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Your budget is no more than $200. Thankfully, you can get a great sounding, great looking ukulele at that price.
Below I share some of the best ukes within that budget; some which will leave you with plenty of change, others that will max out every cent.
So read on for the best ukuleles you can buy for under $200.
Cordoba 15CM-E – Best Overall
The Cordoba 15CM-E (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon, Guitar Center) is a popular, affordable ukulele that offers quality, beauty, and versatility at a lower price than other brands.
The Corboda 15CM-E is an acoustic-electric concert ukulele. Ukulele players love its well-balanced tone, wide dynamic range, rich overtones, and excellent projection and volume.
This ukulele is made from a solid mahogany top and mahogany back and sides. Equipped with Cordoba passive piezo pick-up, it sounds as good amplified as it does unplugged.
The longer-scale neck of this ukulele makes for higher playability for beginners or those with medium to large-sized hands.
The 15CM-E is stunning with its rich mahogany wood, the contrasting ivoroid binding, and the eye-catching abalone rosette – features usually only seen on much more expensive instruments.
Overall, this is a great-sounding, well-constructed ukulele with the quality you would expect to have to pay more for. It’s an excellent choice for a beginner or enthusiast looking to expand their uke collection.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 14.75”
Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Tenor – Premium Option
Suppose you don’t mind spending your entire $200 budget on a gorgeous ukulele with fantastic playability and sound. In that case, you can’t go wrong with the Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Tenor (see price on Sweetwater) modeled after the iconic Gibson Hummingbird guitar.
This tenor is available in tobacco sunset and faded cherry. With its dreadnought body style, fingerboard inlays, and classic Hummingbird faux tortoise pickguard, it looks exactly like a miniature Gibson, only much cheaper.
The Hummingbird has a select spruce top, a granadillo fingerboard, and mahogany sides. Even though it looks like a guitar, it is crafted with care and designed to project the best, rick ukulele sound.
This ukulele features a SlimTaper C-profile mahogany neck that is responsive and playable, making this instrument an excellent choice for a beginner or uke enthusiast who wants to bring new beauty to the stage and sound as good as they look.
The Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Tenor is built to make an impression, and even at the upper end of your budget, is a lot of ukulele for the money.
Number of Frets: 19
Scale Length: 17”
Kala Waterman – Best Budget Option
If you’re looking for a cheap ukulele that doesn’t feel or sound like a cheap ukulele, the Kala Waterman (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon, Guitar Center) is a wonderful option.
Inspired by the Macaferri ukuleles of the 1950s, the Waterman is designed with the outdoor lifestyle in mind. Available in various colors, some of which are transparent, the Waterman is available in soprano or concert sizes.
Built entirely from durable ABS composite plastic, this ukulele is durable, water resistant, and easy to clean. You can take it everywhere you go, including the water. The nickel-plated open-gear tuners are the only element of this ukulele, not waterproof.
The Waterman is an excellent choice for a beginner, a kid, a college student, or any ukulele player. Even though it is one of the cheaper ukuleles, it has a bright, well-projected sound. It is loved by seasoned uke players as a cute, fun instrument they can carry with them everywhere without worry.
Number of Frets: 12 (soprano), 18 (concert)
Scale Length: 13.70” (soprano), 14.75” (concert)
Enya Nova U
In the last few years, companies have been experimenting with different materials and technologies to make affordable, great-sounding ukuleles. The Enya Nova U (see price on Amazon) is probably the best, most accessible, and most successful example.
Made from carbon fiber composite polycarbonate, the Nova U is stable, well-constructed, super-light, durable, water resistant, and able to handle any temperature or humidity level.
The innovations of the Nova U don’t stop at the materials it’s made from. While there are cute cut-outs in the front, it has a side sound hole for better self-resonance, giving it a bright and robust tone with extraordinary projection abilities.
This ukulele is available in various colors and designs in soprano, concert, and tenor. It even comes with a color-matching strap and capo!
The Nova U’s arched back, radius fretboard, and curvy cutaway body make it as easy to play as it is to look at. The Enya Nova U is a great budget ukulele for a beginner or for any uke player looking to add a splash of a little something different and durable to their uke stash.
Kala brings another beautiful, exciting ukulele to the table with the Kala KA-15S-S (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon), a well-constructed, charming, and highly affordable soprano.
The KA-15S-S’s mahogany back and sides give it a classic island sound with superb resonance. The spruce top adds and clear and punchy tone to the ukulele. It’s a clean, crisp, and sassy layer you don’t get with other woods.
This ukulele features a satin finish, Graph Tech NuBone nut and saddle, and geared die-cast tuners. It would be great for a beginner, a kid, a uke player with small hands, and anyone who wants to bring the delightful chirp of the spruce into their playing.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.62”
Luna Henna Dragon
Besides being fun to play and listen to, ukuleles are often works of visual art, a way to express yourself through the look of your ukulele. The Luna Henna Dragon Concert Ukulele (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is the perfect choice for someone looking to make an impression with the beauty of their ukulele.
Luna was co-founded by a stained-glass artist who wanted to make highly-playable pieces of art. Their ukuleles are some of the most visually stunning ukes you can get on a budget.
The Luna Dragon features an etched curling and dancing dragon designed by Henna artist Alex Morgan. It also includes the moon phase fret markers on the fingerboard that Luna is known for. To top off the beauty of this concert ukulele is a classic slotted headstock.
An acoustic-electric made with mahogany front, back, and sides, this ukulele boasts a full, rich, warm, and clear tone. It includes onboard Luna UK-T2 electronics and a tuner. You will always be ready to plug in, play, and impress with this uke.
The Pau Ferro fingerboard is smooth and playable, making this ukulele as suited for a beginner as for a performer who wants to grab the audience’s eyes and ears. The Luna Henna Dragon is also available in tenor and baritone for players who need more finger space or a deeper tone.
Number of Frets: 19
Scale Length: 15”’
An excellent choice for the environmentally conscious as well as the budget conscious, the Kala KA-BMB-C (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is made entirely from sustainable and renewable bamboo.
The all-bamboo construction gives this uke a bright tone, surprising volume, and rich harmonics. The Graph Tech NuBone saddle and nut improve resonance.
The multi-layered straight grain of bamboo creates and beautiful, natural look.
Bamboo is a very durable material, so this is a ukulele you can take anywhere. It is an excellent choice for a beginner or a uke player looking to add something simple but unique to their ukulele roster.
Number of Frets: 18
Scale Length: 15”
The larger a ukulele is, the more it tends to cost, but luckily there are some baritone options you can fit into your budget. The Cordoba U1B (compare price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) is an excellent blend of affordability and quality.
With a D-G-B-E tuning that mimics the bottom four strings of a guitar, baritones are a great gateway ukulele for anyone coming to it from the guitar. It would also be a perfect choice for anyone wanting to learn the ukulele and then, after they have more confidence as a musician, guitar.
The Corboda U1B has a deep, well-balanced, and resonant tone. The C-shaped mahogany neck and pau Ferro fingerboard ensure maximum playability, which is as vital for a beginner as it is for a professional.
This beautifully constructed baritone ukulele features a satin finish and an abalone-style rosette. Cordoba is known for its classical, Spanish-influenced guitar and ukulele design, bringing a great look at sound at a small price tag.
If you’re a seasoned uke player who has never tried your hand at baritone, the U1B makes an excellent excuse to buy another ukulele and expand your repertoire.
Number of Frets:18
Scale Length: 20.1”
The Lanikai MA-P (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an affordable take on the classic Hawaiian pineapple shape invented by Samuel Kamaka in the early 1900s.
The pineapple ukulele has an oval shape, which gives the ukulele a louder volume, a more mellow tone, and more resonance than a standard body ukulele. With the oval shape, there is also nothing in the way of getting to the higher frets on the fingerboard.
The Lanikai MA-P is a soprano pineapple with mahogany front, back, and sides, giving it a bright, rich, and woody tone. The comfortable Okoume neck and rosewood fingerboard lend to its beauty and playability. The NuBone XB nut and saddle add additional sustain and tone. The MA-P also comes with chrome strap buttons which is a bonus because while they are so helpful, ukes rarely come with them.
The Lanikai MA-P is an excellent entry-level pineapple ukulele, perfect for a beginner or any uke player dying to get their hands on a pineapple they can afford.
Number of Frets: 12
Scale Length: 13.6”
What To Look For In A Ukulele Under $200
There are so many options and varieties when it comes to ukuleles. Knowing what you want, what you need, and what you can compromise on before you attempt to purchase one is helpful.
Here are some tips to help you find what you’re looking for while saving money.
Ukuleles, with a couple of exceptions, come in four basic sizes:
The smaller ukes will often have janglier tones. The tones get deeper and richer as you go up the size spectrum. Smaller ukuleles are often the best for kids or people with small hands, while tenors and baritones are excellent for players with large hands.
Ukuleles also go up in price the bigger they get. You will spend comparatively less for a soprano than for a tenor.
If there is a uke you have your eye on that is a little out of your price range, see if the brand makes the same model in a smaller size.
Material is where you will usually have to compromise to fit a ukulele within your budget.
Wood is quite expensive, so at this price range, most of what you’ll find is laminate. If, for instance, a uke’s description says it is made from mahogany, unless it says “solid” mahogany, you’ll be safe to assume it’s laminate.
You’re not going to find an all-solid-wood ukulele in this price range. But you should be able to find some with solid wood tops. A good deal of the uke’s tone comes from the top wood, so this is a great compromise and can steer you to a great-sounding uke. Just look for that word, “solid,” to make sure.
Another option is ABS composite plastic or carbon fiber composite. While these are not traditional materials, they are durable and are often used to make some of the cheapest ukuleles. For the most part, though some uke enthusiasts look down on them, they sound good and play well, with the bonus of being able to take them anywhere.
You don’t need to sacrifice playability to buy a cheap ukulele. It doesn’t matter how much money you saved if it’s too hard or uncomfortable to play or has terrible tuners that don’t hold tension.
Always read reviews on ukuleles before you buy them. If there aren’t any, call up a shop that sells them. Usually, musicians work at stores that sell instruments, and they can give you their impressions. Check out video reviews online. If you can, go to a store and try it out yourself.
Ideally, you want a uke with a neck/ fingerboard configuration that makes it easy for your hand to move along and reach all the strings. Lower action is better for most people, as it takes more effort to hold down strings with high action.
Also, check out the frets to ensure they’re even and not sharp at the edges of the neck.
Because ukuleles sound different from one another, it’s advisable to hear a uke before buying it. Whether you watch a demo online or go check it out in person, this will help you find a uke you enjoy the sound of.
So many ukes are described with the same words, “bright,” “robust,” and “rich,” but they do not all sound the same. While certain types of materials have conventional characteristics, each instrument is its own thing.
If you want to perform live with your ukulele, you can consider purchasing an acoustic-electric uke. There are many in this price range. Just make sure you do research on the electronics and pick-ups, so you can make sure the instrument will sound as good plugged in as it does unplugged.
Especially when on a budget, make sure you’re still getting something that makes you happy.
Whatever your aesthetic, you can find a ukulele that fits your budget. There are so many choices these days, from classical looks and Hawaiian looks to see-through hot pink and teddy bears. You can get something that showcases the beauty of wood or looks like a piece of candy. Just keep your eyes open, and you’ll find it.
A great way to get more uke for your budget is to look for discounts and deals. Shop around. Keep an eye on several online stores. See when their big sales are coming. Sometimes you can get a discount by calling an online retailer and ordering over the phone.
If you have your heart set on a uke that is never going to fit in your budget, consider seeing if you can find it used. Some online and brick-and-mortar retailers re-sell used instruments. Sometimes they need a little work, but you may be able to find what you never thought you’d own!
Best Brands That Sell Ukuleles Under $200
Luckily, with the popularity of ukuleles, many brands are known for their low prices and quality. When looking for a ukulele on a budget, check out these brands.
Kala Brand Music Co. was founded in 2005 by Mike Upton, who wanted to make ukuleles more affordable and accessible.
Kala and the other brand they own, Makala, make top-selling ukuleles for beginners and buyers on a budget and are well loved and respected by the ukulele community.
Luna started as a guitar company founded by a stained-glass artist who wanted to create playable works of art.
Luna Ukes is well-known in the ukulele community for its budget-friendly, playable ukuleles and unique artistic vision.
Lanikai, owned by Hohner, exhaustively researches each instrument they make.
Lanikai is a familiar name among ukulele players for their affordable entry-level and mid-range ukes.
Cordoba, first known for their carefully constructed classical and Spanish-inspired guitars, brings the same commitment and dedication to craft to their ukuleles.
Cordoba ukuleles have a reputation for bringing a lot to the table in terms of look and sound for an affordable price.
Top Ukuleles Under $200, Final Thoughts
You can get a lot of ukuleles for under $200. Budgets can feel limiting, but there are so many options once you’ve done a little research.
If you need a uke because you’re a beginner or deep in the throes of Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome, you can get a great one that fills your heart with joy without having to break the bank or save for five hundred years.