This is a question that many students have asked me. The easy answer is go with the type of guitar that interest you more. Are you looking to sing and play some chords around the campfire? Do you want to rock out on stage playing some power chords or a ripping guitar solo?
Below I will list a few others things to think about when you are considering which type of guitar you would like to start learning on.
Acoustic guitars are generally a little harder to play because the strings are a thicker gauge. Another thing that makes learning on an acoustic a little more awkward than an electric is the body of the guitar is larger and bulkier.
Since you don’t need an amp when playing acoustic guitar, it’s easier to grab your guitar and just start playing it. With an electric guitar, you would need to plug in the cable and adjust the volume to the desired levels which may take a few minutes for you to get going. Some acoustic guitars have an electronics embedded so you actually could plug it into an amp. However, this is mainly for stage amplification in a live music situation and is not needed for most occasions.
One misconception that some people have is that if you play acoustic guitar you are mainly going to be focusing on rhythm guitar. Most modern guitarist realize whether you play acoustic or electric, to be a well-balanced player you must be well versed in lead guitar technique as well as your rhythm chord playing. So feel free to solo away on your acoustic guitar.
Electric guitars are somewhat easier to learn on but you will need to have an amp to get the full Rock effect. You can’t really hear the strings very well without the amp. For most cases you will need to turn on your amp. If volume level is a problem because of early or late night hours, then you can always plug in the headphones.
Electric guitars are easier to play nuance notes like bends and vibrato since the strings are thinner.
Also, with electric guitar you have the possibilities of using effects such as Delay, Chorus, and Reverb. Effects can come from pedals or the amp may have some internal effects settings that can be enabled.
Learn on both
I recommend to learn on both acoustic and electric so that you can get a feel for both types of guitars. If you are only able to pick one or the other in the beginning, this is not a problem. Eventually you will be able to play both types and broaden your sound possibility horizons. Pick an instrument based on the sound you are most interested in and just get started!
Just like anything else in life, the more effort you put in the more you will get out of your playing. Whether Acoustic or Electric, playing guitar will keep you fulfilled throughout your life.