Best Ukulele For Beginners – 7 Cheap Quality Options

ukuleles u50

The ukulele’s compact size, easy playability, and affordability make it a great starter instrument, especially in the sub $50 price range. But because of its popularity, finding a good one amidst the many cheap ukuleles can be daunting.

This is where we come in with an updated look at the best rated sub $50 ukuleles, based on current reviews and ratings. Here you can see which among the many budget-friendly ukuleles are worth getting, be it for jump starting your musical journey, or for use as a portable beater instrument.

The Best Cheap Ukuleles Under $50

Author & Contributors

First Act Blippi Soprano Ukulele

94 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.
First Act
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Ukulele Under $50 along with the Winzz Soprano.

First Act is known for kid-friendly instruments, and this ukulele follows their tried and tested formula of utilizing familiar kiddie brands to better appeal to youngsters. This one is tied to the educational show called Blippi, as can be seen on the distinct graphic on its top.

This ukulele comes in a small 20" soprano size that is easy on the hands of kids.

And while it does look like a toy, it tunes and plays like a real instrument, with its nylon strings, guitar-style tuners and bridge, and good build quality.

Given Blippi's popularity among kids, this is an easy pick for gift-givers and receivers alike. Reviews are mostly written by satisfied parents who gifted this to their kids, who then received it with wide smiles. Aesthetics is its main strength but it also gets commended for its build quality, some even report that it is able to withstand toddler use, with some reasonable guidance.

While many are happy with its compact and lightweight profile, some find it to be too small. And while the Blippi graphic may appeal to toddlers and young kids, it may not appeal as much to older children.

Give a child the gift of music with this affordable and kid-friendly instrument.

JDR UK-211 Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany

91 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

First thing you'll notice with the JDR UK-211 is its distinct beveled cutaway and lower bout. JDR describes them as "corner cuts", 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.


Value for money is the main reason why the JDR UK-211 is rated highly. Users find that it exceeds their expectations given its affordable price tag, with special mention given to its playability. Many also love its standout aesthetics, along with its comfortable beveled design.


Tuning stability is an issue for some users, they are not too happy with the quality of the tuning pegs and the default strings it comes with.


The JDR UK-211 Soprano is a great value ukulele for beginners, and a good beater instrument for experienced musicians.

Kmise KMA26T Tenor Ukulele 26"

89 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.
Note: The price was below $50 when we published this edition but the price later went up.

The Kmise KMA26T is the only tenor ukulele that secured a spot in this guide, thanks to its impressive specs. Most noteworthy of which is the use of bone nut and saddle, which helps improve intonation and vibration transmission.

The top, back and sides are crafted from sapele, an affordable alternative to mahogany, forming a 26" tenor ukulele shape which is bigger than the usual soprano ukes that flood this price range. This bigger design gives the KMA26T a bit more low end and projection.

Both the bridge and fingerboard are made from rosewood, and are smooth sanded for comfortable playing.


Most users are in agreement that the Kmise KMA26T is a great sounding ukulele, described as wonderful, cheerful and mellow sounding in reviews. Some even favorably compare it to premium ukuleles that are priced much higher. There are plenty of compliments pointing to its aesthetics, with the wood grain getting the most attention. Many also describe it as a very playable instrument.


There are a few who report tuning instability, a common issue that plagues affordable stringed instruments.


If you're looking for an affordable yet good quality tenor ukulele, then this is for you.

Naneki NA-10 Soprano Ukulele Bundle

93 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

The Naneki NA-10 is a 21" soprano ukulele with a distinct headstock graphic that matches its many different color variants. The body is crafted from mahogany, and it comes in 8 different color finishes that cover everything from black to pink.

It is strung with a nylon set and comes with guitar-style tuners and a classical guitar style bridge.

This uke is bundled with essential accessories that include an Aquila string set and a clip-on tuner. Other accessories include picks, a cleaning cloth, and an instruction book.

Finally it comes with a gig-bag, which is more like a regular bag than a padded instrument case.


Having many color options available are well appreciated in reviews, most of them say that the instrument finish looks nice and doesn't look as cheap as it actually is. Even intermediate to advanced level musicians chimed in with their approval. Owners are also happy with the bundled accessories for the money.


Speaking of accessories, the included gig-bag doesn't offer as much comfort and protection as a regular bag.


If you're looking for an affordable ukulele that comes in your favorite color, then check this out.

Octopus UK205 Academy Soprano Ukulele

91 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.
Note: This was priced at $49.92 when we first published this edition, however the price has since gone up.

The Octopus UK205 is a soprano ukulele meant for beginners, it comes in a box bundled with a gig-bag, along with materials to help you in your learning.

Agathis wood is used in making the body, and it comes with a wide variety of color finishes to appeal to more people. It has an okoume neck with walnut fingerboard, with ABS nut. The bridge is also crafted from walnut with ABS saddle.

The bridge follows the same design as classical guitar bridges where you need to tie the strings. For better tuning, it has guitar-like open geared tuners.


The Octopus UK205 gets a lot of kudos for staying in tune, which is quite a feat in this price range. Color options and build quality are also commended, along with its easy playability. Most of the high reviews come from students who find this ukulele to be a fun instrument to learn on.


Not everyone is happy with its toy-like aesthetic.


With its color options and easy playability, the Octopus UK205 will make a good starter instrument.

Winzz Soprano Ukulele 21" Bundle

94 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Ukulele Under $50 along with the First Act Blippi.

This bundle comes with you everything you need to get you started on your musical path. Most important of which is the 21" soprano ukulele that is known for being compact, comfortable to play, and bright sounding.

This ukulele is crafted from linden wood, more commonly known as basswood, which is widely used in guitars as well.

The instrument is paired with a padded nylon gig bag, which looks to be much better than what the competition offers. It also comes with accessories that include a clip-on digital tuner, extra set of Aquila strings, a strap, and it even comes with a cleaning cloth.

Beginner friendly additions include fingerboard stickers, and free 1-month online lessons.


As expected, beginners love the value that they are getting from this bundle, thanks to the quality of the gig bag and accessories. The ukulele itself gets the most commendations, regarded as a well-built instrument that is easy to learn on. And while most of the reviews are from novices, there are seasoned musicians who approve of its quality, and recommend it to others.


There are a few who report of missing bundle components, like the extra strings, and the battery for the clip-on tuner.


If you're looking for an affordable bundle to jump start your uke playing, then check out the Winzz Soprano Ukulele Bundle.

Donner DUS-10M Soprano Ukulele

92 out of 100. Incorporating 2100+ ratings and reviews.

The DUS-10M is a soprano ukulele included in Donner's Rainbow series, which is available in a wide variety of color finishes. This allows beginners to pick the color that they fancy.

Underneath its cosmetics is a body crafted from maple, resulting in a bright tone that compliments its compact shape.

Both the bridge and fingerboard are crafted from walnut, while the neck is crafted from nato. Tasked with keeping the strings in tune are chrome-plated guitar style tuners, and a classical guitar style bridge.

To make it more beginner friendly, this affordable uke is packaged with starter essentials including a carry bag, strap, extra ukulele strings, picks, cleaning cloth, online tutorials, and a digital clip-on tuner.


Owners are pleased with its overall performance, some of whom describe it as a good ukulele starter kit. It gets a lot of kudos for being well built, which translates to reliability and easy playability. The included accessories are appreciated by many, especially the included tuner. Speaking of tuner, a good number of users commend its ability to stay in tune. Also, the finish and overall look of the guitar gets a lot of thumbs up.


There are a few complaints about its tuning stability, while others nitpick on the included gig bag, which is literally just a regular bag that doesn't offer much protection.


With its color options and beginner friendly design, this is a good Ukulele starter pack to consider.

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 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)

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.

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 edition, some ukuleles have become unavailable, making way for a number of new entries into the guide. To ensure our data is up-to-date, we processed over 12,000 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 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

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.


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


Main/Top Image: Created by using photographs of the Winzz Soprano, JDR UK-211 and Kmise KMA26T.

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.

20 thoughts on “Best Ukulele For Beginners – 7 Cheap Quality Options”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.


  2. 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

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

    1. 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,

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