12 Best Alto Saxophones in 2017

If you are part of a saxophone quartet or a regular concert band, the chances are that you will want to invest in an alto saxophone. While the instrument is relatively new, it’s definitely a key piece for experienced musicians.

This guide will tell you what you need to know about saxophones, how to choose them and which models are most trustworthy. By the end, you will be able to make an idea of which is the best alto saxophone for you.

Below, you will find some of the most popular brands that people claimed are very reliable.

Top 12 Alto Saxophones Comparison Chart

Design Name Reeds Included Weight Rating (1-5)
   1. Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone Outfit Black Nickel  1  13.2 lbs  4.9
   2. Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone  1  11.8 lbs  4.7
   3. Prelude Student Model AS711 Alto Saxophone by Conn-Selmer  1  3 lbs  4.5
   4. Lazarro 360-NK E-Flat Eb Alto Saxophone Silver Nickel with Case  11  10.3 lbs  4.2
   5. Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX Saxophone Gold Laquer Finish  11  11.3 lbs  4.2
   6. Lazarro 360-2C E-Flat Eb Alto Saxophone Silver-Gold Keys with Case  11  10.4 lbs  4.2
   7. Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L+92D+PB Gold Lacquer E Flat Alto Saxophone with Tuner  10  9.7 lbs  4.2
   8. Professional Alto Eb Sax Saxophone Gold with Other Accessories New  1  10 lbs  4.2
   9. Conductor Model 300 Alto Saxophone – Gold Lacquer w Case  1  15 lbs  4.0
   10. Eb Alto Saxophone Gold Lacquer Finish  1  9.2 lbs  3.9
   11. Etude EAS-100 Student Alto Saxophone Lacquer  1  9.8 lbs  3.8
   12. Merano GWD510BL E Flat Alto Saxophone with Zippered Hard Case and Mouth Piece  10  9.6 lbs  3.6

Things to Think About

It’s not always easy to choose the best alto saxophone. For a musical instrument that has been with us only since the 19th century – and became popular in the 20th century – we do not know as much as we should about it.

Still, there ARE some things you may want to keep in mind when purchasing your dream saxophone – and they aren’t really so difficult.

New vs. Used and Budget Models

Saxophones today are usually very expensive, so if you are on a budget, there are two ways you can go about buying them: you either get a cheap one or an old one.

While a used saxophone is not as expensive as a brand new one, they tend to present risks. Sounds may be off due to the decay of the yellow brass bodies or keys, so you may be buying extra trouble along with a cheap product.

This can also happen with a cheap saxophone. The cheaper it is, the more you have to ask yourself: “Why is this product so affordable?” While a cheap alto saxophone may be alright for a student, it may not deliver the appropriate sound for a professional.

There are, however, some affordable saxophones out there that are pretty decent, just as there are some well-maintained used ones that will sound like new. That is why, the only way you can be sure if a saxophone is worthy or not is to try it out.

Weight Is of Importance

Despite the fact that they were made to be similar, there are some saxophones that are heavier than others. In this case, you need to consider your own body type. It would be embarrassing if you buy a saxophone for a gig only to realize that you aren’t even able to lift it.

For instance, if you are an alto saxophone player that makes the habit of hitting the gym at least once or twice a week, you won’t have any problems carrying a 15-pound instrument with you.

If your muscle mass is, on the other hand, not that good, you probably won’t be comfortable carrying around something that goes over 10 pounds. Think about how often you plan on using it and how much your body can handle. You need to be able to make those sassy saxophone moves, right?

Getting the Right Accessories

You also need to consider what accessories you want to purchase along with the saxophone. These can be:

  • Mouthpieces
  • Reeds
  • Neck straps
  • Stands
  • Pull-throughs

You may find other accessories as well, but only those mentioned above actually provide crucial use.

The reeds, for instance, as thin and easy to lose as they may look, are something you cannot go without. Used on the mouthpiece, these will vibrate and produce the sound.

The thickness of the reed is also an issue; it will lead to either a stronger or a softer sound. Most saxophones will come with a medium-thick reed, but others may also include different reed “strengths.”

Top 5 Best Alto Saxophone Reviews

1. Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone

This saxophone is something you could describe as a remarkable find. If you have been playing the alto saxophone for a while now, then you will definitely agree that this one will sound just as great as any other professional saxophones you bought until now.

The projection and tonal quality of this instrument are very rich and full. While it may be cheaper than other “professional” instruments, it sure doesn’t sound like it. The intonation is on the spot, and it is really tuned with itself.

The keys are easy to use, and you will not have any problems hitting the high and low notes; even a child can use it. This is why this saxophone is perfect for a sax student.

Furthermore, it looks great. Its colors are in high contrast with one another, giving it that fabulous vintage look.

Forget guitar guys and vocalists; you will be the one to rock that stage.

For the price asked, this saxophone is a great bargain. It sounds beautiful, it looks beautiful, and it’s extremely comfortable to play. You are not likely to need another alto saxophone again.

2. Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone

This Jean Paul alto saxophone is not only striking but also produces a beautiful and consistent sound.

It’s easy to use and also fairly lightweight, but not flimsy, making it perfect for a student that has to carry it around to class every day.

The Rico reed included in the set is the one responsible for its smooth but tuned sounds.

You also get a carrying case, cleaning cloth, gloves, cork grease, mouthpiece, and swabs. You can keep the saxophone looking and sounding fabulous for a long time this way.

The price is also very friendly. Regardless if you buy a new or an old one, as long as it is well maintained, the sound will not be compromised. You will not have to buy any expensive saxophone to sound like a professional.

Overall, this instrument is a great option if you tend to commute or travel a lot. Its quality build will definitely last you throughout the years, so you will not have to worry about travel damage. For beginners and professionals alike, this one is a solid purchase.

3. Conn-Selmer AS711 Alto Saxophone

Students will love this one, and especially because it only weighs 3 pounds.

Coming with a case that can double as a backpack, you won’t even notice that you are carrying something around with you. Gone are the days when you’d have to struggle with back and arm pain due to excessive weight.

Despite the fact that it was meant to be lightweight, this doesn’t mean that the sound will be compromised. It is tuned well enough that even a professional player will enjoy playing it.

The lacquer, mechanical assembly, and overall quality are superior – considering that you are paying a fairly low price for it. You get what you paid for and even more than that.

4. Lazarro 360-NK E-Flat Eb Alto Saxophone

A regular alto saxophone will come with one reed – but no one can tell Lazarro what to do! That is why they include in the set not one, not two, but 11 Vandoren reeds! Each of them will provide a different sound, a different tonality, and an overall different world.

This alto saxophone can really scream. It will make itself heard perfectly and clearly in a concert hall, sounding as if you are a professional – and you may even be so!

The price, however, is student level – so you will not have to pay a small fortunate on it.

Moreover, if you buy it used, you may have even more to gain from it. These are really durable, so you are unlikely to have any issues.

When it comes to the sound, nothing can beat this one. Why get a rental when you can buy an affordable instrument you can call your own? No matter how you look at it, the deal is delicious.

5. Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX

This fine-looking saxophone will be a treat to your budget since it will not leave such a big hole in it.

It can play in a variety of styles, and the sound is nicely tuned and pleasant to hear. You’ll prefer this tone to any of the other saxophones you may have owned.

It has many extra accessories included, such as 11 reeds that will offer a professional and consistent sound. They will vibrate in such a way that the sound will be deep, mellow and soothing.

The use of the saxophone is easy on both student and professional level. You have some extra keys to “tone up” the songs and jazz it out even more. You’ll definitely enchant everyone at your gigs with this also saxophone.

Final Thoughts

Being a hybrid between a trumpet and a clarinet, the alto saxophone is one of the most romantic instruments in the world – even to this day. There’s no denying the effects that such a saxophone can have on us when listening at the right moment – or at any moment.

Smooth and soothing, alto saxophones not only need a talented player behind them but a well-tuned construction as well. Mixing these two will lead to the perfect music to soothe the soul.

So far, the best alto saxophone seems to be Selmer, but you may want to have a look at the other saxophones as well. Lazarro, Glory, and Mendini are also pretty sought, so you may want to take a close look at everything mentioned in this article.