The Zildjian hi-hat is one of the best hi-hat brands in the market. Drummers worldwide— including me— have been hooked with the brand’s attention to detail and unparalleled sound. Spanning centuries’ worth of experience since 1623, the Zildjian brand has made its spot in the heart of the drumming community. Therefore, if you want to take your kit’s sound to the next level, Zildjian is perfect for you!
What to Look for Before Buying a Zildjian Hi-Hat?— A Buyer’s Guide
There is no doubt that Zildjian is one of the best cymbal manufacturers within the drumming world. Moreover, beginners and professionals alike trust the tried and tested quality of Zildjian hi-hats. However, the Zildjian company provides a wide array of hi-hats for all playing styles, which can become confusing at first. Therefore, I crafted this buyer’s guide to help you find the Zildjian Hi-hat suitable for your style.
We know that the quality Zildjian cymbals provide comes at a premium. As much as they sound great, they also possess a price tag that may rip a hole in your wallet. However, Zildjian still offers its well-known sound and quality through the Planet Z series. Thus, cateringfor beginners and intermediate drummers on a budget.
Conversely, if you are a professional looking for the ultimate hi-hats, Zildjian has you covered! Some Zildjian series such as the K Zildjian Sweet Collection and K Custom offer excellent tone for their price. Furthermore, if you are looking for the ultimate sound, then you can never go wrong with the Zildjian Mastersound Hi-hats.
In my experience, one of the hard things to manage when playing cymbal sets is its audio level. A drummer practicing within a quiet neighborhood could easily annoy neighbors without the proper noise suppression. However, controlling the overall level of cymbals is not an easy task.
Luckily, Zildjian offers low-volume hi-hats for hard-rocking bedroom drummers, such as the Gen16 and L80 hi-hats. Therefore, if you are looking for quiet hi-hats, Zildjian offers an excellent selection that balances volume and tone quality.
Typically, manufacturers make hi-hats using 3 different materials— brass, B8 bronze, and B20 bronze. Manufacturers utilize brass on entry-level hi-hats; however, this doesn’t mean they sound bad. Brass provides hi-hats with a decent chick sound within an affordable price point. Thus, making them ideal for beginners and drummers on a tight budget.
On the other hand, manufacturers utilize B8 and B20 bronze on higher-end hi-hats. B8 only features an 8% tin composition, providing a bright and clear sound than brass. In comparison, the B20 bronze provides users with a soft and warm sound, making them the choice for high-end hi-hats.
Hi-Hat Size and Weight
Hi-hats come in different sizes and thicknesses which affects their overall tone. The standard hi-hat sizes are 13” and 14”. Still, drummers can utilize hi-hat sizes between 12” up to 16”. To put it simply, a smaller hi-hat size will provide a higher pitch; conversely, a bigger hi-hat will have a longer sustain.
Furthermore, hi-hats come in various weights such as 900g up to 1500g. The heavier a hi-hat is, the louder it becomes, making heavy hi-hats ideal for aggressive-sounding chops required in heavy music. Conversely, lighter hi-hats are excellent for genres that require softer playing such as jazz and blues.
8 Outstanding Zildjian Hi-Hats
Zildjian Planet Z HiHat Cymbal Pair
Type: Affordable Brass Zildjian Hi-hat
Let’s face it, Zildjian Hi-hats are quite expensive, which makes them somewhat inaccessible for beginners. In this light, Zildjian crafted the Planet Z Hi-hat. Thus, offering high-quality cymbals within a budget-friendly price point. Therefore, if you are looking for the quality Zildjian provides without paying much, then Planet Z is perfect for you!
Firstly, the Zildjian Planet Z Hi-hat features a brass material that produces bright tones while shortening its sustain. In addition, this construction limits unwanted overtones, providing a clear sound output despite its brass material.
Secondly, the Planet Z Hi-hat cymbal features a 13 ¼” size, making them ideal for beginners and student drummers. Moreover, this cymbal size is perfect for students with a standard drumkit. Lastly, the Planet Z Hi-hat accurately captures a bright and focused sound. Consequently, providing users with an expensive sound without spending much.
- Brass cymbal material
- 13 ¼” cymbal size
- Cutting, bright tone
- Medium thin weight hi-hat top
- Medium hi-hat bottom
- Comes within a budget-friendly price point.
- Ideal for beginners and student drummers.
- Provides a bright and focused sound comparable with more expensive hi-hats.
- Great sounding “chick” considering its price.
- The brass cymbal material is less durable than bronze.
Zildjian 14″ K Zildjian Sweet HiHat Cymbal Pair
Type: B20 Bronze Zildjian Hi-hat
The Zildjian 14” K Sweet Hi-Hat combines a light top and heavy bottom, resulting in a smooth and defined tone. In addition, the K Sweet Hi-hat features a specific B20 bronze composition, providing the hi-hats with incredible dynamics.
Furthermore, the hi-hat’s top cymbal offers a smooth, musical wash, making them ideal for light playing. On the other hand, the K Sweet’s bottom cymbal provides a defined chick that produces a dark sound.
Moreover, the Zildjian Sweet Hi-hat underwent the K hammering process, improving the cymbal’s overall darkness and musicality. Lastly, the K Sweet Hi-hat comes in a traditional finish, providing users with the classic look and feel of a Zildjian hat.
- B20 Bronze material
- 14” cymbal size
- Unlathed bells
- Thin top
- Heavy bottom
- The Traditional K-series hammering provides the cymbals with incredible darkness and musicality.
- The K Sweet series is an award-winning cymbal collection from Zildjian.
- Produces a responsive heavy and dark sound.
- Comes with a free 2-year warranty.
- The 14” K Sweet Hi-hat comes at a high price point.
Zildjian 14″ K Custom Dark HiHat – Pair
Type: Premium Bronze Zildjian Hi-hat
The Zildjian 14” K Custom Dark Hi-hat is suitable for drummers looking for a dark and heavy tone. In addition, the Zildjian K Custom Dark Hi-hat provides excellent color and articulation, perfect for tone-sensitive drumheads.
The 14” K Custom Dark Hi-hat offers a warm full-bodied tone that provides excellent stick sound. Moreover, this hi-hat produces a quick and bright, and crisp chick sound that cuts incredibly through the mix.
In conclusion, the 14” K Custom Dark Hi-hat provides a full and crisp dark tone while preserving hi-hat articulation.
- 14” hi-hat size
- B20 Cast bronze
- Full-bodied cymbal tone
- Traditional cymbal finish
- Medium-thin top and medium bottom
- Suitable for contemporary and demanding music genres.
- The Zildjian’s Cast Bronze materials sound better with age.
- Provides users with a dark tone without compromising tone color and articulation.
- Produces a clean stick sound and a full-bodied tone, increasing overall versatility.
- More expensive than the K Sweet Hi-hat cymbal while offering the same dark tone.
Zildjian 14″ S Rock HiHats – Pair
Type: B12 Zildjian Hi-hat
As a gigging drummer, I always hate when my drums can’t project themselves enough within the mix. As a result, I hit harder on the cymbals, risking chips and dings on every hit. If ever you’re tired of experiencing this problem, utilizing the 14” S Rock Hi-hats can be the answer!
Featuring a B12 alloy, the S Rock Hi-hats provides an incredible balance between low, mid, and high frequencies. In addition, Zildjian specifically designed the S Rock Hi-hats with the ultimate volume and projection for loud drumming settings. Thus, making the Zildjian 14” S Rock Hi-hats ideal for heavy metal, punk, and rock n’ roll playing.
Moreover, Zildjian crafted the S Rock Hi-hats for the loudest playing situations. Therefore, whether you’re in a spacious bar or playing on an open field, the S Rock Hi-hats won’t disappoint.
- B12 Alloy Material
- 14” hi-hat size
- Bright cymbal finish
- Medium-heavy cymbal top
- Heavy cymbal bottom
- Ideal for drummers who play heavy music such as metal, punk, and rock.
- Produces an aggressive cut and attack with a pronounced “chick”.
- Excellent for live performances.
- Retains the hi-hat’s tone quality despite its louder projection.
- I wouldn’t recommend this hi-hat for jazz and blues drummers.
Zildjian 13″ L80 Low Volume Hi Hats
Type: Low Volume Zildjian Hi-hat
Maybe you love practicing for long hours on end— I know I do. However, practicing for hours can be detrimental to your hearing, considering how loud cymbals can be. In addition, practicing your chops can be quite annoying for your neighbors. Therefore, we introduce to you the Zildjian 13” L80 Hi-hats, minimizing your hi-hat decibels 80% more than traditional hi-hats!
The Zildjian L80 features a unique perforated pattern, providing drummers with the same acoustic hi-hat chick while lowering volume. Moreover, this specific construction makes it articulate and responsive towards sticks, brushes, and even bass drum mallets.
In this light, I recommend the Zildjian 13” L80 for drummers who love practicing in small spaces or untreated rooms. Lastly, the L80 Hi-hat is also excellent for gigs within limited spaces. Consequently, allowing other band members to have ample audio room within the mix.
- Unique perforated pattern
- Sandblasted finish
- Realistic cymbal feel
- Responsive feel
- Traditional cymbal articulation and tone
- Effectively lowers hi-hat noise down to 80% in comparison with traditional cymbals.
- Ideal for long practice sessions to avoid ear fatigue.
- Suitable for practice and small live venues.
- Provides an articulate and responsive feel and tone similar to traditional cymbals.
- Due to the product’s sandblasted finish, fingerprints easily show after handling the cymbals.
Zildjian 13″ A Zildjian New Beat HiHats
Type: B20 Bronze Zildjian Hi-hat
The 13” A Zildjian New Beat Hi-hats underwent a pneumatic hammering process, providing cymbal symmetry and wide lathe grooves. As a result, the New Beat Hi-hats provide a responsive classic voice that obeys its user’s intention in every hit. Thus, making them one of the best-selling hi-hats worldwide!
Furthermore, the Zildjian 13” New Beat provides drummers with a versatile performance in any genre. Thanks to its symmetrically hammered and lathed grooves, this hi-hat produces a pure and bright tone without compromising expressiveness.
Moreover, Zildjian utilized the specifications of Louie Bellson— a legendary American jazz drummer. As a result, the New Beat Hi-hats will surely fit the taste of both beginner and professional drummers alike.
- B20 Cast Bronze material
- Pure, expressive, and bright sound
- Traditional finish
- Medium top cymbal
- Heavy bottom cymbal
- Extremely well-made and versatile hi-hat.
- Suitable for any genre and playstyle thanks to its midrange-focused response.
- Produces an expressive and classic voice.
- Designed by Louie Bellson, providing users with professional-level specifications.
- Not ideal for drummers who don’t want a hi-hat that sizzles too much.
Zildjian 14″ A Custom Mastersound HiHats
Type: B20 Cast Bronze Zildjian Hi-hat
As a drummer with 30 years of experience behind me, I hate it when my drumkit doesn’t cut through a mix. Even though I hate it— and I know you do too— being drowned within a dense mix is a problem, especially in every live setting. However, with the Zildjian 14” A Custom Mastersound Hi-hats, this problem will surely be a thing of the past.
Utilizing a B20 Cast Bronze material, the 14” A Custom Mastersound Hats provides bold and full-bodied sound. In addition, the bottom cymbals of this hi-hat feature hammered grooves, allowing air to rapidly exit for a clear “chick”.
Furthermore, being in the A Custom series, this hi-hat also produces the signature crisp, rich, and colorful tone we love. Therefore, if you want to cut in a mix, then consider using the 14” A Custom Mastersound Hi-hats.
- B20 Cast Bronze material
- Hammered bottom cymbal grooves
- Medium thin top
- Medium bottom
- Rich and colorful tone
- Ideal for professionals who play in big venues.
- Easily allows users to cut within a dense mix.
- The hammered bottom cymbal grooves allow air to quickly exit, resulting in a clear “chick”.
- Produces a clear and rich sound perfect for subtly articulated playing.
- Offered within an expensive price point.
Zildjian Gen16 Buffed Bronze 13″ Hi Hat Cymbal Pair
Type: Low Volume Zildjian Hi-hat
The Zildjian 13” Gen16 Hi-hat is the ultimate low-volume hats money can buy! Firstly, Zildjian utilized their unique perforated pattern, lowering the hi-hat’s sound level down to 70%! In addition, the cymbal’s buffed bronze material helps it produce a warm and rich sound in comparison with nickel-plated ones.
Secondly, the Gen16 Hi-hat can also work as an electric trigger with Zildjian’s Digital Cymbal Processor. Moreover, this feature makes the Gen16 excellent for drum recording and practicing within a small space.
Lastly, the Zildjian Gen16 Buffed Bronze effectively articulates every hit and playing intensity required for expressive playing. Therefore, if you are looking for the best low-volume hi-hats, you can never go wrong with the Zildjian Gen16!
- Buffed Bronze material
- Warm cymbal tone
- Unique perforated pattern
- World’s First Patented Low-Volume Cymbal
- Natural cymbal tone
- Effectively lowers the hi-hat’s sound pressure level (SPL) by 70%.
- Compatible with electric or acoustic drumkits.
- Ideal for small venues and long practices.
- Corresponds and sounds like traditional cymbals.
- The Zildjian L80s is still cheaper than this hi-hat while boasting an 80% SPL reduction.
Frequently Asked Questions about Zildjian
Which hi-hat is best?
Here are 8 of the best Zildjian Hi-hats you can buy:
- Planet Z HiHat Cymbal
- 14″ K Zildjian Sweet HiHat Cymbal
- 14″ S Rock HiHats
- 13″ L80 Low Volume Hi Hats
- 14″ K Custom Dark HiHat
- 13″ A Zildjian New Beat HiHats
- 14″ A Custom Mastersound HiHats
- Gen16 Buffed Bronze 13″ Hi Hat Cymbal
What is Zildjian Planet Z?
As we know, Zildjian hi-hats cost a lot in comparison with other cymbal brands. In this light, Zildjian crafted the Planet Z line. Thus, allowing drummers to access the world-renowned Zildjian quality for a portion of the price.
Typically, the Planet Z series utilizes brass materials which help drive the cost down. However, Zildjian specifically designed the Planet Z series to be on par with most bronze hi-hats in the market today.
Are Planet Z Cymbals good?
As stated, the Planet Z line aims to produce the world-renowned Zildjian cymbal quality within a lower price point. In addition, the Planet Z Cymbals features brass materials that produce an incredible and articulated tone in every hit. Therefore, the Planet Z Cymbals is ideal for drummers who want to upgrade their cymbals set without spending a fortune.
What sound does a hi-hat make?
A hi-hat utilizes two cymbals that clash together when hit. As a result, the resulting tone comes out as a “chick” sound which is excellent for a muted percussive tone. In addition, drummers can adjust the hi-hat for a tighter muted tone. Conversely, they can also chase an open “ride” sounding hi-hat tone by tweaking the tightness of the hi-hat’s clutch.
What is a Zildjian K?
The Zildjian K series produces a warmer and darker sound in comparison with standard bronze and brass cymbals. Thus, making them ideal for heavy music such as heavy metal, punk rock, and other aggressive-sounding music.