There are several different types of stands for the steel pan instrument. The most important characteristic of a stand for a steel drum is that the steel pan must hang freely on the hanging loops that are on both sides of each barrel, so that it will have the correct sound. Where the steel pan musician most often performs is sometimes the determining factor in which type of stand he should use. Other characteristics that stands have include whether the stand is collapsible or whether it “nests” and if it is height adjustable, light in weight, durable, and reasonably priced.
Professional musicians often choose a type of stand for steel pans that is called a tripod stand. The base or lower part of the stand is like that of a cymbal stand that a drum set player would use. The tripod base has 3 legs. This gives a steel pan greater balance playing on uneven surfaces, like on a beach, on a lawn or hillside and so on. Is much less likely that a steel drum will fall over when using a three legged tripod base stand than with a four legged stand. If a steel pan falls over, very often it will have to be tuned. This can cause much difficulty, since there are so few qualified tuners. The tripod base collapses, making it convenient to carry. The top part of this type of steel pan stand has a horizontal bar and 2 uprights, not unlike a goal post in American football. In a solid one piece top, which is shaped like a large capital letter U, there is a nub at the center bottom that fits into the tripod base. There are also tops for this type of stand that either collapse or snap apart so that the steel pan player can fit the entire stand into a small bag after rapidly collapsing it.
There are also four legged stage stands for steel pans that are best used when an ensemble is going to play mostly on flat, even surfaces. They often have wheels, which makes it convenient to move the steel drums around in a large steel pan ensemble. Stage stands are most often in the shape of a capital letter H, with two uprights on which the hanging loops hold up the steel pan and a horizontal bar that connects the two uprights and runs underneath the steel pan. Two more sections run horizontally to the floor and often have wheels on them. Stage stands do not readily collapse, however they usually nest, which means they can be fit into each other for transporting them. Since this type of steel pan stand is most often used in a large steel drum band, having each stand be able to totally collapse is not such a big factor as it is with a small group or for a solo professional steel pan musician.
Another type of stand for use with upper steel pans (leads, double seconds and double tenors) is the one-touch stand. This stand uses a clever design that allows musicians to set it up all in one motion. When the player finishes playing his steel pan instrument, all parts of the stand simultaneously collapse into a very portable shape. Unfortunately, the design of this stand is somewhat complicated and they are often not available in most parts of the steel pan world.