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Your child is going to LOVE having their own ukulele to make music with! And while, if things go well, this won’t be the last uke they pick up, getting a great sounding ukulele that won’t break at the first drop is still important.
So here’s our choice of best ukuleles for kids.
Makala Shark – Best Overall
One of the most highly regarded budget ukuleles for beginners, the Makala Shark (compare prices on Amazon and Guitar Center) is an excellent choice for a kid’s ukulele.
The Shark, named after its shark-shaped bridge, is a soprano, the smallest standard size of ukulele and perfect for even the youngest hands. Kala/ Makala also makes the Dolphin, the same instrument but with a dolphin-shaped bridge.
The Shark comes in various colors and shades, making it easy to find one a kid will be drawn to.
The Shark’s top is Philippine mahogany, and the back and sides are composite. Some uke players will complain that the plastic back and sides don’t create as pleasant a tone as wood, but this ukulele does have a bright tone and decent projection. Most young kids won’t care about the fullness of tone, and this is a uke that can go anywhere and take a beating.
Makala’s Shark is often considered the best-sounding and easiest ukulele to play in its price range. It’s affordable enough to buy more if a kid does manage to break it or begs for one in another color. But it’s also not a huge commitment if the kid decides they don’t want to play it and shoves it under their bed instead.
This is a super-cute, super fun-to-play ukulele and would be an excellent choice for any kid or parent.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.5”
Luna Starry Night – Premium Option
A great way to get a kid interested in an instrument is to get one that looks cool. The Luna Starry Night Soprano Ukulele (compare prices Sweetwater, Amazon, and Guitar Center) features a graphic print of Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” painting.
While a kid might not be familiar with Van Gogh, they will love the fun swirls of blue and yellow dancing all over the ukulele, the blue back and headstock, and the mother-of-pearl fingerboard inlays that depict the phases of the moon.
The Starry Night ukulele is still affordable as far as ukuleles go, making it an excellent choice for someone looking to spend a little more on a nicer instrument for a kid while still being mindful of the risks of buying a kid an expensive ukulele.
This ukulele is a soprano which is excellent for small hands. Thoughtfully designed and constructed with a maple front and stained mahogany back and sides, it produces a bright, rich, robust tone. The C-profile mahogany neck and the flat, radiused walnut fingerboard make it comfortable and easy to play. It features pearloid open-gear tuners, a solid walnut bridge, and Aquila Nylgut strings.
The Luna Starry Night is the perfect ukulele for the budding artist/ musician, a kid who wants a beautiful tone, or a kid who loves the sky and the magic of dreams.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.5”
Hola! Music Beginner’s 21” Maple Soprano – Best Budget Option
Ukuleles bundled with accessories and lessons are an excellent way for a kid to get started with the uke. The Hola! Music Beginner’s 21” Maple Soprano bundle (see prices on Amazon) comes with a ukulele, bag, picks, a strap with a hook, and access to two months of free lessons.
The Hola! Soprano ukulele bundle is probably the cheapest, best-reviewed product of its kind. It’s an excellent choice if budget is an issue or if you’re purchasing ukuleles for multiple children.
The soprano is the perfect choice for a child. This ukulele also comes in a wide selection of colors. With maple front, back, and sides, it is a durable instrument with a bright, happy tone. Because of the price, it won’t be the best-sounding instrument out there, but it will be good enough for a kid just starting. It is cheap, but it’s not a toy.
The Hola! Soprano’s walnut fingerboard and nato neck are smooth and playable. The ukulele comes with Aquila Nylgut strings, a uke standard for tone and playability.
This is a starter ukulele, but it will help a child learn how to play and determine if they are interested enough in playing that it would be worth investing in a more expensive ukulele in the future.
Kala Sparkle Concert Ukulele
For the glamorous singer-songwriter to be in your life, the Kala Sparkle Concert Ukulele (compare prices Sweetwater, Amazon) will have them shining in no time.
The Sparkle is a concert-size ukulele, so it would be a good choice for older children, children with larger hands, or kids who aren’t interested in playing a soprano.
Made with a lightweight, resonant basswood top and mahogany back and sides, the Sparkle has a sweet, bright, balanced tone with good volume and projection. The rosewood fingerboard and mahogany neck give the Sparkle incredible response and playability.
The glittery sparkle body comes in four colors: Rhapsody in Blue, Stardust Gold, Pink Champagne, and Ritzy Red. Cream binding complements the color and makes the instrument pop.
The Sparkle is a mid-range kid’s ukulele. It is affordable, and its beautiful craftsmanship and lovely, well-projected sound make it a great value. It would be the perfect ukulele for a princess, glam rocker, pirate, or pre-teen.
Number of Frets:18
Scale Length: 15”
Enya Nova U
Kids can be hard on their instruments. With the affordable Enya Nova U (see prices on Amazon), you don’t have to worry about a splintered or smashed ukulele.
The Nova is made of carbon fiber composite polycarbonate, making it ultra-light, durable, water-resistant, easy to clean, and able to handle any temperature or humidity level. It is a take-anywhere ukulele that can stand being tossed around and spilled on.
This ukulele comes in various colors, such as white, black, blue, pink, red, and purple. While soprano is usually the size recommended for kids, the Nova is also available in concert and tenor sizes.
It has a cool feather-shaped cut-out on the front. The soundhole is on the side, which helps increase the instrument’s self-resonance. Even though it’s made from carbon fiber instead of wood, the Nova has a clear, bright, well-projected ukulele sound.
The arched back, radius fingerboard, and cutaway body make it easy for small hands to access all the frets and strings smoothly and comfortably.
The Nova has strap buttons, which is uncommon for ukes in general and practically unheard of for sopranos. It also comes with a bag, extra strings, and a color-matching capo and strap.
Not every kid wants a brightly colored ukulele, and kids deserve good craftsmanship as much as any musician. The Cordoba 15CM (compare prices on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an excellent and affordable choice for a beginner ukulele of any age.
The Cordoba 15CM is a concert-size ukulele, slightly larger than a soprano, and should still work for most kids. It will also give them a uke they can grow into, as the bigger your hands get, the harder they are to fit on the narrow fingerboard of a soprano.
Made from a premium quartersawn mahogany top, back, and sides, the 15CM has excellent projection and a sweet, bright, and rich tone. The mahogany neck and Pau Ferro fingerboard are extraordinarily smooth and playable. It is a pleasure to hear and play. When a kid is learning an instrument, that is precisely what you want.
This is also an incredibly beautiful ukulele with a satin finish, abalone rosette, and ivoroid binding, details you will usually only find in a much more expensive ukulele.
The Cordoba CM15 is an excellent choice for a kid who wants a conventionally beautiful instrument, one who is serious about learning and plans on playing for a while.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 14.75”
One of the great things about learning to play the ukulele or any instrument is that it gives kids an opportunity to see that they can do anything they put their minds to, even when it’s not always easy. From Kala’s “Learn to Play” series comes the Kala LTP-MH (compare prices on Sweetwater, Amazon), a ukulele designed in a collaboration between Kala and Mandy Harvey.
In 2017, Mandy Harvey brought her Kala ukulele onto America’s Got Talent stage and brought the country to tears with her original song, “Try,” a song she wrote while struggling to figure out how she could still be a musician after going deaf at 18.
This tenor ukulele is a larger size ukulele, which would be most suited to older kids or kids with larger hands, although even tenors are much smaller than guitars, so it would be worth having a child hold it, try to play it, and see how it felt for them.
The Mandy Harvey ukulele is a satin-finished mahogany tenor that features eye-catching original art inspired by Swiss folk art of the 1800s and designed by Mandy’s sister. The white binding is an excellent contrast to the dark wood and a nice complement to the white art. In the middle of the uke is the title of the song that won over America, “Try,” a word any kid can take inspiration from.
This is a well-constructed and beautiful sounding uke, with a deep, rich, but still bright tone. The mahogany neck and walnut fingerboard are highly playable.
The Learn to Play Mandy Harvey ukulele is part of a starter kit that includes a gig bag, Kala Klipz clip-on tuner, a free Kala app, lessons taught by Mandy Harvey, and a free quick-start guide. This would be an excellent gift for a kid going through a rough patch or who had tried to play an instrument before and thought they weren’t any good at it.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 17”
Luna Tattoo Mahogany Concert
The Luna Tattoo Mahogany Concert ukulele (compare prices Sweetwater, Amazon) is a beautiful, affordable, entry-level ukulele that would work well for an older kid or one in love with island culture.
Made from the mahogany front, back, and sides, the Luna Tattoo has a full, rich, mellow tone that captures the traditional Hawaiian ukulele sound. The mahogany neck and walnut fingerboard offer amazing playability and response.
The front of the Luna Tattoo is embossed with a design patterned after the “honu,” the Hawaiian word for turtle, symbolizing longevity and endurance. The style of the design draws inspiration from traditional Hawaiian tattoos. This beautiful ukulele also features mother-of-pearl fingerboard inlays in the shape of shark teeth.
The Luna Tattoo Mahogany Concert offers value with its beautiful look, sound, construction, and reasonable price.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 15”
Ukuleles come in all shapes and sizes, giving many options when buying ukuleles for kids. The Kala KA-MK-P (compare prices Sweetwater and Amazon) is a pineapple soprano. The pineapple body shape is an over, with the neck coming up from the top, so the instrument resembles a pineapple.
Because of the body shape, it’s like having a cutaway on both sides, giving easy access to every fret. The pineapple body shape can also be an easier ukulele for a kid to carry around and hold. It also comes with strap buttons to make holding and playing even easier.
The KA-MK-P is thoughtfully constructed with mahogany front, back, and sides. A satin finish highlights the beauty of the wood as well as that of its rich, sweet tone.
This ukulele is from Kala Brand Music Co.’s entry-level, budget line, Makala, and this is a very affordable uke that will run just a little more than ukes marketed to kids. If the kid you’re buying for wants something a little different, loves the island sound and look, or has smaller hands, the KA-MK-P is an excellent choice.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.62”
The Kala Waterman (compare prices Sweetwater, Amazon) is an excellent, affordable ukulele that can go wherever a kid goes.
The design of the Waterman was inspired by the Maccaferri ukuleles of the 1950s, with an outdoor lifestyle in mind. It is made entirely of durable, lightweight ABS composite plastic. A favorite of adult ukulele players who want a uke they can toss around, this instrument has a sweet, bright sound with good projection.
The Waterman comes in soprano or concert. It is available in a variety of opaque and translucent colors. One of the colors is called “Ice” and is completely clear and see-through, a quality most kids would go crazy for.
It is easy to clean and sanitize and is water resistant. The only element of the ukulele not made of plastic are the tuners, so a kid could even bring it into a bathtub or pool with them as long as the metal was dried to prevent rusting.
It is a fun, cute, and durable ukulele and is a great budget choice for any kid or kid at heart.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.75”
Fender Grace Vanderwaal Moonlight Ukulele
Grace Vanderwaal was twelve years old when she won season 11 of America’s got talent in 2016. The Fender Grace Vanderwaal Moonlight Ukulele (compare prices Sweetwater, Amazon) was designed in collaboration between Grace and Fender as a tribute to the ukulele she learned to play.
The Moonlight is a soprano ukulele perfect for small hands and big dreams. Its clear, bright tone and surprising volume come from its mahogany top, back, and sides. The nato neck and walnut fingerboard ensure maximum comfort and playability, critical factors for a kid.
This ukulele features the iconic Fender headstock. It’s a deep navy blue with cream binding and a sparkling golden rosette. Gold open-back tuners add to the beauty and sophistication of the instrument.
Grace Vanderwaal learned the ukulele with a uke she bought with gift money she received on her 11th birthday. Any kid with stars in their eyes or a musical inclination mixed with a sense of style would love this affordable, entry-level ukulele.
Number of Frets: 16
Scale Length: 13.6
When it comes to materials on a kids’ ukulele, most options are wood laminate, plastic, or carbon fiber composites. The Kala KA-BMB-S (compare prices Sweetwater and Amazon) offers a natural and environmentally friendly option.
The KA-BMB-S is made from 100% solid bamboo. The bamboo gives this soprano a sweet, clear, ringing tone full of stunning resonance and projection. The multi-layered straight grain of bamboo is beautiful and will be a match for any kid who loves nature. It has a slotted headstock for a classic look.
The neck and fingerboard are smooth, easy to play, and are just right for small hands.
Bamboo is a very strong material and makes for a sturdy, durable ukulele. It can take some knocks and be just fine.
The KA-BMB-S is pricier than some entry-level ukes for kids, but if you have it in your budget, the bamboo and the instrument’s longevity are worth it.
Number of Frets: 15
Scale Length: 13.56”
Alvarez RU22B Regent Series Baritone Ukulele
Baritone ukuleles aren’t usually the first ukes recommended for kids, but they shouldn’t be dismissed. The Alvarez RU22B Regent Series Baritone (compare prices Amazon and Guitar Center) is an excellent, affordable entry-level ukulele for a kid who wants a ukulele that’s as close to a guitar as possible.
Baritones are the largest ukulele, so they might not work for younger kids with tiny fingers, but for older kids or kids who want to learn guitar eventually, they are a great choice. Baritone ukes are still smaller than guitar. Also, their tuning mirrors the bottom four strings of a guitar, making for easy transitioning when moving to chords on the guitar.
The top, back, and sides are made from mahogany, giving this baritone a deep, woody tone, unlike a smaller ukulele.
With a rosewood bridge and mahogany neck, it is smooth and playable. This is a well-built uke with a satin finish. While it wouldn’t be the right ukulele for every kid, it will be perfect for some kids.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 20.08”
What To Look for in a Ukulele for Kids
Most of the time, when looking for a ukulele, you are shopping not for kids in general but for a particular kid. The more you know about that kid and their interest level and intention with learning the ukulele, the better your chance of finding the perfect one they’ll want to play.
Here are a few things to remember when looking for a ukulele for kids.
Standard ukuleles come in four sizes:
The soprano is the smallest, and each size is a little bigger than the last. Most ukuleles made for kids are sopranos. Since they’re smaller, they’re better for little hands and short fingers. Most kids can easily reach the frets and hold down the strings. This is a great size for toddlers and young uke players.
For a kid, the best size ukulele often comes down to hand size and what feels better. As they grow, they may find a concert or tenor to be more comfortable and that they feel too crowded on a soprano.
If possible, especially with an older child, take them to hold and play around with different-sized ukuleles to see which feels best and easiest for them. Size also affects the sound, so ask them too about the ones that felt good and which sound they liked better.
If a child cannot comfortably play the ukulele, they won’t play it. It can be hard to hold a kid’s interest anyway, so when looking for a ukulele for a kid, look at reviews and descriptions that mention playability.
The neck shape and fingerboard will have a lot to do with how easy it is to move up and down the fingerboard and reach all the frets and strings.
Another thing to pay attention to is action. Action is how high the strings sit above the fingerboard. The higher the action, the harder it will be to play.
Also, look out for frets that jut off the edges of the neck and any apparent problems with the tuners or bridge.
If possible, either purchase from a retailer that will set up the ukulele before shipping or take it somehow after, so if any problems affect playability, you can take care of them, and the ukulele will be in the best shape it can.
Kids’ ukuleles can be made from plastic, carbon fiber, or wood.
In general, the cheaper the ukulele, the cheaper the material. However, that doesn’t mean a cheap ukulele won’t sound good, as long as the design and build quality are there. Budget ukuleles won’t have the sound quality and tone complexity of expensive ukes, but most children don’t need that.
ABS composite plastic and carbon fiber composite ukes are great for kids. They often come in fun colors, are super durable, and for kids who are play motivated, these ukes can feel like a toy even though they’re not.
If you are buying a ukulele made from wood, know that, for the most part, unless the wood is labeled as “solid,” it will be made from laminate.
Kids have a bad reputation for destroying things. It’s part of play, but if you are buying for a kid who is hard on their belongings or a child you know will be taking their ukulele outdoors, you’ll want to make sure to purchase a ukulele that can keep up with their lifestyle.
This is where the composite plastic and carbon fiber ukuleles excel. They can get wet, fall down the stairs, get buried in mud, be thrown at an imaginary friend, or pounded like a drum and still be fine.
It’s not just a matter of wasting the money you’ve spent. It’s making sure they have that opportunity to explore and express themselves musically. If a young kid is playing with their ukulele, it’s because they like it. Discouraging them from that to save a solid wood mahogany uke from disaster may only prevent them from playing the ukulele. So don’t buy that kid something they have to be precious with.
Deciding how much to spend on a kids’ ukulele will have a lot to do with how much money you want to spend and why you’re purchasing a kids’ ukulele.
You can easily get a fantastic kids’ ukulele for under $100. You can find some with an excellent reputation for under $50, but the quality starts to get shoddy once you go too far below that. Anything under $20 usually isn’t going to hold up as more than a toy.
It’s fine, however, to have a cheap, fall-apart ukulele for a two-year-old if you want to give them something to mess with instead of your favorite guitar.
For an older child or a child who is serious about wanting to learn the ukulele, it’s a good idea to open the budget up a little to find a uke that will hold up, that they will like to play, and that can grow with them.
Because there are so many choices in colors and designs in ukuleles, you can find something the kid you’re buying the instrument for will love.
Think about their favorite colors, animals, and characters to find something that captures the spirit of what they’re interested in. Do they want a ukulele that looks like candy? Do they hate the color pink? Ukuleles are happy instruments, and kids should be happy whenever they see and play theirs.
Many factors go into the sound of a ukulele, including materials, type of wood, and size of the ukulele. Most kids aren’t going to care about the sound of their ukulele or even notice the difference between a thin tone and a layered one. However, if they do show a sound preference, listen to them and try to find a uke with a voice that speaks to them.
Also, if you live with the kid you’re getting a ukulele for, you’re most likely going to be hearing it a lot, so you’ll probably want to get a ukulele with a sound you like as well.
There aren’t any acoustic-electric ukuleles on this list. They aren’t made for or marketed for kids, and you wouldn’t want electronics on a ukulele for a young child. For an older child, though, or one who would like to eventually perform or play around with effects, an acoustic-electric ukulele could be a fun instrument that puts them on their musical path.
When buying a ukulele for a kid, pay close attention to reviews. If you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer, ask the employees about the instrument. Listen to demos of it online or play it for yourself. Especially if you have a small budget, you want to ensure the ukulele you’re about to buy is worth buying at all. Unfortunately, a lot of ukuleles made for kids are not.
Best Brands That Make Ukuleles for Kids
There are so many cheap, brightly colored ukuleles out there for kids. It can be hard to know what’s worth it and what is a piece of junk. These companies have a particular reputation for offering well make ukuleles for kids.
Kala Brand Music Co.
Kala Brand Music Co. owns Kala Ukuleles and the budget brand Makala. Kala’s founder, Mike Upton, had a vision and goal of creating great ukuleles and making them accessible and affordable.
There are many Makala and Kala ukuleles perfect for kids. From durable materials and construction to bright colors and designs to ease of playing and amazing sound, they have a respected reputation in the ukulele community and are a great and affordable place to start when shopping for a kid.
Co-founded by a professional stained-glass artist, Luna places a strong emphasis on the look and design of their ukuleles.
It’s the place to go for a more traditional, wooden ukulele with a fun flair. Their ukes are a favorite of beginners and parents, and for the price, they are highly playable and full of great tone.
Corboda began with guitars and expanded to bring their commitment to quality, affordable instruments to ukuleles.
Inspired by classical and Spanish guitars, Cordoba isn’t specifically made for or marketed to children, but their ukuleles are crafted to be playable and sound great and are a marvelous choice for any beginner. You usually get more than you pay for with a Corboda.
Top Ukuleles For Kids, Final Thoughts
Ukuleles are a great instrument for kids to explore. Ukuleles teach kids music but also teach them how to make some in this world and that their voice matters.
When playing with parents and peers, kids will learn how to listen, work with others, and that everyone’s voice matters.
Every kid deserves to have a ukulele, and luckily there are so many perfect ones out there waiting to be discovered.