Best Cheap Harmonica: 10 Choices to Buy Online

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The harmonica is a unique musical instrument, the sound of which has a characteristic style and immediately enlivens any composition. But it also sounds great solo. Harps are widely used in various musical genres: blues, rock and roll, jazz, country, folk, and so on. If you want to start learning how to play it, you are probably wondering, “How much are harmonicas?”. There are many options available on the market, from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars. But you can select the best cheap harmonica if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Many inexpensive musical instruments have decent quality and authentic sound and will satisfy not only beginners but also intermediate and professional performers. This article contains an overview of 10 high-quality harps at an affordable price.

10 Best Cheap Harmonicas Reviewed

In compiling this list, I used personal experience with various inexpensive harmonicas, feedback from my friends, and numerous objective reviews on the Internet. All models below have an affordable price, good build quality, and, as a result, beautiful sound.

1. Fender Blues Deluxe: Top Pick

Color Chrome
Instrument Key C
Material Plastic, Metal, Polyvinyl Chloride

At the moment, this is the best budget harmonica among all the inexpensive models I have ever tried. If you are a beginner musician, I recommend this musical instrument. The difference in sound compared to expensive models is not too noticeable unless you really listen to it. The tonal clarity of this harp is bright and clear. The sound is loud and classic. It does not require much air to play, and the notes bend without much effort.

For the discerning taste of the professional musician, the richness of the sound may not be enough for studio recordings or concerts. However, this is the best option for rehearsing and enjoying the game. It can be carried everywhere in your pocket or backpack without fear of losing or breaking. I always carry a Fender harp with me. 

Quality at this price is hard to beat. This 10-hole diatonic harmonica has a key of C, making it easy to play many popular songs in different genres. The molded, non-toxic ABS comb and brass reeds ensure authentic sound. The covers are made of chromed metal, and the reed plates can be replaced. I like the solid aesthetic of the instrument’s body, but the edges are a bit sharp.

Things You’d like
  • Classic tone
  • Solid design
  • Versatile musical instrument for performers of all levels
  • Reasonable build quality for the price
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The edges of the harp are a bit sharp

2. EastRock: Runner-Up

Color Black
Instrument Key C
Material Bronze, Stainless Steel, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

This diatonic harp in the key of C is suitable for playing songs of different genres: blues, classical pop, jazz, folk, rock and roll, and country. Decent build quality will appeal to beginners, intermediate and professional players. I know many musicians who have learned how to play the harmonica with this model. Years later, they also appreciate the quality of EastRock and use this mouth organ. 

Soft sound is achieved by phosphor bronze reeds and ABS combs. The reeds are well-tuned. The cover is made of stainless steel for added durability. I like the glossy stylish body design in black, which looks expensive and elegant. But you can also select other colors: blue, red, gold, or silver.

Lightweight, high-quality materials and low cost make the harmonica an excellent choice for children interested in music. It’s good to practice because the harmonica is easy to blow, and 10 holes is a versatile choice for different levels. All in all, this musical instrument is beautifully made, sounds good, and is affordable at the same time.

Things You’d like
  • Suitable for beginner, intermediate and professional players
  • Stylish design
  • Soft, not tinny sound
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Some people noted a slight peeling of the paint from the body.

3. SMALL FISH: Best Harmonica for Beginners

Color Silver
Instrument Key C
Material Plastic

If you are a beginner, I recommend you pay attention to the SMALL FISH diatonic. The C key and 10 holes are great for learning, no matter what style you play. The quality is decent: the reed is made of phosphor bronze with stainless steel cover. The comb is lip-friendly as non-toxic ABS plastic has been used to make it. The manufacturer guarantees minimal air leakage by checking the musical instrument for leaks. This nice harmonica produces a soft and bright tone. 

Another advantage is its small size and lightweight (0.04 pounds). Such an instrument can be easily carried in a pocket, and its parameters are child-friendly. The glossy harp is presented in several colors: silver, black, gold, blue, and pink. My friend gave a harmonica to his 15-year-old son as a gift. Having no experience playing the harps, the guy learned a lot of blues and country songs in three months. I heard him play, and it sounds decent. I also like that the smooth body is easy to clean and polish

Things You’d like
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Stylish design
  • Soft and bright tone
Maybe You'll be confused
  • To get a high sound, you need to blow quite hard

4. UPINS (10 Tones): Best Set of Beautiful Harps

Color Blue,Gold, Purple, Green,
Instrument Key C
Material Resin, Nickel, Metal, Copper

This set consists of 4 harmonicas of different colors: blue, pink, green, and gold. They look very bright and beautiful. All musical instruments are in C key and have 10 holes. I don’t think one person needs so many harps in one key, but this is definitely a great choice for a gift for children or family learning to play. 

My friends bought such a set, and now they practice simple blues and rock and roll compositions every day with their two children. The body has no sharp corners, and all holes are numbered. I recommend these harmonicas for beginners, as professionals will need a more solid instrument. 

The face plate is made of titanium. It is quite strong and durable and does not give in to deformation. A loud and clear sound is achieved thanks to a copper reed. The combs are made of non-toxic material ― ABS plastic. It is moisture resistant and has nickel metal plating. The glossy body is well-made and looks great. The only drawback is the weak screws, which loosen quickly if used carelessly.

Things You’d like
  • Loud and clear sound
  • Good for beginners and kids
  • Beautiful colors
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Not suitable for professional performers
  • Weak screws

5. East Top: Best Construction

Color T10-4S-BLSR
Instrument Key C
Material Plastic,Silver,Steel,Brass

I bought this harmonica two years ago and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of construction for such a small price. The quality and sound are approaching the professional segment of musical instruments. The harp is airtight and easy to control, allowing me to play beautiful blues and jazz melodies. The holes are numbered, which is especially convenient for beginners. 

You don’t need to blow hard to get high or bend notes. The comb is made of eco-friendly ABS, and the cover is made of stainless steel. Authentic sound and rich timbre are achieved thanks to the brass reed. I like the design of this musical instrument: the weight is light (9.9 ounces), and the dimensions are small, which allows me to carry the harp in my pocket. On the other hand, this can be inconvenient for musicians with large hands to use it. The comb is blue, and the cover is silver. It looks unusual and expensive. This good cheap harmonica is in the key of C.

Things You’d like
  • Rugged construction
  • Lightweight
  • Unusual and stylish design
  • Authentic sound
  • Portable
Maybe You'll be confused
  • People with large hands may find it difficult to hold this harmonica

6. SWAN: Best Inexpensive Harmonica in the Key of G

Color Silvery
Instrument Key G
Material Stainless Steel, Plastic, Copper

If you want to add a harmonica in the key of G to your collection, the option from the SWAN brand is the best choice. The G key provides a low tone and is great for playing songs in the key of D. The harmonica sounds best when you play slow melodic phrases or use it for rhythmic chugging. 

I purchased this harp a year ago, and I like to play melancholy blues songs. The musical instrument has an expensive and exquisite look. I like the hard silver body and its rounded edges. It has 10 numbered holes. The build quality is decent: the copper reed plate produces rich and clear sounds. The covers are made of stainless steel. Workers carefully tune and test each musical instrument during manufacturing. The deep tone of this harp will appeal to both beginners and professional musicians. The model is also great as the first instrument for kids, as it is pocket-sized and lightweight (2.82 ounces).

Things You’d like
  • Provides a rich and low tone
  • Decent build quality
  • Solid design
  • Suitable for beginners, intermediate and professional performers
Maybe You'll be confused
  • People with large hands may find it difficult to hold this harmonica

7. Eastar: Lowest Price

Color Black
Instrument Key C
Material Abs,Silver,Brass

This harp is the cheapest on this list. However, do not think the harmonica price means the quality is terrible. On the contrary, my colleague was amazed at how decently made this musical instrument, as well as what beautiful sounds it could make. 

She bought this little harmonica for fun and testing because she typically prefers expensive models for playing. A harmonica player with many years of experience said that it is easy to play simple melodies and bend notes on this diatonic instrument. This harmonica is really for beginner and intermediate-level performers, as the manufacturer claims. Professional musicians may prefer to use it as a practice harmonica but are unlikely to use it at concerts.

The mouth organ with 10 holes and 20 tones is presented in the C key. Combs are made of ABS plastic which is waterproof and easy to clean. This is an inexpensive material that is quite durable. Soft and clear sound is achieved by copper reed. It is pleasant to hold the harmonica in your hands because it has a glossy smooth surface and rounded corners. The cover of the harp is made of stainless steel

Things You’d like
  • Pleasant sound
  • Good build quality
  • Very low cost
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The sound and timbre are still not as rich and beautiful as those of more expensive models

8. UPINS (20 Tones): Best Set of Diatonic Harmonicas

Color Black, Gold, Pink, Silvery
Instrument Key C
Material Resin, Nickel, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Metal, Copper

This set is designed for easy learning to play the harmonica by beginners and for practicing intermediate players. I purchased this set, which consists of 4 beautiful glossy harps (gold, silver, black, and pink). I gave three of them to the kids for Christmas and kept the fourth for myself to test. The children were delighted to receive these musical instruments and quickly learned to play simple melodies. 

My experience: This harmonica produces a loud and classic sound that allows you to play many popular tunes of various genres without difficulty. But for professionals, the sound may not seem interesting and rich enough. The harmonica has 20 tones and 10 holes; each is numbered. This is a classic diatonic in the key of C, and all the instruments are in the set. So it may not be practical for one person to buy 4 identical harps. I recommend this option as a gift. 

All harmonicas look cute and have rounded edges. The cover is made of titanium, and the reed is made of copper, which gives a bright sound. The material of the combs is non-toxic ABS. They are also plated with nickel metal. Overall, the colors, sound, and build quality are really good at this price point.

Things You’d like
  • Loud and classic sound
  • Good for beginners and intermediate performers
  • Beautiful colors
Maybe You'll be confused
  • May not please the discerning taste of a professional musician

9. URBANE: Best Cheap Harmonica for Blues

Color Black
Instrument Key C
Material Resin, Plastic, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Copper

This model features a high-quality copper cover and a reed plate made of the same material for a clear, bright sound. The combs are made of ABS. The manufacturer guarantees excellent quality control: all harmonicas are tested and tuned during manufacture. Therefore, you get a decent instrument for a reasonable price. It is designed for musicians of all ages and levels. However, the small size can be uncomfortable for musicians with large hands. 

The C key allows you to play different melodies, and the blues sounds especially bright and authentic. For beginners, there is a numbering for each of the 10 holes. I gave this little harmonica to my elderly friend. In his youth, he played the harp. The fact is that a friend has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). So this gift was not only a pleasant surprise for him but also a proven therapeutic tool. He noted that the sound was easy to achieve, and the tone was perfect. A friend often performs his favorite jazz and blues compositions. I also like that this model looks expensive, as it has a durable glossy black body.

Things You’d like
  • Solid design
  • Decent build quality
  • Ideal for playing blues melodies
  • Pure sound
Maybe You'll be confused
  • People with large hands may find it difficult to hold this harmonica

10. Melissa & Doug: Best Harmonica for Kids

Color Silver
Instrument Key C
Material Steel

How to interest a small child in music and develop his lungs? The answer is simple: buy him a harmonica. Melissa & Doug is a brand that makes a variety of toys to encourage kids’ creativity. However, this mouth organ is not just a toy but a real musical instrument. It is worth considering that it was made for kids, so it is unlikely that a child will learn complex techniques on this harp. 

For a first acquaintance, this is a great option. My friends bought this model for their 6-year-old son. He likes to improvise and just imitate the sound of a train. Amazingly, the harmonica continues to make sounds after numerous falls. The combs are made of wood, which gives a soft and not too loud sound. The plastic cover is similar to the metal one. The harmonica is large, so it would be just right for an adult performer. However, such parameters are necessary to highlight notes easily. If your child wants to seriously learn to play the harmonica, give him a more solid model from about 7 years old.

Things You’d like
  • Designed specifically for children (3+ years)
  • Rugged construction
  • Warm sound
Maybe You'll be confused
  • This instrument will not allow kids to master all the basics of playing the harmonica

Cheap Harmonica Buying Guide

Below you can find the main characteristics of the harmonica, which you should pay attention to before choosing your ideal option.

1. Keys

All beginners usually start their learning using the harmonica in the key of C. This allows them to play many popular songs, and there are more manuals for this key. Then you can expand your collection with different keys, depending on your preferred sound and genre. There is no need to buy all 12 keys until you have decided on your music direction.

  • Keys A and G have a low and deep sound. Key A is considered the standard for playing classic blues. The harmonica in the key of G is often used in genres such as bluegrass and folk.
  • For learning to bend notes, it is best to select a mouth organ in the key of D.
  • Harmonicas in the keys of E and F create a cheerful and upbeat song.
  • If you want to play solo, you can choose any keys suitable for playing music in the genre you like.
  • To distinguish the sound of each key and select the right ones, you can purchase an inexpensive set of harmonicas in the most common keys. Videos on the Internet will also give an understanding of the differences.
blue harmonicas on the table

2. Materials

The materials directly affect the sound produced and the durability of the musical instrument.

Cover plates

Plastic gives a soft sound and is easy to clean. However, it can break or crack more quickly. Typically, metal is used for manufacturing cover plates, which guarantees a bright sound and durability of the harmonica.

Combs

  • The most common and inexpensive comb material is ABS. It is moisture-resistant and gives a clear tone. 
  • More expensive models use aluminum and stainless steel, which have a brighter sound.
  • Fans of traditional soft sound will like combs made of wood. However, they quickly deform under the influence of moisture.

Reeds

  • The most common material for making reeds of the blues harp is brass. It ensures that the harmonica will produce soft and clear sounds. 
  • Also, manufacturers use bronze to make the tone brighter. 
  • In high-end instruments, reeds are often made from stainless steel.
black harmonica against the sea

3. Holes

The number of holes varies depending on the type of harmonica: 

  • The standard diatonic has 10 holes; 
  • Chromatic harps can have 8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 holes; 
  • A tremolo is a harmonica with double holes. Their number is usually 16, 20, 24, 32, or 48.

4. Tremolo, Diatonic, or Chromatic

These 3 types are the main ones, although there are many other configurations

Diatonic

All models in my review are diatonic (blues harps). They are lighter, smaller, and cheaper than other types. The instrument typically has 10 holes and is intended to play the full 7-note major mouth organ scale. Additional notes (outside the major scale) can be obtained by mastering the note-bending technique and presented in all 12 keys. Diatonic is used to perform folk, country, rock, blues, and jazz.

Chromatic

Chromatic has a higher cost and size. The button on the side of its body allows you to perform compositions in any scale and mode. Popular with musicians performing jazz and classical music.

Tremolo

The tremolo harmonica is suitable for playing simple melodies and creating special effects. This instrument has double holes, each tuned to the same note. During the game, they sound simultaneous, creating a vibration effect. One of the double holes is tuned higher than the other.

FAQ on the Characteristics of Harps

Below you will find answers to the most common questions that beginner musicians have when choosing a harmonica

What brand of harmonica is the best?

If you want to learn how to play the harmonica, add a new harp to your collection, or just try it without spending a lot of money, I recommend looking into the Fender brand. Their harp prices are affordable, and the quality is comparable to more expensive professional options

What type of harmonica should a beginner buy?

A good beginner harmonica is a 10-hole diatonic in the key of C. This musical instrument is the easiest to master, even without knowledge of music theory. Most popular melodies and teaching materials are written for the key of C. The diatonic is smaller than other harmonica types and typically cheaper.

How many harmonica holes are best for beginners?

Professional musicians and teachers recommend starting your harmonica learning journey with a classic diatonic mouth organ. It typically has 10 holes, which is the most convenient option for beginners.

Cheap Harmonica Might Be Perfect for You

As you can see, cheap doesn’t always mean bad. On the market, you can find many options at an affordable price that will satisfy even the demanding taste of a professional. My recommendation is Fender Blues Deluxe diatonic. This is a great option for musicians of all levels. The quality of this harp is comparable to more famous and expensive models. 

Does price matter to you when choosing a musical instrument, or do you focus on qualities? Share your opinion in the comments.

About the author

Hey, my name is John Peters, and I’m a co-founder and Jack’s co-editors. My country sole was born when I was not more than 4 years old and my dad brought several country records home. These were the records by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Asleep at The Wheel, and Neil Young. I fell in love with the genre forever back then. Before entering the university, I managed to gather a collection of over 1200 vinyl records with both classic and modern country releases.

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