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Hi-hat clutches are incredibly important pieces of drum gear. You should have a solid one for your own drum set, and then you should always have one with you when playing on a house kit at a gig.
I highly recommend that every drummer has multiple clutches to use, as there are often times when they are needed. Here’s a list of some of the best hi-hat clutches out there.
DW SM505 Drop-Lock Hi-Hat Clutch – Best Overall
The DW SM505 Drop-Lock Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of the offerings in DW’s extremely popular 5000 Series line of hardware. This is one of the most loved hi-hat clutches on the market, especially for drummers who use double bass drum pedals.
It’s one of the smoothest drop clutches available, and it makes it incredibly easy to switch your hi-hats from open to mostly closed. You won’t get a tight closed sound, but you’ll get a decent sloshy sound, which is perfect for double pedal grooves.
One of the best features of this clutch is that it doesn’t add a lot of weight to your hi-hat stand. A lot of drop clutches are quite heavy, but DW has managed to keep the weight low for this one, so it still feels very nimble.
Overall, the design is straightforward, but you get a highly reliable clutch that you’ll be able to use for years. While it’s intended for double pedal players, it still works very well as a clutch for single pedal players.
Tama STDC7 Sizzle Touch Drop Clutch – Premium Option
The Tama STDC7 Sizzle Touch Drop Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) seems to be the most expertly designed drop clutch on the market. It’s another drop clutch to consider, but it seems to have the most premium feel out of any other drop clutch available.
The other benefit of this clutch is that it has a quick release mechanism as well. You don’t need to spend minutes screwing it to your top hi-hat cymbal. You simply stick it through the hole and press the red button to lock it in place.
The drop clutch mechanism of this one is a bit complicated to get a grip on, but it’s extremely useful once you get used to it. You just need to tap the lever to drop the clutch, and then you need to press your foot down to get the hi-hats back to the same position that they were in previously. It works like a dream.
The downside of this clutch is that it’s one of the most expensive options available.
PDP PDAX379A Hi-Hat Clutch – Best Budget Option
The PDP PDAX379A Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of the most solid affordable clutch options that I know of. It has the same price as a pair of drumsticks, but it’s a piece of gear that will last you much longer.
If you just need a cheap clutch to use as a backup or replacement, and you’re not looking for anything fancy, I highly recommend getting this one.
It’s designed to fit with all the PDP hardware, but it will fit most rods from other brands as well.
The included wingnut is fairly large, making adjustments easy to do. It’s also very comfortable on your hands, so you’ll be able to keep it tight without worrying about hurting yourself when you want to loosen it.
Reliability is the standout feature of this clutch. It doesn’t offer you anything unique, but it will serve you well for decades if you manage not to lose it.
This is the kind of clutch that you should keep in your stick bag for those gigs where the provided hi-hat stand is faulty.
DW DWSM379 Standard Hi-Hat Clutch
The DW DWSM379 Standard Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a relative clutch to the previous PDP one, but this clutch is far superior in every way. It costs about triple the price, but it’s a good standard clutch to get if you’re looking for the best one available.
It’s a heavy-duty clutch that’s intended to go with heavy-duty hi-hat stands. It comes from DW’s 9000 Series line of hardware, which is one of the best hardware lines in the drum industry.
Although this is just a standard clutch, it has a unique feature of allowing you to lock in the amount of “sloshiness” your hi-hats have when your foot is pressed down to close them. You need to use a drum key to do it.
Since the clutch is so heavy, it may not be the best option for a light hi-hat stand. The stand will feel very top-heavy if you use it. So, I only suggest looking into this DW clutch if you have a hi-hat stand on the heavier side.
Gibraltar SC-QRHHC Quick Release Hi-Hat Clutch
The Gibraltar SC-QRHHC Quick Release Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is one of the most popular quick-release clutches on the market due to its low price tag. It’s naturally more expensive than a lot of standard clutches, but it’s one of the most inexpensive quick-release clutches available.
The quick-release mechanism allows you to attach this clutch to a hi-hat cymbal in seconds. The mechanism is highly reliable, and drummers who use it have stated that they haven’t had any issues with it for years of heavy use.
The clutch also has a strong clamping mechanism that is designed to prevent scarring on your hi-hat rod. That’s an excellent feature, as a lot of hi-hat clutches tend to leave marks on your hi-hat rod when you tighten them too much.
This is the type of clutch that you’ll use once, and then it will make you never want to go back to using a standard clutch.
Remo Quick Lock Hi-Hat Clutch
The Remo Quick Lock Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is another quick-release hi-hat clutch that is fairly popular amongst drummers. The unique aspect of this one is that it doesn’t choke the hi-hats as much as many other clutches do.
This leads to a more open and washier sound, which is fantastic for drummers who love playing heavy hi-hat grooves with boosted resonance.
Some drummers may not like the extended wash, though. If you’re someone who prefers tight hi-hat sounds, this isn’t the clutch for you.
The quick-release mechanism works the same way that all other quick-release mechanisms do. You get a seriously quick set up process for your hi-hats.
This is one of Remo’s only hi-hat clutch options, but it’s a great one to go with. It’s slightly more expensive than the Gibraltar quick-release clutch, but the selling point is the extended hi-hat wash, which that clutch doesn’t offer.
DW Incremental Hi-Hat Clutch with Cymbal Attachment
The DW Incremental Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is a unique clutch option that is purely intended for auxiliary hi-hats. This clutch is a fantastic option for drummers that don’t want to buy an expensive auxiliary hi-hat stand with a cable.
You can put it on a standard hi-hat stand, and it allows you to open and close your auxiliary hi-hats by twisting a lever.
This is the ideal clutch for people to get who want full control over two pairs of hi-hats in their setup. It may seem expensive compared to standard clutches, but it’s affordable compared to dedicated auxiliary hi-hat stands.
It’s supporting enough to hold very heavy hi-hats, so you don’t need to worry about any wobbling or instability.
Naturally, the downside to this clutch is that you can’t control the hi-hats with the pedal of your extra hi-hat stand, but that’s not why you should be getting this option.
Tama Quick-Set Hi-Hat Clutch
The Tama Quick-Set Hi-Hat Clutch (compare price on Sweetwater and Amazon) is the final quick-release clutch option for this list. If you loved the Tama drop clutch but felt that you didn’t need the dropping mechanism, you’ll love this option.
It has a very similar design. It just doesn’t have the dropping lever. So, you can just attach your top-hi-hat cymbal with the click of a button. It will only take seconds to set your hi-hats up.
It works incredibly well, and your hi-hats never come loose, as they tend to do with a lot of other hi-hat clutches. This makes this clutch one of the most reliable options to consider getting.
The red and black design also looks fantastic. People don’t buy hi-hat clutches for their visuals, but it does help a bit when they look incredible.
Just note that this clutch is meant for rods that are 7mm or smaller. Some hi-hat rods are 8mm, and this clutch won’t work for those.
Tama MXA43 Closed Hi-Hat Attachment
The clutch that comes with this mounting clamp is a standard clutch with no special features. So, you can choose to position your hi-hats as closed or open. I’d suggest getting this option if you just want closed auxiliary hi-hats.
It has a very simple design, but it works brilliantly and reliably. The clamp allows you to place it on any cymbal stand, and the clutch section is strong enough to hold very heavy hi-hats.
However, most drummers tend to use this attachment for hi-hats that are 10” or smaller. You can fit it in even tighter spots if you use smaller cymbals.
The clamp is also very lightweight, meaning you don’t need to attach it to a heavy stand for stability as you do with many other similar pieces of gear.
What To Look For In a Hi Hat Clutch
Standard hi-hat clutches are the usual clutches that come with hi-hat stands. These are always the most inexpensive option, and they don’t offer anything special other than keeping the top hi-hat cymbal attached to the rod.
This is often all that drummers need, though. If you’re not looking for anything special from your hi-hat clutch, and you just need something affordable and reliable, then you should go with a standard hi-hat clutch design.
If you already have a hi-hat stand, it most likely has a standard hi-hat clutch on it. It’s a good idea to buy a higher-quality one that will last longer and feel better, and then you can use your old one as a backup for whenever you may need it.
Drop clutches were designed for drummers who use double bass drum pedals. When you play a double bass drum pedal, your foot moves off from the hi-hat pedal, and that leaves your hi-hats open and sizzling when you play them.
If you don’t have a drop clutch, you won’t be able to play a double pedal while your hi-hats stay closed unless you manually close them.
The design of a drop clutch allows you to press a lever that will lock your hi-hats in place. This lets you keep the hi-hats closed, and then you can open them again when you put your foot back on the hi-hat pedal.
Most drummers use their stick to hit the lever, as that’s the quickest way of changing from open to closed hi-hats in the middle of playing.
Quick-release hi-hat clutches are designed to make the whole setup process a lot quicker with your hi-hats. They don’t have any benefit for when you’re playing. They’re just a more convenient piece of hardware to use compared to a standard hi-hat clutch.
These are loved by drummers who constantly set up and pack down their kits. Any piece of gear that makes setting up your kit quicker is highly valuable.
Quick-release clutches have pin or spring mechanisms that stop you from needing to constantly turn a washer to tighten or loosen your top hi-hat cymbal.
Unfortunately, quick-release clutches can be quite pricey. However, they’re worth the investment!
The insert thickness refers to how wide the hole is that your hi-hat rod sticks through. Most drummers assume that all hi-hat rods are the same size. However, I’ve been caught out a few times when taking my own clutch to gigs.
Some rods are thicker than others, and those ones need hi-hat clutches with larger insert thickness than most.
A lot of Pearl hi-hat rods are slightly thicker, so you may need to keep this in mind if you have a set of Pearl hardware.
There’s nothing worse than buying a fancy clutch only to realize that it doesn’t fit with your hi-hat stand. So, make sure to check this before buying a clutch.
Build quality is always something to look deeply into when buying drum gear. It’s especially important with hardware, as the hardware you get will determine how good your drum kit feels to play.
The best reason for getting a new hi-hat clutch is to get something that has better build quality than the clutch that came with the hi-hat stand that you already have. If you get a clutch with the same build quality, you feel that your purchase wasn’t worth it.
The best way to measure quality is by seeing the difference between your new clutch and your old one. High-end hi-hat clutches have bulky designs, whereas stock hi-hat clutches are very simplistic.
Standard hi-hat clutches will always be your most affordable options, while quick-release and drop clutches are far more expensive.
Luckily, all hi-hat clutches cost under $100, so getting a new one for your kit will never set you back by a significant amount.
The most inexpensive hi-hat clutches cost as much as some coffees, while the pricier ones are closer to top-tier bass drumheads.
You just need to decide how much you’re willing to spend and then find a good clutch that fits within that budget.
You should also decide on a brand, as some brands have much pricier options than others. Narrowing down brands to choose from will make your search a bit easier.
Best Hi Hat Clutch Brand
Every drum brand offers various hi-hat clutches with their hi-hat stands, but the brands I’m about to mention are the ones that are known for selling individual clutches to add to your kit. Check them out.
DW is the brand that arguably has the most hi-hat clutch options. The brand pride’s themselves on their high-quality hardware, and all their hi-hat clutches are top-tier options.
Some of them have standard designs, while a few of them have highly unique designs that make them very appealing to drummers looking for something different.
Gibraltar is a drum brand that purely makes hardware for drums and percussion. The brand doesn’t sell any drums or cymbals, but they sell fundamental pieces of gear to allow you to play drums and cymbals.
This means that they have an extensive range of hi-hat clutches to choose from. They’re all solid options, and some of them are very affordable.
Tama is an unassuming brand when it comes to hardware. They’re most well-known for their top-tier drum sets, but you’d be surprised at how good their hardware options are.
There aren’t as many hi-hat clutch options to choose from Tama, but the ones that they do sell are amazing, and they’re some of the best clutches you can get.
PDP have the least number of clutch options, but all of them are solid. These are clutches that typically come with PDP drum sets and hardware packs, but you can buy them on their own for laughably affordable prices, which is great!
If you just need a simple clutch when you don’t have one, PDP clutches are great options.
Top Hi Hat Clutches, Final Thoughts
It helps to have a variety of hi-hat clutch types. If you already have a standard clutch, you’ll benefit from getting a quick-release or drop clutch. Drop clutches are for drummers who use double pedals, so quick-release clutches are often the better pick.
Look through all the options I suggested above and pick the one that stood out to you the most. You’ll thank yourself for having a second clutch.