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The Best Piano Brands in the World: Piano Buyers’ Guide 

 March 18, 2021

By  Zen Chung

There are hundreds of piano makers in the piano market today, but only a few brands have stood out in quality and history. Some of the best piano brands have consistently produced pianos, and some have earned themselves a good reputation and are better choices because of their service. However, there is no metric to measure these instruments' quality value, and you can come close by finding the best piano brand that combines a good sound, tone, passion, history, and piano action making it top-notch.

Custom luxury pianos sometimes may incorporate gemstones, art graphics, rare woods, metals, and glass, and the best piano design and materials are limited by the piano maker's imagination. The choice of a piano is mostly personal as people look for different things, and the experience varies from one player to another. After plenty of research, we have come up with a list of some of the best piano brands and have included a detailed buying guide on picking the best piano brand in the piano market.

Best Piano Brands in the World

1. Bösendorfer

As one of the oldest and best piano brands globally, Bosendorfer was started in Vienna, Austria, in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer. Given the honor of the "official piano maker," he was famous for the invention of the 88-key keyboard extension with the Imperial Grand that has a 97-key keyboard, giving eight octaves. After the death of Ignaz, the company changed ownership more than once and finally was purchased by Yamaha. Yamaha maintains it as a separate business entity honoring its methods of production.

Bösendorfer pianos have a rich, warm sound suitable for classical music regardless of their size and have a delicate treble because of the rims and scale design. They mainly produce concert grand pianos, but they also have a few upright pianos, and they have produced one of the best baby grand pianos in the market, which shares the same keyboard with the 5'8 concert grand piano models.

Best Piano- 180 Grand Piano

Bösendorfer 180 Grand Piano 6' High-gloss Pyramid Mahogany
  • TWS & BLUETOOTH 5.0 - Adopt the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology with the most...
  • Hi-Fi STEREO SOUND & NOISE CANCELLATION - The sound inside the Bluetooth...
  • LONG LASTING & INSTANT PAIRING - You get about 8 hours of music enjoyment and...
  • SECURE FIT & MINI DESIGN - Better than a superb design and great quality is...
  • IPX6 WATERPROOF – With V2 TWS Say Goodbye to Water-Damage! Protected by...

If you are looking to experience the qualities of a new VC technology in a compact grand piano, this should be your choice. It produces an impressive sound volume with brilliant colors and the exceptional ability to project a tone.

Just like Bosendorfer pianos, the 180 Grand Piano features a warm and brilliant sound that ensures a pianist gets huge colors and a range of dynamics. The Bosendorfer pianos can make a good home piano and an excellent instrument for small halls with stable and strong mechanics.

Pros

  • 10-year warranty.
  • Produces a rich, luscious, and warm sound.
  • It can be customized with rare woods.
  • Transferable to future owners within the warranty period.

Cons

  • Difficult to tune

2. Steinway & Sons

Steinway and Sons are possibly the most famous piano manufacturer in the world, with each of their pianos are made of over 12000 parts, taking a year to build their craftsman. Heinrich Steinweg started making pianos in 1853 with his family, and they are considered the best piano manufacturers by pianists and modern piano founders with 127 patents to their name. They have received countless awards from Paris, New York City, and other organizations for their pianos' impeccable quality. Theodor Steinweg, son of Heinrich Steinweg partnered with Friedrich Grotrian to start the Grotrian brand in 1853. He sold his share of the partnership in 1865 to Wilhelm Grotrian, the son of Friedrich

Best Piano- Steinway Model D-274

Arguably, Steinway Model D is the company's flagship model with a price range of between $30000 to $100000, so make sure you buy it from an authorized retailer. Steinway D-274 was designed by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema between 1883-1887 and is displayed in the art museum.

It is an impressive piano used in concert hall settings and has featured in various recordings and tv programs. It has also been placed in the East Room, the largest room of the white house.

Pros

  • They have an entry-level piano for the beginner.
  • Founders of the modern piano.
  • Variety of models depending on your space.
  • The Essex upright pianos can be purchased online.
  • These pianos can fit in a home studio or apartment.

Cons

  • Too large to use at home.

3. C Bechstein

C Bechstein was founded in 1853 by Carl Bechstein in Germany and quickly became one of the best piano brands in Europe. By 1900, the piano builders were building over 5000 pianos every year. Bechstein comes in two series: C Bechstein and Bechstein, where both are impeccable but C Bechstein is of higher sound quality and price. Bechstein piano makers have made a name for themselves for creating a unique art case piano, and some of the art case pianos are museum pieces.

The company handcrafts each of the instruments and individually decorates piano cases to ensure that a player has an individual and unique piece according to their liking. They have built upright pianos for a music lover with limited space and grand pianos for the concert stage pianos producing unique voice-like sounds.

Best Piano-C. Bechstein B212 Concert Grand Piano

C. Bechstein Concert Grand Piano
  • Size: 9' 2"
  • Serial#: 176470
  • Color: Ebony Polish

C. Bechstein B212 is among the most incredible 7-foot grand pianos, which has a build quality that guarantees durability while being a delight to your ears and fingers. This is the best comparison to the Steinway Model D, and its wood comes from Val di Fiemme, a relatively elusive wood that is not a common material used by many instruments.

This piano grows the sound a bit, distributes energy as you play the notes on the instrument, and includes a tapered soundboard. You can achieve a good treble clarity and projection on this C. Bechstein B212, and it uses a treble bell.

Pros

  • The instruments have various series.
  • Produces a warm sound.
  • Tapered soundboard.
  • Good treble clarity

Cons

  • The B series is not held to the same standards.

4. Blüthner

Julius Blüthner started his piano factory in 1853, the same year as Bechstein, in Leipzig, Eastern Germany, and by 1868 he was already trading internationally. Blüthner holds superiority when it comes to crystal pianos, but also, their grand concert line does quite well. They come in various lines: the Julius Blüthner edition and the 150th Anniversary Edition. For baby grand pianos, the price range is $50000 and goes to a million dollars for the Lucid EXO version.

Best Piano-Bluthner Model 10

This is one of the largest baby grands in the range and comes with an Aliquot system that combines the soundboard size with the optimal length of strings. The piano works best for small homes or small-sized music studios, and you can get it any color or wood finish, and you can color match.

Bluthner Model 10 can be used by professionals because it is pretty responsive and provides a strong warm tone in a limited space. It also has good clarity in responsive medium action and can be used by pianists of all levels.

Pros

  • The instruments come in several editions.
  • Left-handed availability.
  • The build is excellent.
  • Lower maintenance costs

Cons

  • Outdated website.
  • Difficult to purchase in some countries.

5. Yamaha

Yamaha is one of the most recognizable piano brands and is a suitable option for someone on a budget and looking for a baby grand. The Yamaha Arius series is one of their best models and is the line of Console pianos

Best Piano-Yamaha Arius YDP 181

Yamaha Arius YDP-181 Traditional Console Style Digital Piano with Bench,...
  • 88-key GH(Graded Hammer) weighted action keyboard
  • Dynamic Stereo Sampling AWM piano with 128-note polyphony
  • 2-track, 3-song recorder
  • USB TO DEVICE port
  • LED Display.Tempo Range:32-280

Yamaha Arius YDP 181 is a giant piano that features a cabinet that looks like an acoustic piano and makes an excellent choice for people looking for a family piano. With a graded hammer action on the keyboard, you get a feel quite close to an acoustic piano.

It is aesthetically pleasing as it comes with a dark wood finish embellished with gold, even the three-pedal units. However, it's pretty heavy, and you will need someone to help you set it up and find a specific spot for it.

Pros

  • LED screen for better interaction with the piano.
  • USB connectivity.
  • The cabinetry looks similar to the grand piano.
  • Does not need an adapter, and you can plug directly.

Cons

  • No weighted action.
  • Only 128 polyphony

Other Notable Mentions

1. Stuart and Sons

An Australian-based company produces a warm and sweet sound comparable to Bösendorfer with many unique pianos with extra keys.

2. Mason and Hamlin

Mason and Hamlin were founded in 1881 and is Steinway's chief competitor, owned by the Burgett's today. They are an American company that produces an American tone quality described as powerful and lush with a clear treble and consistent sound in all their pianos.

3. Fazioli

Fazioli piano maker is the youngest brand founded in Italy by Paolo Fazioli in 1981 and has become one of the best piano makers today. Fazioli was a concert pianist and son of a famous cabinet maker, and this gave him a perfect background to come up with the best piano makers. The company aims to produce grand piano and concert grands exclusively, making around 170 per year in different sizes. However, Fazioli piano makers don't build upright pianos but only focus on the grand piano and concert grand piano.

4. Steingraeber & Söhne

Steingraeber Söhne was founded in 1852 by Eduard Steingraeber in Bayreuth, Germany that produces a unique sound that is a mixture of clarity and warmth with a wide tonal pallet. They produce less than 80 grand pianos every year.

5. Charles R Walter

Charles R Walter is an American company that signs and inspects each piano they make and has studio, grand, and vertical pianos. The Charles R Walter pianos have excellent features that reduce energy loss and increase sustain, producing beautiful tones.


What to Consider Before Buying the Best Piano Brands

1. Price

If you are flexible with the type of brand to go for, make sure to ask or check if there's any price increase or decrease based on the cabinet finish. Some of the best piano brands are less expensive because of the polished ebony finish than in polished mahogany or walnut. Ensure you find out how the best piano brands are rated and known, either for their quality or as budget pianos.

Sometimes the low price range will give you brands that don't have the best quality, and make sure, even if you are on a budget, choose a brand that will give you service.

2. Length of the warranty

A warranty is a crucial feature to consider when choosing a brand because it guarantees the piano's durability. Brand new pianos should have a warranty of not less than five years. However, some unauthorized private retailers selling pianos like Yamaha or Steinway don't offer a warranty. Always confirm the piano has a warranty before purchasing to avoid being a victim.

3. Maintenance and Repair

When it comes to repair and maintenance, purchasing a famous brand is a wiser choice because they are well known and can be serviced by most technicians. When it comes to unfamiliar brands, you can choose one but make sure you can find a technician and spare parts are readily available before you invest.

Some popular repairs include tuning, cleaning, buffering, key replacement, voicing, and pitch regulation. The only repairs that are constant are the voicing and tuning.

4. The Piano User

The brand you go for should be determined by who will be using the piano and how often. There is no need to go for an expensive brand for an occasional piano player and function well with a budget piano. However, for proficient players, the quality of the piano matters, and therefore you should choose a quality piano brand.

Students might need a functional piano with an A-440 standard pitch and one that can hold their tuning for an optimal time. However, even for the students, it is better to learn on a good instrument than a bad one, so choose a good piano to avoid demotivating the student resulting in poor musical education.

5. Getting a Professional to Advise

Before you decide to make the final purchase and are a bit unsure, get a professional to check out the best piano brands you are interested in and advise accordingly. You can also get a piano technician because they also know the downsides of all brands out of repairing them, and they have an understanding of each piano maker's history. Getting a technician is most important, especially if you are interested in an instrument with a lot of history.

Get your technician to go to the retail store you intend to buy from and check out the instrument to help you determine if it's worth it. Additionally, technicians can give you a more accurate review of all piano builders than the sho attendant depending on whether you are shopping for a second-hand instrument or a brand new one.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Steinway Sons better than Yamaha?

Both the Yamaha and Steinway piano brands are a good investment because both the piano brands offer top-notch quality. However, Steinway pianos have a unique sound that varies from one piano to another, even if they are of the same model. On the other hand, Yamaha is considered a stable sound because it doesn't change from model to model and what you see is what you get.

2. Is grand piano louder than an upright piano?

Grand pianos are louder because they emit their sound from above, while upright pianos emit sound from the back end, usually against a wall. Additionally, grand pianos have longer strings and larger soundboards, making a difference in tonality and generally achieving a more excellent dynamic range.

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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