Congrats, you’ve decided to buy a drum. Double congrats, you’ve found a crash course on how to buy the best djembe, updated with new drums.
After the reviews you can also read about:
- what to look for in a good drum
- types, brands and sizes
- 10 great drums and where to get them
- favorite djembes under $50, $100 and $400
- best budget djembes
- what not to buy
You are watching: 10 Best Djembes of 2021 – Best Djembe Drum Brands
- 10 Best Djembes of 2021 – Best Djembe Drum Brands
- 1. Remo Mondo Earth Series
- Winner – Overall Best Djembe!
- Here’s a demo of the different sizes:
- 2. Meinl ADJ7-XL Fire Rhythm Series13″
- Best Wood Djembe
- 3. Meinl Earth Rhythm Series 10″
- Best Djembe for Beginners
- 4. Heartwood Project Series 10″, 11″, 13″
- Best African Djembe
- 5. Meinl Black River Series 8″
- Best Djembe Under $50
- 6. Deep Carved Djembe Elephant 10″-11″
- Best Djembe Under $100
- 7. Hand Carved Ivory Coast Djembe 13″
- Best Djembe Under $400
- 8. Remo Mondo Infinity Series 14″
- Best Large Modern Djembe
- 9. Remo Kids Percussion 8″ Rain Forest
- Best Djembe for Kids
- 10. Toca Origins Series 10″
- Best Wood Djembe For Kids
- What To Look For In A Djembe
- Types of Djembe
- Buying A Djembe Online
10 Best Djembes of 2021 – Best Djembe Drum Brands
Here are our top picks – our favorite wood and fiberglass models for every type of player, followed by the best djembe under $50, $100 and $250.
1. Remo Mondo Earth Series
Winner – Overall Best Djembe!
Make sure you choose the right size and style options on the product page.
10″ – women
12″ – men
14″ – XL men
It is available in sizes 10″, 12″ and 14″.
Here’s a demo of the different sizes:
Remo have a long history of producing professional drums and drum skins.
This drum would be a good choice for intermediate players and up – although beginners who can afford it will love it too!
It’s simple and comes tuned out of the box.
The drum head is Remo’s signature Skyndeep Fiberskyn and the shell is made of their Acousticon composite material. All you need to know is that the basses are deep and the highs are crisp and clear. It could be used as a soloist drum.
It has a protective rubber foot and is finished in a natural brown. It has 8 tuning lugs. Tuning this drum is MUCH easier than a wood drum.
My only criticism would be that it does not come with a strap. I suppose that gives me a chance to find a nice one.
2. Meinl ADJ7-XL Fire Rhythm Series13″
Best Wood Djembe
This is a fantastic wood djembe from a reputable drum brand. It is large drum at 13″ and would suit an adult. If need a smaller drum, try the Nile Series on Amazon.
It’s simple and comes tuned out of the box. It suit an advanced or solo player. It will be suitable for practice, live and studio work.
The shell is a solid piece of mahogany and has minimal hand carved grooves. There is rope wound around it to give it the ‘fire’ series name. It has a goat skin dyed black and a rope handle.
It is a strong, solid drum and weighs in at just under 16 lbs – not too heavy for a full sized drum.
It is expensive, but you get what you pay for, and this is a great, professional level drum. If you want to treat yourself to the best wood djembe, this is your drum.
3. Meinl Earth Rhythm Series 10″
Best Djembe for Beginners
Beginners might want to look at getting a djembe in the mid-cheap price range in your particular size. It will still be of a reasonable quality and won’t break the bank while you’re still learning. That’s why we recommend the Meinl Earth Rhythm Series.
This is a beautiful wood drum. We like that it is hand carved, has clean understated decorations and comes with a bag.
The shell is plantation grown Mahogany, hand carved, with decorations meant to represent ‘ploughed fields and stalks of grain’. This is where the ‘Earth Rhythm’ name comes from. Ooh.
It is topped with hand chosen goatskin and 4mm pre-stretched nylon.
We like that it comes with a heavy duty nylon djembe bag with a side pocket and super-sturdy zippers.
It is slightly more expensive, although it is a fantastic choice of drum. The bag is worth $60 alone.
4. Heartwood Project Series 10″, 11″, 13″
Best African Djembe
This handcarved drum from Africa would also make a great gift.
It is available in sizes 10″, 11″ and 13″.
The drum has been imported into the US and is then inspected and fine-tuned. This extra layer of quality control means you can be sure of getting a decent drum from Africa.
We also like that buying this drum supports the village artisans in Africa who make them.
This is a fantastic drum for beginners and intermediate players and comes tuned and ready to go out of the box. The shell is solid hardwood and the skin is West African goat. The sound is surprisingly good.
It would probably not suit an advanced or solo player.
It is a light drum and weighs in at under 10 lbs.
5. Meinl Black River Series 8″
Best Djembe Under $50
This also doubles as our Best Travelling Djembe, because it is very small. We would not recommend this as your main drum.
The Meinl Black River Series is a great choice for kids under 8 or as a quick and easy drum to go anywhere with.
It is made of one piece mahogany. The black finish and hand carved ridges make it unique. We’re told this represents ripples in the river.
It features goat skin head and pre-stretched rope.
At only 4lbs it is extremely light and easy to carry. It has a handle included, which doubles as additional rope for tuning.
6. Deep Carved Djembe Elephant 10″-11″
Best Djembe Under $100
This smoky-looking drum is a fantastic choice if you like a djembe with personality.
It is made of one piece mahogany, which is dried and oiled up to 20 times.
We love the elephant design too. The deep carving usually means the shell is nice and thick – a good thing.
It features goat skin head and 5mm non stretch rope.
At 8 lbs it is light and easy to carry. It has a handle included, which doubles as additional rope for tuning.
It’s also relatively affordable, which I appreciate.
7. Hand Carved Ivory Coast Djembe 13″
Best Djembe Under $400
Rope Tuned/ Goat Skin
This is a professional grade djembe we believe will exceed your expectations. It would suit adults around 6′.
It is a simple, neat design, typical of drums from Ivory Coast. The construction is solid and symmetrical, and it sounds like a dream.
It weighs in at 15.7 lbs which is about average for drums of its size.
Listen to two of these drums in action:
- Tonally a very clear drum, crisp highs
- Deep bass resonance that only large wood drums can give
- Excellent professional level drum
What we don’t like:
- Personal choice, but they could have added rubber protection to the foot
8. Remo Mondo Infinity Series 14″
Best Large Modern Djembe
Key Tuned/ Synthetic Skin
The Remo Infinity Mondo Series djembe is perfect modern option for those who like a larger drum.
- The deep bass on this drum would make it a fantastic accompaniment to a solo djembe
- The red wood grain finish makes this a great looking drum
- Tuning lugs have contour covers – comfortable to hold
- Remo skins are not animal but have a life-like animal look.
It is in the higher price range, but is well worth it.
9. Remo Kids Percussion 8″ Rain Forest
Best Djembe for Kids
The Remo Rain Forest 8″ is our top choice for a portable, low maintenance small modern djembe for kids. Perfect for kids aged 4-12.
Small and portable, it is a go-anywhere drum. It is light and easy to move around with and a strap is included. The sides of the drum are smooth and there is no rope or tuning pegs.
The compromise is that there is no way to tighten the skin. With heavy use, the skin will eventually become slack from playing and the sound will become duller.
This shouldn’t be a problem for beginners. They can always upgrade in time. For serious players, I would recommend this as a second drum, or for traveling.
The major plus, which we believe makes up for this, is that the drum is lighter and much more affordable, which is better for kids and travelling.
Read on about: Top 10 Best Cajon Drums in 2021- Reviews & Buying Guide
It’s our best choice for kids as it’s light, cheap and features Remo’s signature Skyndeep drum skin, which will sound great for years if well cared for. The shell is made of Remo’s own material – Acousticon, which is probably a fancy name for some kind of fiberglass. It’s light and resonant.
For what it is, this drum in absolutely fantastic.
10. Toca Origins Series 10″
Best Wood Djembe For Kids
This is our best choice for a small wood djembe. It would suit a child from 10-14 or an adult under 5′.
Toca are a well known producer of affordable percussion instruments.
This drum weighs in at 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) and is 16″ tall. Carved from a single piece of mahogany, it has grooves inside which eliminate overtones, giving this drum a well rounded sound.
It has a Celtic knot carving, which is clean and neat. It’s also light, with a shipping weight of under 7 lbs (3.1 kg).
It is good for traveling – probably also good as a second drum or muckabout djembe.
Toca are also environmentally friendly. They use only plantation grown wood that’s treated and dried in buildings using solar technology.
What To Look For In A Djembe
Width is the most common measurement for a djembe.
It indicates the diameter across the top of the drum.
When you see someone selling a 12″ djembe, they’re usually talking about the width.
The most popular djembe sizes are from 10″ – 14″
How big should my drum be?
Your drum should suit your physical size. If your drum is too big for you it will be difficult to maneuver. Too small and it will be difficult to play.
This chart should help, based on your height and age:
Types of Djembe
There are 2 main categories of djembe:
These are the most common – the classic djembe look.
As the name suggests, the shell is hand-made from one piece of solid wood. The drum skin is either synthetic or goat skin and the tuning is done with rope.
They are usually a natural wood color and sometimes have carvings around the foot of the shell.
- Quality wood provides good resonance (sound)
- Tuning and changing skins is difficult
- Quality can vary widely
These are usually machine-made by brand name drum companies such as Pearl or Remo.
The shell is made using composite materials and is molded to particular sizes and shapes.
The drum is tightened mechanically using a key and the skin is usually synthetic.
- Quality is standardized across a range of shells and skins
- Light, durable
- Easier to play and tune
- Environmentally friendly
- More expensive
What Type Should I Get?
Consider what you want to use the drum for.
- If you want to play the drum in a traditional African drum circle setting, you might want to get a wood djembe. The look, feel and sound of the drum would suit the setting.
- Or, for less traditional settings, such as playing in a band or informal drum circles, get a fiberglass djembe. They’re contemporary, light and easy to tune.
Some drums may be a combination of the two. They may have fiberglass shells and rope tuning.
Buying A Djembe Online
We recommend you buy your djembe online, and from a reputable dealer. Here’s why:
- Better choice and value for money than your local music store
- More reliable than Craiglist or EBay.
- Several trustworthy manufacturers and brands online.
All the sellers we recommend have good track records and quality products in their price range.
Make sure the seller has good communication, good reviews and a returns policy. Expect to pay shipping for returns.
You get what you pay for.
Double-check the drum’s specifications before you buy.
Which Is The Best Brand of Djembe?
African made djembes don’t usually have a brand name. They have been imported from Africa and come from many small manufacturers.
The key to finding a good one is a trustworthy supplier who has vetted and priced the drums accordingly. A few well known sellers are Drumskull and Djembe Direct.
Several brand name manufacturers also make wood djembes. These are usually machine carved with a lathe and then hand-finished. Well known brands are Meinl and Toca.
There are several well-known producers of high quality fiberglass djembes.
Drum companies such as Remo have been producing them for decades. A few other good brands are LP, Meinl and X8.
Each brand has different features, pros and cons and prices. Finding the best djembe brand is therefore a matter of preference.
Finding the right instrument is about knowing the features and options available and then matching them to your preferences. Buy from the right shop and check the product description carefully.
Do it the right way and you’ll have a drum for life.
We hope this has helped you to find the best djembe possible. We hope it arrives soon and you love it forever.