Best Ukulele Under $100 – 4 Strings for 2 Digits

Aloha! If you want to get familiar with such an instrument as a ukulele, you may be careful about spending too much; what if it doesn’t go as planned? So, it makes sense to search for the best ukulele under $100 to start, but it doesn’t mean they are all equally bad for this small price. On the contrary, there are great examples of affordable yet decent (though not stellar) ukuleles in this price range.

What you should acknowledge first is that there are various types of ukuleles: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. And any of them can be found in this price range. The difference between them is more than just size: it’s the tuning as well (at least with baritone models) and the techniques to use with them.

To get familiar with the class, I’d recommend the beginner pack by Everjoys. It’s an affordable but well-made soprano kit. Soprano as the smallest and the most distinct type of ukulele will uncover the very nature of this instrument, and if you’re buying it for a child, the size will be an undisputed pro. In addition, it has all the accessories one might need. Still, I found nearly all the basic types of ukuleles to be represented here as well.

The Best Ukulele under $100: Entry-Level to the Heights of Music

Welcome to the list of ukuleles I find the best for such a modest price! They are so affordable that you can try various ones, though: even all four will cost you less than one premium instrument by Kala or Kanile’a. But even if you decide to go with one, here you’ll find your perfect instrument. In other reviews, I mention the instrument’s affordable price as one of the “pros,” but here they all have it by selection.

1. Everjoys Soprano Ukulele Beginner Pack – The Top Pick

Sale
Everjoys Soprano Ukulele Beginner Pack-21 Inch w/Rainbow String Free Online Lesson Gig Bag Fast...
  • ✅KEEP CALM & PLAY THE UKULELE - Discover the unique melodic sound of the Hawaiian Islands with our elite ukulele starter pack! Now you can teach yourself the ukulele thanks to our all-inclusive beginner's kit that includes a 21" ukulele, a digital tuner, a strap, a How-To-Play songbook, carrying bag, etc
  • ✅ SUPERIOR-QUALITY CRAFTSMANSHIP - Our amazing 21" traditional soprano ukulele combines basswood for the body, solid wood for the neck and blackwood for the finger board and bridge. The nylon strings and eco-friendly design will make it your favorite musical instrument

Everjoys is not a brand with history decades (like Fender) or centuries (like Zildjian) long. But, though it doesn’t have a shiny About section on its site, it does deliver decent ukuleles for beginners. This one that I consider the best for the acquaintance with the class is a soprano ukulele – the smallest in class, being 21” long. It comes with everything one might need for maintenance: a bag, a cloth, a digital tuner, a manual, and even one spare string.

It’s obviously made with beginners in mind. The strings are colored: a green G (a bit mnemonical), a red C, a yellow E, and a blue A. Even if you don’t remember Rimbaud (what assonance!) and how he wrote his Vowels, you’ll see how great it is for learning. It would be great to have an extra set of these strings, but they only include an extra A.

The body is made of basswood, and the fretboard of rosewood: not top, but decent materials. The strings by Everjoys are nylon (which makes it easy to color them), and the sound, though nothing unique, is quite typical for beginner level ukuleles for about $80.


Positives
  • Good quality;
  • Decent build;
  • Colored strings for learning;
  • Typical sound;
  • Great bundle.
Negatives
  • Needs time for the adaptation;
  • Lacks extra strings.

2. Donner DUС-200D – Runner-Up

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Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany 23 Inch Ukelele Starter Bundle Kit with Free Online Lesson Gig Bag...
  • ♫Well Made Mahogany Craftsmanship: Smooth Mahogany body produces a crisp and pleasant sound. Highly polished smooth Aquila ukulele strings with elevated resistance to wear under tension. Well polished smooth rosewood fingerboard and bridge provides a comfortable playability. Sami-Open finish with 9-cycle grinding and polishing process
  • ♫Warm Rich Sound: Ukulele Mahogany top body and neck bring you much richer, brighter and warmer sound; High density bone nut and saddle combine with 4 advanced Aquila carbon nylon strings to gain clear and nice resonance and more sustain from Mahogany body

The first thing this one by Donner shares with the previous is that they are both soprano, 21” long. They also both come with an even richer set: along with a bag, a strap, a digital tuner, and a cloth, it has four picks and an entire extra set of strings. And this wealth is available for under $50!

The strings are also made of nylon, and while they are not as colorful as the ones by Everjoys, I liked the way they sound even more. The material may also contribute: the body is made of maple, which is not the most traditional wood for ukuleles, the neck is of nato wood, and the fingerboard and the bridge are of walnut.

This instrument is also available in different colors, which is a pro if you buy it for a gift. But if so, you may think of better strings immediately, as the original ones may fail (I didn’t run into it, but the one I tried had already been tuned and adjusted). So, don’t expect magic from an under $50 ukulele, but as an entry-level one, it gets the job done.


Positives
  • Good materials and build;
  • The richest kit;
  • Comes with manual and lessons;
  • Various colors!
Negatives
  • The original strings may fail.

3. Caramel 26inch CT103 – The Premium Pick

Caramel 26inch CT103 Zebrawood High Gloss Tenor Electric Ukulele Professional Ukelele Kit Beginner...
896 Reviews
Caramel 26inch CT103 Zebrawood High Gloss Tenor Electric Ukulele Professional Ukelele Kit Beginner...
  • ♪ EXOTIC HIGH GLOSS ZEBRA WOOD BODY - Caramel CT103 26 inch Tenor Ukeleles are made of Zebrawoods and edge framed by xylonite makes the perfect choice for moonlit beach strolls and bonfire singalongs, as well as a guaranteed conversation starter in any performance setting.Looking outward, mahogany neck yields rich sustain and a versatile playing experience for a wide range of hand sizes.Caramel ukuleles are the instrument of choice for both professional and beginners.
  • ♪ ONE STEP TO AN UKULELE PLAYER - Do you want to learn to play Ukulele? This starter Ukelele kit gets you started! Comes with: 1x 26 inch Tenor Ukelele, extra G-C-E-A strings ,gig bag (12mm padded, made of 300D 6CD polyester yarn),3x guitar picks,1x cleaning cloth ,1x ukulele wall hanger,1x ukulele strap(with pegs), 2x bridge pins ,1x metal nail drawer ,1x EQ cable,1x instructions.

Oh, Caramel is my guilty pleasure, one of these inventive Chinese brands that somehow make a cheap ukulele irresistible. So is this electric tenor ukulele – 26” long, with a bundle that includes everything, made of zebrawood with its trademark stripes, and producing a deep, full-bodied sound. It comes with everything you might need. Unlike the previous ones, the kit includes a good gig bag and a wall hanger, as well as a 6.3 cable. No wonder its price nearly reaches our $100 threshold.

It’s an electric one, with a built-in tuner, a preamp, and a 3-band output EQ. If you plan to record it right into your Mac, you’ll need an adapter, but a mixer or a recording interface already has the right input. However, I’d replace the cable with the pro class one.

Who would I recommend it to? First, to adults who don’t feel at ease with sopranos or for concerts because of size and space between frets. Second, for home studios if you need an easily recordable ukulele; for demos it’s good, though I wouldn’t bring it to Rick Rubin’s. But it is the only and thus the best tenor ukulele under $100 on our list.


Positives
  • Acoustic/electric;
  • Built-in tuner;
  • Rich bundle;
  • Unusual materials;
  • Fantastic style.
Negatives
  • Too big for younger learners;
  • One of the costliest.

4. DONNER DUC-1 – Great Value Concert Size for Beginners

Sale
Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany 23 Inch Ukelele Starter Bundle Kit with Free Online Lesson Gig Bag...
  • ♫Well Made Mahogany Craftsmanship: Smooth Mahogany body produces a crisp and pleasant sound. Highly polished smooth Aquila ukulele strings with elevated resistance to wear under tension. Well polished smooth rosewood fingerboard and bridge provides a comfortable playability. Sami-Open finish with 9-cycle grinding and polishing process
  • ♫Warm Rich Sound: Ukulele Mahogany top body and neck bring you much richer, brighter and warmer sound; High density bone nut and saddle combine with 4 advanced Aquila carbon nylon strings to gain clear and nice resonance and more sustain from Mahogany body

Another one by Donner is what I consider the best concert ukulele under $100 for beginners. It comes with an equally rich set of accessories, including a gig bag, a tuner, and an extra set of strings. Unlike others, it comes with Aquila strings – not Nylgut, the exclusive material this manufacturer uses for ukulele strings, but just carbon nylon, which is usually well but sometimes falls short, so you may need to replace the strings. The body is made of African mahogany. It also has decent tuners. The picks, though, are rather made for a guitar; they can scratch the surface if used carelessly.

The sound is indeed similar to soprano but louder and fuller. The build is okay. As for the size, it’s still suitable for kids, but for teenagers, it may beat any soprano options. Though I know 300-pound adults who feel at ease with soprano ukes, so it’s all personal.

The strings may be the main weakness of this ukulele, so I’d recommend you get a pack of Aquila Nylgut ones and replace the original ones unless you try them and find they’re good. In any other respect, it’s the best concert-size option among inexpensive ukuleles to search for.


Positives
  • Good build;
  • Exhaustive bundle;
  • Stable materials;
  • Sound richer than one might expect;
  • Concert size is quite versatile.
Negatives
  • The strings may need replacing;
  • Guitar picks can harm it.

5. Hola! Music HM-121BU+ – The Multicolor Soprano

Hola! Music HM-121BU+ Deluxe Mahogany Soprano Ukulele Bundle with Aquila Strings, Padded Gig Bag,...
  • Don't miss the Video on the left for full description and specifications.
  • HM-121BU+ Soprano Ukulele features: All Mahogany body, Nato neck, Walnut fingerboard and bridge.

Little is known about the brand; its official site says it was founded by a musician and an airplane technician, but there aren’t any names, and the language it’s written in is very clumsy. At least, they don’t say they make their ukuleles in Honolulu, so there must be some level of fairness. The most distinct thing about this cheap soprano ukulele (about $60) is its color. We have already seen colored ukuleles, but this aquatic tone got me sold. It comes with a gig bag (the best one I’ve seen in such bundles), a strap, and a set of branded picks.

The body of the instrument is made of mahogany, zebrawood, and walnut (which essentially means laminate, but for such a price, it is not an issue). It comes with preinstalled Aquila strings, yes, this time it’s Nylgut. Natural materials are still here: the string saddle is made of real bone, not plastic.

As for the sound, it’s very typical for the soprano ukulele: thin, tender, rather hot than warm. Given its price of about $50, it’s a great deal; though, you’ll have to buy a tuner (if you need one) separately.


Positives
  • Decent body and strings;
  • Well-tunable;
  • Sounds as ukulele as can be;
  • Fantastic color.
Negatives
  •  The fingerboard may seem too small;·
  • The bundle is not as rich.

6. Strong Wind Soprano Ukulele

Sale
Strong Wind Soprano Ukulele for Beginners, Mahogany 21 Inch Hawaiian Starter Uke Kids Guitar...
  • ♫TOP QUALITY MATERIALS MAHOGANY WOOD♫: Our 21 Inch Ukulele top, back, and sides are made of the AAA mahogany material. The mahogany soprano ukulele has a lower density producing warm tone, bright high pitch and excellent portamento uke with real wood body for beautiful tone.
  • ♫WELL FINISHED FRETBOARD/BRIDGE♫: Scientific wood is widely used in traditional ukulele fingerboard. Its grain is so nice and easy to paint. It offers full, warm, bright sound and excellent resonance.The 21'' Soprano Ukulele kit installed premium Nylon string to make sure this wood ukulele produces the best sound it can.

Strong Wind doesn’t try to hide its Chinese origins. On the contrary, it readily shares its history and the scale of manufacturing which impresses. So does the soprano ukulele I had a chance to try. It’s advertised as a starter edition for kids, but, boy, does it sound like an adult one. At least when it’s well-tuned.

As for appearance, there is nothing outstanding about it. The shape, the color, the size – everything is like in your typical budget ukulele. On the other hand, there are no weaknesses to point out. Okay, the strings are not Aquila Nylgut but some generic nylon. You can replace them if you want. Okay, it comes with nothing but a bag. The bag is not so bad, though, and the rest can be bought separately. Or you can take them from another affordable ukulele that has them in excess.

The price, though, pays for it all, being probably the lowest on the list. For this money, it sounds good. If you need a tuner, you can download a recommended app for iOS or Android.


Positives
  • Well assembled;
  • Sounds good;
  • Stays in tune;
  • Especially affordable.
Negatives
  • Comes with a bag only;
  • The strings are plain nylon.

7. Kala Makala KA-SWG-BL Soprano Ukulele – Go With a Glow

Kala Makala Waterman Glow in the Dark Aqua Blue Soprano Ukulele, Glow in the Dark Blue, Soprano
  • Soprano ukulele Composite neck Composite fingerboard Composite nut & saddle Open geared Black knob tuner Aquila strings Water resistant
  • Around the middle of the 20th century, Maccaferri had within its product line a series of plastic ukuleles that were incredibly popular

Don’t be fooled by the name. Kala Makala is a Kala subbrand designed to separate entry-level ukuleles from its premium products. Still, this aqua blue instrument is one of the best ukes under 100 on our list. It only comes with a bag which is not exactly a gig one but helps to transport it.

What’s unusual about this ukulele is the materials. Its body is made of composite, which affects the sound but does not make it necessarily bad. On the contrary, it can work like a filter on Instagram photos: definitely artificial but with a certain vibe. In addition, it’s waterproof. And in the dark it glows: that’s probably the most impressive thing about this instrument.

Is it good for learning? I would prefer something more traditional. But for entering a party with a wow, this is the best pick.


Positives
  • Durable synthetic body;
  • Great design, even glowing!
  • Sound better than expected;
  • Respectable brand.
Negatives
  • May be buzzy due to design;
  • The sound differs from traditional.

Buyers’ Guide on Affordable Ukuleles

Though you have already read the reviews, there are key points to point out as you choose. Knowing this, you will make a better choice.

How to choose the best ukulele under 100?

If you are looking for the cheapest ukulele, just compare the prices of the class you prefer. But if you are searching for the best one in this modest price range, there are more factors to take into consideration.

  • Size. There are various types of ukuleles, and size matters. There are four most popular types of ukulele:
    • Soprano. This is the smallest variant, being 21” long, with the thinnest, jangly sound. It’s the most portable and the most affordable type, and it’s never confused with a guitar.
    • Concert. It’s the bigger version of soprano (23” long), louder and more comfortable to play for those with bigger fingers.
    • Tenor. Bigger than a concert ukulele (26”), it has more frets and a fuller sound.
    • Baritone. Not only is it the biggest of these types (30” long), it has a different, guitar-like tuning (DGBE), which requires different techniques. The sound it provides, though, is the loudest and the fullest.
  • Material. When it comes to the materials, there are two main concerns:
    • Solid wood or laminate? Laminate instruments are cheaper, and, in addition, they are less sensitive to environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.) due to chemicals that glue the layers of wood. Solid wood is considered better when it comes to sound, and, in addition, it may age so well that the sound of the ukulele even improves with years. But this is the thing with more expensive instruments. With those under $100, laminate is usually just as good.
    • Types of wood. This is a matter of pure preference. Mahogany is the most frequent wood used for the body, while the neck and other elements can be made, for example, of walnut. There are other options like Koa or acacia, which influence the sound as well. So, you better listen to how a particular instrument sounds to detect which wood you like the most.
  • Build Quality. It can be seen visually as you first examine the instrument. Is it assembled tightly? Is the finish smooth? Didn’t the glue dry out during the transportation?
  • Strings. The standard for modern ukuleles is the Nylgut, a proprietary material developed by Aquila, an Italian string brand. Simple nylon ones can be good too, but the quality may vary.
  • Playability. Size matters here as well, defining the space between frets, the height of strings, and the overall comfort.
  • Tone. Type differences aside, it depends on both the construction and the materials used for a ukulele.

What to expect from an ukulele under $100?

You must acknowledge that these ukuleles won’t sound like professional ones that cost around $500 or even more. You should rather look for a typical sound that shows what ukulele as a class is all about.

What to look for in the best ukulele under 100? First of all, it’s comfort. It should be easy to hold, play, and tune. Choose your comfortable type (soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone) and find the most playable one. As for the bundle, it often contains everything you must need. But as you go professional, you can get yourself better inventory.

FAQ

If you still have questions, here I address some of them to help you reach your conclusions faster.

Should I buy a cheap ukulele?

For learning, it’s a wise decision. For playing at small parties or recording demos, why not? For professional playing, you need something superior.

What is the average price of a good ukulele?

Of course, it’s well above $100. I would recommend looking at those that start at $300. But, again, it’s the professional class. For learning or playing as a hobby, there are good ones under $100 as well.

What to look at when buying a cheap ukulele?

Quality. The fewer less complaints, the better. You can also look for bundled accessories, but they are not of supreme quality, so soon, you may want a better pick, a better cable, a real good bag, and so on.

What is the best size ukulele for an adult beginner?

I would recommend concert size. They are similar to soprano ukuleles, the most characteristic type, but this slight difference in size will make it way more comfortable for an adult.

The Aftersound

If you are still determined to buy a ukulele under $100, I’d recommend the one by Everjoys. On the other hand, I have reviewed only some of all the available options. And if you have the luxury of trying these instruments offline, don’t neglect it. Let your hands and ears do the choosing, and then let your wallet follow.

If you have something to add about one of these models or any other you’ve had some experience with, welcome to the comments! We may have a good string session there. Let the ukulele vibe stay!

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