The 5 Best Hi Hats Reviews

Hit-Hat-CymbalsWhen you have a drum kit, the sound isn’t complete without cymbals. And among those cymbals the hi-hat is widely considered as the most important of them all. They’re crucial for a wide variety of musical styles. You need the best hi hats for jazz, rock, or the most ferocious of death metal.

Its sound is quite distinctive, and most of the time they measure 14 inches. But not all hi-hats are the same. This can make it difficult for you to pick among available hi-hat cymbals, but we can help introduce the best hi hats on the market today.

Top 5 Hi Hats: Comparison Chart

Products
Metal Alloy
Dimensions
Weight
View on Amazon
MS63 alloy
13 inches
3.51 pounds
B8 bronze
14 inches
6.1 pound
B8 Alloy: Enhanced Zildjian Bronze
14 inches
4.87 pounds
Zildjian Cast Bronze
14 inches
5.5 pounds
MS63 alloy
16 inches
2.7 pounds

 

Best Picks of Hi Hats

#1: Meinl 13” Hihat (Hi Hat) Cymbal Pair – HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set

The Meinl HCS is an entry-level cymbal that best suits affordable drums that newbies tend to get. It sure doesn’t make sense when a pair of cymbals can go for a lot more than an entire 5-piece kit. At least with these, the prices remain reasonable for beginners yet you get a good set of cymbals.

These are well-suited for newbies, as it’s made from MS63 alloy. It’s durable enough to keep its tone even after so much time getting pounded by drum sticks. When the hi-hats are open, you get warm undertones. When they’re closed together, hitting the hi-hats gives you a nice crisp sound. These hi-hats also come with a 2-year warranty.

Meinl 13” Hihat (Hi Hat) Cymbal Pair – HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set, Made In Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (HCS13H)
  • Includes top and bottom cymbals — the HCS 13” hihats are comprised of two cymbals that players mount on a pedal activated stand to play them with your sticks closed together or opened apart and with your foot to create a "chick" sound (stand not included)
  • Hihats are the most important cymbals on a drum set — the main time keeping ingredients for drumming are bass drum, snare drum and hihat cymbals — together, these form the foundation of drum set playing for any style
  • Designed for beginners and students — Meinl HCS cymbals are designed for beginner and student musicians using a durable brass alloy that maintains its tone while holding up to the brunt of drum sticks — these cymbals are ideal for any style of music
  • Made in Germany — when you open the box, the first thing you will notice is these cymbals bear the exact same markings as professional Meinl cymbals — they feature the large Meinl stamp and a smaller laser engraved logo with the text “Made in Germany”
  • Full range of sounds — unique to this price range, HCS cymbals offer all of the cymbal types and sizes normally found in professional set ups to beginners — from trash crashes and splashes to bells and chinas, any sound option is within reach
  • Great for instructors — Meinl HCS cymbals are made for new players who are learning their way around the drum set — teachers will find these to be an outstanding affordable solution to outfit their lesson sets with in a studio or classroom
  • Manufacturer disclaimer — typographical or grammatical errors found in the bullet point or description text on this product page are a result of this site’s system and are neither the fault of the manufacturer nor marketplace sellers

Last update on 2020-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These hi-hats are quite responsive, so they’re great for a wide range of intensity and volume. That makes them very versatile, as they can work with genres from lounge jazz to heart-pounding rock. Use your foot to get the jazz accents, and pound them for that heavy and deep sound that rockers love.

These are immensely popular, and that’s probably due to the ridiculously low price. Yet the reviews from so many highly satisfied customers make these among the top hi hats in the industry today. They’re not supposed to be this cheap, especially with these features and quality. But the value for money here is simply outstanding.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s very durable, and it can keep its tone for a long time.
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • With open hi-hats, you have warm undertones.
  • When closed, the articulation is quite crisp.
  • They’re very responsive.
  • It works for many types of music.

#2: Sabian 14-Inch B8 Hi-Hat Cymbals

This sure does come with an amazing price. You may find other hi-hats with similar qualities, except that they cost many times as much as the Sabian 140-inch B8 does.

It all starts with how it’s made. Sabian employs a secret advanced method forming, hammering, and lathing their hi-hats to precise specifications. They’re then finished by hand and then left to age in the legendary Sabian Vault.

Sabian 14-Inch B8 Hi-Hat Cymbals
  • Crisp and lively stick and pedal responses
  • SABIAN B8 models deliver tight, bright sounds
  • An ideal introduction to Bronze cymbals
  • Protected by SABIAN Two-Year Warranty

Last update on 2020-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This uses pure B8 bronze, which is 92% copper and 8% tin. This gives you a tone that’s bright, tight, and with just the right amount of cut. It’s the kind of tone that made B8 such a favorite alloy for hi-hats in the industry.

This gives you a lot of high frequency, so projecting its sound is no problem at all for live performances. The prominence of the top end also results in a feel that’s noticeably precise. This means that when you hit it with a stick, you get yourself a clean loud sound. You can shoulder the drum stick flat across the top and you get a dense full sound that you can follow with a fierce backline. Play it just as hard in a semi-open position, your hi-hat can speed up to a wild wash.

This is the kind of sound that rock music certainly demands. The chick sound can really penetrate with its brightness and crispness. Yet it’s also quite sensitive as well so that you can use it to suit many other musical styles.

Despite the friendly price, these are very durable cymbals. Its quality is attested to by the 2-year warranty. It’s great for newbies, and even intermediate drummers can appreciate its sound.

Highlighted Features
  • The sound is great, whether it’s open, half-open, or closed.
  • It has a bright clear sound with a middle to high pitch.
  • It really suits rock music, though it’s versatile enough for many other musical styles.
  • You get a really crisp expressive tone.
  • It’s quite durable, and they don’t easily scratch.

#3: Zildjian ZBT 14″ Hi Hat Cymbals Pair

This is an entry-level hi-hat pair, though it may not be apparent when you see the price. But Zildjian has been in the industry for hundreds of years, and their expertise is quite apparent in the quality of this hi-hat.

Like many other excellent hi-hat cymbals, this cymbal pair measures 14 inches and it’s made from especially enhanced B8 bronze alloy. This special ZBT alloy doesn’t cost much compared to other Zildjian alloys, but it sure is durable.

Zildjian ZBT 14" Hi Hat Cymbals Pair
  • beginner’s choice: The perfect cymbal set for beginners and student drummers. Sharp and focused. Excellent, bright "chick" Sound
  • top notch quality: Zildjian ZBT non-cast cymbals are shaped, hammered, and lathed to exacting specifications. Learn and explore all styles – pop, rock, jazz and more – with ZBT
  • sharp and focused: Zildjian non-cast cymbals have a higher pitch than their Cast bronze counterparts and produce a consistent sound. A bright, high-pitched sound that cuts through easily in all playing situations
  • Great value: The ZBT line is a great introduction to the Zildjian family of cymbals. Make serious music at a great value for your money
  • Zildjian cymbal set Warranty: Zildjian cymbals carry a 2-year warranty against manufacturing flaws (purchased new). all Zildjian cymbals are made in the USA

Last update on 2020-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zildjian uses innovative advanced production methods to make sure that you get a sound that’s bright and fast, and with the volume to match. Its sound comes with a distinctive character and texture, due to the precise pattern resulting from the hammering process. It’s also been lathed with sound grooves only on its top surface.

All in all, the tones you get are much more focused and quite sharp. The chick sound is bright and crisp. Its response is bright, fast, and very dramatic. You get consistent tones each time, and it’s perfect for concert bands and marching bands.

The durability is also quite outstanding. You can practice with your drums and this hi-hat pair for hours each day, and it won’t lose its shape even after a few years. That’s how tough the alloy is, and it’s been made with adequate thickness. It’s not like the thin and flimsy hi-hats that you may encounter, especially among other entry-level hi-hat cymbals.

Highlighted Features
  • The sound is very focused and sharp.
  • The “chick” sound is quite bright and crisp.
  • It projects its sound very nicely.
  • It responds quickly, brightly, and boldly.
  • It works for garage bands to marching bands.
  • You can expect this to last for a long while.

#4: Zildjian A Series 14″ New Beat Hi Hat Cymbals Pair

This is the New Beat A series from the iconic Zildjian brand, and it’s excellent. The price may not be very friendly, but you will welcome its sound. It was designed by the great Louie Bellson, the jazz drummer whom Duke Ellington called “the world’s greatest drummer”. Bellson designed this pair with a heavier bottom cymbal to go with a lighter top. This pairing gives drummers a chick sound that’s much more pronounced.

Zildjian A Series 14" New Beat Hi Hat Cymbals Pair
  • Originally designed by legendary drummer Louie Bellson
  • The best-selling Zildjian Hi Hat
  • Provides a solid beat and perfect all-purpose combination of "stick" and "chick" sound
  • Features symmetric hammering and traditional finish
  • Pure, bright and expressive

Last update on 2020-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This was then further developed with the help of the legendary Vinnie Colaiuta for the redesigned line. Colaiuta is the drummer that Rolling Stone magazine listed as among the top 50 greatest drummers of all time.

This uses cast bronze alloy with 80% copper and 20% tin. The alloy is also bolstered by traces of silver in its composition. Zildjian used a precision machine that symmetrically hammered the alloy into shape. It’s then been lathed so you get the classic traditional wide groove.

The sound you get here is tremendous, and it’s even more refined that the previous A series. It’s very melodic, responsive, and bright. Yet it’s also full-bodied and rich, and this quality improves with age.

Yes, this is expensive, but then this award-winning hi-hat pair has won awards over the years. It simply outclasses the rest of the hi-hat industry in terms of durability, clarity, and projection. Now it’s even better, and you will get your money’s worth if you really want the best sound you can get.

Highlighted Features
  • Because the top hi-hat is lighter than the bottom, the top somehow sizzles when in contact with the bottom cymbal.
  • The sound is responsive, bright, refined, and very melodic.
  • The clarity and projection are outstanding.
  • This makes for a wonderful investment, as it can last for a very long time. This is partly due to the use of the special alloy that contains silver, as well as the meticulous production method.
  • You can use this for any musical genre.

#5: Meinl Cymbals HCS16C 16″ HCS Brass Crash Cymbal for Drum Set

This may be the largest pair of cymbals on this list, but then it’s a Meinl. That means its price is still ridiculously low. With the 16-inch diameter, the size is actually quite versatile. You can get the heavy crash cymbal effects for heavy rock or get the light fills that works great for jazz.

Meinl 16” Crash Cymbal – HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set, Made In Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (HCS16C)
  • Dynamic crash sounds — the 16" HCS crash is a standard sized main crash cymbal that can be used at the end of fills, for crash-riding to lift your energy, or to use as a light ride by playing on the top of the cymbal with the bead of your drumstick
  • Designed for beginners and students — Meinl HCS cymbals are designed for beginner and student musicians using a durable brass alloy that maintains its tone while holding up to the brunt of drum sticks — these cymbals are ideal for any style of music
  • Made in Germany — when you open the box, the first thing you will notice is these cymbals bear the exact same markings as professional Meinl cymbals — they feature the large Meinl stamp and a smaller laser engraved logo with the text “Made in Germany”
  • Full range of sounds — unique to this price range, HCS cymbals offer all of the cymbal types and sizes normally found in professional set ups to beginners — from trash crashes and splashes to bells and chinas, any sound option is within reach
  • Great for instructors — Meinl HCS cymbals are made for new players who are learning their way around the drum set — teachers will find these to be an outstanding affordable solution to outfit their lesson sets with in a studio or classroom
  • Manufacturer disclaimer — typographical or grammatical errors found in the bullet point or description text on this product page are a result of this site’s system and are neither the fault of the manufacturer nor marketplace sellers
  • Other items on this page — we, the manufacturer, have styled like-items on this page as a way of conveniently presenting products that are frequently bought together – we invite you to sort customer comments by product to help make your purchasing choice

Last update on 2020-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The price is partly the result of the special alloy Meinl uses for this model. It’s very durable, so you can pound on it regularly and you can expect it to keep its shape and tone. It’s also backed by a 2-year warranty.

You can also set this up very easily with your drum kit. You can put it anywhere you want, so it can be conveniently placed to suit your playing style. Because it’s large and tough, you can use brushes or mallets with these, aside from your usual drum sticks.

With this large set of cymbals, the crash sound is quite warm, while you also get a nice medium sustain. It works very well with other cymbals in the Meinl HCS series. Use this with the 20-inch ride cymbal and the 14-inch crash cymbal, and your drum kit is complete for a newbie.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s very durable and even backed by a 2-year warranty.
  • It works for many types of music, and especially for rock and metal music.
  • You can use sticks, mallets, and brushes with this.
  • The durability is outstanding, so it can take many hours of daily practice.
  • It offers a unique tone that’s nicely bright.

 

What are Hi Hats?

Hi-hats are a type of cymbal, and they’re generally considered the most important cymbal of them all. They typically work as a pair, and they’re set on a stand. For the most part, they’re used for providing steading patterns. These cymbals usually measure anywhere from 13 to 16 inches in diameter.

They have a pedal that lets you open and close them together. When they’re open, you have a way to provide an extra accent to your beat. When closed, you can get a muted yet aggressive metallic sound, or you get a nice crisp “chick” sound. It all depends on the hi-hat model you get.

How to Choose a Hi Hat

There are several factors you should consider when you pick the hi-hat for your drum kit. Of course you need to consider the price first of all. If you’re a newbie, an inexpensive model works best as long as it’s also durable. You don’t yet have the ear to notice how much better a more expensive hi-hat will sound.

Don’t forget the durability, and it’s not enough for you to check out the warranty. You should read customer reviews, to find out which hi-hats can actually last for a long while.

The next thing you need to factor in is the size. Up until the 1960s, a 14-inch diameter was standard. This gives you a rich and full sound. A smaller diameter like the 13-inch offers a more cutting and brighter sound. Larger hi-hats are less common, and you may have to embark on a search for the best hi-hat stands that fit your cymbals.

The brass alloy material also affects the sound of the hi-hat cymbals. The best hi hat cymbal metals include B8 bronze, which has a brighter and tighter sound because it only has 8% tin. Bell bronze, which is also called B20 bronze, has 20% tin. This gives the hi-hat deeper and warmer sounds with better sustain.

Advantages of Owning a Hi Hat

Basically, the main advantage of a hi-hat is that it provides you with a variety of percussive sounds.

  • You can get the cool chick sound by using the pedal and keeping the pressure to muffle the sound.
  • It can also produce the crash, which is a resonant hit you get when the cymbals clash together.
  • There’s an open hi-hat version of the crash, when you hit the edge of the 2 cymbals with the shaft of the stick. This became a popular technique for metal bands like Metallica. After the hit, you can get a crescendo by gradually lifting your foot.
  • You can also get the crash sound and then you close the cymbals with the pedal right away. It’s a powerful dry accent on the beat, and it’s popular for jazz and funk music.
  • You can also produce a distinct ping sound, by stroking the drum stick tip on the top cymbal of a closed pair. This is a common stroke for playing rock music.
  • It’s also possible to get a strong dry sound with a shaft stroke on the edge of a closed hi-hat pair. This is a common technique for reggae, blues, and hard rock.

Top Hi Hats Brands

Here are the most notable brands you should look out for if you’re searching for the best hi hat pair:

  • Zildjian. No list of hi-hat manufacturers will be complete without this brand. That’s because the first Zildjian cymbals were produced in 1618. That’s 400 years of history that no other cymbal manufacturer can touch. It’s now an American brand that’s based in Massachusetts and it’s the largest cymbal manufacturer in the world.
  • Sabian. This is a Canadian cymbal designing and manufacturing company that was founded in 1981. The founder was Robert Zildjian, who is among the legends in the cymbal making industry.
    He started his own company after he was passed over as CEO of the iconic Zildjian company. In a way, the company’s bloodline stretches back 400 years as well.
    This is an Estonian brand, though they’re actually based in Switzerland. They’re among the top makers of cymbals, gongs, and other types of metal percussion instruments.
    They made their first cymbals back in 1906. The Paiste family has been running the company since its founding.
  • Meinl. This is a German brand, and it was established back in 1951. They’re well-known for their various innovations in cymbal design and production. They stared out by offer affordable cymbals, though through the years they have established a fine reputation among professional drummers in the music industry.

Final Verdict

It’s tempting to just get the super cheap Meinl, but when you develop your ear you may not find the tone good enough. However, the superior Zildjian A Series may be too expensive even though the sound is great.

What you need is a fine balance between tone and affordability, and that’s what you get with the Zildjian ZBT. You can trust the quality, as it’s Zildjian after all. The sound is bright, sharp, and full-bodied. But it’s also an entry-level hi-hat with a very reasonable price. These may be the best hi hats for you if you’re a newbie—you can afford it, you’ll like the tone, and it will last for a long while.

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