No matter what genre of music you play, a great hi-hat setup is crucial, and it all starts with choosing the right stand. You need something that's stable so it won't move around as you play, and it also has to be tightly setup for precise pedal work. After three days spent reviewing over 20 different stands, we think the DW 3500T is the best hi-hat stand all-around. It's not only sturdy and highly responsive, but it also offers rotating legs, memory hinge locks for remembering height settings, and a lateral cymbal seat for adjusting the angle of the bottom cymbal. Article Summary
Drum sets come in hundreds of different configurations, and every drummer has their own setup that suits their particular needs or style. Some sets are more suited towards rock or metal, whereas others are more ideal for lighter beats like jazz or blues. However, with that in mind, there are some elements of a drum set that never change, and one of those elements is a hi-hat. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing smooth jazz or the heaviest metal, having a good hi-hat will always be an important part of your kit.
Although most people usually focus their attention to the cymbals themselves, with hi-hats, there is another component that’s of nearly equal importance: the stand. Unlike your other cymbals, hi-hats require more than just a basic piece of metal pipe to hold them up. There are several moving parts used to create the open-and-close movement of the hi-hat, and unless these parts are perfectly machined and fitted, you’re going to have a little trouble getting the exact motion, timing, and sound you want. Most notably, the foot pedal and pull rod have to be precise and smooth without any unwanted wiggle or play, otherwise your hi-hat notes will be off as you try to compensate.
Having a good stand is imperative if you want to be able to properly express yourself on a hi-hat. Subtle motions require precision components, and that is something that you have to look for specifically. We’ve done three days worth of reviewing over 20 popular stands on the market in order to find the best hi-hat stand. After comparing parts quality, movement precision, and other features like adjustability and stability, we’ve found three stands that we think are perfect for any drum set. Whether you are someone who just casually uses hi-hats, or you’re a drummer who bases a lot of their music around them, these stands will give your cymbals a whole new level of efficiency.
The best hi-hat stand overall
If there is one brand that keeps pushing the limits of drum hardware, it is DW. Those who appreciate a good kick pedal, especially more advanced double kick pedals, have probably heard of or dealt with DW before. In their standard style, DW has delivered one of the best hi-hat stands you can get at the moment. The DW 3500T Hi-Hat Stand was designed with precision, reliability, and performance in mind. On a quick glance, it might look like any other stand, but closer inspection reveals a whole lot of interesting details.
Starting from the build quality, we are looking at pretty sturdy construction. DW doesn’t usually cut corners anywhere, especially when it comes to the materials they use for their products. The 3500T is made of durable steel, which is reinforced by tight tolerances and precision machining. There is absolutely no play in any of the moving parts, and everything is as tight as it can be. That fact alone means a lot to a professional drummer seeing how consistency makes life a lot easier when you are doing precision work on your drums.
The design DW chose for this stand also screams light weight. Most standard hi-hat stands feature a three-legged layout; DW instead chose to substitute that third leg by transferring a part of the weight to the pedal. An interesting concept, but how does it play out? One of the main requirements that a cymbal stand needs to meet is stability. That is a given. Yet, you would be surprised just how many stands are not all that reliable in this regard. Even with its two-legged base, DW’s stand offers solid stability with zero chances of it falling over even if you go hard on the hi-hat. The pedal itself is also pure bliss. If there is one thing DW knows how to make, it is pedals. Smooth, linear travel that has no slack at all is what defines quality. This stand brings exactly that.
However, build quality alone is not the best part about the 3500T. DW’s ingenuity and hunger for finding new solutions have made this particular stand pretty interesting. For one, it comes with a set of hinged memory locks. When you travel with your drums, it is common sense that you have to fold all of your hardware so it fits the bags. Once you reach your destination, finding the exact settings you like might be tricky with standard extension mechanism. DW solved that issue with these locking hinges. Now you don’t have to worry if you will find the same setting every time you have to disassemble and assemble your hardware. This makes life a whole lot easier while it also allows for 100% consistency every time.
Another feature worth mentioning is the lateral cymbal seat. This is something DW has introduced, thus gaining the edge over other brands. The whole purpose of the lateral cymbal seat is to make it easier to adjust the angle of the bottom cymbal. You no longer have to worry if your adjustments have made an impact on any other part of the stand. Even though you probably won’t be adjusting your lower cymbal too often, it is a great detail that many will appreciate.
Even though it is expected, it is always great to see that a brand covers their basics the way DW does. No matter whether you’re a hobby drummer or a traveling professional, if you’re looking for a reliable piece of hardware, DW’s 3500T is without a doubt the best hi-hat stand out there.
A more classic stand
Our second pick comes from Yamaha. If you are familiar with their products, you probably know that Yamaha always offers a line of no-nonsense instruments and accessories. These are not necessarily designed to look impressive, nor are they filled with cool new features. They are specifically designed to work, and to work well. Reliability and consistency are always going to come before anything else on a musician’s priority list, and that is something Yamaha is well aware of, which brings us to their classic styled HS-740A Hi-Hat Stand.
In terms of hi-hat stands, this model a mirror of Yamaha’s tried and tested policy. In most aspects, this means its design is a little old school. However, old school is not always bad. On the contrary – why change something if it has worked perfectly up to now? If you’re comparing the two, you will probably notice that Yamaha and DW’s stands are similarly priced. That doesn’t mean that DW’s stand is bad just because it offers a number of great new features for more or less the same money. It just means that different brands have different priorities.
The build quality of Yamaha HS-740A is rock solid, there is no question about it. Yamaha’s manufacturing process is borderline boutique even though they mass produce just about everything. Quality control is on a level that is hardly matched in the industry, which is why so many professionals turn to Yamaha when they want consistency. With tight tolerances and quality materials, the Yamaha is a true workhorse. The design features a standard three-legged layout, which makes the stand somewhat heavier than the DW, but it also brings that uncompromising stability we all require.
The pedal that comes with this is also pretty standard. Chain-driven, it is consistent and offers a smooth, linear travel. There is no slack in the system, which makes it easy to achieve the same result per input every time. In terms of height adjustment, there is some versatility available although this is a pretty short standby design. There are 11 tension settings, meaning that you can fine-tune this thing just how you like it. Once set up, if you find that the angle of your pedal isn’t perfect, you can rotate the main shaft without having to reposition the legs. Although it is not a game-changing feature, this simple detail means a lot in everyday use.
All-in-all, this is a truly professional-grade stand. No matter how often you use it, disassemble and assemble it, a lot of bad things would need to happen before the Yamaha HS-740A starts giving you trouble. It might not work with every drum set out there due to its somewhat limited height, but this is one of the best hi-hat stands you can get for the long-term.
A great bang for your buck
In the drumming community, Pearl is known as a brand that offers a complete package. In other words, no matter which part of their drums you look at, it will be made with utmost attention to detail and quality. After all, their pedals are something many drummers buy regardless of their drum set’s brand. Quality is quality, plain and simple. The Pearl H930 Hi-Hat Stand is not all that new, but it is not old either, and the qualities it possesses are numerous.
You will notice right away that this thing is not a part of the newer style. It still has those same old three legs, which makes it a bit robust but ultimately reliable. With that said, there are many details about this stand that are worth paying attention to. First and foremost, even though it is a bit on the bulky side, Pearl has taken care to reduce the weight as much as possible. That is why we see skeletonized legs and a rather slim clutch.
When they were designing the H930, Pearl borrowed a lot of solutions from their H2000 – a flagship model at one time. One of those borrowed solutions is the elongated foot pedal that goes under the name of Demonator. Sinister, but ultimately effective. The main benefit of having this type of footboard comes down to feedback and overall feeling during use. It allows you to balance the pressure point right where you like it and get positive feedback in return.
On top of that, the H930 comes with the tension adjustment dial which offers a fairly decent amount of leeway compared to our two top picks. Honestly, the only reason why we have placed this awesome Pearl in the third place is due to its specific nature which may not be something everyone likes.
Build quality is standard Pearl stuff. By that, we mean rigid, solid, and most importantly, precise. Even though this is far from the best Pearl has to offer, the machining is impeccable on the H930 series. If you are wondering why we haven’t listed those better models, it is because the H930 brings the ultimate bang for the buck value, which is what most drummers are looking for at the end of the day. Elite professionals who demand the greatest of the great already know where to go and what to get. That’s not to say we all aren’t killer drummers, but the average guy or gal follows a different reasoning.
We’ve already mentioned the H930’s great price, but there is one last detail that really makes the whole value package complete. Pearl offers a lifetime warranty. That is definitely not something you see every day. Putting a dent on this thing is hard enough, but in case something does happen, Pearl has you covered. If you want a stand that’ll last for life, the Pearl H930 might be the best hi-hat stand for you just based on that impressive warranty alone.
Things to consider before buying
Even though hi-hat stands seem pretty simple in terms of design and purpose, there are a few additional things to consider that can make a difference in how well a certain stand works for you. An ideal hi-hat stand is one that works with your drum set and your playing style; everything else comes secondary.
What genre of music do you play?
If you’re wondering what the genre of music you’re playing has to do with your choice of a hi-hat stand, the answer is pretty simple. If you are playing metal and use a lot of double bass pedal, you will want a stand that is easy to setup with this configuration. The most recommended design for this situation would be something like the DW model we have shown you above. Something with two legs, or at least rotating legs, will make your life a lot easier. If you are not bound by the double bass pedal, a standard three-legged design will work just fine.
What size and weight are your cymbals?
The size and weight of your hi-hat cymbals will be another factor to consider when choosing a stand. If you are into heavier hi-hats, you will have to get a model that is capable of sustaining that weight and still function properly. Unfortunately, this means a slightly higher price tag in most cases. The good news is that an average, decent hi-hat stand is more than capable of sustaining a wide variety of cymbals sizes. However, if for whatever reason you want to have the heavier ones, make sure the stands you’re looking at will support your specific cymbals.
How’s your playing style?
Along with the type of music you’re playing, one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to choosing a hi-hat stand is one’s playing style. Coincidentally, this is also one of the most important factors you need to define. The problem is rather simple. If you drive your hi-hats hard, you will have to get a model that is capable of accommodating for that range of motion. If you ignore this issue and slam on a stand that’s not built for your style, the only result will be broken cymbals, a broken stand, and you shelling out more cash to replace your equipment.
Is mobility important to you?
The mobility aspect really only appeals to performing musicians who travel a lot. If you only play at home, then this isn’t a worry for you. But if you do find yourself traveling with your equipment, finding a stand that is light and folds up into a compact package might be worth the extra investment. Carrying around all your drum hardware is no simple task, even if you transport more of your gear by car. A lightweight hi-hat setup will almost always be easier to move and disassemble. With that said, mobility should be among the last things on the list of requirements in choosing the best hi-hat stand.
What’s your budget?
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to consider your budget. If you are putting together a new drum set, budgeting every single component tends to be tedious but ultimately necessary work. Your hi-hat setup (both the cymbals and stand) is definitely one thing you want to set a decent portion of the budget for. If there are three things you should never cheap out on, it’s your drum throne, your kick pedal, and your hi-hat setup. These are the words to live by as a drummer. With that said, there is a certain point where throwing more money on a hi-hat stand won’t give you a significant boost in performance. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is better in any particular aspect. Instead, you should find a balance between price and quality that works for your needs. Again, this is something many drummers tend to ignore altogether.
Other equipment you may need
If you’re looking for a new stand, you may also be looking for new cymbals to compliment your fresh setup. As you’re probably aware, cymbals come in a number of different sizes, materials, and finishes. Each has their own unique sound, weight, and feel as you play them. In addition to our research of stands, we’ve also researched and created a guide on hi-hat cymbals. Check it out if you’re planning on investing in a new pair of cymbals instead of using your old pair.
Wrapping it up
Hi-hats are still considered to be the cornerstone of a good drum set, so investing in the best hi-hat stand is something you’ll appreciate for as long as you have it. Although the three models in our guide are what we consider to be the top choices for stands, we know that every drummer has their own set of standards and requirements, and therefore our picks may not align with your personal choices. We chose these stands based on their ability to meet the broadest spectrum of both quality and performance levels that most people are interested in. The DW was the perfect example of this, and it was our top choice not only for its superior quality and performance, but also for its versatility due to its unique two-legged setup. In our opinion, there isn’t much more out there that offers a better setup for the price.