Best Cheap Ukulele | Models for Every Budget! [2019]

Have you ever tried playing a jumping flea? For a long time, I had been searching for a musical instrument to master but kept drawing a blank. The piano was too tricky. Guitars were too long. I was banned from playing the drums after a particularly enthusiastic session.

Fortunately, I quickly discovered the joy, which is the ukulele—or ”jumping flea,’ as it directly translates. The experience was so great; I decided to help inspire others to begin their relationship with this majestic instrument—a journey which starts with locating the best cheap ukulele on which to learn. Time to go forth and experience the wonder– with this ultimate guide to bagging the best budget ukulele, you’ll start a lifelong love affair.

Our Top Product Pick

Our top product pick, the Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele, has earned its place at the top of the list. Combining good looks and natural talent, it is a fantastic first choice for anyone starting with the instrument.

The Top Products

Voted Best Product Overall

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

There is a common misconception that ”budget’ automatically equals ”cheap,’ but this model proves that this is not the case. Top quality materials help to make this a truly remarkable instrument, and proof that you don’t have to spend crazy money for an incredible musical experience.

If you are searching fora champagne-feel at a lemonade price, this could be an excellent choice for your best budget ukulele.

 

Key Features

  • Twelve frets, well marked at the 5th, 7th and 10th position for ease of use.
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Top quality Aquila nylgut strings
  • Measures 8.5 x 3 x 22 inches
  • Weighs 12.8 ounces
  • Satin finish
  • Geared tuners

 

What I Like About This Product

This instrument is beautiful, and the affordable price comes as a surprise considering the high-quality materials used in its construction. It offers a warm and rich tone and is easy to tune and adjust as required, even for beginners.

In addition, this ukulele comes pre-strung to save time, and the inclusion of Aquila strings as opposed to cheap nylon makes a considerable difference in terms of playing quality.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

The only major criticism I can find with the Kala model is that it doesn’t come with a bag to store the instrument in. This point is disappointing, as such a beautiful product deserves to be adequately protected from the outset, but it is a small price to pay for the high quality.

 

Pros

  • Good quality rosewood and mahogany
  • Pre-strung with good quality strings
  • Sturdy yet portable
  • Easy to use for a beginner with clearly marked frets

 

Cons

  • Does not include a protective bag

 

This is the model we have voted the best cheap ukulele for good reason. It feels far more expensive than it is and offers a rich, warm sound which will inspire any player.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

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Colorful Design

Hola! Music HM-21BR Ukulele

Just because learning an instrument can be a challenge, doesn’t mean you can’t make it a little more fun! The Hola! range embraces the sheer joy of a ukulele and offers their products in a vibrant array of colors—this is your chance to play the colors of the rainbow!

 

Key Features

  • Beautiful maple and rosewood construction
  • Available in a variety of ten fantastic colors
  • Comes with two months of free, live lessons with each purchase
  • Pre-strung with sturdy nylon strings
  • Comes with a canvas tote bag for easy storage, and three picks

 

What I Like About This Product

The vibrant range of colors was the initial appeal of this model for me; there are ten to choose from. In addition, this is a genuinely good product, constructed of beautiful rosewood and maple, and with sturdy strings perfect for beginners.

The biggest bonus, though, is the two months of free lessons which come with the ukulele, meaning you can get started straight away!

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

Although it is normal for ukuleles to require constant tuning at first, the Hola! model only allows for around 10-20 minutes of play before it needs retuning again, and this slows down the learning experiences and reduces enjoyment.

 

Pros

  • Comes with a carry case for storage and protection
  • Available in ten colors
  • Includes free lessons to get you started

 

Cons

  • Some major issues with the instrument not staying in tune
  • Can feel a little cheap compared to models in the same price range

 

The Hola! Model is a fun and decent instrument, which is a great choice for beginners. There are, however, some issues around tuning, and other products at a similar price seem to offer a better quality of sound.

 

Overall rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Made from Zebras (not really)

The Caramel CT102A Wood Tenor Acoustic Ukulele

The first thing you notice about this ukulele is the stunning and unique color, and this isan instrument that sounds as good as it looks.

 

Key Features

  • Stunning zebrawood body
  • Rosewood fretboard and bridge
  • Buffalo bone nut and saddle
  • Seventeen frets for a full playing experience
  • Open geared tuners

 

What I Like About This Product

The Caramel is a gorgeous example of a ukulele and one which looks far more expensive than its low price suggests. The beauty is not only external either; this is an instrument which produces a sweet, warm sound, and stays in tune almost consistently—a rarity for this type of product!

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

If I had to find a criticism, it would be that the finish is slightly uneven on some areas of the body, but this hardly seems worth mentioning considering the beauty of the instrument.

 

Pros

  • The solid wood finish means this is a sturdy piece
  • Aquila strings offer a pleasant playing experience
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • There is no carrying case, which is disappointing

 

This is a stunning product, which lives up to its glamorous exterior by offering superior sound quality and durability and remaining well tuned after the initial settling in period. This could be the ideal choice for any beginner looking to get their hands on their first instrument.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Value for Money

Strong Wind 23 Inch Natural Uke Ukulele

This choice from Strong Wind combines budget with top quality and offers a classic ukulele size and sound for a fraction of the traditional price.

 

Key Features

  • Mahogany body and rosewood fretboard for the best quality sound
  • A classic ukulele size
  • Comes with a gig bag to protect the instrument, as well as a tuner to make sure you are playing accurately
  • Includes 12-month warranty and access to learning materials
  • Cattle bone nuts for the best quality vibration.

 

What I Like About This Product

The kit includes everything the beginner needs to get going, and the lower price is no reflection on the quality.

The combinations of wood types ensure an authentic and sweet sound, and the nuts are made from cattle bone, which improves the qualities of vibration. There is no compromise on quality simply because you are paying less, and this is nice to see.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

As with other similar instruments, there are some tuning issues with this product, which can make playing more frustrating.

 

Pros

  • Includes case, strings, and tuner
  • Gorgeous rosewood and mahogany help to create top quality sounds
  • Cattle bones nuts for optimum vibration
  • Includes a 12-month warranty for peace of mind

 

Cons

  • The issues with tuning may put beginners off the instrument.

 

The Strong Wind model gets our vote for the best quality product and is a great instrument to allow newbies to learn and practice with confidence. The low price also increases accessibility for the curious, while making sure they learn on a quality instrument.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Good for Learners

Moukey Soprano Ukulele

This offering from Moukey is ideal for learners, as it clearly marks out the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th fret on the fingerboard and neck, making it faster and easier to get to grips with the basics.

 

Key Features

  • Comes with twelve frets, with position marks at the 5th, 7th and 10th frets to make learning easier
  • Includes an e-tuner to help make sure that tuning is accurate and the sound is correct
  • Basswood body for good quality sound and vibrations
  • Arrives pre-strung for ease
  • Includes a carry case, strap, picks, extra strings, and a cleaning cloth

 

What I Like

One of the best features of the Moukey model is that it is already equipped for learners, allowing them to get started straight away. It includes a tuner, case, and clearly marked fret position to make it easy and obvious for learners, and the whole kit is fully set up to support new players.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

Compared to other models in a similar budget, this does tend to feel cheaper and more plastic than some of its competitors. This is fine for learners looking to gain confidence and experience but is disappointing compared to the possibilities which are available at similar prices.

 

Pros

  • The kit includes everything new players need to get started
  • Set up for learners to benefit
  • Basswood body offers a good sound

 

Cons

  • Feels slightly cheap compared to other models at the same price

 

If you are just looking to get started with the instrument, this might be a great choice to help you learn the ropes. As you progress, however, you are likely to outgrow the model and look for something which feels slightly higher quality.

 

Overall Rating: 6/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Buying Guide

The most important consideration when picking the best cheap ukulele is usually the size. There are four main sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone, and each has slight variations which affect playability and sound.

The smaller sopranos tend to have tighter fingerboards and offer a quieter sound, while large baritones provide a much louder, warmer sound. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference, and it is important to try out a potential instrument before you play it wherever possible.

For the ultimate guide to picking a ukulele, as well as a roundup of some the products we have discussed, check out the video below

 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to picking the best budget ukulele, the Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele emerges as the clear winner in the competition. It offers the affordability of a budget instrument, with the sound quality and fantastic finish of a much more expensive product. It is within reach for beginners, offering clear markings to help you learn and practice, but the superior appearance and sound mean you feel like you are playing on a high-end instrument.

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