations to produce a crisper quality of sound.
- Steel alloy, nickel-plated zills - Effortless sound projection
- Zill dimpling - Crisper sound
- Patented shape - Ergonomic wrist movement
- Padded handle - Comfortable grip
- Slightly heavy - May induce some hand fatigue
Best for Mellow Sound
Sometimes, quietness in a tambourine can be an issue if the instrument needs to compete with other drums or loud instruments. However, if you’re specifically looking for a mellow sound, the Meinl Cymbals Ching Ring Tambourine will be perfect!
This Meinl tambourine is designed to work in conjunction with drumkits to enhance the sound of cymbals. However, it also works as a handheld instrument.
The foam ring around the frame of the tambourine dampens vibrations for a mellower sound while also protecting your cymbals from impact damage. The side effect, however, is that it does somewhat dampen the sound of the actual cymbal.
Meanwhile, the zills have been sandwiched together for a clearer sound with less distortion.
- Drumkit-compatible - Enhances cymbal sound
- Foam ring - Dampener for mellow sound
- Sandwiched zills - Minimal distortion
- Dampens cymbal sound - Not ideal for loud cymbal crashes
Best for Recording
When recording music, it’s crucial that each instrument featured in the recording delivers a clear, full sound so that the sound equipment can pick everything up.
Based on these factors, the best tambourine for recording is the Meinl Percussion Dual Alloy Recording Combo Tambourine.
Featuring a double row of steel and brass zills, this tambourine executes the perfect balance between bright and warm tones for a full and resonant sound that will translate well into recordings. However, it’s better for longer sounds than sharp rhythms.
The synthetic, all-weather frame brings durability to the table, while the foam grip, which is ergonomically curved, will be comfortable to use during long recording sessions.
- Double row zills - Full sound
- Steel and brass zills - Balance of warm and bright tones
- Synthetic frame - All-weather durability
- Curved foam grip - Comfortable to hold
- Produces longer sounds - Not the best for short, sharp rhythms
Best for Concerts
If you’re planning to play the tambourine at a concert, you’ll need to make sure that the instrument you choose is loud, clear, and melodious enough to impress in a large acoustic space.
This is a premium instrument, so it’s a very expensive investment. However, the sound and authenticity of the design are definitely worth it if you have the means.
The real calfskin drumhead feels authentic and natural while delivering a clear, sonorous rhythm.
Meanwhile, the double row silver and chromium zills resonate bright and clear for a sound that carries and makes itself known.
Thanks to the solid ashwood frame, this tambourine is highly durable, so you’ll get impressive longevity for your money.
- Calfskin drumhead - Authentic feel and powerful sound
- Ashwood frame - Solid and durable
- Silver and chromium zills - Bright, clear notes
- Premium price - Very expensive
Best for Worship
Similar to concert tambourines, worship tambourines need to provide a full enough sound to fill large, echoing spaces like churches and halls.
Moreover, a worship tambourine should be versatile enough to cater to the wide range of worship songs out there.
We’d recommend the Remo Fiberskyn Tambourine for worship sessions. It’s suitable for both recreational and professional players, and the drumhead has already been pre-tuned at the factory, so no extra maintenance is required.
The double row of zills creates a loud sound to help fill up a room and delivers a warm tone for uplifting musical experiences.
Unfortunately, the grip is not padded or contoured, so it’s not particularly comfortable to play.
- Suited to recreational and professional playing - Versatile application
- Pre-tuned drumhead - Low-maintenance and perfect sound
- Double row zills - Warm tone
- Hard grip - Not the most comfortable to use
Best Foot Tambourine
One style of tambourine that’s often overlooked is the foot tambourine. However, this tambourine style can be really useful for musical multitasking.
Even if you’re already playing an instrument that requires the use of your hands, you can effortlessly accompany yourself using a foot tambourine!
The rubberwood frame of this tambourine is durable but also lightweight, so your foot won’t get tired from playing.
The stainless steel zills deliver bright, subtle notes for gentle accompaniment. However, be aware that there are only 4 pairs of zills, so the resultant sound isn’t very loud.
Meanwhile, the strong, elasticated nylon strap keeps the instrument firmly attached to the player’s foot.
- Rubberwood frame - Lightweight and durable
- Stainless steel zills - Bright notes
- Nylon strap - Strong and secure
- Only 4 sets of zills - Not particularly loud
The Tambourine: A Buyer’s Guide
Before we get into the products, you should know which features to look for in a high-quality tambourine.
Tambourines come in a variety of different styles, one of which may suit you better than another, depending on your sound and playing style.
All tambourines consist of a frame and a set of zills (commonly known as jingles). The most traditional tambourine model is roughly circular and features a drumhead over the top for beating a rhythm.
However, open circular and crescent frames are also viable options. These models are easier to hold and are usually less costly.
If you’re looking for a tambourine to play in conjunction with another instrument, you can also find foot tambourines and tambourines designed to sit on top of hi-hate and cymbals to enhance the sound.
Traditional tambourines were made with wooden frames. If you want an authentic tambourine, therefore, you should be looking for wooden builds.
Birchwood is a common choice because it’s lightweight and not too expensive. However, it’s also not very durable and may splinter over time.
Ashwood is stronger and more durable, although it comes at a higher cost.
Rubberwood is a hardwood variety that makes for a good budget option. It’s durable and also happens to be eco-friendly since it’s harvested from ‘leftover’ wood.
Alternatively, you could opt for a synthetic, plastic frame. As long as the resin is high-quality, plastic frames should be durable enough and won’t cost too much.
In terms of zill material, common options are brass, stainless steel, and silver. If you want warmer, mellower tones, we would recommend brass. For brighter tones, stainless steel is the best budget option, while silver is your high-end choice.
That’s all for now! We hope you’ve found your perfect tambourine amongst our selection and that your sound will be better and more diverse as a result!
Remember to scroll back up to our buyer’s guide and review each feature before buying to confirm that you’re making the best choice for your musical needs!