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Which xylophone is best?

While often viewed as instruments exclusively for children, xylophones are present in orchestras, film scores and even some pop and rock bands. The simplicity that makes them appeal to young people also makes them accessible, easy-to-understand instruments to learn about and create music, no matter your age.

The Stagg XYLO-SET 37 HG Professional Xylophone Set with Stand and Bag is a well-built, professional xylophone that produces excellent sound thanks to its quality wood construction. Because this model comes with a stand and padded travel case, it is an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore their musical creativity through a new instrument.

What to know before you buy a xylophone

What is a xylophone?

A xylophone instrument is a percussion instrument composed of tuned wooden bars arranged in the same musical scale as piano keys. The instrument is played by striking the bars with a pair of mallets. Xylophones for children are equally popular as those for adults. 

What are your goals?

Xylophones come in a wide range of sizes, with some models geared toward professional musicians and others made for students. Are you looking to learn music fundamentals? Do you already have an understanding of music and are looking to learn a new instrument? The answers to these questions will help determine what kind of xylophone is best for you. 

What’s the difference between a xylophone, a marimba and a glockenspiel?

These three instruments look similar and are played in much the same way, leading many people to mistakenly use their names interchangeably. While there are a few differences between them, the most obvious variation is in the materials they are made from.

  • Xylophones produce their sound from wooden bars.
  • Marimbas are also made of wood but have a lower tone and usually feature resonating chambers that affect the instrument’s sound. 
  • Glockenspiels are similar to marimbas but are made of metal bars as opposed to wood.

What to look for in a quality xylophone

Frame construction

The frame of your xylophone does more than simply hold the bars in position. It also has an effect on the resonance and tone of the instrument. The size, material and thickness of the xylophone’s frame will also factor into the xylophone’s weight and portability.


Traditionally, xylophone keys are made from wood. Rosewood is the most popular choice due to its resonant properties and pleasant tone. However, if you will be using your xylophone for outdoor concerts or in other situations where it may be exposed to the elements, models featuring synthetic bars are available. 

Octave range

The octave range of your xylophone will determine how many notes it is able to produce. Larger octave ranges allow for greater note variation but result in bigger, heavier instruments. The standard for professional xylophones is an octave range of 3.5.


From padded carrying bags to stands and mallets, many xylophones include accessories that allow you to start making music immediately. In addition, beginner musicians will find exceptional value in kits and bundles that include essential items.

How much you can expect to spend on a xylophone

A quality beginner’s xylophone costs $100-$150, while professional-level models cost $400 or more.

Xylophone FAQ

Do you need to tune a xylophone?

A. Xylophones come tuned appropriately for most users and applications. For professional musicians who require perfect pitch to accompany other instruments, there are tuning procedures for xylophones that involve sanding and changing the size of the wooden bars. This practice should only be undertaken by a professional.

Is the xylophone difficult to play?

A. As far as musical instruments go, the xylophone is easy to understand and use but can be challenging to master. From the manner in which the mallets are held to your posture while playing, a variety of factors go into performing with a xylophone. Lessons are recommended.

How should you store your xylophone when you are not using it?

A. Between uses, your xylophone should be stored in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. If you use your instrument regularly, you can cover it with a sheet to prevent dust accumulation. For long-term storage, invest in a padded bag or hard case for your xylophone.

What’s the best xylophone to buy?

Top xylophone

Stagg XYLO-SET 37 HG Professional Xylophone Set with Stand and Bag

Stagg XYLO-SET 37 HG Professional Xylophone Set With Stand and Bag

What you need to know: This professional-grade instrument includes a stand and a padded bag.

What you’ll love: High-quality wood keys and a classic, traditional appearance make this xylophone as pleasing to look at as it is to play.

What you should consider: This xylophone is a costly investment for beginners, and some users find that the included travel bag could use some improvements.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top xylophone for the money

Giantex Foldable Glockenspiel

Giantex Foldable Glockenspiel

What you need to know: While technically a glockenspiel, this instrument is played the same way as a xylophone and is an affordable entry point for beginner musicians.

What you’ll love: This instrument folds up for compact, easy storage. It includes a carrying bag and mallets. Professionally tuned and made from high-quality components.

What you should consider: Some users feel that the included mallets are not of high quality, but alternatives can be purchased separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Cara & Co Professional Wooden Xylophone with 27 Keys

Cara & Co Professional Wooden Xylophone With 27 Keys

What you need to know: This wooden xylophone features removable keys for easy learning.

What you’ll love: Great for adults and children alike who are interested in learning how to play music, this xylophone is small and easy to move. Includes two pairs of wooden beaters and engraved keys.

What you should consider: Best suited for beginners, this xylophone may have issues with pitch and quality control.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Xylophone tips

Learn the basics

Starting from scratch can be frustrating, but understanding music theory fundamentals will inform and enhance your playing for years to come.


The more you use your xylophone, the more comfortable you will become with it. Familiarity produces confidence.


While learning the basics of music, don’t forget to experiment and have fun. Creative curiosity will allow you to become more expressive in your playing and create a sound that is uniquely your own.


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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