The cymbal bag is perhaps the most important case a drummer can own as protecting one’s cymbals is usually the highest priority. It doesn’t take a lot to scratch a cymbal, so it is important to protect then during travel. Since most drummers spend a lot of money and time to find cymbals, protecting them adequately is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, there are many different cymbals bags to choose from on the market.
The two main options of cymbal bags are soft and hard shell. The hard shell is usually referred to as a “case.” Hard shell cases are made of a hard plastic material and offer more protection. Soft cymbal bags are usually made out of leather or a synthetic material that is lighter and generally easier to carry. I own both hard cases, and soft bags. Soft cymbal bags are usually fine if you will be the only one handling your cymbals. Soft bags are usually easier to open, often only having a zipper. Hard cases usually require a strap or screw being undone, and the case being separated into two separate parts. This can be a hassle and can lead to a lot of time spent fussing with your cymbals. I find hard cases are better for touring and airline travel.
Most cymbal bags/cases can accommodate cymbals as large as 22 inches, and that’s the size bag that I recommend. If you are one of the few people that have a 24 inch cymbal, then obviously you should purchase a bag that specifies it can hold a cymbal that large since some bags can only accommodate cymbals as large as 18 or 20 inches, which in my opinion are too small for normal use. If you don’t have a 24 inch cymbal, you shouldn’t buy a matching 24 inch soft cymbal bag. The extra room in a soft bag allows the cymbals to move around, and that leaves the door open for a lot of scratches and dings.
A cymbal bag should also be as light as possible since they usually become extremely heavy when they’re loaded down with cymbals, so the bag itself should be as light as possible. When I first started playing gigs, I would always bring a cymbal bag with a shoulder strap which led to a lot of unnecessary pain in my shoulder when I’d be playing a gig. This is the reason that most of my picks have wheels. While some bags also have backpack style straps, I find these usually break from the continual heavy weight of the cymbals. Another helpful convenience is a front pouch for high-hats or sticks.
These best cymbal bags were chosen for their durable construction which provides a superior level of protection for your cymbals, generously sized interiors sizes to accommodate most cymbals, and they’ve all been designed with features which makes them convenient to transport from one gig to another.
Sabian is one of the most trusted cymbal makers around and they’ve designed a cymbal bag with the drummer’s needs in mind. It is very durable for a soft bag-type case while the included fast hat pocket is one of the most functional innovations for high hat storage available. Read Full Review
Sabian’s Pro 22 cymbal bag is one of the most innovative cymbal bags available. Although it’s a soft bag, the overall construction is still very solid along with wheels and a pull handle for rolling convenience. My favorite feature is the bags exclusive fast hat pocket which allows the hi-hats to be stored securely without removing the clutch. This saves a lot of time when setting up or tearing down and also prevents you from misplacing your clutch in a rushed teardown situation. The bag is also designed to protect the edges of cymbals from denting with Sabian’s Edge protect design.
The case can fit up to 22 inch cymbals in its larger pouch and has a separate pouch for hi-hats with the built in clutch support. I really like the accessibility of this case because with one pull of a zipper, I can access my ride and crash cymbals. With another zipper pull, I can access my hi-hat complete with clutch! This quick access certainly makes for easy setups. While this bag is similarly priced to its competitors, the Fast hat pocket clearly makes it the better value.
I have had my GP-PE302 cymbal case for a long time, and it’s still in great shape. It keeps my cymbals protected in any situation. At a price cheaper than its competitors, it is easily one of the best hard cymbal cases available on the market today. Read Full Review
Gator is a company that specializes in making cases for all musical equipment and their Protechtor" cases are manufactured to be especially sturdy and durable. The GP-PE302 is Gator’s rolling hard shell cymbal case and it’s the best hard shell case available.
This case offers the highest amount of protection for your cymbals and will last a very long time. I have had my GP-PE302 for many years now and it has kept my cymbals safe through countless gigs. This is a quality, heavy duty hard shell case with molded handles, wheels, and a fold-out extended handle. The design of the case is actually quite simple but very effective. It has a metal center screw with internal and external wing nuts. The internal wing nut holds the cymbals in place, while the external one keeps the case closed.
The cases outer shell is thicker and more durable than other cases and comes covered by a lifetime warranty against cracking, but honestly I can’t imagine that ever happening. The wheels are recessed into the case which keeps them protected and working properly. The interior is large enough to fit up to 22 inch cymbals and even has enough spare room in the case to store a hi-hat clutch or drumsticks. To be on the safe side, I recommend wrapping any extra equipment in a towel so it doesn’t move around and scratch your precious cymbals.
Available in a variety of custom colors to distinguish it from other cases on the tour bus, this case is less expensive than its competitors while offering the same amount of protection. One final note, Gator offers this exact same case without wheels in a different model number. However, I prefer the one with wheels because it’s obviously easier to move around.
This is a lightweight, high quality hard shell case from SKB which makes it a must-have for any touring drummer. This case will keep your cymbals safe thanks to padded inner dividers and a durable outer shell. Read Full Review
The SKB Rolling Cymbal Vault is the best case choice for the touring drummer. It’s a hard shell case that is constructed to be very durable while at the same time remaining a little lighter than competing cases. The cases cymbal vault can hold up to 24 inch cymbals and features a center bolt and padded dividers to keep the cymbals in place. It also has wheels for easy transportation and a durable case handle which is seamlessly integrated into the design of the case. While the price tag is a little more than other hard cases because of its high level of quality, it’s well worth the cost of admission to keep your cymbals safe!
Zildjian is famous for crafting amazing cymbals and they have brought that fine craftsmanship to their line of cymbal bags. The 22 inch Session cymbal bag is the best non-wheeled soft bag around because of its high-quality material. It has the look and durability of a leather bag and is great for gigs requiring only a few cymbals. Read Full Review
Zildjian’s 22 inch Session cymbal bag is perfect for situations that require only a few cymbals. Sometimes you’ll have gigs that don’t require you bring your full cymbal setup and in these situations, it’s often easier to bring this lightweight bag than say, a heavy wheeled case. The Session bag is made of a durable, synthetic, leather-like material, large enough to accommodate a full cymbal setup. Thanks to a bottom which has been reinforced for added durability, it can more than handle the weight of many cymbals at once.
The bag has a shoulder strap, carrying handle and most importantly a large main pocket that will fit up to 22 inch cymbals and a separate pocket for up to 15 inch Hi-hats. The bag is designed to be very appealing to the eye with gold Zildjian logos embroidered on the sides giving it a professional look. This bag is competitively priced in comparison with other soft bags.
Safe Case offers custom flight cases with a lifetime warranty. They are the best flight cases available because of their durability and are priced similarly to competitors. The extendable handle and rolling wheels set this cymbal case apart from its competitors. Read Full Review
Safe Case flight case offers the most amount of protection for cymbals. It’s a rock solid ATA flight case with a lifetime warranty making it a must for any touring musician. The case is as heavyweight as the the road cases used for amps and other sound equipment; as with most flight cases, the heavy duty construction requires a high price tag but offers unparalleled protection.
The case also features a heavy duty handle with twist clamps to keep the lid secure while a center screw keeps the enclosed cymbals secure, preventing them from moving around. These cases are custom made to fit any cymbal setup but what really sets apart the Safe Case brand flight case is the retractable handle and wheels. Flight cases are extremely heavy so having the ability to wheel it around is crucial. The case also has rubber feet on the bottom to prevent it from sliding when stacked on other cases.
Like most drummers, I have several irreplaceable cymbals so it would be a disaster if anything happened to them, so I don't mind spending a little extra to make sure they are protected. Bar none, the Safe Case flight case is one of the best ways to keep my cymbals absolutely safe from harm.