Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Gator GP-CYMBAK-24 Backpack For Cymbals Up to 24" Inches
GP-CYMBAK-24 Backpack For Cymbals Up to 24" Inches
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This rugged cymbal backpack from Gator provides both protection and hands-free transportation.


Fits six cymbals up to 24". Nylon exterior with thick padded sides and reinforced bottom. Adjustable backpack straps. Features a large front pocket plus three additional storage pockets. Removable padded shoulder strap. Interior dividers. Well-padded and durable.


Shoulder straps tend to slip and occasionally fail.

Best Bang for the Buck
ProTec Deluxe Deluxe 24” 6-Pack Cymbal Bag, Padded and Puncture Resistant
ProTec Deluxe
Deluxe 24” 6-Pack Cymbal Bag, Padded and Puncture Resistant
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Budget Pick
Bottom Line

Cymbal separators and a reinforced bottom help set this cymbal bag apart from its competitors.


Protect six cymbals measuring up to 24" across. Five padded cymbal separators and nylex lining. Nylon exterior with high-density 10mm padding. Padded handle wrap. Large pocket with built-in organizer and smaller pocket. Removable padded shoulder strap. Metal snaps, ID tag, and reinforced bottom. Outer pocket large enough to hold tablet. Keeps cymbals from ringing.


Arm strap is not terribly comfortable.

ChromaCast Padded Cymbal Bag
Padded Cymbal Bag
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

This inexpensive nylon bags holds your cymbals, your sticks, and any other gear you might need.


Features 10mm thick padding. Nylon canvas fabric exterior with nylon interior. Features two reinforced carry handles and a shoulder strap. Spacious zippered front pocket designed to hold drumstick bag and more.


Shoulder strap can fail, so use for transportation with caution.

Reunion Blues RBXCM22 Drum Cymbal Bag
Reunion Blues
RBXCM22 Drum Cymbal Bag
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Lightweight Option
Bottom Line

A lightweight yet durable cymbal case with a rugged, waterproof exterior.


Includes padded cymbal dividers to protect each one. Straps on the back allow you to carry it like a backpack. Abrasion grid on the base protects the area that gets the most wear.


Doesn't offer as much protection as a hardshell case.

Zildijian 24" Rolling Cymbal Vault
24" Rolling Cymbal Vault
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Durable & Rugged
Bottom Line

This highly protective hard case comes from one of the biggest names in cymbals.


Holds cymbals up to 24 inches in diameter. The rolling design is great for people who struggle with the weight of a full cymbal case. Molded ergonomic handle for when you need to lift it.


On the pricier side.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best cymbal safe cases

Cymbals are some of a drummer's most prized possessions, so it's important to have a cymbal safe case to protect them. In some ways, cymbals are more important than the kit itself, especially if you play in a small band, because often you'll play the house drum kit and only be asked to bring your "breakables" — that's your cymbals, kick pedal, and snare drum.

The first choice to make is between soft and hard cymbal safe cases. Soft models are lighter and more affordable, but hard models offer more protection. Size matters, too — cymbal cases are available in a range of sizes, so you'll need to find the right size to fit your cymbals. You may also wish to consider other features such as wheels, carry straps, and padded dividers.

In this guide, we bring you the most important information about cymbal safe cases to make your purchasing decision easier. What's more, we've listed our top models, which you can examine now if you're ready to buy right away.

Multiple layers of foam on soft cymbal cases offer more protection for your cymbals than a single layer would.

Key considerations

Soft case vs. hard case

Soft cymbal safe cases are made from a durable outer fabric, such as nylon, with foam padding below. They don't weigh much, so minimal weight is added to your already-heavy cymbal collection. Soft cases cost less than their hard counterparts, which makes them attractive to many amateur drummers. They don't offer quite as much protection as hard cases, but this isn't much of an issue unless you're piling your cymbals in a van full of musical equipment.

Hard cymbal cases are made from hard plastic to offer the maximum protection for your cymbals, even when the case is under a pile of other instruments and gear. Their strength and durability are why they're the standard choice for touring musicians, though you don't have to be playing at that level to own one. They cost more than soft cases, but they pay for themselves in the long run since a quality hard case could last for decades.


Choose a cymbal safe case that's large enough to accommodate the biggest of your cymbals. The ride cymbal tends to be the largest in the kit — 20 inches in diameter is fairly standard, but anything up to 26 inches is common. You can find some ride cymbals with a diameter of 30 inches or more, but they're rarely used, and few cymbal cases are designed to fit them.

If you don't know the diameter of your largest cymbal, simply measure it and choose accordingly. Make sure the case measurements you're looking at are for the interior rather than the exterior. If you think you might upgrade to a larger cymbal soon, choose a bigger case than you currently need so you won't have to replace it once you buy your new cymbal.

Did You Know?
Some cymbal safe cases feature external pockets that you can use to carry small drum essentials, such as a drum key and sticks.


Carry straps

Some soft cymbal cases feature a pair of carry straps in addition to a regular handle. This allows you to carry the cymbal case on your back like a backpack, which is great when trekking a fairly long distance or when your hands are full of other gear, such as your drums and stands. Ideally, these carry straps should be padded to make the case more comfortable to carry.


Hard cymbal safe cases sometimes have small wheels built into the base. These cases also have extendable handles, much like on a wheeled suitcase, so you don't have to bend down to pull them. Since hard cases can be heavy when full, this is a great feature for those who struggle to carry their case for more than a minute or two. Of course, you'll still need to carry it up stairs or over certain terrain, so don't choose a case that's literally too heavy for you to handle, even if it has wheels.


Dividers are made from foam or felt and are designed to sit between the cymbals in your case to prevent them from rubbing against each other and causing damage. Although this damage is often merely superficial, it's best avoided. Not all cases come with dividers, but you can buy them separately.

A reinforced base on a soft cymbal case helps the case last longer, since the bottom of the bag tends to get the most wear.



Drum sticks: ProMark American Hickory Wood Tip Drumstick
It's always advisable to have spare sticks within reach when you're playing the drums. These hickory sticks from ProMark are a solid, durable choice and come in a range of thicknesses.

Drum key: Yamaha DK-15 Chrome Drum Key
Don't underestimate the importance of carrying a drum key with you to tune your drums, especially if you're bringing your own cymbals with you but playing a house kit.

Earplugs: Earasers Hi-Fi High Fidelity Earplugs
Drummers should always wear earplugs while playing to protect their hearing. These earplugs from Earasers are high-fidelity, meaning they reduce volume but still allow you to hear the nuances of the music you're playing, which is essential for musicians.

Did You Know?
When packing your cymbals in a case, stack them starting with the largest on bottom and working up to the smallest on top.

Cymbal safe case prices

Inexpensive: Basic soft cymbal cases start at $20 to $50. These don't offer huge amounts of protection and aren't the most durable, but they're fine for occasional use.

Mid-range: Expect to pay $50 to $100 for mid-range and high-end soft cases. You will also find a handful of low-end hardshell cymbal cases at the higher end of the price spectrum.

Expensive: You can find a wide range of hard cymbal safe cases for $100 to $200. These offer the best protection and are highly durable. Some have extra features, such as wheels.


  • Check the capacity of your chosen cymbal case. Cymbal cases can only carry a finite number of cymbals. Some carry up to 10, but you may not always be able to fit the maximum listed capacity, depending on the size and depth of your cymbals. Since the average drum kit only contains four cymbals, you shouldn't have a problem with capacity unless you use an unusually large number of cymbals.
  • Don't underestimate the benefits of a padded or ergonomic handle. Cymbal safe cases can be heavy when full, especially hard cases. A handle that's comfortable to hold can make a huge difference when you can't park near the venue and have to lug your equipment for several blocks and up a couple flights of stairs.
  • Consider how often you'll use your cymbal safe case. The needs of someone who occasionally takes their cymbals to practice at a friend's house or who plays a few local shows will be different from those of a drummer going on month-long tours. Check that your chosen cymbal case is durable enough to withstand your musical activities.
The pricier your cymbals are, the more important it is that you protect them since they would cost more to replace.


Q. Do I really need a cymbal safe case?

A. This depends on where and how you use and store your cymbals. If you only drum at home and can keep your drum kit set up most of the time, you don't really need a cymbal safe case, since they're for transporting cymbals and storing them long-term. If you need to take your cymbals to band practice and live shows, however, a cymbal case is essential. Otherwise, you'd need to carry them without any sort of container, which just isn't practical.

Q. Are cymbal cases waterproof?

A. All hard cymbal cases and some soft cymbal cases are made of waterproof material, though they're not fully watertight. This means that your cymbals will be protected from rain if you carry them outside in wet weather, but they'd still get wet if they were fully submerged in a body of water. Since it's highly unlikely your cymbal case is going to get dunked, a waterproof exterior is sufficient.

Q. What if I break one of my cymbals?

A. Despite their often-hefty price tags, cymbals are breakable, and it's not unusual to break a cymbal — especially if it's large and you're a hard-hitter. If you use a cymbal safe case, however, you're much more likely to damage a cymbal while you're playing them than while you're transporting them. We recommend insuring your cymbals if they're expensive to cover accidental damage outside of the home.

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