Drumming Gear Buying Guide: The Best Cymbals Reviews 
For a drummer, a drum kit holds the greatest importance. No matter if you’re a professional or just starting with drums, your drum kit must always be complete with the right gear. This is the only way to enjoy your passion for drumming and master the art of it.
Now, while all the parts of your drum kit hold equal importance, cymbals play a crucial role in adding the right sound in your drum playing. Without the right cymbals, you might never get drumming right! So, if you’re planning to buy the best ones for you, we have a list for you. Let’s have a look to pick the best cymbals for your drum kit and start the year 2020 with a boom!
Top Rated Cymbal Sets
1. Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pack
Why buy different cymbals differently when you can buy them all in one pack? This product serves the best if you don’t want to look for and buy different cymbals separately. With that said, this one can be called as the best option for starters or beginner drummers and is the best option to learn the drumming right.
In the pack, you will get all the types of cymbals – a hi-hat pair of 13” each, a crash cymbal of 14”, a splash cymbal of 10”, along with 1 pair of 5A drumsticks. With all these, you will also get free drumming lessons with this pack, delivered by renowned drumming instructor Mike Johnston.
Manufactured under the celebrated brand of Meinl, this cymbals pack is crafted in Germany and the cymbals are made of high-quality brass alloy. The material, design, and quality gives them the best sound range and makes them very durable.
The best part about this cymbals pack is that it comes with a 2-years warranty given by Meinl.
- 4-in-1 pack with cymbals and drumsticks
- High-quality material used
- Crisp and clear sound quality
- Best for practice sets
- Crash and splash cymbals may not be not so good
- Not an apt pick for professional drummers
- Sound quality may vary
2. Meinl 14” Crash Cymbal
For those looking for different types of cymbals separately, here is one of the best and affordable options of a crash cymbal. This one is another product from Meinl and is a 14” crash cymbal.
The cymbal is known for its perfectly sounding shimmering accents, bright response, and warm sustain. You can use your drummer skills and creativity to get sounds of different accents and volumes from this one cymbal. The size of 14” is perfect for almost every drummer, especially beginners.
This crash cymbal from Meinl is specially designed for beginners and students. It is affordable, durable, and is made of high-quality material, making it the perfect pick for beginners.
The brass alloys allow the cymbal to give the perfect shimmering crash and a roaring fill. You can place this cymbal anywhere on your kit for the best and most convenient drumming experience. Explore with your drumsticks, brushes, or mallets to learn about the entire range of sound effects that this cymbal is designed to deliver.
Just like any other cymbals from the house of Meinl, this one also comes with a 2-years warranty.
- All-purpose crash cymbal
- Versatility of sounds and styles
- Great option for beginners
- Great sound quality
- Perfect pitch and wash
- Comes with 2-year warranty
- Poor packaging
- A bit thicker
- Not very loud
3. Zildjian Planet Z 16” Crash Cymbal
Zildjian is a recognized name when it comes to cymbals and this is another best option of a crash cymbal. As compared to our previous option, this is a bit bigger – 16” in size. The Planet Z crash cymbal has a very clean sound with a special focus to underlying tones. From accents and patterns, the cymbal gives the best washy sound quality that helps drummers give the best performance.
You can brighten up your drum playing with its responsive sounds and high volume, ideal for practicing. So, it is another best option for beginners and students, along with being a decent choice of professionals as well.
- Versatile cymbal
- Bigger in size
- Loud and pure sound
- Made with nickel-silver alloy
- Wide range of patterns and accents
- The trust of Zildijan
- Expensive option
- Sound may vary
- Not very durable
4. Sabian 20” Ride Cymbal
A bigger option in a ride cymbal, this is another best one to try by the beginners. This is a bit bigger than our other options but you can ensure value for money, given the versatile sound quality of this cymbal. The cymbal is made of SBr brass, which is a very high-quality material, giving the best sound and experience to drummers.
Under the name of Sabian, this ride cymbal also comes with a warranty for one year! The sound quality of this cymbal is very high and bright and it is durable.
- Warm rich tone
- Made of high-quality brass
- Allows good sound variance
- Controllable wash
- Great price
- One-year warranty
- Lacks character in sound
- May not be good enough for professionals
5. Zildijan Planet Z 20” Ride Cymbal
Another one from Zildijan, the Planet Z 20” ride cymbal has focused underlying tones and comes with clean stick definition. This cymbal is known to create a wall of sound with high volume and is said to be a multi-faceted cymbal.
This is another best option for beginners and students and helps them explore different sounds and variations while they learn to play. The sound is very bright and responsive and is made of the new nickel-silver alloy. Available at a good price, this cymbal is the best for beginners to explore their potential.
- Best ride cymbal for beginners
- Crash/Ride combo cymbal
- Reasonable price
- High-quality material
- A lot washier and not crisp
- Sound quality may vary
6. Meinl 20” Ride Cymbal
If you’re looking for a traditional ride cymbal, this one is it! A perfect option in the 20” ride cymbals, this one comes with a traditional HCS finish. With the trust of Meinl and crafted manufacturing in Germany, this cymbal is all that you need to begin with your drumming practice sessions.
The cymbal is said to have a very crisp, clear, and defined ping sound, apt enough for music genres like rock and jazz. The gorgeous brass finish makes this cymbal looks like a million bucks.
The tonal quality is amazing, giving a perfect combination and a full range of sound. The drummers can explore newer variations by using this cymbal for practicing.
- Comes with 2-years warranty
- Best for beginners and students
- Great sound and tonal quality
- Brass alloy and sturdy manufacturing
- Clear stick definition
- A lot of sustain
- A broad range of sound
- No sizzle, a lot of bell
- Ideal only for beginners not for pros
7. Zildijan ZBT 20” Ride Cymbal
This one is another 20” inches ride cymbal from Zildijan, from the ZBT series of the brand and is one of the best picks. Once again, this cymbal is best-suited for students, beginners, or learners. It is the perfect pick for any kind of music genre – be it rock, jazz, or pop. You can explore its full range of sounds and make the best out of it!
This is a very reasonable piece and comes with the trust of Zildijan. The cymbal is made of the B8 alloy, which is a mix of copper and tin.
- Ideal for learners
- Tested in the Zildijan Sound Lab
- Two-year warranty
- Bright sound
- Deep, warm, and round sound effects
- Sounds somewhat tin-like
- Dry experience
- Not durable
8. WUHAN WU104-12 China Cymbal
Wuhan 12” china cymbal is our first pick in the category of China cymbals and this one is a hit! This is a 12” cymbal manufactured with B20 alloy to give it the highest quality possible. It has a dark, trashy, and explosive sound.
The best thing about this cymbal is that it is handcrafted with a traditional method that dates back to 2,000 years from now. So, this one is a must-have!
- Handmade and buffed for a perfect finish
- One-year breakage guarantee by WUHAN
- Distinct tonality
- Clear and crisp sound
- Variety of tones and overtones
- Quick crash and decay
- May Crack easily
- Sound quality varies
- Not apt for professionals
9. Meinl 12” China Cymbal
We just talked about a 20” ride cymbal in the same category and this is a 12” china cymbal from the renowned home of Meinl. Like the other one, this cymbal also has an HCS traditional finish and is made of high-quality brass.
If you’re looking for a real trashy sound for your drum set, this one is the way to go! The 12” is the perfect size of this cymbal for beginners to learn how to crash-drive a song, filling it up with various accents.
The best part about this cymbal is that it is suitable for any kind of drumming kit or setup. So, you need not look for any specifications to buy a perfect China cymbal. It comes with a wide range of sounds and two-year warranty by Meinl. What else do you need?
- High-quality brass alloy
- Comes with a classic lip
- Amazing sound effects and quality
- Reasonable price
- Sharp sound
- Good pitch and wash
- A little on the noisy side
- Not durable
- Gets very loud sometimes
10. Wuhan WU10418 18-Inch Lion China Cymbal
This one is a larger china cymbal of 18”, made of quality B20 alloy. Just like the other china cymbals from Wuhan, this one is also handcrafted through a 200-year-old traditional method and features the notable upturned edges that are the trait of china cymbals.
The cymbal has the trust of Wuhan and comes with a 1-year warranty. It is best for genres like rock, pop, and jazz and has a trashy and dark sound quality.
- Hand-hammered and crafted to keep traditions alive
- One year warranty against breakage
- Best sound
- Not a smooth sound
- Sharp edges
11. Zildijan Planet Z 10” Splash Cymbal
For a sharp and quick sound, drummers prefer smaller cymbals and this one plays the best role for it. So, if you’re looking for a small splash cymbal, this is the best pick for you. From the house of Zildijan, this cymbal helps drummers play quick and focused tones and quick decay. With the series Planet Z, Zildijan promises high-quality, versatility, and great sound to drummers and this 10” splash cymbal is highly recommended by them!
This is a high-quality cymbal and can be used by professionals and musicians. With bright sound and responsiveness, this cymbal is perfect for practice as well as for performance.
- Quick sound and decay
- Nickel-silver allow manufacturing
- Reasonable price
- Top-notch quality and material
- Can take a beating
- Not that good for recording
12. Meinl 8” Splash Cymbal
Now, if you want to go lower than 10”, this one is for you! It is an 8” splash cymbal from Meinl and is one of the best investments you can make for your drum kit. This one is just the perfect fit if you need fast and quick accents and shimmering. It is built with the traditional HCS technology by Meinl and is a high-quality cymbal.
If you crave a splash of sound through your drum, this cymbal will allow you to achieve that! It can be mounted anywhere in a drum kit and delivers a full range of sound. at an affordable price, this is a good pick!
- Two-year warranty
- Small, quick, and fast
- Immediate cutting response
- A bright and sharp sound
- An ideal addition to a cymbal collection
- Not durable
- Sound quality varies for users
- Only suitable for practice
13. WUHAN WUSP 10-inch Splash Cymbal
Another small variant of a splash cymbal from Wuhan – this one is a great pick for crisp and quick sound. If you’re looking for a splash cymbal that is smaller in size, try this one at an affordable price. This is an all-purpose cymbal, suitable for all music genres and applications.
Wuhan’s trust, quality, and warranty accompany this product, giving satisfaction to the drummers.
- Ideal for beginners
- One-year warranty
- Splash without sustain
- Breathy wash
- Wide range of sound and overtones
- Thinner and easily breakable
- Weak and low sound
With this, our list of the best cymbals ends! If you’re looking for the best ones for your drum kit, pick any of these and you won’t regret.
Understanding Cymbals and Their Types
If you’re a professional drummer, you must know a cymbal from inside out – every type, every size, and everything! However, if you’re someone who is just starting or needs to learn about drum kits, we have a clear explanation for you.
Cymbals are the percussion instruments and a major part of drum kits. To a layman, these are the round metal plate-like structures mounted on top of stands.
Now, cymbals come in different sizes and the same can be measured by the diameter of a cymbal. The diameters of cymbals are either in millimeters or inches. The larger a cymbal, the louder it is and the more sustain it has. Also, if a cymbal is thinner, it will have a low pitch and fast response whereas the thicker ones create more volume. So, basically, the thickness of cymbals decides their sound quality and performance.
When you look at the design of a cymbal, it has two parts – the center part is slightly raised and is called dome, bell, or cup. The area on a cymbal around the bell part is called ride area. The rest of the flat part is called the bow. The area around the bow part is called the crash area.
Cymbals are made of metal sheets with a hole in their center. This hole helps them to be easily mounted on top of cymbal stands or cymbal arms.
Now, there are varied types of cymbals and each type has a role assigned to it. Let’s have a closer look at the different types of cymbals to help you choose better:
Usually, the biggest cymbal in a drum kit is known as the ride cymbal but that is not the case every time. How you can identify this cymbal is by locating it to the right of the drummer, when the drum kit is right-handed. A ride cymbal is the most basic and standard cymbal used by drummers of every type. The cymbal is used to provide the overriding pattern, giving a steady sound to the drum.
The average size of a ride cymbal may be between 20” to 26”. There is a great variation in the sound of ride cymbal, based on which area of the cymbal you hit. If you hit the bell, you can hear a sharp sound but if you hit the bow, the sound is more blunt and faint. The thickness of a ride cymbal also decides the kind of sound it produces.
A crash cymbal is the one that is located to the left of a right-handed drum kit. This is the basic cymbal that everyone thinks of when cymbals are talked about. So, basically, these are the real cymbals that give drum kits their own unique sound.
The name of this cymbal clearly explains the sound made by it.
Crash cymbals come in sizes ranging between 8” and 24” and in a beginner-level drum kit, you will commonly find the cymbals for sizes ranging between 14” and 15”. In most cases, the crash cymbal is present as a crash ride cymbal, which is a combination of both crash and ride cymbals.
A splash cymbal is just like a crash cymbal but along with adding the crash sound, this cymbal is used for creating different sound effects. These cymbals are small in size and are usually thinner as compared to the other cymbals, giving them the versatility and softness of sound. Their thickness ranges between 6” and 13” and their sound is usually soft.
The china cymbals got their name from Chinese Gongs because of a strong resemblance of design between these two. These are another type of explosive cymbals and are recognized by their unique design. A china cymbal has a cylindrical bell and upturned edges because of which it is easy to recognize this type of cymbal. Their sound is similar to that of crash cymbals.
Now, this was all about the different types of cymbals.
Here are the things to look for, when you’re buying a cymbal:
- Type of cymbal – Hi-hats, china, ride, splash, or crash, etc.
- Size – ranging from a minimum of 8” to a maximum of 26” or so.
- Price – whatever suits your budget and requirement
- Sound quality – the tone, undertone, sustain, volume, etc.
- Warranty – look for warranty against breakage
- Usage – see if you want an all-purpose cymbal or a specific one
- Material – look for strong and durable material like brass alloy