They can be played by hand in pairs, or mounted on a stand to be played by hitting with a drum stick. One or two suspended crash cymbals are a standard part of a drum kit. Suspended crash cymbals are also used in bands and orchestras, either played with a drumstick or rolled with a pair of mallets to produce a slower more swelling crash.
Crash cymbals range in thickness from paperthin to very heavy, however all crash cymbals have a fairly thin edge.
Crash cymbals are most typically 16" to 18" in diameter, but down to 13" and up to 20" are readily available, and down to 8" and up to 22" are produced. Custom crash cymbals up to 28" have been used by big bands.
A pair of identical crash cymbals held in either hand by leather thongs passing through holes in their bells are called clash cymbals, and are a standard part of an orchestral percussion section. Two tones are normally used by major orchestras, known as Viennese and German. Clash cymbals are also used in stage, concert, marching and military bands.