A quality saxophone stand is a must for the protection of the musician's instrument. Although several factors are at play when choosing a saxophone stand, the size, weight and type of saxophone are the primary considerations. You should therefore select a stand that is sturdy and strong enough to handle your sax of choice. The stand's feet need to be solid so as to support the weight without tipping over. A smooth finish is also important; rough spots could scratch the horn.
Doing some research before you buy could save you headaches and regrets later. It will likely take some time to decide which saxophone stand is ultimately right for you based on what you desire versus what you can afford. While it's not always necessary to invest in the most expensive stand, cheap stands are usually too lightweight and flimsy to support the instrument properly. Internet music stores may offer the best prices, but it's always preferable to test several stands at a music store before buying a stand. Unless you already know the exact make and model of saxophone stand you want to purchase, buying from an Internet retailer can sometimes result in frustration or disappointment.
As part of the shopping around process, it also helps to visit Internet forums for saxophonists. Discussions about certain types of saxophone stands can be found there, and the opinions expressed are usually those of professional working musicians. You may also want to post a question soliciting advice from other forum members requesting recommendations on which saxophone stand would best suit your needs. Once you find a few models that interest you, research them further by checking out customer reviews online. Reading the experiences of other sax players who bought the same stand will likely influence your decision to some degree as well.
Depending on whether you play alto, soprano, tenor or baritone saxophone, the stand should be carefully evaluated and tested for its capacity to hold the instrument steady. It's a good idea to bring your instrument along with you to the music store so that you can see how well the stand supports the weight of that particular instrument. Try playing your sax using the stand to determine if it offers adequate comfort and ease of use. Naturally you want the stand to be stylish, too — especially if you will be using it onstage — but looks are not nearly as important as quality of construction.