Best Ukulele Brands

What are the best ukulele brands? The uke’s explosion in popularity in recent years has led to a big increase in good ukulele brands.

This first part of this article takes a look at some of the best beginner ukulele brands. The second part highlights some great high-end builders.

Best Ukulele Brands for Beginners

The ukuleles from these brands mostly fall within the $50 to $100 range, which I feel is a good budget for beginning players.

These brands all have great online reviews, but my opinions are largely based on the fact that I personally own (or have owned) a ukulele from nearly all of these manufacturers. I’m working on writing individual posts for each brand; check the reviews section for updates.

The brands below are all surprisingly close in terms of overall built quality, and none of them jumped out to me as being noticeably better (or worse) than the others. They’re listed in no particular order.

If you’re interested in learning more about buying your first uke, check out my article on how to buy a beginner ukulele.

Lohanu

Lohanu is one of the top-rated, best-selling ukulele brands on Amazon. By selling direct to consumers instead of through retailers, Lohanu is able to offer good package deals at competitive prices.

Lohanu gets high marks for build quality and tone, but customers also appreciate the excellent customer service and support.

Ukulele Soprano Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-S) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons BEST UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL Purchase Today!
Ukulele Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-C) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons
Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons BEST UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL Purchase Today!
Lohanu LU-S (Soprano)
Lohanu LU-C (Concert)
Lohanu LU-T (Tenor)
2,038 Reviews
2,038 Reviews
2,038 Reviews
$79.99
$89.99
$99.99
Ukulele Soprano Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-S) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons BEST UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL Purchase Today!
Lohanu LU-S (Soprano)
2,038 Reviews
$79.99
Ukulele Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-C) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons
Lohanu LU-C (Concert)
2,038 Reviews
$89.99
Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Pick Holder Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons BEST UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL Purchase Today!
Lohanu LU-T (Tenor)
2,038 Reviews
$99.99

Lohanu official website

Donner

Like Lohanu, Donner manufacturers high-quality ukuleles and sells them direct at prices that are tough to beat.

Donner’s ukes are simple but well built. They have tight, clean craftsmanship and play very well right out of the box. They also sound great–my concert-sized Donner DUC-1 has a big, bright voice.

Most of Donner’s ukes come in a package that includes a gig bag, tuner, extra strings, strap, and picks.

In addition to their flagship DUX-1 ukuleles, Donner also makes a handful of other interesting ukes with unique features like electronics, built-in armrests, and zebrawood bodies.

Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1 21 inch with Ukulele Set Strap Nylon String Tuner
Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 23 inch with Ukulele Set Strap Nylon String Tuner
Donner Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Body DUT-1 26 inch Ukulele Kit with Tuner Strap String Case
Donner DUS-1 21 (Soprano)
Donner DUC-1 23 (Concert)
Donner DUS-1 26 (Tenor)
845 Reviews
845 Reviews
845 Reviews
$49.99
$65.00
$73.00
Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1 21 inch with Ukulele Set Strap Nylon String Tuner
Donner DUS-1 21 (Soprano)
845 Reviews
$49.99
Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 23 inch with Ukulele Set Strap Nylon String Tuner
Donner DUC-1 23 (Concert)
845 Reviews
$65.00
Donner Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Body DUT-1 26 inch Ukulele Kit with Tuner Strap String Case
Donner DUS-1 26 (Tenor)
845 Reviews
$73.00

Donner official website

Hricane

Hricane makes affordable ukuleles that look nice, are easy to play, and sound good. I have the UKS-1 tenor and feel like it’s a great uke for the money.

While Hricane ukes don’t come with any extra accessories, the included gig bag is the most rugged of all the models I’ve tested.

Hricane Ukulele Soprano 21inch Professional Ukeleles For Beginners Sapele Hawaiian Ukele UKS-1 Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1 23inch Professional Ukulele Starter Small Guitar Hawaiian Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane Tenor Ukulele UKS-3 26inch Professional Ukulele Starter Small Guitar Hawaiian Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane UKS-1 Soprano
Hricane UKS-1 Concert
Hricane UKS-1 Tenor
331 Reviews
331 Reviews
331 Reviews
$59.99
$65.99
$82.73
Hricane Ukulele Soprano 21inch Professional Ukeleles For Beginners Sapele Hawaiian Ukele UKS-1 Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane UKS-1 Soprano
331 Reviews
$59.99
Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1 23inch Professional Ukulele Starter Small Guitar Hawaiian Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane UKS-1 Concert
331 Reviews
$65.99
Hricane Tenor Ukulele UKS-3 26inch Professional Ukulele Starter Small Guitar Hawaiian Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag
Hricane UKS-1 Tenor
331 Reviews
$82.73

Kala

Kala is one of the oldest beginner ukulele brands, and they’ve managed to greatly expand their product line over the years without compromising quality.

Kala makes too many models to cover here, but their KA-15 Series are probably the best-selling ukuleles in their extensive lineup.

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Concert Starter Kit, Light Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner, and app
Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Tenor Starter Kit, Light Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner, and app
Kala KA-15S (Soprano)
Kala KA-15C (Concert)
Kala KA-15T (Tenor)
2,107 Reviews
2,107 Reviews
2,107 Reviews
$54.99
$79.99
$99.99
Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Kala KA-15S (Soprano)
2,107 Reviews
$54.99
Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Concert Starter Kit, Light Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner, and app
Kala KA-15C (Concert)
2,107 Reviews
$79.99
Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Tenor Starter Kit, Light Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner, and app
Kala KA-15T (Tenor)
2,107 Reviews
$99.99

Kala official website

Aklot

Aklot’s ukuleles offer a unique feature you won’t find with most of the other brand mentioned here: a solid top.

Most beginner ukes are made entirely out of laminated wood, which is a kind of thin, instrument-grade plywood. Manufacturers do this because laminated wood is cheaper and easier to work with.

Solid wood resonates more freely than laminated wood, so using a solid piece of wood for a ukulele’s top helps improve the tone.

I’m not sure how Aklot is able to make a solid top ukulele and sell it for this price, especially with the included accessories. But as the owner of a tenor-sized Aklot AKT26 I can verify that their ukes are high quality and are an excellent value.

Soprano Ukulele 21 Inch Solid Mahogany Ukele Ukelele For Beginners With Free Online Lessons 8 Packs Starter Kit (Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book Gift Box) From AKLOT
Ukulele Solid Mahogany 23 Inch Concert Uke With Free Online Course 8 Packs Beginner Starter Kit ( Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book )
Tenor Ukulele 26 Inch Ukele Ukelele Solid Mahogany Uke With Free Online Lessons 8 Packs Beginner Starter Kit (Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book Gift Box) From AKLOT
Aklot AKS21 (Soprano)
Aklot AKC23 (Concert)
Aklot AKT26 (Tenor)
338 Reviews
338 Reviews
338 Reviews
$55.99
$59.99
$64.99
Soprano Ukulele 21 Inch Solid Mahogany Ukele Ukelele For Beginners With Free Online Lessons 8 Packs Starter Kit (Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book Gift Box) From AKLOT
Aklot AKS21 (Soprano)
338 Reviews
$55.99
Ukulele Solid Mahogany 23 Inch Concert Uke With Free Online Course 8 Packs Beginner Starter Kit ( Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book )
Aklot AKC23 (Concert)
338 Reviews
$59.99
Tenor Ukulele 26 Inch Ukele Ukelele Solid Mahogany Uke With Free Online Lessons 8 Packs Beginner Starter Kit (Gig Bag Picks Tuner Strap String Cleaning Cloth Instruction Book Gift Box) From AKLOT
Aklot AKT26 (Tenor)
338 Reviews
$64.99

Luna

Luna’s ukuleles are on par with the other brands I’ve touched on, but the Polynesian tattoo designs set them apart from the crowd.

Not everybody is into the look of Luna’s “Tattoo” series of ukes, but if you want something a little different they’re definitely worth checking out.

Luna Tattoo Mahogany Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Luna Tattoo Spruce Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Luna Guitars Tattoo Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Concert Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD and Polishing Cloth
Luna Tattoo (Concert)
Luna Tattoo Spruce (Concert)
Tattoo Acoustic-Electric
12 Reviews
128 Reviews
128 Reviews
from $89.99
$124.99
$149.99
Luna Tattoo Mahogany Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Luna Tattoo (Concert)
12 Reviews
from $89.99
Luna Tattoo Spruce Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Luna Tattoo Spruce (Concert)
128 Reviews
$124.99
Luna Guitars Tattoo Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Concert Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD and Polishing Cloth
Tattoo Acoustic-Electric
128 Reviews
$149.99

Luna official website

Best Intermediate Ukulele Brands

For the purposes of this article, I’m defining “intermediate ukuleles” as models that cost between $500 and $1000.

Ukes in this price range will generally have a few key features:

  • All-solid wood construction (usually koa)
  • Top-notch craftsmanship
  • Excellent playability

These ukes are the next natural step for players who are getting more serious about the uke and are looking to upgrade, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend $500 to get a good uke! Most of the brands and models I covered in the “beginner” section are great for intermediate players as well.

Martin

While these days Martin is mostly known for their high-quality acoustic guitars, the company has a rich history of uke-building that goes all the way back to 1917.

Martin C1K and T1K Review - Featured Image

Martin has a number of different models, but their most notable intermediate ukes are the C1K and T1K. These all-solid koa concert and tenor models don’t have a lot of fancy cosmetic features, but they do offer Martin’s legendary build quality and tone.

To learn more, check out my full review of the C1K and T1K.

Martin C1K Concert Ukulele Natural
Martin T1K Tenor Ukulele - Koa
Martin C1K (Concert)
Martin T1K (Tenor)
13 Reviews
16 Reviews
$509.00
$538.00
Martin C1K Concert Ukulele Natural
Martin C1K (Concert)
13 Reviews
$509.00
Martin T1K Tenor Ukulele - Koa
Martin T1K (Tenor)
16 Reviews
$538.00

Kala Elite USA

Kala is best known for their high-quality beginner ukes, but they’ve slowly started expanding into the world of high-end, US-made instruments.

Kala’s Elite USA line is made in Petaluma, California. The music store I manage carries this line, and I honestly think they’re some of the most underappreciated ukes on the market.

Kala Elite USA ukulele - Poi Pounder
The Kala Elite USA “Poi Pounder” Tenor

The fit and finish are every bit as good as what you’ll find on high-end brands like Martin and Kamaka, but the prices are substantially lower.

If you want a boutique-quality uke but don’t have a boutique-level budget, the Elite USA line is definitely worth checking out.

Kala Elite USA official website

Best High-End Ukulele Brands

Martin

In addition to the more affordable models I mentioned above, Martin also makes a handful of beautiful high-end ukuleles like the 2K Concert and 2K Tenor or the ultra-fancy 5K. You can see the full lineup on Martin’s website.

Most of these ukes are well above the $1500 price point, but if you’re serious about the ukulele (or have money to burn) they’re worth the price.

Kamaka, Ko’olau, Kanile’a, and KoAloha

These four builders are commonly known as the “Four Ks.” They’re all based in Hawaii, and collectively they produce some of the finest ukuleles money can buy.

Kamaka HF-3 D2I Tenor Deluxe 2 ukulele
Kamaka HF-3 D2I Tenor Deluxe 2

Most of these builders have basic models that start out around $1000, but the prices go up quickly when you get into ukes with features like high-grade koa or ornate inlays and binding.

To learn more about these amazing uke builders, check out this excellent article in Ukulele Magazine.

Independent & Custom Builders

In addition to the high-end brands listed above, there are a number of small, independent builders. These are often very small operations producing small-run or one-of-a-kind ukuleles, often with exotic tonewoods and lots of ornamentation.

Many of these independent builders will make ukes to their customer’s exact specifications, although a full custom build can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

The number of small builders is always changing as new people come on the scene and others retire or move on to other interests. It’s worth shopping around because every builder has their own signature style, but here are a handful of well-established names to check out if you’re interested in going this route: