Best Cheap Ukuleles – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: May 7, 2021

Ukuleles are very affordable and practical instruments in general and that’s why people are keen on them.

But you may wonder how low can manufacturers go with the price and still deliver a proper Ukulele for you or your kids.

Fortunately, you are about to be surprised.

Can You Really Find a Quality Ukulele That’s Affordable? 

Term “quality” is quite relative. If we’re talking about professional quality, no, we can’t recommend you any Cheap Ukulele. But, for seasoned or semi-pro users, some models can be considered as underpriced when you take a listen. 

Some models have such production because of mass-production, others are set at such price because they want to promote their brand and others simply came out better than expected thanks to unknown designers who just started out.

So, if you’re not a fanboy, we guarantee you that you can find models that can outpace those more famous from the same tier.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying a Cheap Ukulele? 

Here are some basic facts about Cheap Ukulele you should have to keep in mind before buying:

It’s Always Laminate

Unless specified the opposite, these Ukuleles are made from a Laminate. Solid Wood material simply can’t be found at this price range. But, because people tend to look down upon Laminate, the brands had to find a way to omit to mention it and while being on that road some of them went just too far and misled users with the false advertisement.

In general, there’s nothing wrong with having a Laminate Ukulele as long as it’s well made, especially for semi-pro players.

It’s Not a Keeper

The purpose of Cheap Ukulele is not to be the only one you’ll ever buy. It’s more a spare instrument or entry-level model that will help you learn the basics. 

This goes especially for plastic models which are ideal for kids as they also come with plastic frets so the risk of getting cut is minimal.

Don’t Expect Sonic Wonders

Cheap Ukulele may sound decent, but don’t expect much more. These models are made to be affordable and if you want more of the sound, you’ll have to go to the three-figure models.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Cheap Ukulele? 

As we mentioned above, these models won’t excel so much in sound and should be treated like temporary or non-professional solutions. Having that on the mind, we recommend you to check the next features instead:

Intonation

The most important part of your concerns will be how much the Ukulele stays in tune. Having an instrument that goes out of the tune easily is not acceptable at any price so avoid such models no matter how cheap they are. 

Intonation problems may cause your Ukulele to be practically unplayable.

Design

While you can’t expect a special sound, you can get some really nice design solutions. That’s why we can almost advise you to pick the one that feels like you the most. It will inspire you to play more and eventually shift your progress when you’re stuck or unmotivated. 

Accessories

While the Ukuleles may sound very similar in this tier, accessories bundles may vary a lot. No matter if this is your first or spare instrument, getting a nice padded gig bag, capo or tuner will always come handy and they may even provide you with a good set of strings. And most of these accessories you can use on every Ukulele you have or plan to get.

Solid Wood vs. Laminate Ukulele - Comparison Overview 

Solid Wood term means that the whole Ukulele body is made from the same wood piece. Laminate wood uses several wood parts glued together to form the soundboard. This approach helps companies to create a more appealing look as solid wood models remain somehow plain and basic, more vintage-like. 

Concerning build quality we can call it a draw - Laminate uses thinner wood pieces so they are more prone to physical damages, but, also, they are more resistant to environmental changes.

In general, the main difference lies in the sound and price. Solid Wood models are considered to be premium models and have more resonant sound. When compared to Laminate, you would even say that Solid Wood models have that extra dimension in sound. And as they age, they get more mellow and “open” in sound. They are designed for professional players and it’s not so rare to find handcrafted models.

However, this doesn’t mean that all Solid Wood sounds great or that Laminate models can’t sound good. As it takes more time and money to produce a Solid Wood model, companies actually try to optimize Laminate models and try to get the most of it for you at the lowest price. 

Comparison of the Best Cheap Ukuleles

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Solid Mahogany wood soundboard
  • Enya Fluorocarbon Strings installed
  • Extended accessory bundle
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  • Mahogany Tenor Ukulele with Arched back
  • Fret markers visible on the side of the neck
  • Good quality control and finishing work
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  • Mahogany Soprano Ukulele with Natural Satin finish
  • Traditional vintage design
  • Equipped with Aquila Super Nylgut Strings
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  • Best Cheap Concert Ukulele
  • Arched back design
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
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  • Best Cheap Ukulele for Beginners
  • Interactive fret chord color learning system
  • Durable and water-resistant
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Review of the Best Cheap Ukuleles

There are many Ukuleles at this price range, so let us help you and refine the search for you:

Best Overall:
Enya EUC-25D BU Starter Kit

Enya Concert Ukulele 23 Inch Blue Solid Mahogany Top with Ukulele Starter Kit Includes Online Lessons, Tuner,Case, Strap, Strings, Capo, Sand Shaker, Pick,Polish Cloth (EUC-25D BU)

PROS

  • Side fret markers printed
  • Extended accessory bundle
  • Richlite fretboard with Silver frets
  • Solid Mahogany wood soundboard
  • Enya Fluorocarbon Strings installed 

CONS

  • Not the best quality control
  • Could have a bit more fret markers - on the neck side as well

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are overwhelmed with this product. They love everything about it - tone, fretboard action, sustain, color, strings, intonation - even the experts’ comment that it could match some more expensive models. It’s often recommended on YouTube channels as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While it’s unrealistic to expect all solid wood at these prices, Enya did make a compromise and provided you with a solid wood soundboard and silver-plated frets. Given the fact that most of the sound is generated at this stage and that it comes with fluorocarbon strings, EUC-25D undoubtedly sounds the best at this price range.

Speaking of design, we totally fell in love with this vintage Mahogany blue. 

And as expected, Enya provided us with an extended accessory pack. You won’t get a decent padded bag, tuner, strap, and picks but also a capo and a finger sand shaker. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this Enya’s Starter Kit is providing you with an over the top offer. It will give you the great looking and sounding Ukulele and accessories you may not even consider at first.

Runner-up:
Donner DUT-1 Tenor Set

Donner Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Professional 26 inch Ukelele Starter Bundle Kit with Free Online Lesson Gig Bag Strap Nylon String Tuner Picks Cloth DUT-1 Ukalalee Set

PROS

  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Great gig bag and other accessories
  • Good quality control and finishing work
  • Mahogany Tenor Ukulele with Arched back
  • Fret markers visible on the side of the neck

CONS

  • Mediocre strings
  • Check for possible fret buzzing upon arrival

What Recent Buyers Report

It was purchased mostly by beginners and they are saying that this model stays in tune even when compared to the more expensive Ukuleles from other manufacturers.

They did complain about string quality and you’re strongly advised to change them for something better. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Tenor Ukulele is a basic model done just right. Nothing fancy about it except for the fact that it gives more than its price says. Finish and tuners are smooth with no glue markings, while the sound is clean and more than acceptable. 

Strings are nylon but with carbon wounding so, they will last longer than your regular strings and provide a louder sound. The rest of the accessories are on the spot with decent motives on the strap.

And we really loved the gig bag. It’s well made, durable with great padding so you may even use it for your main ukulele as well.

Bottom Line

This Ukulele will satisfy all needs for a typical beginner. It’s reliable, well-made and with the given accessories you won’t need anything else for a while.

Best for the Money:
Makala MK-S Soprano

Makala Soprano Mahogany Ukulele by Kala (MK-S)

PROS

  • Ideal for beginners
  • Traditional vintage design
  • Walnut fingerboard and bridge
  • Equipped with Aquila Super Nylgut Strings
  • Mahogany Soprano Ukulele with Natural Satin finish

CONS

  • No accessories included
  • Mediocre entry-level sound

What Recent Buyers Report

It is mostly described as decent. They are aware that it was made for beginners and it was mostly purchased as a child present.

But, they do comment on the intonation issues a little bit too much, so double-check if you got the right strings - it seems that some users haven’t got the advertised Aquila model.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Usually, we wouldn’t comment on this plain type of design. It's a Mahogany and Walnut combination, but it does have an extra pinch of vintage flavor inside that looks just right. 

While we don’t have any remarks on the build quality, being cheap is yet its major trait. Sound is not worth commenting but yet it should come with Aquila Super Nylgut Strings. Those strings will at least stay in tune a bit longer.

Also, we find it to be an ideal choice for beginners as you won’t spend too much money on the first instrument.

Bottom Line

Makala is a sub-brand of the Kala manufacturer, so, in case you’re looking for an entry-level but trustworthy product, Makala MK-S could be your choice. They have better quality control, so it will be harder to get a faulty model.

Best Cheap Concert Ukulele:
Lohanu LU-C Concert Bundle

Ukulele Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-C) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Hanger Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons BEST UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL Purchase Today!

PROS

  • Arched back design
  • Longer Sustain and full tone
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
  • Sapele Concert Ukulele with Matte finish
  • Bunch of handy accessories and digital songbook

CONS

  • Gig bag is not padded
  • Finishing touches could be more polished

What Recent Buyers Report

In general, there are thousands of positive feedbacks regarding this Ukulele and it’s hard to find someone who wouldn’t recommend it to the others or buy it again.

But, due to mass-production, watch out for quality control issues as some models are reported to have bad intonation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This concert ukulele is made from Sapele laminated wood with an arched back design. This design type gives you a more resonant tone with increased sustain. 

Speaking of accessories, you will have almost everything you may think of - tuner, two types strap, installed strap buttons, leather and plastic picks, gig bag - even Aquila Super Nylgut strings are included.

And, we must notice that they offer an unconditional lifetime warranty, something that’s very rare to find these days.

Bottom Line

Regardless if this is your first Ukulele or you’re looking for a cheaper traveling model, Lohanu made a great deal for you. You can expect a decent sounding Ukulele with all accessories you may ask for, including even a wall hanger.

Best Cheap Ukulele for Beginners:
Kala KALA-LTP-SCC Learn To Play Soprano Kit

Official Kala Learn To Play Color Chord Ukulele Starter Kit for Beginners - includes a Color Chord Soprano Ukulele, logo tote bag, online lessons, tuner app, and booklet (KALA-LTP-SCC)

PROS

  • Great gift for kids
  • Durable and water-resistant
  • All ABS plastic Soprano Ukulele
  • Free online lessons and apps included
  • Interactive color chord fret markers system

CONS

  • Below-average sound
  • Could provide more accessories than just a bag and songbook

What Recent Buyers Report

Users bought this product for their kids most often. They were glad that it’s so durable they would even call it indestructible, so they don’t have to worry about damaging it and they loved the fact it could be brought anywhere, even in the bathtub. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Not all plastic Ukuleles are the same and this one is our favorite. It can’t match the sound of the wood Ukulele, but when they are made good, they will deliver you a different sweeter tone. 

But, the main focus regarding this product lies in the songbook color chord system. It comes with four color fret markers so you can label your basic chords easily and visualize them on your fret by simply matching the color pattern. This way both kids and adults can learn to play Ukulele even if you don’t know the music theory at all.

Bottom Line

A soprano ukulele can be a great gift as its size will fit every kid. The color chord system that Kala provides can be an interactive way to memorize basics, so no matter how old your kid is, it will know what to do.

Best Cheap Electric Ukulele:
Caramel CS419 Soprano

21 inch Solid Mahogany Top and Back - Caramel CS419 Soprano LCD color display Electric Ukulele ukelele Kit Bundle Aquila Strings, Padded Gig Bag, Strap Set

PROS

  • Smooth Walnut fingerboard
  • Wonderful accessories bundle
  • 3-band EQ with tuner installed in preamp
  • Classical guitar headstock with metal tuners
  • Mahogany Electric Soprano Ukulele with solid wood top

CONS

  • No strap buttons installed
  • A bit smaller than a standard Soprano Ukulele

What Recent Buyers Report

Reports say that the fret action is wonderful, that it sounds just like they would expect from Soprano Ukulele, and that this is a great value for the money.

But, users also report that it comes without strap buttons installed, so it’s quite a mystery why a strap is provided at all.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fingerboard finish is exceptional - the frets are probably the smoothest we had a chance to try at this price range. The headstock also resembles the vintage look of the classical guitar and metal tuners seem to hold the intonation just right.

The preamp works properly and we really liked that it has 3-band EQ. The installed tuner will come handy for beginners as the LCD is clear and large enough to be comprehensive to anyone.

Accessories are excellent - you’re getting a wonderful gig bag with nice padding, metal capo, and even a cord to plug in your Ukulele and a wall hanger.

Bottom Line

It’s quite rare to find such an affordable and yet decent electric ukulele at this price and we find this model to be a nice showcase to see what you can actually get from having a pickup in your instrument.

Best Cheap Soprano Ukulele:
Flight Travel TUS50 Salamander

Flight Travel Series Soprano Ukulele - Salamander (TUS50)

PROS

  • Available in 14 different colors
  • Strap button installed on the back
  • More resistant to weather changes
  • ABS Plastic Ukulele with Linden wood top
  • Plastic fretboard with Zero Fret feature installed

CONS

  • Bag should be padded
  • Fretboard could be wooden, too

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers recommend it as a great choice for the first ukulele. The sound is described as bright and they were surprised to see the strap button installed. They also comment that Linden wood is very thankful for painting your Ukulele, so you could get a custom model easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model comes with a black plastic neck and body including the fretboard, but the top of the instrument is made from laminated Linden wood which simply looks wonderful. You can’t miss the engraved rosette motifs and Satin finish. It gives you an option to pick between fourteen color prints, too.

Anyway, such top body design results in better sound, much longer sustain when compared to any plastic Ukulele out there especially because it’s combined with Aquila strings

We have to state that we didn’t have a chance to find so many models providing Zero fret position, and that’s a really nice afterthought.

Bottom Line

Flight did a very interesting compromise between wooden and plastic models and pushed this unit away from plastic entry-level sounding while keeping the price as low as possible. With the slimmed travel design, it’s definitely a winner for regular roadtrip solutions.

Best Cheap Baritone Ukulele:
Diamond Head DU-200B Deluxe

Diamond Head DU-200B Deluxe Natural Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

PROS

  • Warm and full sound
  • Basic gig bag included
  • Mahogany color design
  • All Maple Ukulele with Satin Finish
  • Removable bridge for different action setup

CONS

  • Not so inspiring look
  • Tuners seem to be problematic

What Recent Buyers Report

It is often referred to as a great beginner instrument. Body seems to be built very well apart from a really basic look. No out of tune complaint found at all.

They do complain about gig bag quality, though - it’s more considered to be a dust protector than a real bag. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fretboard action seems to be great and the bridge can be removed to lower the playing action and the tone is best described as warm and full especially if you switch nylon strings to steel.

The Maple's body is built well and resonates with a really full tone while the colors will remind you of the typical vintage Mahogany Ukulele. Build quality seems to be good as the body feels firm and durable, so it is a pretty good choice for your first baritone ukulele and you will get a basic bag for easier and more secure transportation.

Bottom Line

If you’re a guitar player thinking about trying out Ukulele, maybe it's best to start with affordable models first and see how it goes. This model will give you a good hint without forcing you to learn different string tuning setups.

Best Cheap Tenor Ukulele:
Kmise Ukulele-A1

Travel Ukulele Tenor Thin Body 26 inch Zebra Ukelele Uke Hawaii Guitar 18 Fret

PROS

  • Bright and clear tone
  • Best traveling companion
  • Zebra body Travel Tenor Ukulele
  • Beautiful abalone rosette and binding
  • Okoume neck with Rosewood fingerboard

CONS

  • Gig bag could be provided
  • Frets might need additional polishing

What Recent Buyers Report

They are extremely happy with this purchase. It is often referred to as real eye candy and it’s not so rare that this one is a favorite model for those who have more Ukuleles in their arsenal. Just be prepared to polish frets a little bit more upon arrival.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Unique would be the right word for this model. It has a Zebra wood body and Okoume neck with a Matte finish. You won’t find too many models with such a combination and the result is a very bright and clear tone thanks to both wood and Travel tenor nature. It also has gorgeous abalone binding on top and sides with a nice rosette.

The main pros of Travel Tenor are its body design. It comes at 2.24 inches. This way you’re getting all the benefits of tenor-sized models at a thinner and more compact body - wider frets and longer sustains.

Bottom Line

Most cheap Ukuleles are made of Mahogany. If you want something different, the Kmise model is made from Zebra and Okoume while delivering the same build and sound quality as the competition.

Best Cheap Bass Ukulele:
Hadean UK-20 K BIND

Hadean 30 inch Acoustic Electric Bass Ukulele UK-20 K BIND Mahogany Uke Basss

PROS

  • Mahogany Electric Bass Ukulele
  • Strings tuned just like the real bass guitar
  • Removable rear panel for easier strings changing
  • Adjustable Truss-Rod neck with Rosewood fretboard
  • Preamp equipped with 3-band EQ controls and chromatic tuner

CONS

  • Gig bag would come really handy
  • Pickup might be too sensitive for some players

What Recent Buyers Report

Users say that the instrument is far from ideal, but they are surprised to see such a good pickup at this price range. As a matter of fact, it seems to be a little bit too sensitive as it also captures a finger movement, so consider making your fingers slightly wet before playing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Bass Ukuleles are not easy to find, especially at this price.

This one goes over and beyond and provides you even with the quite decent preamp with 3-band EQ controls so you can find the sweet spot in the mix. It allows you to dial in a tone that may resemble a double bass as well. 

Intonation is decent, and having Aquila Nylgut strings helps this cause even further.

But, it does not stop there - it also comes with the adjustable truss rod neck so in case you hear any fret buzzing you can re-adjust the fret action. 

Bottom Line

This Bass Ukulele has everything you need for your first instrument, including a loud and clear electric preamp. If you would like to join your friends in their next Ukulele live performance, this unit will match their Ukuleles tones perfectly.

Cheap vs. Expensive Ukulele - Comparison Overview 

Buying musical instruments can sometimes be really unfair. An expensive Ukulele simply won’t and cannot sound five times better while it may cost about that much.

The thing is that all well-made instruments have about the same sound characteristics. If you’re a beginner, it won’t be important to have a premium Ukulele as you won’t even notice those fine details.

But as your playing evolves, your “ears” (listening) get better, fingers detect smaller details, and then it may start to matter. The biggest change you will experience will happen when you play a premium model for a while and then get back to the cheap one. You will immediately understand all the flaws in cheap models such as:

  • Shorter sustain tone

  • Lower overall volume

  • Different, even awkward fingerboard action

  • That frets aren’t so smooth

  • Imperfections in finishing work

  • Intonation problems

And so on. This is completely fine. Cheap models are meant for newbies and they don’t matter the sound fullness that solid wood models found in expensive models produce compared to the laminate wood of cheap models. They won’t hold you back from learning how to play for a while. So, once you start noticing things we mentioned above - congratulations, you’re on the road to becoming a professional player, and don’t be surprised if you get instant inspiration while playing an expensive model.

So, while both cheap and expensive Ukuleles will (and must be) playable, there is nothing wrong to recommend someone a cheap model first. They both have their place on the market and only if you’re serious about playing we will recommend you to go for expensive models. Those are pieces of the art, quite often handmade and they may be even a great investment as their price may increase, especially if you go out and buy that Hawaiian Koa model.

Conclusion 

Playing music doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby and Ukulele is one of the most affordable instruments out there. It may not sound professional, but it will allow you to start the journey in a much more affordable manner and the rest will follow based on your devotion and ambitions. 

People Also Ask

If you have any concerns about Cheap Ukulele, price, purpose. We also mentioned a zero fret term, so we will explain it further to you in the next section:

What is Considered Cheap For a Ukulele? 

In general, anything that goes lower than $70-80 is considered Cheap. But, it depends a lot on the Ukulele type. Tenor or Baritone Ukuleles are very hard to find at such a price range and Bass Ukulele can’t be found under $100.

Are Cheap Ukuleles Any Good?

If you do your research properly and read other unbiased reviews, it’s quite possible to find a good but cheap Ukulele that may serve you for many years. Perhaps bigger Ukulele models aren’t so easy to find, but finding Soprano and Concert Cheap Ukulele should be quite possible.

Is a Cheap Ukulele Good to Learn on?

It can be a good instrument to learn on if you find a model that has a decent intonation. Some models will also provide you with the free tutorials, apps, and songbooks, too, while others are specially designed so that kids can learn how to play it.

What Cheap Ukulele Should I Buy?

Depending on your age and physical size, Soprano Ukulele will work the best for children and women due to their hand size nature.

Big guys may feel awkward holding such a small instrument so we will recommend tenor ukulele instead. If you have played the guitar before, then Baritone Ukulele might be your best choice.

How Much Should I Spend on My First Ukulele?

If you’re on a tight budget, hopefully, you have noticed a lot of options under $100 in this article.

But if you’re feeling generous, we wouldn’t go above $100 too much. If you have more, you can invest in better strings, a decent and reliable tuner, capo, strap, and other useful accessories first.

What is Zero Fret?

Zero Fret is a rare feature of creating a fret placed at the exact end of the fretboard next to the headstock’s beginning. It’s designed to match the sound of open-string chords and the other chords and significantly minimizes pitch deviation found around first frets.



I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.