The Best Budget, Midrange, and High-End Concert Flutes For Beginners

There are many flutes to choose from not all are suitable for beginners. And not all beginner flutes are equal. So which ones are the best for you and why? I explore The answer to this question below.

The best flute for beginners is the Trevor James 10X Flute. With the Yamaha 212 a close 2nd. The Jupiter 700EC gets 3rd place.

Although I’ve picked them in order of preference all three of the flutes chosen are excellent students’ flutes. You can see the comparisons below. I have also given a guide for what to look for so if you are looking at a different flute you know what to look for to decide if it’s right for you or if you prefer these flutes.

The Best Flute For Beginners Is The Trevor James 10X Flute

Ideal for the beginner to the intermediate player, this flute will last you from 1-4 grades if you are grading. That’s about 4 years on average. You will need to change your flute in the 5th year as your skill level will require you to upgrade.

It’s designed to help the higher and lower notes be easier for you to play as a beginner.

Although flute experts say that this flute sound is good but not outstanding. I feel that this is the perfect budget Flute.

When I got back into flute playing this is the flute I rented and then bought. For various reasons getting a more advanced or more expensive flute wasn’t on the cards for me. This is an excellent flute and I am really very happy with its performance.

It’s beautifully designed with two layers of silver plating over flash copper. This makes it much stronger and more durable. It also has a 925 silver lip plate and riser which makes playing it much easier. I do however have slippage issues with the lip plate when it gets or I get hot.

Everything about Jupiter is quality.

Sadly yet understandably though teachers are often keener on the Yamaha.

2nd Choice Is the Yamaha – Why I Didn’t Choose The Yamaha 212 Flute First

There’s no question that Yamaha is an excellent flute maker and one of the best student and intermediate flutes you can get. They are the known brand to go for and they have the reputation to match. It’s also the flute I had or at least the older 211 version when I learned to play years ago.

You’ve only got to look at the used sales on eBay to see that old Yamaha flutes like the 211 are often for sale long after the other brands have broken.

Incidentally, there’s nothing wrong with getting a used flute. If you are interested in that route I have an article on that that will help you as it can be a bit of a minefield –Buy A Used Flute With Confidence, Where To Buy Your Flute.

So why didn’t I pick it?


It’s as simple as that.

Yamaha is much more expensive than other flute brands out there. (You can see price comparisons below at the bottom of the article). Are they worth it? Yes absolutely, in my view. But is it necessary? No, in my view. If you’ve got the budget and you like this flute go for it. If you factor out the cost they come out 1st.

Also, longer-term it might be a more economical solution because this flute will last you for the full 5 years by which time you are likely to want to upgrade anyway.

But a lot of people don’t have that budget now. If you are one of those. Please don’t let that stop you. You don’t have to have the most expensive instrument to succeed (although I’m not convinced the cheapest is the best either so I’ve not mentioned them here). Get a good-quality mid-range instrument. It’s better to learn to play than not because you want the more expensive instrument.

I have read (I apologize, I don’t remember where) that not everyone gets on with Yamaha anyway.

There are great student flutes out there by other companies like the Trevor James 10X Flute (also recommended above) and the Jupiter JFL700 Flutes (below). It’s a beginner flute you will be leaving it behind in a few years anyway.

If you have your heart set on a Yamaha flute you can always find alternatives to a new flute. I mentioned used above however, you can also rent or rent to buy.

When deciding on which flute to get I would make sure I’d thought about all of the following criteria.

So when you buy the Yamaha 212 what are you getting?

A high-quality flute with everything you’d expect from a student flute including the split E, closed holes, and offset G. C footjoint. The tone holes are drawn and curled and there’s french pointed keywork. (Comparison table below after the next review).

The 3rd Flute Alternative Is The Jupiter JFL 700EC Flute

I chose this 3rd because it doesn’t last the student as long when playing as the other two choices. Otherwise, it is an excellent student flute and is used by flute rentals as a quality budget student flute.

Unforntautnatley, unlike the other two flutes I have no personal experience with this particular instrument (sorry it’s just too expensive to buy all the instruments to test them). However, I trust the company that recommends them as that is where I got my flute when I went back to playing.

I found this video on Youtube if you want to see it in action.

The Jupiter JFL 700EC lasts up to grade 4 so at grade 4 you will need to change your flute. This is about the beginning of the 4th year. Some say it’s possible to go further than that with this flute. It has excellent sound and it is well made.

If you are in the UK you can hire or hire to buy them here (note I am not an affiliate of this company they just gave me excellent service).

Flute Specs Comparison Table for the Trevor James 10x, Yamaha 212, and Jupiter 700EC

Trevor James 10XYamaha 212Jupiter 700EC
Offset G
Closed holesYYY
E MechanismYYY
Other informationNorth/South American model has ‘Y’ key arms
The European/Asia/Oceana model has pointed key arms.
Tone holes, drawn and curled
French Pointed Keywork, Tone holes, drawn and curledThe former version is the JFL 511
Layers of silver plate overall flute2 layers of silver over flash copper, 925 silver lip, and riserLip plate, footjoint & Rings, Posts & Ribs, keys & head joint is silver-plated nickel silverSilver-plated nickel silver body & keys, silver-plated headjoint. Lip riser Y 92.5%

Note: Price comparison at the bottom of the article under Flute price.

What If I Don’t Like or Don’t Have the Budget For These Flute Recommendations What Do I Do?

I’ve written below what you need to look at when choosing your flute. You can use this if you want to look for a different brand if you cant get hold of or don’t want these. I have also put in how to go about buying a used flute here.

Age Of The Student Flute Player

The age or size of the student is an essential consideration as it can change what type of flute you can get or need. If you are starting as a younger child you might like to get a curved headjoint then progress to a straight one later on.

Adults can usually use a straight headjoint. If you have stretching or other challenges you might want to look into the alternatives.

If you are older/an adult you might want to look into the pros and cons of playing the flute. It’s Never Too Late For You To Enjoy Learning The Flute

Aims Of The Student Flute Player

Not all student’s aims are the same. Some people just want to enjoy the flute while others may wish to progress and become professional flutists. This may influence your flute choice although all the flutes mentioned are excellent beginner flutes.

Flute Materials

It’s most likely that you will be looking at a silver-plated flute. The number of plating layers varies depending on the flute. The better quality flutes tend to have silver lip plates.

Grade Level Reached/Length of Use

It’s common for players to upgrade from a beginner flute to an intermediate one at some point. Ideally, you want a beginner flute that will last you until this point.

While not everyone does grades it does give you an indication of the level of the flute you are buying.

All are suitable for an adult or a child.

FluteGrade Lasts UntilLevel
Yamaha YFL211 & 212At least Grade 1 to 5Beginner, intermediate
Trevor James 10X FluteGrade 1-4 levelBeginner, intermediate
Jupiter JFL700 FluteGrade 1-3 levelBeginner


Note: Each grade is estimated about 1 year in education. This can vary a lot however depending on the student.

Advantages of getting a better quality beginner flute

You will be able to sell it and recoup some of your investment when you upgrade which will help forward your next flute.

The flute will be easier to play. You will know any mistakes are yours and not the flute. Whereas if you get a cheap flute it can hinder your progress.

Disadvantages of A higher Quality Flute

Higher cost of the flute to buy or rent.

Extra Feet And Keys And Special Design To Help The Beginner

  • Beginner flutes have keys set up to help with playing. There are certain difficulties in playing the flute. To make it easier it’s a good idea to get a beginner’s flute that takes this into account.
  • Beginners’ flutes have a Split E mechanism on them to make playing easier. It means you don’t need to change your fingering position when you are holding down the lower G key when fingering the third octave of E.
  • Offset G. Is another helpful design for the beginner flute It simply means that your ring finger will be more comfortable when you are playing and that the ring mechanism can be fitted more easily.
  • Lip plates vary a lot. A beginner’s flute should make sound easier to produce.
  • The keys should have closed holes for ease of fingering.

Should You Get An Open Or Closed Key Holed Flute?

Beginner flutes are closed-holed flutes. If you are looking at a flute with holes in the keys they are intermediate flutes. Open-holed flutes are harder to play as you need more precise fingering placement on the keys. You need a closed-holed flute.

Some flutes have open-holed keys with pads to cover them effectively making them closed-holed flutes so you can play them from beginner through to intermediate and beyond.

Left or Right-Handed Flute

With flutes, it doesn’t really matter. You can get left-handed flutes but it’s much easier and cheaper to buy a right-handed flute. They are as easy to play.

Left-handed flutes are more natural to play for us lefties than right-handed ones but compared to some other instruments I have played where it does make a difference it’s not something I would worry about with the flute.

4 Flute Prices Compared

When I used to work in contracts price was the last thing to be considered. You had to make sure everything else was accounted for first.

Usually, we make the price the first. So why last? Thre are several things you need to know before buying a beginner’s flute only when you have decided on them can you think about the final price. Usually what happens is they don’t tally and you might have to find an alternative/compromise.

For example, I only had £100 for my flute but wasn’t happy with what I got for that money so I had to either reduce what I wanted, find something else, or rent or buy used.

Also, being able to afford any flute you want isn’t helpful either because if you don’t know which is best you can get one that is completely wrong for you.

FlutePrice Range New Instrument
Jupiter JFL700(£459-£550), US $ 468- $680 * I did see one at $1,100
Yamaha 212(£515-£675), US $
Trevor James 10X Flute(£449 – £549) US $468- $1,000
Yamaha 222 (No split E)(£545) $ 1,000

Note: prices are only a guide only as they are subject to change with offers or price hikes. But it gives you a good idea of what to expect.

These are some of the most popular brands. If these brands don’t fit your needs you can use the information here to help you get a different brand. Most brands will say if it’s a student flute. As you can see from the Yamaha 212 and 222, not all student’s flutes have split E. I’d go for a split E if you haven’t played before.

Good luck and enjoy your playing.

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