Many people say that music most often expresses the world’s spirit. If there is one instrument that embodies the essence of music, it would be, without question, the piano.
Pianos are perhaps the most widely known musical instruments worldwide and are also the most commonly used. They are an integral part of every musical tradition, culture, and genre subscribed to by persons across several age groups.
The piano’s widespread popularity has created a large industry, with many of the best piano brands becoming household names. Currently, the industry is abounding with numerous piano manufacturers and may pose a challenge to choosing the perfect piano for yourself.
In selecting a piano, or any instrument for the matter, it is vital to ensure that you are buying a premium quality instrument made with high standards. You must be aware of the essential considerations to take into account before deciding on a piano.
In this sense, it would be exceedingly helpful to research the perfect keyboard to fit your preference, skill level, and financial disposition.
I’ve listed eight of the best piano brands based on their popularity, sales performance, and manufacturer’s reputation, with options for all budgets and play abilities.
1. Steinway & Sons
I feel it is safe to say that Steinway & Sons simply are the most respected and renowned piano makers in the market. Steinway & Sons embodies the standard by which all other piano manufacturers are measured.
Each delicately made piano takes over a year to be put together by a group of highly skilled craftsmen, with each piano having over 12,000 components!
The creator, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, started making pianos at the tender age of 20 in the family kitchen in Seesen, Germany.
A quarter of a century later, Steinweg migrated to the United States of America and established Steinway & Sons in 1853. Since then, the company has grown to be the most renowned piano maker worldwide.
Steinway & Sons takes pride in their grand piano models, which are meticulously and carefully hand-crafted by talented artisans. Not a minute is spared to ensure the crafting of masterpieces that are more works of art than merely assembled products.
Steinway & Sons is acclaimed worldwide for making what is possibly the best, unique, and most highly specialized pianos in the world.
The company has garnered prestigious awards from Paris, New York, as well as several respectable organizations in music and related fields for their craftsmanship and quality.
Because their pianos are top-of-the-line and classic, as a consequence, and rightly so, their pianos are costly.
But, always thinking of the musically inclined, Steinway & Sons began producing the Boston and Essex brands, which are less expensive and more affordable, but still, maintain the high quality of the legacy brands.
The Essex brand caters to the entry-level market, while the Boston brand is focused on the mid-level range.
Steinway & Sons are considered the founding creators of the contemporary piano, with 127 patents on their name.
The company produces the classic grand piano models and the more modern upright pianos. They also offer two exclusive products called “Custom” and “Crown Jewels” for the discerning customer who prefers a truly unique masterpiece.
Hands down, Steinway & Sons is easily the highest regarded and overall best piano brand in the world.
Yamaha is also ranked in the top ten piano manufacturers globally and is easily the most recognized brand, not only in music but across multiple disciplines and forms of technology.
Yamaha produces different piano types and sizes, ranging from household pianos for beginners to elegant instruments used by professionals in stage performances. Yamaha was also known to be the most famous maker of digital pianos worldwide for several decades.
Since Yamaha is renowned for its dedication to producing top-quality musical instruments for various purposes, they have labored to make their digital piano models sound similar to acoustic piano models.
A simple example is the digital replication of their famous CFIIIS acoustic grand piano (nine feet long) for concerts. Their superb attention to even the tiniest aspects makes their digital pianos some of the most desired.
Yamaha pianos are reputed for their premium quality, durability, and affordability, making them attractive to buyers looking for products with the highest value.
Yamaha incorporates advanced technology in the design of all parts and features (such as the ordered hammer-action keys, tone, and voice) of their pianos.
Yamaha is such a world-leading brand in piano production that technicians from competing brands study their technology by observing the results found in Yamaha pianos.
In addition to their excellence in the sound category, Yamaha also excels in the “price and variety” classification by offering various model options at different prices.
Yamaha provides buyers the chance to choose the perfect piano that suits their needs and budget. The affordable quality has made Yamaha pianos a precious and highly sought-after product in the world, and also one of the best piano brands for beginners looking to enter the world of piano music.
Known for their beauty and pure elegance, Kawai pianos are an exceptional blend of technical innovations, premium materials, and traditional craftsmanship. The Kawai soundboards are made of aged wood at least ten years old.
They also showcase the Millennium III, a container made from a state-of-the-art compound, and are deemed the most crucial development in piano technology in many years.
Kawai is recognized for its sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing pianos, making them second only to Yamaha as one of the best piano brands worldwide at the beginning of the 2000s. Since then, Kawai has made considerable efforts to improve its piano design, thus becoming a fan favorite.
In the area of piano manufacturing, Kawai is known for its exceptional sound quality and offers a wide variety of models. Their pianos come in various designs, colors, and styles.
Pricewise, Kawai is comparable to Yamaha for giving buyers options that are comparatively more affordable than the likes of Steinway or Roland.
Similar to Yamaha, Kawai is also known for making excellent digital pianos that became very popular during the digital revolution. Kawai designs their digital pianos by incorporating the sound and tone from the upright and grand models with as much attention to detail as possible.
A particular innovation unique to Kawai digital pianos that are gradually being followed by other top piano brands in the simulated key weight and a recognizable touch of their acoustic pianos, giving Kawai digital pianos the closest feel to acoustic models.
Another unique feature exclusive to Kawai and other Japanese piano manufacturers is the adoption of longer keys, famous for enhancing ease while playing. Lastly, because they are made with wooden components and plastic, Kawai pianos are very classy and durable while still being very affordable.
This elegant combination of features is sure to attract a wide variety of buyers.
4. Mason & Hamlin
An old American piano brand, Mason & Hamlin, had its beginnings in 1881. Soon after its establishment in 1881, the company was promptly considered Steinway’s greatest rival.
Today, the whole Mason & Hamlin business is under the ownership of the Burgetts, who decided to continue the brand identity and legacy of the original owners. They also made it a point to maintain the designs and styles of the brand’s Boston era influences.
Mason & Hamlin is famous for its exclusive, powerful, and lush American tone. Their pianos feature longer keys (similar to Yamaha) and improved pedal levers that provide powerful bass tones and clear treble notes.
Initially, Mason & Hamlin was not set up to manufacture pianos. The first product they made was known as the Organ Harmonium, and they didn’t begin making pianos until 1881.
Mason & Hamlin instruments belong to the elite and have become a highly expensive piano brand, mainly owing to the precise method of producing the pianos.
The devices are fashioned almost all by hand by a crew of highly skilled craftsmen with unparalleled attention to particulars, and every piano is examined a minimum of 12 times throughout the manufacturing stages.
Mason & Hamlin prioritizes the manufacture of exquisite and top-quality pianos that stand apart from competing brands. As such, the brand has become a popular favorite for people desiring the sophistication that the brand represents.
Established in Italy in 1981, Fazioli is a newer-generation piano manufacturer but has finely matured over the decades, becoming one of the best piano brands worldwide. Fazioli presently carries six grand piano models.
Paulo Fazioli, owner, and founder was heir to a sizable carpentry business and a former concert pianist. He possessed the perfect credentials to create an exclusive piano line that manifested his zeal.
Fazioli dreamt of creating an unrivaled masterpiece that stood apart from the rest while also giving buyers the most exceptional investment value.
The Fazioli grand piano has a unique design, with the F308 being the lengthiest piano currently available. It also incorporates different features, like having a fourth pedal, which serves as a mild interlude to bring the hammers closer to the discs.
The Fazioli brand aims for the exclusive manufacture of grand pianos for concert use without resorting to significant scale endeavors. The keyboards, designed and manufactured in Italy, are quite expensive, costing up to around $300,000.
Because the Fazioli brand exclusively makes grand pianos, their modest manufacturing facility is designed to produce only about 100 to 130 pianos a year.
The Fazioli pianos are built magnificently, with the most significant concert grand model stretching over ten feet, and weighing around 570 kilograms.
Despite being hugely expensive, a Fazioli piano has the potential to be a sound investment (should you be able to afford one), as their prices usually appreciate over time, making them one of the best grand piano brands out there.
A very prevalent brand in the piano manufacturing industry, Bechstein was established in 1853, and it immediately became a popular piano maker in Europe. Bechstein’s main production facilities are located in the city of Seifhennersdorf, Germany.
From their very early humble beginnings up until today, they maintain high-quality standards that have landed them a spot at the very top of the piano industry.
The brand has two piano models, “C.Bechstein” and “Bechstein,” and both provide durable and quality sounds. Yet, “C. Bechstein” offers even more quality, but at a higher price.
It is interesting to note that several famous groups and artists such as The Beatles, the late Freddie Mercury, and Elton John have endorsed the brand by using their pianos in their performances.
Apart from their sound effectiveness, Bechstein pianos are famous for their remarkable craftsmanship. In addition to getting a dynamic and unique sound, you will also get a classy and timeless custom-made art case.
As possibly the oldest manufacturer of pianos worldwide, the company was established in Austria in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer, who was notably given the title of “official piano builder” in 1830, serving the Emperor of Austria.
Bösendorfer is an expert in the manufacturing of grand pianos, their premier product known as the Imperial Grand Piano, which is considered to belong with the world’s most significant pianos of all time.
Ignaz Bösendorfer is recognized as having invented the addition to the standard keyboard with 88 keys to create the Imperial Grand consisting of 97 keys, featuring 8 octaves.
That feature alone has helped the Imperial Grand Piano to become one of the most famous and desired concert pianos worldwide. And that fact remains to this day. The same innovation was incorporated into the ensuing pianos manufactured by Bösendorfer.
Some of their other models include the distinct feature of adding supplementary keys. The Bösendorfer Grand Piano model 225 has 92 keys, whereas the more prominent Imperial Grand Piano has 97 keys.
All Bösendorfer pianos are made with intense professionalism and devotion to achieve glamor and the fullness of sound.
Since Bösendorfer is primarily producing exclusive luxury pianos, they make very few pianos annually.
Every piano is crafted by hand and made with extreme diligence and care. If you can afford to own one, Bösendorfer is another great among the best grand piano brands and is a worthwhile investment you’d find hard to regret.
One of the top brands in piano making, Baldwin, is most well known in the United States. Baldwin was established in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they are considered among the most significant piano makers in America.
They are renowned as producers of grand concert pianos with exclusive design and sound. Baldwin pianos are generally less expensive than the Steinway brand but still offer comparable sound production.
Prices for their pianos typically start from $8,500 (upright piano variant) and $22,000 (a grand piano model).
The keyboards have an extensive key range that can reach the highest of notes and are overall built for the highest performance possible whilst still maintaining superb visual aesthetics. Overall, they are one of the best upright piano brands due to their high quality and affordability.
Final Thoughts On The Best Piano Brands
Over the years, its become increasingly difficult to choose from the best piano brands on the market, largely due to the ever-increasing market competition.
For the most part, many of the top piano manufacturers share the same high levels of craftsmanship and quality you expect, so it does come down to the piano brand itself.
Often, the necessity of buying a piano, as well as the financial considerations you have, will be the dictating factors of your purchase.
Regardless, there is a plentiful abundance of great piano manufacturers to choose from, but if you can afford one, choosing a piano from my best piano brands list will not only sound and play excellently but will be an investment for the future.