7 Best Ukuleles Under $200 – A Price Tag To Respect
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Last Updated: May-07-2019
In our most recent reshuffle of this sub-$200 chart we only felt the need to remove one slightly dated model, which was the Oscar Schmidt OU5. However, we replaced this with not one, but two new models – the cute Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature uke and the striking Luna Tattoo Tenor.
If you have $200 in your pocket, a whole new world of quality in the ukulele market opens up to you. While we’re not totally clear of entry-level instruments, as the price increases, so too does the quality and variety of ukuleles.Whether you’re a beginner looking for an easy-playing model with a little more quality and punch than something you’d find in the budget ukulele market, or are looking for your second, third or fourth uke, this sub-$200 range can leave you with a very satisfying instrument.
To help save you sifting through every single model in every single online/physical store, we’ve put together a short chart, highlighting five of the most popular ukuleles on the market today. Naturally there is a bigger range available, but the five below (which include a soprano, concert, tenor and baritone) will give you a good flavor of what’s on offer. Let’s check it out.
Top 7 Ukuleles Under $200:
|Image||Ukuleles / Rating||Summary||Check Price|
|+ -|| Kala KA-PWS Soprano Ukulele |
Total of 4.72/5
A great-looking Pacific Walnut soprano ukulele from Kala.
|+ -|| Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele |
Total of 4.78/5
‘Boho Chic’ style meets traditional Fender quality!
|+ -|| Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele |
Total of 4.70/5
Hard to fault this mellow mahogany baritone uke from Kala.
|+ -|| Luna Tattoo Tenor Ukulele |
Total of 4.22/5
A traditional Hawaiian model with thoughtful design and standout sound.
|+ -|| Cordoba 20TM-CE Tenor Ukulele |
Total of 4.63/5
A classy tenor ukulele from the famous classical masters Cordoba.
|+ -|| Luna Maluhia Electro-Acoustic Ukulele |
Total of 4.65/5
A peacefully designed concert uke from Luna!
|+ -|| Epiphone Les Paul Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele |
Total of 4.67/5
Rock guitar style with island vibes by the mile!
|Body And Neck:|
If looks could kill, this Kala uke would be very dangerous! With a delightfully grained Pacific Walnut body, this soprano sized ukulele offers a minimalist high-end design at a price anyone can afford.
The black binding around the top and back is an elegant touch, while the satin finish and general craftsmanship is excellent. The KA-PWS features a mahogany neck, with either a rosewood or walnut fretboard, featuring 12 frets (all in the clear).
Playability out of the box is very smooth, while the tone on offer is also lovely – articulate and bright, and very well-suited for fingerpicking styles. For a more in-depth look at Kala’s KA-PWS, be sure tocheck out the full review.
|Body And Neck:|
Thanks to America’s Got Talent, the world now knows the talents of Grace VanderWaal. In fact, her influence has been significant enough that guitar icons Fender wanted to partner with her on the new Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele.
The GVW Signature is a perfect example of what happens when style meets substance – a winning combination. Quality construction and tonewoods give an impressive unplugged tone, and it has enough unique visual appeal to make people take notice. Check out our full review here.
Unplugged it’s one thing, but plugged in it’s a completely different animal. The impressive Fishman Kula preamp system provides tone control for days… just about as long as the smile on your face will last when you play it!
|Body And Neck:|
While this baritone uke from Kala isn’t the most striking in appearance, there’s a feeling of real quality when holding and playing it. Part of Kala’s flagship Satin Mahogany series, the entire baritone body (30” in length) is made of laminated mahogany, with a nice satin finish and simple cream binding.
It’s good fun to play, thanks to the mahogany neck, which features a rosewood or walnut fretboard, and 18 frets (14 in the clear), while the hardware – including sealed chrome die-cast tuners – add to the quality feel.
Meanwhile, the sound is very appealing, with great warmth and projection. Be sure to check out all the details in the full review of the Kala KA-B.
|Body And Neck:|
If gazing at the Luna Tattoo Tenor ukulele doesn’t conjure up images of sandy beaches, Mai Tais and pineapples, then you may need to get your eyes checked! The laser-etched design may set this uke apart from the others, but the sound and construction for the price you pay make this incredibly good value.
The Tattoo Tenor’s all-mahogany body and neck give it a premium feel for well under $200. The walnut fingerboard and bridge, with Aquila Super NylGut strings, are high-end touches for this price range.
However, the uke’s sound are what truly distinguishes it from other budget models. The smooth, breezy Hawaiian tones are well above most other ukuleles under $200. Check out our full review for a more in-depth look.
|Body And Neck:|
Cordoba know a thing or two about making beautiful classical guitars, and their knowledge has been put to good use with their affordable line of ukuleles. In particular this very attractive 20TM-CE electro-acoustic tenor, which is made entirely of mahogany (solid on the top, with laminate back and sides).
With no frills to talk of, it shows off plenty of elegance and feels nicely put together. Playability is great too, with a soft cutaway giving ample access to the sleek satin-finished mahogany neck, which features a total of 18 frets.
As we mention in the Cordoba 20TM-CE’s full review, the slightly loose tuners are one of the only things that lets it down, otherwise it offers very good value to any ukulelist.
|Body And Neck:|
Looking for a little inner peace? You may well find it with this delightful electro-acoustic Maluhia from Luna Guitars. This concert ukulele (23”) uses the theme of peace in its design, with the peace symbol emblazoned across the soundhole and the word ‘peace’ written in multiple languages across the top of the instrument – giving it a unique vibe.
The body of the Maluhia is made from satin-finished mahogany, while there’s a mahogany/nato neck and rosewood fretboard. As we highlight in the full Luna Maluhia review, this uke comes fitted with a Luna-designed pickup and preamp, which is basic but does well to replicate the instrument’s naturally warm tone.
For the low price, we really like this uke!
|Body And Neck:|
Have you ever pulled out your new guitar and all of your friends said ‘oooohhh… aaahhh’, because it was just so freakin’ cool? We have a question for you - when was the last time someone did that with your new ukulele? Pretty sure the answer is… never.
That won’t happen with the Epiphone Les Paul Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele. This little monster will give you all of the features of a top-quality uke, along with the classic looks of a Les Paul electric guitar – all the way down to the sunburst finish and Epiphone headstock.
Looks are just one part of the whole package – see our full review to find out all that the Les Paul Concert uke has to offer.
Who Are These Ukuleles Aimed At?
Unlike the budget market, the majority of models in this range aren’t solely aimed at beginners. Although that’s not to say that beginners wouldn’t enjoy using them – after all, who wouldn’t want to learn on a ukulele that offers better sound, style and playability!?
However, with a step-up in quality, these ukes will likely be seen as upgrades for intermediate players, or an affordable style change for experienced players (perhaps those moving from tenor to baritone), or even as a reliable travel ukulele.
If you are a beginner, and want to check out more models across a range of prices that would suit you, take a look at our guide to buying a beginner’s ukulele.
What to Look for in a Budget Ukulele?
Regardless of whether you’re buying a baritone, tenor, soprano or concert ukulele, there’s one thing all ukes in this sub-$200 price range should share, and that’s an increase in quality.
That’s not to say that these instruments will be flawless. However, most should be free from the glue spots, rough fret edges and lackluster tones that plague some of the models in the budget category.
Of course, this depends on the exact level you purchase at. A $105 uke may well be in the same price category as a $195 uke, but they’ll probably show off some big differences!
More often than not, the woods in this sub-$200 price range are still laminates, although you do find some models with solid tops. As with the budget market, mahogany remains one of the most popular tonewoods used in body construction, although some more exotic woods can also be found.
In this price range you can also stumble across some cool uke designs that just aren’t seen in the budget market. Tattooed bodies, artist signature designs, and even a Les Paul-style uke!
When it comes to hardware, you’ll find that electronics remain pretty basic, although these are a lot more versatile and reliable than some of the budget systems around. Some preamps will come with a decent built-in digital tuner, which are so convenient.
As for components, it’s still worth keeping an eye out for cheap plastic, although nuts and saddles tend to be bone or a composite material in this range, so you’re generally safe.
The Final Word
While dropping up to $200 on a ukulele probably isn’t a life changing decision, it’s still more than simply buying a cheap instrument, and you will want something that justifies the cash you spend.
If you’re not sure what to go for, something from trusted ukulele brands like Luna, Kala, Mitchell, Epiphone, Cordoba, Fender or Lanikai will usually see you safe. When you’ve settled on a shortlist, do your best to listen to some sound samples, watch some videos of the uke in action, read plenty of reviews, and – if possible – try some out in a local guitar store.
Meanwhile, unless $200 is your ultimate limit, it’s also worth checking out the best ukuleles under $300, as something just a tad higher in price may be exactly what you are looking for!
Whatever you go for, good luck with your new ukulele!