Best Piano Brands Review in 2017

When you're in the market for a new piano, knowing the best brands to look for can make your buying process much easier. With high-quality piano brands, you know you're getting a piano that is made with care and diligence to the high standards that only the most reputable piano manufacturers maintain. With hundreds of piano brands to choose from, it's important to read on and do your research.

Things To Consider

Selection

piano brands

Purchasing a piano is a big decision, so it's important you understand a bit about how pianos work. There are two main categories of pianos to choose from. Depending on your needs, one style may be more useful to you than the other.

Upright Pianos:

These pianos are generally the least expensive. They also take up the least amount of room. If you don't plan to be a concert pianist or if you just want to play for fun and are on a limited budget, an upright piano makes the most sense. They don't produce the same full sound as a grand piano. However, honkytonk and other popular styles of music may require the sound of an upright.

Grand Pianos:

Generally speaking, the other type of piano is the grand piano. There are baby grand pianos and concert grand pianos available. These pianos are usually out of the range of the hobbyists budget, but for the professional pianist who records their own music, this piano is an ideal option. These pianos give a big full sound, and you just need to decide what length is right for you.

Benefits

The process of manufacturing a piano is not something to take lightly. There really aren't many grand pianos from generic brands. The process to create a grand piano is extensive and the strings end up placing literal tons of pressure on the frame of the piano. Each string creates a tension of 160 to 200 pounds, and the entire piano has a combined stress of over 35,000 pounds. With that much tension, it's important manufacturers take special care to create quality instruments. This is why it's more difficult to find cheap grand pianos because they are expensive to manufacture.

Buying Criteria

There are a few criteria that you need to consider when you're in the market for a piano. The first thing to realize is that a piano must have a full-size 88-key keyboard to be able to play the standard literature. If you've got money to burn, you can always look for a Boesendorfer piano that has an extended low range, but this is only needed for the true professional who needs to play often in the basement. When buying new, you don't have much to worry about if you choose a good quality brand. However, buying a used piano requires more care. Check the strings for corrosion and look for any deterioration in the structure. It's best to hire a piano tuner to come along with you if you plan to buy a used piano.

Care and Use

Speaking of piano tuners, you're going to need a good one. No matter how high-quality the brand of the piano, it's going to go out of tune. Piano wire rarely needs to be replaced, but it can create a dangerous situation if old wire isn't replaced in time. A piano tuner will help keep your piano in top shape and can prolong the life of your investment. To be sure, when you purchase a quality piano, it is an investment that may increase its value with age. The piano tuner will keep your piano in good working order. You should plan to get your piano tuned about four times per year and whenever you move the piano. If you need to move any piano, it's important to hire specialized piano movers. A piano is a high-precision instrument. Moving a piano is not as simple as picking it up and putting it in a new location.

Controversy

Some musicians say you don't need a very good piano. That as long as you have something to practice on, that's all that matters. They argue that if you are a pianist, you're not going to take the piano with you. This means that you can get away with buying a cheap piano for home since you'll always use a concert hall's piano in a performance. This is mostly true, but you will get used to a substandard playing technique if you play on a substandard piano. Some old pianos simply can't be tuned properly since the underlying structure simply won't be able to handle the stress from the tension of the strings. Playing on a piano that isn't tuned properly and doesn't function well accustoms you to a certain way of playing. When you get your hands on a quality piano, it just won't feel right in a performance.

Prerequisites

There are a few things you should consider when buying a piano. If you're getting your piano online, then you should only purchase your piano in new condition. This will eliminate many of the potential problems associated with buying a piano used. It's also important you go with a quality music store. Avoid purchasing your piano from a retailer that doesn't have specific experience dealing with pianos. Humidity levels and temperature can negatively affect a piano. It's important you buy from a retailer with an understanding of proper piano care.

The piano is a complex precision instrument. Watch this video on how the piano action of a grand piano works:

Five Best Piano Brands

Steinway & Sons

Steinway & Sons have been in the piano manufacturing business for over 160 years. The company is dedicated to providing precision pianos that meet the needs of professional performers. The most popular model is the Steinway D, which is arguably the best piano in the world. Other notable options include the Boston Performance Edition and the Essex studio upright piano. The Boston Performance Edition piano is suitable for students. The Essex upright is perfect for the piano teacher or pianist who has limited space. Since the Steinway D runs from $30,000 to $100,000 dollars, it's one piano you'll want to purchase from an authorized retailer. The Essex is the only option that is recommended for purchase online.

Pros

  • Entry-level piano for the budding professional pianist
  • Smaller piano will fit in most apartments and home studios
  • Comes with all three pedals and 88 keys

Cons

  • Expensive for the hobbyist
  • Doesn't provide the sound of a full grand piano
  • Comes with a bench that is not adjustable

Baldwin

Baldwin is one of the larger piano manufacturers in the United States. The company was founded in 1862 in Cincinnati. These pianos are generally more affordable than a Steinway, and they offer good reliability and tone production. You can purchase vertical piano starting at $8,500. A grand piano is going to run you at least $22,000. While you can order these pianos used from some major piano restorers online, it's best to visit your local piano store to get the piano. This way, you can check out the piano in person before taking it home.

Pros

  • Detailed craftsmanship makes these pianos stand out in a room
  • Prefered by legends such as Ray Charles and Paul Shaffer
  • Quality brand will increase in value if the instrument is well cared for

Cons

  • Purchasing online isn't really possible
  • There are limited retailers and deilvery charges can be high
  • Piano requires regular maintenance to maintain high functionality

Yamaha

This is probably the most easily recognizable piano brands, but they are not the best. When it comes to piano manufacturers it ranks in the top 10. Depending on who you talk to, Yamaha may even come in as number two. The best value for someone on a budget is the B series of acoustic pianos. If you want a baby grand, the CX series is likely to provide you with the most affordable option. Like most pianos, you're going to have to visit a store to get a Yamaha piano. Although, it's sometimes possible to find pianos for sale at major retailers. Since the cost of shipping a piano is so high, an online piano is going to be an unusual find. You're best off to do some searching online before making a trip to your local piano dealer for your purchase.

Pros

  • Affordable line of pianos with high manufacturing standards
  • Precision-made in Japan
  • The pianos are some of the most popular and widely used pianos in practice rooms and home studios

Cons

  • The quality isn't the same as a Steinway or Baldwin piano brands
  • Yamaha brand pianos don't last as long as the more expensive piano brands
  • Most Yamaha pianos won't go up in value with time

Kawai

Kawai makes sleek-looking and sophisticated pianos. They trail Yamaha when it comes to the best piano brands on the market. However, they have unique designs that should appeal to the up and coming professional or hobbyist. The tone production of these pianos is high-quality, and you'll enjoy the ability to get some of the best piano technology at a low entry price. These pianos are significantly less than the top piano brands, but you'll still get a quality piano you can enjoy at home.

Pros

  • Cool styling makes them an attractive buy for hobbyists
  • Professional tone production gives these pianos a good reputation
  • Popular brand is available in many retailers across the country

Cons

  • The pianos use flimsy components in non-structurally important areas
  • Design is attractive, but the pianos tend to fade easily with age
  • Hard to find a retailer online to purchase a piano from

Suzuki

Suzuki offers some high-quality piano options that are geared to the entry-level professional and savvy consumer. The manufacturer is the leading manufacturer for education, and it's designed to have a long-lasting design that can stand a bit of abuse. These pianos don't generally increase in value, but you won't regret getting a Suzuki piano. The company makes 14 models, and the choice is largely going to be based on your budget and needs. You'll enjoy an exceptional playing experience, full sound and exceptional value. The company also offers a range of traditional and modern piano cabinet designs. It's also one of the few manufacturers that offers a digital piano in a baby grand form.

Pros

  • Trusted by educators and designed to be robust
  • One of the most popular budget piano brands
  • Unique designs that may appeal to the performer who wants something different

Cons

  • Pianos are designed for the general consumer
  • The brand doesn't have the same high-level tone quality as a Steinway or Baldwin
  • Doesn't provide the same quality samples as both the Yamaha and Roland pianos.

Conclusion

It's time to get honest about the selection of a piano. If you're not a professional pianist who has tens of thousands of dollars to spare, it's best to not seek out an acoustic piano. A vertical piano from one of the lower-quality piano brands won't serve your purposes well. On the other hand, an expensive brand from one of the best piano brands will set you back significantly.

If you're a professional, call up your local Steinway or Baldwin dealer to get a piano today. For everyone else, the best option is to get a digital piano with velocity sensitive keys. For this reason, the Suzuki MDG-300 Black Micro Grand Digital Piano is our recommended choice. This piano replicates the feel and experience of playing a full-sized instrument, but it offers a substantial discount in savings and it can do things a regular piano can't. It uses a 6-way stereo speaker setup to replicate the sound of a real baby grand, and you'll love how it looks in your home. Overall, the Suzuki piano offers the best value and functionality for the price. The ability to choose a specific style and design makes this an ideal choice for the pianist who just wants a quality instrument to play on.

Stephanie Su
 

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