I like reviewing cymbals because it makes me feel like there is so much to discover in the world of drumming. This is why this review on the best cymbals for heavy metal hitters should help you get the best product.

There is so much to cymbals accessories than what many drummers may know. When it comes to choosing the best, you need something designed specifically for your drumming genre.

After all, there are so many manufacturers for cymbals today that it becomes overwhelming to choose the right one.

However, there are a few brands that hold the record for the best cymbals overall. They include Zildjian, Paiste, Meinl, and Sabian.  

So, I sought to find out which of their products, among others, would do best for metal band heavy hitter.

Come long.

What brand makes the best cymbals for rock?

I was going through some online comments on this question and was very impressed with some users’ feelings. They tend to agree with me on many things.

For instance, one user on DrumForum says, “I have a wide mix of Sabians right now. They are really old and used and give it to me by someone. I want to get a new pack. I was thinking of an HHX pack. But I’m also open to brands like Meinl and Paiste. I Wasn’t too down with Zildjians. What line works for you guys who play hard rock?”

First, it is important to acknowledge that brand consideration is very crucial when buying cymbals. I have been a great fan of Zildjians myself because of their quality and versatility.

In my collection, I have products from the top brands mentioned above. Many of them came as gifts from friends who wanted to give me something special.

Sabian makes the same quality in their products as Zildjian. You can easily say these two companies are cousins because they are.

One response above made me realize how important brand consideration is in this matter.

It reads, “If your ‘really old and used’ cymbals were A Zildjian, they would sound better than any newer cymbals by any brands that you say you like. I have many A Zildjian from back in the days when there were not a dozen different series and in price ranges of A Zildjian cymbals. They are as close to bulletproof as you can be. They were bashed mercilessly with the back of heavy matching sticks for many years because the drummer was not mic’d back in the cave dweller day …”

Zildjian is, without a doubt, the company you want to trust when it comes to great cymbals. After all, this is the oldest company in the industry.

They have evolved over the years, building affordable products for the modern market, yet with the same quality from their early years.

Apart from Zildjian, Sabian is another great manufacturer for cymbals. I consider it the second-best cymbal manufacturer on the market.

For metal and heavy hitter drummers, you need something that can take all the punishment you throw at it. And Sabian knows the solution for this.

It is all about the material that goes into making these components. Just like the snare drum, cymbals take in a lot of beating.

Even though modern drummers set their playing field with a wide range of microphones, they still need cymbals that sound loud, in case they performing to a large crowd.

The best cymbals for metal are made from the heaviest materials, and they sound a bit dry. They are less responsive, and hence, not useful for jazz and other similar playing styles.

Meinl has been making a lot of progress in this sector. They offer some of the strongest cymbals, with innovative features.

Just like Zildjian and Sabian, Meinl is another very reputable brand.

If you think these companies are no good enough or too expensive, Paiste is another good name to trust. Every cymbal they make is aimed at delivering specific service, which is why they have grown from strength to strength.

What Is the Best Metal For Good Cymbals?

The best way to understand cymbals and choose something that will satisfy your needs is by understanding what they are made from.

And in this case, four main alloys, all copper-based, are used in making cymbals.

They include Bell Bronze, Malleable Bronze, Brass, and Nickel Silver.

Bell bronze

Bell bronze is also known as bell metal, and it is the traditional metal used in making cymbals, bells, and other similar percussion instruments. It is normally said to be one-part tin to four parts copper. This means it’s 20% tin, though there has been variation over the year.

This material is a two-phase allow, which means some of the tin is not dissolved in the copper grains but is exists between them. The metal is, therefore, harder and more brittle than a single-phase alloy. This feature also affects the hammering and lathing methods of the manufacturer.

Bell bronze is found with products like some Paiste Traditional, Zildjian A and A Custom, Sabina Signature, and Wuhan, among many others.

Signature Bronze Alloys

Paiste released another series of professional cymbals in 1989, which composed of sheet metal bronze with 15% tin. This metal is not tampered, as the traditionalB20 cymbals, though the making process requires that the metal be rolled hot at a certain stage.

This new idea opened a door for greater consistency between blanks since it is annealed. It is the most common of Paiste’s 2002 production lines.

Other manufacturers have since followed the same seen in Zildjian, who produce B12 and B10 alloys. Meinl is also known for applying the same methods.

Malleable Bronze

Malleable bronze is a tin alloy with an 8% tin. It is single-phase, which can be cold-rolled into sheets.

Cymbals that have 8% tin are identified as B8 alloy. Paiste calls their products with the metal 2002 alloy.

Some producers had thought making cymbals with this metal combination would not work. But Paiste experimented widely and made adjustments that created a new line of good quality cymbals.


Brass is widely used in inexpensive beginners’ cymbals. They are not meant to last long, and the material’s rigidity makes the cymbals sound harsh and very prone to cracks.

The material is 38% zinc in copper. They produce a warm but dull tone compared to other types of bronze.

Examples include Planet Z by Zildjian, Meinl HCK, and Paiste 101, among others.

Nickel Silver

Nickel Silver contains about 12% silver and is normally used in some beginners’ cymbal. It can also be identifiable with very few high-quality cymbals.

Some experts think the term nickel-silver should be replaced with nickel-bronze. But since the main alloying metal is not established, they can continue to be called nickel silver.

The metal is malleable and available in commercial sheet metal. It gives out a bright tone without shimmer and the sensitivity of tin bronzes.

Good examples of such cymbals are Meinl Streamer, Paiste 402, and Sabian Signature.

In summary, Brass a combination of copper and zinc. B8 Bronze contains 92% copper and 8% zinc while B20 Bronze has in 80% copper and 20% zinc.

Brass is for beginner cymbals. The metal is the least expensive and does not produce very good sound.

B8 Bronze comes with mid-priced cymbals since they are more expensive than Brass.

The sound is a little better too. B20 bronze is the best metal alloy for cymbals. It is the most popular alloy, more expensive, and generally has the best sound.

A few cymbals are made from the combination of B8 and B20 allow, which creates higher-end and even higher-priced cymbals.

What Cymbals Are Best for Metal

Now that you understand what brands make the best cymbals and what material to consider, it should be hard picking a good solution any more.

They say drumming is similar to a physical exercise, and metal drumming is the best representation of this fact. It requires the use of a lot of energy to produce

the required sound while keeping up with the rest of the team.

For this reason, the cymbals have been strong and from the best material. Go for B20 cymbals because they are stronger, and they sound better.

Apart from the material, the shaping options of your cymbals should also be carefully considered. Whether you are buying rides, crashes, hi-hats, or something else …

Consider these five things:

  • The diameter. A wider cymbal leads to longer sustain and greater volume.
  • Thickness. Their thickness defines cymbals for metal and heavy hitters. This feature determines a higher pitch, better volume, and durability. You can punish them harder and for longer, and they will still serve.
  • Bell size. A larger bell size creates more overtones and longer sustain. But they are not the best for those who need more attacks.
  • Profile. Look at the curvature along the radius of your cymbals. A greater one means the cymbals will offer higher pitch and fewer overtones.
  • Taper. If you want your middle to sound more ride-like, then consider something with more thickness on the tapers off from the bell to the edge. This also means the edge will sound ‘crash-like.’

There are other things that go into manufacturing cymbals to make them more meaningful. Aside from the material and shaping options, manufacturing methods also play a crucial role here.

Cheap manufacturing methods include cutting them from a larger metal sheet. This is a cheaper method, but the cymbals will not sound as quality as cast cymbals.

I would suggest you for those made with a more expensive method because you will get a richer, more complex sound that only gets better with age. Also, their character is unique to individual products.

4 Best cymbals for heavy metal hitters reviewed

Here are four of the best cymbals you will find out there for metal.

Zildjian 18-inch Oriental China Trash

Zildjian is one of the companies that do not disappoint in this market. I don’t even need to introduce it, even to those with not much experience with drums.

Their exceptional china cymbal adds a lot of punch to any metal beat, making you feel satisfied with every stickwork.

The allow used here has a copper to tin ratio of 80/20. Hence, it is relatively strong, yet allows decent flexibility. The lip is not made as you would expect from smaller china cymbals. This is a very large china cymbal.

Because of this extra size and balanced design, the cymbal stands out as the best in metal music. You get a trashy sound that pierces through the mix with every strike. There is a lot of sustain, which gives you a very loud sounding china cymbal, which fades away fast after every hit.

And this means the cymbal allows for faster tempos to make the most of it when those heavy-hitting breakdowns are called for.

This is one of the best cymbals you will find out there. It is strong enough to take in all the punishment of heavy-hitting metal while staying intact and giving incredible sounds.

You will never go wrong with Zildjian, and definitely not with this one.

Paiste Alpha Brilliant Metal Ride, 20 -inch

Paiste is another reputable brand that makes high-end cymbals. The company has been around for a long time and every product they make receive a lot of acknowledgment from all users.

The Alpha Brilliant 20-inch Metal Ride is one of Paiste’s top products and a favorite among professional drummers. Those who play metal and hard rock know it very well.

This line was first released in 1992 and has been very popular for more than two decades. This makes its reputation for consistency and performance hard to beat.

Choosing the best cymbal involves its sound and the volume you get, especially for hard hitters. The Paiste Alpha Brilliant Ride gives you both.

The tone is bright, and just enough pass through the ensemble while keeping a rounded tone with beautiful mid-range oomph.

In terms of the finish, Paiste has gone beyond just the looks. This line of cymbals is hand-polished and hand-hammered. It is this attention to such details that have kept the cymbal in the top range.

The piece is perfectly balanced, with a lively stick response for fast playing.

Heavy hitters understand well the importance of a solid ride in their kits. Alpha Ride a very strong contender here. Its looks and sounds will never disappoint.

Sabian AAX 18-inch Series Metal Crash Cymbal

Very few cymbal manufacturers in the world can compare to the quality of Sabian.

This is one of the biggest brands, second to Zildjian, and their product is made for professional use.

Sabian AAX Series of cymbals is among its most popular products. They have remained relevant and very useful ever since they were realized.

These cymbals offer incredible reliability compared to what other producers give. Drummers who use more aggressive genres have appreciated these cymbals’ quality, stating that they last long.

Sabian has focused their energy on innovative products, which is why they give a bit extra, beyond reliable performance. This is what defines this series of high-quality cymbals.

The best thing you will love about Sabian AXX Series Metal Crash Cymbal is its sound. This is a very heavy cymbal, which makes it perfect for heavy-hitting.

The series features 20-inch larger ones, which are more of a ride/crash hybrid. I like the 18-inch size more because of its dynamic range. It can also cut through a lot of saturated distortion with ease.

Generally, this is among the best cymbal for metal, and there is no doubt about it.

Paiste 2002 Classic Cymbal Sound Edge Pair Hi-Hat 14-inch

Talk of the best cymbal manufacturers, and you will not miss Paiste. Here is a set of a good set of hi-hats that perfect for different styles of metal.

The Paiste 2002 Classic Sound Edge 14-inch Hi-hat delivers an incredible overall performance. It is one of the most versatile and rugged sets of hi-hats you will find out there.

The cymbals are made from the famous 2002 Bronze alloy, which Paiste introduced to the market first in 1971. This alloy comes with many benefits that you will not find in any other brand, making it one of a kind.  

From the looks and finish, these cymbals show a high level of craftsmanship. They are very resilient, which makes them perfect for more aggressive playing styles.

In terms of performance, this is a thunderous set of hi-hats. They give out clear band crisp sounds, yet strong enough to cut through a well-saturated mix.

Bronze alloy can produce very soft sounds if you play them gently. And if you hit with high intensity, you should be happy with the massive cut-through shots you get.

Frequently asked questions

What Zildjian Cymbals Are Best for Metal?

Zildjian has been on the market the longest, and it is the top manufacturer for cymbals.

The products are long-lasting and sound satisfying, with each made for specific purposes.

The Zildjian Oriental China Trash cymbal is the best for those who play aggressive music. It is made to last long while delivering high-end sounds.

Another one is the Zildjian K Custom 20-inch dark ride cymbal. It delivers excellent stick definition, dry, full-bodied stick sound, and dark warm overtones from the classic 80/20 copper-tin ratio.

Which Sabian Cymbals Are Best for Metal Recordings and Live Shows?

Use the Sabian 21809 18-inch AAX Metal Crash Cymbal for metal and any other aggressive drumming

style. It has the sound and will withstand any punishment.

What Is the Best Brand of Cymbals?

Zildjian is at the top of the market as the best cymbal brand. It is the oldest company, which explains this position, followed by Sabian, Paiste, and Zildjian.

What is the Top of The Lines Zildjian Cymbals?

The fives most talked about cymbals from Zildjian are the 14-inch A New Beat Hi-Hats, the 21-inch A Sweet Ride, the 14-inch A Custom Mastersound HiHats, 16-inch A Custom EFX, and 18-inch A Avedis Crash

Why Are Paiste Cymbals So Expensive?

It is not just the hype of ad hype or endorsement support that makes Paiste Cymbals expensive. It is also because of the high taxes in Sweden and the weak US dollar. But they are not overrated.


Now that you understand what cymbals for metal drumming require, it should be easy to pick the best ones. Just be sure to consider the material, the brand, and most importantly, your budget.

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