The Best Cheap Ukuleles Under $50 - Perfect for Beginners

The Highest Rated Ukuleles Under $50

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The sub $50 price range is where many begin their ukulele journey, which often is also their musical journey. As such, it is important to get a good instrument right at the start, one that will inspire you to practice and play, and not be a hindrance.

Thankfully, there are plenty of good quality ukuleles in the entry-level price range, and the best of them are featured right here - picked via a meticulous selection process that takes into account actual user feedback up to March of 2021.

The Best Cheap Ukuleles Under $50

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Hola! Music HM-21NT Soprano Ukulele Bundle

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 5450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$42
Hola! HM-21NT Soprano Ukulele

The Hola HM-21NT is a 21" soprano ukulele with its top, back and sides crafted from maple. And like most ukes in the price range, this one is meant to appeal to kid players given the many color finishes that you can choose from.

For the price, you are getting a ukulele with walnut bridge and the fingerboard, and it also comes with Premium Aquila Nylgut strings pre-installed.

Other features include silver nickel frets, silver geared tuners, and it comes bundled with two months free live video lessons where you can interact with the instructor.

Pros

Given its appeal to beginners, many of the positive comments about the HM-21NT are from young musicians, or from the adults who bought it for them. There are also plenty of teachers who share how pleased they are with its overall quality. Appreciation for its build quality is commonplace, which also translates to good sound quality. There are even a few who report using this ukulele for years without any hiccups.

Cons

Tuning seems to be a common issue, although most users report that tuning stability improves after some time, or when strings are replaced and have been played for a while. There are also a few who note that the fretboard is not as smooth as they would like, although they are very few compared to those who are happy with its playability.

Overall

If you're looking for a good quality, affordable and kid-friendly ukulele then this should be at the top of your list.

Deviser UK21-30 21" Soprano Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$46
Deviser UK21-30 21" Soprano Ukulele

While the brand name may not be familiar, the Deviser UK21-30 gets good reviews in the entry-level market. It is a 21" soprano style ukulele with sapele top, back and sides and mahogany neck.

The fingerboard is crafted from rosewood, and has quite a lot of frets to play with for its size.

Another nifty feature is that it ships with strap pins already installed making it easy to use with a ukulele or guitar strap.

It also comes bundled with essentials that include a gig bag, an extra set of strings, polishing cloth, a leather head strap and there's even a digital tuner included.

Pros

Most reviewers have come to the same conclusion, that this is a good value beginner-friendly ukulele. Many commend it's playability, exceeding the expectations of some with how smooth it feels to the fretting hands. Others are pleased with its compact and lightweight profile. It also helps that it doesn't look cheap at all with it's nice grain and shape.

Cons

Being trebly can be a put-off for some, while others caution about tuning issues, especially when the strings are newly installed.

Overall

The Deviser UK21-30 is a good starter ukulele that comes with good freebies.

Vizcaya UK23C-MA Concert Ukulele 23" Mahogany Bundle

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$42
Vizcaya UK23C-MA Concert Ukulele 23" Mahogany Bundle

The Vizcaya UK23C-MA is a concert sized uke that feature traditional all-mahogany body construction.

Matching its classic body design is its rosewood fingerboard, and rosewood bridge, which altogether make this ukulele more like a mini-acoustic guitar in terms of tonewoods used.

It also features chrome-plated guitar style tuning pegs, brass fret and fingerboard markers.

There are also plenty of accessories in the bundle, including a guitar tuner, extra nylon string set, adjustable strap, and a 5mm sponge gig bag.

Pros

For the price, the Vizcaya UK23C-MA exceeds many owners' expectations with its easy playability and value for money. Many of the reviews are from students who are pleased with their starter instrument, but there are also experienced players who chimed in with their positive overall experience.

Cons

There are a few complains about quality of the tuning pegs, along with some discontentment with the included accessories.

Overall

If you're looking for a good quality concert ukulele bundle for your kid, then check this one out.

JDR Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$50
JDR Soprano Ukulele

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Ukulele Under $50.

First thing you'll notice with the JDR Soprano Ukulele is its distinct beveled cutaway and lower bout. JDR describes them as "corner cuts", and are put there to improve playing comfort.

The corner cut around the neck joint allows for easy access to the upper frets, while the lower bout bevel removes the sharp edge on the lower bout to make it more conducive to resting your picking arm on.

Other features include having a body and neck that's made from mahogany, while the bridge and fingerboard are crafted from walnut.

Pros

For the price, the Vizcaya UK23C-MA continues to exceed expectations with its easy playability and value for money. Many of the reviews are from students who are pleased with their starter instrument, but there are also experienced players who chimed in with their positive overall experience.

Cons

There are a few complains about quality of the tuning pegs, along with some discontentment with the included accessories.

Overall

If you want nothing less than the best rated ukulele in this price range, then this is for you.

Things to Consider When Buying a Beginner Ukulele

To make the process of buying a bit easier for you, we’ve collected a handful of things that can help you get the best ukuleles in this price range, ideal for beginners, and even for experienced players who are looking for a portable and affordable addition to their tool kit.

  • Geared vs. Friction Tuners

    While friction tuners are becoming increasingly less common as building an instrument and its hardware becomes more and more automated, there are still cheaper instruments which utilize the design. Basically, friction tuners hold a string through friction. You pull the tuning peg away from the headstock a bit, turn the tuner, and then push it back down. This design is problematic since it’s really easy for the string to lose said tension.

    All of the ukes we’ve collected in our product section have geared tuners, which hold the string’s tension with a gear. Should you choose to go with a different uke, make sure that it has geared tuners before you buy it. This is a really easy thing to check for, all you have to do is look on the back of your ukes neck and check to see whether or not there’s a gear (or a little metal box near where you tune your ukulele). Still, given the price range, don't expect cheap geared tuners to be as reliable as the ones on more expensive ukuleles. As you'll see above, tuning stability is a common issue among cheap ukuleles in general.

  • Body Size

    We went over different ukulele sizes in depth in our article The Different Ukulele Sizes Explained, so we’re just going to briefly gloss over the subject here. Basically, the bigger a uke is the warmer (more bass and mid frequencies) it will sound and the louder it will be. The two biggest sizes (tenor and baritone) don’t sound as traditional as the three smaller sizes. One thing to note is that soprano ukuleles dominate in the sub $50 price range, and rightly so, given that bigger ukuleles are expected to cost more.

    The sizes, listed from smallest to largest, are as follows:

    Soprano and Pineapple (these two body sizes are essentially the same in response)
    Concert
    Tenor
    Baritone

  • Quick Tips

    While the ukulele may be more approachable than the guitar, starting to learn any instrument can be intimidating. It’s even harder if you’re not a musician who’s buying a uke on behalf of a child, because they’re going to need to get some help to get started.

    Below we’ve collected a few videos that’ll help you get started. We’d recommend bookmarking this page and then referring back to it after your uke arrives. Happy strumming!

    How to String a Ukulele

    How to Hold the Ukulele

    How to Strum the Ukulele

    Must-Know Ukulele Chords

Cheap Beginner Ukulele Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the latest edition was published on March 4, 2021.

We looked at all the Ukuleles that you can buy from major American music gear retailers for under $50, including bundles that come with accessories. For this March 2021 update, the data we've gathered continued to climb. We ended up processing over 14,100 sources that include the most recent reviews and ratings. All these data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 you see above. This allowed us to further filter the list to just the highest rated qualifying ukuleles. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Donner DUS-3, Kala MK-S, Hola! Music HM-21NT, Kala MKA-S and ADM Deluxe.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

The videos above have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

Comments

I would like to know which

I would like to know which ukuleles were in the rating besides those that made top 5. Also, because of very high inflation maybe you should up your price point.
I would also like to see ratings on beginners and intermediate tenors and concerts.
Sopranos do not interest me at all.

Hi Jasneskis,

Hi Jasneskis,

You can see a list of all the Ukuleles that we have rated here.

You can also see our recommendations for Concert Ukes in this guide.

We currently don't have a dedicated guide to tenors, however we have produced ratings for some (mostly acoustic-electric) which you can see here.

Your point about inflation is a good one and we will take that into consideration for the next edition of this guide.

I hope this helps, and if you have further questions please go ahead and ask.

Jason.

We've removed the Eastrock

We've removed the Eastrock Soprano from the recommended list above because its price increased above the $50 limit for this guide.

It remains on our recommended list of Soprano Ukuleles

I have played 3 of the four

I have played 3 of the four listed here and own the Kala and the Kmise. Of the three I've tried I like the Kmise the best.

Today we removed the

Today we removed the following ukulele from our recommended list above due to a lack of availability:

A few years back, my brother

A few years back, my brother and I got Soprano Ukuleles for our kids and the size was perfect for their fingers with their ages ranging from 5 to 10.

Any highly rated Soprano Uke, preferably with a gig bag, should be good. The Kmise KMU21S which we've recommended above offers very good value in the bundled extras currently available at Amazon.

Are they no longer included

Are they no longer included in the recommended list because they are no longer being made as well as they once were, because better options are now available, or for some other reason?

The reason is because there

The reason is because there were more highly rated options available this year.

The data we have provides hints at why this is the case but it doesn't allow us to provide definite reasons for why users rated other options more highly.

Hi

Hi
How do you think of an (Name Removed) ukulele on Amazon?
(Link Removed)

Hi Linda,

Hi Linda,

I have removed the name of the ukulele and the link from your post for two reasons - we don't want to encourage advertising spam and we don't want to direct anyone to that particular uke you mentioned.

That uke is not one that we would recommend because there are many suspicious reviews associated with it.

If you're looking for a concert uke then please look at the Cordoba 15CM or the Caramel CC102A, or you can read our guide: The Best Concert Ukuleles - Up To $300.

I hope this helps,
Jason.