The 4 Best Ride Cymbals – Reviews 2024

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Photo by Hugh Schultz / CC BY

Drums are among the most versatile instruments we have today. No matter what type of music you play, or what your skill level is, you will be able to configure a drum kit to fit your needs perfectly. If there is one component every drum set has in common, it’s the ride cymbal.

In terms of cymbals, a ride is the most basic one. It’s a very important part of drum’s foundation. The range of use a good ride can offer is incredibly large. They can be used as accent cymbals, or give you the more subtle sound that will dictate the mood of the song.

Today, we have a selection of 4 of the best ride cymbals on the market. We’ve included several refined models and one that is affordable. We looked for good build quality and the ability to produce decent overtones. They say that when it comes to cymbals, rules are more of a guideline than something that is to be precisely followed. With that said, let’s jump right in!

Zildjian A Series 21″ Sweet Ride Cymbal

Just how important Zildjian is for the world of drumming can be deduced from their huge following and a number of famous drummers who insist on using their cymbals. Needless to say, this company has a very wide range of models designed for any genre of music and playing style. No matter what your needs are, Zildjian will have something for you.

Build and Performance

When it comes to Rock and Roll rides, Zildjian A Series (see full specs) is considered to be the baseline model. This is one of those rides you can always count on to deliver the necessary performance. In terms of design and materials, Zildjian A series is pretty traditional.

It sports a 21-inch radius with a standard design and copper to tin ratio of 80/20. There is nothing extreme about the way this cymbal looks. However, it’s how it sound that brought it global popularity. You are looking at very balanced sound and nice overtones. It’s not an aggressive ride, but it does everything well. It’s among the best ride cymbals out there.

Zildjian Avedis Sweet Ride Brilliant 21" [HQ] Cymbal test

Meinl Classics Custom Extreme Metal 20-Inch

If you were wondering what a complete opposite of that Zildjian looks like, just take a peek at this bad boy. This odd-looking ride is made by Meinl and it features a very interesting set of attributes which make it a somewhat niche cymbal. Aggressive in nature, Classics Custom Extreme Metal ride packs a mean punch.

Build and Performance

One of the defining factors on this Meinl ride is the size of the bell. Not only is it larger than anything you can find your standard rides, but it is also lower pitched. The material used for this ride is B10 Bronze alloy that gives it most of the properties in terms of sound and flexibility.

The manufacturing process Meinl uses to produce these is very precise, giving Classics Custom Extreme Metal rides a very uniform tone. Speaking of which, you can expect a lot more high-pitched tones all over this ride, which make it perfect for more aggressive genres of music like metal.

Meinl Classics Custom Extreme Metal Ride 20" Test

Paiste PST 3

Paiste is one of the several elite tier cymbal manufacturers on the market. They have a lot of different models in their roster and are considered to be the brand you turn to if you want consistent quality. The ride cymbal we have here is one of their more popular models that is still in production despite the fact it was first released over 10 years ago. Let’s talk about what Paiste PST 3 has to offer in terms of performance.

Build and Performance

This 20-inch ride cymbal is made of MS63 brass and comes with a very nice texture. It’s by far one of the most beautiful rides to look at. However, since no one is buying cymbals to look at them, let’s talk a bit about how this bad boy sounds.

The defining thing about Paiste PST 3 is the abundance of power and volume you get. This is a very bright ride cymbal, which makes it suitable for a variety of music genres and playing styles. Its general purpose nature also enables you to be very subtle with your attack. Without a doubt, this is among the best ride cymbals out there.

Paiste PST3 20" Ride Cymbal

Sabian SBR2012

Just like the rest of the brands that found their way on this list, Sabian is one of the industry giants. The previous cymbals we have talked about are pretty refined models that offer great sound, but they also cost a considerable amount of money. Sabian SBR2012 we are looking at here is a more affordable choice that still brings a great core performance.

Build and Performance

SBR series is among the most popular ones in Sabian’s line of models. The way they priced these cymbals makes them a bargain no matter how you look at it. Sabian SBR2012 combines decent build quality, great sound, and formidable tonal properties to give you a powerful tool on a budget.

You can expect bright and full sound that can drive the rhythm but also cut through the mix should you need it to. While it might not be the most refined thing out there, the price alone makes it a model in a class of its own. It’s likely the best ride cymbal for the money.

Jamming with the Sabian sbr cymbal pack


Ride cymbals are immensely important for a well-rounded drum setup. Although they are pretty much defined in terms of their tone and function, you can still find a whole variety of models on the market. The ones we have shown you today represent the best of every category.

Most of the models are pretty standard in their nature, except for that Meinl (see full specs) which takes things in a different direction. The main criteria you should have when choosing a ride cymbal is the type of music you are going to play. A well-matched ride can give you a whole new dimension of tone. On the other hand, if you don’t have the right ride, you will miss out on a lot of potential.

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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