Best Gongs

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

45 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
558 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best gongs

Last Updated July 2020

Hands up — how many of us have always wanted to hit a gong? Rest assured, it's as satisfying as it looks! Whether you want to call the house to dinner, improve your meditation practice, or add an extra dimension to your music, a gong might be what you need. Gongs can be used in orchestras and other music, in meditation and spiritual practices, and as decoration. However you intend to use yours, you need to pick the right one first.

To select the best gong, you must consider a wide range of factors. These include the size of the gong, whether it includes a stand, and the gong’s overall design. Once you've figured out what you're looking for in a gong, it will be easier to select the model that best suits your needs.

We've listed our top options for your consideration, but first, read on for our full guide to gongs.

Wind gongs have flat faces and make ringing wind-like sounds. Chau gongs have rounded back edges and make deeper crash sounds.

Key considerations

Size

You can find gongs in a huge range of sizes, from 5-inch miniatures to 80-inch behemoths. The larger the gong, the louder and deeper it tends to be, though this is also influenced by factors such as shape and material. If you actually want to play your gong rather than just use it for decoration, we recommend choosing a gong of at least 10 to 12 inches. That said, you may need a larger gong if you're playing it on stage so the audience can hear it over the other instruments. Large gongs are loud, create a rich tone, and look impressive, but extra-large gongs are difficult to move, so don't go too big unless your gong is likely to sit in one spot indefinitely.

Stand

Some gongs have a stand included in the price, whereas others simply come on a string so you can hold them as you play or hang them up. Gong stands range in aesthetics from plain to ornate. Simple, practical stands are generally more durable and functional than ornate options. For instance, they may come apart for easier transportation, which is important for a performing musician. Of course, if your gong will primarily be decorative, you may prefer an ornate stand, even if it's less functional.

Hammering

The majority of gongs are hammered, although some inexpensive choices are not. The hammering process literally involves hammers (special rounded ones) that are used to make dents all over the surface of the gong. Each hammer hit makes the metal more dense in the area that's struck, which changes its tone quality. Hammered gongs tend to have a more complex and musical tone than those that aren't hammered. Hand-hammered gongs each have a unique tone, since no two are hammered in exactly the same spots. That said, some gongs sold today are hammered by machines.

EXPERT TIP

You can buy both hard and soft cases for gongs to protect them when you travel or while they're in storage.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Mallet

A mallet is what you strike your gong with. It's essentially a single drumstick with a beater end. The majority of basic gongs and many mid-range options include a mallet as standard. However, many higher-end gongs are sold without mallets. The reason: buyers who are making an investment are more likely to be fussy about which mallet they use.

Design

As mentioned, a gong may be simple or ornate in appearance. Often, those with painted or etched symbols and designs are meant to be decorative rather than to be played. Therefore, they may not sound as nice. However, you can find some attractive gongs that also play exceptionally well if you shop around a little.

If your gong doesn't have a stand, you can purchase a stand for it separately.

Material

Gongs can, theoretically, be made from almost any metal (as long as it's solid and hard at room temperature), but they're usually crafted from brass, bronze, or an alloy of both metals. Bronze and brass give gongs their characteristic hue. These materials are durable yet malleable enough to be shaped and hammered.  

Tone

"Tone" is a term used to describe the quality or character of a sound and can be fairly hard to define. A gong may have a "rich" tone (deep and dull) or a "bright" tone (higher in pitch with lots of sustain). While we can talk and write about tone, you can't really get a feeling for the tone of a gong until you hear it struck.

EXPERT TIP

The mallets included with gongs aren't always of the highest quality. If you feel like you need a new gong mallet, there are plenty of options on the market.


Staff  | BestReviews

Gong prices

How much should you expect to pay for a gong, and what will you get for your money?

Inexpensive gongs cost from $20 to $100. These might not give you the best sound, but they work well as dinner gongs or decorative items. Mid-range gongs cost around $100 to $500 and are great for meditation, sound baths, or playing on stage. High-end gongs cost from $500 to over $3,000. They're generally only used by serious gong enthusiasts or people who frequently use gongs in their work (for instance, people who run meditation classes or professional musicians).

Tips

  • Consider your reasons for buying a gong. Do you want to play it on stage? Is it for meditation? Will you use it to call attention in meetings? Or simply as a decorative item? Your reason for buying a gong will affect which one is best for you.
  • Manage your expectations regarding gongs. You'll find all kinds of claims about gongs, such as their ability to heal physical and mental ailments through their vibrations. Sure, gongs can help with meditation and relaxation, but don't expect miracles.
  • Think about how important sound quality is to you. Of course, not everyone has hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on a gong, but if you choose the cheapest model, don't expect an excellent sound from it.
  • Learn how to play your gong. It's not as simple as just giving your gong a wallop. A range of techniques exist for playing gongs to optimize their swing, vibration, and overall sound.
Gongs can be used to draw your attention back to your meditation practice or to signal the end of meditation.

FAQ

Q. What is a gong bath?
A.
You may have heard the term "gong bath" or "sound bath,” but what does it mean? First off, let's get this straight: there's no water involved in a sound bath, so you can put your loofah and rubber ducky away. Rather, a gong bath is a relaxation or meditation technique where you basically just lie down and chill out while someone plays a gong. If you want to use your gong for a gong bath, you'll need to enlist the help of another person who can play your gong while you relax. 
 

Q. What's the difference between a symphonic gong and a planetary gong?
A.
A symphonic gong is also known as an un-tuned gong. This is the classic type of gong. It isn't tuned to a particular note or resonance; it's simply designed to make the best possible sound it can at the note that it would naturally make when struck. This note varies depending on the size and design of the gong.
 

Planetary gongs are tuned gongs. They're carefully shaped to produce a particular note when struck. Planetary gongs are actually designed to resonate at the same frequency as the planets and other celestial bodies orbiting our solar system, so you can buy a Jupiter gong, a Neptune gong, and so on. Some people claim this gives planetary gongs particular healing properties. We certainly can't confirm this, but they are cool.
 

Q. Can gongs be used for live music?
A.
Yes, absolutely. Gongs are regularly used in symphony orchestras and less frequently in pop and rock bands. If you choose to use a gong on stage, make sure it's large enough and loud enough to cut through the sound of the other instruments in the band or orchestra.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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