A lot of people ask me which is better to learn on, an acoustic or an electric? The answer is that it depends on many factors. You have to ask yourself several questions, the first one being: What type of music do I want to play? For instance, if you like folky, finger-style stuff like James Taylor or Jim Croce, then you might want to get an acoustic. If you like rock stuff with crazy guitar solos or heavy metal and such, then you, perhaps, would want an electric.
You see, it all hinges on what type of player you want to be. In general, I would say that electrics are easier to play on. They have thinner necks and usually lighter gauge strings, both of which are aspects that are easier on untrained hands. If you do decide you want an electric, you will probably want to purchase an amplifier as well. You don't necessarily need an amp, you can hear the music without it, but an amplifier does provide much more volume.
Acoustic guitars can be heard much easier than an unplugged electrics, however, it takes more hand strength to play on one because of the thicker gauged strings and the necks are a little bigger. The plus side of this is that when you do play an electric, it will be much easier due to you being used the acoustic. Go in a music store and try both. That's the best way. In a nutshell, you will have to find what works for you.
If you do decide to get an acoustic, you should be aware that there are basically two different types as far as quality of craftsmanship is concerned. They are known as solid top acoustics and laminated top acoustics. Solid top acoustics are more finely made. The top of the body is made out of one piece of wood. This provides a better resonance for the instrument. The tone of a solid top will also improve with age.
With that being said, the laminated top is the cheaper of the two. They are made from several layers of wood, sort of like plywood. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having or buying a laminated top guitar. Ive played and owned some wonderful laminated tops. Its just that solid tops are generally higher quality, as far as tone and craftsmanship are concerned. I've included some photos with notes on how to tell the difference between solid tops and laminated tops.
Another thing to take note of is whether or not the neck is made of one piece of wood. I've included a few photos of some necks, as well.