Whether you’re just getting into drumming, or looking to upgrade your second hand cymbals, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality cymbal set. $300 buys you all kinds of options when it comes to big name cymbal packs. All of the major manufacturers have several offerings at or around this price point, so how do you get the most value for your hard-earned money? Once again, The Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help you navigate the marketing hype and help you choose the best cymbal set around $300.
What $300 Actually Gets You
Make no mistake, cymbals at this price point are NOT going to be professional level. In order for the manufacturers to deliver an entire set of cymbals for relatively short money (and still make a profit) some compromises are going to be made. Each cymbal pack that is on our list has approached these compromises in a unique way, giving your five totally distinct options.
If you drop three bills on a beginner-level cymbal pack, you should expect AT LEAST a ride cymbal, one crash cymbal and some hi-hats. After this 4-cymbal baseline, you can generally expect diminishing returns on the quality of the sound. With that said, we’ve managed to find the 5 best cymbal sets around the $300 sweet spot.
Wuhan WUTBSU Western Style 14/16/20 Cymbal Set
For some people, the Wuhan brand name is associated with “lower quality” sound at an extremely favorable price. Their Chinas and Splash Cymbals sell like hotcakes, because It’s OK for an effect cymbal to sound a little harsh. The trashier, the better!
The Wuhan WUTBSU Western Style Cymbal Pack is anything BUT trashy. In fact, it’s the only cymbal pack on our list that is made from professional-level B20 alloy. For only $279 you get a 20” Ride, 14” hi-hats and a single 16” Crash. The obvious trade-off here is fewer cymbals, but the sound you get for your money is undeniable. Wuhan offers a TON of expansion opportunities, including their Linear Smash effect series, which we love.
Sabian B8X Performance Set + 14
The Sabian B8 line of cymbals is perhaps the most recognizable on our list. These affordable B8 Bronze alloy cymbals have been a mainstay in the beginner-level market for decades. Not much has changed with the latest “B8X” iteration, and that’s a good thing in our opinion. This B8X Performance Set comes with the standard 20” Ride/14” Hats/16” Crash, along with a “free” 14” Crash. At $315, it’s one of our higher-priced cymbal packs, but you can trust that Sabian knows what they're doing when it comes to B8 bronze. There are a few options to expand this setup, our favorites being the O-Zone crashes.
Meinl HCS Bronze Complete Cymbal Set
The Meinl HCS Bronze Complete Cymbal Set consists of a 20” Ride, 14” Hi-hats, and a single 16” Crash - all of which are medium weight. Visually, these are among the most appealing on our list, and they do not disappoint in sonic quality. Made from B8 Bronze, these cymbals are predictably bright and cutting, while minimizing unpleasant overtones associated with cheap cymbals. At $299, Meinl has created one of the better values you will find at this price point. If you’re looking to expand on this box set, we recommend the Trash Crash or Trash Splash offerings.
Zildjian I Family Pro Gig Cymbal Pack
While the Zildjian I Family Pro Gig Cymbal Pack is the most expensive on our list at $340, we also feel like it packs the most bang for your buck. Zildjian has managed to balance the cost vs. performance element of the beginner cymbal pack perfectly with the I Family Pro Gig. Along with the standard 20/14/16 setup, you also get an 18” Crash cymbal. These cymbals sound excellent, and will keep you happy for a long time. Should you feel the need to expand, we recommend their trash effect cymbals. For our full review of the Zildjian I Family of cymbals, check out our YouTube Video.
Paiste PST 3 Universal Cymbal Set 14/18/20 + Free 16
We couldn’t make a “Best Cymbal” video without including our favorite cymbal manufacturer...Paiste! Paiste cymbals are generally more expensive than other brands, but we feel that the quality of their product warrants it. In order to meet our $300-ish price point, we weren’t able to include the entry level PST 5 Bronze cymbal pack. This Paiste PST 3 cymbal pack is made of Brass. Wait...we know what you’re thinking. Brass is at the bottom of the cymbal alloy totem pole. While this is true, Paiste has managed to create a brass cymbal pack UNDER $300 that easily competes with other manufacturers entry-level B8 lines. These surprisingly mellow cymbals consist of the standard 20/14/16 sizes PLUS a versatile 18” Crash/Ride. Expansion opportunities are limited, but we like the China and Splash options.
Shop With Confidence
We hope you found our list of Best $300 Cymbal Sets helpful. Should you find yourself wanting more information on these or any other cymbals, please give the professionals at Drum Center of Portsmouth a call. We are happy to assist you in the quest for YOUR ideal cymbal sound!