Finding the best ukulele for kids is a very different task to finding an option for adults. You should look to find something suitable in terms of both the size and the design, as well as an instrument hard-wearing enough to let your kids loose playing it. In this article, we’re exploring some of the top options out there for children.
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best Ukuleles for Kids
Ukulele Size For Kids
This is one of the most important considerations when buying a ukulele for children. Ukes are relatively small anyway, so there isn’t a specific kids ukulele size. The smaller sizes of ukulele should be fine for tiny fingers.
- Soprano – This is the smallest size of ukulele, they’re normally 21 inches in scale which is the most popular for kids to play. They can be suitable for adults, too. This size is not specifically for children, but it is brilliantly suited.
- Concert – These are good for slightly older kids and teenagers to play as the size is a little larger, this helps with the projection and there is also a little bit more space on the frets for finger movement. Many adults go for concert ukuleles if they find that soprano ukes are just a little too small.
- Tenor and Baritone – These are 26 inches and 30 inches in size, and baritone are even tuned differently. These sizes of ukulele are probably too large for kids, and definitely too big for kids under the age of 8 or 9 to start playing ukulele.
In general, it is a good idea to start your children playing a ukulele that is Soprano or Concert in size and if your kids want to graduate to bigger sizes in the future, this is an option.
What is the ukulele made out of? Usually, ukuleles are made out of wood and finding a ukulele for kids means finding a wooden option. However, this is also one of the situations where you might look at other materials.
Plastic ukuleles are an option in this scenario. They give a really bright sound, which some people don’t necessarily like as much. It isn’t a traditional ukulele sound but it is played in exactly the same way, and songs still sound great.
The main benefit of plastic is how much more hard-wearing it is. For kids, this means that it can be cleaned and dirt can be wiped away with ease. If your child is one of those who always has mucky fingers or is likely to get their instrument dirty, plastic could be a good choice so that you can easily clean and maintain the ukulele. It also means you don’t need to be quite as careful as storage. Plastic instruments aren’t as delicate as wood and are less likely to warp and change shape.
Of course, you can still opt for a wooden ukulele. The traditional uke tonewoods are still great for kids, just make sure your child is very careful when playing and storing their ukulele.
Accessories and “Starter Bundles”
What accessories should you be looking for when buying a ukulele for kids? If it is their first ukulele they will need to find an option that has accessories. Alternatively, you might want to buy these separately, but this can be a more expensive way of doing things.
A ukulele kit can be the most efficient way. You might see these advertised as “starter bundles” and they often include a variety of accessories. New ukulele players will need a case, spare strings, a tuner and possibly even a strap. Most of the kits include these accessories and sometimes other added extras.
These accessories make your life a lot easier, and some of them are essential. When you receive your ukulele it may not be in tune, so you need to have a tuner to allow you to get it ready for your kids to play.
How much should you spend on a ukulele for kids? You can find some decent ukuleles for under (or around) the $50 mark. This might be a good choice for a child, especially if you are buying their very first ukulele. Kids can sometimes be quick to give up on hobbies, so spending hundreds of dollars on a ukulele might not be the best idea, just in case they don’t continue with the hobby.
As well as the material the ukulele should be made out of, you have loads of choices when it comes to design, both in shape and in the colors and engraving on the ukulele. Many options have loud and exciting designs that can appeal to youngsters.
Design is not the most important factor when choosing a ukulele, but kids especially will enjoy playing an instrument that has a cool look. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an instrument that has some great design features and unique detailing.
1. Makala Surf Shark Soprano Ukulele – Best for Kids Overall
There are a couple of models in the Makala series, an entry-level series of ukuleles made by Kala, one of the top brands in the world for ukuleles.
This is a model that definitely appeals to children when it comes to the way that it looks, but it is also a very good option due to the sound and build quality. This can last your child a number of years, even into adulthood, if it is treated right.
The very cool Shark design is definitely something that should appeal to youngsters (and adults, too!) The whole bridge is designed to look like a shark.
- Part of the excellent Kala brand, with high-quality Kala build.
- Comes with quality Aquila Super Nylgut strings from Italy.
- High-quality materials include a mahogany neck and walnut fretboard. The geared tuners are also very high quality.
- Available in lots of different colors.
- Access to a Kala app which includes help for learning to play.
- No accessories included.
There is a lot to like about this ukulele. The Makala brand is good for beginners, both adults and children. This is a 21-inch ukulele that is perfect for all ages to get started.
2. SanDona AK60F Soprano Basswood Ukulele – Best Design
SanDona may not be one of the best-known ukuleles, but the AK60F has a great set of features that is suitable for ukulele beginners and children. It is a soprano design, so a 21-inch design that can be played just as easily by adults and kids of virtually all ages.
We’ve named this as the best ukulele for design, as it comes with a variety of different design choices. If you’re shopping for a uke for kids, you’ll quickly understand how important this is as youngsters want to get a design that they think looks cool as well as sounding good.
It’s not all about aesthetics, though, there are some great features for beginners and children, too.
- Available in multiple, excellent designs. There’s something for everyone.
- Good size for kids and adults, but definitely designed with kids in mind.
- Safety optimized strings avoid scratching children’s hands.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty to protect your purchase.
- Good quality basswood. Also comes with a walnut bridge and Ox bone saddle.
- Doesn’t come with accessories other than a gig bag.
- Not the most traditional tonewood.
This is an affordable option that allows your child to choose the way their instrument looks. There are multiple designs to suit every personality, and the ukulele should last a long time. This is backed up by the warranty.
3. Kala Makala Waterman – Best Plastic Ukulele
Kala is one of the biggest brands out there when it comes to all sorts of ukuleles, including options for children. The Makala Waterman is made out of plastic, and originally designed to be waterproof, but this also makes it an easy choice to clean.
- Easy to clean and can survive water being spilled onto it.
- Great for taking outdoors and playing on camping trips, for instance.
- It comes with high-quality nylon strings.
- Includes a small, thin bag that is suitable for carrying the ukulele around.
- Some people aren’t huge fans of the tone that the ABS plastic provides. It is a matter of personal preference. The sound is a bit bright for some people with a “tinny” sound.
- The drawstring bag doesn’t provide a lot of protection.
- No other accessories are provided, just the drawstring bag.
There are good points and bad points about buying a plastic ukulele. If you are looking for a model with an amazing, high-end and traditional ukulele sound then you might want to go for a wooden model. However, for kids, a product that is easy enough to keep clean is a great choice.
4. Hola! Music HM-124TT+ Laser Engraved Mahogany Concert Ukulele Bundle – Best Bundle
If your kid is brand new to playing ukulele, it might be the case that a bundle is the best way to get them started. This means they will get all of the accessories they need and not have to research and buy them separately.
The Hola! Music HM-124TT+ is a very good quality uke. It also has a great look due to the laser engraving. This provides a more traditional look to the ukulele, which really looks like it could have been made in Hawaii.
The Concert size of this ukulele is maybe a little on the large style for younger kids, but it is definitely a good option for older kids and even adults. It is 24 inches in size, so if you are trying to get your kids interested at a very young age, go for something a little smaller.
- Walnut and mahogany build. Excellent quality.
- Italian Aquila Nylgut strings, industry standard for most ukuleles.
- Comes with a quality, padded gig bag, a strap and some picks to get you started.
- Too big for most young children at 24 inches long.
If you are looking for a classy looking design and all the accessories to get your kid started, this could be the choice, especially for an older child or teenager.
5. ADM Soprano Ukulele for Kids – Affordable Kids Ukulele
ADM is not the most elite brand of ukulele you will ever come across, but this is a very good option for beginners. Also, it is affordable and comes with plenty of accessories. Another bonus is the fact that it comes with a lot of different design choices. Your child can choose from a lot of different colors and details.
This is a 21-inch ukulele, just about the right size for most children to play.
- Designed for children and beginners. The string height at the 12th fret is designed to be between 3 and 3.5mm above the board. This makes it easy to play and doesn’t force you to press the strings too hard.
- One year warranty provided by the manufacturer as well as lifetime free string replacement.
- Comes with a simple strap and basic ukulele carrying case.
- Accessories aren’t the highest quality.
- Tonewood isn’t the most traditional, though the sound quality doesn’t seem to suffer.
For an affordable choice that does come with some accessories, this could be an ideal option for beginners and children.
We’ve named the Makala Surf Shark Soprano Ukulele as the best overall ukulele. It has plenty of features that are ideal for kids. It has a fun shark design, excellent build quality and a design that can last a number of years. It is part of the Kala brand which also gives access to a companion app.
The only downside is the fact that this does not come with accessories, but these can be purchased separately. The ukulele itself is relatively affordable, especially considering the quality on offer.