With the enormous number of cymbal packs, hi-hats, crash cymbals, splash cymbals, and more on the market, even the most experienced drummers may find it challenging to sort out which are the best cymbals. Almost half of the cymbals are made by large manufacturers like Sabian, Zildjian, and Meinl, while the rest are from smaller outfits. Whether you’re new to drum sets or have had one for ages, the seven cymbals and cymbal packs below are likely to meet your needs.
In addition to sharing the top cymbals you can buy, we’ll also give you information about the features to look for when choosing a high-quality cymbal. This will help you choose the right cymbals to make the exact sound you want, whether that’s rock and metal or something entirely different. We’ll take into account everything from price to materials, construction, and the extras.
First, here’s some necessary information on the seven best cymbals, which we’ll follow up with in-depth reviews so you can make the best choice for yourself.
Best Drum Cymbals
|Zildjian S Family Cymbal Pac||
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|Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pack CCD460+18||
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|Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Back HCS-SCS||
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|Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set||
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|Meinl 14” Crash Cymbal HCS14C||
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|Sabian 20” SBR Ride Cymbal SBR2012||
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|Zildjian L80 Low Volume Cymbal Set||
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Zildjian S Family Cymbal Pack
Zildjian is one of the most popular manufacturers of cymbals of all sorts. This S family set of cymbals was created for professional and semi-professional drummers and comes as a pack of four cymbals. Each of the cymbal packs comes with a 14” pair of hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal, an 18” crash, and a 20” ride cymbal.
The S family has an S logo on top of cymbals that are polished and gleaming. This set by Zildjian has rippled texture on both the top and the bottom and graded hammering everywhere except the bells. Since the cymbal pack includes all the most essential cymbals, it could be a good option for someone who is upgrading budget hi-hats, crash cymbals, and ride cymbals. The sound from the cymbals is balanced and has a full body while being offered at a great value.
These Zildjian cymbals are created out of B12 bronze, which means they are 88% copper and 12% tin, which offers a balanced range of highs, lows, and mids. It’s somewhere between the budget B8 bronze from Zildjian and the more premium B20 bronze. Each cymbal is designed for open sound with excellent sustain and a finish that looks great under the bright lights of the stage.
Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pack CCD460+18
These cymbals by Meinl are in the custom dark set, which means each has a gorgeous black face and bottom with the company logo emblazoned across it. The custom dark cymbal pack includes two 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash, an 18” crash, and a 20” ride. All you need to do is add on a 10” splash and you’ll be ready to take your sound to the stage.
Each of these cymbals on drums is created of a B10 bronze alloy that is 10% tin and 90% copper, which is even more copper than the famous B20 bronze cymbals on the market. This material is ideal for dense mixes and features a smooth sound with a punch. While the cymbals are dark, the lathe marks let bronze peek through for an aesthetically pleasing option for drummers.
These cymbals were created for people who want a lot of agility. It gives enough snap that you’ll be heard over several guitars. The cymbals have extra deep hammering for tonal complexity, and the additional lathing helps you dial in overtones during a concert. If you’re someone who enjoys switching up your sound styles and dynamics, these cymbals can go from funk to metal and beyond.
Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Back HCS-SCS
Another option for the best cymbals comes from Meinl and is another cymbal pack with everything drummers need. This particular product comes with two hi-hats, two crash, a china, a ride, and a splash cymbal. The 10” splash and the other cymbals are designed for use by beginners and students who are getting started with drumming. Unlike expensive cymbals, these cymbals made in Germany are of great quality.
While many inexpensive cymbals don’t offer an extensive range of sound, that isn’t the case with this model. It comes with all the cymbals you need to create any sound that you are looking for. These cymbals work well for instructions who want to outfit lesson rooms to teach new drummers how to play. They are designed with a durable brass alloy that keeps the right tone while being durable against drumsticks.
Many will appreciate that this isn’t a typical series with a hi-hat, crash, and ride, but offers everything needed for drumming. The cymbal pack can be set up in various ways to meet the needs of any style of music and playing. Drummers will find that the crashes are warm with an excellent sustain, while hi-hats are crisp and put out the right amount of sound.
Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set
Zildjian is known for offering a variety of great cymbals from the Zildjian K Custom to the A series cymbal pack. This pack comes with 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crash, and a 20” ride. This Zildjian option is designed to work with all kinds of drumming styles and works well for those who enjoy customs or those who want to move from dark to bright cymbals. Each cymbal is made in the United States and features a rich, full sound.
These Zildjian cymbals are similar to the Zildjian K Custom since they offer quality manufacturing. These cymbals are created using rotary hammering techniques to produce the top sound in any genre. The noise that comes with the cymbal pack is sophisticated and crisp for making modern music that will appeal. The cymbals from Zildjian offer a thin weight and a beautiful finish to create a clean attack and fast response.
Unlike the last cymbals, these Zildjian products are made for those who already have experience and want a product that can handle a lot of stick work. Those who are looking for superior sound can trust the hi-hats and other cymbals to create the music you’re looking for. This cymbal pack has it all and it’s made so it will last a long time.
Meinl 14” Crash Cymbal HCS14C
Rather than coming as a full set of cymbals like the K Custom, this offering from Meinl is a single 14” crash cymbal. The crash is built to offer high responsiveness with warm sustain and is sized for quick crash accents during your playing. Hitting the edge of the cymbal will create a roar while accent grooves add a wash of sound. This is a cymbal built for a student or beginner who is just getting into cymbals drum.
The size of this crash cymbal can fit anywhere in your drum kit. It can be used for brushes, sticks, or mallets to get the sound you want while drumming. These are a durable brass alloy similar to B20 bronze that maintains the tone of notes when using drumsticks. These cymbals could be one of the best options for a newcomer to the drums who want to explore a variety of sounds.
These cymbals are a bright gold color with the Meinl logo on the top, which is the same look of any of the professional models by this brand. As with other beginner cymbals, this crash model is perfect for leaning locations where various students use the drums. It fits well with other cymbals, including bells, trashes, and chinas.
Sabian 20” SBR Ride Cymbal SBR2012
These Sabian ride cymbals are designed to offer everything a beginner needs to learn the drums. Those looking for a great first Sabian cymbal will find this model provides a tight sound with controlled dynamics. One cymbal from Sabian offers punch, clarity, and can create convincing accents along with a drum set. Users can also enjoy a bright bell that has top clarity when learning to drum along to any type of music with the Sabian.
Each of these Sabian cymbals is made of a specialized bass alloy that is made to create an authoritative tone and a sharp cut. The Sabian cymbals have deep hammering and excellent lathing that is found on even the Sabian professional models. In addition, this cymbal can be matched with other Sabian cymbals so players can get started quickly with everything needed.
The point behind this Sabian cymbal is offering an easy pathway into playing a drum set. Sabian also provides a selection of hi-hats, crashes, splashes, and effect cymbals that can complete a collection without spending a fortune. While this Sabian might not have the power and performance that a professional needs for the stage, it does precisely what Sabian cymbals need to when it comes to inexperienced players.
Zildjian L80 Low Volume Cymbal Set
Our last of the best cymbal packs not only sound great but get the best performance possible while cutting down on sound. Straight from Zildjian, this cymbal pack comes with 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash, and an 18” ride crash cymbal. These are created by Zildjian to offer a quieter sound with the same performance you expect from the brand. Compared to other cymbals, users can expect the sound to be at least 70% softer. This can prevent hearing damage and ear fatigue, especially when playing for more extended periods.
These cymbals look a bit different than other cymbals through a holed design rather than the ridges you might be used to. This is part of what makes the hi-hats and other items have less sound when you play them, making them ideal for late-night practice or quiet rehearsals that don’t bother the neighbors. However, you can still play them the same way you are used to, whether it involves sticks, mallets, brushes, or other techniques.
As one of the best cymbals out there, these work well in a variety of environments, including drum lesson rooms, practice spaces, low volume shows, and other areas where a lighter amount of sound is preferred. The beautiful thing is that this well-known brand built these cymbals to work for beginners, pros, and everyone in between.
Cymbal Regions and How They Work
Knowing what the parts of a cymbal are can go a long way toward being a great drummer. Don’t worry; there aren’t a lot of things to be aware of since there are four main parts of the best cymbal. However, all of them are important when making music:
- Bell – The center dome on a cymbal where it is mounted and thickest is known as the bell. It adds musical complexity and projection to the sound you are making. The larger this part is, the richer and louder the sound will be. Some cymbals have a larger bell to create textures and accents.
- Edge – This is the outside area of a cymbal and the thinnest of all components. When you play close to the edge, it offers the smoothest attack and the most wash. However, it’s essential to avoid hitting the edge directly since this can crack the cymbal.
- Profile – The profile is the curve of the cymbal and it has a lot to do with the pitch of your sound. In most cases, a low-profile cymbal is going to have a more moderate tone, while a higher profit is going to offer a higher tone.
- Surface – This is the area between the edge and the bell. It is marked by a sloping taper and a thinning of material. This is going to be the area of the cymbal where almost all of the drumstick strikes should be hitting.
The Different Types of Cymbals and What Each is Used For
Before you start looking for the cymbal or cymbal pack that you want to use, you should have an idea of what each cymbal type is used for. A splash cymbal isn’t going to offer the same effects as a hi-hat or another cymbal type in terms of style and performance. Below we’ll explain the basics of each one of the cymbals you may see on the market:
- Hi-Hat – These sit together on a stand and a pedal opens and closes them. They are made to create steady patterns and add extra accents when played open. When played closed, the number of sounds they offer can vary but will be larger than when open. Lighter models are going to have a bright tone, while darker sounds come forth from some heavier models.
- Crash – One or more crash cymbals make the loud and intense sounds that add accents to a drum pattern. These can range in size and pitch and come in a variety of thicknesses. The bright tones are from thinner options, while a darker sound is from thicker cymbals. These are typically located next to the kit.
- Ride – This is often the most giant cymbal in a kit and will be above the floor tom. Instead of being for accents, these create steady patterns. These have a sustained sound and are typically around 20” in size. The actual sound can range from extremely high to low, depending on your needs.
- Splash – These are similar to a crash to provide accents but also create special effects. Most are thin and small with a short and sharp sound. Typically, these are smaller at 6” to 13” and may also be called crescent or multi-crash cymbals.
- China – This has a sound like the splash but is trashier. This is why it’s sometimes known as a trash cymbal and is recognized by the cylindrical bell and upturned end. These come in a variety of sizes, but all have the same distinctive sound.
The best cymbal pack is going to be designed for entry-level drummers who are just starting to play the drums. There are also models for professionals who want to buy a hi-hat and all the other cymbals drums at the same time. Some packs are designated as pro packs and tend to be better for more experienced drummers.
A basic cymbal pack is typically going to include at least hi-hats and a crash ride cymbal, but many have other options. The packages on our list go above and beyond by offering additional cymbals so you can get the full experience, no matter how far you are on your drumming journey.
Essential Features to Consider When Buying the Best Cymbals
There are tons of things to consider when you want the best option for cymbal drums. Everything from the construction to the thickness, price, and taper of the model will affect the performance and sounds you make. A cymbal is an integral part of drumming, so we want to share the best ways to find one that meets your musical and playing style.
A thin cymbal isn’t ideal for someone who plays loud, makes heavy hits, or is new to drumming altogether. When you overplay them, it can cause you to crack it or entirely break it in half. Nobody wants to deal with that since it means buying a new product.
Also, the thinner cymbals have a limit to how loud they get. Thin models tend to work best in situations like recording studios or environments with quiet music when you don’t need maximum volume. They also have a lower pitch than you would get with a thicker model. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose a thin model, but you should be aware of what you are getting.
Those who play heavy might prefer a heavier item since a hard strike is needed to get the right sound. These tend to be louder and work better for styles of music like heavy metal or hard rock. They are often high pitched and loud enough to be heard over a variety of instruments and vocals.
Cymbals are typically made in two ways. A cast model is made from a cast blank while a sheet model is hammered or stamped from a sheet of metal. The latter is less expensive to create and tends to have a shorter decay than a cast cymbal.
Sheet cymbals work well for beginners or for use practicing by a professional. Most of them are available in stand-alone or as a packaged set so you can choose what works best for your needs.
Individually cast models start out as molten metal that is put into a mold. These are then sorted according to weight before being heated, shaped, rolled, lathed, and hammered into the right cymbal. Typically these have a broader sound range and get better as they age.
Cast cymbals are also more durable and offer exceptional projection. Many pro drummers switch to these cymbals for the best quality of sound. There are usually more cast options on the market than sheet, and they can also come in packs.
Sometimes a drummer might want to purchase cymbals separately to get a custom sound. This is done by choosing cymbals from several series or brands to create the right sound. However, remember that everything from the taper to the bell and profile will change the sound you make.
Many people will tell you that the best alloy is composed of bronze with 80% copper and 20% tin, along with a trace of silver. Most of the cast cymbals that are on the market are precisely this mixture. Sabian and Zildjian commonly use these in the belief that having more tin with the copper makes the tone darker and creates a richer sound.
Some of the less expensive drums will feature a different percentage of alloy, something that is often seen with beginner’s cymbals. These are a great way to get started with the drumming hobby but aren’t going to be capable of everything that B20 cymbals are. It’s a matter of budget, taste, and tone to determine precisely which alloy composition will work best for you.
The size and weight of a cymbal are also going to change the sound, specifically when it comes to projection. The weight of the item will impact its power, volume, and sound. A thinner model is going to be more responsive and have quicker noise. However, it’s never going to be as loud as a more substantial choice. Heavy models will have more volume and power.
A medium weight is considered a good compromise when you want versatility. These will work with an extensive range of music styles and have enough projection and responsiveness for most drumming situations. These will also have a balanced range and sound good at a variety of different volumes.
Large cymbals are going to offer a longer sustain and more volume than smaller models. When you compare a cymbal of 8” and one of 20”, the smaller one is going to make sound more quickly since the vibrations travel quicker. However, the larger model is going to have better sustain, volume, and resonance. It takes more energy and power for someone to use them, but they offer a lot more when it comes to sound.
This is another thing that you need to consider when buying cymbals. Are you more interested in a bright sound or something a little bit darker? The bright options are going to have a higher pitch and less trashiness than a dark cymbal. These are the cymbals that you would hear when listening to rock or pop music on the radio in many cases.
On the other hand, dark cymbals have a broodier sound and a lower pitch when bright ones. These can be heard in a lot of fusion and jazz music. Many cymbals don’t quite hit bright or dark and fall somewhere in the middle. This is going to be the top option if you want a tone that is more balanced rather than being specific to a particular musical genre.
As with anything else, price matters with cymbals. The good news is that you can get a beginner set of cymbals for a reasonable price for a beginner or you can spend more for a set that is designed for professionals. Then you have to consider that you can buy cymbals in single models which can cut down the price if you don’t mind buying replacements as you go.
You must know what your budget is before you start choosing the right options for your drumming. Those who can afford it will often find that going for the best quality is worth it since it saves you money later on. Entry-level models will need to be upgraded or replaced sooner than professional cymbals.
Having the best cymbals to go with your set of drums is a must if you want to toss out the sound that will have a crowd cheering. The same applies even if you’re practicing or taking classes to learn to drum. The right cymbal or cymbal pack is one thing you shouldn’t skimp on. Any of the models listed above can offer what you need.
When it comes to the best cymbals for the average drummer, we have to choose the Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set. These cymbals pack a punch and can be used by drummers who are beginners all the way up to experts. Take a look and see if they are the best cymbal for you!