What Are The Best Cajon Drums In 2018?

Cajon drums are experiencing a surge of interest lately, and the range of Cajon drums you can get is quite large.

Sorting them out can be quite a challenge, as the Cajon drum has evolved over a long period and many new design elements have only recently gained tractions.

Today we’re going to take a look as some of the best Cajon drums on the market to see which you should be considering.

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Cajon Drums On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying the best Cajon drums

  • It’s quite common to build the cajon drum yourself, so if DIY makes you panic it’s worth checking with somebody who has more experience and the right tools if they would do it for you
  • Cajon drums are commonly thought of as being made from cheap plywood, but higher-end models will use luthier grade woods to get a more pleasing tone
  • Some Cajon drums will include snare rattles that may be adjustable and removable to give a wider range of sounds
  • Since Cajons are usually tilted when played, it’s best to check if the feet can be adjusted for a better angle
  • Cajon drums are usually sat on by the player, so if you’ve got a little extra weight it’s going to be worth checking that the Cajon drum you’re planning on buying is going to be able to support that
  • Although commonly played with the bare hands, it’s not uncommon for rings, kick pedals and other items to be used too to make a more dynamic instrument.

For a more in-depth look at choosing the right Cajon, check out this article that goes into a lot of detail explaining the differences between various Cajons.

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

5 Best Cajon Drums

1. Fat Congas String Cajon

Fat Congas String Cajon Drum

Unlike most Cajon, the Fat Congas String Cajon has a lot of versatility thanks to its unique construction. Combined with the high quality and focus on tone over appearance, it’s an excellent introduction to the world of Cajon drums.

  • Has adjustable snares
  • Instead of having one playing surface like most Cajon’s it has two with different tones, one has a Flamenco feel whereas the other resembles the traditional Peruvian origins of the Cajon
  • There’s a very comfortable gel padded seat on the top
  • The bass can sound somewhat hollow
  • The sustain drops off quite quickly due to the smaller size compared to most Cajons
  • The seat, whilst adding comfort, prevents you from moving around as quickly and can restrict your playing unless removed

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Meinl Pickup Cajon

Meinl Percussion CAJ8MB-M String Cajon with Pickup, Makah Burl Front Plate, Wood/Brown

Meinl have done a good job in creating an affordable Cajon drum without compromising on quality.

  • Has adjustable snare strings
  • The front surface is made from makah burl, giving it a unique appearance, stability and good acoustic properties
  • Has a mic and preamp
  • The protective case must be purchased separately
  • Exposure to moisture can degrade the rubberwood
  • The preamp produces a low quality sound, and for amplification it is better to use a mic behind the soundhole

Let's take a look at this product...

3. Meinl Percussion TOPCAJ2WN Turbo Walnut Slap-Top Cajon (Editor's Choice)

Meinl Slaptop Cajon Box Drum with Internal Snares and Forward Projecting Sound Ports - NOT MADE IN CHINA - Walnut Playing Surface, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (TOPCAJ2WN)

The Slap-Top Cajon by Meinl is a big departure from the usual design of a Cajon. Instead of being a plain box, the Slap-Top has an enlarged playing surface which is at the top rather than the front of the Cajon.

  • Ideal for multiple styles of playing (eg Flamenco, Peruvian)
  • Forward facing sound holes give it a powerful projection
  • More comfortable playing as you aren’t leaning over the playing surface as with a traditional Cajon
  • The finish wears off quickly
  • The playing surface can develop cracks just from regular use
  • The snares are not easily adjustable

Let's take a look at this product...

4. Pearl PCJ633BB Boom Box Cajon

Pearl PCJ633BB Boom Box Cajon

Pearl took a slightly different approach with this Cajon, using fibreglass rather than tonewoods for the construction,and it produces a very nice and distinct sound.

  • The red mahogany finish of the Boom Box Cajon gives it a great appearance, especially when compared to the majority of Cajons which are quite plain
  • The large sound hole strengthens the bass
  • Good value for money
  • Snare strings are fixed and can’t be adjusted
  • The top is very smooth and slippery, making it hard to get a stable position to play from
  • A towel should be added to muffle the snare strings as they are slightly looser than they should be

Let's take a look at this product...

5. Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT Headliner Series (Budget Choice)

Meinl Cajon Box Drum with Internal Metal Strings for Adjustable Snare Effect-NOT Made in China-Hardwood Full Size, 2-Year Warranty, (HCAJ1NT)

At this moment the Headliner Series is Meinl’s best Cajon drum for its price, and one of the best mid-range Cajon’s available.

  • Adjustable snare and top corners so that emphasis can be placed on the tone that you’re after
  • Very affordable, being up to three times cheaper than comparable Cajons from other makes
  • Comes with a two year warranty
  • Tuning the snare strings can be difficult
  • Buying the Cajon flatpacked is cheaper but requires some skill assembling it
  • The bass can be overbearing, but can be fixed by adding towels through the sound hole

Let's take a look at this product...

So what are the best Cajon drums?

The Slap-Top stands out immediately as the best Cajon drums for a player who wants a more comfortable playing position. In addition the tone is great and there is a dynamic range of frequencies that are increased by having full access to the surface with ease unlike the standard Cajon design.

However, the Fat Congas String Cajon has exceptionally quality, with its main downside being the higher cost than some others.

For an affordable option the Meinl Headliner Series Cajon is the best option, having a low impact on budget without sacrificing quality.

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

Leave a Comment