Most musicians believe that it is never too late to pick up your first instrument, but they also agree that people who start out during childhood learn and master their instruments much quicker than adults.
One of the best beginner instruments is the ukulele because it is fairly small compared to other instruments, has a cool and evergreen guitar sound and because it is not too hard to learn.
This article represents our opinion on what the best ukulele for kids is.
Let’s start with our rundown!
If you are in a hurry these are our top picks for the best Ukuleles for Kids
- Baritone Style
- Spalted Maple top, back & sides
- Design by Alex Morgan
- Top: Select Mahogany
- Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
- Traditional Hawaiian laser etched rosette, satin finish
- Two Months of Free online Lessons
- All Mahogany body
- Traditional hawaiian body ornamentation
- 21 soprano size and 12 frets
Table of Contents
BEST UKULELE FOR KIDS
Best Ukulele For Teens:
The Oscar Schmidt OU58 Ukulele – Satin is a great model that is on the more affordable side of the massive Oscar Schmidt spectrum of acoustic instrument.
The Baritone size is perfect for teens and will offer an easier entry into the world of guitar family instruments than a regular 6 string.
The price of this uke is very fair and the performance is extraordinary. The build is quite decent and the ukulele sounds awesome. While it is not a 5000 dollar instrument, it is a great entry ukulele that you will keep even later on for practicing.
An important thing is that the intonation is very good, which will allow for correct learning of the instrument.
The baritone size and tuning will allow you to take up guitar lessons later on as the four strings on this model are the same the four higher strings of a guitar.
That means that you will still be able to play many of your favorite pop and rock songs on this model effortlessly.
Depending on what kind of sound you’re looking for, you could always replace the wonderful Aquila strings with D’Addario EJ99B Pro-Arte Carbon Baritone Ukulele for even more of an acoustic guitar sound, but that is up to personal preference.
Also, the ukulele comes with a Gigbag.
- Sound 95%
- Build 85%
- Performance 96%
This tenor ukulele by Luna is a fantastic and more affordable first instrument for teens The tenor scale will be especially good for teens of smaller stature and those who want a more familiar ukulele sound.
The Luna Mahagany Series Tattoo Tenor Ukulele looks incredible! The laser-etched tattoo looks great and the ukuleles were designed by Alex Morgan, Luna’s Artist in Residence who has designed tattoos for different guitars and ukuleles.
The cool matt finish and amazing woods on the back and sides of the instrument are definitely the top-tier of eye candy.
But does the uke sound as good as it looks? It certainly does! It has great action and sounds awesome. The Aquila Nylgut strings offer a tone similar to a classical guitar, but on a brighter, sweeter spectrum.
And, of course, the ukulele is fairly loud. The strings need a bit of time to settle in but after a few days of playing the ukulele will stay in tune and sound perfectly.
The Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Tenor Ukulele is very versatile and absolutely gorgeous to look at. If there is a downside, then the downside is that the somewhat roughly-cut fret edges which would need to be filed down, but this might be just a production inconsistency issue.
- Sound 93%
- Build 84%
- Performance 92%
Best Ukulele For Pre-Teens:
The Hankey Concert Ukulele Bundle is an amazing set for preteens as it has a good acoustic ukulele with a piezo-style bridge pickup. That means that the ukulele can be plugged into an amp for an even louder sound.
This pack comes with a tuner, additional strings and a booklet for beginners. All in all it is a great package at a reasonable price.
This uke has a great build, decent sound and comes with a lot of additional products for playing and maintaining your instrument.
Not only is this convenient, but you won’t have to spend a ton of money on that stuff, either.
Make sure to ask for a booklet in your language or at least in English as you probably don’t want to receive a booklet in Chinese. The ukulele stays in tune and there are no bigger problems with the instrument.
One thing you could do is bring the uke to a technician to slightly file the bridge and nut for somewhat better intonation, but this is not much of an issue.
The uke stays in tune and has a great tone. Definitely a bargain!
- Sound 88%
- Build 85%
- Performance 90%
Best Ukulele For Younger Kids:
As it is always with Kala, you’re looking at a bargain!
The Kala Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit is a kit coming with a Kala Soprano Mahogany Ukulele which is of extraordinary quality considering that it is one of the most affordable instruments by Kala.
There is really not too much to say about this uke. It plays and feels well, looks stylish and comes at an amazing price. Along with the uke you get a Quick Start Guide and online lessons which will make learning really easy.
This great instrument will be great for your child even during the preteen phase so you won’t have to worry about upgrading too soon.
The instrument itself has almost no downsides considering the low price point. What should’ve been improved is the gig-bag that is more of a sack and has no padding. While the tuning app is decent, getting a real clip-on tuner would’ve been much better.
Even though you will need to get a case or gigbag to protect your instrument and a better tuner, this package is a real bargain as it is nearly impossible to get a Kala uke of this quality for this price.
- Sound 90%
- Build 90%
- Performance 88%
The Hola! HM-124MG+ is a great entry level ukulele for people of all ages. The smaller concert size makes it especially good for younger children.
The gigbag it comes with is marvelous so your kid will be able to take this uke on a family trip or to school.
The geared and die-cast tuners aren’t too bad for the price point. It is made of quality Mahogany and while it doesn’t look as great as the Spalted Maple model, it sounds and performs just as good.
Luckily the uke stays perfectly in tune once the strings settle in, which is a big plus in this price range.
With this model you’re also getting a strap. While this is a nice addition, the strap is somewhat weird in that it doesn’t actually utilize strap pins, but seems to be hooked onto the headstock and the resonator hole.
This doesn’t affect the sound, though. What does affect the sound is the cheap plastic nut and bridge, as well as the cheap strings.
If you can get someone to exchange the faulty parts and strings, you are looking at a great musical instrument, but even without going through that process this is a decent instrument for younger players.
- Sound 88%
- Build 82%
- Performance 86%
Best Ukulele For Toddlers:
Honsing New Sapelli Plywood Soprano Ukulele With Gig Bag Hawaii Guitar 21 inch for Beginners
This Honsing Sapelli Ukulele uses a very unique type of wood, Sapelli, which makes this ukulele very affordable without ruining its tonal capabilities.
While this model is far from a professional instrument, it is more than a toy and will definitely help your toddler learn about music.
This beginner ukulele is a great first instrument for the youngest rockers. It is a traditional Soprano ukulele with a very short scale length that takes its design from traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation.
This uke is a great gift as it comes with a gigbag and is one of the most affordable beginners’ instrument on the market. The biggest problem is the intonation and the tuning stability.
Definitely buy a good clip-on tuner as you will probably have to retune it multiple times during a playing session.
- Sound 79%
- Build 75%
- Performance 80%
The basswood ukulle by AW has a decent build and is one of the most affordable ukuleles on the market. It is a soprano model that comes in many different colors.
If you want to buy an instrument and give your kid the choice of what to get, you can look at the different colors together, which will also make your kid happy.
This uke has a nice finish and is very colorful. Considering the price the basswood is decent and the sound is nice. It is a great instrument for first time musicians who want to try out something new without spending too much money.
For the same reason it is good for kids and toddlers. The capo it comes with is more useful for a guitar, though, but it is of decent quality.
As with most low-end ukuleles, this one suffers from tuning and intonation issues. While it is not a perfect instrument, it is definitely good for beginners and kids because of its small size and the different colors of the model.
Of course, after playing for a while the strings will settle in and it’s going to get a bit better.
All in all this is a great beginners instrument for a reasonable price that will be a lot of fun for toddlers and young kids.
- Sound 75%
- Build 78%
- Performance 76%
One very important thing is knowing how to tune your ukulele. We recommend using a clip-on tuner because they are the most reliable ones and easiest to use for beginners.
Asking a store clerk or a guitarist friend of yours is also a great option.
Keep in mind that baritone ukuleles use a different tuning than the other three types.
Maintaining your ukulele:
To make sure that your instrument stays in tune, retains proper tone and works well after you buy it, you need to take care of it. If you are buying a ukulele for a child you should definitely make sure to help them with maintaining their instrument. In short, this is what you need to do:
1) Cleaning and polishing your ukulele and strings is very important. Do not use furniture polish or just any wax on your ukulele.
2) One of the things that guitars and ukuleles require is normal temperatures. This is especially true for acoustic instruments. Don’t keep your ukulele for too long out in the open sun, an damp attic or other areas with extreme temperatures.
Avoid bringing your ukulele out of a really hot room into a really cold one and vice versa. And if you need to change rooms, wait a little bit before taking your instrument out of its case or bag.
3) You will need new strings at least once a year, twice a year or more if you can. Even if they don’t break, strings get worn out and they get inconsistencies in the radius.
Intonation, or the accuracy of the pitch as you go up the fretboard, will usually go off on at least one of the strings.
4) For high-end instruments, maintain the right humidity is important if you want to preserve the value of the instrument. Wood is a natural, breathing material and reacts to the surrounding environment.
Therefore, you have to be careful if you live in a particularly dry or wet place.
Try to avoid letting your child spill their drink over their instrument, especially if it’s an electric ukulele.
5) Properly storing your uke is important. Even if you never take your uke out of the house, invest in a bag or case. Even the cheapest cases or gig-bags offer protection from dust and light dings.
A ukulele stand can also be useful, but don’t keep it on a table.
BUYING GUIDE – THINGS TO CONSIDER:
A lot of kids starting out with ukulele will be beginners and because of that they should have an instrument that is suited for beginners. We have covered the topic of best beginner ukuleles in an earlier article of ours.
In short, you need to consider the tonal qualities of the instrument and whether or not it is suited for your specific needs.
Children develop and grow really fast and because of that, the decision on what ukulele to buy is not easy. Unless you’re buying a ukulele for a teen, you will very likely have to upgrade after a few years and shouldn’t spend all too much money on a temporary instrument.
On the other hand, investing into a high-end ukulele is not bad because even adults play the smaller sized instruments.
Our recommendation is to get a cheap ukulele for toddlers and younger kids, but preteens and teens will probably benefit more from a high-end ukulele.
That is because cheap instruments often have a rough build and rarely have perfect intonation.
Children and toddlers should either start out with a concert or soprano ukulele as those are of the smallest size. Another reason is that those two types are the most affordable ones.
Depending on the price you can either get a professional instrument or something that is more similar to a toy. Because of the young age, we would go with the low-end and affordable instruments.
Tenor and baritone ukuleles are perfect for preteens and teens because they are a good introduction to music, are most often built as high-end instruments and are possibly more comfortable for most people.
Baritone ukuleles are an especially good choice, because they are tuned similarly to a guitar and can be used as a great way to get the basics of a stringed instrument down before starting to learn guitar as a second instrument.
As a last tip, avoid plastic ukuleles and kids toy guitars as they don’t sound anything like a real instrument.
Alternative materials like aluminium are a matter of opinion, but nothing beats a wooden instrument, especially at a lower price.