The 10 Best Affordable Ukuleles

0
1786

After taking a good long look at all of the most popular affordable ukuleles listed at under $100 on the market, we’ve come up with a list of five top cheap ukuleles, as well as some things to keep in mind as you make your decision.

In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at five of the best cheap ukuleles on the market today, plus we’ll talk about some important things to look for as make your choice.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

1. Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele “Tiny Beast”

Features:

  • Mahogany top, back, and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Walnut fingerboard
  • 18 Frets

Incredible sound, reliable components, and fantastic durability come together in the Kala KA-15S soprano ukulele – in fact, it’s such a little monster that Terry nicknamed it the “Tiny Beast!”

This ukulele is priced well below $100 – yet it offers outstanding quality. It’s the ideal choice for kids and adults who aren’t quite sure that the ukulele is an instrument they’re ready to stick with, and it’s also a fantastic “second” low-cost ukulele that sounds great around a campfire or while you’re lounging on the beach.

The Kala KA-15S soprano ukulele has a warm, pleasant sound, partly thanks to its mahogany front, back, and sides. Its durable mahogany neck supports an attractive walnut fingerboard. The wood is finished in a dark, rich tone, and the design is finished off with an etched motif that surrounds the soundhole.

While many cheap ukuleles are fitted with less-desirable no-name strings and plastic components, this one features Aquila Super Nylgut strings, along with a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle.

A free padded gig bag is included!

Overall, this is one of the best cheap ukuleles we’ve seen. It’s fun to play, it sounds nice (particularly for the price) and it looks fantastic.

2. Kala KA-C Concert Ukulele Mahogany “Wrangler”

Features:

  • Mahogany top, back, and sides
  • Cream binding
  • Mahogany neck
  • Walnut fingerboard
  • 18 Frets

Think it’s too good to be true? Watch Terry’s video review of the Kala KA-C concert ukulele, and you’ll be astonished at the sound, the attractive appearance, and the price tag! This  instrument doesn’t look or sound inexpensive – and that’s precisely why we included it on our list of the best cheap ukuleles available on the market right now!

This ukulele is made with mahogany, which offers a warm, pleasant sound. It’s pre-strung with Aquila Super Nylgut strings, and is fitted with 18 frets. The fingerboard is made with contrasting walnut wood, and cream-colored binding protects the edges while adding even more visual contrast. The wood is protected by a satin finish, which looks and feels beautiful, with the added advantage of showing fewer fingerprints and smudges than gloss finishes.

We do need to mention on thing that some might consider to be a drawback. The Kala KA-C concert ukulele arrives with high action, but this can be changed: Just ask for custom setup if you prefer ukuleles with lower action and easier playability.

3. Kala KA-T Tenor Ukulele “Ruby”

Features:

  • Mahogany top, back, and sides
  • Cream binding
  • Mahogany neck
  • Walnut fingerboard
  • 18 Frets

Here it is: Kala’s flagship model, the first ukulele the company ever introduced! Take a listen to Terry’s demo, and you’ll soon see exactly why the Kala KA-T tenor ukulele is one of the best-selling ukuleles in the world! It didn’t take much to convince us: The clear, sparkling sound is a pleasure to hear!

Even though this is a cheap ukulele, it isn’t cheaply made. This instrument offers mahogany construction, beautiful cream binding, and a gorgeous satin finish that doesn’t pick up a ton of fingerprints. The fingerboard is made of walnut, offering just a touch of contrast with the mahogany neck. The nut and saddle are made with strong composite GraphTech NuBone, and Aquila Super Nylgut strings are standard. You even get a padded gig bag with your purchase, adding even more value to this fantastic uke.

4. Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele “Big Poppy”

Features:

  • Mahogany top, back, and sides
  • Cream binding
  • Mahogany neck
  • Walnut fingerboard
  • 18 Frets

It’s tough to find a cheap baritone ukulele that doesn’t sound “cheap.” Notice we said “tough” and not “impossible!”

Kala brings a combination of affordability, great looks, pleasing sound and outstanding value to the table with its KA-BG baritone ukulele.

This fantastic instrument is made with mahogany tonewood, which is offset by a contrasting cream-colored binding. A gloss finish gives this inexpensive baritone ukulele a pleasing appearance; in fact, it’s gorgeous in person!

The Kala KA-BG baritone ukulele is fitted with a strong mahogany neck that supports a walnut fingerboard fitted with 18 frets. The nut and saddle are made with a durable composite material called GraphTech NuBone.

Aquila Super Nylgut strings are included, along with a padded gig bag. Like some other kala ukuleles we’ve reviewed, the action on this model tends to be bit high for some players, but custom setup can make everything right for those who prefer lower action.

Take a closer look if this “cheap” baritone ukulele grabs your attention! Terry’s video review includes a fantastic sound demo that you really don’t want to miss.

5.Romero Creations ST Concert Daniel Ho Signature STL Ukulele and Case

Features:

  • Designed by Pepe Romero
  • Laminate Mahogany Top, Back, and Sides
  • Satin finish
  • 15” concert scale length
  • 12 frets to the body

Really? A Romero Creations Daniel Ho ukulele made its way onto a list of cheap ukes?

You aren’t dreaming. While this ukulele is over $100, it is deeply discounted and at this price, we’re pretty sure it won’t last long! Let’s take a closer look.

The ST concert Daniel Ho signature ukulele is made with beautiful mahogany wood and fitted with Pepe Romero strings. It features a tenor scale body, the overall length of a soprano ukulele, and the scale of a concert ukulele, which all add up to incredible sound and amazing portability. The unique body shape assures easy access to all frets, so you can play to your hearts’ content!

A Romero Creations case is included, so you don’t have to search for a way to protect this gorgeous little beast. You also get a strap, a polishing cloth, and sheet music for Daniel Ho’s song “Pineapple Mango.”

While you’re here, be sure to listen to Terry’s video review! We’re pretty sure you’ll love the way this ukulele sounds, and if it isn’t in your price range right now, you might be inspired to save up for one of these little beauties.

6. Kmise Soprano Ukulele

Features:

  • Soprano size
  • 12 Frets
  • Overall instrument length: 22.8 inches
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Advanced carbon nylon string

The Kmise Soprano Ukulele stands out for its quality, which is astonishing considering the price point. This affordable ukulele features mahogany wood construction, with walnut fretboard and bridge. It has closed 18:1 pure copper gear tuning machines for good intonation and longer playing sessions between tuning. The nut and saddle are ox bone.

This ukulele is designed to offer lower action than average. It features 15 frets and comes with soft D’Addario strings. The bridge is specially designed to allow for easier string changes when needed, i.e. due to a broken string or to swap string positions for a left-handed player.

7. Kala MK-C Concert Ukulele

Features:

  • Concert size
  • 18 Frets
  • Overall instrument length: 24.125 inches
  • Mahogany neck, back and sides
  • Walnut fingerboard

The Kala MK-C concert ukulele features a mahogany top, back and sides with a nice satin finish that doesn’t pick up a lot of fingerprints. The neck is mahogany, and the fingerboard is walnut.

The nut and saddle are plastic, however there aren’t a lot of complaints about them and they can easily be replaced. The strings are Aquila super nylgut, great right out of the package.

This budget ukulele offers a scale length of 14.875 inches; just a touch shorter than average. It has 18 frets and it measures 1.38 inches at the nut. This ukulele has a sweet, pleasant sound that’s as it should be.

It comes as part of a kit that includes some nice extras like a gig bag, a tuner, and a neck strap. For beginners or those on a tight budget, this is one of the best concert ukuleles around.

8. Lohanu LU-T Tenor Ukulele

Features:

  • Tenor size
  • Technical Wood Fingerboard
  • Overall instrument length: 26.57 inches
  • Handmade
  • Chrome die past tuners

We’re huge fans of Lohanu not just because they offer a lifetime warranty on their instruments and accessories, but also because they offer good quality and pretty amazing prices. the Lohanu LU-T tenor ukulele is one of the most affordable and popular tenor ukes on the market right now, and for good reason.

This ukulele is simple but beautiful, with a sapele / mahogany top, sides, back, and neck, plus a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The ABS bindings are handmade, and strap buttons are pre-installed.

These fantastic ukuleles feature chrome die cast tuning machines, and they feature arched backs so every note has plenty of sustain and volume.

The sound is incredible, warm and smooth. It’s not quite the same as a high-end uke, but amazing nevertheless. Aquila strings are part of the package, along with a strap, a basic gig bag, a tuner, and a few other nice extras.

9. Caramel CB103 Zebra Wood Baritone Ukulele

Features:

  • Baritone size
  • 18 Frets
  • Overall instrument length: 29.9 inches
  • Hand-polished
  • Nut and saddle are of real buffalo bone

If you’re looking for an acoustic electric baritone ukulele or if you’ve been wondering whether you’d like to play with an amplifier, then you’re probably going to like everything about the Carmel CB103.

This beautiful budget ukulele is made with Zebra wood, which displays gorgeous striations and offers a smooth, sweet tone. The finish is hand-polished to a mirrorlike shine, and a dark walnut bridge and fretboard provide some visual contrast.

This Caramel ukulele has built-in electronics including an onboard tuner. It features closed, Geared tuners, a built-in truss rod for easy nut adjustment, and it arrives with Aquila strings. There are 18 frets on this ukulele.

Overall, this is one of the best baritone ukuleles in its price range as well as a favorite with new and experienced players alike.

10. Hola! Soprano Ukulele

Features:

  • Soprano size
  • Weight: 2.55 pounds
  • Overall instrument length: 22.8 inches
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Clip-on tuner Included

The Hola! Soprano ukulele comes in a variety of bright colors, so kids can pick a favorite. Made with durable maple wood, and fitted with a strong nato wood neck, these ukuleles feature walnut bridges and fingerboards. The geared tuners help keep the white nylon strings in tune once they’ve settled in, and the fretboard is marked with fret position indicators at the 5th, 7th, and 10th frets so it’s easier for kids to find their way around as they learn to play ukulele.

As starter ukuleles go, this is one of the best available – in fact, it’s so popular that more than a few adults make this their choice for everyday fun.

What to Look for When Shopping for Ukuleles on a Budget

Size

If you’re already a ukulele player, then you probably have a favorite size – and unless you’re thinking about going in a completely different direction or looking for ways to add more variety to your group’s sound while performing, then you’re probably going to want to stick to your preferred size.

For those who are newer to ukuleles in general, here’s a quick rundown of electric ukulele sizes:

Soprano – Smallest size, but considered “standard” thanks to its sweet, cheerful sound. GCEA tuning.

Also Read: 5 Best Soprano Ukuleles

Concert – Next size up, just a few inches longer than a soprano, with just a little more richness to its tone. GCEA tuning.

Also Read: 5 Best Concert Ukuleles

Tenor – A little larger than a concert ukulele, and considerably deeper in tone than a soprano, but not at all “bass-ey.” GCEA tuning.

Also Read: 5 Best Tenor Ukuleles

Baritone – The biggest ukulele size, a lot like a miniature guitar. DGBE tuning is identical to the top four strings on a guitar, making this size very easy for guitarists to transition to.

Also Read: The 5 Best Baritone Ukuleles

Materials and Overall Quality

Most electric ukuleles look fantastic, but remember, looks aren’t everything! When it comes to choosing an electric ukulele, keep quality, durability, and materials in mind as you’re shopping. Most of us would love to own a solid koa wood ukulele, and if that’s in your budget, get yourself to a guitar shop or have your instrument custom-made!

There’s nothing like it. For the rest of us, try to focus on quality materials. Mahogany, cedar, acacia, spruce, and maple are common choices. You’ll find a few solid wood electric ukuleles out there but most affordable options are laminate, which usually helps with durability. Don’t let laminate scare you away, particularly if you’re planning to travel with your ukulele!

Action / Setup

A ukulele’s setup matters more than you might expect. If the strings are set too low (i.e. low action) then you’re probably going to encounter some buzzing even though you won’t have to expend much effort to press the strings. If the action is set too high, you’ll find yourself wondering why the instrument is so hard to play. Good news: It’s possible to adjust the action, either on your own or with the help of a luthier (highly recommended if you’re new to ukuleles.)

Overview

Whether you’re planning to take your new ukulele onstage or if you’re simply interested in enjoying its warm, mellow tone while relaxing, it pays to choose a quality instrument that feels great in your hands even when shopping on a budget.

Even the best affordable ukuleles come in at prices similar to those of the average guitar, making this instrument wonderfully accessible as well as fun to play.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here