15 Best Tenor Saxophones

best tenor saxophone

Are you ready to step up your game with a new tenor saxophone?

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced sax player, choosing the right instrument is never easy. Especially due to a wide selection of models.

To help you make the best choice, we’ve picked the 15 best tenor saxophones on the market.

We created the list with quality, budget, and different levels of experience in mind.

We’ll show you beginner-friendly models as well as high-end tenor saxophones for professionals.

And if you’re not sure what to look for in a tenor saxophone, we’ll take you through all the important elements to consider in our buyer’s guide below!

15 Best Tenor Saxophones

1. Jean Paul TS-400

Jean Paul TS-400 tenor saxophone

This beautiful tenor sax will meet all your needs regardless of your level of experience.

Although a bit pricey, the Jean Paul TS-400 is an excellent choice for students and intermediate saxophone players.

But with the higher price comes a high quality – this model is resilient, durable, and equipped with everything you need to start playing right away.

It comes with a case, a pair of gloves, Rico reed, a mouthpiece, cork grease, and a cleaning cloth.

The Jean Paul TS-400 also has a nice, elegant design. It has a yellow brass body construction, lacquer finish, and engraving on the bell.

Its keys are power-forged allowing you to play more smoothly.

In fact, the whole instrument feels really comfortable natural to play.

And last but not least, the sound of the Jean Paul TS-4 can easily be mistaken for a sound of a much more expensive professional saxophone.

Pros  

  • Excellent build quality
  • Great sound
  • Lovely design
  • Comes with all the accessories
  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate players

Cons 

  • A bit pricey for beginners

2. Yamaha YTS-62III

Yamaha YTS62III best professional tenor saxophone

Without a doubt, the Yamaha YTS-62III is one of the best professional tenor saxophones.

This beautiful hand-made saxophone featuring delicate bell engraving once again proved the excellent craftmanship of Yamaha instruments.

And it’s not just about the looks – the Yamaha YTS-62III produces fantastic sound and it’s incredibly functional.

Its bore is somewhat narrower than in some other models which allow better control and responsiveness.

And just like you would expect from high-end saxophones, this model has a very clear sound for each pitch and perfectly accurate intonation.

After all, Yamaha is known for manufacturing durable, high-end instruments, and their Yamaha YTS-62III tenor saxophone will definitely meet all your expectations.

Pros  

  • Outstanding build quality
  • Narrow neck
  • Comes with a case
  • Excellent sound
  • Suitable for intermediate and expert saxophonists

Cons

  • Pricey

3. Glory Black B Flat Tenor Saxophone

Glory Black B Flat Tenor Saxophone

The Glory Black B Flat Tenor Saxophone will charm you the moment you set eyes on it.

But its unique hand engraved bell decoration is not the only reason you’ll like this beauty.

The Glory Black B Flat is quite affordable (you can get it for less than $400) and it’s suitable for beginners of all ages.

But despite being affordable, it’s made from quality brass materials and has a convenient, compact design.

Also, this model comes with all the accessories: ten reeds, a case, a mouthpiece, a neck strap, a pair of gloves, and everything else you’ll need for its maintenance.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable, beginner-friendly tenor sax for a good price, you should definitely consider the Glory Black B Flat Tenor Saxophone.

Pros  

  • Affordable
  • Eye-catching
  • Quality brass materials
  • Easy to play

Cons 

  • The overall quality of the performance could be better (only if compared to more expensive models)

4. Jupiter JTS1100SG

Jupiter JTS1100SG

If you’re looking for an intermediate tenor sax with a unique sound, the Jupiter JTS1100SG might be an ideal choice.

It has a hand-crafted sona-pure brass neck, a silver-plated body, engraved bell, and gold-lacquered keys.

But the best thing about the Jupiter JTS1100SG is its distinctive, smooth sound.

So even if it’s categorized as an intermediate tenor sax, its sound and features will appeal to more experienced saxophonists as well.

Moreover, almost everything on this instrument is fully adjustable so you can make your playing experience as comfortable as possible.

However, the Jupiter JTS1100SG can be a bit pricey for some students (it will cost you around $3,100.) But you’ll get a reliable, quality instrument that will last you longer.

Pros  

  • Smooth sound
  • Unique appearance
  • Adjustable
  • Durable

Cons  

  • Pricey

5. Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone

Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone

The Selmer STS280 La Voix II is a good choice for concert performances.

It has a good-looking design, nice crafting, and a traditional-sized bell.

It also has an ergonomic key placement so you can practice for a longer period of time without feeling strained.

Trek style case, a mouthpiece, ligature and cap, and care products are included in the package.

And the saxophone comes in black, copper, silver, and lacquer. 

Moreover, The Selmer STS280 La Voix II produces a really nice, smooth sound. And along with the fluid key work and good intonation, you’ll surely have a great playing experience.

Pros  

  • Ergonomic key placement
  • Comes with all the accessories
  • Suitable for performances

Cons

  • It’s manufactured in Taiwan

6. Kaizer TSAX-1000LQ

Kaizer TSAX-1000LQ

The Kaizer TSAX-1000LQ is a great option for beginners and students.

As you can see in the picture, the package includes all the necessary accessories.

Its solid brass body makes the tone nice and clear, and you’ll definitely experience easy action and comfort while playing.

It also comes with premium steel springs and professional leatherette pads.

In a nutshell, the Kaizer TSAX-1000LQ offers excellent playability and responsiveness, and that makes any student’s practice much easier.

And even if you don’t get what you’re promised, Kaizer will give you a lifetime warranty. They also offer a 45-day free trial.

Pros  

  • Easy to play
  • Responsive
  • Complete outfit
  • Lifetime warranty and a 45-day trial

Cons

  • A bit pricey compared to some other options

7. Mendini MTS-L+92D

Mendini MTS-L+92D tenor sax

The Mendini MTS-L+92D is ideal for beginners as well as sax players with some experience.

Mendini by Cecilio always provides reliable and durable instruments, and this classy tenor sax is no different.

It has a ribbed build, contoured keys, metal tone boosters, and quality leather pads.

The package includes a chromatic/string tuner with a metronome, a neck strap, a box of reeds, gloves, and other useful accessories.

The Mendini MTS-L+92D produces a rich, deep tone ideal for student practice or improvisation.

And as it has a gold lacquer finish, it looks quite fancy.

So, if you’re looking for a nice-looking saxophone from a reliable manufacturer, you can count on the Mendini MTS-L+92D.

And you won’t spend a fortune as well – it will cost you around $400.

Pros

  • Rich tone
  • Ribbed construction
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Reeds could be of better quality

8. Yanagisawa Professional T-991

Yanagisawa tenor saxophone

When talking about the best tenor saxophones on the market, we can’t skip Yanagisawa.

This Japanese manufacturer is known for making exceptional horns.

And their Yanagisawa Professional T-991 Saxophone has an impeccable design and a fresh, modern sound.

It includes the high F# key and double-action low C and B keys.

It has a sturdy construction, but the black lacquer and gold brass handle engraving on the bell give it a classy touch.

Essentially, this model is a great alternative to very expensive professional tenor saxophones.

Pros  

  • Great sound
  • Durable
  • Elegant-looking

Cons  

  • The overall build quality is better in some other (more expensive) professional saxophones

9. Yamaha YTS-480

Yamaha YTS-480

The Yamaha YTS-480 stands out as a well-designed tenor sax with a warm tone.

It has excellent responsiveness and accurate intonation.

Although it might be a bit too pricey for beginners (more than $3,000), the Yamaha YTS-480 is suitable for all levels of experience.

It has an easily removable 62-style neck, and improved left-hand seesaw key (for a more comfortable action), and adjustable screw cap stoppers.

And it has a very comfortable thumb rest and keys.

All in all, the Yamaha YTS-480 is a perfect model for anyone who is willing to invest in a durable, high-end tenor saxophone.

Pros 

  • Nice, warm tone
  • Enhanced features
  • Comfortable
  • Durable

Cons 

  • Pricey

11. Conductor Tenor Saxophone – Series II TS200-II

Conductor Tenor Saxophone – Series II TS200-II

The Conductor Tenor Saxophone is ideal for students and aspiring sax beginners.

It’s well-built, easy to play, and quite versatile.

Although it’s quite affordable, it offers a nice tone and intonation.

And due to its lacquered brass construction, it’s also durable and elegant-looking.

It comes with a deluxe carrying case and a ligature and mouthpiece.

All in all, The Conductor Tenor Saxophone provides everything a student needs.

Pros

  • Nice construction
  • Suitable for students
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The sound and overall quality could be improved (but it’s good considering the price)

12. Jupiter 789GN

Jupiter 789GN student tenor saxophone

Another student tenor saxophone worth checking out is the Jupiter 789GN.

It offers good build quality and a nice, interesting design.

It has lacquered brass body, nickel-plated keys, adjustable screws, metal tone boosters, and adjustable thumb rest.

It comes with a case, a mouthpiece, a padded neck strap, and a reed.

The Jupiter 789GN is a good investment because it’s reliable and durable, and it produces a beautiful, crisp tone.

Pros 

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Interesting design
  • Comes with all the accessories
  • Crisp tone

Cons

  • Might need more maintenance

13. Antigua Winds X/P TS1203LQ

Antigua Winds X/P TS1203LQ

This Antigua Winds Tenor Saxophone is another good option for beginner and intermediate students and recreational players.

It has a fully ribbed brass body which makes it both durable and visually appealing.

It also has redesigned left-hand keys and excellent responsiveness.

Although it’s not the cheapest tenor sax, it’s still quite affordable, especially if you’re ready to invest in a good instrument.

Pros 

  • Easy to play
  • Great responsiveness
  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate level

Cons 

  • Neck is not fully adjustable

14. Allora ATS-580 Chicago Series Tenor Saxophone

Allora ATS-580 Chicago Series Tenor Saxophone

Providing high-quality instruments at an affordable price, the Allora Chicago Series is a great option for advancing saxophone players and students.

Due to its expanded bell design, the Allora ATS-580 tenor saxophone is very versatile. It’s suitable for jazz, rock, and classical music.

It’s available in dark gold lacquer or unlacquered brass – both look very charming.

It has a fully ribbed construction, upper and lower stack adjustment screwers, and an adjustable thumb rest.

Moreover, it has genuine abalone key touches and provides excellent responsiveness.

And last but not least, the Allora ATS-580 tenor sax provides a beautiful, deep tone and even intonation across all ranges.

Pros 

  • Well-designed
  • Excellent responsiveness
  • Nice, deep tone
  • Suitable for all levels

Cons

  • Might be pricey for first-time beginners

15. P. Mauriat System 76 Professional Tenor Saxophone

P. Mauriat System 76 Professional Tenor Saxophone

P. Mauriat is another brand name that always comes up in the conversation about the best tenor saxophones.

And if you’re looking for top-notch professional tenor sax, you should consider the P. Mauriat System 76 Professional Tenor Saxophone.

It has an expanded bore and bell and, therefore, produces a bigger sound with rich overtones.

Its vintage dark lacquer and carefully hand-engraved bell give it a beautiful, unique look.

The P. Mauriat System 76 Saxophone also features the Super VI style neck and abalone key touches for the enhanced playing experience.

With excellent playability, outstanding sound, and an eye-catching appearance, this professional tenor saxophone will undeniably meet all your expectations.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Beautiful vintage look
  • Durable
  • Excellent responsiveness

Cons 

  • Expensive

How To Choose The Best Tenor Saxophone For You

The tenor saxophone is a very charming and versatile instrument.

But it comes with different features and establishing what’s the right model for you might be tricky, especially for beginners.

If you’re an experienced player, you already know how to recognize a quality instrument. But even musicians can get confused with all the tech specs.

And if you’re a novice, you’ll need to know which elements to consider before making a purchase. And to clear things up, even more, we’ll start with what distinguishes a tenor saxophone from its counterparts.

Why Tenor Saxophone?

Along with the alto saxophone, a tenor saxophone is the most popular instrument in the saxophone family.

It has this iconic curved neck and a crook near the mouthpiece. Compared to soprano saxophones, it’s a lot bigger too.

Best tenor saxophones

Therefore, it might be a bit hard for beginners to maneuver it, at least at first. But tenor sax is generally not that hard to learn. Of course, if you find a great teacher or reliable online saxophone lessons.

Although it’s mostly associated with jazz, the tenor sax is a very versatile instrument and you can use it for different music genres.

Moreover, it’s a perfect instrument for improvisation, and honing your saxophone skills will undoubtedly help you develop your creativity and overall musicality.

If you’re drawn to the deep, rich sound of tenor saxophone and all its advantages, you’re ready to start your musical journey.

So, let’s dig into our comprehensive tenor saxophone buying guide!

Price

As you might assume, the tenor saxophone’s price range is pretty wide.

You can get an entry-level tenor sax for less than $200, but experienced saxophonists will have to spend much more.

Affordable professional models cost around $3,0000. And above that, only the sky is the limit.

Of course, if you opt for a more expensive sax, you’ll invest in a reliable instrument that will last you longer.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, there’s no need to spend a fortune on your first instrument. There are plenty of great beginner-friendly options that won’t break the bank.

Materials

The material most commonly used in making tenor saxophones is yellow brass.

Other quality materials (usually used for professional saxophones) include bronze, copper, and sterling copper.

So, anything mentioned above will ensure you good quality and durability.

You should also make sure that rods and pads aren’t made from cheap materials. Pads should be soft to touch but sturdy enough to be resilient and durable.

When it comes to the mouthpiece, a plastic one is obviously the cheapest option, and although many people use it, you should perhaps opt for something else. Ebonite is quite common, and other popular but good materials include metal and carbon fiber.

Also, most saxophones are coated with lacquer for better protection. The most common kinds of finishes are gold-plated finish, black lacquer, silver plating, nickel plating, copper, and bronze.

It’s important to know that the saxophone finish impacts the sound.

The gold-plated finish provides a full, dark sound, and silver-plated finish is more complex and versatile.

Black lacquer is, on the other hand, physically heavier. That means your saxophone will have a thicker sound.

As you can see, choosing a saxophone finish isn’t only about the looks.

Is it comfortable?

Another thing you have to establish before you buy a new saxophone is its comfort and playability.

In a nutshell, pads should feel easy to press, and you should feel like their body fits nicely in your hands.

Although tenor saxophones are heavier than soprano saxophones, they shouldn’t feel too heavy. Even if it’s a bit bulky, your saxophone shouldn’t make you feel strained if you practice a bit longer.

Many models on our list have adjustable parts and that will make your playing experience even better. For example, the adjustable thumb rest helps to ease tension and allow you to play more comfortably.

Making sure that the model feels comfortable can be tricky if you’re shopping online. But you can find many trustworthy reviews of the specific model.

After all, reliable brands known for making the best tenor saxophones offer the most comfortable instruments.

Set-up

Many tenor saxophone brands already come completely set up and ready to play. And that’s especially convenient for beginners.

But it’s also good to know if you’re saxophone has been set up well.

One of the ways to easily determine if your saxophone has a good set-up is by checking if the keys pop. When the saxophone pads are accurate, they should make this loud pop sound when you press them (without blowing).

Also, the neck of the saxophone should be completely airtight. If the neck is wobbly or leaking even a little bit, it will affect your playing,

There are also other proofs of a good saxophone set-up, but you can also always take your saxophone to a local music shop to be sure.  

Accessories

When you’re buying a new saxophone, you should check what the package includes.

Sometimes instruments seem very affordable but they don’t come with all the accessories so you end up having a lot of extra costs.

However, most models come with everything you need for your practice. They often include a carrying case, a mouthpiece, a neck strap, extra reeds, and care products.

On the other hand, if you don’t like the quality of certain accessories, you can always replace them. But it would be the most efficient to get what you want when making a purchase.

New Vs Used Tenor Saxophone

Although it’s better for your wallet, buying a vintage saxophone can be a bit tricky.

First of all, you need to recognize its flaws. Used saxophones most often aren’t in the best condition, so you need to make sure you’re buying what you’re promised.

On the other hand, if you come across a reliable brand whose previous owner changed their mind after a few practice sessions, why not save some money?

However, there are many affordable models on the market that will meet all your needs. And with a brand new instrument, you’ll you won’t have to replace any parts or buy a whole new instrument anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

We hope our list of the best tenor saxophones brought you closer to making a final choice.

Of course, that’s not easy, especially because good-quality instruments are often an investment. But they’re also a smart investment.

If you know what type of tenor sax you’re looking for, you can narrow down the list significantly.

So, which tenor saxophone is the best for you really depends on your budget, commitment (whether you’re a serious student), and personal preferences (which sound and music styles you like.)

And regardless of your level of experience, you’ll need a reliable, durable tenor sax with a beautiful, clear tone.

Luckily, with most of the best tenor saxophones from reliable brands, you really can’t make a mistake.

Either way, it’s important to find a saxophone model that suits you, and hopefully, we gave you a good idea of what that might be!