We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is there are a TON of companies making Ukuleles right now. The bad news is not all of them make a quality instrument. We are here to separate the best Ukulele brands from the ones to avoid.
We know that you don’t want a cheap, poorly made instrument that will be impossible to tune. It’s no fun to have an Ukulele that starts to fall apart in your hands after you play it for a month. So one of the focuses of this ukulele buying guide is building quality.
At the same time, we know that most people don’t need a high-end, authentic Koa, $1000 Ukulele that other musicians will be jealous of. We also left a few brands, like Oscar Schmidt, off this list because we feel they are more of a guitar brand. That doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t like their ukes, (in fact, there are several beginner ukuleles from Oscar Schmidt on our buying guides based on size of ukulele) but we wanted to focus on popular ukulele brands, not popular musical instrument brands.
What are the Best Ukulele Brands?
Like we said earlier, there are a ton of good ukulele manufacturers. Kala, Mahalo, Magic Fluke, Pono, Luna, Lanikai, Martin and Kanilea and many more were all considered for this list. Several make a quality product without a gigantic price tag, a few have a good mid-range selection, and for those of you who want to spend a little extra for a great instrument, we got you covered as well.
We also wanted to make this list for a wide vairety of skill levels. From beginner ukulele starters to a professional player, from laminated wood to high-end woods construction techniques, from starter kit to top ukuleles on the market, we give you a brand to look at!
There are some amazing Uke brands we left off this list to be honest. Either they had to small a selection, were to hard to find, or simply don’t ship out of Hawaii, we left them out because our average reader wouldn’t have the chance to purchase one if they were interested. For the average person, the best ukulele brands are ones that make great instruments at a reasonable price that are easy to get!
Kala is one of the best selling Ukulele brands available currently. Unlike many companies that started with a more popular stringed instrument and transitioned to the Ukulele, Kala has always focused on it.
For beginners, Kala offers it’s Waterman and Makala line. The Waterman is a traveling mans Uke, designed to be durable and water-resistant. The Makala line is a great sounding beginner instrument. Both of these lines can commonly be found offered in a ukulele bundle, which is great to give a new player things like electric tuners and gig bags they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Kala also makes a rather unique instrument in the Solid body U-bass. The qualities of a bass combined with the size of a Ukulele make for a unique and fun instrument.
Finally, the Elite line is made with the highest quality standards and is shipped in a slick black alligator hard case. These Ukuleles are made with traditional Hawaiian Koa and are both beautiful and amazing sounding.
Combine Kala’s huge selection with the reputation for quality and you’re sure to love the instrument you end up with!
Read More About Kala in our full article about the brand!
Simply put, Luna makes some of the most interesting, and artistic ukulele instruments you’ll ever see. Almost all of their offerings have some sort of design on the top to make them look as good as they sound. This gives their line both an authentic yet original feel, and they were an easy choice for the best ukulele brand list.
Much like Kala, the Luna Ukulele line really nails the entry level and intermediate players needs and wants. You can easily get a great sounding, special looking Luna for under $100.
Luna offers a full line of Ukuleles, from Baritone down to Soprano. As a bonus, they offer some of the coolest Pineapple Ukuleles you’ll find, including our favorite, the Tattoo. One of our favorite ukulele starter kit includes the Luna Tattoo!
Both Luna and Kala do a great job offering a wide variety of ukulele sizes and shapes. For a new player this can be overwhelming, but if you see your favorite musician playing a particular instrument and you want to emulate them, you can probably get the same type and tone wood from one of these brands.
Read More About Luna in our brand review article!
Magic Fluke Ukulele
The Fluke Ukulele was created in 1999 with the goal of creating a great sounding, affordable, USA-made instrument. It is safe to say they succeeded.
The Fluke Ukulele (top image) was first produced in 1999. The Flea, their other ukulele style, was created in 2003 after the success of the Fluke. Both models have been popular from the very start!
The Fluke and the Flea both had very original, and non-traditional, take on the standard Ukulele shape and construction. The shape is fairly obvious, but the construction is another matter.
Both Ukuleles use a combination of a solid wood soundboard with a thermoplastic body. This creates a unique, bright, full sounding Ukulele that is more durable than a standard wood model yet produces a much better sound than a cheap plastic model.
One of the few drawbacks of this company is that you won’t find any soprano or baritone ukuleles from them currently. The Flea is manufactured as a Concert Ukulele size, and the Fluke is almost always found in a Tenor size. But, if you are looking for one of those two sizes this brand of ukulele gives you a body and neck design that will set you apart at your local musician gathering!
Many Ukulele players now swear by this companies instruments and we understand why. No conversation about great Ukulele makers would be complete without mentioning the Magic Fluke Company.
Read More About Magic Fluke!