5 Best Ukuleles Under $300 – What Makes a Great Uke?

Best-Uke-Under-$300

Whatever your playing style, whichever size you prefer, and whatever level you are at, $300 can get you a lot of ukulele these days.

This market sees the end of entry-level ukuleles and the introduction of instruments with higher-end qualities and more premium components. This isn’t the true high-end market, but it’s close!

So, to highlight some of the finest models in this price range, we’ve compiled a short chart of the best five ukuleles under $300. We’ve ensured to focus on at least one from each soprano, concert, tenor and baritone size.

Of course, there are many more models worth your time and attention, but these five give you a good cross-section of the brands and styles that are available to you in this category. Let’s dive in!

Top 5 Ukuleles Under $300:

ImageUkuleles / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5  

Luna impress with this unique marine-themed concert uke.

+ - Fender Nohea Tenor Ukulele Fender Nohea Tenor Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5  

An awesome all-koa tenor ukulele with classic Fender style.

+ - FLEA Concert Ukulele FLEA Concert Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5  

A durable American-made concert uke with a unique style.

+ - Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5  

A stunning baritone uke from Cordoba with a sweet sound to match.

+ - Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5  

A high-quality Mexican-made soprano ukulele from Martin.

Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Body And Neck:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:

As one of the more expensive models on this list, this Luna had to do a little more to impress us – and it did. The high rating is mainly down to the gorgeous aquatic design. It sports a full-size concert body made entirely of laminated maple, with flamed maple on the top, leading to a very bright and crisp tone. This is all enrobed with a high-gloss trans-azure finish, while the focal point is three dolphins swimming around the soundhole – very unique, and a nice talking point! As for hardware, this Dolphin features a pickup and Luna’s UK-T2 preamp, along with some quality components, including a gig bag – all highlighted in the Luna Dolphin’s full review.

Fender Nohea Tenor Ukulele

Fender Nohea Tenor Ukulele

Body And Neck:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:

Looking for a tenor uke with a little rock n’ roll attitude? Fender’s Nohea (meaning ‘handsome’ in Hawaiian) is well-worth adding to your shortlist. As used by Train's Jimmy Stafford, this uke shows off classic Fender style and playability, with a fast mahogany neck and low action straight from the box. The uke features a tenor body made entirely from a very attractive koa laminate, with a high-gloss finish, and acrylic abalone rosette and binding to add a little extra sparkle. The neck features a rosewood fretboard, 19 frets, and is topped by that iconic Telecaster headstock. As we highlight in the full review of Fender’s Nohea Tenor ukulele, it sounds beautiful, and certainly lives up to its name!

FLEA Concert Ukulele

FLEA Concert Ukulele

Body And Neck:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:

The wildcard of our list! While we usually avoid plastic bodies, this FLEA Concert ukulele from The Magic Fluke Company is a good exception. With an almond-shaped concert body, the back and sides are made from a durable injection-molded thermoplastic, while you get some wood with the laminated birch top (finished in several color choices). The hard maple neck is very playable indeed, with a polycarbonate fretboard and 15 molded frets. As we mention in the FLEA Concert ukulele’s full review, it’s excellent for travel as humidity and a few knocks won’t affect this well-built American-made instrument. The sound is also pretty great for a semi-plastic instrument – bright and clear, but very well-balanced.

Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:

Cordoba’s 24B baritone follows the rest of the 24 Series and uses a delightful wood pairing to offer striking visuals as well as a sweet tone. As we cover in detail in the full review of the Cordoba 24B, it features a traditional baritone body crafted from a unique spalted maple on the back and sides, while a simpler solid cedar is used for the top. Complemented by the red padauk body and neck binding, there are no doubts that this uke looks great, with a sleek feel to match. The sound is so well-balanced, although leans towards the warmer end of the spectrum, with great projection. For under $300, it feels like you’re getting your money’s worth with this baritone.

Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:

Here we have an interesting little soprano ukulele from the acoustic guitar superstars Martin. While the body is relatively minimalist, it looks clean and attractive. There’s an interesting mix of woods involved in this uke – the body is made entirely from a koa pattern high-pressure laminate, with a strong hand-rubbed Stratabond neck and morado fretboard (with 17 frets). Made in Mexico, this uke sports excellent craftsmanship, and is very nice to play, while it sounds great to match. Throw in some Grover friction tuners and a good-quality padded gig bag, and you have yourself a very good uke at this price. We go into more detail in the full review of Martin’s OXK Soprano.

Who Buys a Ukulele in This Market?

If you’ve been playing the ukulele for a while and fancy your first proper upgrade, this is the section for you. Or if you’re an experienced ukulelist wishing to dabble in a different size – maybe moving from a concert to a tenor – this price range offers you the quality you may be used to, at a price that won’t punish your wallet.

While experienced players will be able to appreciate this range a little more, that’s not to say beginners can’t benefit from purchasing a higher-end model. At the end of the day, learning on a ukulele that looks, feels and sounds better is more likely to encourage you to actually practice!

While the models in the chart above may appeal to you, if you are a beginner it’s also worth checking out our guide to buying a beginner’s ukulele, which offers some ukuleles and packages that will really benefit beginners.

What to Look for in an Under $300 Instrument

First and foremost, you should notice a step-up in playability and quality from those ukes you find in the sub-$200 range. The ukuleles in this range should also be very well made. Gone are the days of rough spots and sharp fret edges – leave those for the entry-level market.

The woods on offer in this category are much more wide-ranging too. You’ll still find mahogany is regularly used, but cedar and maple are more prominent, as are exotic woods like koa. Solid wood is used more often too, especially on the top of the instrument, although some brands still prefer to use good-quality laminates – Martin’s OXK is proof of this in action.

If electronics are present, these systems generally feel better built and more versatile in their EQ controls, while projecting the sound more naturally. As for nuts and saddles, materials such as bone and Tusq are now the standard.

You can also expect a ukulele in the sub-$300 price range to come with a gig bag. Some don’t, of course, but brands like Martin, Fender, Luna and Kala tend to offer something convenient in which to store and transport your new uke.

Should I Buy a Used Uke?

This is the first ukulele market where you may consider buying a used model (after all, who wants a used entry-level ukulele?).

While buying new gives you that unmatched sense of owning an untouched instrument, there are reasons to buy used – the main being that you could pick up a $300 ukulele for maybe half the price.

Providing you are able to try the uke before you buy, or are able to purchase it from a reputable store (either physical or online) with a clear and fair returns policy, then you should be safe. Just do yourself a favor and avoid anything from a flea market or thrift store, unless you can inspect and sample it properly.

The Final Word

As $300 is more of a dent in most bank accounts, make sure the model you go for is something you are completely satisfied with. Create a shortlist of ukuleles you like the look of, then narrow it down to the one you can’t live without. If possible, try the ukes out in a guitar store. Otherwise watch videos on YouTube, or read reviews online.

To create shortlist, start by checking out the five models on our chart, then move on to others you fancy. Brands including Kala, Lanikai, Gretsch, Luna, Cordoba and Martin all shine in this sub-$300 market. There are others, but sticking with one of those should result in an instrument that will make you happy.

If you are able to find a few extra bucks down the side of the sofa, be sure to have a look at our chart on the best ukuleles under $500, as a model in this premium category may offer you something even better for not that much more money.

Happy ukulele hunting!


Reader Interactions

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *