The best thing you can do for your trumpet (or any instrument for that matter) is to buy a quality case to keep it safe when not in use.
A trumpet left out is more vulnerable to oxidization, denting, build-ups of residue, tarnishing, and flat out breakages.
If your trumpet is exposed to all these dangers even within your own home, imagine what perils await it when you take it out on the road with you. Baggage handlers aren’t exactly known for their tender touch.
There are no two ways about it, you need to kit your tooter out with a fine suit of armor, a veritable penthouse for brassy bells, valves, slides, and tubes. It needs to fit your trumpet perfectly to reduce rattle, and it has to protect your precious horn from the outside too.
It’s a terrifying world out there for trumpets, but there’s no need to worry. We’ve reviewed and rated five fantastic trumpet cases for keeping your pride and joy safe and sound. We’ve even composed an in-depth buyer’s guide and a brief FAQ section to fill you on some of the things we considered when making our own list.
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We have your trumpets back. Here’s our top pick right here.
OUR TOP PICK
Gator Cases is a world-renowned musical instrument case manufacturer. Their cases are so secure and well made that in the absence of a custom case from the instrument maker themselves, a Gator case is the number one choice for a number of musicians.
Primarily used for building secure enclosures for delicates, ABS construction isn’t about to let any amount of force penetrate through to your trumpet. It’s also a really inexpensive material to produce which keeps the price down for you, perfect!
Flipping this brass boudoir open, you find a form-fitted foam interior lined with velvety soft, plush black material. Be careful leaving this thing open if you’ve got cats or small dogs because they’ll be in it in a shot and won’t easily be removed; it’s that cozy.
Bringing the lid back down, this Gator has a through-bolted handle with an ergonomic handshape that’s both strong, and comfortable to hold, although, for maximum comfort, you may want to add your own handle wrap.
To keep things locked shut tight, you get two chrome-coated aluminum buckles, one standard, one with a key lock, and if you prefer a shoulder strap to a handle, there’s a D ring to add your own.
- Solid ABS construction
- Stackable which is great if you have multiple trumpets
- Fits standard student models
- Form-fitted foam inner
- Plush black lining
- Strong handle
- Two strong buckles
- Key lock
- Pretty cheap for a hard case
- Reputable brand
- No separate pockets for accessories
- Doesn’t come with shoulder strap
Our second trumpet saver has an impact-resistant, shaped wood construction. If our first pick is the tank of the trumpet case world, this is like an armored Mercedes. It’s very similar on the inside. It has the form-fitted sections and a velvety black lining.
The wooden frame is lined with a heavy-duty 1680 ballistic nylon frame, a material designed for flak jackets to protect WWII airmen. It’s not completely waterproof, but it is incredibly weather-resistant which is essential for keeping your trumpet nice and shiny.
You’ll also find tire tread-style rubber fittings on the corners of the nylon, which provide enough grip to hold your trumpet steady when put down and enough protection that the exterior won’t be harmed in any way.
One of the brilliant things about this case is the extra space. Designed specifically for holding mutes, you can fit any number of accessories in too, and a side pocket and internal organizer with pen loops offer even more storage options.
The Pro PB301 comes with a really comfortable padded shoulder strap, optional backpack strap, strong metal hardware, and a luggage ID tag. It doesn’t have a built-in lock, but the zips have a locking ring so you can add your own.
- Loads of extra storage
- Plush black interior lining
- Rubber grips protect exterior when put down
- Ballistic nylon protects against abrasions and weather
- Solid wood frame
- Comes with a comfortable, grippy strap
- Can be backpacked with an optional extra strap
- Zips can be padlocked
- Comes with luggage ID tag
- Not entirely waterproof
- Quite heavy
- Pretty expensive
Our third pick is a variation of the Protec design in our second place. These cases are just so well made and popular that we couldn’t include just one.
The PBT301CT is fundamentally the same case as our number two spot. The frame is shaped with wood, protecting against impacts, and the exterior is coated with the same ballistic nylon for protecting your trumpet from the elements.
The big differences here come in the way of space. This case has far less storage potential than its bigger sibling, but turning a frown upside down, this means that it’s far lighter than our second pick.
Inside, you get a genuine blue velvet lining that couldn’t be easier on your trumpet, and the same two storage pockets with pen loops that the bigger case comes with. Moreover, you can expect the padded straps that enable you to backpack your trumpet or swing it comfortably over your shoulder.
If you liked the sound of our number two pick, but you’d prefer portability over storage, this is the perfect case for you.
- Solid wood frame
- Ballistic nylon outer
- Genuine velvet lining
- Form-fitted interior
- Double pouch internal pocket with pen loops
- Small side pouch
- Super lightweight
- Expensive, especially considering there isn’t as much storage space
- Not completely waterproof
Our penultimate trumpet apartment is for those who are looking for something a little less heavy-duty and easier on the shoulders and back. This Gator is made from a polyfoam frame which absorbs impacts exceedingly well, but overall, isn’t as durable as wood or ABS.
As it should be, the insides are completely lined with black plush. It’s a very simple layout with room enough for your trumpet and a single mouthpiece. Use the included pad to separate them and prevent clanking.
The Gator Polyfoam is coated in heavy-duty nylon. It’s not quite as hardwearing as the Protec coatings, but it does provide some weatherproofing, and it has a wipe-clean surface that I could have seriously done with as a young music student.
You do get a little side pouch with this case with well enough space for a few more mouthpieces and a small bottle of valve oil. Sadly, it’s not big enough for music books, but if you only work with printouts, you can fold them up and slot them in just fine.
Zip-wise everything works smoothly, even round the corners when the case is packed full, and plastic studs on either end of the case are fantastic for raising the nylon out of contact with rough and dirty surfaces.
- Really light
- Side pocket for small accessories or sheet music
- Polyfoam is really shock absorbent
- Nylon exterior
- Comes with a really comfortable shoulder strap
- Includes a mouthpiece pad
- Plush interior stops scratching
- Polyfoam isn’t as durable as other materials
- Not quite as expensive as our last Protec picks, but not inexpensive either
Our last pick is an affordable amalgam of some of our other picks. At 4lbs, it’s the lightest case on our list, yet much like the most expensive case on our list (Protec PB301) it has the coveted mute-holding section. That said, it only has room to accommodate straight mutes.
The primary frame of Trumpet MAX is made from EPS foam which is essentially polystyrene. It’s not the strongest material, but as long as you’re careful - as you should be - with your instrument, there’s no reason why it won’t last a lifetime. If you’ve got some intensive touring on the cards, it’s better to choose a metal, wood, or plastic case.
Straps aren’t detachable here which means you can’t upgrade, but they are pretty good quality, especially considering the wallet-friendly price tag. You can use the single exposed strap, or unveil the hidden second strap to wear the case like a backpack.
You can see where some costs have been cut when looking at the external cover. It’s made of 600-denier polyester - not quite ballistic nylon level. It’s still water-resistant to a degree, but it doesn’t cope as well exposed to the sun.
- Great price
- Super lightweight
- EPS foam is really shock absorbent
- Plush lining
- Has a small mute section
- 600-denier polyester coat is water-resistant
- Comes with two straps for optional backpack transport
- Mute pouch is a little small
- Straps aren’t detachable
- EPS foam isn’t as durable as other hard case materials
Best Trumpet Cases Buying Guide
We know that your trumpet may be crying out for comfort, but before you’re swayed by its brassy lament and buy the first case you find, let’s run through a few quick considerations first.
It’s great to shop around for the best prices, but keep in mind that if you buy a substandard case, you risk damaging your instrument which will cost far more to replace or repair than a decent new case will.
You may end up going lower or higher in the end, but we recommend setting aside around $100 as a budget to open up your options.
The most important aspect of a case is compatibility. If your trumpet is too big, it won’t fit in, and if your trumpet is too small, it’ll shift around in the case in transport, possibly damaging it.
Most cases, and indeed all the ones on our list, are intended for what can be referred to as standard, student, or B flat trumpets. These adjectives all describe the same commonly used trumpet.
If you need to protect a different size trumpet, make sure you add the sizing to your search online, or if you’re in-store, mention it to a sales representative.
Unless you’re looking for a soft gig bag, a durable shell is an essential criterion. You should think about how you’re planning to transport your trumpet to decide what kind of material is suitable for you.
If you’re planning on flying or storing your case under or in a coach, you should definitely invest in a heavy-duty metal or ABS plastic case. If you travel mostly by car and always take your trumpet on board with you on public transport rather than stowing it, a wooden shell should suffice.
If you simply walk your trumpet about town, a polystyrene case is sufficient. Polystyrene may be referred to as EPS or polyfoam, but it’s essentially all the same stuff.
Obviously, the lining of a case needs to be as soft to the touch as possible to prevent scratching and to add an extra level of padding for securing your trumpet in place. You may come across real velvet or plush synthetic linings; both are great.
What you need to pay attention to is how well the lining is fitted into the case. Any exposed glues or residues can find their way to your trumpet. It may not damage the brass, but it’s not ideal either.
Unless it’s a metal or plastic case, it should have waterproof or water-resistant coatings. Nylon is the go-to exterior fabric for high-quality cases, but there are different types of nylon.
The quality of nylon is normally expressed as a Denier. The Denier equals mass in grams per 9000 meters, so the higher the Denier, the heavier and more resilient the nylon is. Polyester coatings are also likely to be described via their Denier rating.
For some trumpet players, an extra bit of space in their case is essential. Many trumpeters carry around three or four mutes, not to mention valve oils, mouthpieces, and sheet music.
As you’ve seen from our list, there are plenty of trumpet cases out there that come with extra storage space designed specifically for storing mutes, but it would be a mistake to assume these spaces fit any kind of mute. Many will only have enough space for a single straight mute, so be sure to check the exact dimensions before buying.
A side pocket is ideal for keeping any small accessories in, but you may even find specialized storage for other items such as pens and music.
The perfect case would be as hard as steel and light as air, but until science catches up with that perfectly reasonable request, you’re going to have to put up with a little bit of weight.
Luckily for you, trumpets are one of the lightest brass instruments, so it’s not the end of the world or your shoulders if your case is a bit of a tank. If you do a lot of walking with your trumpet, we’d suggest something between 4 and 4.5lbs.
If you do more of your traveling in cars or public transport, you’re going to have to sacrifice some portability for impact-resistance. That said, try to keep your case below the 5.5lbs mark.
All cases will come with some kind of standard handle, but straps aren’t a given. Some will come with one, some two, some with one exposed and one hidden giving you the option of wearing it over one or both shoulders.
If it’s a good quality case, you can count on the straps being great as well, but if they’re detachable, even better. You can replace them with even better straps if you need to. Even if a case doesn’t include a strap, as long as it has a D ring, you’ll be able to attach one.
If you do a lot of traveling, it’s important you find a case with either an integrated key or code lock. If a case doesn’t come with a lock, the zips may have a locking ring for threading a padlock through.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big is a trumpet case?
It depends what kind of trumpet it’s designed to carry and how much extra storage there is.
An average trumpet case may be as long as 22”, 9” across, and 8 inches deep.
What is ‘plush’ material?
Plush, the word, is an anglicization of the French peluche. Traditionally, plush was made from mohair or worsted yarn.
These days, it’s often made from a combination of silk and cotton, or polyester. With similar qualities to velvet and fustian, it’s commonly used in their stead as it’s cheaper to produce.
The word ‘plush’ has shifted from a noun to an adjective in modern language. It’s used to describe something luxurious and soft.
Is nylon waterproof?
Nylon isn’t waterproof, but there are versions of it that are fairly water-resistant.
It can also be treated with substances to increase its weather-resistant qualities.
Should you keep valve oil in your trumpet case?
Cases often have pockets intended for small accessories such as valve oil, but the caps of oil bottles often don’t completely seal, leading to leakages, and you don’t need to be a genius to know that velvet and oil don’t mix well.
If you absolutely must carry your oil in your case, why not try wrapping it in extra cloth and bags just in case there is a problem with the cap.
Now you have all the essential information, you’re well equipped to venture out and find your golden honker a gorgeous new home.
Remember to think hard about how you transport your trumpet. Your answer will indicate what materials you should be looking for in a case and refine your search.