12 Best Tenor Ukuleles in 2017

It’s such an exciting time of life! You’re looking for your very own tenor ukulele. Which one should you get? What aspects are important, and which really don’t matter?

Whether this is your first uke, or one in a long line of ukuleles, choosing the very best tenor ukulele for you is an important decision to make. After all, buying an instrument is a lasting investment. You want to choose one that will serve you well and last for years to come!

We’ve chosen our very favorites and listed them below. After reading our guide and going through the instruments we’ve recommended, you’ll have no problems at all deciding which is right for you!

Top 12 Tenor Ukuleles Comparison Table

DesignNameMaterialBonusesRating (1-5)
  1. Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele Laminated Mahogany Silver Tuners with Pearl Buttons 4.7
  2. Kala KAA-15T Limited Edition Satin Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Laminated Mahogany Geared Tuners 4.6
  3. Caramel CT102A Zebra Wood Tenor Acoustic Ukulele Zebra Wood Open Geared Tuners 4.6
  4. MAKANU ukulele Mahogany wood Ukuleles with Bag Koa Plywood Tuning pegs, bag 4.6
  5. Fender Tenor Ukulele “Nohea” – All Laminated Koa Bag, built in tuner 4.5
  6. Oscar Schmidt OU2TG Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag Mahogany Bag, Tuner, polishing cloth 4.5
  7. Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag Agathis Wood Bag, tuner, instructional DVD, polishing cloth 4.5
  8. Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Open geared tuners 4.3
  9. Hola! Music HM-127KA+ Deluxe Tenor Ukulele Acacia Koa Wood Geared, die-cast chrome tuners with rubber pegs 4.3
  10. Hola! Music HM-127ZW+ Deluxe Tenor Ukulele, Zebrawood w/Binding and Aquila Strings Zebra Wood Geared, die-cast chrome tuners 4.3
  11. Lanikai LU-21T Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case Nato Wood Case, tuner, instructional DVD, polishing cloth 4.3
  12. Hamano U-320T Deluxe Tenor Ukulele Outfit Mahogany Geared tuner, bag 3.8

Important Details

As you browse through the ukuleles, here are a couple details you should keep in mind as you search for the right ukulele for your needs.

  • Material – The material of your ukulele matters for several reasons. The most obvious reason is because the material of the ukulele will change how the instrument looks, however, that’s not the most important reason. Believe it or not, you could have two instruments, exactly the same in every aspect, except one is made of wood and the other is not. That one difference will change them in such a way as to make one sound different than the other.

If you buy a solid wood ukulele, the sound it produces will be fuller and richer. Also, if you buy a laminated wooden ukulele, it will keep its appearance for life. However, wood can be heavy so be sure you are up for the weight of it.

  • Weight – As mentioned, different materials will change the weight of the instrument. If you get tired easily when holding heavy objects, you may want to choose a lighter ukulele, otherwise you may only be able to play the instrument sitting down or for short periods of times.
  • Bonuses – Some of the ukuleles listed include tuners, bags, extra strings and more. If you’re a beginner and don’t know what you need to buy for your specific ukulele, or if you don’t have any additional ukulele accessories, it could be in your best interest to buy a ukulele that comes with additional bonuses.

Understanding Wood

What do different types of wood sound like? How do they affect your playing? Here we will learn a few of the differences between the three of the most commonly used woods for ukuleles.

  • Koa – Koa wood comes from Hawaii, so naturally, most Hawaiian ukuleles are made with this type of wood. This is usually used for the more expensive instruments. It has a beautiful grain and produces pleasant, warm music.
  • Mahogany– Mahogany produces a little bit of a softer tune than ukuleles made with koa wood. It is still quite beautiful, and usually slightly less expensive than koa ukuleles.
  • Spruce– Spruce is also commonly used to make wooden ukuleles. In fact, it’s the most commonly used! Spruce ukuleles are still beautiful and produce a nice sounding music, however, it is usually used to make lower end ukuleles.

Now that you know a bit more how to differentiate between ukuleles, here are four of our favorites for you to look a bit more closely at.

Top 4 Best Tenor Ukulele Reviews

1. Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

This ukulele has a lot going for it! It is handmade, making it a beautiful, very well crafted instrument. Both those people just now beginning to learn to play the ukulele as well as professionals who have been performing for years will appreciate the incredible quality embodied in this instrument.

This Cordoba is well known for its rich tone and lovely laminated mahogany finish. It comes with some beautiful tuners to help you sound your best. It is easily played and quite easy to impress with!

It feels nice and smooth in your hands, and should last you a good long time. This is definitely our top choice for the best tenor ukulele!

2. Kala KAA-15T Limited Edition Ukulele

Another excellent choice, this ukulele is made with a rich looking laminated mahogany and comes with geared tuners to make your playing sound perfectly in tune. The notes sing out in a lovely voice that will make others stop and look to see where the music is coming from.

The strings are soft on your fingers making it easy to keep playing for long periods of time. This is also quite helpful if you’re a beginning musician and aren’t used to strumming strings yet with your fingers.

Even though the strings are soft, both they and the ukulele are solid feeling. They don’t appear like they would break easily. This is another great quality instrument!

3. Caramel CT102A Acoustic Ukulele

This beauty is made with zebra wood. The wood is named for its striped figure that is similar to the stripes of a zebra. The solid wood gives the instrument a great feel, while also giving the impression that it won’t break or dent easily.

The ukulele is made with taste and excellence. It’s an instrument both beginners and professionals alike would be happy to own and play. The body is thin so you don’t need to worry about it being too heavy or bulky.

The music this uke makes is very bright, and also quite sensitive. It has a good deal of volume. Excellent quality.

4. MAKANU Ukuleles with Bag

This pretty little ukulele is made with koa wood. It comes with tuning pegs which are quite easy to use and will help it sound its best. Once tuned, this instrument produces a very pleasing type of music. Both experienced players and beginners would be proud to strum any tune on this uke.

This one also comes with a bag! The bag is quite nice, padded and not too thin.

One little complaint about this one is that it is a bit on the quiet side, as far as instruments go. However, it shouldn’t be a big problem. If you’re playing for a concert, you’ll have a mic for your instrument anyway. And, if you’re playing for friends, you should be close enough that it wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

Overall, this is another amazing choice.