The 10 Best Flutes

Updated November 13, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Flutes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're a seasoned flutist or an amateur flautist, having a good instrument in your hands can make a significant difference in the quality of your playing. We've evaluated some of the best flutes on the market for beginners and pros alike, and ranked them here by their clarity of tone, comfort, and overall value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flute on Amazon.

10. Glory Closed Hole C

With many different colors and designs available to choose from, the Glory Closed Hole C allows you to customize your instrument to your exact desires. Its sturdy leather pad provides both moisture resistance and air-tightness.
  • made from real cupronickel
  • high-grade needle spring
  • keys have a tendency to stick
Model MUS267097
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Mendini MFE-BL

The Mendini MFE-BL sports a strikingly handsome cobalt blue lacquered body. Its undercut beveled embouchure, double bladder pads, and soft rubber key bumpers also ensure the model's durability, clarity of tone, and ease of use.
  • features a split e
  • comes with a folding stand
  • too lightweight to sound truly rich
Brand Mendini
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Jean Paul FL-220

The Jean Paul FL-220 is a beautifully built instrument that is designed specifically for students, so it's very easy to play. It comes with a contoured carrying case for safe and easy transportation to all of your classes or recitals.
  • plateau-style arrangement
  • nickel-plated finish
  • pricey for a beginner's model
Brand Jean Paul USA
Model FL-220
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Lazarro Professional

Good enough for beginners, though perhaps not top-grade, the Lazarro Professional delivers a vibrant and impressive sound when playing at lessons and concerts, in orchestras or in bands, thanks in large part to its cupronickel construction.
  • available with silver or gold keys
  • comes with grease
  • paint peels on the colored models
Brand Lazarro
Model pending
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Moz Silver-Plated C

The Moz Silver-Plated C has a fully-engraved mouthpiece, and a foot joint with Italian Pisoni pads that are designed for smooth and nearly flawless playing. This model also comes with gloves and a convenient polishing cloth.
  • includes a handy screwdriver
  • sleek and attractive looking
  • can be difficult to service
Brand Moz
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Hall Crystal 11704

Combining both a decorative appeal and unique tonality, the Hall Crystal 11704 is a cross between a piccolo and a traditional D instrument. It is handmade from borosilicate glass and adorned with a kiln-fired ivy decoration in green, brown, and black.
  • made in the usa
  • comes with a fingering chart
  • exceedingly fragile
Brand Hall Crystal Flutes
Model 11704
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Bentoni C

With a focus on superior craftsmanship and affordability, the Bentoni C features 16 nickel-plated and plateau-style keys with an ergonomically-designed, offset G and a split E. It's manufactured by Italian craftsmen in New Jersey.
  • undercut beveled embouchure
  • seal-tested for quality assurance
  • putting it together is difficult
Brand Bentoni
Model Ben-0825
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Gemeinhardt Model 3OB

The Gemeinhardt Model 3OB boasts an attractive, silver-plated construction and an exclusive four-post foot joint for extra dependability. Its proportioned holes and pad cups will also ensure superior response and rich tones.
  • comes with a cleaning rod
  • power-coined keys
  • good for intermediate level players
Brand Gemeinhardt
Model 3OB
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Yamaha YFL-221

Built with strong nickel plating, the Yamaha YFL-221 is crafted for withstanding heavy use and maintaining its durability, which is particularly useful for young beginners. Surprisingly, it still offers beautifully rich sound.
  • tuned to the key of c
  • features an offset g
  • highly responsive fingering
Brand Yamaha
Model YFL-221
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Pearl Quantz Series

Made for innovation and versatility, the Pearl Quantz Series delivers an elegant design with French pointed arms and a one-piece, core-bar construction, making it one of the most reliable and tonally flexible options for the aspiring flutist.
  • patented pinless mechanism
  • simple yet efficient design
  • b foot joint promotes extra comfort
Brand Pearl
Model 525RBE1RB
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Defining The Flute

Regardless of the instrument played, music serves to entertain, inspire, and soothe the soul. A musical composition is much more than simply notes on a page. Similar to the way genetics is passed on to future generations, so too is a musical composition as it transcends the ages. Each note represents an element of musical DNA. Music is an artistic reflection of history and the mood of a particular location at a given time. It is an evolving snapshot, meaning that the overall form of the original composition stays the same from a funadmental perspective with respect to its anatomy, but the piece can still change with mood and invoke a variety of emotions depending on where a person is when they're listening to it. Each instrument plays its own part in that reflection over time, hence using the concept of music as an element of historical overview. The flute is no exception.

The flute is a member of the woodwind group of musical instruments. Woodwind instruments are classified into two distinct categories that include reed instruments (i.e. the clarinet and saxophone) and flutes. The difference between a reed instrument and a flute is observed in the way each sound is produced. A reed instrument produces sound by focusing air into a mouthpiece and causing the wooden reed to vibrate. By contrast, a flute's sound is produced when a player blows a focused stream of air across the edge of a hole in a cylindrical tube, which causes the air inside the tube to vibrate. In order to change the tone of the flute's sound, a player must open or close holes that are built into the body of the instrument. Performing this action changes the lenth of both the flute's resonator and resonant frequency.

Flutes are either open or closed. With an open flute, an airstream is blown across a sharp edge where it is split, and finally acts on the air column contained inside the flute's hollow tubing. Using a closed flute requires the player to blow an airstream into a separate duct. The duct then channels the air into a sharp edge where it is split, thereby causing the air contained within the flute to vibrate and produce sound.

The most common modern flute is the Western concert flute, made from nickel, brass with plated silver, and even gold for the most professional of musicians.

Finding The Right Instrument

Two very important qualities one must consider when purchasing a flute are the materials the instrument is made from and its intended recipient. The materials will greatly influence the quality and tone of the instrument's sound. Students, for example, need a dependable and sturdy instrument that they can use while learning how to perfect their skills. Student instruments don't have to be made from premium materials (like silver and gold) to get a rich sound. Brass with silver or nickel plating is usually a good option.

Responsive and easy-to-play keys are also important, particularly if you're just starting out with the instrument. It should be easy to get a good sound out of the flute without too much effort. It's also a good idea to ensure the keys have some type of padding to ensure a proper seal over the holes when playing.

Definitely spend time to find the right head joint, as this part of the instrument gives the flute its musical personality. You may have to try several different head joints before you find the one that produces the most rich and velvety sound specific to your instrument.

Finally, if you're a professional flutist, you might want to find an elaborately-decorated instrument for show and performance purposes. Such decoration also gives the flute its individuality.

An Evolving Musical Species

The flute is considered one of the earliest extant musical instruments dating as far back as paleolithic times, somewhere between fourty-three and thirty-five thousand years ago. Some of the earliest flutes have been found in the Swabian Alb region of modern-day Germany. One of the earliest flutes recovered is made from a vulture's wing bone that is perforated with five finger holes. This type of crafting suggests that modern humans adopted music into their culture and used it as a form of human bonding among large groups to allow the species to expand.

Flutes were also used by both the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, some having been preserved in tombs over the centuries. The Egyptian flute was vertical in design with two to six finger holes. By the second century BC, the transverse (horizontally-oriented) flute was used in ancient Greece as well as India, China, and Japan. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the flute had almost completely disappeared from Europe until the Crusades brought about contact between Europeans and Arabs. This contact spread the popularity of the vertical flute throughout Europe as far as Spain and France by the fourteenth century.

Throughout the Renaissance, most transverse flutes were cylindrical in shape and made from boxwood. By the late seventeenth century, the Hotteterre family was credited with making several design changes to the transverse flute that included the addition of a head joint, a body, and a foot joint as opposed to a single cylinder.

The German inventor and musician credited for perfecting the design of the modern Western concert flute and its fingering system was Theobald Boehm. Boehm's fingering system has also been adapted to both the oboe and clarinet.

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Last updated on November 13, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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