Everyday plainly thousands of people record entries in diverse forums asking for tips to purchase a basic acoustic guitar to begin with and they are provided with a load of hopeless suggestions. I have undergone the pain of reading all of those for a bit of no good. The opinions voiced in the sites of sellers on the other hand are completely prejudiced. They appear to say that every model they sell sound incredibly beautiful and are worth the price which is fantastically stupid. After all the bewilderment I got myself a black reasonably priced acoustic guitar which is fine and it as anticipated has a few petite flaws. I thought it's an excellent idea to write on things one has to look for in a guitar.
First, you narrow down the choices based on your budget. I recommend that you do not go for the cheapest segments that entirely consist of local brands some of which are not that good. A good learner model might cost you something from 75$ to 150$. If you want to keep it under 100$ you have a choice to pick from a few decent local brands and a few China makes which isn't a dreadful option at all. In that range there are decent ones to pick. The class of timber determines the sound quality. So go for mahogany or at least rosewood depending on your finances. Don't get tempted to buy low-priced semi-acoustic guitars that come with pick-ups. That money would better be invested in a straightforward high-quality acoustic guitar.
Don't for Pete's sake walk into a store, strike the instrument a few times and buy the loudest or what you think sounds best. Because all the guitars out there might be tuned differently and superior ones might not sound good because the strings are aged. See for good build. A typical acoustic guitar mostly has an absolutely flat body construction. I'd definitely prefer a standard shape with a circular sound hole. Some fancy looking ones might not sound good at all. Inside the body there must to two strips of wood forming a sort of X' shape and the sealing has to be perfect. Also the fret board has to be perfectly parallel to the strings and there has to be a steady gap between the strings and the board. If there is a bow the gap would be more which makes playing difficult on higher frets. Also the bridge construction must be simple for easier change of strings. Check if the strings are aligned properly to get good tuning stability. For playing chords you need to have a narrow neck steel string guitar, and narrow neck makes it easier to play. The frets are metallic strips glued onto the board and they have to be smooth and of adequate thickness. Try holding a chord shape and slide your hands along the board and see if it's smooth and unobstructed.
Get a tuner from someone and tune the guitar to standard E-A-D-G-B-e (for 0.11 gauge strings) or Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bd-eb (for 0.12) and see if it's not too tight to play. Mostly it'd be fine for all guitar dimensions are standard. You have to get the same note in open string and twelfth fret if the fret dimensions are correct. Play individual notes and see how long a note sounds.
Finally after all these tests try and play whatever you can and go for a guitar that sounds pleasant and warm. It must not be very sharp or muffled. If you have a friend who can play guitar take him along. On paper many guitars are pretty close in competition. Don't worry too much if you find it still difficult to choose. Just pick the one you think you will look good with.
The color can be anything but there's nothing to beat the traditional wooden colors or black. I would suggest dark wood, black, vine red or brown for men and black, light wood or blue for the tender gender. Once you buy one, it the best thing in the world because it's yours. All the very best!