Most drummers will say that cheap cymbals aren’t good, and good cymbals aren’t cheap…
This is certainly true, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to obtain good sounds!
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best cheap cymbals that offer a rich sonic palette.
I’ve compared sound, quality, performance, and cost to give you my top recommendations.

What Are The Best Cheap Cymbals?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
Wuhan Traditional 3-piece Cymbal Set with Bag
  • B20 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash & 20" ride
  • Hand hammered and lathed
Meinl Classics Custom Dark
  • B10 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • High tech computerized cymbal hammering
Zildjian I Family Cymbal Set
  • B8 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • Brand new thinner weighted beginner cymbals
Meinl Cymbals HCS Basic Cymbal Set - 3-piece
  • Affordable brass cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 14" crash & 18" crash/ride
  • Complete solution for beginners
Sabian B8X 3-piece Performance Set with FREE 18" Crash
  • B8 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • Sonically matched in the Sabian vault
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The Best Cheap Cymbals Reviewed

Wuhan Complete Cymbal Set

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FEATURES
  • B20 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash & 20" ride
  • Hand hammered and lathed
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Wuhan Complete Cymbal Set Review

These Wuhan B20 Bronze Cymbals are the best budget cymbals available. These stunning cymbals produce a range of musical sounds at an unbelievable price. Although they are cheap cymbals, they do not sound cheap at all.

The reason why these Wuhan cymbals sound so good is that they are made in the exact same way that expensive cymbals are!

Expensive cymbals are typically made from a cast lump of premium B20 bronze that produces a sonically richer tone.

Wuhan appears to be the only cymbal manufacturer to make B20 bronze cymbals at this price. Whilst other manufacturers use much cheaper sheet alloys and short-cut manufacturing methods.

The Wuhan WUTBSU B20 cymbals are hand hammered and lathed from a cast B20 alloy for rich sonics and a musical tone. The B20 alloy gives these cymbals a lower pitch and they have a gorgeous musical tone.

Included within the set is a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash, and a 20” ride cymbal. The overall sound is bright and clean, and they project good volume. But there is a slight trashiness that sounds excellent.

Although Wuhan is not a big name brand, do not let that deter you. The Wuhan WUTBSU cymbal set performs brilliantly within all styles of music, and these are the best cheap cymbals available!

Pros

  • Professional level B20 bronze alloy
  • Built in the same way expensive cymbals are
  • Ideal for live performances and recording in the studio

Cons

  • Wuhan is not an established drumming brand

Meinl Classics Custom Cymbal Set

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  • B10 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • High tech computerized cymbal hammering
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Meinl Classics Custom Cymbal Set Review

The B10 bronze Meinl Classics Custom Cymbals make the ultimate investment for any drummer demanding professional quality sounds at a very reasonable price.

These cymbals deliver brilliant, musical, and punchy sounds that are not often found at this price point. They have a clear and loud projection and offer an explosive attack that makes them perfect for modern styles of music.

The Meinl Classics Custom cymbal set comes in at a higher price than other typical entry-level cymbals, but they are significantly better and worth the extra investment. This set includes a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal, an 18” crash cymbal, and a 20” ride cymbal.

The hi-hats sound clean and tight when closed, and they have a loud roar when struck open. The 20” ride cymbal feels and sounds on the heavy side, and has a fantastic ping sound on the bow and on the bell.

The 16” and 18” crash cymbals respectively are very impressive to play. They deliver exceptional power and projection, and the cymbals have an immediate playing response.

While playing these cymbals, you really hear how energetic and explosive they sound. These cymbals offer professional quality sounds and they’re easily some of the best budget cymbals around.

Pros

  • Played by professional Meinl drum artists
  • Impressive cutting and explosive sounds
  • Significantly better than cheap beginner cymbals

Cons

  • On the more expensive side
  • Slightly harsh metallic tone is not ideal for softer styles of music

Zildjian I Family Cymbal Set

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FEATURES
  • B8 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • Brand new thinner weighted beginner cymbals
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Zildjian I Family Cymbal Set Review

Up next for review we have the brand new Zildjian I Family Cymbal Set, which has replaced Zildjian’s entry-level ZBT line of cymbals after 27 years of service.

These Zildjian I Family cymbals are Zildjian’s most affordable cymbals, and they are made from sheet alloys of B8 bronze, which is what you would expect for cheap cymbals.

Zildjian has introduced the I Family line of cymbals as the ZBT’s direct replacement, and these are a significant improvement in sound.

First of all, they are thinner and far more responsive to play. They are able to flex and they deliver a much more modern sound. Compared to the ZBT’s they sound smoother, more refined, and more musical.

This set of entry-level cymbals includes a great value bundle of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal, an 18” crash cymbal, and a 20” ride cymbal. Although these are cheap cymbals, they sound fantastic for their price range.

If you are looking for the best budget cymbals on the market, the brand new Zildjian I Family range of cymbals are definitely some of the best cheap cymbals available. These will be sure to inspire beginner drummers around the world.

Pros

  • Legendary Zildjian quality and reputation
  • Far better sounding than previous ZBT line
  • Some of the best entry level sheet metal cymbals

Cons

  • You end up paying more for the Zildjian brand
  • Inferior sound quality to B20 bronze cymbals

Meinl HCS Brass Cymbal Set

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  • Affordable brass cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 14" crash & 18" crash/ride
  • Complete solution for beginners
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Meinl HCS Brass Cymbal Set Review

This Meinl HCS Brass Cymbal Set is the best budget cymbal set on the market for complete beginners and younger players.

The Meinl HCS line consists of affordable brass cymbals which are designed to offer durability and musical tones. They are manufactured in Germany and carry a full 2-year guarantee against workmanship defects.

Included you’ll receive a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 14” crash cymbal, and an 18” crash/ride cymbal. It’s a versatile sounding selection of entry-level cymbals and will allow players to explore the world of drumming without breaking the bank.

These are the best affordable cymbals on the market which are geared towards complete beginners. They respond well to all different styles of playing and cut through with a good level of attack and they have a medium sustain.

You can’t go wrong with the Meinl HCS line of cymbals, and it’s a great place to start for novices looking for a set of cheap cymbals to equip onto a beginner drum set.

Pros

  • Best cheap cymbals for affordability
  • Durable and musical sounds
  • 2 year Meinl guarantee

Cons

  • Will require upgrading rather quickly
  • Cheap sounding compared to better bronze cymbals

Sabian B8X Cymbal Set

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  • B8 bronze cymbal pack
  • Includes: 14" hats, 16" crash, 18" crash & 20" ride
  • Sonically matched in the Sabian vault
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Sabian B8X Cymbal Set Review

Last up for review we have the Sabian B8X Cymbal Set and these are a great introduction to bronze cymbals. Included in the set is a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal, an 18” thin crash cymbal, and a 20” ride.

This cymbal set has been sonically matched in the Sabian vault to ensure the cymbals complement each other perfectly within the set. The overall sound is bright, lively, and crisp.

The Sabian B8X cymbal set is one of the most popular entry-level cymbal ranges out there – and for good reason. They are precision formed, hammered, and lathed for smooth musical sounds. And you really can’t go too wrong with these for the price.

The 14” hi hats are focused and tight, whilst the crash cymbals included are bright and cutting. I personally really like the 18” thin crash cymbal and it has a nice level of wash to it. The 20” ride cymbal has a nice stick definition and bell sound, and it also has a good musical voice.

This is a great sounding set of entry-level cymbals. For beginners looking to outfit their first drum set with cymbals, these make some of the best budget cymbals available.

Pros

  • Widely popular beginner cymbals
  • Tight, focused and musical sonics
  • Precision formed, hammered and lathed

Cons

  • Not great value for money overall
  • Inferior sound quality to B20 bronze cymbals

Cheap Cymbals Buyer’s Guide

Everyone would love a great deal when it comes to cymbals. Unfortunately, the reality is that what you pay for is generally what you get. This is because cymbals are made from a bronze alloy, and it’s expensive to manufacture premium quality cymbals.

However, finding the balance of affordability and sound quality is possible if you look hard enough and do your research.

Thankfully for you. I’ve done the hard work and tested all the different cymbal brands out there to present to you my top recommended cheap cymbals that offer great value for money!

Things to Consider When Buying Cheap Cymbals

This article recommends five cymbal packs that produce sounds that far exceed their budget price point. You can’t go wrong with these cymbals, but it’s worth noting that these cymbals will require upgrading eventually.

Cheap cymbals are a low-risk investment because it won’t be a huge deal if they are cracked, blemished, scratched, or lost. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try your best to take care of your cymbals, but you can afford to be a little more relaxed with budget cymbals.

Be sure to check out my comprehensive guide to cymbal maintenance here to help keep your cymbals in tip-top shape, and always be sure to keep them stored in a protective cymbal bag while not in use or when traveling.

Another important thing to consider when buying cheap cymbals is that you can not alter their tone. A cymbal’s inherent sound will always remain the same unless it’s cracked or damaged. Because you cannot improve how a cymbal sounds, you must be sure that you like how they sound.

Cheap cymbals are typically beginner level cymbals. Most cheap cymbals are not suitable for high-profile gigs and studio recording sessions. 

However, the Wuhan B20 bronze cymbal set and some other intermediate level cymbal sets such as the Meinl Classics Customs, and the Paiste PST7 set are also some examples of cymbals that produce sounds that exceed their price point and are more suitable for professional applications.

What are Cheap Cymbals Made of?

Cheap cymbals are typically stamped out from a sheet of metal of either brass or B8 bronze alloy. It is much cheaper to produce sheet metal cymbals than the labor-intensive methods using cast bronze alloy for premium cymbals. Brass or B8 bronze cymbals have a less refined sound and are much more affordable.

Why are Wuhan Cymbals So Cheap?

Wuhan is a relatively unknown cymbal manufacturer from Wuhan in China. Wuhan cymbals are cheap because the labor costs are low in China, and the company does not hold the highest quality control standards.

Nonetheless, their B20 bronze cymbals are made in the same way that expensive cymbals are – from a lump of cast bronze that is rolled, pressed, lathed, and hammered.  So unlike other cheap cymbals, Wuhan is the outlier because their cymbals are essentially professional level.

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