Four great things happened in 1843. Nelson’s column was erected in Trafalgar Square in London. Charles Dickens published his ‘Christmas Carol.’ Mendelssohn wrote his ‘Wedding March.’ And finally, Robert Clarke invented the tin whistle and sold it from a handcart. At the time, it wasn’t only the Best Tin Whistle – it was the ONLY tin whistle.
Robert was a poor, uneducated laborer, who was out of work. But he was a talented musician. And he started making his little whistle from tin and solder in Manchester, England. It became in vogue very quickly and was played just about everywhere by everyone, from musicians to little children.
But wasn’t it invented in Ireland?
One hundred and thirty years after, someone was overheard to ask. “Is that a real musical instrument”? He was rather unceremoniously removed from the building while the guy played on. That was in an Irish pub in London. Some people would say that is where the tin whistle came from. Ireland, that is, not the pub. They would be wrong.
Of course, we have had flutes and woodwind instruments of some kind since the first homosapiens gathered around fires 500,000 years ago. They were easy to make and get a tune of sorts out of. But making one from tin was a first. Now it is known and accepted everywhere, even by the guy who hurtled horizontally across the Irish Pub in Kilburn High Road that night at a rate of knots.
A wooden Tin Whistle?
The name is a little bit of a misnomer these days. A large percentage of ‘tin’ whistles are not made of tin. Some are other metals like brass. Also, there are lots that are made of plastic resins and some from wood. However, Tin Whistle is still a good description, whether they are made of tin or not.
So, let’s have a look at the Best Quality Tin Whistles and find the perfect one for you…
Top 10 Best Tin Whistle On The Market Reviews
1 Waltons Irish Tin Whistle Key of D – Best Beginners Tin Whistle
It is just possible that you are new to the world of the tin whistle. If that is the case, then this little package is going to be just right for you. This whistle comes with a CD and a booklet that is going to get you started.
One of the great things about the tin whistle or other similar instruments is that they are easy to play. And it doesn’t take long to be able to get a tune out of it.
Versatile and easy to play…
This whistle is great for everyone, beginner or experienced player. It may be easy to play, but it can be very dynamic. It is an instrument that can generate great excitement in the right environment. However, it also has a subtlety that is quite profound and poignant when played gently by an experienced musician.
It is a standard size and six-holed design. It is a whistle pitched in the Key of D. C and D are the most popular and most commonly used keys for the whistle. On the CD are 27 songs that give you a variety of musical styles that demonstrate its capabilities.
This whistle is made from Brass and is eleven and a half inches in length. A full range of notes are playable.
If you have never played an instrument before and want to learn some music, this isn’t a bad place to start. It certainly isn’t going to break the bank. A perfect introduction to the woodwind family of instruments. This is not a top of the range whistle but a very good place to start learning.
Set at a decent price point, it is a great gift for young and old alike.
- Comes with an instruction booklet and CD.
- Nicely made at a cost-effective price.
- Not the top of the range.
2 Woodi WI-921 WI-922 – Best Tin Whistle Set
This is a set of two whistles from Woodi that offer an alternative option to what is normally expected. They are both six-holed instruments. One is in the key of C and the other in the key of D. They measure 13 inches and 11.5 inches in length. The shorter whistle of 11.5 inches is in the key of D.
So what is so different with these whistles?
Instead of metal-based manufacture, these are made from an ABS resin plastic, which means it will be virtually unbreakable and very long-lasting. And to add a little bit of a vintage style, they have been given a wood-like blackened finish.
What material was used before the tin or penny whistle was invented in Manchester, England, in 1843? Most instruments of this kind were made from wood or similar easy to find materials. Tin or metal is a traditional material, but many manufacturers use other materials these days.
Clear and balanced…
ABS resin plastic can have other advantages, not just durability and longevity. The notes are often clearer and have a more balanced resonance. With metal, you can get some strange note variations at times. The purists will say that this is the uniqueness of the instrument. And they do have a point. But for someone learning the instrument, this is a good option.
It might not feel or sound exactly the same, but nevertheless it is a good starting point.
They do have some of the usual additions. The mouthpiece is moveable to aid tuning, and so they are a two-piece design.
The manufacturer’s comments say that they can be washed in the dishwasher. We probably wouldn’t try that. Dishwashers are hot, and these are plastic-based after all. Heat and plastic don’t usually work. A decent starter instrument and for two whistles a very attractive price point.
- Nicely made with a good clean sound.
- Two whistles, one in each of the principal whistle keys of C and D.
- Some will prefer traditional metal material.
3 Woodnote 2(key of C & D) Wood Grain Tin Whistles – Best Plastic Tin Whistle
Another pair of whistles, this time from Woodnote. With these whistles, you have one in the Key of C and the other in the key of D. As those familiar with the instrument are aware, they are the two most used keys. Both whistles are six-hole designs. They are a standard length of 11.5 inches for the whistle in the key of D and 13 inches for the C.
No need for a warm-up…
This is another whistle made from ABS resin plastic. As a material for the whistle, it certainly has its advantages. One big advantage of using a resin material is that you don’t have to warm the whistle up. With a tin whistle, you often have to get the instrument ‘warmed-up’ before it starts to make a decent sound.
That doesn’t apply obviously with resin plastic as it is not susceptible to temperature changes or humidity. Resin and plastic whistles are also often louder than metal-based instruments.
Very realistic looking…
These are made to look like wood, and at a distance, we doubt anyone could tell the difference. They come with two very nice leatherette carrying bags.
These are decent whistles with good intonation and durable build quality. Great for a starter or experienced musician that are well worth the money.
- Well made with some nice carrying bags.
- Hardwearing and durable resin plastic construction.
- A little more expensive than some budget range whistles.
4 Generation Whistles Brass D Generation Tin Whistle – Best Budget Tin Whistle
Generation is one of the few companies that make whistles in keys other than C or D, and their B flat whistle is especially respected amongst musicians.
Coated brass construction…
However, this instrument is not aimed at high-level musicians. It is tuned to D and is a standard eleven and a half inches long. It is made from brass, which has its positives and negatives. And it appears that the brass material used may have a coating of something on it. If this is the case, it is going to be prone to rub off with use.
But, there is nothing wrong with the build quality, and it has a red plastic mouthpiece. This can be removed and cleaned when necessary.
Great for a starter on a budget…
This is a very budget range whistle from Generation. They do produce a higher quality than this instrument, but this is purely a cheaper option. Presumably aimed at the starter. Therefore, you cannot expect the quality to be that high in its sound. Generally, it is ok.
The deeper registers are quite warm and pleasant. However, the higher registers are a little shrill and piercing. That, of course, is not uncommon with metal-based whistles.
For the money, it represents a good cheap option for someone to start.
- Decent quality of build with a plastic mouthpiece.
- A cost-effective price.
- Some will want higher quality.
5 Clarke Sweetone Blue Tin Whistle — Key of D – Best Value for the Money Tin Whistle
This whistle is bearing the name of Joseph Clarke, who is credited with inventing and manufacturing the first tin whistles. That may be one of the reasons that the whistles made by them are considered some of the best in the world.
This whistle is easy to play and gives you a very crisp and clean sound. This whistle has a big asset. It doesn’t need a great deal of air to produce a sound that has good volume. Its level of playability is suitable for both starters as well as the serious musician.
Smooth and accurate…
This whistle is pitched in the key of D and is twelve inches in length. It has the traditional six holes on top and is made of tin and has a black plastic mouthpiece. The design has the whistle tapering away from the mouthpiece. This idea of tapering the bore causes the finger holes to be closer together. This, in turn, improves the accuracy when playing the higher notes.
Sometimes one of the hardest parts of getting a good sound from a whistle is being able to cover the holes. If you do not do that, the whistle will make some odd noises. This design makes it so much easier to cover the holes in the high registers.
Heritage to the highest degree…
Included with this whistle are a song sheet and a chart showing finger positions for notes. Thus is made in England by Clarke. They have been making whistles since a certain Mr. Clarke sold them off a handcart. They know what they are doing, and it must be considered to be the Best Value Tin Whistle. Expensive, you might think? Not at all, a great price point.
- Made by the company with the longest history of whistle production.
- Tapered bore makes playing easier and the sound better.
- Very attractive price point.
6 Generation Whistles Brass C Tin Whistle
Back to Generation for another of their products. This one is made from brass and is tuned to C. It has a good level of construction, and is fitted with a decent quality mouthpiece that can be removed for cleaning purposes. It is a little longer than some C whistles, being just over fifteen inches in length.
A good warm-up needed…
There will always be a couple of problems with playing the whistle. The holes are positioned quite close together, at times making it difficult to play. Especially for those with larger fingers. But also the brass material used on this whistle can cause problems for the inexperienced player.
Whenever you pick it up, the metal is going to take time to ‘warm-up.’ This is quite natural but will affect the tuning. At first, it might seem out of tune, but that will only be the case during the warming up period. Therefore, it is something that needs to be done to get the best out of the instrument.
This particular instrument is not the cheapest and therefore might not be as popular as some.
- Made of brass with a removable plastic mouthpiece.
- A little more expensive than other similar ones.
7 Clarke Original D Standard Penny Tin Whistle – Best Mid Priced Tin Whistle
Back we go again to Clarke for another of their quality whistles. This one goes up the price scale a little, and so does the overall quality of this instrument. That makes it a contender to be considered the Best Mid Range Tin Whistle.
Breathy and sweet…
One of the great things about Clarke’s as a manufacturer is that their whistles suit a range of users. From professionals to starters, everyone is able to play them. And the sound they produce is the standard for others to follow. Breathy and sweet is how they are described. Almost flute-like in their sound.
This particular whistle is tuned to D and is just less than twelve inches long. The tube has a tapered design, which is common to the Clarke brand. This means that the holes are closer together in the higher register, making it easier to play.
A quality whistle for a quality price…
All of the tube is made from metal apart from what Clarke calls the mouthpiece. In reality, this is a piece of wood, like a small block that is the mouthpiece for playing into the whistles tube. It sits very nearly flush to the main tube, projecting out only approximately 1/16 of an inch.
The whistle comes with a chart showing finger positions. There are also five traditional tunes included. It comes with a gift box and is made in the UK. It is a little higher up the Whistle price point but worth it for the quality.
- Made by a quality manufacturer.
- Tapered design improves playability.
- A little more expensive than some.
8 Clarke Celtic Tin Whistle, Key of D – Best Celtic Tin Whistle
Continuing with Clarke and another Tin whistle in the key of D. And this metal whistle is adorned in Celtic green with a logo.
Clear and crisp…
It has a standard tapered body common to Clarke’s designs and a plastic mouthpiece. And delivers a clear and crisp sound and has a decent volume that doesn’t require a lot of puff.
It is going to suit experienced or starter players. It comes with a chart to show finger positions and a song sheet. Also included is a carrying pouch.
- Inferences could be misinterpreted, or perhaps they are supposed to be to make sales.
9 Feadog Original Irish Whistle Pack Triple Pack – Best Tin Whistle Pack for Beginners
Feadog began manufacturing their Tin Whistles in Ireland in 1978. They have since become well-liked in numerous playing circles.
One thing that should be cleared up to avoid any confusion to start with is the ‘triple pack’ description on the packaging. This is not three whistles; it is just one whistle in the key of D. The triple refers to the fact that there is a CD and a teaching booklet included. Just why they should say, we can’t comment as other manufactures don’t. Anyway, the point is cleared up.
It has a metal body and a plastic mouthpiece and is quite easy to play. There is a CD, as we have said, with some sample tunes. The instruction book is quite good and will be ideal for a starter.
Great for younger players…
The book is not what you might call musically comprehensive, but it takes you from the beginning. A good feature is that it doesn’t assume you have some knowledge of musical notation. It includes diagrams that show basic finger oppositions.
If you have a young player who you think might want to play, it makes a decent present. It is well-made, and the enclosed documentation is well laid out and useful. However, it is significantly more expensive than most of its competitors at this level.
- Quite well made.
- Good instruction book included.
- Some will be put off by the price.
10 Clarke Black Sweetone D – Best Premium Tin Whistle
Finally, we return to Clarke for another whistle in the Key of D. Those that are in the know regarding tin whistles often cite Clarke as the leading manufacturer.
This is a black whistle with a plastic mouthpiece in grey. It also has a pouch that is black to add to the effect. In some circles, this is called the ‘Penny’ whistle. That description dates back a long time, and perhaps today it could be called the Fifteen Dollar whistle.
This is a whistle that goes up the quality scale a little bit. It doesn’t have to be blown hard to get a decent sound. In fact, the softer you play it, the more nuanced it becomes. That will not only be great for a professional player, but is for a starter. The upper octave is particularly sweet.
Superb for folk music…
The Sweetone range of whistles from Clarke is a great place to start to play the instrument. They produce nice tones, which are usually much easier to play than a lot of the competition. Being the traditional Clarke tapered design, the holes in the higher registers are closer together. That increases the playability. It has a very folk-oriented sound and creates a nice ambiance.
For the price, this makes an excellent buy even though it is a little more expensive than most.
- Well made by a respected manufacturer
- A nice sweet sound that has a nice soft edge to it.
- Some might find it expensive.
Best Tin Whistle Buyers Guide – How to find the perfect Tin Whistle
With an instrument that is somewhat basic in its construction, such as a Tin Whistle, there can be variables. Even amongst the same instrument. However, the best way to start is to make a few basic decisions…
They are usually in C or D. There are other manufacturers that provide more options, but these are the most popular keys. The key will also determine the length and add a little bit of weight. The Key of C whistle is a little longer and slightly heavier. But certainly, nothing that should sway the purchase.
What is it made of?
Tin whistles do still exist. However, they are manufactured more out of tradition than practicality. Therefore, if you choose to stay authentic, be aware that they can rust. And if the edges become sharp, they can be quite dangerous. Other metal whistles come in brass and nickel. Brass is known as having a nice warm sound.
Metal whistles can be affected by the climatic conditions around them. They also may take a little ‘warming up’ before they play in tune. There are also a few wooden whistles, but another popular material is plastic resin. This has some advantages, in that it won’t rust or be affected by weather changes. It is easy to keep clean and will be hard-wearing and durable.
Whistles range from expensive to very cost-effective. When we say expensive, that is high for a whistle, not generally. But the price isn’t always a good guide to the instrument’s quality. There are some excellent instruments at slightly lower prices available.
Most offer booklets or CDs or both to get you going. If you are a starter or buying for a beginner, a good instruction booklet with positions for finger placement, a few songs, etc. will be an advantage.
Looking for more great instruments to blow through?
If so, check k out our reviews of the Best Student Flute, the Best Alto Saxophones, the Best Student Trumpets, our Best Flute reviews, the Best Tenor Saxophones, or the Best Blues Harmonica you can buy in 2020.
So, what is the Best Tin Whistle?
They are all very simple and essentially very similar with just a few variations. But we do appreciate the history and experience behind the Clarke whistles. They make an excellent range, and we have looked at a few, but we have chosen as our overall winner the…
A nice whistle at a good price and great for a starter. What more could you ask for? And therefore, it is easily our choice as the perfect Tin Whistle for most people’s needs.