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Expert Shopper Music

Best harp


Playing a harp can be an expensive hobby — a high-end instrument can cost as much as a car. A budget model, however, might not hold its tuning very well, which can make for a frustrating playing experience. A happy middleground is something affordable that looks nice and sounds good.

To give you some guidance, we've put together this concise article on harps, discussing the key factors to be aware of. We also include product recommendations at the end. One of our favorites is the Rees Harps Sharpsicle Harp. This functional model is compact while offering a wide range of performance capabilities. For more information on harps, keep reading.


Lap harps

Lap harps are smaller instruments that may range from mere novelty items to functioning instruments. Some people include lyres, zithers, and other stringed instruments in this category. In short, this is an inexpensive instrument with a limited key range that is easily transportable.

Lever harps

Lever harps are usually larger than lap harps. The advantage to owning a lever harp is its sharping levers — little switches at the top of the harp that raise the pitch of certain (or all) strings on the harp, making it much more versatile for performance.

Pedal harps

This is what most people think of when they think "harp." While there can be some that are smaller in size, most are larger instruments that are as tall as the performer. What sets these models apart is the pedal action which allows the strings to be either flat, natural, or sharp so the musician is able to play in the broadest range of keys.

What to look for in a quality harp


Some people are interested in purchasing a harp that functions more as décor than a musical instrument. If so, your primary focus should be on looks. Carefully consider the size, wood, and design to make sure the harp you’re considering meets all your aesthetic requirements.


If you’re purchasing a harp to play, you want an instrument with a tone that’s pleasant to your ears. Warm, rich, and resonant are words that are often used to describe a superior sound. Look for a model that produces the tonal colors that satisfy your sonic needs. Do a little research to make sure the model you’re considering can hold its tune well, otherwise performing may become an exercise in frustration.


It’s important to note that some harps require a stand. Research the model you’re considering to determine if this is the case so you aren’t disappointed when it arrives.

How much you can expect to spend on a harp

Even novelty harps can cost up to $500. To get a performance-worthy model, you need to spend $1,000-$5,000. If you’d like to join an orchestra and are considering a model with pedals, you're looking at $10,000 and up.

Harps FAQ

How large is a harp?

A. Harps can range in size from a tiny instrument that easily fits in your lap to a massive piece of furniture that weighs over 80 pounds and is 6 feet tall.

How do I care for my harp?

A. The best way to care for your harp is washing and thoroughly drying your hands before playing. Remember not to moisturize your hands before touching the strings and remove all watches and jewelry so you don’t accidentally scratch the instrument. It’s also important to regularly wipe down your instrument with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.

What harps are best to buy?

Top harp

Rees Harps Sharpsicle Harp

Our take: This flexible harp offers a warm tone that can play in several keys without the need for retuning.

What we like: This harp is just 33 inches tall and weighs less than 7 pounds. It features eight sharping levers, which give the instrument a decent amount of flexibility.

What you should consider: This model is expensive.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top harp for the money

Roosebeck Lily Harp

Our take: This is a great instrument for a beginner or someone with a casual interest or curiosity in harp music.

What we like: This harp has eight nylon strings, a tuning tool, and is only 15 inches tall. It features an attractive design and is easy to store when not in use.

What you should consider: With just eight strings, this harp is limited in its functionality.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Design Toscano Celtic Heather Harp

Our take: This beautifully designed harp has a number of impressive features that make it stand out from other comparably priced models.

What we like: This replica Celtic harp pays homage to instruments from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. Additionally, the 35-inch instrument has a three-octave range with sharping levers, making it a functional piece of art.

What you should consider: Some users have noted the sharping levers can be a little inconsistent in performance.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon


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

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