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The 13 Best Cajons for Crisp Percussive Sounds

27/11/2023

Looking for the perfect cajon that delivers crisp and clear projection? In this article, we’ll explore the 13 best cajons known for their exceptional sound quality and projection.

Whether you’re a professional musician or a passionate beginner, these cajons are designed to bring some snappy percussive sounds to your music.

In a hurry?

Here are our top three cajons:

Cajon by Gear4musicDespite its lightweight and compact design, this cajon delivers a bold sound with excellent projection. Check the current price
Roland EC-10 Electronic Layered CajonWith an integrated speaker and 30 built-in kits, this cajon provide a totally unique playing experience.Check the current price
Meinl Custom Jumbo Bass CajonThis cajon drives through the mix with deep bassy tones thanks to the forward-projecting sound port.Check the current price

What is a cajon and how is it made?

The cajon is a versatile percussion instrument typically crafted from sturdy wood, such as birch, mahogany, or oak. Its box-like structure consists of six panels: front, back, top, bottom, and sides. The front panel is the “playing surface” and is made of thinner wood for enhanced projection.

A sound hole is strategically positioned on the rear panel. This allows air to escape, contributing to the instrument’s resonant sound, similar to how an acoustic guitar works.

It might seem like a relatively simple construction, but inside the cajon is not just an empty box! Snare wires or strings with bells are often attached to the back of the playing surface, creating a buzzing effect when struck, much like the snare drum on a drum kit.

The best cajons on the market today

1. Meinl TCAJ1BK Travel Cajon

Meinl TCAJ1BK Travel Cajon, BlackMain Features:

  • Compact design, perfect for travel
  • Internal snare wires for authentic tone
  • Sound port for clear projection

Pros:

  • Ideal for low-volume practice
  • Suitable for group practices or small acoustic shows
  • Great gift idea for percussionists

Cons:

  • Limited sound options with one playing surface

The Meinl TCAJ1BK Travel Cajon is a compact and portable percussion instrument that’s perfect for musicians on the go. With internal snare wires, it produces an authentic cajon tone, whilst a built-in sound port ensures clear projection.

One of the major advantages of the Travel Cajon is that it’s suitable for low-volume practice. It allows you to rehearse your beats and rhythms without disturbing others while still maintaining the true cajon sound. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a practice instrument. This cajon is well-suited to small acoustic shows, too, as it provides enough volume to be heard without overpowering other instruments.


2. Cajon by Gear4music

Cajon by Gear4music, EbonyMain Features:

  • Lightweight and compact – perfect for busking and intimate performances
  • Beech back and sides for a variety of bold tones
  • Adjustable internal bells for a tight snap and deep bass response

Pros:

  • Comes with a carry bag and seat pad
  • Designed for comfortable, prolonged playing
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Materials aren’t as high quality as some more premium cajons

If you’re looking for percussion to busk with, the lightweight and compact Cajon by Gear4music is perfect. It features beech back and sides, allowing for snappy, bold tones. Plus, there are adjustable internal bells for a tight snap and deep bass response.

This cajon comes complete with a carry bag and seat pad, making it convenient to transport and play anywhere. And as well as coming at an affordable price point, the construction of the Gear4music cajon is sturdy and durable, ensuring reliable performances for years to come.


3. Meinl Snarecraft 100 Series Cajon

Meinl Snarecraft 100 Series Cajon, Red BurstMain Features:

  • Baltic birch body for warm tones and a wide range of dynamics
  • Dual set of internal snare wires produces crisp, expressive sounds
  • Striking red burst matte finish

Pros:

  • Extremely expressive sounds
  • High-quality construction from a reputable brand
  • Available in multiple colours

Cons:

  • Fixed snare wires do not allow for any adjustment

The Meinl Snarecraft 100 Series Cajon is the ultimate cajon package that offers both value and quality. It features a Baltic birch body for rich, warm tones and offers a wide range of dynamics. The cajon also includes a dual set of internal snare wires, providing crisp and expressive sounds.

With its striking red burst matte finish, this cajon not only sounds great but also looks appealing – perfect for adding a pop of colour to your setup! And it’s affordable without compromising on construction or sound quality. It offers a reliable and versatile instrument at an affordable price point.


4. LP Aspire Accent Cajon Blueburst Streak

LP Aspire Accent Cajon Blueburst StreakMain Features:

  • Siam oak soundboard provides exceptional responses
  • All wood construction for maximum authenticity
  • Three sets of snare wires offer a crisp tone

Pros:

  • Versatile sounds with a Siam oak front plate
  • Comfortable to play thanks to a textured seating surface
  • Handcrafted finish for added authenticity

Cons:

  • Only available in two finishes

For a high-quality cajon that really pops in looks and sound, we love the LP Aspire Accent Cajon. Its main features include a Siam oak soundboard that is extremely responsive, and an all-wood construction for maximum authenticity. With three sets of snare wires, this cajon offers a crisp tone that is perfect for a variety of musical styles.

The versatility of this cajon is amazing. Whether you prefer a deep bass, sharp slap, or even both, this cajon delivers. Even better, you can sit comfortably whilst exploring all these percussive tones! The textured seating surface makes even those long playing sessions enjoyable.

To top it off, the LP Aspire Accent has a handcrafted finish, adding to its overall aesthetic and really showcasing the attention to detail put into its construction.


5. Natal Andante Cajon, Snare Wires

Natal Andante Cajon, Snare Wires, Birch BlackMain Features:

  • Birch construction provides exceptional projection and durability
  • High grip top offers maximum playability
  • Fully adjustable snare wires allow you to find your own sound

Pros:

  • Superb brand reputation of Natal
  • Fully adjustable snare wires
  • Non-slip rubber feet provide optimal stability

Cons:

  • Snare wires may become loose quickly due to adjustability

The Natal Andante Cajon, Snare Wires offers exceptional projection and durability courtesy of its birch construction. It produces a rich and resonant tone, whilst a high-grip top provides maximum playability.

The fully adjustable snare wires then allow you to customise your sound to suit your preferences, ensuring maximum versatility.

One thing that’s particularly great about this cajon is the fact that it’s both affordable and manufactured by one of the most trusted names in the industry: Natal. The brand are known for producing reliable and high-quality percussion instruments, and the Andante Cajon is no exception. It also comes with non-slip rubber feet for optimal stability during performances.


6. Nino by Meinl Cajon

Nino by Meinl Cajon, NaturalMain Features:

  • Baltic birch body and front plate
  • Adjustable corners for maximum playing comfort
  • Suitable for children ages 4 and over

Pros:

  • Exceptional durability, projection, and resonance
  • Classic cajon sound
  • Easily playable for smaller hands

Cons:

  • Small size may not be suitable for adults to use

If you’re a newbie to percussion or shopping for a young beginner, you might like the Nino by Meinl Cajon. It’s the perfect introduction to percussion for children ages 4 and over. With its Baltic birch body and front plate, this cajon offers exceptional durability, projection, and resonance. The adjustable corners then ensure maximum playing comfort, making it suitable for young musicians with smaller hands.

What better way to step into the world of percussion than with Meinl, a well-known and extremely respected brand? This cajon is ideal for young beginners or children who want something with a sturdy construction that can take limitless hours of practice. Its durable Baltic birch construction promises long-lasting performance.


7. Pearl BOOM BOX Fiberglass Ported Chamber Cajon

Pearl BOOM BOX Fiberglass Ported Chamber Cajon, Artisan Red MahoganyMain Features:

  • Fixed snare system for clear and detailed snare sounds
  • Built-in bass port provides a quick attack
  • High-quality construction from Pearl

Pros:

  • Artisan red mahogany finish gives this cajon a stunning aesthetic appeal
  • Pearl are renowned for high quality and attention to detail
  • Built-in bass port produces a quick attack

Cons:

  • Bass port may hinder a snappy snare tone for some players

The Pearl BOOM BOX Fiberglass Ported Chamber Cajon is a high-quality cajon with a fixed snare system that delivers clear and detailed snare sounds. Its built-in bass port offers a quick attack and enhances bass tones for exceptional volume. Plus, because it’s crafted with Pearl’s renowned commitment to quality, you can be sure of durability and reliability.

The Artisan Red Mahogany finish stands out and adds that extra splash of colour to your setup. Want to upgrade your performance with the Pearl BOOM BOX Fiberglass Ported Chamber Cajon? The Meinl Cajon Perc Pack includes castanets, a foot tambourine, shakers, and a cajon pad – everything you need to keep your audience captivated.


8. Roland EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon

Roland EC-10 Electronic Layered CajonMain Features:

  • Combines an authentic acoustic cajon with Roland’s technology
  • 30 built-in electronic kits for layering with acoustic cajon sounds
  • Intuitive control panel for easy kit selection

Pros:

  • Versatile selection of acoustic and electronic percussion sounds
  • Integrated amplifier and coaxial speaker for a powerful sound
  • Playing time of up to 12 hours with six AA batteries

Cons:

  • Has to be powered to produce proper sound

The Roland EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon is a unique hybrid percussion instrument that combines an authentic acoustic cajon with Roland’s electronic percussion technology.

With 30 built-in electronic kits available, you can layer these sounds on top of the acoustic tones, creating a versatile array of percussion that covers a wide range of music styles. The intuitive control panel makes it easy to select different kits, adjust the volume levels, and fine-tune the balance between the head and edge of the playing surface.

Equipped with an integrated amplifier and coaxial speaker, the EC-10 delivers a rich, powerful sound. Additionally, the cajon can be powered by six AA batteries, allowing for up to 12 hours of continuous playtime without the need for an external power source.


9. Schlagwerk X-One Nature Cajon

Schlagwerk X-One Nature CajonMain Features:

  • Handcrafted in Germany, ensuring exceptional craftsmanship
  • Offers a crisp, controlled snare sound with a strong bass thump
  • Provides clearly defined bass and snare separation, enhancing sound quality

Pros:

  • Offers high-quality performance at an affordable price, making it accessible to a wide range of musicians
  • Constructed with premium materials, ensuring durability and longevity
  • Multiple design options and finishes to choose from

Cons:

  • Top doesn’t include padding and, therefore, may not be comfortable to play for long periods of time

Handcrafted in Germany, the Schlagwerk X-One Nature Cajon showcases exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. And its sound doesn’t disappoint either. It delivers a crisp, controlled tone with a strong bass thump. In fact, its bass and snare separation is easily defined – perfect for that crisp cajon performance.

Despite its high-quality performance, the X-One Nature Cajon remains affordable, making it an excellent choice for both professionals and beginners. It’s also built to last thanks to its eight-layer birch construction.

If you’re looking for an easy way to transport this cajon, the Cajon Bag by Gear4music fits the bill perfectly with its heavy-duty nylon exterior and plenty of padding inside.


10. Meinl Custom Jumbo Bass Cajon

Meinl Custom Jumbo Bass Cajon, WalnutMain Features:

  • Forward-facing sound port
  • Walnut construction delivers rich, bass tones
  • Dual internal snare wires

Pros:

  • Drives through the mix with explosive, deep bass tones
  • Forward projecting sound port – perfect for live and unplugged situations
  • Walnut construction offers exceptional durability and authenticity

Cons:

  • Forward-facing sound port reduces main playing surface

The Meinl Custom Jumbo Bass Cajon is a high-quality percussion instrument with a walnut construction. It delivers gorgeously deep bass tones, whilst dual internal snare wires provide great responsivity. Better still, the sound port is forward-projecting, ensuring optimal projection in live and unplugged settings.

As far as affordability goes, the Jumbo Bass Cajon is very reasonably priced to suit all levels of drummer and percussionist. Whether you’re a professional musician or an aspiring performer, the Meinl Custom Jumbo Bass Cajon offers a reliable and versatile percussive sound and excellent durability.


11. Meinl ‘Make Your Own’ Cajon Construction Kit

Meinl 'Make Your Own' Cajon Construction KitMain Features:

  • Assembly instructions included
  • Customisable finish options (paint, oil, lacquer, wax)
  • Authentic cajon with great durability

Pros:

  • Fun DIY project for home
  • Detailed instructions guide
  • Opportunity to customise the finish (paint, oil, lacquer, wax)

Cons:

  • Time-consuming to construct

Now for something a bit different. The Meinl ‘Make Your Own’ Cajon Construction Kit is an engaging DIY project for percussion enthusiasts – this would make for an excellent gift! The kit includes all the necessary parts, and detailed instructions, to guide you through the assembly process.

We particularly love that you can customise the finish of the cajon with options such as paint, oil, lacquer, or wax.


12. Meinl Pickup Turbo Slaptop Cajon

Meinl Pickup Turbo Slaptop Cajon, WalnutMain Features:

  • Passive pickup system for great tone
  • Baltic birch body and walnut playing surface
  • Broad playing surface with three distinct sounds

Pros:

  • Innovative design with a unique pickup system
  • Clear and rich sound quality
  • Versatile playing surface for different tones

Cons:

  • Unique shape may hinder portability for some users

The Meinl Pickup Turbo Slaptop Cajon takes your sound one step further with its passive pickup system that enhances the tone and allows for easy amplification. It’s ideal for live performances and recording sessions.

The cajon is constructed with a Baltic birch body and a walnut playing surface which not only provides durability but also a clear and resonant sound. Plus, its solid and reliable construction can withstand heavy use while delivering consistent sound quality.


13. WHD Portable Angled Cajon

WHD Portable Angled Cajon, Zebrano FinishMain Features:

  • Angled front for enhanced comfort and projection
  • Sturdy plywood body for durability
  • Zebrano laminate front offers an attractive aesthetic

Pros:

  • Includes snare system for added versatility in sound
  • Comes with a carry bag for easy transportation
  • Compact and portable design

Cons:

  • Plywood doesn’t have the same warm sound as some higher end materials

The WHD Portable Angled Cajon makes those long playing sessions seem like a breeze. It’s compact, portable, and suitable for both beginners and experienced players, whilst an angled front panel allows for easy playability. This innovative design also improves sound projection.

Constructed with a sturdy plywood body, this cajon can handle regular use without ever faltering. The Zebrano laminate front then ensures the cajon stands out in any performance.

With the included snare system, you can achieve different tones and textures according to your playing style, from rich bass to those intricate highs. The cajon also comes with a convenient carry bag, making it easy to transport to rehearsals, gigs, or jam sessions.

Things to consider when buying a cajon

Fullness of sound

A high-quality cajon should deliver rich and resonant tones, providing depth and warmth to your music. If you’re after good sound projection, look for a cajon with a well-constructed body made from materials such as birch or walnut. Plywood is durable but doesn’t offer the same depth of sound – however, it’s good for beginners who want a cajon to practise on that’s slightly quieter.


What genre of music do you want to perform?

Sometimes, drummers who are used to a full kit struggle to transfer the same energy and style to the cajon. So, it’s definitely worth considering if a specific design or tone of a cajon will suit your genre.

If you’re just starting out, opt for a cajon that’s easy to play for long periods of time, for example, an angled cajon. These are perfect for practising on and developing your muscle memory.


Integrating it into your existing drum set

Although a cajon is typically used as a standalone percussion instrument, there are various accessories out there that allow you to use it with your existing drum set. The Remote Cajon Pedal by Gear4music, for example, is designed to fit any cajon and frees up your hands to play other instruments.

How to play the cajon

To play the cajon, position the instrument between your legs and sit on the top. With the front panel facing forwards, strike different areas of the front panel with your hands to produce various sounds. For a bass sound, hit the centre of the panel with your palm. For a snare-like sound, strike the upper corners with your fingertips.

You can explore different techniques by varying the intensity and angle of your strikes. Experiment with tapping, slapping, and using the sides of your hands to add more textures to your rhythms.

FAQs

What is the best brand for cajon?

Meinl Percussion is one of the best and most well-known drum brands that manufactures cajons. With their high-quality constructions and commitment to craftsmanship, Meinl offers a range of cajon drums that are backed up by Meinl’s extensive history in the percussion industry.

What is the best cajon for beginners?

If you’re a beginner looking for the best cajon drum, the Cajon by Gear4music is highly recommended. This compact instrument is not only great for busking with but also great for producing bold tones, courtesy of its beech construction.


Is it hard to learn cajon?

It isn’t difficult to learn the cajon – all you need is dedication and a good understanding of timing and rhythm. It’s important to grasp the basics first, and this means you need to familiarise yourself with different playing techniques, rhythms, and patterns. Break down these concepts into clear, easy steps, and remember that consistency is key! Regular practice will help you develop muscle memory and refine your technique.

Final thoughts

Now that we’ve gone over the 13 best cajons and given you some insight into setting up your first cajon, hopefully, you’ve managed to find the right cajon for you – or at least found which kind of cajon is well suited to your style! With that being said, why not check out our full range of cajons available on our site?

 

Joe is an enthusiastic drummer who has been drumming for 12 years. He plays Heavy Metal and Djent on drums and also plays some electric guitar in his spare time.

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