When considering a snare drum purchase pose the question, How seriously am I about playing the drums? In principle, any cheap drum and stand can be used if youre not going to be serious about it or if youre a beginner just starting out. If you plan to stick with it and develop into a good drummer then a better quality drum is a sensible purchase because it will last longer and you wont outgrow and require a second purchase. While some custom drums can be very expensive, a decent mid-level drum can provide decades of use for a modest outlay.
Then theres the question of sound. The sound of a snare has a great impact so its important to consider the styles you want to play. If youre uncertain, choose a general-purpose, 14-inch diameter snare. This is the most common size of snare used and will suit most styles of music well. Listen and try out some different snare drums. Whether you choose a metal or wooden shell, use your personal taste and choose one that sounds good to your ears. A few good snare drums can last a lifetime.