- Discover the best flutes for beginners
- Learn how to choose the right flute for you
- Essential buyer’s tips are down at the bottom to help you make an informed choice
Recognized for its sweet and emotive sound, capacity to project, and versatility across a wide array of genres — the flute is one of the crown jewels of the woodwind family.
In this article, we introduce you to the best beginner transverse flutes for those who want to take their first steps.
What’s a “transverse flute” you ask? They are flutes that are held and played from a horizontal position (i.e. the side). This contrasts with say, a recorder, which is blown from a vertical (forward) position.
- For more info, check out our guide to flute vs recorder
- And our separate ultimate guide to all the 13 different types of flutes
What Are The Best Flutes For Beginners?
Overall, we deem the ‘Michael WFLM-25’ the best all-around flute for beginners. With its excellent price-to-performance ratio, it’s hard to fault it. For those on a tighter budget, look no further than the Benson BFT-1n.
With that out of the way, our contenders for the best flutes for beginners include:
- Michael WFLM-25 (Our Pick)
- Yamaha YF-222 (Runner Up)
- Benson BFT-1n (Best Budget Option)
- Eagle FL03N
- Michael WFLM35
- Pearl 765RBE1RB Quantz Series
- Eastman Winds Student Flute Model
Let’s dive into each of them in detail.
1. Michael WFLM-25 (Our Pick)
The Michael WFLM25 Transverse Flute guarantees versatility and even more musicality for flutists of all tastes. With an excellent standard of finish and construction, it's a combination of beauty and pristine sound pattern.
- Excellent quality
- Easy execution of highs and lows
For example, the Michael WFLM-25 is one of the best flute brands for beginners and an excellent choice for those who want quality at a reasonable price.
It has a fantastic finish and a very well-balanced timbre with high-quality tuning. The main features that make it easier for students to play are present in this model.
The sealed key system, the G offset alignment, and the mechanical E make it easy for the flutist to play the most difficult notes. In addition, it has Italian pads at the base of the keys that improve sealing and prevent humidity.
Although it is not a brand as well known as Yamaha, we can assure you that for around $300, you will be able to access an instrument that, for those who are just starting, fulfills its role perfectly.
We do recommend that once you begin to master the flute and always under the recommendation of your teacher, look for an intermediate or professional option.
Until then, take advantage of this flute which is, without a doubt, a great opportunity!
2. Yamaha YFL-222 (Runner Up)
Taking its cue from Yamaha’s Professional Series flutes, the YFL-222 student concert flute is a well-crafted instrument designed to fit the needs of beginning players.
- Incredible tone
- Easy playability
- Comfortable offset G key system
The YFL-222 model is an excellent option for students looking for something more than a basic model, prioritizing the quality and durability of the instrument.
Despite not having the mechanical E, this transverse flute has precision in tuning and a higher quality sound than the most basic and inexpensive student flutes.
Its playability is advanced and makes for quick learning without great technical difficulties. With a nickel silver body, it has an offset G-key system and silver-plated keys and comes with a carrying case.
3. Benson BFT-1N (Best Budget Option)
The Nickel-plated BFT-1N Benson C Transverse Flute with stainless steel screws has a sound projection of excellent quality and surprising definition even for the most demanding flutists.
- Great for students
- Excellent durability and strength
- Pristine sound quality
Recommended primarily for students, the Benson BFT-1N traverse flute is constructed of quality materials that provide good durability and strength, and sound quality. It is worth noting that the sound is commensurate with its price!
We can’t expect a professional instrument for a value of just under $300, but we can expect a reliable and useful instrument for the first years of learning.
The key system of this instrument is Boehm with stainless steel screws that value each note and provide a differentiated sonority.
It also has misaligned G keys that facilitate fingering and contribute to better student development.
In addition, the Benson Transversal BFT-1N flute also features a hard case for safe transportation of the instrument. The nickel-plated finish ensures the instrument’s durability and strength, so you can enjoy your flute for many years to come.
4. Eagle FL03N
The FL03N is a C flute with an E mechanism, with a nickel-plated finish that gives it an elegant look and greater resistance to the musician's conditions of use.
- Ergonomic keys
- C flute with an E mechanism
- Nickel-plated finish
The Eagle brand is also well known for making good beginner flutes. It’s an excellent instrument for any beginner looking for more quality in their studies.
Unlike other flutes on this list, this one does away with nickel in favor of stainless steel with a bright nickel-plated finish. This instrument has a pleasant sound, excellent intonation, and a lot of elegance.
Besides having a comfortable carrying case, this instrument also has a misalignment of the G keys and a mechanical system that facilitates the performance of the E in the third octave.
5. Michael WFLM35
The Michael WFLM35 Transverse Flute, tuned in C (C), is a high-standard wind instrument that guarantees intense and expressive melodies to advanced flutists, whether on stage or in the studio.
- 3-octave sound extension
- Beautiful silver finish
- Ability to play bass and treble
The WFLM35 model is a bit more expensive at around $400 but is a better quality instrument and worth the money if you can afford it.
This high-end soprano recorder has a 3-octave sound extension, allowing you to create various musical arrangements in the studio, on stage, or in the concert hall.
Its pads are of type L. Pisoni, an Italian model that improves the sealing system of the holes. This prevents moisture from entering the instrument.
The Michael WFLM35 flute is easy to play, with an offset G and a mechanical E, which allows the player to play both bass and treble with more ease and better sound quality.
6. Pearl 765RBE1RB Quantz Series
Combining traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation, the Pearl Flute Quantz Series 765RBE is an excellent step-up instrument with top-notch appointments. The silver headjoint, body, and foot joint, and hand-assembled keys give this value-packed intermediate flute a clear, light tone.
- Light, pure tone
- Ample projection
- Perfect for advanced and aspiring players
This is a very good quality instrument for those who want to take their first steps with a flute that has a good quality sound. It is, without a doubt, an excellent student flute.
This model features a B foot joint, French-pointed arms, and a split E mechanism (for ease of playing).
Its design is elegant, and the materials from its one-piece core bar and its accessory parts are of high quality.
For just over $400, you can be assured of an instrument for years to come!
7. Eastman Winds Student Flute Model
These student flutes from Eastman Winds ( EFL220, EFL210, and EFL210-CS) are top-tier student instruments due to their rich tone, silver-plated nickel body, and silver-plated nickel head joints.
- Complex and rich sound
- Y-arm and French-point arm options
- Worthy investment
Its price is close to the advanced flutes, but it is still an excellent option for students. This model features a Y-arm key, which will extend its durability. It has two types of keys: a Y-arm and a French-pointed arm.
The Y-arm directly connects the key to the base, which means there is less chance of a key breaking or getting lost.
Another strong aspect to keep in mind, as it is made of nickel-silver (approaching the material from which professional flutes are made), it will have a more complex and richer sound than silver flutes.
It also comes with a protective hard case, which is a welcome addition.
Although it has a steeper price tag of around $1,000, it is well worth the investment!
Essential Tips For Choosing A Flute
Check The Type Of Transverse Flute Material And Finish.
The finish of the transverse flute is usually made of nickel, which is typically durable if the flutist maintains it well.
However, if you are looking for the best transverse flute, choosing a silver-plated instrument is a no-brainer, as they offer superior sound quality to nickel-plated instruments, as well as being more resistant to corrosion.
Although not covered in this article, you’ll also find them made of gold and platinum. Unsurprisingly, you’ll be paying a premium for those varieties.
Gold-plated instruments are best for those who want a thicker, warmer sound, while platinum-plated instruments are best for those who want a more penetrating sound.
In addition, you can also find flutes made of solid silver or even solid gold with specific alloys for extra strength. These are the best flutes for professionals and those with significantly more value to invest in the instrument.
Prioritize A Transverse Flute With Offset Alignment
In general, transverse flute keys can have two types of alignment, G inline (G aligned) or G offset (G misaligned). The first model, G inline, is characterized by the alignment of all keys so that the player has more difficulty reaching the G note with the little finger.
Therefore, the best transverse flute has a G alignment, which offers more comfort in playing your musical repertoire.
In addition, this type of flute allows all instruments to have a mechanical E, which is impossible on some models with in-line G alignment.
As stated earlier, not all flutes have the mechanical E, intended to make it easier to play the E in the third octave. In general, flutists should learn to play all notes accurately, of course.
However, the higher notes are extremely difficult to play correctly.
Therefore, if you are starting out or looking for better playability, the best transverse flute should have the mechanical E to aid in playing the instrument’s most difficult note.
Pay Attention To The Foot Of The Flute
There is no consensus on whether the B or C-foot is better. However, some studies indicate that the B flute favors the overtones of the B note, while the C flute favors the overtones of the C note.
The truth is that the B-foot provides an extra key over the C-foot flute, but that does not indicate the better or worse quality – it’s simply an extra feature.
As such, both types offer the same level of quality, but if you want more versatility and possibilities when playing, the B-foot models are the better transverse flute for you.
How To Choose The Best Transverse Flute By Key
Another feature that can make it difficult to choose the best transverse flute is the key system. Let’s look at how each one works.
Boehm System: Closed Key System
The Boehm system is the oldest system and is characterized by having the keys completely closed, with the player only needing to press the keys during the performance for the notes to sound.
This makes this model seem easier to play. However, this varies from flutist to flutist.
In addition, many flutists claim that flutes with closed keys have an inferior sound to opened keys, which has not been proven. However, it has fewer resources to create tuning effects than flutes with hollow keys.
This model tends to have a lower price but is suitable for those who wish to economize when buying.
French System: Hollow Key System
Flutes with the French key system are the best transverse flutes for those looking for a better feel when fingering notes. This makes it possible to create effects the previous model does not allow.
In addition, the holes in the keys force the flutist to place the fingers in the right positions, as that is the only way for the notes to come out correctly.
However, by covering only ¾ or half of the hole, the instrumentalist also can achieve sound effects that could further enrich the flutist’s interpretations.
Are Plastic Flutes Worth It?
Plastic flutes are used in almost every school because they are particularly inexpensive and produce sound easily.
Despite the bad rap that ‘plastic’ gets, they are surprisingly durable. This makes them ideal for children and are great starter flutes for beginners.
We hope this article will be of help in choosing your first instrument! It is possible that an inexpensive flute (with some exceptions) can be an excellent first choice before moving on to a more advanced flute for your studies.
Remember that you can also try to talk to musicians in your city or flute teachers and listen to their opinion, which may be very valuable.
And don’t forget, the instrument should always suit the player, not the other way around!
Want to learn more about the flute? Check out our guide to the 13 Types Of Flutes!