The best Cajon box is the A Tempo Percussion Peruvian Classic. Simple, and great for beginners, but not bad for pros either.
The Cajon, a stunning instrument, has been taking the world by storm since its inclusion in modern-day folk and Latin music. It’s an interesting, compact, and portable alternative to the drum set, and can make for a unique sound to your music.
The best Cajon drum boxes are:
- A Tempo Percussion Peruvian Classic
- LP Americana Groove Wire Cajon
- Pyle String Cajon
- Meinl Cajon Drum with Internal Snares
- Pyle Jam Wooden Cajon
- Meinl Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon
- Schlagwerk CP404-BLK
- Sawtooth Harmony Series Compact Cajon
- Meinl Cajon Box Drum
Reviews of the Best Cajon Drum Boxes
If you’re in the market for something simple, here’s a Cajon you might be interested in. Excellent if you enjoy the ease of the Peruvian Cajon, and it comes with Cajon drum accessories too—a gig bag for carrying it.
Do your gigs require a mellow tone? Then this is the box to go for. The rich and round sound complements traditional and acoustic music. The bass is the deepest sound this drum provides, adding richness to the cocktail of mellow music.
The rich bass comes from the box’s crafting. It’s handmade in Peru out of Mohena (light mahogany) wood, known for its deep tones. There’s also some Spanish cedar and Lupuna plywood in the construction, for more variety in your sound.
Most of the slabs are joined with strong dovetail joints; this may be a better join than screw-joined boxes, letting the wood be slotted naturally together, without the intervention of an outsider (screws). It also adds to the natural and stunning aesthetic of the rounded-cornered box overall.
The Latin Percussion (LP) Americana is affordable, yet high quality. If you liked the last one reviewed but found it too pricey, consider this.
Being so inexpensive makes this one stand out as great for beginners, and it’s not too much money to commit to a new hobby.
Another reason it’s great for beginners is its simplicity. It’s not much more than a box, but with a stunning tonal quality hidden inside. It’s a Peruvian Cajon, so there are no strings to work with and influence your sound—perfect for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing yet.
Due to its lack of complexity, it’s ready to play as soon as you unbox it. You’ll be performing live in no time, in comfort too. The corners are rounded, and the joints are secure, so you don’t have to worry about falling apart from puncture wounds, nor do you have to worry about the box falling apart while taking a beating.
Now we’re leaving Peru and moving on to the Cajons with strings. This handcrafted Cajon has adjustable guitar strings, like a Flamenco Cajon. A hex key comes with the Cajon, for tuning; this is done on the bottom of the instrument.
The strings help give this box a smooth sound, which matches the texture of the wood well. The birch box just looks smooth as well as sounding it. And a third smooth element is how portable the Cajon is—it weighs less than 10 pounds.
With all these fantastic elements, it’s shocking that this Cajon is so affordable. The shock just continues upon noting the Cajon has rubber feet to stop vibrations when you play—making it a more comfortable experience.
To recap, this instrument is wonderful all-round, from its comfortable, non-vibrating top, to the bottom complete with a tuning area and rubber feet.
Baltic birch wood is usually found in high-end drum sets. Here, you can find it in an inexpensive, more portable Cajon.
As it’s compact, this Cajon is an excellent one to bring to jam sessions. And it’s incredible for acoustic sound, its snare, and bass zones resonating out of the port at the back make sure of it. Neither is given special treatment to make it sound the best; you get an even tone from all elements of this Cajon.
There are two zones for the snare and bass sound on the playing surface. The bass is best in the center, and the snare is sharp and crisp in the top corners. Then play around them for a unique, varied beat.
Then at the bottom, there are rubber, anti-vibration feet, keeping you steady while you bang out the bass and snare in an acoustic jam session.
The Pyle Jam Wooden Cajon, being one of the lightest drums, is one of the most portable. That’s an excellent feature right off the bat before we even examine the construction and sound quality.
Well, those are solid too. The construction is clear and strong, and the sound quality is excellent.
This is a birch Cajon, which produces a simple, efficient, yet rounded sound. The sound is enhanced by guitar strings on the inside, like that of a Flamenco Cajon. They deliver a desirable, rhythmic sound that’s easy to fall in love with.
Despite small things most likely being prone to shivering under pressure, the rhythm won’t rock this Cajon. The Cajon features capped rubber feet to eliminate the possibility. So, you’ll rock the room but not yourself as you play.
All in all, you’re getting a clear sound with no interrupting vibrations, in a compact and portable package. Wonderful for musicians of all ages and abilities.
This one really stepped away from the traditional Cajon design. First of all it’s walnut; a non-traditionally used wood. It’s an excellent, tough wood with a deep bass sound; that’s the whole aim of this Cajon—to have the strongest bass, practically a subwoofer, hence the name.
The ample depth and width of this one also play a role in the deep bass sound. It’s a beast, truly, with the weight to prove it. It’s trying to emulate a kick drum, the heaviest drum in a drum set, and with its internal reflex channels, it’s succeeding.
Ports and channels do a fantastic job of getting that desired sound, it’s pumped out in gallons, and it’s authentic and high-quality.
You shouldn’t need a mic for live performances with this one. The quality sound is loud and in charge.
However, it should be noted that this Cajon has a padded seat. Yes, this adds to your comfort. But it also takes away some of the warmth a wholly wooden Cajon possesses. Fortunately, the bass sound is so loud, deep, and rich that most people shouldn’t notice.
As it’s so unorthodox and doesn’t accurately represent traditional Cajons, this one is only fit for a professional. It would give a beginner the wrong expectations of most Cajons. Plus, only a pro would know how to utilize the bass for an unbeatable sound in music.
Schlagwerk is a brand well-known for incredible rhythm instruments. Schlagwerk goes above and beyond with providing quality instruments, even going so far as to provide options with them.
This is the first Cajon on this list that comes with size and color options. There’s also a soft-touch option for an extra-sensitive snare response and a comfortable playing experience. A soft-touch Cajon should keep some of the pain away from hours of playing.
Other than the soft-touch option, the Cajon comes in medium and large. Unfortunately, it isn’t specified what size the soft-touch option is.
All three are available in five colors to suit any preference, and depending on what color you choose, you’ll be getting a different front plate.
We recommend the beech/birch combo, as beech has a well-rounded sound, and birch is similar; this is available in black and natural colors.
The other colors have the following wood combos:
No matter which one you choose, you’re getting the same quality. You’re also getting snares in each version, which are removable; this lets it be played as a Snare Cajon or a Peruvian Cajon. This option makes the instrument versatile and is a brilliant feature to have for different music.
Cajon drums are all about the sound, not the visuals, but the aesthetic quality of this one is impossible to ignore. It features an elephant, hand-stained onto the wood—a symbol representing strength, stability, and luck.
A spirit design is also available for the more spiritual among us. Once again, it’s hand-stained and stunning. Both models are available in large, compact, and travel sizes. We recommend the compact size as it’s a happy medium.
The look of this Cajon is even more traditional in the joinings. They don’t look industrial; they look hand-made and robust. Whether this was actually hand-made is unknown, but it’s a beautiful look to have.
Although it’s not so traditional inside, one might think this is a Peruvian Cajon, but it’s a Snare Cajon. There are 20, evenly spaced snare wires inside to give it that snare sound.
It’s also got a great kick element, thanks to the bass port in the back. It’s got a punchy sound, fantastic in all sorts of music. The bass is especially prominent when the Cajon is played in the middle, with a snappy snare sound when playing the sides.
Overall, this Cajon is nothing special or designed for a specific sound. It’s just your basic Snare Cajon, with the price point to match. Although for the craftsmanship and the lovingly painted design, you may think the price is too low, an affordable price is nothing to argue against!
This stunning Cajon isn’t made of a common wood used in Cajon, but it works. Its top is also cushioned for a more comfortable, even less traditional playing experience.
This is really an excellent piece of equipment, and the manufacturers say it sounds accurate to a traditional drum set—a very versatile instrument for any genre of music.
Despite the unique wood choice, the Cajon works as well as any other. The snare is articulate, and the bass is punchy. All sounds resonate well thanks to the rear port at the back, which is not only best for the bass but boosts volume.
As you create that thundering volume, rubber feet keep you free of vibrations; this should keep you and your sound steady in any setting—jam session or studio.
What to Look for When Buying a Cajon Drum Box
To the untrained eye, these amazing instruments can look just like a chunk of wood, but to musicians, they look like a vital tool in some aspects of making music.
Here’s what you need to look for when buying a Cajon drum box.
Since these are an alternative to a more cumbersome drum kit, it would be ridiculous to carry around a huge, heavy piece of wood that drags you down. So look for a lightweight drum box.
A lightweight box will still be able to give you the proper beats that your music deserves, but it won’t inconvenience you when bringing it from place to place.
Unlike many wooden instruments, Cajon drum boxes won’t be made of the well-known tonewoods. Instead, it’ll be made of wood that’s great for percussion.
There are four main types of wood used in making Cajon drum boxes.
Beech is a dense wood, yet it’s light. Its sound is balanced, sounding incredible all around. Mids, highs, and lows are equally in their quality.
Birch’s sound is well-rounded, but the wood can be expensive. It’s similar to beech in its tonal qualities, except its highs can be higher than other woods. The mid-tones may sound quieter than other woods, too.
Mahogany is a dark, thick wood with a rich, deep bass. However, the higher sounds may sound muted. This is a wood to look for if you want a thundering bass but don’t care much about other tones.
The mighty oak tree also has a mighty sound. It’s the one to go for if you’re performing without a mic. There’s nothing spectacular about how the highs, mids, and lows sound other than loud.
Quality is of utmost importance in any instrument. It’s especially important in something you’re going to be beating mercilessly. A drum that falls apart is no drum at all.
Take note of the joints. If they look weak or improperly joined, look elsewhere. That Cajon may not withstand what you throw at it for long.
Most Cajon drum boxes look similar at first glance. However, different music will warrant a different type of Cajon.
Though even within the types, the sound will be different. Some Cajons will have a buzzy snare, others, a snappy one. It’s up to you which one you prefer. Experiment with a few, perhaps buy several, test them, and return the ones you don’t like. Playing a few simple beats on each should let you know which sound you prefer.
Types of Cajon
There are four types of Cajon drum boxes and which one you choose depends on what kind of music you want to make. Each has its own unique sound and different subjective sound qualities within its type.
Some people think Peruvian Cajon is the original type of Cajon drum box. However, in the beginning, Cajon drum boxes were mere shipping crates. People would sit on them, tap them, and so the instrument was born.
Peruvian Cajons found their first use by slave musicians in the 17th century. But since then, this simple instrument has evolved, and only the most skilled players can rock a Peruvian Cajon. Peruvian Cajons have no snare, for example, so an advanced technique is required to extract the best sounds, like the A Tempo Percussion Peruvian Classic, great for acoustic sets.
Paco de Lucía, a legendary Flamenco guitarist, visited Peru and brought a Cajon home to Spain upon his return. To give it some flair, he installed guitar strings on the back of the instrument; this was the first instance of the modern-day Cajun sound we’re used to.
The new Cajon escaped Spain and spread. Now, as well as being common in Flamenco music, this type of Cajon became a staple in a variety of Latin American music.
Modernization hits everything eventually, even Cajons. Now snare Cajons are the ones most commonly found today. It’s used in all genres of music.
In the snare Cajon, the guitar strings on the back were replaced with snare strings. In some models, there are even bass ports. That’s a hole or port to amplify the bass sound; this mimics the sound of a bass drum and makes the sound deeper.
This port may be referred to as a kick port, bass port, or sound port. Not only does it improve the bass, but it lets the rest of the tones resonate louder and sound clearer, like the Meinl Cajon Box Drum, which has an impressive boosted volume.
The Cuban Cajon is more like a conga drum than other types of Cajon. You can’t sit on it, and you play it on the top. It’s also missing a snare.
This type of Cajon is most common today in Afro-Cuban music.
The Drum of Your Dreams
The best Cajon drum is the A Tempo Percussion Peruvian Classic, so delightfully simple that it should suit anyone. It’s well-made, nothing fancy, but provides a solid, clean beat.
It’s a step back in time to the first Cajons ever made due to its Peruvian style. It eliminates the complexity of snare or guitar strings and can be played by anyone—even the inexperienced.
It can be played as a Peruvian Cajon, perhaps even a Cuban Cajon, if you want to experiment. Nobody’s stopping you from playing on top of the instrument!
The runner up has to be the LP Americana Groove Wire Cajon. It’s the same deal, really, but at a lower price. Perfect for someone with a tighter budget still, wanting the simplicity and versatility of the traditional Peruvian Cajon.