What’s the best beginner ukulele? In this guide, I’m going to look at great entry-level ukes that mostly fall within the $50 to $100 price range.
There are a number of great entry-level ukes in this price range that I’ve personally tried and feel good about recommending.
The Best Ukes For Beginners: My Top Picks
I own each of these ukuleles, and after spending some time with them, I’m happy to recommend them to new uke players. These ukes have also received good reviews from other buyers, so you don’t have to take my word for it.
Kala KA-15S & KA15C
Kala is one of the best-known brands when it comes to beginner ukuleles. As part of their popular KA-15 series, the KA-15C offers solid tone and playability at a reasonable price.
Donner DUC-1 and Louhanu LU-C
I’ve also been really impressed with Donner DUC-1 and Lohanu LU-C ukes. I didn’t know anything these models when I purchased them from Amazon except what I read in the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised when these two models turned out to be nicely made instruments with great tone.
Both the DUC-1 and LU-C have excellent fit, finish, playability, and tone. On top of that, they each come with a nice gig bag, clip-on tuner, extra strings, and a strap.
Which is Best?
I honestly can’t recommend one model over another because I think they’re all good choices.
The Lohanu LU-C is a little more fancy (and expensive) because of the white binding on the body and fingerboard, but otherwise they’re surprisingly similar.
A Quick Note About Ukulele Sizes
The ukes above are all concert-sized ukes. I think concert ukes are great for beginning players, but you can also get these models in a smaller soprano size or a larger tenor size. For more on this topic, see my article on ukulele sizes.
Amazon Top Sellers: Lohanu Ukuleles
The Lohanu LU-S, LU-C, and LU-T are currently the highest-rated, best-selling ukuleles on Amazon.
Based out of Canada, the Lohanu company only sells on Amazon. By selling directly to customers and cutting out the middleman, they’re able to offer good package deals at very competitive prices.
The craftsmanship on these ukes is tight and clean. Playability is solid, and the tone is full and rich. I’ve been really impressed with my Lohanu, especially for the price.
These three ukuleles all come with a gig bag, tuner, strap, and extra set of strings.
Lohanu’s ukes have hundreds of great customer reviews touting their excellent build quality and tone, but one thing that I really appreciate is their lifetime warranty and commitment to customer service.
Best Budget Ukes
If you’re hoping to spend a little less on a beginner ukulele, these budget-friendly options are good ukuleles for the money.
The KA-15S is a clear crowd favorite and is one of the best budget ukes on the market.
In my review of the KA-15S, I write about how it’s a well-made entry-level uke that looks good, sounds great, and is easy to play.
It’s a perfect choice for beginners seeking a respectable starter uke, but it’s also an excellent option for seasoned players in search of an affordable second instrument.
Donner and Hricane
The Donner and Hricane models don’t have Kala’s brand recognition, but the Donner DUS-1 Soprano and Hricane UKS-1 are both great values. I think they’re pretty much equal to the KA-15S in terms of build quality, playability, and tone.
The Hricane UKS-1 includes a nice padded gig bag, while the Donner DUS-1 comes as a complete package with gig bag, tuner, strap, and extra strings.
Good Value: The Hricane UKS-1 Series
Like the other models I’ve highlighted in this article, the Hricane UKS-1 series combine quality, craftsmanship, and playability into a surprisingly affordable package. In terms of customer ratings, Hricane ukes are among the highest-rated on Amazon.
I was very impressed with the tenor-sized UKS-3 I reviewed recently. The build quality was very good considering the price, it played well, and it had a wonderful tone.
I was also surprised with the quality gig bag, which was much more heavy duty than many of the other bags included with beginner uke packages.
The UKS-1 is available in a soprano, concert, or tenor size.
Best Beginner Ukuleles With A Solid Top: Aklot AK Series
Aklot makes the most affordable, highest-quality solid top ukuleles I could find.
Their standard mahogany-top ukulele is available in a soprano, concert, and tenor size and includes a gig bag, tuner, and other accessories.
Why does a solid top matter? As a general rule, ukuleles with solid tops have a more warm, rich voice compared to similar ukes with a laminated top.
The Aklot ukes are quite a bit more affordable than most other solid top ukes. I felt like I was rolling the dice when I ordered my AKT26 tenor (full review coming soon).
Fortunately, the glowing customer reviews were accurate, and I received a uke that was beautifully built, sounded great, and played well.
For the money, I’m really impressed with Aklot’s ukes. As long as you don’t mind the unusual bird-shaped bridge, these ukuleles are worth a closer look.
Cordoba 15CM and Luna Tattoo
These two ukes don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories, but I still think they’re great beginner options.
While I don’t own the Cordoba 15CM (yet) I’ve played a handful of them over the years and have always thought they were very well made for the price. I especially like the15CM’s faux abalone rosette and bound fingerboard. These are neat little cosmetic touches that you don’t often see on ukuleles in this price range.
Luna’s Tattoo concert ukulele is another model that surprised me with its quality. It gets its name from the unique Hawaiian tattoo pattern etched onto the top. The bold design may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for something a little different, this uke is worth a look.
Cheap Beginner Ukuleles
While I recommend staying away from cheap ukuleles, I can understand that some people want to spend as little as possible.
Maybe you have a limited budget, are shopping for young children, or just want a semi-disposable uke for camping or travel.
These models sell for less than $30 or less as I write this, but that could change.
None of these models qualify as amazing instruments, but they’re not terrible considering their low price.