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Best Zildjian cymbals

Which Zildjian cymbals are best?

If you're looking to complete your drum kit, Zildjian cymbals are an obvious choice. With hundreds of years of cymbal-making experience behind them, Zildjian produces cymbals that meet the needs of all styles of drummers.

Still, you may be wondering which Zildjian cymbals are best and how to choose the right ones for you. If you want a full set of basic cymbals, try the Zildjian K Custom Dark Cymbal Pack with its warm, muted tone.

What to know before you buy a Zildjian cymbal

Types of Zildjian cymbals

Your average drum kit uses three types of cymbals: ride, crash and hi-hats. Zildjian makes these three types of cymbals, along with lesser-used offerings, such as splash and China cymbals.  

  • Ride cymbals are usually the largest cymbals in a beginner kit. They're positioned above the floor tom and are usually used to play steady patterns, rather than accents. Crash cymbals are the most commonly-used accent cymbals in drum kits. As the name suggests, they make a loud crashing sound that should cut through the mix.
  • Hi-hat cymbals sit on a stand with a pedal that you can use to either open or close the hats. Played closed, they're great for maintaining a steady rhythm, and while played open, they provide a nice accent.
  • Splash cymbals are less common accent cymbals that are smaller than a crash and provide a shorter accent with less sustain. China cymbals are thin and have a loud, trashy sound, which has gained them the nickname "trash crash" cymbals. 

You can also buy packs containing all the basic cymbals you'll need, which is ideal for new drummers. For more information, see the guide to drum cymbal sets at BestReviews.

Dark vs. bright

Zildjian cymbals can be divided into two main tonal qualities: bright or dark. Bright cymbals are the most commonly used option. They're sound, responsive and punchy with a short decay, so they don't usually ring out for too long after a hit. Dark cymbals have drier, warmer and more mellow tones. They're popular in jazz and fusion, though they're versatile and have a place in most types of music, especially when recording in a studio. 

What to look for in a quality Zildjian cymbal


Cymbal size depends on the type of cymbal. Ride cymbals usually measure between 20 and 24 inches, for instance, while crash cymbals are generally 14 to 20 inches in diameter. Typically, a larger cymbal is louder with longer sustain and a lower pitch.


Zildjian makes various series or ranges of cymbals. Popular ranges include the A series, which is versatile with a bright, sweet sound and the K series, which is warm, rich and dark. 


Today, Zildjian cymbals aren't hand-hammered. Instead, they're hammered using a high-tech computer-controlled machine that can accurately recreate hand-hammering. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Zildjian cymbal

Basic single Zildjian cymbals start at between $50-$100 but can cost as much as $500-$800, while Zildjian cymbal sets can cost as much as $1,000-$1,500. 

Zildjian cymbal FAQ

What are the origins of Zildjian? 

A. The very first Zildjian cymbals were made all the way back in 1618 by Avedis Zildjian, who worked for the court of the Sultan of the Ottoman empire. He was eventually given permission by the Sultan to leave the employ of the court and start his own company. That company is still run by the same family today, though it now produces cymbals in Norwell, Massachusetts. 

Are Zildjian cymbals the best? 

A. There's no single best cymbal company out there, so this is impossible to answer. You can find higher-end cymbals on the market that are arguably better, but Zildjian is one of the most popular and well-respected cymbal manufacturers in the world. It makes quality cymbals that are in a price range within reach of most drummers. A huge number of famous musicians use or have used Zildjian cymbals over the years, from The Beatles' Ringo Starr to Blink 182's Travis Barker. 

What’s the best Zildjian cymbal to buy?

Top Zildjian cymbal

Zildjian K Custom Dark Cymbal Pack

What you need to know: A great set for new drummers and those wanting to replace their existing cymbals.

What you’ll love: The dark tone is warmer and more muted, while still cutting through the mix. These cymbals are extremely versatile and can be used in a range of musical genres. 

What you should consider: Because they come in a set, it isn't possible to customize your sound in the same way you could if you chose your cymbals separately. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Zildjian cymbal for the money

Zildjian Crash Cymbal 

What you need to know: A great crash for new or casual drummers. 

What you’ll love: The thin weight of this cymbal provides a washy sound that some drummers love. It's extremely bright with moderate sustain. The low price makes it easily accessible to drummers with tighter budgets. 

What you should consider: It isn't the most durable choice and won't stand long to heavy use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Zildjian A Zildjian Sweet Ride

What you need to know: A classic bright ride cymbal that's one of the most popular in the world. 

What you’ll love: This cymbal is extremely versatile, as it can be used as a standard ride or with more of a crash to accent the beat. It works well for many musical genres, but especially rock, pop and punk.

What you should consider: Some drummers find this ride a little too bright, but that's mostly down to personal preference.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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