Best Cajon Drums

Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

Even if the term “Cajon” is unknown to you, we can guarantee that you’ve already seen at least one street musician playing the instrument with the same name.

Namely, this percussive instrument is a plain, straightforward box which the drummer plays while sitting and it’s sound is just magical.

Why Are Cajon Drums So Special?

Well, let’s just say this – you will have a hard time creating such a pleasurable, smooth ambient with any other instrument. Cajon drums are mainly used in jazz and flamenco and latin music, and it’s not a wonder that every Cajon player has a permanent smile while he (or she) plays.

Now there’s quite a few options in the market and things can get confusing, that’s why we made this complete buying guide  for the best cajon drum in each price point.

Table of Contents

A SHORT OVERVIEW:

This is the Best Cajon drum model in our buying guide, as well as the most expensive one. This particular model excels in virtually all fields of performance, ranging from aesthetics to sound output.

The only drawback, however, is that it costs quite a lot, but it is easily compensated for by the plethora of advantages it offers.

MANUFACTURER SPECS, DETAILS, AND FEATURES:

First of all, DG De Gregorio’s Siroco Cajon drum features a birch plywood back panel and edge reinforcements. The snare system features two adjustable steel core strings, along with six Vellocovertone strips. You’ll also get the soft travel case with the bundle.

PRICE POINT CATEGORY AND VALUE SECTION:

Namely, DG De Gregorio’s Siroco Cajon drum belongs to the “expensive” price point category. Surely enough it costs quite a lot but it holds a great value for the cash due to high-quality features and performance.

Build Quality
98%
Performance
99%
Price to Value Ratio
92%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Highly durable
  • Outstanding performance
  • Beautiful construction
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Expensive

A SHORT OVERVIEW:

Now, Meinl’s Percussion CAJ9SNT-M Pick Up Cajon is the second item in our list, and it’s definitely one of the best Cajon Drum models for the cash. Essentially, this Cajon Drum comes at a near-affordable price, but it also comes supplied with state-of-the-art technologies and top-shelf features.

 

MANUFACTURER SPECS, DETAILS, AND FEATURES:

The most notable feature of Meinl’s Percussion CAJ9SNT-M Pick Up Cajon is the active preamp system. Now, this feature allows for an increased range of performance, but it also boosts the overall sound output. The snare wires are fully adjustable, located in the back, but you’ll like the part about getting to them.

Namely, there’s a convenient knob that allows for easy opening of the wire compartment, saving you the time and effort. The sitting surface is padded for extra protection and comfort while the American White Ash material was used in the construction process of the frontplate.

 

PRICE POINT CATEGORY AND VALUE SECTION:

In essence, Meinl’s Percussion CAJ9SNT-M Pick Up Cajon is the first item in our list that belongs to the “medium” price point category. Namely, this is the best Cajon drum for the cash, as it represents a great combination of quality and exceptional features for a fair price.

 

Build Quality
94%
Performance
96%
Price to Value Ratio
88%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Well-balanced
  • Decently durable
  • Great build quality
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • No major flaws

Best Cajon Drum Under $300

A SHORT OVERVIEW:

El Artesano Cajon is a remarkable Cajon drum that is as beautiful as it’s durable. Furthermore, this remarkable percussive piece comes outfitted with a set of outstanding features.

All in all, this is a well-rounded Cajon that boasts high levels of durability and performance.

MANUFACTURER SPECS, DETAILS, AND FEATURES:

Basically, this beautiful Cajon comes outfitted with amplified bass strings that allow for snappy tones and improved, booming bass output.

The entire construction of A Tempo El Artesano Cajon is based on handpicked hardwood pieces. This Cajon also comes with a complementary gig bag.

PRICE POINT CATEGORY AND VALUE SECTION:

Sol Percussion’s A Tempo El Artesano Cajon belongs to the bottom bracket of the “medium” price point category. Even though it shares the spot with Meinl’s Pick Up Cajon, their individual values are close, but incomparable.

This Cajon is better in certain setups while Meinl’s Pick Up is more versatile. Anyhow, Sol Percussion’s A Tempo El Artesano Cajon boasts a huge value for the cash.

Build Quality
94%
Performance
97%
Price to Value Ratio
94%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Extremely durable and beautiful
  • Decently affordable
  • A complementary gig bag
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • None

Best Cajon Drum Under $200

A SHORT OVERVIEW:

Simply put, LP’s Americana Groove Cajon LP1427 is a plain Cajon Drum that comes at an affordable price. Namely, the features that come outfitted to this model are fairly straightforward without impeding upon the overall efficiency and performance.

Generally, this is one of the best Cajon Drum models in the budget price range.

MANUFACTURER SPECS, DETAILS, AND FEATURES:

The first good thing about LP’s Americana Groove Cajon LP1427 is that it was made from durable birch materials – birch body, and birch soundboard.

Namely, this material provides excellent acoustics and resonance, but it also allows for increased durability. The corners were intentionally rounded for extended comfort.

PRICE POINT CATEGORY AND VALUE SECTION:

LP’s Americana Groove Cajon LP1427 belongs to the “budget” price point category, and it’s one of the cheapest Cajon Drums in our review.

Namely, the price isn’t such a factor here due to the fact that LP’s Americana Groove Cajon LP1427 boasts a huge level of durability. Sadly, the only drawback is that this Cajon drum does not excel in aesthetics, per se.

Build Quality
90%
Performance
92%
Price to Value Ratio
95%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Plain and straightforward design
  • Rounded corners allow for increased comfort
  • Great resonance
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Lacks a little wire sound

Best Cajon Drum Under $100

A SHORT OVERVIEW:

The last item in our review is Meinl’s Percussion JC50LBNT Headliner Cajon. Now, we’ve already seen what Meinl can do with their skillful craftsmanship regarding percussive instruments, but this one is quite different.

Namely, the JC50LBNT headliner Cajon is focused on affordability rather than performance. That shouldn’t be enough to dissuade you though, as this Cajon was meant for all budget-classes.

It boasts a decent level of durability, a mediocre level of performance, and a set of plain features.

MANUFACTURER SPECS, DETAILS, AND FEATURES:

At first glance, everyone can notice that HCAJ1NT headliner Cajon features a simplified design. Namely, this is the purest depiction of a Cajon Box, as there are hardly any other features apart from the box-shaped design and rubber wood frontplate.

The strings are fully adjustable, as with all standard-issue Cajon drums, but you’ll also get a complementary hex key for easy adjustments. All in all, the features of JC50LBNT headliner Cajon are quite plain and scarce.

PRICE POINT CATEGORY AND VALUE SECTION:

The best thing about HCAJ1NT headliner Cajon is that it comes at a budget price. Namely, this Cajon belongs to the “budget” price point category, and it’s the cheapest Cajon in our review.

 
Build Quality
88%
Performance
93%
Price to Value Ratio
98%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Made in Europe
  • Classic and straightforward design
  • Rounded corners allow for increased comfort
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • A bit short on quality for pro’s

Things To Consider:

ORIGINS OF CAJON DRUMS

The term Cajon is of Spanish origin, and it literally represents a “box” or “crate”. The instrument which bears this name originated in Peru in the 18th century, and it was widely used by street performers and band musicians alike.

This instrument was most frequently used in flamenco and jazz music genres, but various musicians used it in other settings as well.

Namely, the Cajon was so often used in flamenco that a special sub-type of Cajon was developed – the Flamenco Cajon.

HOW DOES A CAJON DRUM WORK

Essentially, Cajon Drums operate in a similar manner to that of any percussive instrument. Namely, the construction of the Cajon Box Drum is very specific, and it acts as an acoustic housing which emits sound when the player “slaps” it.

The main deal is that different sounds are produced depending on the specific area hit and the tension of the wires inside the housing. First of all, the wires are tightly linked to the tension of the Cajon drum’s surface, and they literally make it firm or loose.

Apart from that, some areas are larger, which results in the increased acoustic effect. On that matter, we can easily compare the basic method of operation of a Cajon Drum to a standard snare. As you might’ve already known, the snare also produces different sounds depending on the surface hit.

HOW TO PLAY CAJON DRUMS

Now, most people think that playing Cajon drums is simple. That is not necessarily true due to the fact that you must control the strength between each stroke while maintaining precision and accuracy. First of all, let’s break this topic into two vital sub-sections.

There’s a difference between the Cajon Box and Cajon Drums. Namely, the Cajon Box is a standalone single Cajon piece while the Cajon Drums represent a setup of 2 or more Cajon boxes. Concerning the single Cajon Box, the method of playing is quite simple. The player needs to sit on top the Cajon and strike the areas in order to produce sound.

As for the Cajon Drums, the player can either sit atop one of the drums (if the setup allows it), or sit on the drummer stool (or any other convenient furniture piece).

HOW TO TUNE A CAJON DRUM

Basically, a Cajon Drum is a very versatile instrument. It can be tuned to make various sounds that are different in tone and depth, but its basic method of operation and tuning mechanism is really something else.

Now, to understand how to actually tune a Cajon drum, we should first remind ourselves how Cajon Drums work/how these drums let off sound. First of all, there are special wires in the housing that reverberate under the pressure once hit.

These wires are safely stored in the wooden housing, and the only way to actually change your Cajon drum tuning is to open the housing. Once you’ve gotten to the wires part, there are two things you can do:

1. Tighten the wires if you want a clearer sound and faster response
2. Loosen the wires if the tuning is too tangy and crispy

 

The first option is corrective in nature while the second one is the matter of subjective preference. Some people like their Cajon Drums to sound deep. Anyhow, you should be aware of the fact that loosening the wires minimizes the snare effect.

 

HOW TO MIC YOUR CAJON DRUMS

Recording your Cajon drumming sessions is quite simple, actually. Namely, Cajon drums are considered to be an acoustic instrument, so all you need to do is simply put a microphone in front of your Cajon drums and start playing.

Alternatively, you can always use a Cajon Drum that comes with a preamp system and do your recording digitally. Namely, Meinl is one of the brands that offer the best Cajon Drum models with active preamp systems.

Conclusion

Cajon drums are quite plain, but they’re to be taken seriously. Namely, these beautiful percussions are the latest trend, and any drummer should at least consider them due to the fact that Cajon drums can be both useful and relaxing. Playing these drums
is easy, they require no setup whatsoever, and most models are cheaper than standard drum sets.

If you are looking to set up a percussion set be sure to check our cymbal packs buying guide and our reviews for the best djembe. Also be sure to check our buying guide on electronic drum kits.

All in all, we wish you good luck in your search for the best Cajon drum model.

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