Sabian vs Zildjian: Which Brand Makes the Best Cymbals?

Sabian and Zildjian are two of the biggest brands in the industry, but who makes the best cymbals? In this article I’ll compare the sound, prices, durability and more so you can decide which to go for.

Sabian vs Zildjian 101

In general, Sabian cymbals sound a bit brighter and glassier compared to Zildjian cymbals which sound darker. Sabian cymbals start at a lower price compared to Zildjian, so are a better option for lower budgets. Zildjian cymbals are made in the USA whilst Sabian cymbals are made in Canada.

Sound and Music Styles

Sabian and Zildjian make tonnes of different cymbals so it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to find ones that you like the sound of from either brand. It’s also really difficult to compare the sound of two brands, as all their cymbals sound different.

However, as a general rule Zildjian cymbals sound a bit darker and warmer compared to Sabian cymbals which sound a bit louder, brighter and glassier. With that said, you’ll really need to compare two individual cymbals to decide which you prefer the sound of.

Check out this YouTube video to hear the difference between a Sabian and Zildjian crash cymbal.

Artist Endorsement

Here’s a list of famous drummers endorsed by each brand.

Drummers Endorsed by Sabian:

  • Neil Peart (Rush)
  • Phil Collins (Genesis)
  • Ray Luzier (Korn)
  • Christoph Schneider (Rammstein)
  • Dave Abbruzzese (Pearl Jam)
  • Alan White (Oasis)
  • The Rev (Avenged Sevenfold)
  • Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains)
  • Brandon Barnes (Rise Against)

Drummers Endorsed by Zildjian:

  • Ginger Baker (Cream)
  • Chuck Behler (Megadeth)
  • Ringo Star (The Beatles)
  • Travis Barker (Blink-182)
  • Michael Cartellone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  • Tre Cool (Greenday)
  • Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters)
  • Keith Moon (The Who)
  • Lars Ulrich (Metallica)

Cymbal Ranges and Lines


  • SBr
  • BX8
  • XSR
  • AA/ AAX
  • HH/ HHD/ HHX
  • FRX
  • Artisan
  • Paragon
  • Crescent

The SBr and BX8 lines offer the least expensive, entry-level cymbals, whilst Sabian XSR cymbals are considered mid-range.

Sabian’s AA, HH, FRX cymbals are all professional-level cymbals whilst the Sabian Artisan and Crescent are the most premium. Sabian Paragon cymbals were designed with the help of Neil Peart and are similarly priced to the AA cymbals.


Zildjian cymbals can be categorised into 6 main series:

  • Planet Z
  • I Series
  • S Series
  • A Family
  • K Family
  • FX
  • Low volume

Planet Z cymbals are the cheapest, followed by I series and then S series cymbals.

The A Family can be split into three groups (A Zildjian, A Custom, A Avedis), these are more expensive than Planet Z/ I and S cymbals but cheaper than the K Family. The K Family is split into four main groups (K Zildjian, K Custom, Kerope and K Constantinople).

FX and low volume cymbals are more specialist and vary in price.

Comparable Ranges

  • Entry-level cymbals: Sabian SBr and Zildjian Planet Z
  • Budget cymbals: Sabian BX8 and Zildjian I Series
  • Mid-range cymbals: Sabian XSR and S Family
  • Professional cymbals: Sabian AA/ HH/ FRX and Zildjian A Family
  • Most premium cymbals: Sabian Artisan/ Crescent and Zildjian K Family

Price Comparison

Sabian cymbals are slightly cheaper on average compared to Zildjian cymbals. Zildjian cymbals start at approximately $75 and range up to $700, whereas Sabian cymbals start at around $35 and range up to $460.

If you’re on a tighter budget, I’d recommend going with Sabian as they have more good quality cymbals available in the lower price brackets.

CymbalAverage Price
Sabian SBR$50
Zildjian Planet Z$100
Sabian BX8$100
Zildjian I Series$120
Zildjian S Series$190
Sabian XSR$190
Zildjian A Series$220
Sabian AA$250
Zildjian A Custom$260
Zildjian K Series$320
Sabian HH$350
Sabian FRX$370
Sabian Artisan/ Paragon$450
Zildian K Custom$450
Zildjian K Constantinople$580
Sabian Crescent$600
Zildjian A Avedis$610
Zildjian Kerope$650
Zildjian and Sabian price comparison


One of the best things about Zildjian and Sabian cymbals is their durability. They are typically less prone to cracking compared to other brands such as Paiste and Meinl. If you choose cymbals with similar thicknesses, it’s unlikely that there will be any difference between the two brands in terms of durability.

History of Sabian and Zildjian

Here’s a brief history of Sabian and Zildjian.


The first Zildjian cymbals date all the way back to 1618 which were produced by Avedis Zildjian. His father granted him permission to leave the Ottoman palace and start his own cymbal foundry. The secret to producing these cymbals was passed down to the 15th generation of family members today.

The family business was relocated from Turkey to the USA in 1927 by Avedis III. Zildjian relocated to Norwell, Massachusetts in 1973 where it continues to operate today.


Sabian was founded in 1981 by Robert Zildjian who broke away from the Zildjian brand after a conflict with his brother after he was not chosen to be the main CEO.

They produced 45,000 cymbals in their first year and artists such as Phil Collins and Chester Thomson became sponsored by the brand soon after they were founded. By the late 90’s they were putting out nearly 900,000 cymbals per year and had partnered with many globally recognised drummers.

Sadly the Sabian founder passed away in 2013 at the age of 89 and the company’s president became his son Andy Zildjian.


I’m here to share with you my passion for drumming, as well as some tips and tricks for choosing and making the most out of your drum kit and accessories. Whilst I play primarily on electronic drum kits, I love all things drumming and hope to share this with as many people as possible!

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