Cajons are fantastic and compact percussion instruments that can sound like an entire drum kit in a box. They are continuously gaining popularity and are used for many genres of music all over the world.
They add a certain oomph factor with their cool design, compactness, and affordability. They are commonly used by street musicians and drummers during stripped-down performances. Let’s look at some of the best Cajon drums available for purchase on the market.
My top recommended Cajon is the Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT. This is a popular Cajon Box Drum from a well-known manufacturer and has great overall quality.
My second recommended Cajon is the Pyle PCJD18. For those who want something more affordable yet good quality, this Cajon is the ideal sweet spot.
The 7 Best Cajons (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT
This Meinl Cajon Box Drum is very popular for good reason. It has great sound, comes from a very reputable German brand in the percussion space, and it’s reasonably priced.
It’s made from Baltic Birch wood, which produces both a great bass tone as well as snare sounds that are nice on the mid and high end because of the steel strings. With a rear sound port for more expressive sound, it is very suitable for live performances, as well as great for amplifying with a microphone.
Additionally, the Cajon has four nice anti-vibration silicone feet, and it’s comfortable to play on. The video displayed above shows its sound and overall quality.
2. Pyle PCJD18
Pyle PCJD18 is birch constructed in a classic Cajon style. It is a decent instrument to begin your musical journey with and can be enjoyed by beginner and intermediate musicians.
Pyle are generally associated with more affordable and budget-friendly options across a wide variety of musical instruments. You’re not going to get top pro quality, but you will usually get something pretty affordable with a great value-for-price ratio.
It is constructed with a nice wooden panel frame. This particular Cajon could be used by all levels of percussionists. The adjustable strings are located internally and they deliver a good sound These strings can be tuned from the bottom of the box.
It also has capped feet to reduce vibration and also to allow the box to resonate more freely, similar to the first entry on this list. A hex key is included with the product.
3. LP Groove Wire Cajon (LP1427W)
The Latin Percussion Groove Wire Cajon (LP1427W) is hand constructed entirely in the USA with a carefully engineered woody tone and a classic snare drum-like snap. The beautiful wooden panel frame with amazing resonance and sound delivery makes it one of the best products on the market.
Birch is used for the construction of the drum box, giving it superior durability with very nice resonance. The darkish front plate is adjustable for varying percussive timbre sounds.
The snare sound is crisp while the bass is rich. This Cajon also has slightly rounded edges, which can make it more comfortable to play on.
LP are one of the most popular names in percussion. This Cajon may cost a little more than the other options, but you know you’re getting quality with this one.
4. Sawtooth Cajon
The Sawtooth is a very good mid-range and very affordable Cajon drum to consider. With its unique Cedar Wood construction and String-Snare, it is well-rounded in regards to the value for the price you pay.
The sound capabilities are on a decent level, especially when considering the price. It has a bass port for a more expressive bass sound, with emphasized low-end frequencies that provide the thumping sound which is a trademark for Cajons.
It has a good snare system overall, with a great response when played. Additionally, it comes with sturdy rubber feet which add to the value due to the extra safety of the entire box.
Overall, this Cajon drum is very affordable and useful for not just beginners, but also veteran players. The video above is a quick demonstration of the sonic capabilities of this Cajon.
5. Donner Cajon DCD-1
Donner is yet another good brand that produces good quality Cajon Drums. This particular Donner Cajon is affordable and portable, due to the backpack carry case with dual adjustable straps.
The Birchwood construction of this Cajon vouches for the durability of the product but also adds some sonic flavors. The rich sound capabilities are on-point with this acoustic trademark Cajon and provide a pleasant listening and playing experience.
This too features rubber-capped feet which add to the safety of the box but also provide the necessary anti-vibration that is needed for full and responsive sound quality.
When you put all the pieces together, although not professional quality, this is still a good overall quality Cajon with many useful components that scream value-for-price.
6. Meinl Percussion PWCP100MB
Another Meinl Cajon on the list. This time it’s the Makah Burl PWCP100MB model. This is a high-quality Cajon drum with a higher price tag attached, of course.
This professional Cajon is made from Baltic Birch wood which provides a sturdy base and overall construction quality. With great sound properties, it produces rich, deep, and very clear tones for high-level playing.
It has custom micro-coiled steel strings and a very satisfying bass sound. Not to mention the matte finish which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the Cajon.
If you want quality, Meinl Percussion is the way to go. The PWCP100MB might be on the higher end regarding the price, but you know you’re getting quality above all else.
7. Pearl Primero Cajon
The Pearl Primero Cajon drum is a quality box from a respected manufacturer. One look at the Cajon and you instantly recognize the quality that is Pearl Percussions.
This Cherry face-plated Cajon has a great design with huge aesthetic appeal for many. But it does not only the looks that make this a great Cajon but quality as well. It has fixed strings that allow for that extra snap and pop sound you want from a Cajon.
The Pearl Primero also has a bass port for a more expressive and rich bass sound. With a microphone inside, you can amplify the sound to an excellent extent.
This is everything you would expect from a Pearl product, the Cajon is of great quality overall yet still has a reasonable price tag. Certainly, this is one to consider.
What is a Cajon Drum?
The instrument is of Spanish origin and the invention can be traced back to the early 1700s. A Cajon is a square box that is played in different areas to produce different types of sounds. Many innovations and refinements have been made to this box drum while still staying true to its simple and original design.
You have many types of Cajon drums out there, made from different wood and from different decent like the Flamenco Cajon, or something more exotic like Peru a.k.a. Peruvian Cajons.
Is Cajon difficult to learn and play?
Due to its small and compact-sized nature, the Cajon drum is easy to get the hang of and learn to play effectively. It is one of the easiest instruments you can learn to play. You play it by sitting on it and using your hands to tap the frame or the body of the box drum.
Depending on where you strike, the sound versatility will be different. If you strike the upper frame of the Cajon, you will get a snare-like sound with a more snap/pop. If you strike it in the middle of the body, you have a deep bass tone that is suitable for keeping a beat.
What to look for in a Cajon drum when buying?
There are a few things to consider before buying a Cajon. The most important is the sound quality of the overall drum, the construction, and the price.
Sound quality is the most important thing to consider. The sound quality depends on the internal wires inside the Cajon as well as the wood of the box drum. They usually have snare wires, but guitar strings are also common within their construction. The percussion box solely depends on the wires for sound quality.
Usually, Meinl Percussion Cajons have great internal snare wires with a fixed tension that produce the highest-quality sound from Cajon drums. Naturally, your playing still will be responsible for how the sounds will be created when striking the playing surface.
Durability is another key factor, as you don’t want something too lightweight that will be prone to damage after a couple of playing sessions. Naturally, comfort is also a factor as you’ll be sitting on it. Birchwood is the most common construction and a fairly good one at that, but you also have other quality materials like hardwood, walnut, etc.
Lastly, the price is well worth considering before purchasing a Cajon. If you’re a beginner, then something in the entry-level and budget-friendly area will suffice. If you’re more experienced, you might want to consider opting for a more high-quality and expensive one.
Great Accessories for Cajons
As a Cajon player, there are some other very useful accessories that you should consider:
Foot tambourines can attach to the front or back of your shoe, which can allow you to add a whole different rhythm element to your playing.
Cajons are great for representing snare and bass sounds. A foot tambourine can add some mid to high-end frequency sounds that would often be taken up by a hi-hat on a drum set.
We recommend the Meinl Foot Tambourine. It’s a very popular option that’s great for Cajon players. They are a great choice for adding a bit of extra swing and rhythm to your playing.
Cajon Bass Drum Pedal
Using a Cajon bass drum pedal is a great option to get your foot involved in the rhythm. The wire-style device is very similar to wired hi-hat stands. This allows you to have a compact yet adjustable pedal and beater.
Our recommendation would be the Latin Percussion LP1500 Cajon Pedal. It’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a kick pedal for your Cajon.
Egg shakers are a cheap and great little item to have for cajon players. If you are playing very basic beats with one hand, then you can keep a steady rhythm going using an egg shaker or any other type of shaker.
Cajon’s are fantastic items that can be used as both stand-alone or complementary instruments. Drummers are often expected to know how to play a Cajon, in order to play a gig in smaller venues where a full drum set is not an option.
My top Cajon pick is the Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT. A very popular Cajon drum with great and well-rounded sound/construction quality.
My budget Cajon pick is the Pyle PCJD18. If you’re on a tight budget but still want a quality Cajon drum, the Pyle is the way to go.