How To Choose Your Djembe Drum

Let us help you choose which djembe drum is the best one for YOU as a drummer. There are many factors to consider when purchasing a djembe, some of which are competing. Price vs. Quality, Sound vs. Portability, Size vs. Playability, and so on. The tables below will help you make your selection, based on how you prioritize your criterion. Always feel free to contact us by phone or email for additional help in knowing which djembe is the best choice for you.

choosing the right size djembe

As with most hand-held instruments, the size of the drummer should determine the size of the drum. Bigger is not always better! Hand size, height, and strength of the drummer, as well as intended use of the drum, should be the important factors in your decision about the correct size of djembe for you. Use the table below for help in making your decision. Djembe sizes are written by Head Diameter X Height (like 13" x 24"). Photos are included to demonstrate relative size comparison to an adult djembe player. While this guide will be beneficial in helping you to get a drum that fits you accurately, every drummer has their own unique preferences based on desired sound and playability, which may require a drum that isn't necessarily in the recommended size range.

Head Diameter Height Ages Grade Height Description
7-8" 14-16" Click to shop for a 7-8"x16" djembe.
Age 2-5 Grade PreK Child Height The 7-8"x14-16" is a miniature size version of the real thing; this is not a toy or merely a sourvenier that you would expect to fall apart after a few months. Size is suitable for most 2-5 year old children, but is also great for backpacking and as a substitute for a bongo, or when tuned high, a dumbek.
9" 17-18" Click to shop for a 9"x18" djembe.
Age 5-7 Grade 1-2 Child Height The 9"x18" size is capable of producing a full range of djembe sounds with surprisingly great volume and depth. Size is suitable for most 5-8 year old children, but is also great for backpacking and as a substitute for a bongo. You'll be amazed at the volume and depth of such a small djembe... actually a much louder, deeper "tone" response than larger drums.
10" 20" Click to shop for a 10"x20" djembe.
Age 7-9 Grade 2-5 Child Height The 10"x20" size djembe is a favorite in grade and middle schools because of its versatilty and portability. The height allows a child sitting in a short chair to rest the djembe on the floor, while the head size is big enough to play with proper technique to achieve bass, tone, and slap.
11" 22" Click to shop for a 11"x22" djembe.
Age 9-13 Grade 5-7 Teen Height The 11"X22" is a slighly undersized djembe, suitable for middle school students or to facilitate frequent transportation. For petite drummers it is also a good choice because it gives the full range of sound - bass, tone, slap - but isn't too bluky or heavy. The 11"x22" is perfect for drum circles where drummers of all sizes will be playing the drums.
12-13" 22" Click to shop for a 12"x22" djembe.
Age 13-16 Grade 7+ Teen/Petit Height The 12-13"x22" is designed specifically to meet the needs of many female djembe drummers: Ligher weight & reduced height. It makes drumming more comfortable and convenient for drummers who prefer a shorter djembe, but who do not want to sacrifice playing surface to get it. This djembe has a full head size and volume, just carved out of lighter wood, and cut shorter in the stem.
12-13" 24" Click to shop for a 13"x24" djembe.
Age 14+ Grade 7+ Height up to 5'10" The 12-13"X24" is a standard full size djembe, suitable for most adult male and female drummers. The height is just right for most drummers to play sitting in a regular folding chair. The head size is adequate for average adult size hands to comfortably play with proper djembe technique. This size offers more selection than any other size because it is the most common, standard size for a djembe.
14" 25" Click to shop for a 14"x25" djembe.
Adult Adult Height over 6' The 14"X25" is an oversize djembe, suited for taller individuals or drummers with oversize hands. While we typically say "The bigger the drum, the bigger the sound," in this case the sound difference between the 13"x24 and this is minimal. Tall drummers usually pick this drum because it feels more comfortable to play when seated and gives the hands room to be correctly placed on the drum head.
15-16" 25-26" Click to shop for a 16x25" djembe.
Adult Adult Height over 6'5" This 15-16"x25-26" size djembe is very oversize, too large for most adult men and women. This djembe is suited for much taller drummers with larger hands, or who have well-developed djembe technique and who are certain a 16" djembe is what they need or want to fit their playing style. Oversize drums such as this require more energy to play, as well as more tension to get an ideal sound, not to mention more space to store and strength to carry.


Compare features to select the right djembe for you

Once you have determined the right djembe size, the next step is to compare all other features of the drum to narrow down the selection to the perfect drum to meet your needs. The table below rates each category of full size djembe on based on important factors such as price, sound quality, craftsmanship, and so on.

Djembe Feature Comparison Table
  Drum Circle Heartwood 
Classic Heartwood
Paragon Heartwood
Paragon Heartwood 
Ivory Coast
Paragon Heartwood 
Paragon Heartwood
Mali Melina
Paragon Heartwood 
Paragon Plus Heartwood 
Size Selection
Sound Quality
Wood Type
Wood Carving Quality
Skin Quality
Artistic Appeal/Design
Cost to Rehead
Culturally Legitimate
Star Ratings 26/55 34/55 46/55 37/55 35/55 40/55 40/55 39/55
Overall Value (Price vs Features)
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