Best Ukulele Brands 2021: 5 Affordable Deals

This is our review on The Best Ukulele Brands. We’ve scoured the internet to find you the 5 best deals around. 

The Ukulele is an affordable and fun way to get into playing an instrument. There are a huge number of brands, but which are the best Ukulele brands? As you’re here, you must be curious to find out what ukulele brands you can trust.

Through my 25 years of playing instruments, I can assist you with the finer details that’ll make your decision easier. I’ve added some very popular, affordable deals with ideal starter kits.

Let’s take a closer look at the finer details.

How do we determine the best ukulele brands? Do we follow the best reviews online? Is it important to check which type of wood has been used in the construction? Do I choose a brand with a long history of producing Ukuleles? I would make a decision based on all of these questions.

Various companies have been around for long periods producing a range of instruments. People continue to buy ukuleles from those brands, validating the price and quality of their instruments.

I’ve chosen a mix of brands based on history, craftsmanship, overall selection for a beginner to a professional player, quality of materials used, popularity, and value for money.

Here is a list of some trustworthy ukulele brands:

  • Caramel
  • Cordoba
  • Kala
  • Lohanu
  • Kanile’a
  • Kamaka
  • Oscar Schmidt
  • Lanikai
  • Ohana
  • Martin & Co.
  • Luna
  • Fender

Playing Ukulele Is For Everybody, It Can Even Improve Your Health!

The benefits of playing the Ukulele are truly incredible. You may be looking for something musical for your 5-year-old. You’re a senior who loves music and would like to try your hand at learning an instrument.

The Uke really is for everyone. You can learn so much quicker than any other stringed instrument. Playing a Uke can lead to learning the guitar or bass.

Due to a Ukes size, you are able to take it to school, on your next camping trip, or to a friend’s house to impress them. You can carry it everywhere. Also, a major plus point, a Ukulele is relatively inexpensive.

Here are some inspiring mental benefits to playing the Ukulele:

  • Prolongs Mental Degeneration
  • Counteracts Stress and Anxiety
  • A Powerful Form of Meditation
  • Able To Express Yourself
  • Being Creative
  • Performing Emotion
  • Social Benefits
  • Child Development

Read Authority Guitars in-depth article on ‘The Fascinating Benefits of Playing Guitar

Best Ukulele Brands

Quick Glance: Best Ukulele Brand Deals

Best 5 Ukulele Brands Full Review

Kala Ukulele

Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Satin Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner app, and booklet

  • Pros: Affordable, Comes With Online Lessons, Small Size Is Great For Children, Ease of Use, Surprisingly Good Tone
  • Cons: Build Quality Not Great, Questionable Tuning Issues

Kala is one of the most recognizable Ukulele brands in the world. A perfect beginner instrument for children as young as 5 years old.

Comes with a starter kit that includes: a Kala logo tote bag, a 20-page Quick Start Guide with information about your new ukulele, and all the tips you need to get started.

You can even jump on their website with the online lessons. A beautiful mahogany finish, a laminated and sturdy construction will last the bumps and scrapes.

Considered to be at the lower end of the price range, the Kala KA-15S Ukulele is more about getting you playing. With that being said, it’s still surprisingly bright and rich in sound. 

The detail that struck me straight away, was how much lower the action is compared to similar models. I was pleasantly surprised to see this feature. Higher strings make an instrument harder to play.  

If you’re a complete beginner or looking to add a soprano to your collection on a lower budget, this is your next instrument!

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<




Cordoba Ukulele

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

  • ProsDecent Volume, Super Sustain, Bright Tone. Value For MoneyBeautiful Colour
  • ConsBuild Is Basic, Sharp Frets

The Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele would be another good choice for a newcomer.

Unlike a lot of the laminate bodied ukes, the cordoba has a clear punchy top-end tone. The string sustain is more than adequate, which boosts the amount of volume for longer.

I’ve sometimes found ukes to be reasonably quiet and boggy, but not this one! With a minimum amount of effort, you can get a nice big, clear satisfying tone. A cheaper instrument that mixes woods cannot offer what the 15CM delivers.

In general, Cordoba produces instruments that are built to last. With durable and long-lasting wood, there’s a reason why they sell in large numbers.

With a sleek mahogany neck and a honey color wood body, it certainly looks the part. The bridge and fretboard are made from dark rosewood, this fits in nicely with the rest of the elegant stylish appearance.

This is a step up in sound to the soprano, and a good starter instrument for a beginner to intermediate player.

Here’s a helpful clip:

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<




Luna Ukulele

Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag, Satin Natural

  • Pros: Very light, Warm Tones, Tattoo Designs Unique, Comes With Free Ukulele Case. Comes Set Up Properly.
  • Cons: Tuning pegs a little loose. Cheap Build

The Luna Tattoo Concert Ukulele has a laser-etched traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation. The patterns and layout were strongly geometric and there were many shapes and symbols representing the natural island world. 

This instrument is made from laminate wood with a mahogany outer veneer, although the Luna website tries to tell you otherwise (that’s a bit naughty).

The tie bar bridge is shaped differently from the standard straight block, I quite like this feature.

The fret markers have a shark tooth type shape and the fretboard is made from rosewood. In all this is a very light uke to play compared to the others. 

The intonation on the Luna is actually pretty good, giving you easy playability. The tone is warm and subtle (just watch the video below). The sustain is shorter and the volume a little lower than the Cordoba.

Comes with a very good gig bag also, which to me, is very important. If you want your instrument to last, you gotta look after it. 

A sweet sounding uke for the price. A perfect gateway instrument to assist you on your way to the next level of playing.

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Check the Luna sounds:




Lohanu Ukulele

Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Ukulele Case Tuner Picks Hanger Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons 

  • Pros: Huge 5 Star Seller, Closed Tuning Pegs Great For Tuning, Comes With Ukulele Accessories And Step By Step Video Lessons, Amazing Price, Comes In Three Sizes Which Covers Children Up To Adults With Larger Hands
  • Cons: Not For Smaller Children. Simple Basic Look Compared To The Other Ukes.

The Brand name ‘Lohanu’ is a combination of three words: Love (Represents the first 2 letters of Lohanu), Ohanu (A Hawaiian word for Family and Community), and Unity (Represents the last 2 letters of Lohanu backwards).

A Canadian-based company that prides itself on the best customer service. They hold the record for the most ‘Total Reviews’ and the most ‘Total 5 Star Reviews’ for a Ukulele. With this outstanding information, I had to check these instruments out. 

The package you get with your purchase includes two Strap buttons installed (costs about 25 in a music shop to fit those), a tuner, padded case, picks, extra Super Aquila Nylgut strings.

EXCLUSIVE Leather Pick & Uke hanger! I’ll be honest, those picks are hideous but the rest of the pack is spot on and super useful.

It doesn’t matter what size ukulele you purchase from this selection, you’ll receive the same pack. You also receive a step by step video lesson for beginners. This is provided at a good slow steady pace with 15 + tutorials. Very Impressive. 

A very good sounding instrument. It produces a deeper, louder, longer sustained, and fuller sound than a flat back or a cheap solid wood ukulele.

Many times the lower price of an instrument reflects the poor quality of build and lacks in tone. Not the Lohanu LC-T.

The arched backed body seen on this design is something you’d expect to find on instruments in the upper price range and quality.

The Tenor size is aimed at the adult market or children with bigger hands, as the neck is wider (26 inc). With all these added gadgets I’m always skeptical of the sound of the instrument. Not this one!

For the overall price, you’ll find it difficult to beat the quality of instrument within this deal.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<




Oscar Schmidt OU2T-String Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt Ukuelele
  • Pros: Value For Money, Very Light, Low Action, Comes In Two Types Of FretBoardSuperb Tone
  • Cons: Sharp Fret Edges

The satin-finish on the Oscar Schmidt OU2T offers a brighter tone and allows the wood to vibrate. On the other hand, a thick glossy finish seems to dull the tone on some ukuleles. A mahogany, full body that resonates with sparkling highs and warm lows.

I’m impressed with the rugged type of chrome tuners, this really helps the guitar stay in tune. Most cheaper end ukuleles struggle with this feature due to the ‘toy type’ tuning pegs which move around so easily.

I’m yet to see a bad review on any Oscar Schmidt ukulele. Although not as popular as other brands, I really am impressed with the mid-tone on this tenor. Some can be too thin and loud or like a soprano, too cloudy.

This is my favorite ukulele tone. The ‘Rosewood Fretboard style’ has an ebony headstock and bridge. This is a major plus and adds to the beautiful mid-tone that I really like.

Comfortable and easy to play, a very adequate starter tenor or a second uke to add to the collection. This is 100% worth the price. A hidden gem.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<




A Few Things To Look Out For When Buying

When looking at the materials of a ukulele, you have two types of wood construction.

Laminated wood: Layers of wood glued together. This type of construction offers low prices but doesn’t resonate to a high standard.

Laminated Ukuleles usually have mediocre tones but are tough. A solid wood body has much superior quality in tone and lastability. The majority of instruments are made from solid wood bodies.

The most common types of wood used are:

  • Mahogany, Koa, Spruce, cedar for the soundboard
  • Mahogany, Koa, Maple and rosewood for the bottom and sides
  • Mahogany and Maple for the neck
  • Rosewood and Ebony for the bridge

Tip: Give your instrument decent strings and it’ll immediately sound better. You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and attach cheap tires to it.

Make sure the uke is set up properly. It’s worth paying a professional to give it a full health check. Give yourself the best chance of moving forward without any future issues. All musicians regularly set up their instruments. This definitely helps avoid fret buzzing, constant tuning, and snapping strings.

How much is a good quality Ukulele?

I would suggest spending over 50 all the way up to 200. Anything lower than this price wouldn’t be reliable enough.

Most Common Types Of Ukulele

TypeTypical LengthScale LengthFrets
Soprano21 in (53 cm)13 in (33 cm)12-15
Concert23 in (58 cm)15 in (38 cm)15–20
Tenor26 in (66 cm)17 in (43 cm)17–19
Baritone29 in (74 cm)19 in (48 cm)18–21
Soprano
Soprano

Soprano Ukulele: is the most common and the smallest Ukulele, except for the sopranino. Soprano’s offer the classic unmistakeable ‘ukulele’ tone. It’s the favorite choice for beginners, with 12 – 15 frets

Concert
Concert
 

Concert Ukulele (mezzosoprano): ideal for rhythmic accompaniment, has a fuller sound. Features 15 – 20 frets

Tenor
 

Tenor Ukulele: the best one for solo parts, with higher string tension and a fuller sound than the concert type. Features more than 15 frets and the A string is tuned an octave lower than the smaller ukuleles

Baritone
Baritone

Baritone Ukulele: featuring more than 19 frets, it is the largest among the ukulele family and uses the same tuning of the first four strings of the guitar (D-G-B-E). It loses, for this reason, the distinctive ‘ukulele sound’, but offers a very full tone and it’ easy to play for the guitarist

Here’s a helpful video of the different tones you can expect from the four types of Ukulele. (2m49s for the tones)

Positives And Negatives

The Beautiful thing about the Uke is that anybody can learn. It’s so easy. You don’t need an amp, leads, or a plectrum. Simply hold the uke in position, learn a chord that uses one finger, and strum.

There aren’t many instruments you can learn so quickly, hence the uke’s popularity. If you’re already a player then having the best brand of uke is important.

If you play guitar, a ukulele should be easier to learn and a completely different avenue to discover.

The only precautions I would mention are: stay away from cheap ukes from unknown brands. The uke will go out of tune, the wood may bend and the plastic strings are horrific. You’ll grow bored of constantly tuning. The tuning pegs move around a lot and the parts will be made from very cheap materials. A complete waste of your money.

In this day and age, you can teach yourself via youtube. I’m a guitarist of 25 years and I still use youtube for learning.

Booking a guitar tutor for a few lessons is definitely a good way to start. If you are teaching yourself and using bad habits, it’s not easy to adjust later on. There really aren’t any negatives to learning a ukulele.

Best Ukulele Brands: Review Winner

The Clear winner is the Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T).

The closed tuning pegs an arched back body on the Lohanu was the major deciding factor for me. The warranty provides me with confidence, the record number of 5-star reviews by real people make the Lohanu a must. The price is fantastic and the video lessons are essential for beginners. Lohanu covers the whole spectrum of players from very young children of 5 through to the adult. (click the link above and choose your size: Soprano, Concert or a larger Tenor)

I’m not one to buy an instrument because of a nice color or cool design. It makes no difference to the sound whatsoever. The overall tone on the Lohanu LU-T isn’t too loud or boggy, it sounds like….well, a classic ukulele tone! A Lot of the lower end ukuleles sound like toys.

 I’m always doubtful of a product that is affordable and comes with lots of extras. The difference here is, the extras that come with this package really are of use. The strap is solid, the strap pegs are attached, the tuner is ‘ok’.

You receive a fantastic warranty from a big brand that proves they sell reliable products. In my opinion, the finish looks beautifully natural, and not too over the top.

The package includes a gig bag, which is very thin and will only protect from scratches and dings but you’ll receive the uke in a guitar-shaped box. I would use both the box and bag to protect the instrument.

Just remember new strings take a while to warm up and stretch. The strings that come with the Lohanu are mediocre. I have suggested some quality strings above if you want to instantly improve the tone and lastability. 

The arched design on the neck does help with tone and projection. The closed tuning pegs are better for tuning than the pegs fitted on the competitor’s ukuleles. I was really impressed with the extras they’ve thrown in. You cannot ignore this deal for affordability and quality. 

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Here’s a video of the Lohanu Uke close up so you get a better look at it.

About Lee

Lee has been playing guitar for over 25 years. In the 1990s he made a few TV appearances in London and supported and few big bands at festivals. He's recently sung on radio and worked as a full-time guitarist/singer on a holiday resort. Lee is the founder of Authority Guitar, a site where he wants readers to enjoy every aspect of learning the guitar.

Leave a Comment