The 5 Best Conga Drums Reviews

Old-Conga-DrumsWhy would you want to have the best conga drums? Well it’s the most effective way to do that percussion, and if you’re into Latin music, merengue or salsa, conga drums are an absolute must.

Without these drums there’s no rhythm to the music, so there’s no question you need them. If you can’t decide which one to buy, I can help you out with this comprehensive guide.

Buying conga drums is not that difficult as they’re available online. However you can’t just buy whatever you want as the quality varies. So without further ado, here are the top 5.

Top 5 Conga Drums : Comparison Chart

Product
Diameter
Materials
Finish
Additional Features
View On Amazon
11-3/4″
North American Ash wood
Deep gloss
ProCare Integrated Shell Protectors
11” and 12”, 1 pair
Rubber wood
High gloss
MEINL style tuning brackets
10” and 11”
Plywood shell, rawhide skin
Gloss
Double braced stand
12”
Siam oak
Natural
Mini Comfort Curve II rims
12-1/2″, 30” tall
North American Ash wood
Deep gloss
Premium Gold hardware LP Heart Side Plates

Best Picks of Conga Drums

#1: Latin Percussion LP Galaxy Giovanni Series 11-3/4″ Wood Conga – Includes ChromaCast Drum Sack

The Giovanni Series is one of the company’s most popular conga drum lines. It’s classified as a mid range set and offers a nice combination of sound and quality.

These conga drums are made from the finest North American ash. The drum shells are handcrafted and selected using LP Galaxy’s rigid selection process.

The gold plated hardware and glossy finish makes these conga drums aesthetically pleasing. These are Quinto congas so you’ll want to use these to propel the rhythm.

These conga drums also serve as the percussion base section. The Giovanni Series conga drums are fun to use, full of warm tones and well rounded.

These conga drums pack a lot of power and you can use it as a focal point for your music. The distinct shell provides the drums with a unique, glossy finish.

The heads are natural rawhide and the side plates have been enhanced for heavy duty use. A backing plate and 3 bolts keep it in position.

These conga drums have the ProCare Integrated Shell Protectors that ensure the side plate hardware does not get damaged if there are adjacent conga drums.

If you perform a lot and need a good pair of conga drums then the Giovanni Series will do fine.  The ash wood is great, the construction is clear and the hardware is better than on most conga drums.

Tuning is easy and playing the drums is simple. The pops are good and the sound is crisp and warm.

When it comes to quality and performance you’re not going to find a lot like the Giovanni Series.

Highlighted Features
  • Handcrafted shell design
  • Drum sack included
  • ProCare Integrated Shell Protectors for damage protection
  • High quality tuning lugs
  • fortified LP Heart Side Plates

#2: Meinl Percussion HC512WRB Headliner Series 11-Inch and 12-Inch Conga Set With Basket Stands

Meinl has been manufacturing conga drums for a long time, and they’re known for quality and durability. While the brand is best known for cymbals, their conga drums for sale are exceptionally good.

This is classified as a beginner’s conga drum set, but it’s got a lot of power. The drums are 11 and 12 inches respectively and with a depth of 28” generates full sounds.

These are rubber wood drums and have some of the finest quality heads I’ve seen. It’s easy to build up a rhythm as the drums generate a lot of volume.

Meinl Percussion HC512WRB Headliner Series 11-Inch and 12-Inch Conga Set With Basket Stands, Wine Red Burst
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Sustainable rubber wood construction
  • Height adjustable basket stands with quick set up system
  • Original MEINL style tuning brackets
  • Black powder-coated hardware
  • Hand selected buffalo heads

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These conga drums have excellent range, with clear tones and plenty of projection. While these drums are aimed at beginners there is enough power here to satisfy serious conga drummers.

Available in wine burst red and other colors, these are also among the most beautiful conga drums available today. They also have the classic tuning brackets for superior sound.

All the hardware has black powder coating for extra longevity. For a lot of people the adjustable height stand is an important feature as it allows you to customize your playing.

The drums’ narrow, single headed design is what allows it to produce the beat yo want. From a musical standpoint the tones are warm, deep and good enough for professional use.

These are heavy duty drums that make it easy to build a rhythm for the music you’re playing.

The HC512WRB conga drums are compact but offer excellent sound and performance. It’s a nice set not just for beginners but for anyone who wants a good pair of conga drums.

Highlighted Features
  • Hand picked buffalo heads
  • Hardware is powder coated for durability
  • Basket is adjustable
  • Rapid set up system
  • Generates warm tones

#3: Toca 2300BB Conga Drum, Bahama blue

The name Toca has long been associated with some of the best congas for beginners, and the Synergy Series ranks as one of the best in the industry.

The 2300TB Synergy Series is designed for entry level beginners but these are good for serious music. This conga set is also versatile enough to handle various musical genres but easy enough for anyone to try.

The 2300TB conga drums are 28 inches deep which is just right for generating warm, clear tones. The drums come in various colors including transparent black, amber and Bahama blue.

Color differences aside the drum designs are solid and built to last.  These are constructed from 2 plywood layers for durability and optimum sound quality.

Toca 2300BB Conga Drum, Bahama blue
  • 10 inches and 11 inches head diameters
  • Tural Rawhide heads
  • 28 inches Two ply wood shell construction
  • Black powder coated Hardware

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ordinarily plywood isn’t the best material choice for conga drums, but Taco made sure these are of good built.

The conga drums have excellent projection and the range is superior to those on ordinary drums. The tones are clear, warm and crisp.

The drums work well on their own or as part of a band as the tone is well balanced.  The plywood construction is not just durable but also easy on your hands.

The drums have 5 lugs and the double brace conga stand serves its purpose. The 11 and 10 inch drums have rawhide heads that enhance the drums’ appearance and sound.

One of the cool things about these drums is their versatility. If you’re new, these are the ones to work with.

The 2300TB congas offer good value for your money. For a pair of entry level conga drums these are practical options.

Highlighted Features
  • Made of high quality materials
  • Dual brace stand
  • Hardware has black powder coating
  • Excellent sound
  • Available in different colors

#4: Lp Lpm198 Mini Tunable Wood Conga Natural

One conga or two? It’s up to you but you just like one, the LP Aspire mini conga is the one one to get. The drum looks just like its bigger LP counterpart and comes with features found in large drums.

The LPM198 conga drum measures 8 x 12 inches, and while it’s small provides clear sounds.   Its shell is made of siam oak and should hold up to extended use.

The drum looks good and the natural finish adds to the aesthetics. Overall the build quality is exceptional and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.

LP is known for quality hardware and that’s what you get here. You can use the drums out of the box and expect warm, clear sounds.

Sale
Lp Lpm198 Mini Tunable Wood Conga Natural
  • Miniature replica of the world famous, full size LP Classic Conga

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Compared to similar conga drums the LPM198 produces a deeper, more extensive tone.  The range is good and is more than capable.

The LPM198 is not what you would use professionally or for a live performance, but beginners this will more than suffice. The LPM198 is compact but provides plenty of value.

Compared to other conga drums the LPM198 is only 6 inches in diameter at the drum head. Eve so it sounds better and it can be tuned to generate the depth or tone you want.

While this is not a professional level conga drum, it’s ideal for kids and as a complement to your other drums.  The compact size also means the drum doesn’t need a case.

If you don’t need an expensive conga drum and just getting started, the LPM198 should satisfy your requirements.

Highlighted Features
  • Accurate replica of the LP conga
  • Built from quality siam oak
  • Rawhide heads are all natural
  • Fitted with Mini Comfort Curve rims
  • Easy to tune

#5: Latin Percussion LP Galaxy Giovanni Series 12-1/2″ Wood Conga – Includes ChromaCast Drum Sack

The Giovanni Series 12-1/2″ drums are 30 inches high. These shells are built from North American ash wood and carefully handcrafted.

The Giovanni Series has earned a well deserved reputation as one of the top conga drums today, and this is a case in point.

Aside from the ChromaCast Conga Size Drum Sack the set also comes with a ProCare Integrated Shell Protectors. These are put in place to ensure the drums don’t get damaged or damage nearby drums.

Latin Percussion LP Galaxy Giovanni Series 12-1/2" Wood Conga - Includes ChromaCast Drum Sack
  • Unique 30" tall shell design, hand crafted of premium North American Ash wood with a rich, deep gloss finish and hand selected, natural rawhide heads
  • Reinforced LP Heart Side Plates, each secured with three bolts and a backing plate
  • Premium Gold hardware including 3/8" diameter tuning lugs
  • LP Galaxy patented ProCare Integrated Shell Protectors prevent the side plate hardware from marking or damaging adjacent drums
  • Set Includes: ChromaCast Conga Size Drum Sack

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Like other LP conga drums the Giovanni Series have tuning lugs and premium quality hardware. A close look at the drums shows that its backing plate secures the heart side plates.

The Giovanni Series is built for professional use, and this is evident from the way it’s been crafted. The sounds that emanate from the drums are full, deep and with excellent range.

Playing with the drums is a lot of fun and also comfortable. With the Collar Comfort Curve II rims you’ll be at ease and get the tonal range you want.

LP Galaxy takes pride in making eco-friendly products and this is a good example of that. North American ash doesn’t harm the environment but it does not compromise when it comes to sound quality.

The drums also make use of steel pins for reinforcement, something that’s evident in the entire series.

Bottom line: with the Giovanni Series 12-1/2″ you’ll get drums with slaps that snap, clean open tones and deep bass. A lot of conga drums make that claim but this is one that really delivers.

Highlighted Features
  • Made of premium quality North American ash wood
  • ChromaCast Conga Size Drum Sack included
  • Shell protectors built in
  • High end hardware included
  • LP heart side plates are reinforced

 

What are Conga Drums?

The conga or tumbadora is a single headed drum with a narrow body. These are divided into three types: the salidor or tumba (low), tre golpes or tre dos (middle) and quinto (the lead drum).

These drums usually have a screw tensioned drumhead and a fiberglass or wood body. They’re often played in 2 or 4 sets using the palms or fingers.

There are many types of conga stands though most are 30 inches from the head to the bottom of the shell. You can play the conga sitting down or set them on a platform so you can play standing up.

Conguero is the term applied to conga players while those who dance are called rumberos.

Who Invented Conga Drums?

The conga drum originated in Cuba and Africa. How and who invented it is unknown but it is a descendant of the Cuba Cajon.

The conga also probably derived from various African drums that made their way into Cuba. The Ashiko, Bembe and Yuka are African drums that could have inspired the conga.

It is unlikely that a single person is responsible for the conga drum. It is more likely the conga was influenced by numerous drums.

What’s certain is that by the 1930s the conga as we know it had appeared. It was also during the 1930s the term conga began to be used.

Conga spread throughout the US during that period, with the Conga Line, salsa and mambo dominating. Today Latin music still makes extensive use of the conga including Latin rock, merengue, songo, salsa and many others. Afro-Cuban music also use it extensively.

How to Choose Conga Drums

You’ve never tried this instrument before so naturally you’ll look for the best beginner conga. But apart from being entry level, you’ll want to consider the following as well.

Size

Conga sizes are measured by the drum head diameter.

  • Tumba: this is the biggest drum and has the lowest pitch
  • Segundo: this is the conga and is known for its versatility.
  • Quinto: this is the smallest and produces the highest pitch

Of the three, the Segundo is the most ideal for beginners due to its flexibility.

Materials

If you’re on a budget, go for a fiberglass conga. They’re durable, affordable and is suitable if you’re a beginner and won’t use the drum professionally.

If you want the highest quality sound, buy a wooden conga. They’re more expensive than fiberglass but have a clearer, richer sound.

Invest in a quality wood conga if you’ve been playing for a long time or want to attain professional level skills.

There are many types of wood used on conga drums, but ash and oak are the most popular.  While they’re both excellent other woods also provide good sounds.

Drumheads

The drumhead is the skin on top of the drum and the surface you strike when you play the conga.

There are two options, natural and synthetic.

  • Natural: these consist of animal hide and used in traditional conga drums. These are more expensive than synthetic drumheads and sound better too.
  • Synthetic: these are more affordable than natural drumheads. They don’t sound as good but are more durable.

If you’re on a budget and just starting out, get a synthetic drumhead. They’re not durable but they’re less likely to deteriorate in warm climates.

But if you want the best sound, natural drumheads is the best option.

Top Conga Drums Brands

If you want maximum value for your money, don’t settle for second rate products and manufacturers. Here is my top conga drums brand list.

Latin Percussion (LP)

Anyone who’s played conga will tell you that Latin Percussion (LP) is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Their conga drums are made from ash and known for their excellent range and tone.

Meinl

Meinl carved out a name for itself by creating some of the best percussion instruments around. Their conga drums have received positive feedback for their durable built, clear tones and affordability.

Toca

The popularity of conga drums has resulted in a cottage industry, but Toca has managed to create a niche by constantly making quality products. Their conga drums are known for their versatility and value.

Pearl

Pearl is another brand widely recognized for their conga drums and percussion sets. Subjecting their products to rigid testing, you’re assured that each one is built to last and comes with excellent range.

 

How to make Conga Drums

Final Verdict

After reviewing all of these conga drums, I’ll have to admit that it was tough to choose a winner. All 5 conga drums are exceptionally built and offer great value for your money.

But after careful consideration, I chose the Latin Percussion LP Galaxy Giovanni Series 12-1/2″. As I stated in the review, this conga drum is durably built, easy to play and has outstanding sound.

The Giovanni Series 12-1/2″ is well balanced, with a beautiful design and quality good enough for professional use. For these reasons I consider it the best conga drums.

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Frédéric January 23, 2020 at 1:51 am

    Hello,

    Something is good to know: Siam Oak is Rubberwood, it’s the same: Hevea brasiliensis. It’s just that Lp uses a nice marketing name to sound luxurious, but Siam Oak doesn’t belong to the Oak family, it’s all Hevea, which is great.

    Also Headliners are the cheapest from Meinl, and Galaxy Giovanni are the most expensive from Lp so yeah, the second are better, but I guess you would find the Meinl professional are actually just as good for 2/3 of the price.

  2. Reply
    Greg May 13, 2020 at 4:32 am

    The fact that you have left out every single custom Conga manufacturing company shows you have absolutely no business offering an opinion about Conga drums. Does Junior Tirado, S.O.S, Moperc, PM Percussion, Manito, and a host of real drums mean anything to you? Please leave this discussion to the pros and stop shilling for overseas manufacturing. SMDH

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