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

Best-Uke-Under-$300

Last Updated: May-07-2019
It was time for a revisit to this article to see what had changed since we last updated it. Turns out, quite a lot! We removed Luna’s High Tide Soprano uke, and added three new models to expand the chart. This comprised the very attractive plum-colored Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele, the Cordoba 25T-CE Tenor Ukulele, and the Cordoba 23B Baritone Ukulele.

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!

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 7 Ukuleles Under $300:

Image Ukuleles / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

Luna impress with this unique marine-themed concert uke.

+ - Fender Montecito Tenor Ukulele Fender Montecito Tenor Ukulele

Total of 4.65/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Fender’s brand-new tenor uke – inspired by celebrity homes!

+ - Kala KA-SBG Baritone Ukulele Kala KA-SBG Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.78/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A delightful baritone uke with super sweet style and sound.

+ - Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Bring the essence of Hawaii into your practice space!

+ - Cordoba 25T CE Tenor Ukulele Cordoba 25T CE Tenor Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A stunning tenor with premium sound, style, and versatility.

+ - FLEA Concert Ukulele FLEA Concert Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

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

+ - Cordoba 23B Baritone Ukulele Cordoba 23B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

A prime example of a great baritone ukulele for under $300.

Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Luna Dolphin Concert Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

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 Montecito Tenor Ukulele

Fender Montecito Tenor Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

If you’re looking for a tenor uke with some rock n’ roll attitude, Fender’s Montecito will certainly appeal. New for 2018, the Montecito is ‘inspired by the California home of many celebrities’ as Fender explain, meaning you’re guaranteed a sumptuous style and premium feel.

With excellent playability, the Montecito uses a mix of solid koa on the top with laminated koa on the back and sides, to deliver a rich and mellow tone that will get louder with time.

The hardware is also impressive, with a new ‘no-tie’ bridge the highlight – meaning string changes are always quick and simple. You can check out everything about the Fender Montecito Tenor in our full review.

Kala KA-SBG Baritone Ukulele

Kala KA-SBG Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

Quality woods, a timeless design, and solid craftsmanship all combine to offer a baritone ukulele worthy of your time. Kala use the classic pairing of solid spruce on the top and laminate mahogany on the back and sides to give the 30.5” KA-SBG a traditional, elegant look, and a well-balanced sound.

In terms of tone, it’s a powerful ukulele, and one which will grow in warmth as the years pass, thanks to the use of solid wood. The hardware matches the woods’ qualities, with a set of reliable closed-gear tuners, GraphTech’s NuBone nut and saddle, and Aquila strings.

Overall, it’s hard to fault. The full review of the Kala KA-SBG offers all the details on this excellent baritone uke.

Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele

Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

The ukulele is THE instrument that immediately comes to mind when the word ‘Hawaii’ is mentioned – at least in our book. With the Luna Flora Series Concert Ukulele, you can have a vacation to the islands whenever you want!

The Flora was designed to project that island vibe at first glance, with an attractive motif that has elements of the Hawaiian culture. Don’t be fooled though – lurking underneath that cool appearance is a quality instrument that has all the right features. Check out our full review for your Hawaiian travel guide…

Play a few chords on the Flora and let yourself feel and hear the waves crashing on the beach. Hawaii on a budget – you can’t beat it!

Cordoba 25T CE Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba 25T CE Tenor Ukulele

Body And Neck:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

Within the sub-$300 price range, the Cordoba 25T CE stands out for its stunning looks, warm tones, and amplified versatility. This tenor uke offers more body and depth than its smaller soprano and concert cousins, while still delivering breezy island sound and style.

Constructed from acacia, the body is bound in an alluring maple and ebony rope pattern, calling traditional Hawaiian style to mind. A relative of koa, acacia offers a timeless rounded sound with beautiful aesthetics.

The onboard pickup and 2-band EQ make this uke perfect for both amplified gigs as well as home practice. Whether acoustic or plugged in, the 25T CE offers smooth tones with plenty of classic Hawaiian chime. For a more in-depth look, check out our full review.

FLEA Concert Ukulele

FLEA Concert Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

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 23B Baritone Ukulele

Cordoba 23B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

The Cordoba 23B baritone ukulele is a beautiful example of what Cordoba can do with a slightly increased budget. In our full Cordoba 23B review we talk about why it proves one of the best ukes under $300.

Crafted from exotic ovangkol tonewood with an understated matte finish, the superior build quality of this baritone goes far beyond its price range – and that quality extends to the tone too. The naturally resonant body has a beautiful sustain and subtle nuances are captured with fantastic clarity.

At under $300 it may be stepping out of the budget uke range, but the cost is reflected in the build quality and then some. Worth the investment.

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 woods such as cedar, maple and koa are more prominent. Solid wood is also used more often, especially on the top of the instrument, although some brands still prefer to use good-quality laminates.

If electronics are present, these systems generally feel better built and more versatile in their EQ controls, while they amplify the ukulele’s tone 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. Of course, some don’t, 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 a shortlist, start by checking out the models on our chart, then move onto 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!


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