One of the best things about learning how to play the clarinet is that it is one of those instruments that can be played in almost any musical genre. You may start playing it for band practice, but then you can move on to classical, alternative, new age, or even rock music with the greatest of ease.
Best Clarinets of 2020
Professional players learn what the best clarinet for them is, and spend upwards of 1000 dollars on a clarinet. For that reason, we decided to focus on beginner and intermediate level clarinets. In time you will be able to test out dozens of models and find the one that you will be most comfortable with and create your own list for the best clarinet bands.
For now, though, you should consider a beginner clarinet that will help you get to that new stage of playing. For your convenience, we have started our list of the top 10 best clarinets of a summary table, but we encourage you to scroll past it to read the detailed analysis of each clarinet before making a decision.
1. Mendini Black Ebonite B Flat Clarinet
We decided to start our list with the Mendini Black Ebonite clarinet, not because it is our favorite, but because, considering the price and the quality you get, this would be the best choice for a beginner student.
It does not cost so much as to break the bank and it does provide the kind of quality we would expect from a well-manufactured clarinet. The keys are nickel-plated with a very durable finish and it has that all-important adjustable thumb rest that students need.
2. Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet
Moving on to the Hisonic clarinet, we would like to start by saying that this is our favorite instrument in of all the ones we have featured in this top 10 best clarinets of the list.
It costs a little bit more than the Mendini but it comes with the USA made, Presitini pads, and nickel silver keys. It is still made out of ebonite, but you will not find a wood clarinet in this price range anyway.
You may have noticed that it only has a 4.1 star rating on Amazon, but that rating comes from over 100 customer reviews, while the other 5 star ratings actually come from 1 or 2 customers.
3. LJ Hutchen Bb with Hardshell Case
If we were to choose our list favorite clarinet in this list, it would be the LJ Hutchen. We had to include it because of the clarity of its sound, the ease with which the keys can be pressed, and also because the mouthpiece is of excellent quality.
However the LJ Hutchen is so much more expensive than the Mendini and it bring nothing more to the table; it does not even have the nickel silver keys of the Hisonic, and it is even more expensive than that.
Still, it plays beautifully and we decided it deserved to make an appearance on this list for that reason alone.
4. Merano B Flat Clarinet
The Merano is one of those clarinets that comes with 5 star Amazon rating, but that is the result of just one person coming back to review it. It has nickel-plated keys and a plastic body, so no surprises there.
The one thing that we do like about it is the fact that it comes with its own metro tuner. The thing that we do not like is the fact that the mouthpiece is of relatively low quality.
It will be good enough if you are just now starting to learn how to play but we give it at most 3 months until you will start looking for a better mouthpiece.
5. Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet
With a 5 star Amazon rating from more than 7 customers, the Legacy clarinet seems to be more than a one-hit-wonder. We took a look at it ourselves and were delighted by the obvious craftsmanship that went into making the silver-plated keys and the Italian made pads.
Still, they are marketing this clarinet and an intermediate clarinet and that is where we took offense, and why we decided not to call it our favorite one.
It is definitely e beginner level clarinet but one of the better ones and we would encourage you to buy it if you are not too happy about our number 2 or number 1 choices.
6. Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB+92D Black Ebonite B Flat Clarinet
We already talked about the Mendini clarinet at the beginning of this article and we have decided to feature it here again because this time it comes as a kit packed with several other goodies.
The clarinet is the same model as the one we have already talked about but with this package, you also get a tuner, 10 reeds, and a stand. They are not much but the price is not that much bigger either.
7. Yamaha YCL250 Clarinet
We honestly expected more from a Yamaha clarinet, especially since this is also the most expensive clarinet you will find on our list. It does sound very beautifully, clearly, the keys are beautiful and so is the body and the clarinet itself goes very nicely through the notes even if you have to jump from the very high to the very low.
The keys are easy to press and the wood-like finish of the body is very nice. However, this is still just a plastic clarinet so, except for the fact that this is what you would call a “brand” name clarinet, there is nothing exceptional about it.
8. Etude Student Clarinet Model ECL-100
The Etude Student clarinet is the cheapest clarinet we have decided to feature on our top 10 best clarinets, that we can still advise you to buy.
We are going to look next at a couple of clarinets that are even cheaper than this one, but those are the ones that we would not really encourage you to buy unless you are planning to move up from them after a year of practice.
Even with the Etude we strongly encourage you to buy a separate, high-quality mouthpiece so that you will be able to enjoy it from the moment you unbox it.
9. Hallelu HCL- 200 Clarine
There are several things that have really impressed us about the Hallelu clarinet and why we decided to feature it on this list and there is one thing that we really did not like about it.
We loved the fact that it comes with Italian Pisoni pads and we loved the quality of the nickel-plated pads. Despite those pads thought, we really did not like how this Hallelu clarinet sounded.
But, sometimes, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and considering the low price and the Italian pads we decided to feature it here.
10. Conductor Bb Clarinet
The Conductor clarinet is the cheapest clarinet we could honestly put on our list of top 10 best clarinets and, considering its price, you could do far worse.
However, buying a separate mouthpiece to go with this clarinet is not only advisable but a dire necessity. Also, you have to take into consideration that the keys are relatively frail so, if you buy it, you are mostly buying a showpiece rather than a true instrument.
Still, it gives an accurate representation of all the notes and for that reason alone we decided to feature it as our last choice of the list.