Crash ride cymbals are unique in the sense that you get the explosion of a crash and the sweetness of a ride in one cymbal. They can be a great way to minimalize your drum kit size and still retain its sound.
For touring drummers, one of the biggest headaches comes in the form of packing and setting up their gear. Crash ride cymbals can help ease things.
My main recommended crash ride is is the Zildjian 18” K Crash Ride cymbal. It is a professional quality cymbal that is good for many applications.
My second recommended crash ride is the Sabian SBR1811 SBR Series Pure Brass 18 cymbal. A good choice for those on a budget.
Let me walk you through what I consider the best crash ride cymbals on the market today.
The Best Crash Ride Cymbals (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Zildjian 18” K Crash/Ride
I think that the Zildjian 18” just might be one of the, if not the best, crash ride cymbals available. This is not just because it is a Zildjian product, but it has such a nice, complete sound that you can make good use of it in most situations.
- Has versatile applications
- Dry crash, sweet ride
- Good attack and stick definition
- Isn’t the loudest cymbal
The Zildjian 18” K Crash Ride has an incredible response, a quick attack, and a good stick definition. You can hear every note very clearly.
It has a dry and loud crash while also retaining the sweet ping of a ride cymbal. And the 18” size makes it ideal to have the balance between the two.
This is a truly professional crash ride cymbal in both build and sound. It’s made of B20 bronze and finished brilliantly. Naturally, it carries a heavy price tag, but given its resourcefulness, it’s definitely worth it if you’re a gigging drummer.
2. Sabian SBR1811 SBR Series Pure Brass 18
For those of you who are not looking to spend a whole lot but still want a good crash ride cymbal, the 18” Sabian SBR1811 Pure Brass is a very nice option to consider. That’s because it’s easy on the pocket, and, if you know Sabian, built well.
The SBR1811 crash ride is Sabian’s way of giving beginner drummers decent-sounding cymbals to get going on their musical journey. This cymbal has a full-bodied ride sound, with a loud, bright crash.
- Very affordable
- Full-bodied ride and loud crash
- Doesn’t sound as rich as the higher-end option on this list
Even though this is a brass cymbal, it’s still made carefully with the same techniques that Sabian uses in its upper echelon products. It has high-pressure hammering, hand lathing, and finished traditionally. So, it looks pretty neat as well.
If you’re a newbie and/or are on a budget, the Sabian SBR1811 18” Pure Brass is a good way to get into the cymbal game while having some fun.
3. Meinl Cymbals 18 inch HCS Crash/Ride
Another beginner crash ride on this list, the Meinl 18” HCS Crash Ride is an excellent budget cymbal. The HCS series is well-known to be one of the better entry-level cymbals and this one is no different.
- Versatile sound
- The ride is sweet while the crash is washy
- Is very durable
- Not the best for recording purposes
With a complete crash sound, full-bodied ride, and a raw bell, this cymbal is well suited for many musical styles. You can accent or groove with it really well.
It is made from a special MS63 Brass alloy. This makes the cymbal quite durable. And given its sound quality, you can make good use of the cymbal for a long time.
A total value for money, the Meinl 18” HCS Crash Ride is a well-made cymbal. Even though it is deemed beginner cymbal, it is useful for intermediate drummers as well.
4. Meinl Cymbals Byzance 20" Dual Crash/Ride
The Meinl Byzance Dual Crash-Ride is the most expensive cymbal on this list. However, if budget is not a problem for you, ride cymbals hardly get better than this.
It takes the dark trashiness of great crashes and the pingy sweetness of great rides and gives you a unique-sounding cymbal. It has a great response and stick definition that exhibits the exceptional quality of this cymbal in every hit.
- Truly professional sound quality
- Hammering and lathing combination
The great thing about this Byzance crash ride is its super versatile sound. You can play it in everything from jazz to metal and it would fit right in. This is one of the reasons why it is one of the most popular crash ride cymbals among professional players.
Made of B20 bronze, its center has a rustic look while the outer part is lathed, more polished. It looks as nice as it sounds.
5. Zildjian 18" L80 Low Volume Crash/Ride
Not all drummers have a quiet place to hone their skills without causing a ruckus with the neighbors. For such cases, it doesn’t get better than the Zildjian 18” L80 Low Volume Crash Ride.
With over 80% volume reduction from traditional cymbals, this cymbal is ideal for long practice sessions. Bonus, you also avoid the risk of tinnitus.
- Does a great job at reducing noise levels
- Replicates real feel well
- Isn’t made for recording and live gigs
By the looks of it, the Zildjian L80 Low Volume crash ride might look like an unconventional cymbal that won’t replicate the real deal. Although this is true for its sound to an extent, it has very nice responsiveness that can be compared to a traditional cymbal.
It gives a nice feel off sticks, brushes, and mallets, so you won’t be compromising on anything. This also makes it great for drum schools and low-volume gigs.
It rides well, crashes well, and reduces noise even better. The Zildjian 18” L80 Low Volume crash ride is a brilliant choice for drummers of all levels.
6. Paiste 16" Rude Crash/Ride
Rude by name, rude by nature, the Paiste 16” Rude Crash Ride is a good cymbal for the rock/pop drummer. Because it’s an extra heavy cymbal, it is quite loud and has an explosive crash.
A 16” crash ride, while it does have great crashing abilities, it also has a decent ride sound with a very raw bell. It also has a good stick definition and a long sustain.
- Extra heavy sound
- Very durable
- Explosive crash
- Quite a lot of sustain
- Not as suitable for quieter genres
It’s made of the B8 bronze, hand-hammered, and finished traditionally. It has a solid built, so it’s bound to last you a long time.
The Paiste Rude 16” Crash Ride is a pretty decent buy if you primarily play loud, energetic music.
What is a Crash/Ride cymbal?
A crash ride cymbal is an amalgamated cymbal that serves the purpose of both a crash and ride cymbal. It is heavier than a crash but lighter than a ride so that it can function as both.
It is less common than crash and ride cymbals. While a crash ride is generally included in beginner cymbal backs, you can find many professional quality ones as well.
Differences between a crash and a ride cymbal?
Crash and ride cymbals are essential components of any drum kit, regardless of the genre you’re playing. They both come into play at different times.
A ride is a heavier, larger cymbal. It is used greatly to maintain a groove and also has a bolder bell. A crash, on the other hand, is generally a smaller, lighter cymbal that is used for accents. Even though crash cymbals have a bell, it is not as commonly used.
What to look out for when buying?
Before buying a crash ride, it’s important to figure out the sound you want from it. Do you want a bright cymbal or a dark cymbal? Do you prefer the sweetness of the ride or the explosion of the crash?
Crash ride cymbals generally come in sizes 16”-22”. The smaller the cymbal, the better its crashing abilities, and the larger the cymbal, the better its riding abilities. 18”-20” are considered the best of both worlds.
As far as the material is concerned, B20 bronze cymbals are the gold standard. Although, many beginner cymbals are made of brass and are much cheaper.
Is a crash/ride essential in the set?
Depending on your situation, a crash/ride may or may not be considered essential. If you’re on a budget or you tour frequently, then yes, it’s a must-have. If you’re an intermediate to pro drummer who mostly records music, then no.
That said, it’s a highly versatile cymbal that gives you the sound of two cymbals in one. So, it’s a good addition to have in your arsenal.
A crash ride cymbal is a really neat way to save some money, space, and headaches. You get to crash and ride on one cymbal, which makes it a very handy cymbal to have.
My top recommendation is the Zildjian K 18” Crash Ride, while my budget pick is the Sabian SBR1811 Pure Brass Crash Ride. Of course, the rest are really nice options as well.
I have also included a helpful buyer’s guide so that you have an easier time finding your perfect crash ride.