A first-time piano buyer’s guide

If you have made the decision to purchase a new piano for your home, congratulations! Not only does a piano make any home more beautiful, it is an investment in entertainment that can last a lifetime. But as you know, there are thousands of keyboards to choose from, from multiple companies, at multiple price points. So how do you choose? Here are a few pointers to help you make the best choice.

The right size

It is important to choose a piano that not only sounds good, but that fits your space and looks right in the home. Perhaps you have a large atrium or other large room just looking for a centerpiece. A grand piano may just fit the bill. These are the most beautiful pianos, and also have the richest, fullest sound. If you have limited space, you may find that an upright piano is perfect for you. These are typically well-made and can last forever with proper care. Most models sound terrific, if not quite at the level of a grand. A good compromise for medium-sized spaces is a baby grand. These look beautiful, and sound quite good.

If your space is extremely limited, no problem! You can create great music with a portable electric piano. These have the added advantage of easy portability, and can come in handy if you are a touring musician or simply like to move around a lot and bring your music with you.

The right price

As with most musical instruments, the cost of a piano can vary widely, from a couple hundred dollars for a small digital piano to several thousand for an acoustic grand piano. The choices can seem overwhelming. This is important: Only buy what you know you can afford. Within any price point, you can find what you are looking for, even if you buy a used instrument. If you are a professional musician, you will likely get back what you put into it, so it is “safer” to spend a bit more for your piano. You also very likely have a better idea of what you are looking for. If you are a hobbyist or a student, spend a lot of time with a lot of pianos before you plunk down the dough.

Where to buy

So where do you spend a lot of time with pianos? In most cities, there are musical instrument stores that specialize in keyboard instruments. These are a great starting point. Keeping your budget in mind, try several pianos in your chosen price range and in the configuration you are looking for. Don’t settle on the first one you play, or the first store you visit. Visit several stores, and try several pianos in each. Be patient. Find out when stores in your area have their big sales, and wait for those or negotiate a price.

A word on buying pianos online: If you are purchasing an electric keyboard, you are safe buying online. For acoustic pianos, it is probably best to buy from a local dealer. Make sure they offer delivery, or choose a moving company that specializes in piano moving, and make sure you budget for that.


You are making one of the most valuable investments in terms of beauty and potential entertainment available. Play it frequently and enjoy yourself!