The Different Types of Pianos

There is such a wide variety of pianos to pick from on the market giving pianist the ability to choose one that fits their intended use, budget, and style. The reason this instrument comes in many different shapes and sizes is due to the demands of amateur and professional musicians.


Pianos differ in dimension, style, pedals, and sometimes even keys. While most pianos have 88 keys, you will find older versions with 85. Additionally, while contemporary American pianos have three pedals, European ones tend to have two. Here are the general categories of pianos to give you an idea of how they differ from one another and who it’s best fit for.

Acoustic Piano

This type describes the basic, traditional, non-electric piano. Unlike a digital piano, sound is produced when keys are struck, and gravity pulls the hammers back to their resting position after the musician hits the string. This means that pianists can manipulate notes and expressions which cannot be done with a digital instrument.

Electric Piano

One step above the acoustic piano, an electric piano amplifies the sound produced by the strings. It is not the same as an electronic piano which stimulates piano sounds using analog circuitry.

Digital Piano

The sounds that come from this instrument are generally digital representations also known as samples. They play back pre-recorded notes from an acoustic piano meaning that you won’t have the same freedom to express yourself when playing notes. These are good fits if you would like to add other sounds to your accompaniment like woodwinds, percussion, or strings.

Choosing the Right Piano

When walking into a music store, don’t let the salesperson convince you to purchase the piano they believe is best. Take into consideration what your intended use is and who much you must spend.

While some people like the sound an authentic acoustic piano produces, others prefer digital keyboards as they can replicate and mimic other instruments. Digital pianos are also cheaper, smaller, and more portable than the traditional piano. Size matters when it comes down to a piano and the bigger it is, the better it will sound.

Considering the amount of space, you have at home, you can pick between an upright and grand piano. Upright ones will save much more space than a grand piano. Take into consideration how often you plan on moving the piano. If you move locations frequently moving the piano too can become expensive.

Finally, if you are a beginner pianist or picking this up as a hobby, we suggest investing in a digital piano before moving up to an acoustic or electric one. This will give you a minimal initial investment and if you find you want to pursue playing this instrument on a more professional level than we highly suggest investing in an acoustic as early as you can.

We wish you the best of luck in finding the piano right for you! While you want it to be functional, don’t forget to choose a finish that your content with. This can be a wood grain finish or a painted exterior. Keep in mind how it will look with the other furniture in your home.