The Best Beginner Cajon For Under $150 For 2020

The Best Beginner Cajons

Cajons are a great percussion instrument. They pair well with many different genres of music. Whether you are just learning, or are an experienced musician, you can have fun on the cajon in any jam session. With the recent popularity, many companies are producing a wide variety of cajons. We have selected our top three picks for the best beginner cajon under $150.

Although there is not a huge range in timbre when comparing cajons, the quality and make will give slight variations you may find preferable. When you are just starting out, a simple, entry level cajon will do just fine. Luckily, you can pick one up for a reasonable price. No need to break the bank and buy a cajon with a rare hardwood body just have a tone you probably won't yet appreciate. 

If you're interested in picking up new percussion equipment, be sure to check out our top djembe drum picks!

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT

BEST VALUE

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1AWA
Sawtooth ST-CJ120B

Product

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT

Sawtooth ST-CJ120B

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1AWA

Reviews

Features

  • Adjustable top corners and strings 
  • Two year warrenty
  • Rear port for mic placement 
  • Rubber wood body and playing surface
  • Snare cajon (adjustable)
  • Full birch body and playing surface
  • Comes with padded seat and carrying bag
  • Adjustable playing surface and rubber feet
  • String cajon (adjustable)
  • Full MDF body and white ash playing surface
  • Two year warranty
  • Adjustable corners and rubber feet

Considerations When Selecting The Best Beginner Cajon


The dimensions, style, and type of wood will determine the tone of the cajon. A sound hole is used in the back panel for acoustic purposes and the front top edges are unattached, allowing the player to slap the panel against the box. Modern cajons will use adjustment screws for altering timbre and drum snares to add a unique sound quality. A number of cajons used in flamenco style music use strings instead of snares on the inside. It may be hard to know what you'll want in your first cajon, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Style
    There are two basic styles for cajons: string , and snare cajons. The string and snare refers to the internal device that causes the crisp, high end buzz of the cajon. A company will either use a drum snare, or a style of string to give the cajon a crisp high-end. Have a look at this video to get a good idea of the difference:
  • Tone
    The tone of your cajon is determined by the dimensions and wood type. Most cajons are made of acoustic hardwoods (white ash, or mahogany), but some are made of composite materials such as MDF. If you are concerned with the specific tone of your cajon, do a quick video search to hear how they sound in action! 
  • Construction
    Does the cajon come with a padded top? What about rubber feet (for non-slip and acoustic treatment)? The cajon must have adjustability. You're going to want to be able to adjust the tensioning on the snare, or the strings, to suit your preference for the snappy, crisp high-tone. This is usually accomplished buy turing a hex key on the inside of the cajon. You'll also want to be able to adjust the top end of playing surface. This will let you choose how much slap your cajon has. The front playing surface needs to take a beating. Ensure your cajon's playing surface is made out of a durable material (hardwood, or MDF). 

Our Suggestions For The Best Beginner Cajon

Below are our top picks for the perfect beginner cajon under $150. 

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT


82 %
Rating
Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT

FEATURES:

  • Adjustable top corners and internal strings
  • Two year warrenty
  • Rear port for mic placement
  • Rubber wood body and playing surface

Looking for something that won't break the bank? Check out the Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT Headliner Series. The perfect entry level cajon. It's simple, durable, and sounds great.

The HCAJ1NT Headliner is a string cajon with metal strings that can be adjusted using a hex key. It's constructed with adjustable top corners to alter the amount of “slap” sound heard from corner hits. The rear port is an ideal placement for a mic if you are playing live.

It's constructed out of a solid rubber wood that produces an excellent tonal quality. The durable rubber wood-playing surface will deliver a full bass spectrum with cutting snare slaps. A great entry level cajon!

Sawtooth ST-CJ120B

88 %
Rating
Meinl Percussion HCAJ1AWA

FEATURES:

  • Snare cajon (adjustable)
  • Full birch body and playing surface
  • Comes with padded seat and carrying bag
  • Adjustable playing surface and rubber feet

If you're looking for a less expensive beginner cajon, you've found it. The ST-CJ120B is similar to the HCAJ1NT with a bit more features (and a lower price!). You are still getting the simple, durable construction with a snare instead of strings. It gets extra marks for including additional features such as padded seat and carrying bag.

The full birch body looks great and will provide a snappy tone. It's also capable of all the adjustments you'll need (internal snare and top corners). A great option!

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1AWA


83 %
Rating
Sawtooth ST-CJ120B

FEATURES:

  • String cajon (adjustable)
  • Full MDF body and white ash playing surface
  • Two year warrenty
  • Adjustable corners and rubber feet

Have an ear for tone? The MDF body and white ash playing surface provides the basis for rich sound development. The white ash delivers a full bass spectrum with cutting snare slaps and responds to soft finger rolls.

Similar to the HCAJ1NT the HCAJ1AWA strings and top corners are adjustable. The cajon is visually stinking and is available in two colors. It also comes with Meinl's standard two-year warranty. The HCAJ1AWA is a great deal for the price and will not disappoint those who are looking to spend just a little more to have the rich tones!

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. I love reviewing audio equipment and solving audio related problems.

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