Originally Hawaii's most iconic instrument, the ukulele has crossed over into the mainstream thanks to its simple four-string design that makes it one of the easiest instruments to learn. And the
best ukuleles for beginners will be affordable, comfortable to play, and will give you the range of sound you want.
choosing a ukulele, you have four size options, from smallest to largest: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Soprano ukuleles provide the classic ukulele sound with a bright, soft tone, but since they’re the smallest option, those with larger hands may find them less comfortable to play. The larger ukuleles offer more space between the frets for your fingers, and as you go up in size, you'll get a progressively louder, deeper sound. Soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles allow for similar tunings, so you should be able to play all three sizes after you master one. Baritone ukuleles, on the other hand, are usually tuned like the standard tunings for the four highest strings on a guitar, making it a great choice if you already play guitar or plan to learn that instrument, too.
It’s never too late to
learn how to play a musical instrument, and with the best ukuleles for beginners — all of which are under $100 — you'll be strumming a tune in no time. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
Available in soprano, concert, and tenor options, my pick for the overall
best beginner ukulele is crafted from sapele wood, with easy-to-play Aquila strings — a combination of nylon and gut strings. Together, the sapele wood and strings create a rich, warm tone. Plus, the kit comes with everything you need to get started: a battery-operated digital tuner, a strap, a polishing cloth, and an extra set of strings. Plus, there are 12 free lessons available on the Ranch website. The concert and tenor ukuleles are slightly larger than the soprano, so they're especially popular option for adults. According to a musician: “Words can't express how much I love this Ukulele, and I recommend it for beginners like me. The design is beautiful and the volume from this little instrument is amazing.”
The Best Baritone Ukulele
If you already play the guitar (or plan to in the future), this
baritone ukulele kit is a great choice since this is usually tuned like the standard tunings for the four highest strings on a guitar. The largest option on the list, it's made from mahogany — which is similar to sapele, albeit with more powerful bass tones — and features carbon strings, which create a loud, bright sound. This kit comes with a sturdy carrying case, a strap, five plastic picks, and an Allen wrench so you can adjust the gap between the strings and the fretboard. However, the kit doesn’t include a tuner or extra strings, and there are no free lessons offered by the brand — but you can find plenty of baritone ukulele lessons for beginners on YouTube. Kmise also offers starter kits for mahogany soprano, tenor, and bass ukuleles. According to a musician: “Great starter instrument. Has all you need to jumpstart your music. Like wider frets (I have big hands) and adjustable string clearance. Nicely crafted with a great bag.”
A Traditional Hawaiian Option
Made from koa acacia wood, this
traditional Hawaiian ukulele with Aquila strings is the way to go if you're looking to channel that classic island sound. Most early ukuleles were soprano and made from koa, a honey-brown wood native to Hawaii that offers a sweet, mellow, and warm timbre. This set comes with a carrying case, but doesn’t include accessories or free lessons. However, because of its small size, it may not be the most comfortable to play if you have larger hands. According to a musician: "Just got this ukulele and absolutely love it! The quality and sound are amazing and way beyond what I would expect for this price! And, it comes with a case! So glad I made this purchase."
A Wallet-Friendly Ukulele That Comes In Fun Colors
If you don’t want to spend much on your first ukulele, this eye-catching
ukulele for beginners is a good choice. It’s made from high-gloss basswood with nylon strings and it comes with a sturdy gig bag. This choice offers a less rich sound and doesn’t come with accessories or free lessons, but you can choose from 11 colors and patterns, including light blue, pink, and black. Keep in mind: Since it's a soprano, it's smaller and therefore a little harder on larger hands. According to a musician: “Pretty cool for the price. Always wanted to learn how to play and it's the perfect starter ukulele to do so. Lots of fun to sit around the fire and play with the family sitting around and singing along. It was definitely worth it for anyone interested in music or trying to learn a new instrument.”