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Splash cymbals could be categorised as effects cymbals but are so commonly used they have a distinction of their own. Many drummers will make use of at least one splash, usually more. Like crash cymbals, splashes are designed for single-beat emphasis of certain nuances, but their characteristically thinner weight and smaller dimensions give them a faster, higher-pitched attack like a splash of water. 

Splash cymbals are usually the quietest cymbals in a setup, so they work really well as an expressive emphasis within bars as opposed to beginning or ending them, blending nicely with the ride or hi-hats.