If you are looking for a new clarinet but are on a tight budget, it can be tough to know which one to go for. There are a number of options on the lower end but finding one that won’t break the first week you get it needs a bit of research.
To help you not get ripped off, we’ve put together a list of what we think are the best cheap clarinets on the market in 2023, as well as providing a buyer’s guide to help you know what features to look for.
Quick Answer: The Best Budget Clarinets
Best Budget Clarinet Reviews
Below are the top budget clarinets we recommend in our best cheap clarinet reviews based on their sound quality and value.
1. Jean-Paul USA CL-300 Cheap Student Clarinet
The beautiful Jean-Paul CL-300 produces the highest quality sounds for a budget clarinet. With nickel keys and a classic ebonite body, this is an excellent introductory clarinet for new students.
One of the cornerstone features of the Jean-Paul clarinet is how durable it is. It’s also well-centered, making it easier for beginners to use. Thanks to its Boehm 17 key system, this clarinet is ideal for playing in school bands.
A cylindrical bore produces a strong projection that sounds like it comes from a clarinet much more expensive than this one. It also has an excellent range of tones and a neck strap to maximize your comfort when practicing for long periods of time.
Carrying the Jean-Paul around between band practice is a breeze thanks to a sturdy carrying case. The clarinet also comes with Rico reeds, gloves, a cleaning cloth, and cork grease. All of these items fit inside the carrying case, so you have quick access to them.
2. Hisonic Signature Series Budget Clarinet
- Prestini pads that are Made in the USA
- Nickel-silver keys, Bright Tone, Clarinet is made of Ebonite
- Includes: Cork grease and clarinet swab
The Hisonic Signature is an ideal clarinet for beginner students. Because of the strong sound it produces, it holds up well when playing in orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands.
Ebonite is a hard rubber that serves as the base of this clarinet. It has nickel-plated keys mounted on the rubber, offering comfort for the student’s fingers and a professional-looking clarinet appearance.
Because of how well made the Hisonic Signature clarinet is, you likely won’t need to use the 1 Year Limited Warranty that accompanies it. That said, some people have issues with the case’s handle breaking, so if you encounter this problem, you’ll know you have the warranty to fall back on.
While we’re on the topic of the case, this clarinet comes with all the essentials so you can start playing it right out of the box—cork grease and swabs will keep your clarinet clean and running smoothly. It also comes with USA-made Prestini pads, which aid with producing a rich sound.
3. Mendini by Cecilio Inexpensive Clarinet
- Full Instrument Starter Kit: Includes instrument, case, mouthpiece, box of 10 reeds (2.5"), cork grease, cleaning cloth, gloves, pocketbook, and...
- Great for Beginners & Hobbyists: This B Flat clarinet kit is lightweight, adjustable, and easy to transport. Perfect for any student who has dreams of...
- Elegant Design: Sleek and smooth, our clarinet for students is composed of a high-grade plastic cast topped with durable nickel-plated keys, catching...
The Mendini clarinet is a great fit if you have a child who feels mediocre about taking up clarinet playing. With an even cheaper price tag than the first two clarinets we covered and a plastic body instead of an ebonite one, it offers a minimalistic but still stylish approach to clarinet playing.
An adjustable thumb rest and inline trill keys offer Mendini players outstanding comfort. However, if you have a younger child, comfort might not be the first thing that draws them to this clarinet—it comes in ten fun colors ranging from yellow to hot pink!
A pack of ten 2.5-inch reeds comes with this clarinet to get you started. However, you might want to invest in better reeds, as they will improve sound expression.
In addition to the usual items that accompany a clarinet, you’ll also receive a pocketbook to store your sheet music and a foldable clarinet stand that fits inside the bell.
4. Lazarro Bb 150-BK-L Affordable Clarinet
- Are You looking for your new Clarinet, to fulfill all your musical needs - We have the perfect instrument for You - "Lazarro Clarinet".
- Our "Lazarro" clarinets are perfect for any occasions: lessons, concerts, bands and orchestras. We follow USA Standards for our Clarinets, that is why...
- We are a USA Brand that you can trust 100%. Our clarinets are not just stylish, but also very durable, have great sound quality and are always hand...
The USA-made Lazarro clarinet is a popular option for school bands. In fact, Lazarro boasts that this clarinet is teacher and school-approved. Much of this likely stems from the fact that professionals in New York hand check the clarinets.
Since the Lazarro meets International Standards for clarinet manufacturing, you can be sure that you’ll receive a durable instrument that produces a quality sound. It also comes with a screwdriver to help you keep your clarinet in tip-top shape.
Some people comment that the mouthpiece doesn’t fit them the best, which means they have to use more air to produce the same sound. If this happens to be the case for you, you can easily remove the mouthpiece and replace it with another one.
Lazarro offers their clarinets in five different color options. With the exception of a red body option, the other color choices are classy neutral tones, and you can even choose between silver or gold-colored keys.
5. Eastar Good Value Clarinet
- ✨Discover the Joy of Playing – Whether you're a beginner or intermediate player, the Eastar ECL-300 clarinet is user-friendly and easy to play....
- 🎵Experience Pure Sound – Experience a wide range of pure and rich tones with the Boehm 17 key system and fast key response of the ECL-300...
- ❤️Wonderful Design – The sleek and sophisticated nickel-plated keys and bakelite body of the clarinet give it an attractive and elegant...
It’s hard to beat the professional aesthetics of Eastar’s clarinet, let alone its excellent sound quality. Whereas some people have issues with reeds when purchasing a budget clarinet, Eastar ensures that they offer a high-quality product, right down to the reeds.
Easter knows that many students use their clarinet, and they don’t want to lug it around between classes. For this reason, they designed this instrument so that it compacts, including breaking it up into two barrels.
The one inconvenience some people encounter with this Eastar clarinet is that the parts can sometimes be challenging to break down as a result of tight joints. Therefore, you might need to break it in a little before disassembling it gets easier.
Air stays where it’s supposed to while there’s still a good amount of elasticity to produce an excellent sound thanks to Italian felt double sheet casings on the keys. Although this clarinet is plastic, it contains ABS material, so you don’t have to worry about toxins.
6. Kaizer Bb CLE-1000NY Low Priced Clarinet
- Includes molded case, complete mouthpiece and ligature, cleaning cloth, cork joint lubricant, screw driver, clarinet stand.
- Leatherette pads optimizes intonation control, steel springs delivers smooth, responsive action and maximizes playability, disassembles quickly and...
- Features adjustable thumb rest, undercut tone holes, nickel plated keys.
If you’re looking for a professional level clarinet without breaking the bank, the Kaizer is a great choice from our best cheap clarinet reviews. It has leatherette pads that help you better control intonation and steel springs to support responsive action.
Features that make this clarinet stand out as one of the best budget clarinets in this review include undercut tone holes and an adjustable thumb rest so you can customize it to your needs. You can order your clarinet in a classic black color or make yourself stand out from the crowd with colors like lime green.
Kaizer is so confident you’ll enjoy the smooth sound that their clarinet offers that they offer a free 45-day trial. If you don’t like how the instrument plays, no problem—you can send it back for a full refund.
They also offer a Lifetime No-Hassle Warranty. Should your clarinet ever have issues due to manufacturing defects, they’ll replace the parts for free.
7. Glory Bb Ebonite Cheap Clarinet
- Key of Bb (B Flat) clarinet with inline trill keys with adjustable thumb rest
- CLARINET Inlcudes: hard-shell case, Second Barrel,Mouthpiece,Cap and Reeds
- Care Kit Includes: Screwdriver,Cork Grease,Reeds Holder,Soft Cleaning Cloth and a pair of gloves
It’s hard to find a clarinet more budget-friendly than the Glory while still offering excellent value. The body of this clarinet is partially ebonite and partially non-toxic ABS.
It has inline trill keys and an adjustable thumb rest so you can focus on reading your music or practicing your scales and not on discomfort in your fingers. The Glory comes with a care kit complete with a screwdriver, gloves, and a reed holder.
You can purchase the Glory in a traditional black color with nickel-plated keys. Alternatively, you can opt for a blue or pink clarinet body. Your starter kit will come with an extra ten reeds so that you can get even more clarinet practice in before having to replace them.
While the Glory offers decent sound for a budget clarinet, this is very much a starter option for new students. If you find that you enjoy playing the clarinet, you’ll likely want to upgrade once you get the basics down.
How To Choose A Cheap Clarinet: A Buyer’s Guide
When setting your clarinet buying budget, there’s a lot to keep in mind.
Most people would probably consider a cheap clarinet to be the one the costs the least money upfront as long as it gets the job done.
However, some may think of the long run and consider a higher-quality student instrument to be the cheap option since it will last significantly longer.
Each of these clarinets will come with its sets of pros and cons.
Especially if you’re buying one without a long-term commitment to the clarinet, some of the cheapest options are understandably tempting and a great choice.
Types of Clarinet
There are quite a few types of clarinets, but only a few are commonly seen.
The Bb is by far the most common and is probably the one that’s typically being referred to if people don’t specify a variety of clarinet.
Other clarinets that you may run into include Eb, A, and bass clarinet.
While there are more than 10 types of clarinets, you’re highly unlikely to encounter other varieties of the instrument, especially on the lower end price-wise as bass clarinets can cost upwards of $5k!
There are a few materials that a cheap clarinet can be made from. Both the body and keys have options when it comes to the material composition.
The options become restricted a little further if you’re looking to get a cheap clarinet than if you’re looking at all of the options.
Some options are considered to be better than others, but there are varying qualities of clarinet made from each of the materials.
Cheap clarinet bodies are typically made of plastic, with ABS plastic being the most common, although there are some other types used too.
Ebonite is also sometimes used to make cheap clarinets.
Ebonite is typically a higher quality material than plastic, but there will be fewer cheap ebonite clarinets than plastic ones to choose from.
While clarinets are often made of wood, particularly grenadilla wood, there aren’t any wooden options that are particularly cheap, and you’ll see higher-end intermediate and professional clarinets being made from grenadilla wood.
Getting a wooden clarinet may go as far as doubling the price when looking at cheap clarinets.
The keys on a clarinet can be either silver-plated or nickel-plated. Cheap clarinets will pretty much always have nickel-plated keys.
In addition to being cheaper, nickel-plated keys are also more durable, which makes them ideal for beginners.
Cheap clarinets are really only for beginners.
The super cheap ones that hover around or under $100 are a great way to save money while testing out the instrument.
However, they aren’t exactly the best quality and many band directors will ask for them to upgrade to a higher quality instrument within the first couple of years, if not sooner.
Lots of them will work fine, but they can’t produce the tone that an upper-level clarinet can.
Don’t worry too much about the price, though, because you’ll likely still be shopping for a student clarinet. It will just be a higher-quality one that’ll last you significantly longer.
To get more use out of your cheap clarinet, an upgraded mouthpiece can be purchased.
The mouthpiece that comes with a clarinet is known as the stock mouthpiece.
Stock mouthpieces are notorious for their subpar quality regardless of the instrument that you purchase.
If you get a better clarinet mouthpiece, you may be able to squeeze more life out of your cheap clarinet because it will help with your intonation.
A cheap clarinet will typically hover around the $100-$300 price point.
There are some that will be a little less than that and some that’ll jump above that.
The more you’re willing to spend, the longer the clarinet is likely to last you – both in terms of intonation and durability.
Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more upfront to save yourself money in repairs and having to replace your clarinet more regularly so try to spend as much as you can afford to and don’t just go for the cheapest option upfront.
Best Brands of Budget Clarinets
Mendini is a favorite when it comes to clarinets that cost under $100.
It comes with everything you need to get started, a few extra accessories, and a choice between multiple colors.
Jean Paul USA is another cheap clarinet brand that many people recommend. As the name suggests, it’s one of the rare chances to support band instruments being manufactured in the US.
It terms of quality, most people would recommend Yamaha or Selmer, but they aren’t quite as budget-friendly as the previously mentioned brands. They’re mid-priced but of higher quality.
While it may cost more upfront, these instruments will last longer so buying one of these, to begin with, may save you money in the long run.
There’s also Buffet Crampon which tends to be the most expensive option, but they are considered the gold standard when it comes to clarinets.
Related: For more, see our list of good clarinet brands here.
Buying a Cheap Clarinet
At the end of the day, you’ll have to set your budget and find the right cheap clarinet for your needs. There are quite a few out there with varying things to offer.
You may be able to enlist in getting help from your band director, but depending on the instructor, they may just insist that you get a more expensive instrument from the get-go.
Consider your needs, commitment, and each of the instruments before making a final decision.
Regardless of which clarinet you decide to buy, just ensure that you’re picking a quality student-level instrument that fits into your budget.
Conclusion: Which One Should You Get?
That concludes our articles covering the best clarinets for those on a budget. We hope it helps you know what to look for when picking one to buy.
Just remember that it’s essential to consider the clarinet’s materials, as this is the biggest thing when it comes to quality.
If you’re still unsure about which one to go for, our top pick is the Jean-Paul CL-300 because of its high-quality ebonite body, an outstanding range of tones, and a neck strap for comfort.
Although it’s not the cheapest clarinet on our list it’s definitely the best and will last a lot longer than the others.
For more information and to read reviews from other happy customers, click below