The humble uke may be the diminutive cousin of the guitar, but it's gained its own niche and enthusiasts ever since it was invented in the 1900s.
Its small frame, four strings, and the happy tune are perfect for those who'd like to play an easy instrument, but make no mistake - mastering the best ukulele takes time and is a rewarding endeavor.
If you're considering buying a ukulele, you'll wonder which brands are the best. Start browsing, and you'll find them in different sizes and prices. Soon, you'll get lost among dozens of choices!
Fear not - we're here to help. Below are the 10 best ukuleles on the market reviewed you can buy today. We've compiled the cream of the crop in terms of premium performance, affordability, and value. We also included some of the top uke brands such as Luna, Kala, Cordoba, and Lanikai.
As a side note, we've added the size of the product, e.g., baritone, tenor, soprano, bass, banjo or concert but there's usually an alternative size available if you know where to look. To keep the list from blowing up, we've limited it to four-stringed models only. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order.
10 Best Ukuleles on The Market rEVIEWED
1) Kala KA-SBG Baritone Ukulele
After much discussion, we agreed that there's only one room for a baritone ukulele, and that spot has been unanimously taken by the uke from Kala!
One look at the KA-SBG, and you'll know that you have a premium product in your hands. The sleek yet functional design, superb craftsmanship, and top-notch wood all come together to make a baritone that's sure to become your favorite.
Kala's offering touts a 30.5 body that's made up of solid spruce and laminate mahogany gracing the top, back, and sides. Play a bit with it, and you'll wonder where all the powerful sound is coming from.
The sub-$300 price tag makes it a steal for those who want value for money. The KA-SBG will only play better with time. It's a perfect mix of playability and tone wrapped in rock-solid hardware!
2) Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele
Looking for a uke that has the 'it' factor? Luna Guitars' Dolphin model is definitely a contender. After all, they're the go-to company when it comes to beautifully-designed ukuleles.
The Dolphin, as you may have guessed, sports a serene aquatic theme that deserves a second and even a third look. The maple top shows off a trans-azure finish that mimics waves.
Three dolphins surround the soundhole rosette and serve as the visual cherry on top. Your uke is sure to stand out from among the crowd.
The uke carries a cheerful tone and has outstanding playability, further amplified by the pre-amp and pickup.
Rounding out the bunch is a 2-band EQ and volume controls that allow you to play anytime you want.
3) Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele
All the ukes on our list have outstanding playability, style, and sound. Not only that, but they must have a certain 'wow' factor as well. That said, we think that the QM-BLCEC by Lanikai embodies all these traits, and more!
The concert-sized ukulele is just one part of the vaunted Sun Sand & Surf series by Lanikai. True to form, the whole body is made of quilted maple that's been stained with the color of the sea and textured with gentle waves.
Incredible detailing and attention to detail further add polish to the high-end uke. In terms of hardware, it's one of the best, thanks to the built-in digital tuner and Fishman Kula pre-amp system.
Lanikai has even thrown in a case, a no-bridge tie, and tuners so you won't have to buy anything else.
4) Fender Montecito Tenor Ukulele
The Montecito by Fender may be a relative newcomer, but there's no denying the brand quality. One look at the Telecaster headstock, and you'll know that this uke is a Fender through and through.
What's impressive is the fact that the Montecito has managed to break away from the Fender mold and become its own uke. In terms of tone, playability, and build, you can expect no less!
The tenor body is full size and made from solid koa on top and laminated on the sides and back. The nato neck is performance-glossy and connects to a fretboard made of durable rosewood.
While pre-amp or pickups with the model aren't included, the Montecito more than makes up for it with outstanding acoustic sound. This tenor ukulele well-balanced and only gets better with time and as the wood material ages.
5) Kala KA-PWT Pacific Walnut Tenor Acoustic Ukulele
The KA-PWS is a uke that's priced under $200, but once you get to know it better, you'll have it tagged as a high-end instrument.
The entire body is made from Pacific Walnut. The superb grain material goes great with the black binding, detailing, and satin finish. All of these translate to a premium feel that's nothing like you've had before!
Rounding out the details are 12 frets, a mahogany neck, and a choice between a walnut or rosewood fretboard.
Forget for a moment the uke's price - it has superb craftsmanship, and the tone is super clear and bright. It's an excellent tenor for both beginners and professionals alike.
6) Ibanez UEW15E Concert Ukulele
The UEW15E is a flashy piece of work and should more than suffice when you're looking for a reliable concert ukulele. At just under $200, you're getting tremendous value for money on a uke that lasts a long time!
It has the popular EW Series shape in a concert-size frame. The flamed mahogany sports one of the most intricate detailing and designs we've ever seen. Playing the UEW15E is inspiring- you'll love how the neck feels smooth and slick, as is customary for an Ibanez product.
This uke comes in with a set of nice additions. You get electronics in the form of a great pre-amp and pickup system. The built-in tuner and 2-band EQs are icing on the cake.
7) Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele
The cute yet feisty Grace VanderWaal model is sure to become your favorite ukulele. The instrument was created by Fender as an affordable option that has clear tones and timeless beauty to match.
The electro concert uke has a shiny gloss walnut finish and a sapele base, replete with cream binding and gold hardware. Grace has left her mark in the form of a distinctive soundhole label and a glittery gold rosette. Topping off the aesthetics is a prominent Tele-inspired headstock that ties it all together.
The first few strums are magical and knowing that the tone will only get better as time passes.
The Grace VanderWaal is impressive on both amplified and unplugged state and can be switched easily via the versatile Fishman Kula pre-amp system.
8) Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit
As per the title, the Bondi Ukulele is geared towards beginners who want to play a versatile instrument. In terms of value, this kit is second to none and has everything you'd need to begin learning the ukulele.
The uke included in the kit is surprisingly good and definitely worth every cent. The full-size concert frame is made with 100% laminated Sapele, 18 frets and a rosewood fretboard. The play area is quite spacious and conducive to practice.
The Bondi Starter Kit includes felt plectrums, a strap, a clip-on digital tuner, extra strings, and a protective case for playing on the go.
Bondi has even added a few neat extras, such as free Skype lessons and a wealth of instructional materials.
9) Luna Tattoo Tenor Ukulele
If it were up to us, the Luna Tattoo Tenor should win a blue ribbon in the beauty department. The ukulele also deserves high praise for its ability to produce clear sounds that complement all kinds of performances.
The eye-catching Hawaiian tattoo design makes a good impression from the get-go. Alex Morgan, Luna artist extraordinaire, has created the tattoo herself. Hardware-wise, you get a body that's made completely of high-quality mahogany and polished walnut fretboard.
Tuning stability still has room for improvements, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a uke that has the same price tag and rich sound. It's a solid tenor ukulele under 200 if we say so ourselves!
10) Lohanu Bundle Kit
The Lohano Bundle Kit is another excellent starter set for aspiring ukulele players. Like the Bondi Kit, it has everything you'd need to master the ukulele and play a song or two.
Speaking of which, the ukulele itself is the star of the show. The frame is made entirely of Sapele material, laminated and available in three sizes- tenor, concert or soprano.
Pick your size, and you'll find that the Lohano grows on you quickly. It's highly playable and attractive, with added detailing such as protective ABS binding and grain patterns. The arched back protects your investment from everyday damage, and it sounds super neat, too!
If you're wondering what the bundle comes with, wonder no more. The package has plectrums, a digital tuner, a strap, extra Aquila strings, and a nifty Lohanu gigbag. Bring it with you, and you won't be lacking anything when you want to play.