Best Hawaiian Ukuleles + Top 8 Ukuleles For 2023!

Origins of Hawaiian Ukulele

The Hawaiian ukuleles are the most familiar Hawaiian instruments which look like a small type of guitar.

Probably, this instrument was introduced to Hawaii in 1879. It was done by settlers from the Portuguese town of Madeira, who brought with them a small guitar called “Braguinha”.

Three-man settled in Hawaii coming from Portugal, Jose Do Espirito Santo (who knew how to make the braguinha), Augusto Dias, and Manuel Nunes.


In 1988 Dias, Nunes, and Espirito Santo started producing examples for the local store. The Hawaiian ukulele was born because the instrument was modified in order to suit local musical tastes.

Hawaiian king Kalākaua favored the ukulele as an instrument since he implemented and adapted the ukulele into traditional hula dance performances. There are several stories about how the ‘ukulele got its name, which means “jumping flea”.

A small, lively musician named Edward Purvis which was popular in the Kalākaua court was actually named “uku-lele” and there are stories that say the instrument is named after him.

Also, the rapid musician’s actions when playing may possibly remind Hawaiians of jumping fleas. Additionally, the name may represent a modified version of ‘ukeke a term for the mouth bow which was previously the only string instrument in Hawaii.


Ukuleles Made In Hawaii

Some of the best ukuleles that you may buy are made in Hawaii. However, those ukuleles go out of stock very quickly and they are pretty much expensive. Some of the best brands that made ukuleles and are from Hawaii are the popular 4 K’s (Ko’olau, Kamaka, Kanile’a, and KoAloha).

Kanile’a Ukulele is the sister company of Islander Ukulele and specializes in standard to professional-grade musical instruments. Besides them, there is the brand Lanikai which is probably the most popular among all Hawaiian brands.

Lanikai ukulele logo

They are preferred because of their availability and affordable price. Today we are going to put a spotlight on the best Lanikai and Islander by Kanile’a ukuleles that you may find on the market from these brands in 2023.

Islander logo

1. Lanikai Mahogany Soprano Ukulele MAHS

This awesome Lanikai Mahogany Soprano Ukulele MAHS is a bestseller, with some great features and really unbeatable value for the money.

When we compared its price on different instrument sale sites it came out that Thomann has the best price for this uke and for all Lanikai ukuleles overall. In this ukulele, you can see all the experiences that Lanikai got over all these years.

The Lanikai MAHS model offers more playability and speed when playing. Additionally, there is a high focus on details and the neck of this ukulele allows you easy playability.

Lanikai MAHS combines great features and premium materials in order to bring you a full Lanikai brand experience and sound.


  • Mahogany body and neck.
  • Walnut Fretboard and Bridge.
  • White body binding.
  • Strings: D’Addario J88.
  • Comes with gigbag.
  • 12 Frets.

Lanikai Mahogany Soprano Ukulele MAS

2. Lanikai Mahogany Concert Ukulele MASC

Ukulele enthusiasts really love the Lanikai Mahogany Concert Ukulele MASC because of its tone and playability.

This Lanikai Mahogany Concert Ukulele MASC is a beautifully crafted concert ukulele that is made from mahogany that is able to deliver classic concert ukulele tone.

This model right now features a wider nut for a slightly wider neck that makes playing the MASC a lot more comfortable.

Additionally, a beautiful walnut fingerboard offers a great response, whether you’re chording or playing the lead. A NuBone nut and saddle also provide tonal support to the already tone-reach mahogany body.


  • Classic look and a pleasant warm tone.
  • Wide nut and neck profile for player comfort.
  • Chrome open back tuners for tuning accuracy and keeping the headstock light for player comfort.
  • Nubone XB nut and saddle for sustain and tone.
  • Chrome Strap Buttons for safety and comfort.
  • Acoustic no cutaway.
  • D’Addario EJ88 strings for tone and reliability.
  • Walnut fingerboard and bridge.
  • 8 hole no tie bridge for easy string changes.
  • Includes a gigbag!

Lanikai Mahogany Concert Ukulele MASC

3. Islander by Kanile’a MC-4 Concert

The Islander by Kanile’a MC-4 Concert ukulele is part of the intermediate-level Kanile’a ukulele range.

They are made to the same exacting standards as the expensive Hawaiian koa models, but these Islanders have a unique charm on their own. Made out of durable mahogany laminate they really produce a sweet and strong sound.

There are also some features that this ukulele is sharing with some great Kanile’a models such as the bridge pins that give a real touch of class.


  • Okume neck.
  • ABS dot fretboard inlays.
  • Walnut fretboard.
  • Nut width: 38 mm.
  • Walnut bridge.
  • Bridge pin technology.
  • Frets: 17.
  • Neck body transition on the 12th fret.
  • Open machine heads.
  • 1st Gen Kanile’a Bracing System.
  • Total length: 609 mm.
  • Body depth: 55.6 mm-68.3 mm.

Islander by Kanile'a MC-4 Concert

4. Islander by Kanile’a MAT-4 Tenor Maple

This Islander MAT-4 Tenor ukulele fulfills that perfect gap where buyers don’t necessarily would like to spend a lot in order to get something with solid wood (MAT-4 is made of laminate), but they want something that plays and looks beautiful.

Made by one of our favorite and trusted uke builders you will be able to get this ukulele for around 280$.

The built quality on these ukes is superb with a neat finish, smooth edges, pin bridges, quality geared tuners, and very nice attention to details like quality binding and rosettes.

Islanders feature a 1.5-inch nut like almost all Kanile’as which gives the player a feeling of comfort on the fretboard.

Islander MAT-4 Tenor has a laminate spalted maple top, and sides and back from a beautiful abalone rosette. The tone is very clear and bright and really sounds like a more expensive instrument.


  • Top: Flamed maple.
  • Back and sides: Flamed maple.
  • Neck: Okoume.
  • Fretboard: Walnut.
  • Bridge: Walnut.
  • Fretboard inlays: ABS dots.
  • Bridge pin technology.
  • 18 Frets.
  • Neck-/Body joint at the 12th fret.

Islander by Kanile'a MAT-4 Tenor Maple

5. Lanikai Julia Michaels White Pearl

The Julia Michaels signature ukulele “White Pearl” is made with Lanikai quality and features. This ukulele is beautifully built with a Glossy White Pearl finish that coats the top, sides, and back of the instrument.

It appears with a black body and fingerboard binding, together with an abalone rosette and purfling making this Lanikai ukulele stunning and unique. This tenor ukulele delivers a great sound to match its eye-catching appearance.

White Pearl has a wide and comfortable neck profile, open-back Grover tuners with black buttons, NuBone XB saddle, and nuts.

As with almost all Lanikai ukuleles, this model comes with a 10mm gigbag together with 3 years warranty by Thomann.


  • Top, Back and Sides Glossy White Pearl painted.
  • Finish: GlossBridge: 8 hole quick tie bridge.
  • Binding: Black with Abalone Purfling.
  • Neck: Glossy White Pearl, with white side markers on frets 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 & 15.
  • Fretboard: Walnut.
  • Neck Binding: Black fingerboard binding.
  • Finish: Gloss.
  • Nut: NuBone XB Black.
  • Headstock: Glossy White Pearl.
  • Tuners: Chrome Grover open-back tuners with black buttons.

Lanikai Julia Michaels White Pearl

6. Lanikai Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Solid

Lanikai as a brand is always trying to keep its customers happy and satisfied with the models they are making. They are closing the gap between Hawaiian ukulele tradition and the needs of modern ukulele players.

They are seriously dedicated to hobbyists, professional performers, and ukulele players that demand more from their instruments. They craft ukuleles that perform, play, and sound like no other ukuleles which allow players to uniquely express themself throughout their ukes.

A Lanikai ALL SOLID Mahogany Tenor Ukulele has a wider nut in order to bring more comfort to the players. They are equipped with Grover open-back tuners, NuBone XB nut and saddle, D’Addario strings, glossy finish, a foam case, and a 3-year Thomann warranty.

The ALL Solid Mahogany ukuleles resonate with a rich and musically genuine tone of a Lanikai.


  • Solid mahogany body.
  • Mahogany neck.
  • Fretboard, binding, and bridge: Walnut.
  • Saddle & Nut: Graph Tech NuBone.
  • Nut width: 37.4 mm.
  • Scale: 432 mm.
  • 18 Frets.

Lanikai Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Solid

7. Islander by Kanile’a MST-4 Tenor

These Solid Mahogany series are taking inspiration from Kanile’as finest Hawaiian-built instruments.

They are brought exclusively for the Islander range for players that are looking for super resonant, all-solid instruments with character and warmth.

Kanile’a Islander MST-4 Solid Mahogany Tenor Ukulele is a perfect all-solid wood option in gorgeously honey-toned mahogany wood, together with a traditional mainland sound full of character.

The Islander MST-4 Ukulele design is attractively complemented with stylish traditional oval-shaped tuning buttons, faux tortoiseshell binding with an abalone rosette, and Kanile’a’s signature contoured walnut bridge with robust ABS black bridge pins.

Presented in a super sleek satin finish, the Islander MST-4 Ukulele design is attractively complemented with stylish traditional oval-shaped tuning buttons, faux tortoiseshell binding with an abalone rosette, and Kanile’a’s signature contoured walnut bridge with robust ABS black bridge pins.

As with many other models, this one also has a wider fretboard for additional comfort while playing. Also, wider string spacing at the bridge seems ideal for developing good fingerstyle playing.

For next-level players looking for an all-solid wood stunner with a hint of Hawaii, the Kanile’a Islander MST-4 Solid Mahogany Tenor Ukulele comes highly recommended!


  • Top: Mahogany, solid.
  • Back and sides: Mahogany, solid.
  • Neck: Okoume.
  • Fretboard inlays: Dots ABS.
  • Binding top and back: Abalone.
  • Rosette abalone.
  • Fretboard: Walnut.
  • Bridge: Walnut.
  • 1st Gen. Kanile’a Bracing System.
  • Bridge Pin technology.
  • Neck – Body joint at the 12 fret.
  • Strings: Aquila Corde.
  • Finish: Satin.

Islander by Kanile'a MST-4 Tenor

8. Islander by Kanile’a SAC-4 Concert Acacia

This Islander SAC-4 Concert Acacia model is made from solid Asian Acacia on the top, back and sides. Just like Koa, Acacia has really great and balanced tonal response that is going towards the brighter side.

Whenever you start playing this ukulele it will be sounding fuller and lusher every new day. Because it is slightly wider than normal, its fretboard is probably the most attractive thing on this concert ukulele.

With 1.5 inches or 38mm at the nut, it is an absolute doddle to put your fingers into the right shapes. When you combine all that width with its very slinky neck profile you get a very easy-to-play instrument.


  • Top: Solid acacia.
  • 1st Gen Kanile’a Bracing System.
  • Back and sides: Solid acacia.
  • Neck: Okoume.
  • Fretboard: Walnut.
  • ABS Dot fretboard inlays.
  • Black ABS body binding.
  • Herringbone inlays.
  • Bridge Pin Technology.
  • Neck/body transition at 14th fret.
  • 19 Frets.
  • Colour: Natural matte.

Islander by Kanile'a SAC-4 Concert Acacia

Last Words

There are many reasons for people to learn how to play and also buy one decent ukulele for themselves. But there is one thing that people don’t really consider before buying a ukulele and that is the joy they will bring to your life.

The reality is that life can be really tough sometimes and you really need stress relief during those times. Ukulele is a great stress reliever and it helps people relax and have fun at the same time.

If you are thinking of beginning your journey or you are an experienced player looking for some quality ukes, you should stick to the best ukulele models from above!

Happy Strumming!

Felix Sanchez

Felix Sanchez

Felix Sanchez specializes in string instruments and their use in contemporary music. Felix is passionate about music and has studied and played a variety of string instruments including guitars, ukuleles, and cellos.

Strings Kings
Strings Kings