The 5 Best Splash Cymbals (2023) – Beginner and Pro Options

You’ve probably got the hi-hats, ride, and a couple of crashes. If you’re looking to add a little more spice to your drum kit, then it’s worth adding a splash cymbal or two. 

Like crash cymbals, a splash is also used to accent certain notes. However, the sound is much more compact and with a faster decay. Splash cymbals can also be used for special effects.

My top pick is Sabian AAX 10” Air. This is a very nice, unique-sounding splash cymbal. 

My budget pick is Meinl Cymbals 8″ HCS Splash, which is good for any drummer on a budget. 

The 5 Best Splash Cymbals (2023)

1. Sabian AAX 10” Air
Top Pick - A quality splash cymbal from Sabian's well-respected AAX range
2. Meinl Cymbals HCS 8” Splash
Affordable Option - A nice splash for those on a budget
3. Wuhan 10" Splash Cymbal
A professional sounding splash at a good price
4. Zildjian A Series 10" Splash Cymbal
Quick, bright splash that’s good for any occasion

Let’s compare these in more detail.

1. Sabian AAX 10” Air

Top Pick
A quality splash cymbal from Sabian's well-respected AAX range.
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The Sabian AAX 10” Air is a great way to add some depth and dynamism to your cymbal setup. It has a very unique sound that is unlike many other splash cymbals. Because of the holes on the bow, this splash has china-like qualities. 

The AAX Air is an explosive cymbal, even for a splash. It produces a crisp sound with a really fast decay which helps it stand out and make its mark. 


  • Unique, explosive sound
  • Fast decay, little overtones
  • Lightweight but durable


  • Relatively low volume compared to other splash cymbals

The splash is much better utilized in studios or smaller venues than big stages. This is because the AAX Air is a lightweight cymbal and isn’t as loud as some of the other cymbals you might have on your kit. 

Although, it is quite durable due to the fact that It’s made of high-quality B20 Bronze. 

Hand HammeredYes
AlloyB20 Bronze

Overall, the Sabian AAX Air 10” is a brilliant splash cymbal that you can add to your kit if you want to add more colors to your playing. 

2. Meinl Cymbals HCS 8” Splash

Budget Pick
Nice splash for those on a budget.
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Adding some flavor to your cymbal setup doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. In fact, it doesn’t even have to make a dent in your pocket when you have an option like Meinl HCS 8” Splash available. 

Meinl HCS series is a really neat line of cymbals that Meinl targets beginner drummers or those on a budget. Naturally, the 8” splash is a nice choice at an extremely affordable price.


  • Very affordable
  • A quick attack that cuts through
  • Looks quite nice


  • It’s a brass cymbal

The splash actually sounds quite decent, projecting mid-brights well. The attack is quick, cuts through, and is fairly punchy. So, it makes for great accents. 

It looks professional and is made of MS63 brass alloy. Although, it is on the thinner side of cymbals. So, it’s best suited for practice, educational, or home studio purposes. 

Hand HammeredNo
AlloyMS63 Brass

The Meinl HCS 8” Splash is a reliable cymbal for amateurs as well as some professional drummers. It gives off a nice sound while being quite affordable. 

3. Wuhan 10" Splash Cymbal

Professional sounding splash at a good price.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

In a world of Zildjian, Sabian, and Meinl, Wuhan has established itself as a very underrated but valuable cymbal manufacturer. The company has a nice range of high-quality cymbals that come at an affordable price regardless of your level.

The Wuhan 10” Splash is a testament to the brand’s cymbal-making ability. It’s a well-rounded cymbal that sounds good with whatever and wherever you’re playing. 


  • Exceptionally affordable
  • Crisp, trashy attack
  • Made of B20 bronze


  • Has little lathing

It has a crisp, yet trashy sound, which is ideal for accents and embellishments throughout a song. It has a quick decay as well, so it doesn’t impose itself too much.

The Wuhan 10” splash is made of B20 Bronze, which is almost unbelievable considering its cost. It is also hand hammered and has a traditional finish, giving it a nice look. 

Hand HammeredYes
AlloyB20 Bronze

Wuhan’s primary goal is to make top-notch cymbals for the beginner drummer. However, you could be a touring drummer and this splash would work just fine for you. 

4. Zildjian A Series 10" Splash Cymbal

Quick, bright splash that’s good for any occasion.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

This is an incredible 10” splash from Zildjian’s best-selling cymbal line. It’s pretty much what makes for an ideal splash. 

The Zildjian A 10” splash has a very bright, natural sound that works really well in every environment. Its explosive and quick attack has a lot of depth to it. There are also minimal overtones associated with it.  


  • Crisp, brilliant sound
  • Quick decay, minimal sustain
  • Versatile applications


  • Not much!

The splash has a lot of character to it and is quite expressive. This can be owed to the B20 Bronze it is made of. 

It’s also very durable and sounds better the harder you play it. That being said, it also fits in well in a low-key musical setting. 

Hand HammeredYes
AlloyB20 Bronze

The Zildjian A 10” Splash is a satisfying product and has the good qualities you would need in a cymbal.

5. Sabian HHX 10″ Evolution Splash Cymbal

A dark, shimmering splash.
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Sabian has taken the classic dark tone of its HHX series and adapted it really well to this 10” Evolution cymbal. It’s quite the musical splash that not only sounds dark but also has a nice after sizzle. Mind you, this sound is different from the regular overtones of a cymbal.

The HHX Evolution 10” splash has a fast decay and a brilliant character, rendering it ideal for rock settings. You can hear its depth with each stick hit. 


  • Professional-quality splash
  • Sizzling, dark tones
  • Quick decay


  • A bit pricey

Like all HHX cymbals, this 10” splash is also made of B20 Cast Bronze. It’s also hand hammered and boasts a brilliant finish with pinpoint lathing. It looks just as rustic as it sounds. It has a medium weight, which makes it quite durable.

Hand HammeredYes
AlloyB20 Cast Bronze

The Sabian HHX 10” Evolution Splash is a pro-level cymbal, which means it’s appropriately priced. So, if your budget allows, this one is a great splash to have in your arsenal. 

Buyer’s Guide

Before you go buying a splash cymbal for yourself, let me share a few quick tips with you to help you decide better. 

Why do you need splash cymbals?

Although there aren’t a whole lot of drummers who use splash for grooves, unlike ride or hi-hats, or even crash cymbals, the smaller cymbal is particularly useful for adding embellishments in the song. 

Instead of using a crash, you can use a splash for accenting some notes and it would add a much different flavor to your music. And this is great because it’s not always that you want the long sustain and loudness of a crash. 

What size of splash cymbals should you get?

Splash cymbals generally come in three sizes – 8”, 10”, and 12”. They could be bigger, they could be smaller as well. 

The most commonly used splash is the 10” one. That’s because it fits most styles of music. It’s not too loud, nor too dim. Neither does it have too long of a sustain. 

That said, if you want an even quicker decay, then you could go for the 8” splash. And if you want a louder sound and longer decay from your splash, you could consider the 12” one. 

Where should you position your splash cymbals?

Since a splash is a smaller cymbal, you don’t need a boom stand for it. You can definitely get by with a small stand or even a splash mount. 

As far as placing the splash, you should ideally place it where you’re comfortable hitting accented notes, i.e. your crashes. This is generally on the right side of the hi-hat if you’re a right-handed player on a right-handed kit. 

How many splash cymbals do you need?

In most musical settings, one splash is just enough to fulfill your needs. But don’t let that stop you from adding as many as you want. In fact, you can make a stack out of two or more. 


Well, that brings us to the end of this article. I’ve shared my top splash choices out of the hundreds available out there. Remember, it’s not always necessary to have a splash in your kit. But when the song calls for it, you should definitely have one ready.

My top choice is the Sabian AAX 10” Air. If you’re on a budget, you could go for the Meinl HCS 8”. Both are good choices depending on your preference. 

I’ve also shared some tips that could help you in deciding which splash is right for you.

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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