Top 10 Best Cymbal Brands

The Top Ten
1 Zildjian

Zildjian is one of the pioneers in cymbal manufacturing and has the experience to go with it. As a guy here said, "400 years of legacy". They could work on more entry level cymbals, but their high-end cymbals are legendary. They also have a huge selection of cymbals for all genres. They can be quite heavy on your pocket. However, the sound is well worth the price. I'm saying this based on experience. The cymbals I've been playing for the first 3 years of drumming sounded dead to me. When I heard some Zildjians, I knew I just had to get them. They have such good control, but don't sound too dead. The overtones complement your stick sound. Just impeccable manufacturing with the traditional Turkish cymbal grit which makes me love Zildjian all the more for that natural sound.

I remember the first time I heard Zildjian cymbals. I was 11 years old and at my first drum lesson. My teacher had cheap beginner ZBTs on his set, but they were all I needed to hear to know that Zildjian would become a part of my life. I finally have my own set of ZBTs, which have the new logo and finish, and contrary to popular opinion, sound and look great and I have given them some severe beatings but they are still in great shape. I am currently saving up for some A customs, and I will not be able to rest until I get them. I heard a story that the first member of the Zildjian family to go into cymbal making was an alchemist in 1623. He was trying make gold out of copper and bronze, but he started something that even better, which were the first Zildjian cymbals. The first endorser was the King Of Italy. He may not have created actual gold, but he created a truly golden sound and quality that cannot be matched. There are many other fantastic cymbal brands out there, don't get me wrong. Sabian, Paiste, TRX, Meinl, all outstanding companies but Zildjian still takes, or rather steals the cake in my eyes. I plan to be with Zildjian for the rest of my life.

2 Sabian

History lesson - Sabian HH IS the original Zildjian K. The two sons split the company, one taking the CANADIAN-based plant where the hand-hammered cymbals were made, but had to come up with a new name (which is based on his sons' initials). The other son took the US-based plant and the Zildjian name, but not the hand-hammered process. He had to come up with a new process, which in my humble opinion, does not compare. I have a pre-Sabian Zildjian K cymbal, and won't part with it despite numerous offers. But everything I've bought since the split has to be Sabian.

I've been playing Sabians my entire life, and I love them. The Sabian B8 series is good to start out on. Of course they will break easily though. After B8, you get to XS series. These cymbals have a higher pitched sound, and are very bright. Then you get to the AA and HH (Hand Hammered) series. These cymbals tend to have a bit more of a vintage sound. If you are looking for modern, than the AAX and HHX series are the perfect choice. The sound of these cymbals are just so rich. But it doesn't stop there. The Paragon and Vault series cymbals top the list of Sabian cymbals. These are the cream of the crop of cymbals. And I can tell you that you get what you pay for with Sabian cymbals. Not to mention the artists for Sabian include Ray Luzier, Terry Bozzio, Tony Royster Jr, Chad Smith, Mike Portnoy, and my personal favorite, NEIL PEART. Sabian for life.

3 Paiste

I've been playing drums for over 40 years and I've ALWAYS loved the sound of Paiste Cymbals... Probably because a lot of my favorite drummers use them. For example, Stewart Copeland, Nick Mason, Alex Van Halen and the late great John Bonham, just to name a few. No doubt about it, these guys all have their own signature sounds, and Paiste cymbals are a big part of each.

When I'm playing live, they just seem to cut through better than just about every other cymbal out there. They have a distinct sound, and boy, are they consistent! There's also some great choices that won't break the bank, like the PST7 series, which are made from the same alloy as Paiste's highly acclaimed (and more expensive) 2002 series.

I love Zildjian cymbals too, but in my opinion, these should be number 1.

I am not a full user of Paiste, I use Zildjian most of the time, but I don't know why Sabian is above Paiste. What I love about Paiste is the very defined sound that Paiste offers, especially with the rides. I have used many rides from Zildjian to TRX but none better than the Paiste rides. One Particular one that stands out to me is the 22" Stewart Copeland Blue Bell Signature ride. It has a lot of stick volume as well as projection and although it is expensive, it's well worth what you pay for. I also have a 16" Signature fast crash, which is lower in volume and delicate to the touch of the stick, and still has a great bell. Last but not least of my Paiste line-up is a 2002 10" splash. It has a pretty quiet volume and still sounds like the perfect balance between a splash and a crash. I am honestly thinking about buying many more Paiste cymbals because they are so wonderful. I hope you found this comment helpful

4 Meinl

I've played/tried out cymbals from various brands, including Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Istanbul Agop, and Soultone, and the only cymbals that have ever blown me away were Meinl cymbals. YouTube videos do not give them justice. I was lucky enough to try out some of their Byzance Dual crashes, and they filled the entire room. These cymbals are loud. Most loud cymbals are very eardrum piercing, because they have a ton of high frequencies, but the Byzance Duals are very rich in lows and mids, and are very pleasing to the ear. The Equilibrium China is by far the best China I've ever played. And if Turkish cymbals aren't your thing, their many German made lines are for you. Their Pure Alloy cymbals sound incredibly similar to various Paiste cymbals, and their Classics Custom lines have a very modern tone. And on top of their cymbals being amazing, so are their percussion instruments, and their line of sticks and mallets!

5 Istanbul Agop

Hand made cymbals are and will always be the professionals' choice. Because you can find among them many different tone colors and paint your set with the colors you choose. Istanbul agop cymbals are the best hand-made cymbals for the price, period.

I played Zildjians for years and then discovered Istanbul. I just feel like the Istanbul have more pleasing characteristics to the ear, with unique tone. Their cymbals seem to have less annoying overtones than other brands. Great for recording.

Unique brand with its approach. Saying that Meinl made dark cymbals popular again is not correct. Its all about marketing. Agop changed the trend in the last 10 years. Agop's signature, Turk, special edition lines made big companies aware of whats getting attention. Zildjian's Kerope, special dry, meinl byzance, sabian's elite..see where the insprition coming from.

6 Istanbul Mehmet

I've been playing drums since the 90's when in elementary school. My dad is a drummer and worked at the local music store. They sold Zildjian and Paiste and so that's what we played. Zildjian use to be the best, my dad has an old set of Zildjians from the 70's that are great but was given a newer A series crash that sounds more like a weak ride than a crash and so he uses it as such. All the big dogs that once were great (Buddy Rich use to hand select his Zildjians) are mostly now machined with little if any hand hammering. I like the Zildjian K Constanople series but Paiste has better overall consistence and quality control. I love Istanbul Mehmet though, my favorite is the Nostalgia series but other are good too. The only thing is that I prefer Paiste Formula 602 rides for some reason though Mehmet makes some good rides.

I'm a big fan of Istanbul Mehmet. While Agop is more well known and used, in my opinion, Mehmet just makes nicer sounding cymbals. I'm a jazz drummer primarily, I use a variety of cymbals and my go to cymbal combination is my Mehmet 22" 50s ride, my zildjian Bill Stewart ride and my bosphorus master vintage hi hats and I can assure you that my 50s ride is my favourite, despite the fact that I love my bill stewart ride. I'd seriously urge everybody to give them a try and if you're a jazz drummer the 50s ride will blow you away.

7 Bosphorous

The Turks bake the best pies, and the one that scores out of the oven are Bosphorus. I am 65yo, been playing since I was 12. I tried many cymbal makers over the years, but once I discovered Bos pies, I never looked elsewhere.

They are articulate, warm, dry, and buttery. They are 100% hand made, each cymbal is hand hammered to individual tonal quality. No two in the same series, even close in weight will sound the same. True individualism. Unlike the Zildjian, Paiste, Sabian cyms which are machine produced, computerized lathing and hammering.

The best. True tonal muiscality in each collection. Suited for jazz due to its soft buttery feel, they offer other series for each genre.
Zildjian, Paiste, Meinl...all popular by excellent marketing. Look into the true craftsmanship that goes into the making of Turkish cymbals. While the top 3 are machine, computerized, and digitally mastered, Bosphorus are truly handmade. From forging, hammering, polishing all done by artisans skilled in the ancient art of cymbal making, the sounds are obvious. I am 65yo, been drumming since I was 12. Tried all the big boys, now it is Bosphorus to carry me out

8 TRX

TRX makes top of the line cymbals. The quality is outstanding and the sound is perfect for any and every kind of music! TRX offers in my opinion the best cymbals there are on the market! I have played everything from Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste... The only difference is is that these name brands don't make their cymbals hand crafted from Turkey... TRX ALL THE WAY

What makes TRX Cymbals absolutely brilliant is that you can combine their cymbals to make it sound either modern or classic. The cymbals they manufacture are very durable. They are hand-crafted Turkish cymbals so they do come at a price but they also have CRX cymbals which are their mid-tier cymbals that are developed in China that makes them cheap but still sounds equally great.

Great quality and overall performance! TRX has a series for any and every style of music! These cymbals are worth every penny! TRX cymbals have the perfect amount of resonance and they offer that perfect sound for even you!

9 Soultone

I personally am actually a Zildjian guy, but I do really love Soultone. The fact that they make amazing sounding cymbals for great prices and will happily endorse any level of player makes me very sure that they will rise to the top of these lists over the next few years. Other than Zildjian and perhaps Sabian, Soultone is one of the few companies in my opinion that can really be characterized as making truly amazing cymbals.

I think soultone is a great choice for any type of drummer no matter what genre they play. I just signed with soultone and I don't regret it. In my opinion soultone should be up in the top 5 with Zildjian, sabian, and MEINL. Great cymbals!

Soultone is the greatest crash cymbal I have ever played in my entire life! They provide such good, crisp sound weather you are working in a studio or out on the rode doing gigs! Overall, soultone should be the #1 cymbal!

10 Wuhan

I'm a Meinl guy myself, but Wuhan make extremely good cymbals for the price. They're cast cymbals, made from B20 bronze, that's why they sound so good. I just find it surprising how little they cost! They're known for their chinas, but even their crashes, rides, hihats, and splashes are amazing. They may be cheap, but in this case, you get a whole lot more than you pay for!

My favorites are Zildjian and Meinl, but since they are already so high on the list I'll vote for these... Their cymbals are cheap and their china cymbals are the best in the world

For me the best Chinas and splashes of all out there, they give the real original ''china'' sound, I tried out the Crashes to, and the sound its amazing too!

The Contenders
11 Dream

Dream Cymbals are my personal favorite because they are the only companying making fully hand hammered cymbals. While companys like zildjian and sabian have big machines to press cymbals into shape, dream cymbals are sledge hammered into shape creating a truly unique work of visual audible art. Dream makes very good sounding cymbals for a very reasonable price.

Dream are the only cymbals I would say have their own sound, what I mean by that is that they have their very own sound, plus since they are 100% hand made every one is a unique instrument.

Agreed these are a great cymbal. Most of their lines seem primarily for Jazz. The Energy Series is for Rock and/or generally louder playing but they are not limited to it.
I also use Ks, As, Paragons, AAXs, Meinls and Paistes.
Do yourself a real favour and try out the Dream line.

12 Alchemy

I've been playing drums for about 5 years and the sound of these cymbals are truly one of a kind.

13 Stagg

Because they have the best quality to value ratio!

14 Murat Diril

I've played a lot of cymbal brands and these are certainly great cymbals. I currently own two sets of these and I own a set of Zildjian and I'm playing these on every gig I get. They have such a different sound and feel to them. Some are dry and some are velvety depending on which series you get. If I had to choose a company from the big brands, it would be Meinl since they're the same thing as Murat Diril, but my sound is Murat Diril. They're just so smooth and musical.

The best cymbals I ever seen. They are B22 alloy and have interesting series, something more original than the other brands.

The most artistic cymbals I have seen or heard.

15 UFIP

I have a 10 inch splash and a 16 inch crash in the Class series that are two of my favorite cymbals ever. They have the most interesting overtones and "voice" of anything I've ever heard. A bit like a K, but with more sparkle. They are truly remarkable. In fact, I can't believe more people don't use them. They're the same price or less as comparable brands, and they're second to none.

Their manufacturing process is unique to them, and creates a cymbal that is incredibly musical, as well as being extremely durable.

The Ferrari of cymbals that are the only cymbals that are molded into shape without weak spots!

The finest Splash ever! Used over 30 years. Great to the end! Never found another like it sadly.

16 CRX

They are owned by TRX Cymbals. These are their mid-tier cymbals that are developed in China but sounds equally great as TRX. Plus, I dig their logo.

17 Anatolian

Playing those beauties since 2003, Ultimate & Baris Serien... great sound, durable and inexpensive.

18 Saluda

Unless you are sponsored, don't waste your money on the top 4. you get more than enough in the Saluda Cymbal lines of cymbals. Also the best customer service out there, if you don't like the sound, send it back and they will try to fix it, if they can't they will hammer you a complete new cymbal. Plus lifetime warranty on cracks less than 1 inch! Send it back and they will replace it!

I stumbled upon Saluda Cymbals, all I can say is one of the best finds yet! Great cymbals! No need to buy the big 4 anymore with this company around! I own 2 sets of Saluda Hats 13" Prototypes and 14" Green Goddess Dry both sound amazing with a super crisp chick and tight control and stick definition! I also have various bells. Next purchase is gonna be a dry ride!

Great Cymbals, I Own the 17" Medium crash and the 18" Medium Crash/Ride, hand made and sexy as hell. They have so many Choices and also Partner with a couple other companys so you can buy your stands along with your Cymbals!

19 Trexist

I purchased a 18" Aurum Crash & 20" EVO Thunder Crash. The best decision I ever made.

20 Orion

Sexy sounding bright and dark heavy cymbals! 5/5

21 Dynamic

I have nothing but good things to say about Dynamic Cymbals. D Cymbals somehow manages to provide $300 worth of sound into a $100 crash. Definitely recommend picking up the Damascus line. I have also played the Infinity line, it's comprable to ZBTs and the like.

definitely recommend, shipping can be a little pricy though so watch out for that. Also USA based, which is nice. They seem to usually have some sort of discount code running at any given time, or at least I think that's what the CEO said, so make sure to find one of those if you csan. 9/10 quality, 10/10 price.

Probably the highest-quality B20 cymbals you'll be able to find on a lower budget. Definitely competes with the bigger brands and has really great sound for the prices - best bang-for-your-buck cymbals, for sure.

Good looking cymbals, nice sounds, fantastic bang-for-buck. High end lines compete with brand names for a fraction of the price. Definitely worth checking out if you're on a tight budget.

22 Zion

I bought their Fury crashes last month and was really blown away. The crashes were very responsive and explosive. It was exactly what I wanted as far as sound and character. My next few cymbals will be their Legend line that look rich and dark. I heard the Legends in a video and they are sweet.

You can easily tell these Zion Cymbals are crafted with the best precision. They stood out when I heard them at the NAMM show. They just sound better overall. The attack is perfect and they sound is exactly what I have been looking for.

They have a huge artist roster of heavy hitters in the drum industry. Great sounding cymbals for sure! I switched from Sabian and Meinl, to Zion. Better quality with great warranty!

23 Heartbeat Cymbals

Handmade B20 cymbals with amazing quality and service. They blend into a mix incredibly well!
That is probably why they are being used by most big name worship artists!

Amazing cymbals! I have yet to hear a cymbal that sounds better than the heartbeat 20" custom light ride.

Incredible and underrated cymbal makers. Beautiful recorded and live

24 Sonor
25 Agazarian
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