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2021’s Best Cymbals for Punk: Top 5 Punk Cymbals for The Money Reviewed

Cymbals are not a one-size-fits-all addition to any drum kit. Different styles are more suitable for specific genres.

Genre-specificity is proving increasingly popular among drummers who want to focus their craft. Manufacturers are also starting to pay attention to this demand.

Gone are the days of buying a multipack of general cymbals and replacing them when necessary. It might seem like a good idea initially, but it’s a waste of money in the long-term.

Here, DCP walks you through the best punk cymbals in 2021. Cymbals used for punk rock take a thrashing, so they need to be durable. The ones reviewed here all can take a beating, ensuring great value for your money.

Best Cymbals for Punk of 2021

1. Zildjian A Custom Box Set

The first thing you’ll notice about these cymbals is their beautiful, golden finish. They’re incredibly eye-catching. The crashes have a short sustain and let you add repeated hits in quick succession, which is so often integral to punk music.

The bell has a unique ping, which means your noise won’t get drowned out by your band. The hi-hats feature a bright and brilliant finish that we’ve come to expect from the A Custom series. The medium ride rounds all of this off with a unifying, clear sound.


  • 14’’ hi-hats
  • 16’’ and 18’’ crashes
  • 20’’ ride
  • 4 in a pack


  • Cymbals all complement each other well
  • A bold and pleasing appearance
  • Short sustain ideal for punk music


  • On the pricier side


2. Meinl Classics Custom Dark Box Set

If you want the edgy, punk look, the Meinl Custom Dark Box Set delivers. Each cymbal is black with gold accents. They’re loud, clear, and each cymbal complements each other well to bring a unified sound.

The crashes deliver exceptional responsiveness, which is perfect for repeated strikes. The crash ride and hi-hats are clear in tone, and they produce excellent volume. They can keep up with your band without losing quality on the way.


  • 14’’ hi-hats
  • 16’’ and 18’’ crashes
  • 20’’ ride
  • 5 in a pack


  • Unique, classic design
  • Maintains tonal clarity at higher volumes
  • Crashes possess sensitive response times, ideal for fast playing


  • Some users reported unsatisfactory results when playing the hi-hats open


3. Sabian AAX Performance Cymbal Pack

In any punk band, the drummer needs to stand out because it’s the percussion that keeps the raw, fast energy going. Punk music is noisy and distinctive, so you need your cymbals to be the same. The Sabian AAX pack achieves this with a bright payoff that doesn’t skimp on volume.

The bright sound persists no matter which cymbal you’re hitting and can cut through even the densest of sound walls. You’ll definitely be heard with these on your set.

The 21’’ ride sets this set apart most from competitors. The extra inch of the ride allows it to produce maximum sound output.


  • 14’’ hi-hats
  • 16’’ and 18’’ crashes
  • 21’’ ride
  • 4 in a pack


  • Impressive volume output
  • Features a bright tone across all cymbals
  • Responsive crashes


  • Some users don’t like the look of Sabian’s recent logo change


4. Paiste 2002 Cymbal Pack

The Paiste 2002 pack has been around a while now, so they’re not new in 2021. But sometimes, it’s worth it to go back to the classics.

The Paiste 2002 series’ popularity has never subsided. The maker created these specifically with metal, rock, and punk music firmly in mind. To that end, these cymbals produce a clean, crisp sound that maintains its edge without sacrificing volume.

The strong points include their bright tone and ability to project despite loud competition from bandmates. The volume is possible because of the larger than average sizing across the crashes and ride. They may take some getting used to, but they’re worth the learning curve.


  • 14’’ hi-hats
  • 18’’ and 20’’ crashes
  • 22’’ ride
  • 5 in a pack


  • A ride designed explicitly for heavier music genres in mind such as punk, rock, and metal
  • The bright output and strong projection are ideal for punk music
  • Increased size of cymbals compared to many sets allows for improved volume


  • Pricey


5. Sabian 15’’ AAX X Crash Cymbal

The only item on this list that is a standalone cymbal instead of a full pack, it’s a unique product. It is the only crash cymbal on this list that extends beyond 14’’, and the result is beautiful. It creates a punchy, warm tone that can project to the back of the room.

The first thing you’ll notice about this cymbal is its lack of width. It might look too thin for the heavy beating, but it’s deceptive. It is more than capable of holding its own and delivering a strong, loud performance.


  • 5’’ crash cymbal
  • Standalone


  • Thin but durable
  • The ride delivers an exceptional projection with a warm tone
  • Slightly larger than standard crashes, ideal for louder volumes


  • May not prove ideal as your primary, but perfect for a secondary with a unique twist


What to Look for When Choosing Punk Cymbals

Cymbals designed for punk music need to promote loud, clean, and bright sounds while also being structurally sound, i.e., they need to be able to take a beating. You need them to be durable and capable.

You can assess these qualities by judging the individual components and the material.

The Individual Components

If you mostly or solely play punk music, you need to focus on each component with that intent in mind. Otherwise, your sound might get lost in the swell of your bandmates’ music.

The three components that you need to look at in comparing cymbal sets are:

  • The Crashes provide a short, explosive punch of sound. They are especially crucial with punk music, as most tracks feature frequent use of crashes.
  • The Ride offers a ping-like sound. It changes in musicality as the ride bell increases in size.
  • The Hi-Hats often come in pairs, with the bottom cymbal being slightly thicker. The thinner the cymbal, the lower the pitch. The thicker the cymbal, the higher the pitch. Sizes will range from 12’’ up to 16.5’’.


The Material

You also need to consider the material of your cymbals. Most cymbals are bronze, though some budget options might be brass.

Bronze is a combination of copper and tin. You’ll find two categories, known as B20 and B8:

  • B20 features 80% bronze content and 20% tin.
  • B8 consists of 92% bronze and 8% tin.


The higher the tin content, the ‘tinier’ the sound will be. Bear this in mind before making a purchase. Sometimes, spending a little more is worth it in the long-term.


Customizing your drum kit is all about achieving a unique style. Drum sets are some of the most versatile instruments available in any band, so don’t squander that unique opportunity! Punk is about not fitting in with the crowd and the mainstream, so you want your kit to reflect that. Play around with different cymbal varieties to find what works best for you.