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Best Ukuleles for Kids of 2022

Updated
These easy-to-play ukuleles are perfect for small hands.

If you’re considering a ukulele for your child but are unsure where to start looking — we’re here to help.

There are many great ukeleles on the market — and many not-so-great options. Some ukeleles are geared for adult use, and some are designed simply to be a fun noise-making toy rather than a quality instrument for making music.

We’ve worked hard to differentiate between these options and created this comprehensive list of only the best ukeleles for kids.

We reviewed these instruments based on how playable they are for small hands, the durability of the materials used, and the sound quality. With one of these top-notch ukeleles, you can help your child start their journey to musical greatness — or at least play some fun tunes as they go.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Donner Electric Tenor Ukulele Built-in Tuner Solid Top Mahogany Arm Rest 26 inch...
Best Electric
Donner Electro-Acoustic
  • Beveled armrest for comfort
  • Guitar-styled tuner pegs
  • Stays in tune
Product Image of the Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Satin Mahogany –...
Best Acoustic
Kala Ukulele
  • Good strings and body material
  • Excellent acoustic sound
  • Comes with extra learning resources
Product Image of the Ukulele Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-C) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke...
Best for Advanced Students
Lohanu Concert
  • Aquila strings
  • Arched back and fuller sound
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
Product Image of the POMAIKAI Soprano Ukulele for Beginners, Guitar 21 Inch Ukelele Instrument for...
Best for Beginners
Pomaikai Soprano
  • Compact size
  • Quality acoustic sound
  • Child-friendly fretboard
Product Image of the Hape Kid's Wooden Toy Ukulele in Red, L: 21.9, W: 8.1, H: 3 inch
Best for Small Children
Hape Kid's
  • Non-toxic finishes
  • Vibrant color options
  • Sturdy body


Best Ukulele for Kids of 2022

Here are some great ukeleles for kids to consider.

1. Donner Electro-Acoustic Ukulele

Best Electric Ukulele

If your child has their eyes set on an electric ukulele, or if you are looking for something a little more professional, check out this option.

This uke is an electro-acoustic instrument, giving you the best of both worlds. You can play it with or without an amplifier, which means the volume and power are wide-ranging.

The body is made from mahogany wood, and the strings are carbon nylon, made in Japan. They are very durable while being gentle on tiny fingers.

The strings and pegs are designed to hold the tuning.

New ukes can be challenging to tune and often require frequent tuning. A ukulele that will stay in tune for longer is essential for serious players.

This one comes with a case, strap, and extra strings. However, the preamp and tuner require batteries.

Pros

  • Beveled armrest for increased comfort.
  • Guitar-style tuner pegs.
  • Durable strings.
  • Stays in tune for longer.
  • Comes complete with accessories, such as extra strings and a strap.

Cons

  • Battery insertion for preamp and tuner can be tricky with no markings to indicate orientation.

2. Kala Ukulele

Best Acoustic Ukulele

Nothing beats that sweet, smooth acoustic sound of a traditional ukulele. If you want to invest in something your kiddo will love to play over and over, this could be it.

One of the unique features of this uke is the strings. These Italian Aquila Super Nylgut strings are a pearly-white color and are made of a firm material.

Combined with the mahogany body, these strings give this uke an exceptionally crisp tone. That might be why it’s a popular choice for schools and professional musicians.

Kala also has an app you can download to a phone or tablet. It features quick lessons on how to tune and play, so it could make it easier for your child to learn.

You also get a little booklet to help your child get started, which might help you out in the process as well.

Pros

  • Good strings and body material.
  • Excellent acoustic sound.
  • Extra learning resources such as an app and booklet.

Cons

  • It doesn’t hold its tune as long as some other options.

3. Lohanu Concert Ukulele

Best Ukulele for Advanced Students

A smaller soprano ukelele is often best for the youngest players. However, a larger instrument might be more appropriate as your child advances.

A concert ukulele is typically around 23 inches long, just a tad longer than a soprano. But, it also makes the sound that much more powerful. To top it off, this concert uke is equipped with Aquila strings — the gold standard in quality.

This instrument has wider frets, making it excellent for older children and adults. The back is arched, so it has a deep, hollow space for producing a fuller sound.

You receive an adjustable strap with the ukulele, and it has buttons to attach the strap to. This is something you don’t find in many soprano models.

This set includes a tuner, extra picks and holder, a case, and extra Aquila strings.

Pros

  • Perfect size for older children.
  • Aquila strings.
  • Arched back and fuller sound.

Cons

  • Some cosmetic flaws, like glue remnants and peeling laminate.

4. Pomaikai Soprano Wood Ukulele

Best Ukulele for Beginners

When your child is just starting out, it’s a good idea to find a simple ukelele. You want them to get used to the hold, feel, and sound.

This baby-blue instrument is an appropriate starting point for aspiring players. It has soft nylon strings, which will be easy on your child’s hands.

It’s also lightweight, making it suitable for younger musicians. There are nine color options, including blue (our favorite), pink, and black.

Pomaikai has also considered the paint. For this ukelele, they used environmental paint and an attractive gloss finish.

Tuning the ukulele takes practice, but this one has 15 gears to help make the process faster and easier.

The material quality is also top-notch — the body is made of hardwood, and the fretboard is basswood. This gives it the nice, relaxed acoustic sound we all know and love.

Pros

  • The compact size makes it convenient for toting to lessons or school.
  • Quality acoustic sound.
  • The fretboard is easy for beginners to recognize, with marks for guidance.
  • Wide range of colors.
  • Case included.

Cons

  • May need to be tuned often at first.

5. Hape Kid's Wooden Ukulele

Best Ukulele Toy for Small Children

If you want to introduce your toddler to an instrument other than the drums or piano, why not try a mini ukulele? We love watching our little ones rock out with this fun toddler-sized version.

This ukelele is made with durable basswood and child-safe materials, so it’s a great place to start. We especially love that the basswood is sourced from sustainably maintained forests.

The strings are attached to the body, so there are no sharp ends to hurt little fingers. The non-toxic finish adds to its child-friendly image.

As much as this ukulele looks like a simple toy, we were surprised to discover that we could tune it for real play. Your child will be able to experiment easily — and maybe even learn a few simple chords.

The four color options are bright and cheerful, with a fun musical design added for interest.

Pros

  • Small enough for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Vibrant color options.
  • Sturdy body.

Cons

  • The strings may be difficult to tune and replace.

Ukulele Versus Guitar

When a child shows interest in the guitar, it’s a good idea to introduce them to a ukulele first as it’s very similar, costs less, and is easier for small hands to handle.

However, keep in mind that while these two instruments look alike, there are some primary differences:

  • The playing: Each instrument has a different technique
  • The number of strings: An acoustic guitar has six, while the ukulele has four.
  • The sound: Ukuleles have a specific tonal quality the guitar doesn’t.

One of the reasons the ukulele is thought of as a good starting point for kids is that the fretboard (the neck of the instrument) is much shorter. The body is also smaller, so it’s more comfortable for little people to hold.

How to Choose a Ukelele for Kids

There are a few key points to consider when purchasing a ukelele for your child.

String Quality

Good ukuleles typically have soft nylon or Aquila strings. These will be gentle for children and their sensitive skin. Avoid strings with a plastic feel, as they can be rough on the fingers.

Higher-quality strings will also produce a better sound than plastic. Either way, the strings will need some “breaking in,” like a pair of new shoes.

Acoustic Versus Electric

Your child might see an electric ukulele at the local music shop and want it immediately. However, you should know the differences before making a decision.

Acoustic:

  • Has the traditional ukulele sound.
  • Simple to use for beginners.
  • Lighter in weight and easy to transport.

Electric:

  • A wider range of tones and sounds.
  • Requires an electric pickup for amplification.
  • A better choice for performances due to sound projection.

Consider your child’s level of interest in playing the instrument. Will it be a hobby, or do they show enough motivation for long-term advancement?

Acoustics are excellent for fun home use and beginner lessons. Electric might be a better option if concerts are on the horizon.

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Tips to Help Your Child Learn the Ukulele

1. Introduce the Instrument

Show your child the ukulele and its parts. Teach them how to hold it, helping them figure out which hand goes where. Your child might be right-handed for other activities, but you never know when it comes to playing an instrument.

2. Tuning the Ukulele

Similar to an array of other instruments, you have to tune your ukelele. You do this by turning the nuts, or pegs, at the top. New ukuleles require tuning more often than ukuleles that are a bit more worn in.

Your child might feel less inclined to play if it’s out of tune. However, there’s no need to worry. You can find apps, guides, and even electronic devices to help you tune your ukulele correctly.

3. Learn Some Chords

Correct finger placement is key to playing the ukulele successfully. If you don’t already play the instrument yourself, a good move would be to familiarize yourself with a few chords before trying to teach your child. You can help your kiddo learn with a little knowledge gathered beforehand.

4. Consider Lessons

If your child is seriously set on learning to play the ukulele, it might be a good idea to invest in some lessons.

There, your child will learn chords, how to strum, how to tune, and more. It might also help your kiddo to have set times for playing the ukulele instead of sporadic playing here and there. These lessons could be a good starting point for a potentially serious student.

How to Make It Fun

Find the right ukulele. Look for one that fits your child comfortably. There are four primary styles, which differ in both tone and size. The smaller the instrument, the higher the pitch.

  • Soprano: 20 inches long.
  • Concert: 23 inches long.
  • Tenor: 26 inches long.
  • Baritone: 30 inches long.

Depending on your child’s age, a soprano or concert ukelele might be the best place to start. These could be easier to hold since the neck is shorter, meaning you have to cover less space with the hand at once.

As your child advances, they may want to upgrade to a tenor. These have a more powerful sound.

Praise success, even if it’s small things, like holding the ukulele correctly. And if something isn’t going quite as your child had hoped, encourage them to keep trying.

Show interest in the instrument. Ask your child to perform a little number or teach you something. If your child senses your enthusiasm and interest, it could make them enthusiastic as well (1).

With younger students, it would be good to start with their favorite nursery rhymes or other basic songs that aren’t overwhelming. If you introduce songs your child recognizes and likes, they’ll be more willing to play.


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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.