Top 5 Best Cymbals in 2020 Reviews

cymbals buying guide and testCymbals are usually the first element to be replaced when a drummer goes from a beginner set to more professional equipment. A cymbal cannot be tuned and, therefore, you can’t do much to alter their sound. It’s important to acquire a set of cymbals that just sound great.

Cymbals on Amazon

In the following I want to give you the tools and knowledge that you need to find the best cymbals possible. I will also show you our product test winners.

Top 5 Best Cymbals

To make the selection of cymbal easier, I have selected the best of the market. You will find both a ride cymbal, crash cymbal, china cymbal and a splash cymbal.

Best ride cymbals


Best crash cymbal


Best china cymbal


Best splash cymbals


Best cymbals for hand percussion


Best electronic drum cymbals


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Cymbal materials

Brass: Brass is mainly used for beginners’ cymbals. Brass cymbals are often made of 38% zinc and 62% copper. The sound is often warm and does not have the same volume as if it were made of bronze.

B8 Bronze: Some cymbals are made of B8 bronze, which consists of 8% tin and 92% copper. These are often suitable for beginners or lighter drummers. The sound is very light and this has meant that some drummers prefer B8 bronze cymbals over the more expensive B20 bronze cymbals. Some cymbal producers specialize in producing professional cymbals of this alloy.

B20 Bronze: This alloy is used, primarily, for more expensive, finer cymbals. The vast majority of professional cymbals are manufactured by the B20 bronze, including Zildjian’s coveted A Custom and K series. The alloy is more flexible than, for example, the B8 bronze, which makes it easier for cymbal producers to hammer those that are made from B20 bronze.

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Different types of cymbal

There are a number of different types of cymbals and, as a drummer, it is important to know the difference between them. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Ride cymbals

A ride cymbal typically measures between 18” and 22” in diameter, but some measure a full 24 ” and, in very rare cases, up to 26”. This often has a relatively light sound when played with the tip of the drumstick. This more focused sound means that you often play the music subdivisions on the ride cymbal to create more rhythm in the music. This sound is called the cymbal ping.

The ride cymbal ping should be proportional to the cymbal wash, depending on the type of music you play. The cymbal wash consists of the underlying, darker sound that is built up when playing on the cymbal for a long time. If there is too much wash, the cymbal lacks definition/focus, especially at high volume and high pace. If, on the other hand, there is too little wash, the cymbal will sound too “dry”. However, this dry sound is demanded by some drummers, especially in jazz genres.

The ride cymbal often has a larger bell than other cymbals. Because of this, the bell’s sound far more defined/focused and clear. Some ride cymbals can also be used as large crash cymbals if they are not too thick; this is particularly prevalent in rock and metal.

Crash cymbals

A crash cymbal typically measures between 14 “and 20” in diameter. Crash cymbals are often used to start a new part of the song: for example, at the beginning of the chorus. The cymbal is primarily used to accentuate but, within harder genres, it is often played fairly often, sometimes consistently as it was a ride cymbal. This is done to give the song extra energy. This type is the most widely used of the cymbals. It is very common for most drummers to have many of these for different purposes.

China cymbals

The most extreme cymbal is undoubtedly a china cymbal. These are available in virtually all sizes, ranging from 8 “to 22” in diameter. The sound can best be described as being extremely explosive and very dirty. Some jazz drummers put rivets on them and use them as ride cymbals to achieve a more chaotic and dirty sound. However, China cymbals are widely used in particularly hard rock and most branches within the metal genre. They are often used as crash cymbals, often to finish an intense fill. Over the past few years, china cymbal has often become the hallmark of the heavy, brutal sound of metalcore break downs. China cymbals are very unique and can be used to experiment in virtually any genre with varying results.

Splash cymbals

Splash cymbals are the smallest type, as they only measure between 6” and 12” in diameter. They are similar to small crash cymbals, although with higher pitch and much shorter sustain. They are often used to accentuate or connect with fills, and they are particularly prevalent in some forms of jazz and progressive metal.

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Choosing cymbals

When you go out and choose cymbals it is, first and foremost, important to think about how well the different cymbals fit the genre of music that you play. In addition, it is important to think about whether they fit well with each other. It is preferable to avoid getting a cymbal with a volume that is significantly lower than that of the others, or that its tone simply does not match those of the others.

Some drummers have several different sets of cymbals. Some sets for live use and others for the studio. The reason for this is that cymbals that sound good live do not necessarily sound good in the studio. This is important to consider when choosing which one to buy. However, some sound great in virtually every situation and for almost all kinds of music.

When playing live, it is often necessary to have cymbals that can cut through the sound wall, but which do not overdo the rest of the band. Here, thicker cymbals are particularly popular, as they have a higher volume and often a lighter tone. The Zildjians A Custom series is a good example of cymbals that are particularly suitable for live use. In the studio, however, many sound engineers prefer thinner products with a deeper tone, as these do not have the same volume, making it easier to mix a single drum track, as the cymbal cannot be heard in the other microphones to quite the same extent.

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Cymbal technique

It may look cool when your favorite drummer hangs his cymbal high up and really bashes them. However, many people forget that the most well-known drummers are sponsored by different companies and, therefore, they don’t have to think about buying new ones when they destroy them.

Your playing technique may determine whether your cymbal will last for 5 months or 50 years. The edge of the cymbal is the thinnest part, and it is therefore important to think about which angle you hit the cymbal. If you hang the cymbal very high and hit hard, there is a greater chance that they will crack and eventually break completely. If, on the other hand, the cymbal is slightly angled towards itself, the force decreases slightly and the cymbal can last much longer. However, there are some drummers that angle their cymbal too much, so it ends up affecting the sound, as the cymbal becomes harder to hit properly.

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