Cajons are seriously vibrant instruments that both drummers and percussionists can use when they’re playing gigs and have to keep the volume down. The great thing about them is that you don’t need to have any gear to go with them, but you can if you want to when creating a larger percussion rig.
There are countless cajon options to pick from, so we’ve made a list to help narrow down your choices.
Here are our top suggestions for the best cajon drum boxes on the market. They come from a range of good percussion brands, including Meinl, Latin Percussion, and Pearl.
- 1 Top 3 Cajon Drum Boxes
- 2 Best Cajon Drum Box Reviews
- 2.1 Meinl Percussion Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon
- 2.2 Meinl Percussion Compact Jam Cajon
- 2.3 Meinl Percussion Cajon Drum Set
- 2.4 Pearl Primero Cajon
- 2.5 Meinl Percussion Pickup Turbo Slap-Top Cajon
- 2.6 Latin Percussion Inside Pedal Cajon
- 2.7 Latin Percussion Matador Whiskey Barrel Cajon
- 2.8 Latin Percussion Bongo Cajon
- 2.9 Meinl Percussion Headliner Series String Cajon
- 2.10 Gon Bops Alex Acuna Special Edition Cajon
- 2.11 Roland ELCajon EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon
- 3 How to Choose the Best Cajon Drum Box
- 4 Final Thoughts on the Best Cajon Drum Boxes
Top 3 Cajon Drum Boxes
The Meinl Percussion Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon is our Top Pick Winner. It’s one of Meinl’s most popular cajons, and it offers enough variety in its design to make it valuable in anyone’s cajon collection. It’s solidly built and has an attractive price considering everything it offers.
The Meinl Percussion Compact Jam Cajon is our Best Budget Option. It’s a smaller cajon intended for easy traveling. It has a low price tag, but it still produces high-quality tones that are great for both beginners and experienced cajon players.
Meinl Percussion’s Cajon Drum Set is our agreed-upon Editor’s Choice. This is one of the best package purchases for anyone wanting to buy a cajon to replace a traditional drum kit for quieter sounds. It includes a high-quality cajon and pedal, along with several accessories to create a killer percussion rig.
Best Cajon Drum Box Reviews
A high-quality cajon with an extended bass response. It’s a great option for gigging professionals.
The standout feature of this cajon is that the ports are on the front instead of the back. This design boosts the low-frequency response, making it sound closer to a bass drum than most other cajons. The internal snare wires also make it pop when played on the edge.
Meinl’s Bass Subwoofer Cajon has been a top pick for several years. We love how beefy the cajon sounds, and you get a lot more response from all your hand strokes than many other cajons. That makes it a good pick for drummers and percussionists who want the best playability possible.
The height is 19.75”, which is standard for a cajon of its segment, but the walnut frontplate is another unique design. We love how it looks and feels.
Overall, this is a solid option for anyone needing a cajon to play gigs with. The tonal quality is incredible, and the boosted bass tones really give it an edge.
Verdict: The Meinl Percussion Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon is a great pick for drummers needing a good cajon for gigs. The boosted bass tones amplify it, making it less necessary to use a mic compared to many other cajon options. However, low end isn’t always what drummers need, so this may not be the best option if you’re looking for something more standard.
A small cajon with an affordable price tag.
This cajon is a few inches smaller than standard cajons to make it easier to travel with. Fewer materials are used, so it comes out at a lower price. However, it still sounds just as good as most of Meinl’s top-quality cajons.
Meinl Percussion’s Compact Jam Cajon is the perfect option for drummers who need something small and cheap to use when they can’t play acoustic drums. If you’re not someone that’s invested in cajons and the art of how they’re made, you won’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on one.
Out of all the affordable cajons available, we think this is undoubtedly the best option when it comes to standard designs. The only difference is that it’s slightly smaller.
It has a great slapping snare sound when hitting the edge. The bass sound is decent when striking the middle, but we noticed how it leaned more toward the mid-frequency zone compared to the low frequencies from full-sized cajons.
With that being said, it’s a valuable option that won’t be breaking any banks.
Verdict: The Meinl Percussion Compact Jam Cajon offers great tones, even though it has a much lower price tag than standard cajons. If you’re happy with something a bit smaller with bass tones that aren’t as deep, this is an excellent pick to consider.
A full percussion rig based around a cajon used as a bass drum.
This set includes a cajon with a kick pedal, a hi-hat stand with cymbals, a cajon snare drum, rute sticks, a shaker, and a carry case. It’s the ultimate cajon performance rig.
If you’re happy to spend any amount of money on a cajon, we suggest considering this cajon performance setup from Meinl. The included cajon is excellent, but it’s mainly supposed to be used as a bass drum.
You get Meinl’s direct drive cajon pedal, which we found to work very well. However, the lever pedal can feel a bit uncomfortable for taller players when sitting on the cajon. You’d need to sit on a drum throne if that’s the case.
The included snare drum and hi-hats all add percussive tones that form a sort of mock drum set. We love the idea of this whole package, and we think it’s an excellent alternative to playing an acoustic kit at a quiet gig.
Verdict: The Meinl Percussion Cajon Drum Set is an excellent choice for drummers who are looking for a full kit replacement option for quiet gigs. You can play grooves and fills on it in the same way that you would on a full kit. The higher price may not be worth it for people simply looking for a single cajon, though.
One of Pearl’s most popular cajon options.
A solidly built cajon with great tonal quality in the high and low ranges. It’s a compelling option in the standard range of cajons on the market, and it has a bit of an edge with its interesting finish options.
We’ve always been big fans of Pearl’s Primero range. The Pearl brand has been making world-class percussion instruments since the late 20th century, and we feel that the Primero cajon easily lives up to all the hype.
The built-in port helps strengthen the bass tones, and the snare wires give you a satisfying slapping soundwhen striking the edges.
The real standout feature for us, though, is all the unique finish options you get to choose from. The Tree of Life, Music Town USA, and Raven finishes are particularly attractive. The other finishes are more standard.
If you’re someone who wants a funky cajon to add to your percussion collection, we highly recommend checking these out.
Verdict: The Pearl Primero Cajon is yet another solid option to consider. It produces rich tones when played anywhere on the surface, and it’s built well enough to withstand years of heavy use. The biggest drawcard is the finish options that you can choose from. Some are plain, while others are a bit more eclectic.
A uniquely designed cajon that you can rest on your lap to play.
This cajon is designed so that you don’t need to sit on it to play as you do with standard cajons. It also has built-in pickups that allow you to adjust volume levels when you plug it into an amplifier.
A lot of drummers don’t like playing on cajons due to them being uncomfortable. You often have to bend your back to play them, and doing that for lengthy gigs can take a toll on your body.
If you’re in that camp, we suggest checking these slap-top cajons from Meinl out. The unique design is the first and most prominent feature to check out, but we also love how you can plug it into an amp without needing a mic.
You kill two birds with one stone here, and you can even adjust the levels on the side of the cajon. If you need a bit more volume at your acoustic gigs, something like this will be extremely useful.
The bottom side of the cajon has padded areas so that your legs don’t take much strain. We think it’s a genius design. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, though, as it doesn’t feel as satisfying to play as a large cajon.
Verdict: The Meinl Percussion Pickup Turbo Slap-Top Cajon is a good option for drummers who find normal cajons uncomfortable to play. You can sit and play with it resting on your legs in the same way that you would play with bongos. It even has built-in pickups to amplify it and adjust an EQ. It just isn’t a great option for drummers wanting to play something big and bulky.
A standard cajon that comes with an included bass drum pedal.
A cajon more marketable to a wider range of musicians. The included pedal allows you to free up your hands, meaning a singer/songwriter could also use it to add a bit of rhythm to their performances.
We love the cajon itself here, but the selling point is the included DW 5000 cajon pedal. We were very impressed at how well it works, and we know that DW 5000 pedals are just fantastic in general.
Something we noticed was that the bass drum tone you get is slightly lighter than what you’d get with a standalone pedal being attached to cajon. This makes it perfect for drummers who feel like a standalone pedal sounds a bit aggressive.
We also love how the pedal frees your hands up. You can add a shaker or a cymbal, and you’ll almost have a full rig.
The last thing to mention is that this package is more affordable than buying a cajon and a pedal separately, so you get great value!
Verdict: The LP Inside Cajon Pedal is a top-quality option for people who want to free their hands up. LP and DW fall under the same group of brands, so the bonus of buying LP percussion instruments is that you get amazing DW hardware, like the pedal included here. While you get amazing value, this cajon is quite expensive compared to most others, though.
A unique cajon with the physical design of a whiskey barrel.
The whiskey barrel design of this cajon makes it an excellent collector’s piece, and it’s a cajon that will bring up many conversations when being used in coffee shops and bars. It helps that it has incredible tone quality too.
When looking at the design of this cajon, you’ll clearly see why it’s on this list without us having to explain anything. Some decorative designs are quite cheesy, but we feel that this one perfectly suits the environments where cajons are often played in.
It’s built from staved New Zealand pine, which is another aspect that makes it highly unique compared to every other cajon on this list. We love how fat the tones are that the pine produces, and the crispy slap notes aren’t too shabby either.
Overall, we think this is an extraordinary option to consider. It’s the type of cajon that you could easily keep as a bar decoration and then pull out to play whenever you needed. However, not every player will want a whiskey barrel as a cajon, so we wouldn’t say it’s very versatile.
Verdict: The Latin Percussion Matador Whiskey Barrel Cajon is the most out-there option we’re suggesting when it comes to the physical design. We feel that it perfectly suits bar and club environments, and it’s a great decoration to have in a home bar area. The high-quality sounds back the design up very well. It’s just not a design that everyone will love.
A great alternative to traditional bongos.
This cajon is designed with the same shape and playability as bongos, but you get the benefit of not having to deal with drum skins. You don’t need to worry about tuning or skins wearing out and needing to be replaced.
Here’s a cajon option that we’d recommend for percussionists that play bongos. This wouldn’t be a suitable replacement for a standard cajon, as the tones are different. It would be a more durable replacement for bongos, though.
We found that this cajon produced the tight and high-pitched tones that you’d expect from bongo drums, but we got more attack and punchiness that naturally came from the wooden cajon design.
The biggest thing we realized about this cajon is that it would be a lot more durable than classic bongos in the long run. You also don’t need to tune it to get a good sound like you need to with bongos.
The downside is that you can’t mount the bongo cajon to a stand, so it will be difficult to set this up like you would with normal bongos.
Verdict: The Latin Percussion Bongo Cajon is an excellent replacement option for traditional bongos. You get similar sounds with better durability and no need to tune. We just wouldn’t recommend getting this instead of a standard cajon if that’s what you’re looking for. You also can’t mount this to anything to create a larger setup like you can with normal bongos.
One of the most reliable standard cajons on the market.
Meinl’s Headliner Series percussion instruments are known to be fantastic options in all categories, and the cajon version perfectly matches that description. The benefit of this one is that you can adjust the internal strings to alter the slapping sound.
If you want a cajon to buy that is classified as an easy purchase that won’t let you down, the Headliner Series Cajon from Meinl would be one of our strong suggestions.
While this cajon isn’t as affordable as a few others we’ve mentioned on this list, it’s definitely more affordable than a few of the higher-tier options. It sits nicely in the middle, making it a great pick for drummers with any budget.
The standout feature for us is the ability to adjust the internal strings. You can essentially “tune” the cajon to give it different sounds, and that allows you to personalize the sound to get what you want. We found it very easy to do so, as you can get a tight slapping sound as well as a fairly loose one.
The cajon doesn’t offer anything special other than that, though, so many people may find our other suggestions a bit more attractive.
Verdict: The Meinl Percussion Headliner Series String Cajon is a highly reliable option to consider. It’s a relatively affordable cajon that will sound great at acoustic gigs. You can also alter how it sounds by tightening the internal strings. We don’t think it offers features that are as exciting as a few of our other picks, though, which is why it doesn’t rank as highly on our list.
A luxury cajon for drummers and percussionists wanting pristine craftsmanship.
One of the most luxuriously crafted cajons on the market. It was designed with the help of Alex Acuna, who is one of the most successful percussionists in the music industry.
This cajon would be our Editor’s Pick if we kept the criteria to single cajons only. It’s quite expensive, but the Alex Acuna Cajon has pristine design quality that makes it an amazing option to consider.
It’s made from authentic Peruvian Mohena hardwood, and that gives it much richer tonal quality than all the other cajons on this list.
We found that you get impressive dynamic responsiveness when playing on different parts of the cajon, and the bass tones are quite tight in their sound.
The design fits in with classic Peruvian culture, making this another cajon that is great for collectors. The high price tag makes it a rare option, but it’s well worth it if you get it!
Verdict: The Gon Bops Alex Acuna Special Edition Cajon is one of the best options for serious cajon players to consider. It offers rich and expressive tones, and the overall instrument was designed with the help of Alex Acuna himself. Any rare percussion instrument collector would love to have this in their hands. You just need to get past the high price tag.
An electronic cajon with 30 different preset sound options.
An electronic cajon that is powered by a small drum module. You need an amp to hear it, but you have full control over the volume and sounds that are produced.
Our last suggestion for this list is one that you may not have thought existed. Roland made this cajon to allow percussion players to have a wide array of cajon sounds with just one instrument, and we think it works brilliantly.
We found all 30 of the sounds to work very well, and the ability to control the volume through an amp makes it a good pick to use in larger venues.
The multiple sounds on offer make this one of the most versatile cajons available. However, you don’t get the same dynamic response levels that you get from a standard cajon when using those electronic sounds.
We realized that this instrument has the same downfalls as an electronic drum kit compared to an acoustic one. It’s still an incredible option, though!
Verdict: The Roland ELCajon EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon is an interesting pick that works both acoustically and digitally. You get 30 sound options when utilizing the electronic side of it, giving you plenty to work with. The downside is that those electronic sounds aren’t as responsive as acoustic sounds are. The price of the cajon is also quite steep.
How to Choose the Best Cajon Drum Box
Build quality is always an important factor to consider, especially when purchasing something that you’re going to be hitting with your hands or sticks.
The design of a cajon is quite straightforward, but some brands use cheaper materials to keep costs down, and those cajons don’t hold up over time.
You should always check what material is used to make the cajon you’re considering and then read a few reviews about how people feel about those materials.
Harder woods are always a better option when cajons are made, so you should ideally be looking for cajons made from maple, birch, oak, and walnut.
However, there are plenty of good cajon options that are made from synthetic wood or rare wood sourced from various countries. As long as the materials are durable, you’re good to go!
Choosing a good brand isn’t the most important factor to consider, as some smaller ones make amazing percussion instruments. However, going with a big brand will always be a safer option.
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to do too much research before buying a cajon, we’d suggest getting one from Pearl, Latin Percussion, or Meinl Percussion. All the cajons that those brands sell are fantastic, so your purchase will be more reliable.
If you’re happy to do research and learn how things are made, you may find more fulfillment from getting a cajon crafted in a special way by a smaller brand.
Most cajons offer a bass tone when you play the center and a tight slapping tone when you play the edge. However, the nuances of those tones will change from cajon to cajon.
It all depends on how the cajon is constructed, and some cajons even allow you to alter those tones. So, it’s a good idea to do a listening test before buying the cajon that you’re eyeing.
Cajons range from $50 to $1000, depending on how rare the materials are that were used to make them.
Cheaper cajons will naturally have lower-quality sounds than more expensive ones, but a lot of drummers will struggle to hear the difference if they’re not immersed in the world of percussion instruments.
That’s why affordable cajons are a perfectly reasonable option to consider, especially if you’re just looking for something to use when you’re forced to.
Budget cajons range from $50 to $200. All the full-sized cajons that cost between $100 and $200 are solid optionsthat can be used in professional settings.
Anything that costs more than that will have pristine design features. If that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth paying extra.
Final Thoughts on the Best Cajon Drum Boxes
While all the cajons that we mentioned above are incredible options to choose from, our top three picks will always be our best recommendations.
To give a quick recap on those, the Meinl Percussion Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon is our Top Pick, thanks to its attractive features and price tag.
The Meinl Percussion Compact Jam Cajon is our best suggestion for drummers on a Budget. It’s a bit smaller than usual, dropping the price tag but still giving you great sounds.
Meinl Percussion’s Cajon Drum Set is our Editor’s Choice, and it’s our best suggestion if you’re okay with spending a bit more money to get an entire percussion setup centered around the included cajon.