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 three 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.

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.

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 one.

4 Meinl

I've played/tried out cymbals from various brands, including Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Istanbul Agop, and Soultone. The only cymbals that have ever blown me away were Meinl cymbals.

YouTube videos do not do 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. However, 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. 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.

On top of their cymbals being amazing, so are their percussion instruments and their line of sticks and mallets!

5 Istanbul Agop

Handmade 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 handmade cymbals for the price, period.

I played Zildjians for years and then discovered Istanbul. I just feel like the Istanbul cymbals have more pleasing characteristics to the ear with a unique tone.

Their cymbals seem to have fewer annoying overtones than other brands. Great for recording.

6 Istanbul Mehmet

I've been playing drums since the '90s when I was in elementary school. My dad is a drummer and worked at the local music store. They sold Zildjian and Paiste, so that's what we played.

Zildjian used to be the best. My dad has an old set of Zildjians from the '70s that are great. However, he was given a newer A series crash that sounds more like a weak ride than a crash, so he uses it as such. All the big dogs that once were great (Buddy Rich used to hand-select his Zildjians) are now mostly machined with little if any hand hammering.

I like the Zildjian K Constantinople series, but Paiste has better overall consistency and quality control. I love Istanbul Mehmet though. My favorite is the Nostalgia series, but others are good too. The only thing is that I prefer Paiste Formula 602 rides for some reason, though Mehmet makes some good rides.

7 Bosphorous

The Turks make the best pies, and the one that scores out of the oven is Bosphorus. I am 65 years old, and I've been playing since I was 12. I tried many cymbal makers over the years, but once I discovered Bosphorus, I never looked elsewhere.

They are articulate, warm, dry, and buttery. They are 100% handmade, and 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 Zildjian, Paiste, and Sabian cymbals, which are machine-produced with computerized lathing and hammering.

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 on the market. I have played everything from Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste. The only difference is that these name brands don't make their cymbals handcrafted from Turkey. TRX all the way!

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

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 five with Zildjian, Sabian, and Meinl. Great cymbals!

10 Wuhan

I'm a Meinl guy myself, but Wuhan makes extremely good cymbals for the price. They're cast cymbals made from B20 bronze, which is 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, hi-hats, 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.

The Contenders
11 Dream

Dream Cymbals are my personal favorite because they are the only company making fully hand-hammered cymbals. While companies 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 and audible art. Dream makes very good-sounding cymbals for a very reasonable price.

Dream cymbals are the only ones I would say have their own sound. What I mean by that is they have their very own sound.

Plus, since they are 100% handmade, every one is a unique instrument.

12 Alchemy

I've been playing drums for about five years and the sound of these cymbals is 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 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 have ever seen. They are B22 alloy and have interesting series, something more original than the other brands.

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 than 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.

16 CRX

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

17 Anatolian

Playing those beauties since 2003, Ultimate and Baris series. Great sound, durable and inexpensive.

18 Saluda

Unless you are sponsored, don't waste your money on the top four. You get more than enough in the Saluda line of cymbals.

They also have 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, there's a 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 it is one of the best finds yet! Great cymbals!

No need to buy the big four anymore with this company around! I own two sets of Saluda hats: 13" prototypes and 14" Green Goddess Dry. Both sound amazing with a super crisp chick, tight control, and stick definition! I also have various bells. My next purchase is going to be a dry ride!

19 Trexist

I purchased an 18" Aurum Crash and a 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 manage 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 comparable to ZBTs and the like.

Definitely recommend. Shipping can be a little pricey 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 can. 9/10 quality, 10/10 price.

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 from their Legend line, which looks 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 the sound is exactly what I have been looking for.

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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