The ukulele, also known as the uke, is an exciting instrument that is easy to learn and quite affordable. For anyone who wants to quickly learn a musical instrument that can be played virtually anywhere, the ukulele is a great choice. With all of the available ukuleles on the market, buying the right one can be confusing since there are so many ukulele brands, models, and manufacturers. To make your choice easier, we have summarized the best ukulele brands on the market so that you know which one you should buy.
Use this list as a guideline for the best ukulele brands to buy. While not every ukulele brand on this list will fit your budget, experience level, or other search criteria, we hope it provides a great baseline to begin your search.
Don’t forget that once you buy your ukulele, you’re not done yet. Make sure you check out our list of recommended ukulele accessories at the bottom!
Best Ukulele Brand for Beginners
Best Ukulele Brand for Intermediate Players
Mostly known for their acoustic guitars, Oscar Schmidt is another one of the best ukulele brands the makes great ukuleles. Their higher-end ukuleles are made from mahogany and produce the superb sound quality that you’d expect from a maker of fine ukuleles. Our favorite is the Oscar Schmidt OU2.
• Well-known instrument brand
• Beautiful craftsmanship
• Complete kits
What Ukulele Should You Get?
When searching for a ukulele there are certain features that you’ll want to look out for. Below are two of the most important features that you’ll see distinguishing ukuleles on the market.
Types of Ukuleles
One of the first things that you have to consider when picking a ukulele is its type. It could be soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone. These types have different length and tuning.
A soprano ukulele, the smallest in the family, has a bright sound. It is regarded as the standard size with an overall length of 21 inches.
The concert ukulele has an overall length of 23 inches. It produces a deeper and louder sound that soprano.
The tenor ukulele produces a deeper and more resonant sound compared to the soprano and the concert. It has a wider fingerboard which could accommodate those with larger fingers.
With an overall length of about 30 inches, the baritone ukulele is regarded as the largest in the family. It produces a deeper bass sound compared to the others.
The material is another defining factor that delineates a ukulele brand from another. Many ukuleles are typically made of Koa, a type of wood that could be found in Hawaii. Ukuleles produced from Koa create a warm and soothing sound.
Mahogany is another material that could be used. It may sound a bit softer than the Koa, but it could still pull off an excellent sound nonetheless.
Spruce, on the other hand, produces a loud and bright tone. Other materials that could be used in making ukuleles include Cedar, Redwood, Maple, and Rosewood.
The features which were mentioned above are just some of the key features that you should take into consideration. It is worth noting that the end choice will still be dependent on your preference as the player.
What Is the Best Beginner Ukulele Brand?
What Are the Best Ukulele Brands?
We highly recommend getting ukuleles from the following ukulele makers:
- Oscar Schmidt
- Hola! (for beginners)
What Ukulele Brands Should You Avoid?
You should avoid lower-cost ukulele brands that don’t have an exemplary track record. Some we recommend avoiding are:
What Makes a Good Ukulele?
A good ukulele is made of high-quality materials, comes with everything you need to get started (a bundle), and sounds great. The ukulele brands we’ve evaluated in this review meet the bar of a “goog ukulele”.
Best Ukulele Brands
Kala – Best Ukulele Brand
Kala is the best ukulele brand on the market. They offer a wide range of ukuleles, from beginner to high-end, in soprano, concert, and baritone sizes.
This ukulele brand is known for producing high-quality instruments. Each of their ukuleles is handmade in their California workshop so you know that you are getting American-made quality. Their never-ending effort to make the best ukuleles makes rating Kala as our best ukulele brand an easy choice.
Kala Ukulele Models:
Oscar Schmidt is well-known as a guitar brand and though they have limited exposure in the ukulele marketplace, almost everyone who buys an Oscar Schmidt ukulele is pleased.
Established in Philadelphia in 1886, Oscar Schmidt, now a subsidiary of Washburn, continues to make high-quality instruments including guitars, ukuleles, and autoharps.
Most of the Oscar Schmidy ukuleles come with everything you need out of the box including case, tuner, polishing cloth, and DVD to teach you how to play.
Oscar Schmidt Ukulele Models:
Cordoba has only been making ukuleles since 1997, but they have become a very popular ukulele brand. They are known for making high-quality ukuleles with exceptional materials. These ukuleles are frequently used in live performances and recordings.
They make a wide range of ukuleles in terms of the price range, sound quality, and type of ukulele so Cordoba likely makes a great ukulele for whatever criteria you’re looking for.
Despite not being made in Hawaii, these ukuleles have brand ambassadors like Jose Gonzale because of their professional feel and a authentic tone.
Lohanu Ukulele Models:
Lohanu is a Canadian ukulele company that was the highest rated ukulele brand by Gearank.com.
Their ukuleles are handmade with sapele/mahogany tops, back, sides & neck, rosewood fingerboard, Aquila strings installed, handmade ABS bindings, and chrome die cast tuning gears.
Lohanu ukuleles come with an unconditional lifetime warranty on their instruments and accessories, so you can be sure that your investment is protected. These are great high-quality ukuleles.
Lohanu Ukulele Models:
If you’re looking for a great ukulele brand for beginners that is easy on the budget, the Hola! Music brand of ukuleles is for you. The HM-121MG+ model is less than $50, which is a very affordable price for a high-quality ukulele.
Hola! Music ukuleles come with Aquila strings, a gig bag, straps, and picks. They are made with all Mahogany bodies, Nato necks, and Walnut fingerboards and bridges.
Hola! Ukuele Models:
Donner is a relatively young company, having only been founded in 2012, but they have already created a name for themselves in the musical instrument world.
To make their ukuleles, Donner follows a 100-step process to ensure that every ukulele they make meets their rigorous standards.
We were particularly happy with how smooth the fingerboard was. It provided an easy slide and was quite comfortable.
Every beginner Donner ukulele comes with a case, tuner, and strap.
Donner Ukulele Models:
Previously known as Hankey, Enya makes great beginner and intermediate ukuleles. The craftsmanship of the Koa wood is notable on these ukuleles.
All of their kits include a lot of additional accessories beyond the ukulele itself. Most outfits include a case, tuner, beginner music book, extra Aquila strings, and a polishing cloth.
Every Enya ukulele is backed by a 5 year warranty to make sure that you are happy with the product.
Makanu music is a China-based ukulele company that has been operating since 2014.
Every Maknau ukulele comes with a case and is handcrafted from woods that have been dried for at least 2 years. The fingerboards are made from rosewood and feature carbon nylon strings.
Hricane Ukulele Brand
Hricane ukuleles consistently receive amazing reviews on Amazon both for their appearance and sound quality. Hricane ukuleles tend to have a deep, rich sound when compared to other ukuleles. These are great ukuleles to take while traveling, especially while camping since they sound great and are quite durable.
The craftsmanship is frequently mentioned in reviews as being top-notch, making Hricane ukuleles feel like premium instruments even though they are priced in line with many other ukuleles on this list.
Luna, another Chinese-based company, makes a wide variety of stringed instruments including guitar, bass, and ukuleles. Luna’s ukuleles have great sound quality and look great, especially the UKETCMAH below which has a beautiful Hawaiian tattoo. The only downside to this brand is that the ukuleles tend to be very fragile and numerous Amazon reviewers have commented on receiving broken ukuleles.
While they are not as widely known as Kala, All Days Music (ADM) is the type of brand that produces solid ukuleles in the entry-level range of the market.
ADM’s mission is to make learning instruments as easy as possible for students so they have made their beginner ukuleles easy to set up, easy to play, and quite affordable.
While the ADM outfits contain everything a student needs to get started, the most outstanding feature is the included stickers that students can put on the fingerboard to mark where the fingers should go. No other ukulele brand on this list provides these stickers in their outfits.
Best Beginner Ukuleles
Buying your first ukulele can be fun and exciting, but also stressful. Not knowing what to look for in a ukulele and knowing what accessories to get can make finding a great beginner ukulele challenging. We’re here to help. Below are our favorite beginner ukuleles.
1. Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit
The brand Kala is known for its high-quality ukuleles that have been sought by a lot of musicians. The brand’s Ukulele Starter Kit is made up of light mahogany. It is equipped with Aquila super Nylgut strings which are soft and smooth to the touch. It also produces a clear and sweet sound. Being geared towards beginners, this ukulele also includes free online lessons, a ukulele app with tuner, a tote bag possessing the Kala logo, and a ukulele-playing quick start guide.
2. Hola! Music HM-121PP+
The Hola! Music HM-121PP+ Deluxe Soprano Ukulele Bundle features a body that is entirely made from mahogany. It also consists of a fingerboard and bridge that is built from Walnut, and a neck that has been constructed from Nato. It consists of silver-plated geared machine heads with black rubber pegs, 15 silver nickel frets, a bone Nut and Saddle, a laser engraved Rosette, and a set of Italian Aquila Nylgut Strings. It also comes with a built-in strap pin so that users could attach a shoulder strap easily. This ukulele produces a warm, pitch-perfect harmony, making it an ideal instrument.
3. Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele Bundle
The Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele could be another excellent instrument that you could purchase. Its body is made up of Agathis. On the other hand, its fingerboard and bridge have a Rosewood construction and its neck is built with Mahogany. It has geared tuners and a satin finish to give you that silky and shiny look. Moreover, the ukulele consists of a bundle of gears which are deemed essential. These include a gig bag, a tuner, and a polishing cloth. Beginners will not find it hard to learn to play this ukulele because it comes with an Austin Bazaar Instruction DVD where they will learn about setting up the instrument, playing chords, and much more.
4. Donner Concert Ukulele
The Donner Concert Ukulele is a traditional concert ukulele that is composed of four advanced carbon nylon strings. It further consists of a mahogany body and neck which could produce a rich and bright sound. Its fingerboard and bridge are made up of Rosewood, giving users a comfortable feel while playing the ukulele. Accurate and smooth, its chrome-plated guitar style tuners keep your ukulele always in tune. This ukulele has 18 brass frets with fret position marks at the fifth, seventh, tenth, and twelfth frets on neck and top of the fingerboard. Additionally, it comes with a bag and a strap.
5. Lohanu Concert Ukulele
The Lohanu Concert Ukulele produces a remarkable warm sound that is favored by most users. Its arched back gives a longer sustain and fuller sound. The neck and the body of such ukulele are made up of Sapele/Mahogany. Its fingerboard, on the other hand, is made up of Rosewood. It has Aquila strings installed, so users are ensured of a quality set of strings. It also consists of handmade ABS bindings, a ukulele strap case, and a pick holder. To keep your instrument in tune, the ukulele comes with Chrome die cast tuning gears.
6. Everjoys Soprano Rainbow Ukulele
The Everjoys Soprano Rainbow Ukulele is a well-known ukulele due to its superior craftsmanship. It consists of a body made of Basswood, a neck made of Solid wood, a fingerboard and bridge that is made up of Blackwood, and a set of nylon strings. Such strings could be available in different colors. It also comes with a handy digital tuner, a spare pick and string, a shoulder strap, a microfiber polishing cloth, and a durable convenient bag. For those who are still beginning to play the instrument, it provides a songbook that teaches the fundamentals of a ukulele.
7. Cordoba Concert Ukulele
The Cordoba Concert Ukulele is another excellent ukulele for those who are still trying to learn the instrument. This handmade concert ukulele consists of a mahogany top, back, and sides, giving it a full and rich sound. Its abalone-style rosette and Ivoroid body and fingerboard binding set this ukulele apart from other brands. Other features include a satin finish, premium Aquila strings, and silver tuners with pearl buttons. It could be available in soprano and tenor sizes.
8. Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele
The Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele is a ukulele which has easy playability. It is designed to provide beginners with an instrument that is easy to use. Another reason why it is a good instrument is that offers a warm and sweet sound thanks to its body that is made up of Nato and fingerboard that is made up of Rosewood. It also comes with Aquila strings that feel and sound great once they are played. Its design is also attractive and sleek.
9. Luna Uketcmah Tattoo Concert Ukulele
The Luna Uketcmah Tattoo Concert Ukulele is easily recognized due to its Hawaiian tattoo design embedded in its body. It also features a flat top and neck that is made up of Mahogany. Its fretboard, on the other hand, is made up of rosewood. It also includes a set of open gear tuners, pearloid hardware, and a satin natural finish. This ukulele could be carried anywhere through its gig bag.
10. Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1
Last, but certainly not the least, is the Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1, a traditional concert ukulele that is composed of four advanced carbon nylon strings. It further consists of a Sapele body and neck which produces a rich and bright sound. Its fingerboard and bridge are made up of Rosewood, giving users a comfortable feel while playing the ukulele. Accurate and smooth, its chrome-plated guitar-style tuners keep your ukulele always in tune. This ukulele has 18 brass frets with fret position marks at the fifth, seventh, tenth, and twelfth frets on neck and top of the fingerboard.
Required Ukulele Accessories
The following accessories are required to learn and play successfully. You should purchase these as quickly as possible after acquiring a new ukulele from one of the best ukulele brands.
- Ukulele Picks: While picks are not required for a lot of ukulele songs, they are necessary for some ukulele songs and definitely help when your fingers are feeling tired. You should get a ukulele pick to keep on hand just in case a song calls for it.
- Case: Ukuleles are easy to break so you need to have a padded ukulele case to protect it. Ukulele cases typically come in two styles: gig bags or solid cases. Most cases will offer at least one compartment for accessories and some extra pockets for music, etc. Beginner ukulele outfits generally come with a case, but if you want a better or sturdier case, you can explore our recommended ukulele case options.
- Ukulele Strap: You want to get a ukulele strap in order to be more comfortable while playing ukulele. It gives you a way to hold you ukulele when you are resting and playing. There are a lot of options on teh market so read our guide linked below to find the best one for you.
- Capo: Like ukulele picks above, not every song calls for a capo, but it is necessary to play some songs. A capo allows you to block off all notes on all strings on a particular fret. Depending on what key you’re playing in, a capo makes it easier to play all of the notes instead of constantly moving your hand around. It will also prevent you from having to tune your instrument higher for certain songs. It is definitely a ukulele accessory that you’ll want to keep on hand.
- Tuner: While there are many great tuner apps available for smartphones, nothing beats a good old-fashioned physical tuner and metronome combo.
- Extra Ukulele Strings: Ukulele strings have a tendency to break at the wrong time, such as during a concert. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have an extra set of ukulele strings on-hand. We highly recommend the Thomastik Dominant ukulele string brand in our review of the best ukulele strings, but feel free to test out several sets of strings before choosing the right set for you.
Optional Ukulele Accessories
The following accessories are optional accessories that are either fun to have or good in general to have stored away for when needed.
- Ukulele Stand: After a performance or a gig, you have to place your ukulele in a safe place to support it. It could be placed inside a bag or a case, but if you want it close by, you may want to place your instrument on a ukulele stand. Ukulele stands come in all sorts of designs and features depending on the brand.
- Pickup or Transducer: A pickup or a transducer is not a required accessory for playing, but it is a fun accessory that you can use to make your ukulele sound like an electric ukulele. Just clip or stick it on your ukulele and get ready to rock out!
- Ukulele Amp: A ukulele amp goes with a transducer or pickup above. You plug your transducer into the amp using an amp cable and then rock out!
- Ukulele Polish: If you want your ukulele to look beautiful, you should consider getting some ukulele polish and polishing cloth. Frequent polishing will make your ukulele look as good as new.
All of the best ukuleles brands on this list produce great ukuleles, but the best ukulele brands tend to differentiate themselves by providing great customer service and instrument that sound great. That’s why we consider Kala to be the best ukulele brand in our review. However, you should make sure that the ukulele that you buy fits your style and personality while also providing you with great quality sound.