Cymbals are a crucial component in a drum set. They increase the range of sound you can provide as a drummer, as toms, snare, and drum bass just won’t cut it.

In this ultimate buying guide we’ll cover different price points and sets for different purposes or drumming styles. Our goal is this guide to be suitable for every budget and musical style.

Anyhow, most people get their very first cymbal packs with their starter drum sets. These cymbal packs, tend to bet good for beginners, as they provide you with the simplest opportunities to progress as a drummer. However there are some premium options for more advance drummers and we’ll cover them as well.

We’ve composed the list of the best cymbal pack sets, so let’s see what we have here:

QUICK RUNDOWN

If you are in a hurry these are our TOP 4 Picks for the Best Cymbal Packs:

Best Cymbal Pack Under $1000

Zildjian is one of go to brands for manny profesional drummers such as Dennis Chambers, Steve Smith or Aaron Spears. And the K custom series is their flagship line of cymbals.

This brand has a deep history in Cymbals being 1618 the year were the first cymbal was created by Avedis Zildjian.

This line is know for its dark and warm tone and are extremely versatile making them a perfect choice for playing jazz, latin, acoustic music all the way to rock.

The package includes a 14″ K HiHats, 16″ K Dark Crash Thin, 20″ K Ride and as an added value a 18″ K Dark Crash Thin. This covers the most important cymbals for the more traditional set.

Build quality and design:

Looking in detail you can appreciate a refine job with extensive hammering techniques and a low profile producing a short decade sound. This helps a quick response with the crashes achieving their full potencial without needing to stroke the cymbals to hard.

 

Regarding durability in our experience we find that Zildjian Cymbals tend to last longer than Sabian cymbals, thanks to their robust nature.

Good for the money?

Off course the cymbals are spectacular with superb build quality and amazing sound but it does come with a price tag. Never the less this Cymbal set is of extreme value with the 18″ Crash free of charge completing the pack.

For more about Zildjian K Series Set, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU6SDU-TlSo
  • Build Quality 98%
  • Functionality 99%
  • Price / Value Ratio 97%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Premium performance
  • Really Versatile
  • Excellent durability
  • Perfect 4 Cymbal traditional set
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Expensive

Best Cymbal Pack for Rock Under $800

Ironically enough, rockers tend to smash the cymbals harder than metalheads. The best way to make sure that your cymbal set will survive your next rock gig is to get yourself a set that excels in durability, right? If so, you want Zildjian’s A0801R Rock Pack Cymbal set bundle.

This bundle includes the 14″ Mastersound Hi-Hats, the 17″ Medium-Thin Crash cymbal, the 19″ Medium-thin crash cymbal, and 20″ Ping ride cymbal.

Build quality and design:

Zildjian’s cymbals can easily outmatch any and all competitors when it comes to durability. Rockers who need to smash their cymbals as if they’ve wronged them will be pretty delighted to hear that A081R Rock edition is capable of providing such a thing.

Good for the money?

First of all, rockers will have a hard time finding a more valuable cymbal pack on the entire market. Now, even though this set is quite expensive, it features marvelous features and exquisite level of durability and performance. Wrapping it up, Zildjian’s A0801R Rock Pack Cymbal set holds a massive value for the cash

For more about Zildjian A0801R Rock Pack, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGYOmp1-grI
  • Build Quality 96%
  • Functionality 88%
  • Price / Value Ratio 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Perfect for rockers
  • Phenomenal durability
  • Phenomenal value for the cash
  • A set of complementary features
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • High price

Best Cymbal Pack for Metal Under $500

Metal lovers, if you’re looking for a cymbal pack, look no further. Meinl’s Cymbals CC-EM480 Classics Custom Extreme Metal Cymbal Box set pack was specifically designed to be there for metalhead drummers.

The “Classics” cymbal pack features twin 14″ Extreme Metal Hi-hats, a single 18″ Extreme Metal crash, and the 20″ Extreme Metal Ride cymbal. These cymbals excel in virtually all fields of performance, as they’re extremely versatile.

The cymbals in this set were hammered down so hard that they can easily provide that precise tone a metalhead drummer needs, and they’re practically ideal for anyone who intends to make their name in the history of metal.

Build quality and design:

Large, powerful, hammered cymbals – these would be the best words to define the Meinl’s Cymbals CC-EM480 Classics Custom Extreme Metal Cymbal Box set pack. Needless to say, the Meinl quality is put in the first plan, as they provide nothing short of perfection, and this is not an exception.

Good for the money?

If, and only if you have the money for it, the Meinl’s Cymbals CC-EM480 Classics Custom Extreme Metal Cymbal Box set pack will be valuable for you. These “extreme” cymbals are considered to be sort of expensive, so you should be able to cough up some dough if you want them, but you will definitely find them valuable.

For more about Meinl Cymbals CC-EM480 Classics Custom Extreme Metal, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ENxxxHwNe0
  • Build Quality 80%
  • Functionality 96%
  • Price / Value Ratio 86%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Extremely durable
  • Ideal for metal drummers
  • Nice value for the cash
  • Unprecedented performance
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Somewhat specialized

Best Cymbal Pack Under $400

Meinl is one of the prominent leaders in the branch, and you might’ve already heard about them if you’re a seasoned drummer. If that’s not the case, let us give you a hint – they provide some of the best cymbal pack sets on the entire market.

One of their finest representatives is the set model we have here – the Meinl Cymbals HCS-SCS1 Ultimate HCS Cymbal Box Set pack. This is literally the ultimate cymbal set, as it comes equipped with 9 premium-quality cymbals.

You’ll get two 14″ hi-hats, a 20″ ride, the 14″ crash, the 16″ crash, the 18″ crash, one 14″ china cymbal, one 8″ bell cymbal, and a complementary 16″ crash cymbal. Needless to say, you have everything you need to set the stage on fire with your drumming skills.

Build quality and design:

These cymbals feature the premium-quality brass alloy manufactured and crafted in Germany. There’s hardly any brand that can compare to Meinl when it comes to durability, so you can rest assured that your purchase is as safe as it gets.

Overall, Meinl Cymbals HCS-SCS1 Ultimate HCS Cymbal Box Set pack is one of the most durable cymbal packs we’ve come across.

Good for the money?

Simply put, Meinl Cymbals HCS-SCS1 Ultimate HCS Cymbal Box Set pack isn’t exactly cheap. However, you’ll have to pay a fortune if you want to buy all nine pieces standalone. Summing it up, this cymbal pack holds a massive value for the cash even though you’ll have to pay top dollar.

The Meinl Cymbals HCS-SCS1 Ultimate HCS Cymbal Box Set pack belongs to the mid range price point category.

For more about Meinl Cymbals HCS-SCS1 Ultimate HCS Cymbal Set, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtqjtjXXctU
  • Build Quality 88%
  • Functionality 90%
  • Price / Value Ratio 85%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Remarkable performance
  • High durability
  • Ultimate cymbal pack
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Very expensive

Best Cymbal Pack Under $300

Wuhan might be an underdog in the cymbal branch, but they sure make decent sets for drummers. Their percussion gear is not as famous as Sabian, perhaps, but you’d be surprised at how good their cymbals can be.

Here we have Wuhan’s WUBTSU Western Style Cymbal set that includes 14″ Hi-Hat, a 16″ Crash cymbal, and 20″ ride cymbal. On top of all, you’ll get a complementary cymbal bag.

Build quality and design:

Each of Wuhan’s WUTBSU cymbals were hand hammered, highly polished, and specially lathed for the best performance. Sadly, they don’t excel in the field of durability, but they’re ideal for beginner and intermediate drummers.

Good for the money?

Wuhan’s WUTBSU Western Style cymbal pack is one of the best cymbal pack sets in the price range. These cymbals belong to the “medium” price point category, and they’re considered to be quite valuable for the cash. All in all, these cymbals are great for starters, their performance is outstanding, but they’re not too durable.

For more about Wuhan WUTBSU Western Style Set, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE3v8E9bXmQ
  • Build Quality 80%
  • Functionality 76%
  • Price / Value Ratio 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • A standard 3-piece cymbal set
  • Complementary features
  • Great performance
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Underdog brand

Best Cymbal Pack Under $200

Zildjian is one of the prominent leaders in the cymbal industry, and they boast quite a large catalog of drum sets and cymbal packs. These include, however, both the budget and high-end packs. Well, plainly speaking, Zildjian ZBT starter cymbal set is somewhere in between.

It’s neither cheap or expensive, and it’s neither too good or bad. It’s ideal for starters mainly because it’s affordable, but you shouldn’t consider doing gigs with it. Anyhow, this set comes in three variants – 5-Cymbal set, Expander Cymbal set, and Starter Cymbal Set.

Build quality and design:

Basically, Zildjian’s ZBT starter pack was built to last if you don’t bang them too hard. It’s a starter pack, so you shouldn’t expect too much out of them. This set is comprised of 13″ Hi-Hat, one Crash ride cymbal of 18″, and one crash cymbal of 14″.

Zildjian’s is known for durability and quality, and it wouldn’t be true to say that this cymbal pack isn’t rough. Anyhow, there are cymbal packs that can easily outshine them in this field, so, it’s safe to say that the overall durability level of Zildjian’s ZBT starter cymbal pack is above average, to say the least.

Good for the money?

This cymbal pack belongs to the “affordable” price range, and it’s considered to be very valuable for the cash. All of these cymbals are quite durable, each one excels in performance and functionality, so it’s safe to say that they do a good bang for the buck.

For more about Zildjian ZBT Starter Set, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QScZhnIkKI
  • Build Quality 78%
  • Functionality 78%
  • Price / Value Ratio 74%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Affordable
  • A set of 3 premium-quality cymbals
  • Ideal for beginners
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Mediocre durability

Best Budget Cymbal Pack

Sabian rests on the throne of drum-manufacturer kings, and their SBR Performance pack is one of their best budget variants for aspiring drummers who’re low on cash. This cymbal pack features 14″ Hi-Hat, 16″ Crash, and 20″ ride cymbal.

Build quality and design:

Each of the cymbals in this pack was made of pure brass by highly skilled Sabian artisans. Needless to say, sabian crafts some of the most durable cymbals, but this set isn’t well-suited to be the representative of their quality. Why is that? This is a starter pack after all, and it’s mainly intended for use by beginner and junior drummers.

Good for the money?

Sabian’s SBR Performance pack belongs to the “bargain” price point category, which means that it is easily affordable by everyone. Needless to say, the Sabian quality combined with affordability yields a high value as a result.

For more about Sabian SBR Performance Pack, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N__8CFcFw0g
  • Build Quality 74%
  • Functionality 72%
  • Price / Value Ratio 70%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Extremely cheap
  • Reliable cymbal pack
  • Good enough materials
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • This is a basic starter cymbal pack

Buying Guide:

Important things you need to know about cymbals – Beginner and Junior section


Cymbals are very important to drummers, but most beginners (and some juniors) don’t know that. As a beginner, you will have to rely mainly on your toms and snare to get your rhythm game right, so you will have little time to deal with cymbals.

However, there are virtuoso drummers who begin with cymbals, as the peculiar sounds attract them more than thumping of sticks against toms. If you consider yourself as talented (or adventurous), you should definitely try getting at least a starter cymbal pack.

The names in the cymbal industry


Plainly speaking, if there’s a word “Zildjian” or “Sabian” next to a cymbal pack, you’ve got the right one. Zildjian is, perhaps, the most renowned cymbal maker in the industry, and they’ve rightfully earned their title with their craftsmanship and skill.

Sabian is next – this brand is Zildjian’s equal when it comes to performance and reliability. There are a lot of names, among which we can include Meinl, Irin, Foraineam, PDP, and Wuhan.

Why is it important to know big names in the cymbal industry? If you don’t want to make a mistake of buying a low-quality cymbal set, you want to know who the leaders are, plain as that.

 

How to choose your first cymbal pack

Choosing your first cymbal pack should be easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro, a beginner, or a casual person who is interested in cymbals. There are a lot of drummers who play for years without their own cymbal set – some people borrow cymbals from their drummer friends, others practice in music studios.

Simply speaking, there’s a strong possibility that years will pass until you decide that the time has come to buy your very own cymbal set. Why is that? Well, first of all, most people can’t afford cymbals. Let’s take teen drummers for example. You can’t expect to buy a cymbal pack out of your allowance money, now, can you?

People who drum for some time won’t settle for a beginner cymbal pack (the most affordable option) because they often deem that their skills are far superior to that. Wrapping it up, cymbal packs are quite expensive.

Now, how do you pick your first cymbal pack? You shouldn’t just take price into account. If you’re a teen, you can always ask your parents to give you an extra buck. If you’re a young adult, you can easily save up for a nice cymbal set after a couple of weeks/months.

Adults who have the least paid jobs will easily be able to afford a simple cymbal pack in less than a month. Now, what are the things you should consider beside the price?

Main qualities of a good cymbal pack


You want your cymbal pack to be durable. Zildjian and Meinl cymbals excel in the field of durability, so you can consider them. Furthermore, there are cymbals that are specifically designed for different music genres.

Rockers, funkers, metalheads – there are different kinds of drummers, but there are also drummers who play in different bands who need versatility. In that case, you can consider Zildjian cymbals. Their cymbals offer plenty of versatility, so you can easily switch from genre to genre whenever you need to.

Furthermore, you’ll be seeing the word “performance” right next to various cymbal packs in different reviews. Each cymbal sounds different, and it’s hard to know if you’ve got the right pack if you’re ordering online.

If you’re unable to try out your cymbal pack prior to purchase, you might want to consider some cymbal picks we’ve handpicked, as we focused on those sets with the highest performance level possible.

Advanced cymbal packs and cymbal sets


If you’re a seasoned drummer who’s looking for something more advanced, you’re in luck. Advanced cymbal packs are usually designed differently. This different design usually means that different materials were used in the manufacturing process.

If that’s not the case, the crafting process itself is different. If you just compare the top brands with others below them, you’ll notice that there’s a huge gap in performance. Why is that? Rarely any brand discloses their tricks of the trade, but, let me tell you, it all comes down to different techniques of hammering and polishing the cymbals.

You might’ve noticed that we’ve included some cymbals in our review that feature “edgy” design. Plain cymbals are usually straight and a bit “wavy” while advanced cymbal packs feature holes and intentional blobs in their design.

These “additional features” allow you to extend the range of sounds you are making while drumming. For instance, the holes in cymbals allow for better resonance while the “blobs” allow you to create different sounds.

This is just one of the reasons why advanced cymbal packs are favored by semi-pro and professional drummers. On top of that, these cymbal sets can be linked to “specific” music genres, such as “metal cymbal packs”, “rock cymbal packs”, “funk cymbal packs”, and such.

 

Cymbal maintenance gear – what do you need to keep your cymbal pack in perfect condition


Even the best, most resilient cymbals need maintenance. Drummers who neglect their cymbals often complain about “losing the edge” and pin the blame on bad-quality, but, in truth, that’s not the issue.

As most cymbals are made of metal (or similar materials), it’s quite obvious that such material is prone to corrosion, rust, and such. If you want to prevent this, you ought to use cymbal cleaners, cymbal polishing cloths, and similar maintenance products. Since cymbal cleaners are, by far, the most efficient, we advise you to stick with them. 

What are cymbal cleaners and how bad do you need them


Cymbal cleaners are used to clean your cymbals, obviously. These products are fairly cheap, and they’re used to bring your cymbals to their full glory. Most cymbals are made from metals or similar materials, so, yeah, you need cymbal cleaners if you want your drum set to sprinkle and shine.

Basically, cymbal cleaners should be used during regular maintenance of your cymbals, as most cymbals are prone to rust and corrosion. It’s fairly easy to use them – some cleaners (spray variants) should be applied directly on the surface of your cymbals while other variants can be used in a combination with cloth or fabric materials.

Conclusion:

Cymbals are definitely a necessity for every drummer, and there’s plenty of manufacturers and products for you to chose from. There are different price point categories, different materials, and different brands that offer beginner, junior, advanced, and professional cymbal packs, so there’s something for everyone, literally.

If you are also looking for a good drum set, be sure to take a look to our different buying guides.

We’ve included only the best representatives of the prominent leaders in the drum gear market so that you don’t have to waste too much time on browsing and searching, good luck hunting!