The differences between handpan and hang drum

Welcome to Escapists Musics, where the soothing sounds of handpans bring peace and tranquility to your life. In today’s blog, we delve into the fascinating world of handpan drums and hang drums, exploring their key differences and helping you decide which might be the right choice for your musical journey.

Understanding the Handpan Drum

The handpan drum is a musical instrument from the idiophone class, known for its resonant and ethereal sound. Originating in the early 2000s, handpans feature a convex steel shell with multiple tone fields that are played by hand. Its sound is often described as melodic and soothing, making it popular for meditation and relaxation.

Exploring the Hang Drum

The hang drum, often confused with the handpan, was created in Switzerland in 2000 by PANArt. The term hang means "hand" in Bernese German, emphasizing the instrument’s intimate playing style. Unlike the broader category of handpans, the hang drum has a distinct construction and sound, trademarked specifically by PANArt.

Key Differences Highlighted

Feature Handpan Hang Drum
Invention Year Early 2000s 2000
Creator Various Makers PANArt (Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer)
Material Steel Specialized Steel Alloy
Sound Quality Melodic and soothing Deep, harmonic resonance
Availability Widely available Limited and patented

Sound and Performance

When it comes to performance, the handpan produces a clear, melodious sound that resonates well in both solo performances and ensemble settings. The hang drum, on the other hand, is known for its deeper, more harmonic resonance which makes it highly sought-after among enthusiasts.

Material and Build Quality

The material used in the construction of these instruments plays a crucial role in their sound output. Handpans are generally made from high-quality steel, while hang drums are crafted from a unique steel alloy developed by PANArt, contributing to their distinct sound and higher price point.

Price and Availability

Handpans are more widely manufactured and thus more readily available than hang drums. This availability makes them generally more affordable than the exclusive hang drums, which are limited in production due to patent protections and the unique material used.

Choosing the Right Instrument

Choosing between a handpan and a hang drum often comes down to personal preference, availability, and budget. For those new to these instruments, a handpan may be a more accessible choice, both financially and in terms of learning to play.


Whether you choose a handpan or a hang drum, each instrument offers a unique way to enhance your musical expression. Consider the key differences outlined in our guide to make an informed decision that suits your style, budget, and musical needs. Embrace the soothing sounds of these incredible instruments and let your creativity flow!

FAQ on Handpan and Hang Drum

What is the main difference between a handpan and a hang drum?

The main difference lies in their construction and sound. Handpans offer a wide range of tones, whereas hang drums provide a deeper resonance, limited availability, and are often more expensive due to their patented design.

Which is easier to learn for beginners?

Handpans tend to be more accessible for beginners, not only due to their availability but also because they are easier to play and less expensive than hang drums.

Can handpans be used in professional music production?

Yes, handpans are frequently used in professional music settings, including recordings and live performances, due to their versatile and ethereal sound.

How should I maintain my handpan or hang drum?

Maintenance involves regular cleaning with a soft cloth and occasionally applying a specific oil to prevent rust and maintain the instrument’s quality.

Where can I purchase a quality handpan or hang drum?

At Escapists Musics, we offer a curated selection of high-quality handpans. For hang drums, due to their limited production, it is recommended to check with authorized dealers or directly with PANArt.