In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: April 02, 2021
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Whether you’re just getting into instrumental music or if you’re looking for a high-quality instrument to introduce your child to the disciplined yet beautiful and rewarding world of making music, the best flute on the market can be a great investment in a life long joy. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the finer details of the flute—from its instrumental family and its place in the world of music. Familiarizing yourself with how a flute works and how it sounds can help you choose the best flute.
There are various components and features you need to consider before choosing the right one for you (or as a gift)—from the playing level to quality, from the various features like holes opened or close, the length of the instrument, the g-key placing, the material, and the warranty information, there are so many important details that can help you pick out the best one.
Through hours of research comparing one flute to another and diving into the finer details of each brand, we’ve put together not only the best flutes on the market under one place—but also a buying guide to help you choose the best one for your playing preference. You can go through our comparison table, our in-detail reviews of each product, and our buying guide to help you in your purchasing process. We hope our guide helps give you a bit more insight in the flute world and buying your (maybe first) flute!
The Yamaha YFL261 is our Editor’s Choice for the best flute on the market. Backed by its 5-year limited warranty, this flute is perfect for students and first-time players trying to get a hang of the instrument.
Designed with nickel-silver, this classy look and open-holed playing style is a great choice if you‘re looking for a high-quality piece on the market.
From its sweet fluid-like sound to its powerful projecting tone, the Yamaha YFL261 can be played in concerts, in performance bands or solo with a loud and reverberating tone.
Its build is also great for students because of its durable construction. Along with its warranty, you can feel assured that it‘s safe to take it here and there from lessons and back home again. It also comes with a hardshell case and cleaning rod, making it great for transporting and maintenance—which is key when caring for an instrument of this caliber.
With its silver-plate finish it also looks good up along multiple instruments. The various components are also designed with a nickel-plated finish, making it an extremely attractive instrument.
The Yamaha YFL261 plays with an open-hole style, with c-foot, and offset G, as well. The undercut and beveled embouchure hole makes a clean attack in its sound and the power-forged keys help increase the durability of the product—as well as the stainless steel springs.
For the upgraded player, the Azumi AZ3 flute is a perfect professional flute for a seasoned sound and flourish. The flute is played with offset G and features a sterling silver Z-professional cut head joint. This helps give the flute the capability of that quick response while playing and emits a fuller and richer tone.
From its refined design, the professional look of the Azumi AZ3 flute sets it apart from others on the market. The flute also boasts improved key strength that makes it truly worthy of professional use and countless hours of practice.
The Azumi AZ3 flute also comes included with a case for storage and transportation, as well as essential cleaning items for maintenance. For professionally tuned quality and balanced harmonics, this flute can be your next flute—with a great design that delivers stunning performance.
Designed with sterling silver, the Azumi AZ3 flute is made from the best of materials—like other professional flutes. However, even though it is seemingly designed for a professional, it comes with student-friendly features that can help playability and encourage practice.
From open holes between A, G, F, E, and D keys to the promotion of natural hand positioning, this is a great choice if your student has smaller hands
A learning student can also benefit from the split E mechanism which enhances the responsiveness of the high E.
The Azumi AZ3 flute is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
What we liked:
The sterling silver construction can last for a reasonable time
Effortless to play in tune
It delivers an excellent tone
This step-up flute’s professional features give you the experience required to play professional flutes
What could be better:
Pricier than most intermediate level flutes
Need to upgrade to a professional flute since this one is intended for middle-level students.
You can only receive a warranty if you buy it directly from the manufacturer.
The PFP105E piccolo is rated as one of the best piccolo flutes on the market.
Designed with Grenaditte, the material of the flute was specifically picked to try and get the tonal characteristics and sound as close as grenadilla wood as possible.
The PFP105E piccolo gives off a warm and full overtone, backed by a bubble-style headjoint to really centralize on the sound.
If you’re looking to play or perform in a concert and want to portray a big sound, the PFP105E piccolo is known for its projection, quick response, and a strong upper register.
With a length of 14 inches, the piccolo is small but mighty. Fortunately, the material of the design is also imperviousness to fluctuations in temperature, which can be great if you live or play in a changing climate. That feature alone also contributes to its durability and how long it will last for a lifetime.
You can also rely on the PFP105E piccolo to deliver a precise pitch—all across the range.
Even for beginners, this flute was made with ease-of-play and use in mind. Since it has a split E mechanism, it can allow a beginner to get used to switching up keys while playing.
If you’re a student heading to and from lessons or if you’re a higher level player who needs to make your way to perform in concerts, the PFP105E piccolo comes with a case with a padded a case cover, making it highly portable and easy to transport.
Featuring a close-hole position, the Yamaha YFL-222 is one of the best choices for a beginner or student flute.
Rated as one of the best for beginners, this Yamaha flute is a high-quality instrument designed with the durability of nickel silver and backed by a 5-year warranty. Although it’s particularly high-priced for a beginner’s style, just recognize that you’ll be investing in a hobby that you hopefully will be playing for years to come (or your child will be).
The quality of this build will make the mechanical problems much more reliable than other serviceable beginner flutes out there. So, this is also rated as a great upgrade intermediate flute for someone who have been playing for a while.
You can also expect the Yamaha YFL-222 to emit a pleasing playing response and tone through the range, which is great for a beginner student to learn how each note should sound and get used to that particular reach.
The Yamaha YFL-222 also has screw key adjustments that have resistance inserts. This makes the playing sound extremely accurate—perfect for someone learning how to play. It also is smooth with transitions and adjustments, which means that a beginner player can get the hang of learning how to change notes.
The features also prevent the keys from loosening gradually as most other budget options will. You can also benefit from the alignment on the foot joint, which can guide and correct inexperienced beginners.
What we liked:
Great choice for beginners for playability
Includes a sturdy plastic case perfect for transporting to and from lessons
The shoulder hook makes instrument easier to hold
What could be better:
If you’re an extreme beginner, this is too expensive and an impractical choice
The Selmer Prelude FL711 is one of the best beginner flutes on the market—not only because of its various features but also because of its strong structure and durable build.
Designed with the beginner in mind, you definitely want a high-quality instrument if you’re planning on taking it to and from lessons and back. With its ribbed construction and silver-plated quality, the Selmer Prelude FL711 comes from a brand that has a sturdy reputation.
The flute also delivers not only with construction but also on playability and performance. Since it is specifically tailored and designed for beginners, the inexperienced player can take advantage of its learner-friendly offset G-key and plateau holes.
It is designed with a standard silver-plated body—perfect for withstanding the bangs and bruises it may get in the hands of a young child. The silver-plate material also is relatively allergy-resistant, which makes it that much more appealing.
The smart-polished finish of the Selmer Prelude FL711 gives this beginner flute a professional finish and also makes the flute easier to clean.
The construction of the design is also extremely lightweight, which encourages longer playing time and helps younger students feel more comfortable with performance.
Finally, although it is only backed by a 1-year limited warranty, it comes with its own carrying case, which helps in the transportation to and from lessons, classes or performances.
The Kaizer FLT-1500NK is our budget pick for the best flutes on the market. Although it is highly affordable, the nickel-silver material seals its quality design and high-performing sound.
With the combination of versatility, functionality, and playability, the Kaizer FLT-1500NK is a great design for a beginner student—especially those who are a bit younger and a little less careful.
If you’re looking for a budget flute that has all the features and traits of high-quality performance, the Kaizer FLT-1500NK should be your pick. From its smooth action to its improved springs and quality intonation, the features are packed to prove its quality.
The Kaizer FLT-1500NK also comes with 16 closed-hole keys, an offset G with split E, a detachable foot-joint, and plateau keys that make it all easier to play for beginners.
You can even enjoy the easy use of the beveled embouchure and professionally-padded keys. Your purchase of the Kaizer FLT-1500NK doesn’t just come with the flute, it also comes with the entire beginner’s kit to help you not only nail those notes but keep high-quality maintenance. From the molded case to its maintenance kit, from its cleaning rod to its polishing cloth, from its gloves to its joint lubricant, it has everything you may need to rock your first concert.
What we liked:
Comes with full package and high-quality assembly
The build is built-well with high-quality pads
Delivers a pleasant tone
What could be better:
Some say that the joints are too tight
G-sharp keypad possibly doesn’t cover the entire hole
If you’re done with your budget-pick beginner flute and are looking for an upgrade, the Jean Paul USA FL-220 is your next best choice. For this upgrade, your high-quality design is backed by features like closed holes for ease of use and the carrying case and cloth included.
Whether this is your main flute or you’re going to be investing in it as your practice instrument, the Jean Paul USA FL-220 can suit all your needs—from beginner to intermediate.
For high-quality performance and build for an affordable price, the intonation of the Jean Paul USA FL-220 is rated high and backed by the brand name. How does this flute get its power? From its durable metal keys that allow for an even response and consistent playability.
The Jean Paul USA FL-220 also comes with thoughtful design to make playing a breeze, with its embouchure plate design, it makes the instrument easy to play for learners. It is also quite easy to hold with its plateau keys and offset G-key. These two features make it especially easy for learners with small hands to hold.
Not only does it comes with the already mentioned case and cloth, but it also includes gloves and cleaning rod.
If you’re looking for that real natural sound, the Native American Flute Walnut is the best wooden flute on the market and rated high on our guide.
With its handmade build, the design of the Native American Flute really sets it apart from other flutes out there. With real wood inlays, the flute delivers the key of low D. Measured at 24 inches long, the Native American Flute seems relatively hard to play—but is surprisingly easy for fingering and delivering a sweet sound.
This is a great choice for a player who needs to be able to perform with a deep tone at a professional level but using little air—since the sensitivity and responsiveness of the flute are pretty good.
Although the flute stand isn’t included, the high-quality make of the entirely handmade by Cherokee Indian Americans in the USA really makes the flute unique.
Simple enough to play for beginners, the secure sound and ease of use are features that really make it worthwhile to invest in. Depending on the manufacturer, the Native American Flute Walnut also comes with a carrying bag, CD, DVD, and songbook.
The holes are also quite small and easy to play for a beginner or someone with relatively small fingers.
What we liked:
Leather binding and hand-crafted for originality
Delivers a smooth, sweet tone
Easy to play for small fingers
What could be better:
Octave comes out of tune
Things to Consider
Before you choose the best flute for your playing level and preference, take a look at the various details in our buying guide. Let us help you work through the various important components and features you need to know before you buy.
Flute players’ level to consider
From beginner to professional, the level of difficulty of which you or a loved one plays the flute can dictate a lot about the type of flute you need to invest in. From novice to beginner to intermediate to advanced intermediate to advanced university to semi-professional to professional, there are various levels to reach as a flute player.
Although an instructor, teacher or professional can help advise you on your unique playing level, here is also a video to help beginners:
Choosing the flute that meets your expectations as well as answers your budget is tough, but you should understand that there are many more criteria that builds the price. Every factor of a flute construction and player’s level, even the case it comes with – it all changes the money you’d have to pay. So, you may meet the flute from $100 (wooden) to $20,000 (professional) – and the price for both would be fully justified.
Choose the perfect flute by the following features
To help you choose the perfect flute for your preference and level, here are a few features that you should check out:
In the world of music and instruments, there are certain brands that have a more formidable reputation than others. Although you might not feel like you really need a popular or famous brand name, you might want to consider getting a unique brand if you’re looking for high-quality.
Especially if you are at the professional level, it can be beneficial that you invest in a high-quality brand name—especially if the difference in quality of music can be as minute as the smallest of details.
To help you choose a brand that suits your needs, you should take the time to do as much research as possible. From the various brands on our guide today, like the Yamaha YFL261, you can tell that these products are backed by high quality.
If you’re still unsure about brand names, you can ask fellow flautists or teachers of flute players.
Length and weight
Although you won’t be able to choose a flute based on its weight or size, you can still uniquely choose your particular preferred flute by its curved head joint—which is especially helpful for beginners.
This curved part of the flute can help bring the flute closer to the body, which helps with making the reach much easier.
Although this additional feature might cost you a bit more, it’s definitely worth the investment because it can help avoid neck and back pain—and can help instill a musical instrument at a young age.
Material – pick the best
Any instrument—especially the flute—can be defined by something as simple yet influential as the type of material in design.
Especially since material plays an important role when it comes to sound quality, defining what the right type of material you need for your flute is extremely important.
However, as you go up in your player level, you will want to think about investing in something a bit more durable like solid silver, gold, platinum, and granadilla wood, like with the Pearl PFP105E.
Flute family – choose wisely
In the world of music, there are various types of “species” of instruments—which are called families.
In the Western Flute Family, the western flute family, you have a variety of different flutes, including:
Contra’ alto Flute
There are also more exotic types, like pan flutes.
Arguably one of the most important parts of your flute, the mouthpiece plays a huge role in the quality of the instrument.
The mouthpiece is the part of the flute that has the riser and the lip plate. As we mentioned earlier, the flutes for beginners generally will have a curved headjoint or silver-plated one.
As a player gets better and better, the headjoint of the mouthpiece gets straighter and straighter.
Open/closed holes choice
You might have noticed that from product to product there was a difference when it came to be open or close-holed.
When a flute has a gap in the middle where the keyword is, that means it’s an open-holed flute. Open-holed flutes are generally not strongly recommended for beginners since you have to be extremely skilled and accurate to be able to play it with precision.
A closed hole is better for a beginner or a younger player.
The finish of the flute and the way the body of the instrument looks can also be a deciding factor on your purchase.
If you’re a more advanced player, you might be a bit more familiar with the styles and looks of various flutes—and you most likely have already developed a preference.
If you’re just starting out playing the flute and you’re learning all about how to reach certain notes, the manipulation of your fingers and the particular reach, you might have a bit of trouble in the beginning.
There are certain key modifications that make beginner flutes a bit easier to use than the average flute—particularly when the G key is offset. Apart from the Yamaha YFL261, which is inline, most flutes featured here will be offset, making them solid choices for beginner flautists.
However, if you don’t have to be a beginner to fall back on an offset G key—the way that this flute is structured is actually quite beneficial for the hands and can reduce symptoms or your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome, since it’s much easier to play.
You’ll also notice that there are particular modifications on the split E mechanism, which can be found in most flutes manufactured these days. This split E will divide both the lower and upper G keys. This can help your response playing and make the entire song go more easily.
The embouchure hole plays an important role in the sound of the flute. Depending on the shape, the embouchure hole can create a mellow tone or a brighter sound. If it’s shaped in a particular way, it can also make the flute much more difficult to play, as well.
When it comes to flutes, there are generally two types of footjoints, the C and the B. The C is much more common than the latter, which have two keys and can help you play a low C.
The B footjoint helps improve your bottom range and makes it possible to play a low B.
Depending on the investment of the product, most of the flutes on this guide today will come along with a case cover and some cleaning supplies, like the Jean Paul USA FL-220.
You’ll want to check with the manufacturer or seller to see what’s included beforehand to make sure everything is covered. If not, you might want to also think about investing in cleaning or maintenance supplies like a silver polishing cloth, gauze cloth, cleaning rod, stand, and a case cover.
To help you to play the flute as best you can, check out the following tips:
Work on your posture—sit with your back straight and head position forward.
Record yourself to hear any mistakes in your playback.
Practice outdoors which can help you not be afraid of playing loudly.
If you’re more of a visual learner than a reader, you can also watch this video
Before you buy, different flutes come with unique details—from their product description features to maintenance. If you have a question about any of the flutes on our guide, it most likely has already been asked by previous flute owners. To answer questions about flute maintenance and learning how to play, here are the answers to our most frequently-asked questions:
Especially since you’re not only investing in your already paid-for flute but also your musical aspirations, flute care, and maintenance is especially important. To help increase the lifespan of your keypads and the durability of your flute, follow these tips for maintenance:
Rinse your mouth out before you play—if you can, brushing your teeth and using mouthwash also helps. Any leftover food, sugar or beverage particles blown through your flute can deteriorate the health of your pads.
However, you won’t be able to completely take out all particles—which makes it especially important to swab and use a needle and cleaning cloth. Fortunately, most flutes come along with cleaning products. By feeding it through the three parts of the flute you can take out all the condensation to help clean the flute.
The sticking pad may—actually stick. To help unstick it, you can either blow on it with strong bursts of air or put a clean piece of paper inside and push the key lightly.
From ages four to six, a child can start learning how to play the flute if they’re concentrated, interested, and focused enough. However, you might want to make sure that your child is fully invested in music before buying an expensive flute.
To help you put together the two- three-piece flute, check out this video for a play-by-play:
To help instill the proper passion in a young flautist or get the right flute for your playing level, it’s important to read descriptions, reviews, and suggestions very carefully.
We want to help you choose the best flute. For that, we’ve narrowed down your buying options to our top three flutes:
The Yamaha YFL261 is our Editor’s Choice if you want to invest in the best of the best. With open holes for professional or advanced play, this flute is great for high-performance and is backed by a 5-year warranty. The Yamaha YFL261 also comes with features like neoprene bumpers, adjustable screws, silver plated, undercut embouchure, the case included, and stainless steel springs to set it at the top of our list.
The Altus Azumi AZ3 is our runner’s up and Best Professional Flute on our guide today. Working with open holes in a sterling silver material, the Altus Azumi AZ3 is backed by a 3-year limited warranty and comes with the cover and case included.
The Kaizer FLT-1500NK is our budget option if you’re looking for affordability and high quality. Working with a closed-hole functionality, you can still get the high-quality nickel silver material for an affordable price. Backed by a lifetime-limited warranty, the Kaizer FLT-1500NK is re-shaping what “budget” can offer.
We hope that this guide has helped you choose the best flute for your playing level—and your money.