There are hundreds of piano companies around the world that produce some amazing and high-quality products. It can be hard to distinguish them from one another. After all, isn’t a piano the same no matter who makes it? However, a piano is not just a piano, and ones that are produced by some of the best piano companies can make a big difference for players.
Luckily for you, we have gathered a list of the 15 of the best companies who produce some of the best pianos on the market. They are established around the world as the preference of many pianists, including a few that may be lesser known but still produce amazing pianos.
What Piano Brand is the Best?
OK, here’s the truth—there really is no “best” piano brand. Each brand and company make different pianos for different uses and for different kinds of customers. It all comes down to the player’s circumstances, budget, and preferences. Generally, the higher the price tag becomes, the nicer and more eloquent the piano.
However, lower priced pianos are not to be outright dismissed. There can be some amazing pianos found within more common named brands that may not need to heighten their prices. Yamaha, for example, makes more than just pianos and therefore has a profit margin from other sales. They are capable of making and selling pianos at a lower price that are still competitive with some of the more expensive pianos.
When considering what piano to purchase and which piano company or brand to buy from, it is important to consider all your options and compare what fits your desires. Aside from budget it’s important to know what sounds you like; how much you want to spend on maintenance and the space you have available. Most brands have more than one piano model to choose from, so hopefully each brand has a piano that fits you the best.
If that’s not a good enough answer for you, then in my personal opinion the best piano brand is Yamaha. It’s affordable for most budgets and their pianos are sturdy and high quality. They have a number of different types of pianos to choose from and make it comfortable for all types of players and skill levels. In my opinion they fit all of the following categories.
Best Piano Brand for Beginners
The biggest dilemma that beginners face when searching through the piano market is the decision to go all in and buy a full piano or to try out a great digital keyboard before committing. In reality there are pros and cons for both, and brands on both sides of the spectrum.
The keyboards tend to be a bit cheaper and fit into more budgets, however they are not necessarily the same playing style as a full grand. Additionally, keyboards can be on the smaller side not giving all 88-keys.
However, brands such as those we’ve listed tend to try and put quality first in their digital boards. While they will never be fully the same as a wooden piano, they come quite close in sound and playing style.
The Casio piano brand is more geared towards digital keyboards and hybrids; however, this is what makes it great for beginners. Since Casio doesn’t do as many “real” pianos with the full-sized grands or ivory keys, they can make more affordable options for those trying out the instrument.
Their keyboards are able to help beginners get a starting feel of what playing the piano may be. While the keyboards are missing a few features that advanced students may notice, they contain all the important basics for beginner students to have.
The sounds are quite close to those of real grand pianos, and the speakers have no discernible distortion of sound. The digital boards tend to have a lighter key weight to help students gain more control over their own playing. When they are ready to switch to the real deal, there are many nuances that students will appreciate of the more advanced boards.
- Average price: $479.00
- 88 full-sized weighted keys
- Touch sensitivity
- Scaled Hammer Action
- MIDI recorder
- Sustain pedal jack
The CDP-S150 is one of the slimmest pianos available on the market. This not only makes it amazingly portable, but great for beginners in a house that might not have the space to accommodate an entire grand piano.
In terms of the physical keys, the ones on this board are textured ebony and ivory tops which creates a big difference when doing fast passages. While it may not be super noticeable to beginners, it is a high-quality asset for students just beginning to learn how to do these fast passages and not stumble over their own fingers.
The other highly coveted feature of the CDP-S150 that many other pianos and brands may not support is the triple-pedal unit. The CDP-S150 can support the soft, sustain and damper pedal functions which is great for beginners since this is what a non-digital piano has as well. It gives them exposure to quite an important part of piano playing while they are still learning the fundamentals.
- Average price: $679.00
- 8W speaker system
- Bluetooth Audio and MIDI
- Smart Scaled Hammer Action
- 88 Note fully weighted piano
This keyboard highlights many of the reasons that Casio is a great brand for beginners. It is quite an affordable keyboard for those who are simply trying out the industry before deciding to invest more in their musical journey.
However, the affordability of the keyboard does not mean that Casio skimped out on the quality of sound of feel. Rather, they learned from the previous model (Privia PX-S1000) and improved many aspects. The sound of the PX-S1100 is responsive and dynamic, just like a regular grand piano.
Similar to the CDP-S150, The PX-S1100 is also great for beginners who may not have built up the finger strength for real keys yet. It has a light and beginner-friendly action making it easier to navigate and practice without finger fatigue.
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Another commonly known piano brand is Roland, and their digital pianos can be a great start for any beginner. The best part about the Roland pianos is that each one encapsulates a different important aspect of grand piano imitation.
They are built with beginners in mind, but more importantly they are built with the knowledge that not all beginners are starting from the same spot. Some may have more strength for fully weighted keys while others may need to build up with lighter ones.
They are meant to help beginners find what they like in a piano so that when they do advance to more natural structures, they are capable of knowing what they like and what they want.
- Average price: $499.00
- 88 full-size weighted keys
- 6W speaker
- PHA-4 Standard action with escapement
- MIDI recorder
The FP-10 is another keyboard that is built to be entry-level and get beginners to love the piano. It’s biggest feature that Roland prides itself on is the PHA-4 key bed meaning each individual key on the board is individually weighted. The keys are heavier at the bass end and gradually become lighter with the higher octaves.
Along with the weighted keys comes the escapement mechanism. This means that players will be able to play repetitive notes faster, something that is both achievable on real pianos, but can also be a struggle depending on the string and hammer structure. For beginners, this is a great mechanism to have as many of those songs focus on repetitive notes to establish keyboard foundations.
- Average price: $399.00
- 88 full-size semi-weighted keys
- 10W speaker
- Fairly portable
Designed to bridge the gap between piano and keyboard, the GO: Piano 88 is a beginner piano meant to give players the best from both worlds. The keys are not fully weighted, however Roland styled them after a more traditional piano. It allows players to be able to feel as though they are playing the real thing and develop the correct technique for when they become more advanced.
The semi-weighted keys really are the best thing on this board. Similar to the Casio boards they are great for the beginners who may not have developed the finger strength to play with fully weighted keys quite yet. Beginners can learn to be more dynamic and expressive right off the bat without combating the piano structure.
Korg is another great option for beginners to look at. They can be on the more expensive side, however their big draw for beginners is their hammer actions and pedals. Unlike many other piano brands, the Korg pianos heavily support the pedal similar to a real piano including the ability to half pedal.
- Average price: $499.00
- 15W speaker
- Scaled hammer action
- Touch sensitivity
- Sustain pedal (only the Korg one)
The biggest thing to discuss with the Korg B2 for beginners is the sustain pedal and the scaled hammer action. Since the Korg B2 does not have textured keys to allow for easier playing of faster passages, its “real feel” comes from the scaled hammer action.
It means the keys in the bass clef section are going to be heavier than those near the top of the keyboard. It closer to how a real piano functions so players can get the feel of it rather than the normally light weighted keys of a digital board.
The other thing is the sustain pedal that can come with the B2 keyboard. Despite only being compatible with the Korg branded pedal, it is an important skill for beginning students to learn. As they progress through the levels the use and intricacies of the pedals becomes more and more prevalent.
- Average price: $800.00
- 88 keys
- Natural Weighted Hammer Action
- Touch sensitivity
- Pedal unit with half-pedaling support
Similar to the B2, the best part of this keyboard is the natural weighted hammer action and the pedal unit it comes with. The pedal unit specifically has the three needed pedal functions (Damper, Soft, Sostenuto). However, what makes this keyboard special is that the pedals support half pedaling, a more advanced skill that affects a student’s playing.
Additionally, the natural weighted hammer action is a high-quality part of the keyboard. It means the keyboard action has real hammers just like a real piano. It is something that all beginners should be looking for in any piano they choose to purchase to help get the real feel and intricacies of what the reactions of a real piano would be like.
- You also might enjoy: Korg LP-180 review
Alesis is less of a commonly known piano brand, and also has less pianos available than some of the other brands listed. However, that does not take them out of the running by any means. Rather, Alesis pianos can be great for beginners because of the skills they force beginners to learn. They are not built with beginners in mind but create pianos for all skill levels that can help beginners build their abilities.
- Average price: $200.00
- 10W speakers
- Semi-weighted keys
- Touch sensitive
The big item with this keyboard is the semi-weighted keys, unlike the rest of the boards already discussed. Semi-weighted keys can be a hard thing to evaluate and can easily create “mush” that discourages players from really digging into them.
However, it can be good for beginners to help learn to control their playing. Many beginners struggle with the pianissimo side of dynamics and only want to bang on the keys. But this can become unpleasant to the ear, so for beginners to learn to play quietly through semi-weighted keys can be a benefit.
- You also might enjoy: Alesis Recital review
Honorable Mention: Alesis Prestige Artist
I had the chance to recently do an Alesis Prestige Artist review, and I was pretty impressed with the piano. It’s overall quite inexpensive (less than $600 on average) and yet provides good sound and even has a LCD screen (albeit a pretty small one).
I think utilizing the screen is very helpful for keeping track of the changes you make (such as sound changes or function changes, like Split or Layer). It was also my piano of choice to use when I did my PiaNote review.
The Prestige Artist is never going to be your “forever piano.” But it’s a great entry-level digital piano that will give you very solid quality in the touch and sound department. The Prestige Artist will also get you learn and develop piano fundamentals before you (one day) graduate to an instrument that is a bit more mature and robust.
Kawai is yet another great affordable brand that has more digital pianos that can fit more budgets than investing in a more expensive option. They are known for their quality keyboard actions that make playing the digital board feel more realistic to the real deal.
This is a really important aspect when playing piano because the feel and action of the keys can affect the players dynamic range, finger dexterity, and comfort as they advance through the skills. Hammer action as close to a real piano as possible is the best option for beginners because as they progress through the levels, it will make it easier to transition to other piano types. Additionally, the fundamentals and foundations can be built with more confidence and ability to catch and correct errors.
- Average price: $699.00
- 88 weighted keys
- Touch sensitivity
- 7W speakers
The ES110 is a portable piano meaning it has a smaller frame and size. It makes it great to fit into apartments or dorms for those older students who may be trying to take up a new hobby. The keyboard has a full 88-key set that is fully weighted and uses a Responsive Hammer Compact action mechanism.
This is a really important part of the Kawai keyboards because it helps to mimic that real piano feel as students play. They use actual hammers to create the same mechanical movement within the digital piano and create a similar acoustic piano action. The RHC are also graded meaning the farther bass clef players get the heavier the hammers.
The other aspect of this keyboard that is great for beginner players is the touch sensitivity it applies. The volume of the tones will depend on the lightness with which the players press the keys. This is amazing for beginner players to have as dynamics is one of the hardest skills to learn on the piano and the earlier, they get the hang of it the better.
- You also might enjoy: Kawai ES110 review
- Average Price: $1199.00
- 88 fully weighted keys
- Responsive Hammer Compact action
- Lesson function
- Touch sensitivity
As you can see, most of the important functions on the KDP-110 are the same as the keyboard mentioned above. However, what makes this keyboard different is the lesson function it has available to students, it helps make it perfect for beginners.
The lesson function on the KDP-110 includes 5 built in song books for the basics, including the highly reviewed Alfred Basic Piano Library series. The books themselves are not included, however the piano’s lesson function can play a given song while the user sees it on the page. It also allows for students to practice their hands separately and learn them individually.
- You also might enjoy: Kawai KDP-110 review
Best Piano Brands for Baby Grands
Yamaha is all about the performance quality. All of their pianos are built to have the best sound and elegant finish meant to make all players sound and look amazing. We put them in this category of best piano brands because of their focus on baby grands. They don’t just take the large grand pianos and shrink them down, but rather build the baby grands to stand on their own.
The best of the baby grands that Yamaha has to offer is the GC1. They built it to be small and yet not cut corners on the sound making it as large as possible but still be able to fit into a home. The length of the piano is necessary for the bass strings because it helps eliminate the thuddy sound that shorter strings create.
Yamaha keeps their pianos at quite an affordable price. The GC1 comes in at an average price of $23,000.00 which when compared to the digital options above can seem like a lot.
However, it’s important to remember that this is a real wooden piano that has a lot more parts and is more in-demand in the piano industry. Pianos under $30,000.00 is really a good bargain.
Baldwin is an American-made piano company known for their “American sound”. The tone is right in the middle of the European and Asian instruments, not bright but not dark either. They pay special attention to their lower registers to ensure that there is know brassy sounds coming despite the relatively shorter size of baby grand pianos. In reality they build their baby grands to compete with the tone and sound quality of all longer pianos.
Baldwin Model M Series
The Baldwin Model M series is often compared to the Steinway Model S series. Given that, players can be sure that it is a great model as Steinway’s are often on the higher end of the price range. The Model M series is known for exemplifying that “American sounds” Baldwin prides itself on. Its soundboard creates a rich tone that is capable of sustaining longer than some grand pianos.
Fazioli is an amazing brand when considering the piano making industry. They build each piano with precision and are often regarded as balanced and rich. Their pianos are able to project their rich tone without needing to bang into the keys. Both ends of the dynamic spectrum are able to be clearly heard and the regulation of notes and touch across the registers is exactly what pianists are looking for.
As a brand, Fazioli is often compared to the Steinway pianos. The F183 is commonly known to exemplify the Fazioli style of even playing and rich lower bass notes. However, this piano is known to be quite bright in the upper registers and really is more suited to the lower compositions. It still is an easy piano to play and get out the right dynamics. It can be easy to lose yourself in the music that comes out of Fazioli pianos because of it’s deep and mellow sound.
Sauter is a small brand of German piano makers and can often times be overlooked for the other more commonly known brand names. When players engage with their pianos, they find that the resonance and hammer action really can be put in competition with some of the more popular piano makers. Thanks to its lesser-known status, the Sauter pianos are able to make the best pianos without so much compromise to lower prices.
Sauter Model 160
The Sauter Model 160 is one of the best baby grands this brand has to offer. Its beautiful sound is rich and distributed across all the registers of the piano. The keys are not too light encouraging players to have control and traction over their own playing. This means it can be easy to play faster passages and have a greater dynamic range than some other pianos.
The sound of the Model 160 is distributed throughout the soundboard and resonates throughout the room just like a larger instrument. Despite its smaller size, one would never know that this piano is considered a baby grand because it’s sound and feel are just like that of a concert grand.
Story & Clark
Story & Clark is one of the best piano companies because of their unique piano builds. They really stress to find the best items and materials for each part of the piano rather than simply making sure everything is cohesive and aesthetic. Story & Clark also has recently been trying to incorporate more technology into their pianos without having it take over. Their whole mission is to enhance and create the best pianos for the players.
Story & Clark SCS600
The individual parts of the SCS600 are what make it an amazing piano both in sound and when playing. Maple bridges and the maple action rail help the sound to project and travel throughout the room and the piano itself.
The solid spruce soundboard helps to create a rich and distributed tone while the Roeslau strings combined with the German double felted hammers help to create a beautiful sound in the first place.
Best Piano Brands to Buy Used
The key with buying used pianos is to look for those brands that may have aired on the more expensive side to begin with. Typically, but not always, the higher the original price range, the sturdier the piano is built.
They are meant to last a long time without wear and tear or functioning incorrectly meaning even though they are used they are still good quality.
Steinways are definitely up there in terms of the price range; however, they are used by many professional pianists and are high quality.
In all honesty, Steinways ensure that the buyers get all the bang for their buck. They are built to get out some of the best sounds a piano can have and come widely highly recommended.
Steinway Model B
The model B piano is one of Steinway’s best sellers and one that you are more likely to find in the used market. It is really renowned for having the iconic Steinway sound meaning there is touch sensitivity, longer sustain, and overall, a refined tone. It is great for players of all skill levels and can help make anyone sound like a pro.
Steinway values their sound and despite the Model B being on the smaller side, they did not compromise this value because of that. Instead, they simply made their grand sound able to fit into a smaller piano and therefore a smaller room making it more accessible to amateurs.
The thing that truly distinguishes Bosendorfer from other piano brands is their piano design. It is not used by any other company and can help give them a bit of an edge, especially in the European market. Bosendorfer is regularly put into competition with Steinway pianos, however given that Bosendorfer is made in Europe, and Steinway in America they can both dominate separate markets.
Bosendorfer Grand Piano 200
Again, this is one of the more popular Bosendorfer pianos on the market and has been for quite some time. It really does exemplify Bosendorfer’s unique build and sound experience. In contrast to many other brands, the Bosendorfer uses a softer wood within the rims of their pianos, and in the 200 specifically a sawn piece with spruce integrated throughout.
This softer wood rim essentially creates a sound enhancer as if the user was wearing headphones. The sounds that reach the left and right ears are so different that players are left with the impression of the piano having a wide expanse of sound. However, the softer wood does make it feel as though there is a harmonic gap in the lower mid-range making the sound less full, however that does not necessarily bring the quality of this brand down.
Wm Knabe & Co
Knabe & Co is one of the oldest and most highly respected piano brands of all time. So much so, that many of their pianos are now considered antiques and can go for at least $100,000. However, this is what makes them so great to buy on the used marketplace. The secret to buying a Knabe & Co is to buy them cheap as low as $2,000 used, and then restore them. They are easily restorable to mint condition with the right parts and perhaps some professional help.
Wm Knabe & Co WG54
The thing about Knabe & Co is each piano series is built so different that it can be hard to understand the scope of what they are offering. However, the WG54 is a great option the exemplifies most of the best features of Knabe & Co.
The best feature of the Knabe & Co pianos are the almost all-wood builds. In the WG54 specifically it’s all spruce and maple. The one thing that is imperative to mention when discussing Knabe & Co and the WG54 in particular is the maple rim. This rim is meant to help the piano’s sound project loud without any distortion. It helps the sound come out more crisp and clear and make any player sound like a professional.
Stuart & Sons
Stuart & Sons is an Australian made piano company that has some interesting quirks to their piano builds. Their pianos tend to push the boundaries and extend every aspect. The main noticeable extensions are the number of key (more than 88) and the number of pedal (4). They believe that extending these aspects of the piano will allow players and composers to get the most out of the piano rather than be limited.
Unfortunately, these extensions can drive the price of a Stuart & Sons piano up quite a bit. This is why we recommend getting them on the used market because they have a sturdy build that can last quite a while and not need as much maintenance.
The Beleura (108 keys)
The Beleura is exactly what Stuart & Sons are talking about when they say to stretch the possibilities of piano. Coming in at 108 keys, the Beleura stretches both the frequency and the octave range of the piano giving the players and composers more options when creating music.
Additionally, the Beleura has 4 pedals rather than just 3. The fourth pedal has an interesting function, meant to raise the hammers closer to the strings. This means that players can get a quieter sound without feeling like they are losing the notes. It is a continuous pedal meaning half-pedaling and otherwise are an option to help enhance playing even more and get new sounds.
Bechstein is another great piano brand and company to buy on the used market or otherwise. They are most well-known for their sound and the touch needed to achieve it. It stands out in the market because the pianos themselves are quite light and responsive to a player’s touch, but the sound remains rich and full despite this.
This is something that makes them great for the used market because they are high quality and capable of standing the test of time. Their sound is not entirely focused and reliant on the keys themselves, but the piano’s build as a whole. As long as most of it is still in high quality shape, then the sound should be as well.
The Bechstein D282 grand piano is one of their best pianos they have on the market and really exemplifies their ability to create the best sound for any piano occasion. Its cast-iron plate means the sound project is one of a kind, capable of filling an entire concert hall. It can help players understand dynamics as each one is projected meaning pianissimos really require a lighter touch.
The Bechstein L167 is technically classified as a baby grand piano, however it is still worthy to be discussed here as it also showcases proudly much of the sound quality that Bechstein prides itself on.
On both the L167 and the D282 the Bechstein brand makes their own hammers to achieve the highest quality of sound. This is much unlike most other piano brands even the best piano companies tend to outsource their hammers. However, these hammers along with the piano build help to produce a clear tone where all the harmonics and partial are even and consistent. This is something that many other piano brands cannot say they achieve 100% of the time.
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