Last Updated: Oct 19, 2021 @ 1:02 pm.

What's the best flute for a student learning the instrument? We interviewed parents whose kids gave the flute a try. And then we talked with three band directors to get their input. One key feature to consider: comfort for the player. For example, we looked for flutes that were light weight (under 2 lbs. is ideal). We came up with 7 flutes that are aimed at students . . . here are the best bets.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best Lightweight Flute

A great starter flute
For the first-time flutist, this comfortable flute is perfect for the student . . . at a price that doesn't break the bank. We liked all the included accessories, including case and cleaning tools.

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Best Lightweight Flute: Glory Closed Hole C Flute

Let’s talk the best flutes.

When you have a student who is required to take music in school, you have two choices when it comes to musical instruments: renting them from a local company or purchasing one of the flutes like the ones we recommend in this article.

As you might have guessed, renting is typically more expensive . . . with the total cost for a school year costing TWICE (or more) as much as the flutes we recommend in this article. 

We interviewed band directors (as well as parents of student flutists) to get their advice on what is the best course when your child decides to take up the flute.

When shopping for a flute, consider these three factors:

  1. Comfort. The lighter the weight, the happier the player. Also  look for steel springs, a closed-hole design and bumpers (the choices are neoprene, cork or rubber). 
  2. Included accessories. You obviously need a case, but a cleaning cloth, flute stand and cleaning rod are nice as well.
  3. Price. As you’d imagine, flutes come in various materials. Nickel plating is affordable. Cupronickel, an alloy of hickel and copper, is the least expensive option of all.


Like all musical instruments, there are trade-offs when it comes to quality and price. And when we talked with band directors (we interviewed three in different parts of the country), we heard varied opinion about renting versus buying an affordable model. Some band directors insist rental is best and deride the quality of low-end flutes. Others said it was perfectly acceptable to try out these flutes, especially for first-timers. 

And of course, these flutes are designed for students. They aren’t as ideal for professional flutists planning to tour with a Jethro Tull tribute band.

Fancier student brands like Armstrong often cost five TIMES that of these flutes (their fans would say they are five times better in quality). Those are best for students who plan to play flute more than just that one year required in middle school.

For the best lightweight flute, after researching 6 different brands recommended by band directors, we decided on Glory’s Closed Hole C Flute.

It is a very lightweight model—the shipping weight is 1.92 lbs, but that includes the cleaning cloth and tools, etc. So the actual flute is less.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Cupronickel plating.

• Included tuning rock.

 • Accessories include polish cloth, cork grease and white gloves.

• Affordable.

• Nice sound for such an affordable flute.

• Great for students.

What Needs Work

• Finish can easily scratch off. 

• Can break if your student isn’t careful.

• Music instrument shops often refuse to work on these affordable flutes, if they need repair. Which means it might be more practical to purchase a replacement if it breaks.

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Best Overall Tone + Accessories

Easy to assemble
Nickel-plated, this flute has a more durable finish and better quality for beginners. Rich tone and included flute stand = good bang for the buck. Also nice: rubber key bumpers.

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Best Overall Tone + Accessories: Cecilio High Grade Student C Flute

This flute came recommended by several of our readers for the first-time flutist—and we’d agree, it packs a good amount of value in a flute with very good tone.

Unlike the Glory flute above, this flute has a more expensive finish (nickel), which is more durable than cupronickel in our opinion.

What We Liked

•, Good quality overall.

• Great for student learner.

• Includes stand.

• Accessories include case, joint crease, adjustment screwdriver, pair of gloves and cleaning cloth.

• Rubber key bumpers.

What Needs Work

• Some sharp edges.

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Best Flute Recorder

Includes carry bag
We loved this recorder, which features great quality at a price that's easy on the wallet. Kids loved the variety of colors; parents liked how easy it is to clean.

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Best Flute Recorder: Yamaha YRS-23 Soprano Recorder

If your student needs a recorder flute, our top pick would be Yamaha’s YRS-23. It got the nod from many of our readers and even music teachers we interviewed agreed: this model is a winner. And easy on the wallet.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to clean.

• Affordable.

• Variety of colors.

• Includes carry bag and fingering chart.

• Good durability (plastic resin).

• Double holes for low C/C and low D/D.

• Excellent for school use.

• Light weight.

What Needs Work

• Loud! Well, this is true for many recorders . . . but you’ve been warned!

• Sometimes squeaks after long-term use.

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Best Bamboo Flute

Easy to play
Beautiful! We loved this bamboo flute with brass joints, which is a Dizi (or Chinese transflute). The result is a bright sound. Overall great craftsmanship.

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Best Bamboo Flute: G Key Dizi Biter Bamboo Flute

And now for something different.

While not as popular as metal flutes, flutes made from wood (specifically bamboo) are a popular sub-genre. If you want to give a bamboo flute a try, the band directors we interviewed recommended this one: Physcool’s G Key Dizi Biter Bamboo Flute. Very nice quality at a decent price.

What We Liked

• Good craftsmanship.

• Affordable.

• Includes velvet carry bag.

• Lightweight (75 grams).

• Includes 1 pack of Dizi membrane.

• Brass joints.

What Needs Work

• No included assembly instructions although it is easy enough to figure out, in our opinion.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research and interviews, picking products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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