7 Best Tenor Ukuleles (2020 Buying Guide)

Links in this article may earn us a little money if you order something. More here.

Check Out Some of the Best Tenor Ukuleles Out There!

Searching for the best tenor ukulele and not sure where to start? You are not alone! There are lots of great ukulele brands that create high-quality models of tenor ukuleles for beginners and intermediates. The tough part becomes telling all these great tenor ukuleles apart! This is where we come in.

Our guide takes the time to walk you through what a tenor ukulele is, what the differences between ukulele types are (tenor vs concert or tenor vs soprano), and why it might be a good fit for you.

We then dive into tenor ukulele price ranges, what to look for when buying a tenor ukulele, and include some of the best tenor ukulele brands and styles. From Kala tenor ukuleles to other brands like Enya and Cordoba, let’s dive into our detailed tenor ukulele buying guide!

The Top Tenor Ukuleles

If you know you’re buying a tenor uke, then you might just want to get started having a look. Below are our top tenor ukulele models across a number of reputable ukulele brands.

We’ve chosen these tenor ukuleles based on a combination of reviews, and overall versatility, durability, function, and price. Consider these options the best tenor ukuleles for the money.

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Enya Tenor Ukulele
Caramel CT103 Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Tenor Ukulele Enya 26 Inch Beginner Kit, HPL and Mahogany Neck With Bundle Includes Case, Strap,...
Caramel 26 inch CT103 Zebra Wood High Gloss Tenor Electric Ukulele Professional Ukelele Kit Beginner...
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Enya Tenor Ukulele
Tenor Ukulele Enya 26 Inch Beginner Kit, HPL and Mahogany Neck With Bundle Includes Case, Strap,...
Caramel CT103 Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele
Caramel 26 inch CT103 Zebra Wood High Gloss Tenor Electric Ukulele Professional Ukelele Kit Beginner...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
  • ROOMY FRETBOARD: This uke's larger tenor-sized body exhibits an impressive level of projection and volume, making it perfect for players who find concert ukuleles a bit too...
  • DYNAMIC RANGE: Featuring all-mahogany construction, the 15TM produces a well-balanced tone, with superb dynamic range and pleasant overtones.

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: Mahogany tenor ukulele (sides, back, and top)
  • Pros: A great entry-level tenor ukulele, trusted brand
  • Cons: Tuning gears exposed to the elements

Enya Tenor Ukulele

Tenor Ukulele Enya 26 Inch Beginner Kit, HPL and Mahogany Neck With Bundle Includes Case, Strap,...
  • ♫ Great quality and durability guaranteed with HPL KOA materials. Just grab and play wherever you like without worrying about temperature and humidity.
  • ♫Unique BT Neck Junction ,Premium sound & Comfortable holding. Designed to optimize playing experience.

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: Combination high-pressure laminate koa and mahogany design
  • Pros: Comes with numerous accessories – case, strap, extra string set, capo, etc.
  • Cons: No pickup for future amp connection

Caramel CT103 Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele

Caramel 26 inch CT103 Zebra Wood High Gloss Tenor Electric Ukulele Professional Ukelele Kit Beginner...
  • ♪ EXOTIC HIGH GLOSS ZEBRA WOOD BODY - Caramel CT103 26 inch Tenor Ukeleles are made of Zebrawoods and edge framed by xylonite makes the perfect choice for moonlit beach...
  • ♪ ONE STEP TO AN UKULELE PLAYER - Do you want to learn to play Ukulele? This starter Ukelele kit gets you started! Comes with: 1x 26 inch Tenor Ukelele, extra G-C-E-A...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: Zebrawood and mahogany construction, closed-gear tuners
  • Pros: Built-in tuner, comes with amp cord and more accessories to go electric
  • Cons: None for an entry-level/intermediate tenor ukulele

Kala KA-15 Satin Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

Kala KA-15 Satin Mahogany Tenor - Natural Mahogany
  • Satin Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
  • Top, Back, Sides, and Neck: Mahogany

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: Mahogany tenor ukulele, walnut fingerboard
  • Pros: Trusted brand, great construction/quality for the price
  • Cons: Open tuning gears, no pickup (if you ever wanted to plug in)

Kmise Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Ukulele

Tenor Ukulele Mahogany 26 inch Ukelele Uke for Beginner with Instruction Booklet Strap Tuner Picks...
  • Top Intonation : Equipped with an 18:1 ratio tuner machine and high quality carbon string, this ukulele can get in tune and stay in tune better than ever. easy your playing....
  • Comfort playing : With lower action and carefully sanded frets, this ukulele has superb playability, easy press down the string without tired, and fast change and play on the...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: 18 frets, mahogany and walnut construction
  • Pros: Sealed tuners, comes with various accessories
  • Cons: No pick-up for future amp connection

Hricane Tenor Ukulele UKS-3

Hricane Tenor Ukulele UKS-3 26inch Professional Ukulele Starter Small Guitar Hawaiian Guitar Bundle...
  • 【 SCALE & TUNER 】: This 26 inch Tenor ukulele would be considered a ukelele with a bit longer scale and more frets than a concert, which also makes it louder–tuned G C E...
  • 【 DELICATE DESIGN 】: Traditional Tenor Ukulele with sapele body and four advanced carbon nylon string.18 Brass Frets with Fret position Marks at 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 15:53

  • Features: 18 frets, laminate Sapele and walnut construction
  • Pros: Closed tuners preventing, saddle made from bone, some accessories included
  • Cons: No pickup for future electric playing

Lohanu Cutaway Electric Tenor Ukulele

No products found.

  • Features: Cutaway body design, sapele/mahogany construction
  • Pros: Cutaway for high notes, built-in pick-up, comes with accessories
  • Cons: The cutaway may influence overall intonation compared to full-body

What Is A Tenor Ukulele And Why You Need One

A tenor ukulele is simply the name for a ukulele with a larger size compared to other ukuleles. If we think about the four main sizes of ukulele – soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone – you can see that the tenor ukulele is on the larger side of that spectrum.

Physically speaking, a tenor ukulele size is determined by the size of the body and how many frets are on the neck. Typically, a tenor ukulele has between 15 and 25 frets on the neck. Because there are more frets, the neck is longer than on smaller types of ukuleles. The body is also larger – and often has more depth – than the smaller ukulele types.

As for the tuning of a tenor ukulele, the strings are tuned to G-C-E-A like a soprano and a concert ukulele. Overall, the larger body produces a fuller sound with a lower overall pitch and a tad more bass compared to the smaller ukuleles. That said, more frets also allow the player to play higher notes similar to small-sized ukuleles.

The Different Types of Tenor Ukuleles

Before you buy a tenor ukulele, it’s important to understand the different types of ukuleles and the different styles of tenor ukuleles. This way, you can be sure that a tenor ukulele is the right ukulele for you.

Soprano vs Concert vs Tenor Ukulele

This guide is focused on buying tenor ukuleles – but many people who are interested in ukuleles are often confused by the different sizes of ukuleles. So for the purposes of this article, we’ll briefly discuss the difference between concert and tenor ukulele as well as soprano vs tenor ukulele.

Remember that the four main sizes of ukulele go from soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone (from smallest to largest). A tenor ukulele is simply physically larger than the smaller two sizes that it often gets compared to. The neck length and body are going to be larger than those of a soprano and concert ukulele.

There are more frets on a tenor ukulele (around 15 to 25) and the frets are a little more spaced out. We’ll talk about the benefits of having more frets and more space between the frets further down.

However, one potential drawback to the tenor ukulele is that because it is physically larger it can be harder to pack and travel with (if that is important to you).

Best Acoustic Tenor Ukulele

Many ukuleles are acoustic in nature in the sense that they aren’t made to be plugged into an amp. Their volume comes naturally from the body size and the strings of the ukulele.

If you know you have absolutely no need to plug in your ukulele because you play outside, travel with the ukulele, or simply have no desire to, you can check out the Cordoba as a really great strictly-acoustic tenor ukulele. This one has no pickup which you will learn about in the next section.

Best Electric Acoustic Tenor Ukulele

If you want the ability to plug your tenor ukulele into an amp, then you should look into an electric acoustic tenor ukulele. In short, you will be looking for a tenor ukulele with a pickup installed so that you have the capability to plug it into an amp.

That said, these ukuleles can be played perfectly well not plugged in (like an acoustic). One of the best a/e tenor ukuleles is the Caramel CT103.

Another feature of many electric acoustic tenor ukuleles is that they have a cutaway in the body. A cutaway is the spot higher on the neck where the ukulele body is physically “cut away” so that you can move your hand higher on the frets to play them with ease.

You often see cutaways on electric guitars and some styles of acoustic guitars. A cutaway tenor ukulele is a great option for those looking to play songs with higher notes and/or a tad more fingerpicking.

Benefits Of Using A Tenor Ukulele

There are a number of benefits of a tenor ukulele compared to the other sizes of ukulele. If you are a potential tenor ukulele player, think about these benefits in relation to how they would affect you.

Generally speaking, tenor ukuleles are a great fit for people with longer arms. Tenor ukuleles are also great for those with larger fingers and for those who want to do a little more fingerpicking compared to just strumming chords. This is because there is much more room on the fretboard between frets for moving fingers around smoothly and accurately.

The tenor ukulele is also for those interested in achieving a slightly deeper tone with a tad more bass. Having a larger tonal range is very much a personal preference but it’s still something to consider when you buy a tenor ukulele over a small ukulele.

The nice thing about a tenor ukulele is that with the use of a ukulele capo, you can always pitch the ukulele higher. In contrast, it’s impossible to make a smaller, higher-toned ukulele (like a soprano) sound lower like a tenor ukulele.

Tenor Ukulele Price Ranges

Another really important factor to consider when buying a tenor ukulele is the price. This is because there are lots and lots of tenor ukuleles on the market that range from super cheap to very expensive.

When buying a tenor ukulele, you need to keep in mind the quality of the instrument you are looking at purchasing. The cheapest tenor ukulele may not be the best choice for you – and the same can be said for the most expensive tenor ukulele.

The price for a tenor ukulele can vary quite a bit among similar styles, brands, and models with similar features. So, let’s break down different ukuleles at different price ranges so you know what to expect.

Best Cheap Tenor Ukulele

It can be tough to pin down which is the best cheap tenor ukulele since “cheap” is a relative term. However, if we have to assign numbers this would include the best tenor ukulele around or under 100 dollars.

At this price range, you have to be careful. There are some decent tenor ukuleles that might work well for a beginner and there are also some terribly built, cheap ukuleles. Some of these cheap ukuleles have a decent sound and will have some lifespan.

However, if you invest in a poorer quality ukulele now there’s a chance you might need to repair or replace it in the near future. In this case, you could have just upped the price range and bought a more quality ukulele in the first place. That said, look at the Kmise Tenor Ukulele for a cheap tenor ukulele that is relatively reliable.

Best Tenor Ukulele Under 300

If you are searching for ukuleles at a higher price range, you will be able to buy a quality ukulele from a reputable company for under 300 dollars. To be fair, basically all of the tenor ukuleles in this post are under 300 and are of relatively good or great quality.

You absolutely can go over this price range but if you are a beginner there is really no need to. A well-built tenor ukulele from a reputable company will do you just fine at the 300 dollar and under price range. Check out the Kala or the Cordoba for examples of tenor ukuleles by reputable companies.

Things To Look For In A Good Tenor Ukulele

Tenor ukuleles – like other types of ukuleles – can be complex instruments with lots of variation between makes and models. If you are looking to buy a good tenor ukulele, here are some of the things you need to consider.

One thing we won’t really mention here is the best tenor ukulele brand since a number of good ukulele brands make a bunch of good tenor ukuleles. It’s hard to pin down which brand best specializes in tenor ukes since many do a great job. You can learn more about the best ukulele brands here.

Material of Body

There are many different factors that will change the sound of a tenor ukulele. However, if you are looking for the best sounding tenor ukulele, a very important aspect that will influence the sound the most is what the body is made of.

The different types of materials – as well as the tenor ukulele body shape – will undoubtedly impact the sound of the ukulele. There are many different body materials from plastic and laminate to solid wood.

A solid wood tenor ukulele is said to resonate the best but a laminate ukulele (wood pressed into layers) also usually has a nice sound quality and can often be more affordable than a solid wood ukulele.

Plastic body tenor ukuleles are definitely more durable and good for traveling but the intonation is often not as good as a wooden one. The types of wood that make a tenor ukulele sound the best are – generally speaking – koa or mahogany.

Tuners/Tuning Pegs

Tuners/tuning pegs are usually straightforward pieces of equipment but they are so important for the function of the tenor ukulele. First off, it is important to have good tuners/pegs that hold a tune when tightened. Tuners that slip over time will make the strings out of tune and will be frustrating for any player.

Another aspect of tuners to consider is whether the backs/gears are open or closed. Open tuners are when you can see the gear mechanism that spins to help keep the strings under tension.

These open tuners are more likely to get dirt, dust, sand, or hair in them over time. Closed-back tuners have a casing which helps to stop this from happening.

Tenor Ukulele Strings

Another important aspect of the tenor ukulele is the strings. Ukulele strings are made from nylon (plastic) but there are different types of nylon ukulele strings. Many people ask “What are the best tenor ukulele strings” and the answer is: It depends.

Depending on where you buy the tenor ukulele from, the stock strings that come with it (if any) can be decent quality or they might be junk. This is something to be aware of if you buy the tenor ukulele already set-up with strings on.

If you purchase a tenor ukulele online that is already set up, you might want to give it a few strums after tuning because the strings might need a bit of a stretch and re-tune.

You can also always buy new strings with a different gauge to change the sound. Check out the D’Addario EJ87T or the AQUILA 50185 if you are looking for reliable and popular tenor ukulele strings to start off with.

Tenor Ukulele Construction

Overall, it’s important to consider the overall quality of construction of the tenor ukulele. Specifically, have a look at the neck, the frets, and the headstock.

Are the frets more prone to pop up over time? Are there factory dents and small imperfections that might grow to become worse? What materials are the nut and the bridge made from? These are all good things to have a look at when you buy.

And there you have it – a rundown of some of the best tenor ukuleles out there. A tenor ukulele is a great option if you are looking for a ukulele with a bit more room to play and a slightly deeper tone. Of course, tenor ukuleles are not for everyone so check out our other guides on types of ukuleles if you are thinking about ukuleles!

As always, Happy Strumming,

-E