It’s a little tricky to find the best ukulele for you, even if you have experience with playing the guitar. To help demystify the process, we decided that writing this guide would be helpful. So, what's the best ukulele brand?
Not only will we show you the best ukulele brands for professionals (and not just) on the market today, but we will also provide you with reviews of various models that you may want to consider.
Before discussing specific brands and models, however, we want to talk about the instrument.
Since there are a few things to consider when shopping for a ukulele, you want to make sure that you’re informed. These are acoustic instruments, which means that the hardware, quality of build, and type of wood used will all affect the quality of the ukulele.
First, we are going to talk about what you need to consider when shopping so that you are better prepared for your search for the right ukulele. Let's see who makes the best ukulele.
Top 10 Best Ukulele Brands Reviewed
It is really difficult to decide on the best ukulele brands on the market today.
There are some great larger manufacturers producing high-quality instruments, but there are also smaller companies that create incredible ukuleles. Knowing this, read on to find out our top ten picks, but take them all with a grain of salt.
We have listed ten of the best ukulele brands for professionals and beginners on the market. They’re all well-known for producing quality instruments. It’s important to note that we went out of our way to choose brands that offered great beginning ukuleles.
Best Brand #1) Kala
Kala ukuleles are incredibly popular and well-known for being high-quality instruments. In fact, they are considered to be one of the best ukulele brands for beginners and professionals in the world. They offer a wide range of models that range from ones perfect for beginners to instruments that are ideal for professionals.
Out of their home base in California, Kala works hard to ensure that they enhance all of the instruments. They are incredibly vigilant about quality control and durability.
When you buy a Kala ukulele, you will enjoy great quality. Not only their higher end ukuleles are held to strict standards, but also their beginner models, which makes this a great brand for ukulele players of all abilities.
1.1) Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele
This is a popular soprano ukulele for musicians of all abilities. The mahogany body results in a crisp and clear tone that is consistent across all notes.
Additionally, there is great craftsmanship on this ukulele, which means that it not only looks great but will last for a long time when it is taken care of properly.
1.2) Kala KA-C Concert Ukulele
A great concert ukulele has incredible tone and is much easier to play than a soprano ukulele. This ukulele from Kala is the best on the list if you are in the market for this size ukulele.
The quality of the build is incredible, and thanks to the mahogany used throughout the body, this ukulele offers a more traditional sound than some other modern ukuleles. This makes it a great choice for musicians looking for this specific sound and tone.
Conclusion: This is a very well-balanced ukulele. Unfortunately, it is a little bit more expensive than others on the list, which may make it less appealing to beginners.
Best Brand #2) Lanikai
This brand is located on Oahu, Hawaii. They make instruments that reflect the true meaning of the ukulele and the light tones and sounds that a musician can create when playing them.
With “Makes me happy” as their motto, it’s easy to see the joy that they put into creating their ukuleles. These ukuleles vary from entry instruments that are perfect for beginners to ones that are higher-end and better for more advanced players.
They have incredibly affordable models of ukulele that are their most popular product. For this reason, they are a great company to consider when you are on a budget but are interested in buying the best ukulele that you can afford without overspending.
2.1) Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele
This is a very popular soprano ukulele that is great for beginners as well as more intermediate players to use.
The great build quality and interesting choice of a full Nato body result in a tone that is very different from what you get with a mahogany instrument. This great tone, as well as some other qualities, help to set it apart.
Conclusion: This soprano ukulele is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality instrument which has a slightly larger budget.
While they generally do great work, there are sometimes flaws, but these are overshadowed by the quality of this ukulele.
2.2) Lanikai LU-21C Soprano Ukulele Bundle
Even though it may appear to be very similar to the Lanikai ukulele LU-21, this ukulele is different on a few points.
It has the same all-Nato construction, white binding, and even mare, but it has a larger neck size. Additionally, this ukulele has wider frets and tends to produce a louder and more resonant tone.
Conclusion: There are some minor problems that can occur with the craftsmanship of this ukulele, much like the Lanikai LU-21. However, it is a great instrument.
It can easily compete with instruments in other segments, which makes it a great value ukulele.
Best Brand #3) Mahalo
Many ukulele players start out using Mahalo ukuleles as their first instruments.
Not only does Mahalo do a great job building quality instruments that will last, but they cater specifically to beginners.
This means that when you want to buy a ukulele that is geared to a beginner, then you can easily turn to Mahalo. They are incredibly dominant in the beginner market for ukuleles. Not only are they known for making a wide variety of beginner ukuleles, but they also have a great reputation for producing high-quality instruments.
This commitment to quality and their understanding of what musicians need in their first ukulele are both reasons that we have included them on this list.
3.1) Mahalo MK1TBR Kahiko Series
Even though this is a very basic and simple model, it is a wonderful ukulele for beginners to consider. It’s an affordable soprano ukulele.
The decent build quality and nice tone make it a good option. Even though it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as others, it’s a solid ukulele.
Conclusion: Even though this ukulele doesn’t have all of the aesthetic details that other ukuleles may have, it’s still a great and affordable option.
This is a great option for any beginner who has a tight budget and is looking for a reliable and quality instrument.
3.2) Mahalo Hano Series MH2
This is a gorgeous ukulele that comes in a variety of vibrant finishes. The tone wood is Segnon, which is an uncommon choice, but it offers great a great and balanced tone.
The instrument is very playable and is a very inexpensive ukulele in this category.
Conclusion: The decent performance of this ukulele is great for beginners. It’s not the most refined concert ukulele on the market, but it is a great choice.
It’s a nice ukulele for musicians on a budget who want great tone quality.
Best Brand #4) Hola!
Hola! is not a very well-known company, but their ukuleles are quickly and quietly growing in popularity, which makes them a great option for beginners.
While they offer more ukuleles than ones that are just for beginners, we feel like their beginner instruments are definitely some of the best, especially when you pay attention to the price.
These two models that we have included on the list are both wonderful options for any beginning musician. They are both decent ukuleles and highly affordable, much like most of the beginner ukuleles manufactured by Hola!. Check them out below to see if one of them may be right for you.
4.1) Music HM-121RD+ Deluxe Soprano Ukulele
This solid body ukulele features a mahogany neck that is easy to hold and to play, which is great for beginners. The crispy sound makes a great tone but offers a wonderful balance all over the range of this ukulele.
Thanks to the design of the ukulele, it’s fairly easy for beginners to coax a good sound out of this instrument without a lot of experience or practice.
Conclusion: This is a decent soprano ukulele that is offered at a low price, which makes it a wonderful choice for beginners.
It may require some setup in a few years because it isn’t held to the same high standards as other ukuleles.
4.2) Hola! Tenor Ukulele Deluxe Series
This is a very refined ukulele that looks amazing. As a concert model, it does offer a slightly deeper and richer tone than a soprano ukulele.
Thanks to the combination of good tone, wonderful craftsmanship, and high-quality materials, it’s a good option for most beginners.
Conclusion: This ukulele not only looks great, but it has a great tone and overall sound. It does a great job holding its own, even when compared with other concert ukuleles.
Even though Hola! ukuleles don’t get a lot of exposure, they are worth investing in and are often a great choice for beginners who are interested in buying a quality ukulele that will last for years to come.
Best Brand #5) Luna
Many musicians know Luna brand ukuleles as well as other instruments that they make. Since they don’t only make ukuleles, this brand is common among musicians around the world.
Not only do they have a great reputation for making a wide variety of high-quality instruments, but their ukuleles are some of the best. No matter if you are looking for a beginner ukulele or are a more advanced player, Luna makes solid and durable instruments.
Their high-end ukuleles are outstanding, but their beginner models are just as good and have a lot of detail. If you want a Luna ukulele and are just starting out playing this instrument, then you may want to consider one of these two models.
5.1) Luna Honu Soprano Ukulele Seies
The mahogany body and additional details really set this ukulele apart.
While it is more expensive than other similar instruments, it has an incredible tone that really sets it apart.
Additionally, the attractive design on the front of the ukulele is very appealing to a lot of musicians.
Conclusion: This soprano ukulele is a great option for anyone interested in a beautiful tone and attractive instrument.
Even though it is more expensive than other similar ukuleles, it features incredible build quality and attention to detail that set it apart from others in a similar price range.
5.2) Luna Maluhia Peace Tenor Ukulele series
Just like the other Luna ukulele on this list, this ukulele combines incredible sound and amazing detail at an affordable price, although it is a little more expensive than some other beginner models.
The use of only mahogany on this ukulele ensures an incredible tone, even when played by a beginner. The word “peace” is engraved around the sound hole in various languages.
Conclusion: This is a very interested concert model and a great option for musicians who are interested in a great instrument without overspending.
This ukulele is a little more expensive, but the additional features and attention to detail make it a choice to consider if you can afford the higher price.
Best Brand #6) Oscar Schmidt
Musicians who play the acoustic guitar are probably familiar with Oscar Schmidt, as they make incredibly affordable instruments that easily rival more expensive options.
While they are very well-known for producing great guitars, their ukuleles are just as incredible. This brand isn’t very popular, but most musicians who have invested in an Oscar Schmidt are generally very happy with their choice.
Because of that and their commitment to producing high-quality ukuleles that are designed for beginners to start playing, we have included two of theirs on this list. These two ukuleles are some of the best instruments that you can buy as a beginner.
6.1) Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
The clear and bright tone is crispy and incredibly versatile, which is great for musicians who feature different playing styles.
The main drawback to this ukulele is the high price tag, which can turn some people off from buying it. However, the higher price tag is understandable when the level of craftsmanship and the quality of tone are considered.
Conclusion: Even though this is a little more expensive than other ukuleles, the attention to detail and incredibly balanced tone make it worth the higher price tag.
Thanks to the boost in instrument quality when Washburn took over, Oscar Schmidt is now making reliable and incredible ukuleles like never before.
6.2) Oscar Schmidt OU12 Soprano Ukulele
Thanks to the mahogany body on this ukulele, musicians will enjoy a clear tone, even if they haven’t ever played before.
It’s an incredibly affordable soprano ukulele that delivers great performance each time that it is played. This gives musicians confidence when playing this ukulele and will help them enjoy the drive that they need to keep practicing.
Conclusion: This is the perfect ukulele for beginners not only because it looks great, but also because it produces incredible tone quality.
Even though it doesn’t feature a lot of bells and whistles, it provides clear and bright sound.
Best Ukulele Brand #7) ADM
ADM is a smaller company than Kala, but while they don’t have the reputation that some other ukulele manufacturers do, they produce great beginner ukuleles. Their entry-level instruments feature the same attention to detail as their higher end models do.
By checking out the ukuleles that they have for sale, you can easily see that they cater to creating durable and functional instruments. Most musicians agree that if you are in the market for a new ukulele that you will want to consider ADM at least, even if you do not end up purchasing one of their instruments.
They offer proven designs, which is why we are featuring two of their ukuleles on this list. Beginners should definitely consider ADM and will be happy that they did.
7.1) ADM Mahogany Concert Ukulele
The all mahogany construction creates a great sound on this ukulele, which is why it’s so popular not only with beginners but also more advanced musicians.
The white binding around the body is attractive and adds to the aesthetics.
With a bright tone, thanks to the mahogany build, this ukulele really stands out.
Conclusion: It can be difficult to find a great concert ukulele that is in this price range, which is why this ADM instrument is such a great option.
This is a wonderful instrument not only for beginners but also for more advanced musicians to use.
7.2) ADM Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
The all-mahogany body and white binding make this ukulele similar to the concert version by ADM on this list, but there are a few things that set it apart.
This soprano ukulele has an incredibly bright tone and incredible intonation.
While it is expensive, the whole package makes it a worthwhile purchase.
Conclusion: Even though this is a more expensive ukulele than others on the list, it’s backed by the great name of the manufacturer.
This ukulele is great for beginners and more advanced musicians who will be able to coax out incredible sounds and tones due to the quality of the instrument.
Best Ukulele Brand #8) Sawtooth
Most of the ukuleles that Sawtooth manufacturers are designed for entry-level musicians. They don’t have the best reputation for higher-end models, but they have spent a lot of time and effort in designing beginner instruments.
In fact, their beginner instruments are some of the highest quality that you can buy and are considered by some musicians to be an incredible bargain, especially when compared with what other companies have to offer.
Musicians who are in the market for an affordable and reliable ukulele will definitely want to consider Sawtooth as an option.
8.1) Sawtooth ST-UKE-MS Soprano Ukulele
The back, sides, and top of this ukulele are all made of mahogany, which results in a very refined instrument that looks and sounds amazing.
The laser etching around the sound hole doesn’t affect the sound of the instrument, but it is very attractive and adds to the overall appearance.
Conclusion: This ukulele is designed to give beginning musicians a great instrument that looks and sounds great.
It’s not only affordable but designed to be a little bit more impressive to play and to listen to. The low end is very warm, while the trebles have a bit of a punch to them.
8.2) Sawtooth ST-UKE-BSSB Ukulele
The decent tone of this ukulele is incredible considering the lower price range that it is in.
Even though it is incredibly affordable, that doesn’t mean that this ukulele is low-quality. On the contrary, it offers an exceptionally warm tone that you aren’t normally able to achieve with a ukulele in this price range.
Conclusion: The attractive color and design of this ukulele make it look a bit like an acoustic guitar.
The basswood body is softer than the usual mahogany, which results in a warmer and less crispy tone that some musicians really appreciate and which makes this instrument perfect for fingerpicking.
Best Ukulele Brand #9) Diamond Head
Diamond Head is similar to Sawtooth and ADM in that it is not as common a manufacturer. However, they create incredible beginner instruments that are worth considering.
They have mastered the creation of traditional ukuleles and do a great job making sure that all of their instruments provide incredible sound, even though they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing options on the market. For the most part, Diamond Head ukuleles are of decent quality.
There is always the possibility of errors in craftsmanship, although, for the most part, these ukuleles have an incredible finish and fit. We have selected two of their most popular models for you to consider.
9.1) Diamond Head DU-200C Deluxe Concert Ukulele
This solid ukulele is made from mahogany and has a great warm and rich tone. The notes are all clear and have incredible resonance.
It’s an incredibly affordable full-size concert ukulele and one of the best options in its class if you are interested in a larger instrument.
Conclusion: This ukulele is a great value for the money that you will spend, especially if you are in the market for a concert ukulele.
Even though the brand isn’t the best on the market, they do a great job making high-quality and affordable instruments.
9.2) Diamond Head DU-106 Rainbow Soprano Ukulele
This is a very interesting model of ukulele, partly because of its bright finishes that musicians can choose from.
While it is a soprano ukulele, it still has a great tone that varies from high and crisp to a little lower. It’s a wonderful choice for beginners on tight budgets.
Conclusion: This is an incredibly inexpensive little ukulele, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t offer you all of the benefits that you are looking for.
It’s a great choice for a beginning ukulele player, but more advanced musicians will likely want to upgrade to a better instrument when they have some experience.
Best Ukulele Brand #10) Cordoba
This prominent brand is well known for making high-end classical guitars. Thanks to their great experience and knowledge, they have been able to create great ukuleles, as well.
Not only does Cordoba offer higher-end ukuleles for more advanced musicians, but they also offer a wide selection of instruments geared towards beginners. They pay attention to quality and do a great job making sure that every instrument they create meets satisfaction.
When you consider these two Cordoba ukuleles, you’ll be able to see their commitment to quality.
10.1) Cordoba 15TM
This is an exceptional tenor ukulele that is great for both beginners as well as more advanced musicians.
Since the whole guitar features mahogany construction, this ukulele has a clear and crisp tone. With great highs and lows, this is a wonderful tenor ukulele for anyone.
Conclusion: One of the top tenor ukuleles that you can buy on the market today. It features an incredibly rich tonal spectrum as well as being made from high-quality materials.
Bright sounds, as well as great low ends, make this a wonderful beginner ukulele with a lot of range.
10.2) Cordoba Guitars 20CM Ukulele
Cordoba is clearly one of the top manufacturers of ukuleles right now, and this instrument shows how amazing they are.
The all-mahogany body, incredible attention to detail, and amazing Aquila Night strings work together to create a durable and reliable instrument. It features incredible tone, volume, and clarity that are typical of a great ukulele sound.
Conclusion: This ukulele is a little more expensive than some beginners may be willing to pay for, but it will last for a long time.
As one of the best concert ukuleles available in its category, it’s an above average instrument that will last for a long time without needing repair or needing to be replaced.
What To Look For In The Best Ukulele Brands?
When beginners are shopping for a ukulele, they want to make sure to first think about their budget. It’s fine to want to save a little money when buying a ukulele, but this doesn’t mean that you want to choose an inexpensive instrument that won’t sound great.
There are many ukuleles on the market, and some are even under $30, but these aren’t generally the highest quality. Not only are these inexpensive ukuleles not made from high-quality materials, but it’s normal for the manufacturers not to do a great job building them.
Beginners, just like more advanced musicians, need a quality instrument. Understanding your budget will help you narrow down your choices to the best brands of ukulele for beginners and professionals.
1) Impact Of Tone Wood
Most people who play stringed instruments know that the quality of wood plays a huge role in the sound of the instrument, and ukuleles are no different. Traditionally, ukuleles were made from just one tone wood, and it was used on the sides, top, and back.
However, a more modern approach uses hardwood on the back and sides and softwood on the top. The softer wood resonates incredibly well, and the hardwood is a reflector of the sound.
While some people can’t tell a huge difference between the sound of traditional and modern ukuleles, some have a preference, so knowing what you like will help you find the right ukulele for your needs.
2) Types Of Tone Wood
Koa is the traditional tone wood used in making ukuleles. This wood is common in Hawaii, and initial builders used it most of the time when constructing their instruments. Just as it was popular then, it is still very popular now.
Mahogany is another great choice for ukuleles, partly because it has similar tonal properties and a similar density. Spruce and cedar are common softwoods used in making ukuleles. While it’s impossible to list all types of wood used in the construction of ukuleles, ebony, walnut, and rosewood are all also common.
There’s no best wood when you’re considering wood tone. As long as you choose a ukulele that has great design and construction, then you should be able to enjoy a great sound and tone.
These woods are most common, but in some beginner ukuleles, there may have to be a trade off, depending on what materials are available as well as their cost.
3) Types Of Ukuleles
Just like acoustic guitars come in different sizes, ukuleles do, as well. This means that it’s important to take into consideration the size of the instrument you are looking for, as it will play a role in the volume, projection, and tone of the ukulele.
The four main sizes of ukulele are the soprano, the concert, the tenor, and the baritone. We will walk you briefly through each ukulele type and then we will see what is the best ukulele brand.
The smallest type of ukulele is the soprano, and they are also the most popular ukulele on the market today. Generally speaking, they are around 20 inches long.
They have a very crisp and clear sound and don’t have much bass. It’s this lighter and brighter tone that many people think of when they imagine what a ukulele sounds like.
A slightly bigger model is the concert ukulele. These have a longer neck, which allows for frets to be more spaced out.
The spaced out frets makes this size ukulele generally much easier to play than the soprano. It’s this ease of playing, not the change in size, that makes it preferable to some musicians.
Tenor ukuleles are slowly becoming more popular and mainstream because more and more musicians are relying on them instead of smaller ukuleles.
They have much more low-end models than soprano or concert ukuleles. This provides a little heft and thickness to their sound, and some people even think that they sound a little like a classical guitar.
These are much larger ukuleles and sound similar to a classical guitar. They even are sized similarly to this larger instrument.
Many musicians think that baritone ukuleles don’t offer a very unique tone and that they are too big. For this reason, they really aren’t a great ukulele for beginners to learn on.
There is one more type of ukulele called banjolele.
Final Thoughts on the Best Ukulele Brands
The question that you’re probably asking yourself is, “what is the best ukulele brand for me to buy?” Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give everyone the perfect pick for them, as you have personal preferences, playing style, and your own budget.
We listed ten of the best ukulele brands, and since they all vary somewhat, you can have confidence that any of the ukuleles on this list will meet your needs. No matter which of these ukuleles you choose, you are sure to find one that you love, but it’s a good idea to complete some research on your own.
In general, it can be tricky to find and buy great ukulele. While some may look great when you’re reading about them, they may not offer you the sound and control that you desire when you start playing.
This is why we recommend that you complete your own research about ukuleles so that you can find the right one for you. Our goal with this guide was to provide you with the information that you need to make the right purchase.