Best Djembe in 2020 (November Reviews)

And after narrowing down our list of the best djembes to three, we picked the Remo Mondo Djembe as our top choice. We love its excellent sound quality, its sturdy construction, and the full range of bass tones it delivers. It’s also portable and easy enough for beginners and recreational drummers to use.

In choosing the best djembes, we considered the quality and consistency of the sound they made, their construction and craftsmanship, and their ease of use, portability, and affordability. We selected the instruments that even beginners and children would find simple to play but still produce the tonal qualities that professionals look for. Read on to learn more about it and the other djembes we’ve included in our list.

Top 3 Best Djembes

 #1  Remo Mondo Djembe Drum

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: With its awesome deep bass tones, its well-defined high-pitched slaps, and the long-lasting durability and excellent sound quality ensured by its Acousticon shell and Mondo Skyndeep drumhead, this instrument is easily the best synthetic djembe today. Our top choice also has intricate adinkra symbols that make it not only delightful to listen to, but wonderful to look at as well.

Pros
  • Best for beginners
  • Full tone range with strong, even resonance
  • Beautifully engraved, sturdy wood fiber shell
Cons
  • May reverberate too much for some
  • Comes key-tuned but with no tuning key for future adjustments

The Remo Mondo Djembe has a 14-inch diameter and is 25 inches tall. It’s just the right size for a typical adult. Its Skyndeep head is wide enough to provide a full range of tones, from booming bass to distinct high-pitched slaps. And while its drumhead isn’t made from authentic goatskin, it’s a high-quality synthetic alternative that produces similar tonal qualities. This djembe also boasts a well-constructed Acousticon shell that helps create outstanding resonance. This shell is intricately carved with authentic adinkra symbols, making this musical gem a beautiful percussion instrument for performances.

The Remo Mondo Djembe has a lightweight build. It’s portable and easy to handle, even for beginners and children. It’s weatherproof and can withstand humid climates. It’s also easy to maintain and can be cleaned with a quick wipe down. If you are looking for a djembe that sounds great, looks good, and lasts for a long time, the Remo Djembe would be your top choice, just as it is ours. It is a good companion to the best xylophone.

 #2  Meinl Percussion Djembe

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: We love the classic djembe sound and the wide range of warm tones, including deep resonant bass, produced by this 10-inch handcrafted djembe that’s ideal for children and novice drummers. It has a natural goatskin drumhead set on a base that’s carved from solid mahogany and is tuned through traditional Mali-weave.

Pros
  • Best for Kids
  • Comes with pre-stretched tuning ropes
  • Solid acoustics for indoor and outdoor performances
Cons
  • May be a bit small for some adults
  • Comes pre-tuned but might need adjustments, depending on temperature and humidity

The Meinl Percussion Djembe delivers excellent tonal quality that’s at par with classic djembe sounds. Its carefully selected natural goatskin drum head is secured by high-quality nylon ropes in a traditional Mali-Weave system. These tuning ropes are pre-stretched, so the djembe can be used right out of the box.

The djembe’s center produces deep, resonant bass while its edges provide sharp popping accents of high-pitched slaps. We can’t help but imagine the rhythm of a flowing river with every beat produced by this drum. With its solid acoustics, it can be used both for indoor and outdoor performances. Aesthetically, this djembe is quite beautiful, with ripples sophisticatedly carved on its mahogany shell. You may also like to hear the best chimes or the best dulcimer.

 #3  Deco Wood & Leather Djembe Drum

Award: BEST BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Our best budget djembe is lightweight, portable, and, of course, very affordable. Considering its small size and modest price, we’re quite impressed with its uncompromised sound excellence, especially in producing treble tones, its high-quality leather head, and its solid wooden shell.

Pros
  • Most portable and lightweight
  • Comes with pre-stretched tuning ropes
  • Has enough tonal variation and control for beginners
Cons
  • The strings are not tunable
  • Leather can become loose and warp over time

With a diameter of only 7 inches and a height of 12 inches, the Deco djembe may look more like a decorative item than a functional djembe. However, it still produces enough tonal variations for a good rhythm. It’s a good beginner djembe for young children, or a lightweight drum to bring to outdoor picnics or camp outs.

Undoubtedly though, the appeal of this djembe is its beautiful design. It is hand carved from solid wood and bears an authentic leather head. It’s the type of instrument that’s worth displaying on a shelf or an accent table. However, this specific model may be difficult to find in shops. Also read about the best concertinas or the best cowbell

How We Decided

When we were going over djembe drums for sale, we had beginners and recreational drummers in mind. So, we primarily considered ease of playing, affordability, and durability.

Our top picks are all easy to use regardless of one’s skill level. They all come pre-tuned and can be played instantly right out of the box. Their skin heads have just the right thickness to create defined tones without needing much force. Thus, even children can use these djembes without difficulty. To bring music into your home in other ways, take a look at the best turntable too.

Since we considered these as beginner djembes, we also took affordability into account. These djembes are quite comfortable on the pocket, so you’ll have more to spare for more advanced instruments in case you decide to go pro or up your playing skills.

Finally, we ensured that these djembes are long-lasting. They are all made from sturdy wood or wood fiber and have high-quality heads.

Best Djembes Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Skin
    The sound quality of djembes rely on the quality of its skin, shell, and rope. Traditional goatskin heads produce richer sounds, while synthetic heads have brighter sounds that are more distinct when played amidst other instruments. For the best drumheads, choose those made from Guinea, Mali, or Senegal goatskin. The thickness of the skin also affects sound quality. Opt for medium to thick skins that produce better tones and less excess ring. Djembes with thinner skins may be easier to play, but those with thicker ones last longer.
  2. Shell
    Traditional djembes have drum shells made from solid wood. Craftsmen hand carve and shape the wood into a drum and smoothen the rough edges. Wooden djembes produce a more authentic sound than their synthetic counterparts. Synthetic djembes usually use fiberglass, which are lighter and more portable.
  3. Rope
    High-quality ropes ensure durability and keep the djembe in tune. Nylon is a common material for ropes, but they tend to be flat, thin, and weak. They also tend to be very stretchy, affecting the tune after several uses. So, choose djembes with premium nylon or polyester. Double-braided ones that are 3/16 inch or 4.5 millimeters thick are quite good. If the djembe you want to buy has low-quality rope, consider changing it at your re-heading.
  4. Size
    The size of the djembe affects not only the tone, but also the ease of playing. The larger the djembe, the wider its tonal variation would be. It would have deeper sounding bass and sharper slaps at the edges. However, it can be harder to keep in tune due to its wider skin surface area. The standard size for adults is a diameter of 12 to 13 inches and a height of 24 to 25 inches, but the right djembe size really depends on the size of your body.
  5. Affordability
    When you buy djembe drum, get the best one at the price you can afford. Djembes come in a wide range of prices, so there’ll most likely be one that fits your budget. Cheaper djembes may be of lower quality but can be good options for kids or adults just trying it out. These are often synthetic djembes designed for fun and leisure. Go for pricier and more authentic ones if you are serious about djembe playing.

Djembes FAQs

What is the best djembe drum to buy?

The Africa Heartwood Djembe and Madedrums are the most authentic djembe found in most shops. However, there are also other popular brands that manufacture good quality djembes. Meinl has excellent quality djembes with hand-carved shells and premade heads. Deco has the most affordable djembes that are perfect for beginners, while Remo and Toca produce mostly standard synthetic ones. Terre also offers a vast selection of different djembes, so it’s a good brand option for more intermediate players.

How do you pick a good djembe?

When you go over djembe drums for sale, pick one that uses high-quality materials, shows good craftsmanship, and is of adequate size. Traditional wooden ones with natural goatskin heads sound more authentic than fiberglass djembes with synthetic heads. A good djembe should have no frayed ropes, no open cracks in the shell, and no holes on the skin. Choose a djembe that has at least 22 to 28 loops on the rings and has rings that are wrapped in cloth.

What size djembe drum should I get?

The smallest djembes are 7 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall, which is just right for young kids. For older kids, get a 10-inch djembe that’s about 19 to 20 inches tall. The standard size for adults are djembes with a 12- to 13-inch diameter and are 24 inches in height. However, the actual size of the djembe drum you should get depends on your body size and how you’ll be using the instrument. The size should match the ergonomics of your body so you can play it comfortably. While you are sitting in a relaxed position, the base of the drum should rest on the floor and its head should be just above your thighs. This would put your arms in a perfect angle. The diameter should also be large enough to play using both your hands.

How much does a djembe drum cost?

African djembes can cost as much as $1,000. But, there are also synthetic djembes that can be bought at less than $50. The djembe price would depend on the quality, size, and material used. Typically, synthetic ones cost less than traditional wooden drums. Those with natural goatskin head may also be priced higher than synthetic leathers. Since the prices of djembes for sale are in such a wide range, just get the best one among the price range you can afford.

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Geri Mileva

Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance writer with nine years of experience. Technology, marketing and finance are among her favorite topics to write about. She's also a strong advocate of plant-based and ethical living.

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