Best Box Cajon
Best Box Cajon Overall:
Everybody loves the deep bass and snappy snare sounds of a good box cajón. Traditionally Peruvian and Caribbean, the cajón is found all over the various styles of Latin music. It's also the perfect drum set alternative for acoustic gigs of any style of music. The box drums picked for this list have the best tonal balance between deep bass lows and sharp snare-like attack from slaps. It's common for mid-sized cajón drums to overly favor the snare and lack a full, solid bass tone. All the fine cajóns here sound great, but Fat Congas wins it by a mile because of the unmatched dual playing surface.
Fat Congas is an outstanding cajn maker. This is especially evident on the Best Cuban Cajn list, but here Fat Congas wins out for the tonal beauty of the String Cajn. That great tone is thanks to everything that goes into this champion box drum. The larger companies make some good instruments, no doubt, which says a lot about this cajn's superiority. It has the clearest, most moving tone of any box drum on this list one side favors the snare, the other booms massive bass. It's not cheap, but definitely well worth it. Fat Congas' two-sided action as opposed to everybody else's single playing surface basically makes this like buying two cajns in one. Read Full Review
This is quite a feat. Meinl Pickup Cajns have an internal pickup microphone and preamp system. The apparatus is surprisingly light, and the sound it projects is spot-on true to the instrument. This is a godsend of convenience for live situations. Beyond the innovative electronics, the white ash playing surface and rubber wood body combine for a terrifically balanced sound. It's a great combination of warmth and full volume projection when played 'au naturel' with the mic turned off. Read Full Review
Meinl continues to amaze with these cutting edge designs. This company mass produces cajns like no one ever has before. This is a stand-out model among Meinl's numerous box cajns, the widest selection in the industry. The company describes it like this: "A pedal attached to the cajn adjusts the amount of pressure used to press the snare wires against the front plate, and can even be turned off completely." The player can change the snares while playing. This is also a bit bigger than Meinl's standard size, giving it more volume and bass. Read Full Review
Like a typhoon, Tycoon Percussion makes landfall with the only cajn not made entirely out of wood. There's a natural burl playing surface on the front, but the body is an ultra-sheen acrylic. This is definitely eye-catching for its unconventionality. And the tone is bound to grab some ears and souls in kind. This box has some serious boom, no question about it. Instruments like this are proof that Tycoon is making waves as a serious contender in the commercial percussion arena. Read Full Review
Pearl delivers some serious old school soul with this excellent cajn. The Elite series has another hit with this one. The bone-dry, no-nonsense tone comes from a very traditional design going back to old Peru or flamenco's home in Spain. The oak and plywood that form this great cajn give the sound fullness and excellent resonance. The very modern internal snare system is a nice touch, combining the new with the old. It's extremely adjustable, which allows for a wide gamut of sound customization. Read Full Review
Best Budget Box Cajon:
Cajóns are all over the retail percussion market these days. It's to the point where competition is apparently so fierce, top manufacturers are cranking out excellent low priced models. All the finalists on this list are remarkably well balanced and diverse in sound projection and tone quality. They'll all make a great workhorse for pros or solid practice tool for beginners. The basic principle behind ranking was how close each one compares to pricier cajóns by the same leading companies. Meinl's Headliner series is clearly the best value none come close to that kind of quality for a hundred bucks.
A hundred bucks and that's that. This is all a traditional player who doesn't need or want a lot of frills could ever hope for. A low priced, durable cajn that has excellent playing response and a no-nonsense traditional design. It may not be fancy, but the Headliner Cajn is definitely fully adjustable and amazingly on par with more expensive models. Case in point LP's #3 angled deal. The sound quality is a dead heat, so that interesting angle didn't outweigh the extra $75. The rubber wood on this pick edged the ash wood front of of the #3 because of its brighter, warmer tone. Read Full Review
All that was said about numero uno goes for this sister Headliner. Nothing fancy, just basic excellence that most players will easily feel comfortable taking a seat on with this great traditional design. The ash wood favors the bass, so those who favor the low tones should check this out. It's likely this one will win out over the rubber wood version for the slight but noticeable bass boost. Pop or rock percussionists searching for that staple piece for acoustic gigs should by all means check this box drum out. It delivers Meinl quality and tonal class for such a great low price. Read Full Review
This Latin Percussion piece is really one of the finest cajns around. Not just the way it sounds, but the pleasant surprise is it's under $200. Quiet, nobody tell LP, they may have let one slip under the radar for cheap. The obvious eye-catcher is the angle, which makes this the most ergonomic cajn to date. Pros who play a lot of lengthy performances should look into this one. The wider bottom also allows for a fuller bass tone, which nicely complements the full, as opposed to annoyingly piercing, snare sound. Read Full Review
Usually LP Aspires are hit and miss. This cajn, however, is far from abysmal. In fact, it's downright excellent for such a low price. LP has a tendency to surprise with the quality of lower priced gear, and the Aspire cajn is a great example. Tones are bright and full, not all that far off from some of the most expensive tone boxes out there. The Aspire cajn is perfect for recreational players, ambitious novices and instructors. Read Full Review
Schalloch appears to be an offshoot of Meinl. This cajn is super-solid, a beast of burden that working percussionists will adore. It's cheap, you won't mind beating it up and boy can it take it. This is a great choice for all levels of players. The design is comfortable and basic, nothing fancy. So those who don't like a lot of elaborate (and expensive) frills, this impressively constructed and bold-sounding cajn will work out very well. Read Full Review