Best Sousaphones

After 10+ hours of research, we strongly believe that the Indian Handmade Brass Finish Sousaphone is the best Sousaphone you can buy today (it’s also the best on a budget). We liked that this was an affordable option with an all brass design that featured a tuba mouthpiece, and came with a carrying bag.

To determine the best sousaphone we looked at the following features: materials, key, portability, and the price. We focused on brass sousaphones because they provide the best tones. And we also know that most modern sousaphones are made in the key of Bb♭. We then looked at whether an instrument came with a case versus a carrying bag, and also considered the price. If you want to add to your percussion collection, take a look at the best djembe too. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our top picks.

Top 3 Best Sousaphones

 #1  Indian Handmade Brass Finish Sousaphone

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This marching sousaphone is perfect for budget-focused shoppers who still want an all brass design.

Pros
  • Best on a budget
  • All brass design
  • Made with tuba mouthpiece
Cons
  • Carrying bag instead of case

Whether you’re a beginning sousaphone player or you’re experienced but shopping on a budget, you’re going to like our Top Pick. This sousaphone is made from sheet brass and is also the most affordable option in our guide.

We like that this sousaphone features a tuba mouthpiece. You’ll appreciate that this is a great marching sousaphone that comes with a carrying bag to keep it protected between uses. The bell on this sousaphone is also 25 inches wide. For another addition to your musical instrument collection, take a look at the best chimes too.

 #2  Zweiss Jumbo 24-Inch Bell Superbrass Sousaphone

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: A beautiful natural unlacquered brass sousaphone with a 24-inch bell that’s ideal for more experienced players in military bands and brass bands.

Pros
  • Best for intermediate players
  • Natural unlacquered brass
  • 24-inch bell
Cons
  • Expensive

If you’re not concerned about the cost of a sousaphone, we recommend considering this option from Zweiss. While it’s slightly smaller than our Top Pick, it’s still fairly large with a 24-inch bell. As is common with sousaphones, this model is made in the key of BB♭ and features a detachable bell.

This is a great option for a student or intermediate player who’s more experienced. You’ll like that this instrument comes with a carrying case to keep your investment safe. But we also like that the bell and the mouthpiece are detachable. If you like this sousaphone, also take a look at the best concertinas.

 #3  Queen Brass Sousaphone

Award: Best Quality

WHY WE LIKE IT: A large 25-inch bell sousaphone made with a silver brass finish that’s perfect for a wide range of performers including concert bands.

Pros
  • Carrying case included
  • Silver brass finish
  • Detachable 25in bell
Cons
  • Expensive

If you view your musical instrument as an extension of yourself, you’re going to love our Best Quality recommendation. This sousaphone features a sleek silver brass finish, making it ideal for not just marching bands but street bands as well.

We like that this model also comes with a carrying case and features a detachable 25-inch bell for easier transport. As is standard, this sousaphone is made in the key of Bb♭. you’ll also like that the mouthpiece is also included with the purchase of this instrument. If you’re looking for more of a starter instrument, take a look at the best cowbell instead.

How We Decided

Sousaphones are an important instrument for marching and performance bands. To create our guide, we focused on the following factors — materials, key, portability, and price. However, since sousaphones are held to specific standards (usually either for marching bands, street performances, or concerts, you’ll find that the specifications between our recommendations are fairly similar.

For example, while you can find sousaphones in three material compositions, all of our picks are made from brass. We focused on brass since this material creates the best tones. Likewise, all of our recommendations are made in the key of Bb♭.

We know that portability is important too. All of our picks can be disassembled with the bell and the mouthpiece being removable parts. But our Top Pick only comes with a carrying bag whereas the Honorable Mention and the Best Quality come with actual cases.

And finally, we know that the sousaphone can be an expensive instrument. And while technically speaking all of our picks are fairly expensive, our Top Pick is also the Best on a Budget recommendation since it’s significantly less than the Honorable Mention and Best Quality picks. If you want an instrument that’s niche and nobody’s ever heard of, take a look at the best djembe too.

Best Sousaphones Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Materials
    Sousaphones are usually made from either brass, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Since this instrument is often used in marching bands, a fiberglass sousaphone can be an ideal option since it helps to reduce the overall weight and tends to be cheaper. However, they emit thinner tones that aren’t as warm as brass. In contrast, a brass sousaphone is ideal for more seasoned musicians because it produces richer and darker tones and is easier to tune. However, because of the all-metal construction, it’s significantly heavier. A sousaphone made from a combination of fiberglass and brass is known as a hybrid sousaphone. This is a great option for someone who’s looking for something affordable that still produces warmer tones that are associated with this instrument.
  2. Key
    These days, most sousaphones are made in the key of Bb♭. However, some older sousaphones are made in the key of E♭. Sousaphones look similar to a tuba, but have a more restricted range with just three valves instead of the four that the tuba has.
  3. Portability
    Sousaphones are designed to be disassembled to make them easier for transport. Whether you’re in a marching band or a performance group, this is a critical factor to keep in mind. Typically, the bell is the detachable piece.

Sousaphones FAQs

What key is a sousaphone in?

Typically, you’ll find sousaphones made in the key of Bb♭. And normally, this instrument’s part in any musical piece is written in “concert pitch”.

Which is bigger, tuba, or sousaphone?

Tubas and sousaphones are very similar in size. The main difference between these two instruments is that sousaphones feature a bell that always faces forward while tubas can face up or forward. Additionally, sousaphones have three valves whereas tubas have four valves.

Is a sousaphone lower than a tuba?

Even though sousaphones have a more restricted range than a tuba, they can play the same music and achieve the same tones.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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