The flute is a great instrument that can really add something special to an orchestra. Or if you like to expand on its use, it also sounds great in jazz bands, folk music, and world music to boot.
And that’s not all. It also promotes good posture, finger dexterity, proper and healthy breathing, and core strength too.
When done right, the flute has a clear wind-like graceful sound - silvery and wafting. Other instruments can try to steal their place, but in our view, there’s nothing quite like it.
Choosing a good quality flute can be rather tricky. But don’t worry because we’ve stepped in to help you out. We’ve been going through some of the best flutes out on the market today, and after much deliberation, we were able to handpick our top 5 favorites, which we can’t wait to show you.
Then we’ve got a handy buying guide for you, which will help you piece together what it is you’re looking for in a flute. It’s particularly handy if you’re buying your first flute and don’t really know where to start.
Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we tackle some of your most frequently asked questions.
For this article, we’re only going to look at European closed-hole flutes that do not have holes in the keys.
And, without further ado...
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Now, Yamaha is a big name brand and is hands down one of the best around. And this model is currently their highest ranking one in the bestseller lists with retailers.
Their YFL-222 model is specifically aimed at intermediate players, so please don’t choose this one if you’re a beginner.
It’s a top-quality model, with accurate intonation and sensitive response.
Our favorite feature of it is the CY head joint since it really helps to produce a beautiful sound, with a warm rich tone. This is thanks to its double flare taper, together with a unique embouchure hole undercut design.
We also like the foot joint marking which really helps with proper fitting.
It may be constructed from nickel, but we can assure you that it’s entirely silver plated, and has a nice silver sheen.
The shape and placement of the keys have all been ergonomically designed for the most comfortable performance that’ll feel entirely natural to play. The keys feature neoprene key bumpers, which makes them stronger and more durable than their cork counterparts.
It’s not shown in the product photo, but you also get a hard case and a soft carry case included, and an owner’s manual and cleaning kit besides.
As you’d expect from a big name brand, this beauty comes complete with a 1-year warranty. You can contact Yamaha directly for further information.
Customer feedback is very positive, earning almost a full 5 stars out of 5 on Amazon, based on over 200 individual customer ratings.
Yes, this is an expensive flute, but to ease the wallet a little, you can take advantage of the opportunity to pay for it in installments of less than $30 over 18 months interest-free upon approval for an Amazon Rewards Visa Card.
- From an excellent brand
- Several accessories included
- Entirely silver-plated
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Payment plan available
- Premium product at a premium price
Please note, this review is for the Intermediate FL-430 fule, and not the Student FL-220 flute, which also appears on the same Amazon page.
This mid-priced flute may not come from such a big name as Yamaha or Gemeinhardt, but we can assure you that it’s silver-plated and expertly crafted. It gives you a very clean and accurate tone.
It’s a closed-hole flute, in the key of middle C.
The key features (pun intended!) include a C foot joint, to provide nice, warmer tones, and an offset G configuration, for more natural playing.
The flute arrives in a professional branded carry case, complete with a cleaning kit (cloth and rod).
Moreover, it’s very high ranking in the retailer bestseller lists and comes highly recommended by customers, having earned 4 and a half stars out of 5 as an average Amazon customer rating. Even after well over 250 individual customer reviews.
It may not be the most expensive flute in our top 5 picks, but it still costs considerable money.
If you do decide to go for this one, you can take advantage of the opportunity to pay for it in installments of less than $30 over 18 months interest-free upon approval for an Amazon Rewards Visa Card.
You may be able to request a warranty - please see the Amazon page for details.
- A bestseller
- Has a C foot joint
- Offset G configuration
- Branded carry case
- Payment plan available
- There are two very different flutes on the Amazon page, so please be careful to click on the one you want
When we saw just how well this flute was selling, we just had to see what all the fuss was about. And we weren’t disappointed.
It’s a closed-hole version in the key of C, and is made of nickel (cupronickel to be specific), but is silver-plated for that extra shine.
It may be a cost-effective model, but it’s also high-quality performance too, suitable for both beginners and those of intermediate ability. It’s easy to use, with its smooth operation and produces excellent, authentic sound quality.
It’s stand out feature is its leather pads, which serve to produce an airtight seal, making it water-resistant - perfect for a day’s busking.
It comes as a complete kit, with a carry case, pair of gloves, cleaning kit, cork grease, and tuning rod.
Customer feedback has been great. At the time of writing this article, there’d been about 2,500 individual customer ratings for this beauty on Amazon, yet it still earned an average Amazon customer rating of 4 and a half stars out of 5.
In addition to the 16-hole flute we’re reviewing here, there’s also a 17-hole version available on the same Amazon page. Be sure to select the one you want.
Sometimes a used version of this flute is also available on the Amazon page, so if that’s of interest to you, you could really save yourself some money. We would argue that even at full price it’s great value for money.
- Huge bestseller
- Includes a tuning rod
- Save cash buying 2nd hand
- There’s a chemical smell when you first open the box, but this soon dissipates
This is another great flute!
It’s a mid-priced one, that the manufacturers liken to the Yamaha 200 series. But if it truly was, it would be at a similar price. This one is far more affordable.
It’s a closed-hole flute, in the key of middle C, which is pretty standard.
It’s of good quality and great sound. It has proved very popular with customers, earning 4 and a half stars on Amazon, after way over 50 individual customer ratings. It even made Amazon’s bestseller list for the category.
What we really like about it is the offset G, making it an easier reach for young students with small hands.
We also love the split E, because it gives you a cleaner more responsive top E.
There are a handful of accessories with it, including of course a carry case, but also a cleaning kit and flute stand.
It’s available in a wide range of colors, for those who like to be seen in their orchestra crowd.
- Mid-priced & good value
- Offset G & split E
- Popular with customers
- Nice range of colors
- Nickel-plated rather than silver-plated
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, then this is our bargain option. There are a lot of low priced flutes out there similar to this one, but we felt that this was the best in that category.
It comes highly recommended. After well over 1,600 individual customer ratings, the Amazon average customer rating comes in at a very healthy 4 and a half stars out of 5.
This flute comes of course, as a complete kit, with a carry case, pair of gloves, cleaning cloth & rod, and joint grease. And that’s not all - they also throw in a fold-away flute stand AND a pocketbook, which is a great starting point for beginners.
It’s available in a range of different colors, so you can buy one to suit your personality, or if you’re part of an orchestra, you will find one to match your color criteria.
It’s also available in a choice of silver plated or nickel-plated. We would argue that silver-plated is best, and fortunately, it only costs about $10 more than the nickel-plated versions.
What we really like about this particular flute (besides the price) is that it comes complete with a full year warranty, and excellent after-sales service, where your instrument is serviced locally, rather than having to be sent off.
- Very affordable option
- Huge bestseller
- Nice range of colors
- Both nickel and silver-plated versions are available on the Amazon page, so please be careful to select the one you want
Best Flutes Buying Guide
As promised, here’s your buying guide. We’re just going to run through some of the things you might want to consider before you buy.
Your level of ability
Flutes are often produced and sold for specific levels of player ability.
So, if you’re a beginner you’d fare far better with a beginner’s flute, than with one for an advanced player.
Curved head joint?
All flutes are technically the same size, however, flutes aimed at children of about 9 years or younger often feature a curved head joint, which can make it easier for a smaller person to play.
What it’s made of
The material used to make the flute has a significant impact on its sound. Most flutes, especially beginner flutes, are made from nickel and plated with silver.
Although the addition of silver plating does make the fluter heavier to hold, it really gives a bright finish to the flute. Moreover, it has a darker sound than nickel-plated flutes.
Intermediate and advanced flutes are sometimes made of solid silver, or even gold or platinum. But the nickel with silver plating variety is far more durable and cost-effective
In your search, you may come across a wooden variety, which, nice as they are, are not the standard in the western classical tradition. And, please, do not opt for the cheap plastic variety - they may look fun, but they don’t provide the right sound.
If you’re buying your first flute, you will need to buy more than just the flute alone. You will need a case for it, a cleaning cloth and rod, and some joint grease.
You may also be interested in a flute stand, a beginners guide (if you’re a beginner), and a pair of gloves.
If you already have all or most of these items, there’s still no harm in buying more when a flute comes as part of a kit. It’s always handy to have spares.
In our top 5 picks, we have included one of the best brands of flutes, specifically, Yamaha.
That said, there isn’t really one brand dominating the bestseller lists of flutes with retailers, and competition is pretty stiff, which means that you don’t necessarily have to go with a big name to get a really good quality flute.
However, you do generally get more longevity in your flute if you buy from a big name brand.
If you decide, as many people often do, to buy your musical instrument online, then please, by all means, take advantage of the chance to look at customer feedback.
If you’re anything like me, when you’re making a big purchase online, you’ll want to read as many customer reviews as possible. But, quite often, the average customer rating alone can be quite telling.
In our top 5 picks, we only chose flutes that earned at least 4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon, and we only included ones that made their bestseller list for the category.
Sadly, flutes tend to be very expensive instruments. And when buying them brand new, as opposed to second hand, you can often expect to spend anywhere from $80 to $760.
With that in mind, if it’s your first flute, you might want to consider renting one at first rather than buying outright.
Or, if you decide to buy a second-hand flute, you must be sure to get it serviced before you start playing.
But if you’re stuck on buying brand new outright, and budget is a particular concern, we have included a bargain option in our top 5 picks, namely our number 5 pick, the Mendini Closed Hole C Flute with Stand.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best brands of flutes?
We maintain that Yamaha remains one of the best brands of flute that you can get.
We were in no doubt that we had to include a Yamaha flute in our top 5 picks. We made it our number one pick.
How much does a good quality flute cost?
The best flutes out there at the moment can cost at least $500 or more. That’s why renting an instrument is currently proving popular with many people.
It’s also quite common for people to buy their flute second hand, as this can knock hundreds of dollars off the asking price.
As we referred to in our buying guide, you can often get some really good mid-priced flutes, but we would warn against purchasing a wooden or a plastic flute, as they don’t give anywhere near as good or authentic a sound.
As a rough guide, any flute that costs under $80 is usually not a good quality flute.
What are the best intermediate flutes?
We included some really great intermediate flutes in our top 5 picks.
These include our number 1 pick, the Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate Flute, our number 2 pick, the Jean Paul USA Intermediate Silver-Plated Flute FL-430, and our number 3 pick, the Glory Closed Hole C Flute.
What would make a good flute for a beginner?
We think our number 3 pick, the Glory Closed Hole C Flute, would make an excellent choice of flute for a beginner.
But you don’t have to take our word for it - there are loads of customer reviews on the Amazon page that specifically mention how pleased they are with as a starter flute.
How do I choose a good flute?
Our recommendation is to look for a silver-plated, closed-hole C flute, with an offset G and a C foot joint, and ideally a split E mechanism.
Which scale flute is best?
We would argue (until the end) that the best scale of the flute has to be the C- Natural Middle.
There are also those who like the G scale flute.