I receive occasional emails from parents interested in buying their son/daughter a new saxophone. These often come with a link to an alto saxophone that is $250 or less made by brands such as Allora, Etude, Bundy, etc. Do not waste money on such junk.
Buying a saxophone is kind of like buying a car: if you buy something that's inexpensive, you'll end up paying its value three-fold in repairs. Cheaper saxophones are made of very soft brass, which means that their sound quality is poor and they break easily. Soft brass bends quite easily, which requires constant repair that doesn't hold up for very long. Needless to say, if the equipment is terrible, you're going to sound terrible.
Factors to consider: commitment level and budget
Beginners - Most beginners play on a Yamaha YAS-23 or a Selmer AS500, which are decent for young players just learning the ropes.
If the student wants to make a more serious commitment to music and plans to play into hi...