We’ve put together this list of the best acoustic-electric ukuleles for beginner and intermediate shoppers.
Cordoba 15CM-E & 20TM-CE
I’ve been extremely impressed with the build quality, tone, and playability of Cordoba’s ukuleles. They make a great product for the money and should be on the short list for any player seeking a good beginner acoustic-electric ukulele.
Both models feature a simple Cordoba-made pickup with volume control. Their more affordable 15CE-E is an ideal entry-level choice, while the tenor-sized 20TM-CE has a larger body and solid top for boosted resonance and richness.
The 20TM-CE also has a herringbone rosette and bridge inlay, adding a touch of class without going overboard.
Kala KA-TE & KA-CE
During my time managing a small acoustic music store, I’ve played hundreds of Kala ukes over the years. In my opinion, Kala makes some of the best acoustic-electric ukuleles for under $200.
As I mentioned in my article on the best beginner ukuleles, Kala is a well-established brand and they deliver a lot bang for the buck.
The concert-sized KA-CE and tenor-sized KA-TE are among the most affordable acoustic-electric ukuleles in the Kala lineup. These models only cost about $50 more than their non-electric counterparts, which is a pretty good deal considering the high cost of a quality aftermarket pickup.
The under-the-saddle pickups on Kala’s acoustic-electric ukes are basic but good. They have controls for volume, bass, and treble, as well as a built-in tuner.
For the most part, these pickups offer a good reproduction of the instrument and are perfect for casual situations like jamming with friends or playing the coffee shop scene.
Luna Acoustic-Electric Ukuleles
Luna is another company I feel offers good quality instruments at a reasonable price.
The pickup has basic volume, bass, and treble controls but no built-in tuners like the Kala models. The above-pictured package includes a gig-bag.
These model’s laser-etched tattoo patterns may not be for everybody, but it’s perfect for players seeking something a bit more unique.
Lohanu Concert & Tenor Acoustic-Electric Ukuleles
Available exclusively on Amazon, Lohanu’s concert and tenor models are some of the most affordable acoustic-electric ukuleles you’ll find online.
Lohanu’s online-only business model allows them to offer excellent quality and customer service at lower prices than some other brands.
Their all-acoustic ukuleles are among the highest-rated ukes on Amazon, and their acoustic-electric models are basically the same but with the addition of a pickup.
The Lohanu pickup system includes volume, treble, and bass controls as well as a built-in tuner. These models both come in a package that includes a gig bag, clip-on tuner, strap, and extra strings.
Best Cheap Acoustic-Electric Ukuleles
The Aklot ukuleles above are the highest-rated cheap acoustic-electric ukes available online.
At first I was leery of their ultra-low price point, but after I purchased an AKT26 tenor (no pickup) I was convinced. My Aklot is beautifully made, plays like a dream, and sounds amazing.
The overall quality of Aklot ukes are hard to beat for the price, and the glowing customer reviews online seem to indicate I’m not alone in that opinion.
If you don’t want to break the bank or just want a second uke to goof around with, these models seem to be a pretty safe bet.
You can’t take full advantage of acoustic-electric ukulele without an amp. I’m posting a handful of good entry-level ukulele amps here, but if you want to learn more check out our review of the best ukulele amps to find out which model fits your needs and budget.