If you are looking for the best hi-hats, you have to dig through an enormous number of offers. Some of them may be worthy of your attention; others provide poor sound and can break into pieces after one energetic practice. The main purpose of hi-hats is to stay audible, not hushed by electric guitars or loud vocals. This is why it is crucial to find the best hi-hat cymbals.
My top choice is the Meinl Hi-Hat of 14 inches. This musical instrument is known for its pure sound, which you can easily hear through the loudest rock concert.
In my opinion, the only problem with these cymbals is that they are too loud. If you practice at home, your family will not appreciate all the glory of the musical instrument. Yet, this is also one of the main advantages of the instrument during the loud concert, no matter whether you are playing rock or jazz.
At the same time, there are different types of high hats. I’ve gathered several alternatives for you, which I consider the best. If you somehow don’t like Meinl instruments, you can check the others.
Top-5 Best Sounding Hi-Hats
- Meinl 14-inch Medium Hihat (Hi Hat) Cymbal Pair
- Zildjian A Series New Beat Hi-Hat Cymbals - 14 Inches
- Zildjian K Custom Dark Hi-Hat Cymbals - 13 Inches
- SABIAN 14" B8X Hi-Hats
- Paiste 2002 Classic Cymbal (1063114)
No matter whether you are a well-known drummer or just begin your walk to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, your hi-hats must fit you and your goal perfectly. They must match with the rest of your drum set as well. You can uncover your true potential only with the perfect high-quality instruments. I’ve gathered my favorite top cymbals here. I have tried them myself, and I believe you may find your best option.
1. Meinl Classic Custom 14” – Best Hi-Hats of Bronze Alloy
- Classics Custom Brilliant Hihat Medium — when playing these hihats closed, you get all of the definition you need for blazing singles and doubles
- Brilliant finish and fully lathed — to deliver as much shimmering cut as possible, these cymbals feature a highly reflective brilliant finish with fully lathed surfaces on both sides
This instrument is so loud that you can easily distinguish it from any other instruments during the concert. The sound is clear. They are lathed and were tested by professional musicians. These hi-hats are made of the B10 bronze alloy and are incredibly durable. They are lathered with a brilliant finish, so the sound wave is increased. When close, they provide a clean sound; when open, they can crash you with a loud one. It is ok, and if you are a heavy hitter, they can handle any type of music.
- Dimensions: 14 inches;
- Weight: 5 pounds;
- Material: B10 bronze alloy and polished brilliant finish;
- Music: anything from classic to heavy metal;
- Warranty: 2 years.
Meinl is a German manufacturer that produces cymbals. With Zildjian, Paiste, and Sabian, they create the so-called “big four” of the best hi-hats developers in the world. The company was created in 1951. They provide high-quality cymbals and sell them around the world.
These hi-hats come with a 2-year warranty, but I don’t believe you will need any additional service. After many years of use, my hi-hats still produce the same crystal clear, loud sound. Sometimes it bothers my family, and I have to make sure it will not wake up the whole street.
- Loud and clear sound;
- High-quality, durable bronze alloy;
- Polished brilliant finish;
- Famous developer;
- Affordable price.
- These hi-hats can be too loud for practicing at home.
2. Zildjian 14” New Beat – Best Jazz Hi-Hats
- 14" Medium Top/Heavy Bottom Hi-hats
- Cast Bronze (Pair)
These hi-hats are slightly more expensive than the Meinl’s pair, but it still can be a great alternative for you. They do not only match jazz music but suit any music genre. Musicians consider these cymbals as the most versatile instrument available nowadays. It can provide both “stick” and “chick” types of sound. They are lathed and symmetrically hammered with the classic wide groove. The sound is clear.
- Dimensions: 14 inches cymbals;
- Materials: a bronze alloy of 80 percent of copper, 20 percent tin, and silver traces;
- Weight: 1 pound;
- Style: versatile music, including jazz.
These cymbals have a history. Made by a famous Zildjian company, they were designed by well-known drummer Louie Bellson. He shared the idea of light top and heavy bottom hi hats for a combination of sounds. They are made from a bronze alloy of 80 percent copper and a tin of 20 percent.
There are silver traces. Zildjian is an Armenian-American manufacturer. The company was created in 1623 in Constantinople, now Istanbul. Now its base is located in Massachusetts. The company specializes in cymbals. The sound is solid and professional. I recommend you to buy a reliable cymbal stand with this instrument if you still don’t have one. Make sure it matches the whole design of hi-hats.
- Solid performance;
- Lighter top and heavier bottom cymbals;
- Versatile genres;
- High-quality materials;
- Famous developers.
- These hi-hats are slightly more expensive than Meinl.
3. Zildjian 13” Custom Dark – Hi-Hat Drumming Necessity
- Cast-bronze with Traditional Finish (pair)
- 13" Hi-hat Cymbals
You can buy 13 or 14 inches hi-hats of the same model. They provide an overwhelming, warm tone. Hi-hats also have a crisp texture that offers a unique sound. The tone is a little bit darker and lower than in others on the list. The sound matches the metal, rock, and blues performances perfectly. If you want to get a clear “chick” sound, you may consider these cymbals for you. If you play multiple genres of music, don’t worry, they can harmonize with everything.
- Dimensions: there are 13 inches and 14 inches plates to your choice;
- Materials: high-quality bronze alloy;
- Style: perfect for rock, blues, metal;
- Weight: 4 pounds.
Zildjian is one of the top-4 cymbal developers famous around the world. Despite being founded in Turkey, it is considered to be an Armenian-American company. The history of this company is fascinating. It contains 397 years of existence. The fact that their cymbals are still on demand and well-known is a great sign to pay attention to the brand. The cymbals come without a stand or clutch. If you want to buy it, you have to order it separately.
This instrument weighs 4 pounds. It is reliable and may serve you for many years without losing high-quality sound.
- Versatile genres of music;
- Reliable quality;
- Well-known developers;
- Clear music;
- The “chick” sound.
- They are more expensive than similar hi-hats on the list.
4. Sabian B8X – Bottom & Top Hat Cymbal for Bright Sound
- B8X cymbals are hammered for more projection and complexity than any other B8
- These cymbals ensure you’ll get noticed on stage
These hi-hats were made to be noticed on the stage, no matter how hard electric guitars are trying to hush you down. They are perfect for complex compositions with versatile tones and sounds. The music is clean and clear; it comes brightly and loud out of the cymbals. It is hammered, precision formed, lathed for the great sound. It is made of high-quality bronze without any mixes. The whole line of B8X is made hand lathed and of B8 bronze. It has been tested by professional musicians. The faster cut is reached by the pinpoint lathing.
- Dimensions: 14 inches, but you can also find 13 inches hi-hats of the same model and the same line;
- Material: they are made of the high-quality B8 bronze alloy;
- Weight: 1.72 pounds;
- Music genre: they are versatile.
Sabian is another company of the “Big 4” world-famous cymbal developers. They are Canadian and Armenian developers, with headquarters in Canada. The company was founded in 1981 and is still considered one of the youngest among these four legendary cymbal producers.
They offer pure quality and loud sound. This instrument weighs only 1.72 pounds. Let me tell you one thing, the crisp sound that these cymbals provide, is something that can’t be often found for such a price.
- Pure bronze alloy;
- Clear, penetrating sound;
- Crisp music;
- Durable hi-hats;
- Affordable price.
- The pack includes only hi-hats. You have to buy the stands separately.
5. Paiste 2002 Top Sound – Best Hi Hats for Rock
- BRIGHT & BRILLIANT TONE - Paiste Sound Edge Hi-Hat Cymbals deliver a medium bright and full sound with warm and brilliant overtones. Its wide frequency range provides a fairly complex mix so you can achieve the perfect tone.
- FAST RESPONSIVE FEEL - Experience an incredibly fast response intensity that is lively yet not overpowering. The medium sustain will give off just enough vibration to bring out the fullness of sound without lingering too long.
These cymbals are made of 2002 Bronze or CuSn8 Bronze. This is a high-quality material that is both durable and provides a bright sound at the same time. It offers versatile tones to the professional musicians and amateurs, from the medium soft to the loud as hell. No matter which style you pick, whether it is heavy metal, classic rock, punk, ska, funk, or even country and gospel, this is a great choice. You may change the styles during one composition. You may choose whether you want 14 inches or 15 inches hi-hats of the same model.
- Dimensions: there are several options for the same model. You can choose 14 inches cymbals, which I describe here, or try 15 inches;
- Weight: only 1.98 pounds, which makes them highly mobile;
- Material: a bronze alloy of high quality;
- Music: everything from mild classical and country music to ska and heavy metal.
Paiste is a cymbals developer from Switzerland. It also belongs to the “top-4” group of hi-hat producers. It was founded in 1906. The whole series of these hi-hats are also legendary.
Developers saved the classic origin of cymbals and mixed it with modern music sounds. Depending on the music you play, you can improve your performances with these hi-hats.
- Loud, crisp sound;
- Affordable price;
- Well-known developer;
- High-quality materials.
- The pitch may be too high for some music genres.
Hi-Hats Buyer’s Guide
I hope we all know what is a hi-hat is here. A hi-hat is the synonym of the cymbal, the music instrument almost as ancient as the world. It is a part of the drum kit. The hi-hat must be mounted on the specific stand. I have described to you my top 5 favorite hi-hats above. They all are famous among experienced drummers for their sound, high quality, and developers.
Features to consider while picking the hi-hats
Before you order all the hi-hats I have recommended, you need to pay attention to my descriptions. There are still a few things to pay attention to. They must fit your style, your goal, and the music you play, apart from the obvious high quality of the product and clarity of the sound.
Style of music
High pitch cymbals do not match with the heavy or doom metal. However, some drummers assure that they match perfectly. It depends on the tones you chose. Dark and thin hi-hats are great for jazz, rock. The clean and precise sound suits great country, funk. If you are playing numerous styles, search for versatile options.
Almost all the hi-hats on the list are of the same budget with a small correlation. Yet, you can’t find high-quality cymbals lower than $130. There is no top for the upper price.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are only 4 best developers, which are considered to be living legends. They are Meinl, Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste. You will find hi-hats of each of these companies on my list.
It is up to you which size you need. The most popular is 13-14 inches cymbals. You can rarely meet 15 inches cymbals. I recommend starting with 14 inches from the very beginning and then decide what you need.
I have gathered the most popular questions people ask about hi-hats. I hope my answers will be helpful to you. If you have something to add, you can do it in the comments.
What are the best sounding hi-hats?
For me, it is Meinl and all the other cymbals I’ve mentioned above. It depends on which music you play, what effect you want to receive from this musical instrument, how loud you want to be, and how often you play. Choose the best instrument for you based on your own preferences.
How can I make my hi-hat sound better?
The answer is to practice a lot. Musicians who own cheap hi-hats usually come up with DIY improvements, like a small chain for a sizzling sound or duct tape under the belt for a too-small cymbal. Yet, the better your skills and your hi-hats are, the less “help” you need for a great sound. Learn how to get bigger sounding drums so you wouldn’t need any adjustments.
What hi-hat cymbal goes on top?
It depends on the music and how to play. On average, both cymbals are equal. However, rock musicians prefer heavier cymbals at the bottom and lighter on the top. It provides the louder sounds at the bottom and calm sounds at the top. But you can arrange the volume yourself.
Should you pan hi-hats?
It is up to you. If you decide to pan the hi-hats to both sides, everything that is in the center will receive more attention. You can mix hi-hats for a variety of sounds.
The Right Choice
Choosing the perfect hi-hats is not that easy as it may seem. You have to consider numerous features you may need and the possible changes in your music style. High-quality cymbals cost is not that cheap. You can’t buy all the products on my list, and not only because of the price, but also because you will not be able to place everything in one garage or the place you practice. Choose wisely. If you have tried hi-hats from my list, please share your opinion in the comments below. How do you like them? What style of music do you play? Do you have any suggestions for people who want to buy similar hi-hats?