While a typical drum can be described as a cylindrical object, the Cajon drum is characterized by its peculiar box shape. With its origins in Peru, the Cajon drum was initially incorporated in Afro-Peruvian music and flamenco. Nowadays, it’s an incredibly versatile percussion instrument to play, from acoustic band jam sessions to open mic nights or coffeehouse gigs.
The Cajon drum can be a great alternative (or even a replacement) to the traditional drum kit. If you’re on the market for the best Cajon drums, look no further: we’ve rounded up some of the best picks out there just for you.
What to Look for in a Cajon Drum
Here are a couple of things to consider before you buy one of these instruments:
- Tone: When choosing a Cajon drum, be sure to consider the drum’s tone. Many enjoy crisp high-tones and deep, punchy low-tones, but this can vary from person to person.
- Design: The Cajon’s build is something that can factor into its sound and its comfort to play, be it the drum’s material or its assembly. Look at the type of wood used in its construction and its overall structure. Birch, for example, is a favorable wood to use because of its acoustic qualities.
- Size: If you’re expecting to travel with a Cajon, its size is an important consideration to make. While they’re definitely more compact and travel-friendly than a drum kit, it may still be a hassle to take around if you don’t have the right travel accommodations for its size.
Top Pick: Meinl Cajon Box Drum BC1NTWR
This Cajon drum from Meinl Percussion is suitable for all types of percussionists and genres of music. The drum offers a dual set of internal snares which provides a snare effect without altering the drum’s tone. It’s also designed with a circular cutout in its rear, enhancing low-end bass and allowing for microphone placement when sound amplification is necessary. The Cajon is built with a high-quality 100% Baltic birch wood, which is a wood that provides great acoustics in its low- and high-tone definition. It’s 12 inches wide by 12 inches long by 17.25 inches tall. The drum also includes a heavy-duty carrying bag.
Meinl Percussion Cafe Cajon Box Drum Plus Bag with Snare and Bass Tone for Acoustic Music — Made in Europe — Baltic Birch Wood, Play with Your Hands, 2-Year Warranty, Natural/Wine Red (BC1NTWR)
This exceptionally crafted Cajon drum offers high-quality lows and highs along with a responsive playing surface.
Best Bass: Meinl Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon SUBCAJ5WN
If you’re looking for a bass-ier Cajon, this one from Meinl Percussion is the best for you. This Cajon drum offers an internal bass reflex channel that emits sound out of its two front-facing ports to create an enhanced bass note. It also provides two sets of internal snares to provide the snare effect near the top edges of the surface. Additionally, the playing surface is highly responsive and sensitive to gentle finger rolls, while fully resonating firm hits. The drum is can also be used in conjunction with a microphone to further amplify its sound. The drum is 13.5 inches wide by 13.75 inches long by 19.75 inches tall.
Meinl Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon with Internal Snares - NOT MADE IN CHINA - Walnut Playing Surface, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (SUBCAJ5WN)
This Cajon drum is designed with an internal bass reflex and front-facing ports to offer the punchy bass you need.
Best Budget: Pyle String Cajon Wooden Percussion Box
This drum offers great sound while saving you a couple of bucks. As a string Cajon, it’s designed with four internal guitar strings that can be adjusted and tuned. The strings create a different tone when compared to the snare Cajon but still offer the same functionality and effect. The hand-crafted drum also features rubber feet for anti-vibration interference and is 12 inches by 12 inches by 18 inches.
Pyle String Cajon - Wooden Percussion Box, with Internal Guitar Strings, Full Size
This Cajon is designed with internal guitar strings for rhythmic percussion.
Most Compact: Joy 101 Pad Series Cajon
As if the Cajon couldn’t get any more travel-friendly when compared to a full-out drum kit, this Cajon from Joy takes compact to another level. The Cajon is 9.3 inches wide by 1.8 inches long by 11.4 inches tall and weighs 1.9 pounds. The drum comes with steel strings on its tapping side for a percussive effect, but can also be played on its backside for a natural wood sound.
Joy 101 Pad Series Cajon with veined Ebony Tapping & Birch Wood Body, Mini (JOY101)
This drum is a slimmed-down version of the traditional Cajon while providing similar percussive effects.