Best Ukuleles for 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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Are you looking for an instrument that is versatile and easy to learn? The ukulele’s learning curve is smoother than a guitar’s.
When you look closely at a ukulele, you can find that there are fewer strings than a guitar, and the string tension is lower. And beginners can easily pick up the chords on a ukulele.
If you want a highly portable miniature music buddy, check out our carefully crafted list of the best ukuleles.
Related Article: Best Electric Ukuleles for 2020[Our Reviews and Comparisons]
|1. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano
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|2. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
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|3. Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
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|4. Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1
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|5. Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele
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Our Best Ukuleles – Reviews and Comparisons
1. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano
- Kala’s KA-15S came into the world in 2005 as the answer to a high-quality, affordable, entry-level ukulele and still remains the unrivaled ukulele in its class.
- The KA-15S is well-suited for classroom use, practicing, and acoustic performance. It is the instrument of choice for schools - More people learn to play on a Kala than any other ukulele brand
- A very traditional Mahogany Soprano Ukulele in a satin finish with a bright, warm, full-bodied tone.
- Comes with a beautiful Walnut Fingerboard and Bridge, Mahogany Neck, 12 Brass Frets, GraphTech NuBone and Aquila Super Nylgut Strings from Italy and distinguished by its etched Polynesian-style Shark Teeth rosette
- Kala ukuleles are played by some of the most renowned players around the world including: twenty one pilots, Vance Joy, dodie, EatMyUke, The Ukulele Teacher, and Zac Brown.
KA-15S boasts of having absolutely no ‘high action’ and zero buzzing which means you don’t have to worry about going off-tune mid-performance.
Kala is a company that makes ukuleles that meet the needs of beginners as well as advanced level players. This soprano ukulele emanates rich and warm tones using mahogany as a tonewood for body and neck.
It also features a bridge and a rosewood fingerboard. In addition, on a walnut fingerboard, it has 12 brass frets with fret position marks on 5th, 7th and 10th frets.
What We Like About Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano
Kala has introduced a clean, sunburnt finish to their uke’s frame, neck, and headstock. The matte finish on the smooth textured wood serves as a plus for resonance. Its performance is further accentuated by high-quality Aquila Nylgut (artificial gut) strings that create a sweeter symphony than a harp.
Light construction and simple, the satin finish makes this uke perfect for daily use. This uke is easy to play as an instrument for beginners, is robust and guarantees good volume with base resonance.
What We Don’t Like About Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano
Some users complained that the nylon strings tend to go out of tune often. Also, some beginners may find it expensive.
- FMatte finish gives good resonance
- Mahogany tonewood gives rich and warm tones
- Durable and good for daily use
- Goes out of tune often
2. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
- PERFECT FOR STUDENTS AND BEGINNERS: Designed specially to suit new players while maintaining high quality, the 15CM offers the perfect point of entry for those looking to pick up a stylish and easy-to-play ukulele
- RICH, BRIGHT SOUND: The mahogany top, back, and sides, give this small bodied ukulele a rich, clear, and high-quality sound
- EASY TUNING: Córdoba Silver with Pearl Button Tuners make it a breeze to tune your ukulele and maintain tuning for uninterrupted playing
- CLASSIC AESTHETICS: Showcases a solid mahogany top, back and sides, with quality construction all around. The handcrafted body also includes an abalone rosette and an ivoroid binding to the body and the fingerboard that distinguishes it from other models
- SATIN FINISH: Additional features include a sleek satin finish, silver tuners with pearl buttons, and premium Aquila strings
What makes Cordoba 15CM concert ukulele unique is an ivory binding on the fingerboard which not just offers protection but also makes it more aesthetically pleasing.
This uke also has a rosewood fingerboard and a satin finish with a frame of mahogany tonewood for rich tones. A combination of rosewood and mahogany used in the 18 frets fretboard makes the struggles simpler while fretting.
Cordoba used classic Aquila Nylgut 7U strings with an abalone-style rosette is used to ensure a balanced tone. The brand lives up to its name with all the requisite features to build lightweight but sturdy instruments that have almost zero disadvantages.
What We Like About Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
Thanks to its long neck with more tension on strings, this medium-sized uke creates fuller tones. This also gets rid of problems with tuning.
Also, if you’re a novice, the wide gaps between frets make practice sessions easier as you get used to your uke.
What We Don’t Like About Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
The only drawback of this ukulele is that it is not electro-acoustic or electronic. So if you’re not looking for a purely acoustic instrument, then this model is not for you.
- Longer neck creates fuller tones
- Easier to practice due to wide gaps between frets
- Ivory binding contributes to the aesthetics and durability of the uke
- No electronics
3. Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
- It features select Hawaiian Koa body and top with gloss finish
- It has Abalone binding and rosette on top
- It features Nyatoh neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge
- It has Grover chrome tuners
- It has lifetime warranty
This model will certainly catch your attention with a glossy laminated Koa frame, matching abalone purfling and rosette. Also, the body has a cream binding that outlines the uke perfectly and prevents the edges from being typically harmed.
OU5 has a special nyatoh wood that shapes this model’s neck and a 16 frets rosewood fretboard. In addition, if you like your antique instruments with no modern touches, this uke will please you with its 100% acoustic style.
The model features a rosewood bridge and ABS nut and saddle.
What We Like About Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
OU5 is packed with good chrome-closed-gear Grover tuners to keep the tuning well. As far as output is concerned, this uke’s projection is well balanced and crisp.
The uke offers craftsmanship of high quality as well as a performance that is worth your money.
What We Don’t Like About Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
OU5 is not as loud as its counterparts mentioned in our list. Also, its tone is not highly rich in quality.
- Cream binding that protects edges
- Chrome-closed-gear Grover tuners that hold the tuning well
- Crafted to impress
- Not very loud
- Average richness of tone
4. Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1
- ♫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
- ♫Come with Everything You Need: Concert ukulele bundle pack includes concert ukulele, gig bag, strap, tuner, 4 extra Aquila nylon strings, 4 picks and cleaning cloth. Meet all needs of both beginners and professionals. Padded gig bag features backpack style with 2 padded shoulder straps and exterior pocket for easy comfortable carry and well protection for ukelele. A decent gift for birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Children’s Day, etc
- ♫Easy to Play with Free Video Lesson: Get started with Donner 23 inch ukulele and professional free ONLINE VIDEO uku lessons for beginners. Easy to understand and get started. Donner ukulele bundle kit is great ukelele set for children, adults, beginners or professionals to play for fun or interest
- ♫Easy to Tune: Donner patented chrome-plated guitar style tuners increase accuracy and keep ukulele always in tune. Digital clip-on tuner is easy to tune and play. 18 brass frets with fret position marks at 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets on neck and top of fingerboard. Classic and Unique Soundhole Ring
Donner is a popular brand name in the domain of ukes and its mahogany DUC-1 is worth your attention. This model is a typical concert uke which gives a warm, deep sound with classic mahogany tonewood.
For the player’s comfort, Donner has used rosewood fingerboard and bridge. DUC-1 also features Donner-patented, chrome-plated guitar style tuners and a special ABS rosette which adds to its beauty.
There are 18 brass frets with markings at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th fret on the neck and at the top of the fingerboard.
What We Like About Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1
As a bonus, you get a bag, a uke strap, carbon nylon strings, and a digital clip-on tuner. Beginners who are looking for traditional ukes that don’t cost a bomb should opt for DUC-1.
Since it can be difficult to choose accessories separately as a beginner, Donner will provide you with not just a quality uke but also add-on items to venture into the music territory.
What We Don’t Like About Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1
Since this model is a beginner uke, it is not suitable for professionals.
- Mahogany tonewood for rich sound
- Chrome-plated guitar style tuners
- Not suitable for professionals
5. Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele
- Deluxe Grover Chrome open back tuners for tuning accuracy and keeping the headstock light for player comfort
- NuBone XB nut and saddle for maximum Sustain and best tone
- Wide comfortable neck profile for player comfort
- Chrome strap buttons are standard for safety and comfort
- Glossy stained quilted Maple ukuleles add a bit of color - Red (sun), natural (Sand) and Blue (surf) with pickup - ideal for stage or recording
Lanikai QM-BLCEC concert ukulele is a strong contender on this list, showing an impressive blue, painted, quilted maple shell. Part of the ‘ Sun, Sand and Ocean ‘ sequence of Lanikai, this model has the ‘ Surf ‘ finish to remind you of your beach days.
This concert uke will definitely catch your attention due to its attractive abalone soundhole rosette and rosewood fretboard. In terms of playability, Chrome strap buttons and Addario strings act as a bonus for the player.
A rosewood no-tie bridge makes it easy to quickly change strings when playing. In terms of sound quality, the laminated wood body of Lanikai provides a powerful acoustic tone and a naturally balanced amplified sound is emitted by the Fishman system.
What We Like About Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele
Featuring a solid Fishman Kula preamp system with 3 band EQ (bass, middle and treble), Lanikai has also added a built-in digital tuner making this uke suitable for professionals. Further enhancing the sound quality are high-level Deluxe Grover chrome open-gear tuners on a light, slotted headstock.
What We Don’t Like About Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele
The only drawback of this instrument is that it is too expensive and is not an ideal choice for people looking for ukes within a budget.
- Fishman Kula preamp system with 3 band EQ for balanced tone
- Nubone XB nut and saddle for enhanced bass effect
- Attractive body
Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele is our personal favorite on this list. The uke has advanced features like the Fishman Kula preamp system and high-quality tuners that ensure a top-notch sound from this model. Also, it looks great!
However, if you find Lanikai too expensive, then you can choose any other model from the ones that we’ve mentioned. We hope you’ll be satisfied with your purchase.
Read Other Related Reading: Best Ukulele Strings