5 Best HiHat Cymbals - Look No Further [Reviews 2020]
Posted in Cymbals | Last Updated on May 1, 2020
Meinl (HCS13H 13")
Zildjian (ZBT 14")
Sabian (14" AA Regular)
Zildjian (K Custom 14" Dark)
Zildjian (K Custom 14 1/4" Hybrid)
As a drummer, your hihat setup is critical to your overall sound. There are many different hihats that you can buy, and it can be hard as a drummer to find the best hihat cymbal for your current needs. You need to look at a wide range of products before you buy one.
This guide will help you make that choice as it answers common questions that you might have about hihat and it also provides you several choices that you might want to own.
You should only buy a hat that works for you. The type of hihat that you buy may be totally different from the needs of another drummer. Your current skill level, musical style and how you practice are all factors that you must consider before you buy your best hihat cymbal.
Reviews of the Best Hihat Cymbals on the Market
Meinl - HCS13H 13"
If you’re a beginner drummer, you may not have a very large budget to spend on hihats. A drum kit can cost you a lot of money as you have to buy a lot of parts for it. Meinl is a company that offers a range of affordable hihats designed for beginners or those on a very tight budget. The HCS13H 13" HCS Brass Hi- hat is a solid option.
This hihat comes in both a 13” as well as a 14” size and is perfect for a beginner or someone that has a limited budget. This hihat is durable, versatile and has a crisp sound. This brass alloy hihat sounds great and the sound quality is superior even at such a low price. If you’re a student or a musician that just need a quality cymbal to practice on, you can’t go wrong with this cymbal by Meinl. It’s great for jazz, rock, funk and many other styles of music.
The hihat have the heavy feel for rock music as well as the brighter accents you want for jazz. A younger player can enjoy the sounds of a professional without the added expense that come with other hihats. You get a two-year warrant yon your cymbals from Meinl when you buy from authorized dealers.
It is made in Germany from brass alloy. You can also get a 14” version if you prefer. It works with various drum sets and the Meinl logo is engraved on the cymbal for an attractive look. The bottom is heavier, and the top is light to give a superior sound and it makes the hihat easier to play. It is also ideal for instructors that are helping their student learn how to use a hihat as these cymbals are designed for beginners in mind, in plain words it is a cheap option.
- Ideal hihat for beginners and those that have a small budget
- Easy to play and sound great at this price
- Other sizes available
- Lacks a professional sound
- Not ideal for recording or live performance
- Suitable beginners and practice
The HCS13H 13" HCS Brass Hihat Is a great choice for anyone on a budget or just looking for a solid hihat for practicing. This product isn’t a stage or a studio quality hihat, but it has everything that you need as a beginner that needs to practice. It sounds great for many different musical styles and you will get a lot of mileage out of it.
Zildjian is a great cymbal brand and they are used professional worldwide. Cymbals including hihats can be expensive, but there are several models on the market which are ideal choices for beginners and those with a limited budget such as the Zildjian ZBT 14".
This model comes in both a 13” and 14” sizes and it’s the ideal choice for those with a medium budget or for those that just want a good cymbal for practicing. ZBT 14" has a great volume and sounds great. It’s suitable for many different styles of music. This cymbal uses new manufacturing techniques that were developed in the Zildjian Sound Lab. You get a high volume sound that is bright and fast. The hihat sounds perfect in both the closed and open position. The ZBT alloy is very durable and it will last a long time. Thy are inexpensive and perfect for those with a moderate budget.
The cymbals are powerful enough to cut through other instruments. They are made with precision lathing techniques that produce a bright and vibrant sound. This hihat is made with high quality bronze alloy that for a consistent sound. These ones are made with Zildjian advanced lathing and hammering.
- Moderate price
- Sound great
- Ideal practice hihat
- Not a professional performance
- Not as much tone as other products
For those that need a solid hihat with a moderate price, the Zildjian ZBT 14 is the right one for you. This cymbal is perfect for practicing and for students. This model isn’t a professional grade and or suitable for recording but it is a solid practice cymbal.
You can get by with them if you have a lower than normal budget in a live performance, but they will suffer sound wise when compared to expensive cymbals. You get a solid lower cost product that is ideal for most tasks but not the ideal choice for the professional.
[Medium Budget Hihat] - Sabian 14-Inch AA Regular
Lower cost hihat are fine for students and those that just want to practice but if you’re an intermediate player and are looking for a bit more you need a solid medium budget cymbal that will give you the sound you want. Sabian produces a wide range of different hihats including the excellent Sabian 14-Inch AA Regular which is a great option for those with a moderate budget.
The Sabian 14 AA Regular is a bright sounding. It’s the perfect choice for the modern drum player. It’s great for the classic sounds of funk, rock, blues, and jazz music as well as many other styles. It's price tag is perfect for intermediates as well as professional payers that have a lower budget. It is 14” and the weight is medium/heavy. The cymbal has gone through automatic hammering so it’s versatile and produces a bright sound.
It is hand cut and the wide-blade lathing which makes it quite durable. It will cut through other instruments, so you’re heard, and it increases the response of your drumsticks. This hihat is made with B20 bronze, 80% copper, silver traces, and 20% tin. It comes with a two-year warranty. Players love this model as it’s the ideal choice for recreating classic sounds from the 50s-70s. If you want vintage sounds, this is the right cymbal for you.
- Medium price
- Sounds great
- Vintage sounds possible with it
- Could be a little expensive for some players
- Not a beginner hihat
The Sabian 14 Inch AA Regular hihat has a nice bright sound and it’s an ideal choice for many musical styles. Its strong suit is that it’s perfect for playing many of th classic musical styles form the past. It’s an affordable for both intermediate and professional payers that are looking for a hihat cymbal that not only sounds great but won’t break the bank.
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[Overall Best] - Zildjian K Custom 14" Dark
Lets start the Zildjian K Custom Dark review by saying it is simply astonishing hihat. It is ideal choice for advanced and professional drum players as they have everything you need to sound great on stage, in the studio or practicing your craft at home.
The Zildjian K Custom 14" is an excellent professional sounding full-bodied sounding hihat. The sound will cut through the mix. The 14” size is perfect for many different musical styles. This cymbal will help you define your musical style and bring out the best in your individual musical style. For those that need a smaller size, it is also available in a 13” size so you have even more tonal variations with it. It gives you great projection and premium tone at this price. The hihat offers modern voices and was specially constructed by Zildjian to meet the needs of today’s modern drummer. This hihat is designed to produce an amazing tone and sound. Very versatile and crisp!
This model is cast form molten metal and then the cast is cooled and put through rolling, heating, lathing, hammering, and shaping to create the ultimate cymbal. The sound of this hihat will get better with age and it is more durable than other products in the same class. The K line from Zildjian is the ideal choice for the professional or intermediate drummer that needs a high quality. It’s made from 20% tin; 80% copper and it also contains some silver traces. It comes with a traditional finish.
- Astonishing sound
- Great for many musical styles
- Could be too expensive for many players
- Not a beginner style model
You can’t go wrong with Zildjian. The K custom is an excellent hihat for today’s modern drummer. It has a crisp and solid sound that is suitable for many musical styles. It’s a durable and it will last you a log time. If you care about your sound and want a cymbal you can rely on time and time again, try the K Custom from Zildjian.
[Best hihat for the Money] - Zildjian K Custom 14 1/4" Hybrid
There are a lot of hihat you can choose for on the market, it can be frustrating at times even for us. It’s a good idea to spend as much as you can when buying a one because you want tone that will last you a long time. You also want to get a lot of value for your money and you can get that with the Zildjian K Custom 14 1/4" Hybrid.
Sometimes you want a hybrid cymbal that gives you more than the standard hihat does. You get that with the Zildjian K Custom 14 1/4" Hybrid as it gives you the power of a 14” cymbal and the control of a 13”. This hihat pair is ideal for both live and recording applications. The model features hybrid hammering called Mastersound. The surface area where the hihat contact each other has been increased so you get a warmer “chick” sound when you play the hihat. It is perfect for many contemporary styles and the cast bronze allows for great projection and solid performance when playing live or recording.
The Zildjian Sound Lab worked to create the amazing K series and you’ll find that the sound of this hihat project are a cut above many other options from the same category. You get unique sounds out of these which will cover a huge range of different musical styles. Many players rely on the K series and this hybrid from Zildjian is the ideal choice for any player including professionals that need a high quality product to cover a wide range of playing styles.
The K series is more durable than others in the same class and they have greater projection as well as clarity. They are made with 80% copper, traces of silver, and 20% tin.
- Solid professional sound
- Unique hybrid style of multiple musical styles and needs
- Not a beginner model
- More expensive than other hihats
The K series Zildjian K Custom 14 1/4" Hybrid is ideal for many players and this is why it’s the best hihat cymbal for sale on our list. It gives you plenty of tonal variations and its well suited for many musical styles. You will find out that this one will work for you because it sounds great and it’s a very durable.
[Buyer's Guide] What to Look for in a Hihat?
There are several things you need to know about hihat symbols before you buy one. Just remember that your needs may vary from someone else so some of these questions may not apply to you. You have a lot of choice and things to consider so here are a few of the top questions that people ask about hihats to help you make an informed buying decision.
What is a Hihat?
The hihat is a drum cymbal that has its role for around a century. Percussionists were looking for ways to add new sounds to their drum kits. The hihat was originally called the sock cymbal and they came in smaller sizes than the ones we know today. Over time, the hihat became a large part of the modern drum set and it was used in many genres of music and styles. The hihat is used as a sound effect, to keep time when drumming, and to decrease or increase the dynamics of a song.
The hihat is used with th snare and the bass drum in musical performances. There are tow cymbals which are mounted on a stand. One is on the bottom and the other one is on the top. A pedal is pushed down with the foot that opens and closes the pair. This produces the familiar “chick” sound we hear. A drum stick is used to strike the hihat, or the pedal is pushed down. The drummer will control the sound of the hihat by varying their foot pressure on the hihat and will vary the pedal position.
The hihat is used to produce many different sounds such as the shuffle feel where the drummer will hit the top of the hihat twice. The first time is when the hihat is clouded and the second when it’s open. This pattern is very popular and one of the signature sounds of the hihat. The hihat helps the drummer produce many different rhythm patterns. The normal size of the hihat is 14” although some hard rock players may use larger 14-15” hihat. Some players will use different sizes such as a 13” on the top and a 14” on the bottom. There is no real rule as every drummer is different and will have their own hihat needs.
How Do I Pick a Basic Hihat?
The one you choose will largely be determined by your individual needs. You should make note of the material that the cymbal is made from, the design of the hihat and how it compliments your drum setup now. There are many different hihats and sizes that you can choose from. You will need to evaluate a wide range of products and manufacturers. This will help you pick the right hihat for your individual needs as your requirement might be different from someone else.
You want an instrument that’s made with high-quality materials so the hihat resists cracking. If you buy a low-quality product it will crack easily because it’s put through a lot of abuse. Try to avoid lesser known brands, the bigger ones has plenty of good products, so there is not need to risk. You should go for a hihat that works for you not what others may recommend as their sound preferences might not appeal to you.
One thing you need to do is try out some hihats to determine the various sounds you can get out of them. You want a hihat that produces a nice and clear sound so you have to do some research before you make that final buying decision.
Does the Size Matter?
The sound and the pitch of the cymbal is relative to the weight, how its made and its size. A hihat with a smaller size of say 13-14” provides a crisp and bright tone. If you want warmer tones a 15-16” hihat is ideal. Some people will mix and match the top and the bottom hihat in different sizes. You should experiment to find the size that works the best for you. The size will matter depending upon your needs as a drummer and what works for you.
What Material is most suitable?
There are both cast as well as sheet hihats. Those are made with an industrial process where a combination of brass, malleable bronze, and nickel and sized and shaped to form the cymbal. This type is bright sounding and ideal for rock, pop, and metal styles as well as other genres.
The more traditional way of making hihat cymbals is with cast production. This is where bell bronze is melted down and then poured into a mold. This cast cymbal is then put through a lathe and this flattens and shapes the cymbal as it’s hammered by hand. Cast cymbals are more sought after because of how they are made. They are used by orchestra percussionists as well as jazz musicians because of their sound characteristics.
What Brand Should I Buy?
There are many brands, however one the most distinguished are Meinl, Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Stagg and Wuhan to name a few. The brand you go for is entirely up to you. It’s important to try several cymbal brands to determine what the best hihat is going to be for your individual needs.
You will find a wide range of sounds, size options and other characteristics depending upon the cymbal brand and there are different price ranges as well. Use our handy guide below which highlights a few popular products, so you can make a more informed buying decision.
Will it Suit my Setup Now?
There are many factors which will determine how well the cymbal works with your current setup. You will have to consider the other drums you use, the sticks you play with and so on. You should ensure the hihat you buy is going to sound good with your setup now. The sticks you use will also determine your overall sound so be sure the sticks you use work with he hihat you decide to buy. If you have large drums, you will benefit from a larger one.
You also must take into consideration the size of the rehearsal space and whether the cymbal is going to fit into the space you have. If the space is small, you may have to go with a smaller for practice and then use a large one as you hit the stage for live performances so in some cases, you should buy a few different hihat sizes for various needs you may have.
Your hihat is a vert big part of your drum sound. There are great products in the market and you’ll find them at various price points. Just remember that some are only suited for beginners and those that just learning to play the drums. The more expensive ones give you more options and they are more suited for live performances as well as studio work and home recording. Try several hihats to find your own signature sound as there are a lot of differences between individual models and manufacturers.
We hope our reviews helped, in your search. Lastly, take your time and find a hihat that works for you. Listen to the sound of each cymbal and make a determination to figure out if it’s going to be one that you can use with your drum kit. The hihat has come a long way over the years and there are now many choices in the market that can help you grow as a player and shape your individual drum sound so have fun experimenting with the best hihat cymbal and never stop jamming.