What are the Best Piano Brands?

To the untrained eye (or ear!), a piano is simply a piano. Sure, sometimes they can come in black, brown or even white, and occasionally they can sound a bit different from each other, but otherwise many people are inclined to view all pianos as essentially the same. Well today’s post is here to show just how big a misconception that is. Today we will talk piano brands, and put special emphasis on the very best ones out there. What gives the Steinway its powerful name in the piano market? How does a Yamaha fair to a Bosendorfer? By the end of this article, we hope to answer all these questions and more. So without further ado, get ready to meet a lot of pasta-sounding names, presidential sounding names, and just plain weird sounding names, all of which are pianos! Let’s begin!

7. Bosendorfer


Starting off our list is the Austrian Bosendorfer. Now don’t let your impression of the Bosendorfer be affected by the fact that it is ranked last on our list. Keep in mind there are over 300 piano brands in the world, and this is one of the top. Though its name sounds like a breed of dog, the Bosendorfer is a renowned piano brand that has been building handcrafted pianos since 1828, making it one of the oldest manufacturers of pianos in today’s market. It is most popular among those who seek luxury or have lavish piano collections, and probably can be found in the near vicinity in grand concert halls.


6. Fazioli



If you feel hungry while reading the name “Fazioli” it’s because you’re thinking of pasta. Despite sounding delicious, the Fazioli is probably not so, and rather is one of the top piano brands in the world. The company name comes from Paolo Fazioli, a man who is both a talented musician and furniture maker all in one. Despite being relatively new in the piano market, emerging only in 1978, the company quickly became branded as a top quality name in piano making. Working alongside mathematicians, physicists, technicians and wood technologists, Fazioli creates some of the biggest and most powerful pianos in the world today.


7. Charles R. Walter

Charles R. WalterCharles R. Walter

We’re all about the associations apparently, because yet again this piano brand reminds us of either a school principal or a president’s name. Accordingly, the Charles R. Walter’s are known to be high quality and high class pianos made of luxury woods. The man behind the professorial name, Charles Walter, introduced his first piano to the keyboard market in 1975, and rather quickly met success. With its rustic wooden charm and countryside feel, these pianos are like the comfort food of the music world.

4. Kawai


No, not Hawaii, Kawai! With a name clearly not originating in the West, Kawai pianos are Japanese made pianos founded by the awesomely named Koichi Kawai. Known for their digital and acoustic excellence, the company has been around since 1927. When it comes to their pianos, you can expect nothing but the finest quality, the sleekest design and the best sound around!

3. Yamaha


Though not first ranked, the Japanese Yamaha pianos are perhaps the most widely recognized on the list, call them the McDonalds of piano brands if you will. Originally called Nippon Gakki (huh??), the company name was changed to Yamaha in 1987 after its founder, Torakusu Yamaha. The only disadvantage that can be said of them is that they have a somewhat shorter lifespan in contrast to handcrafted pianos that can be found in America or Europe.


2. Baldwin


There’s an Alec, there’s a Stephen, and there’s a piano Baldwin. Baldwin is one of the largest keyboard instruments and piano makers in America. Founded in 1862 in Cincinnati by music teacher Dwight Hamilton (which in no way explains why the company name is Baldwin), the product became popular for its quality and detailed craftsmanship. What makes it number 2 on our very exclusive list? Well, for one thing, it boasts loyal players ranging from Ray Charles to Evanescence to David Letterman’s Paul Shaffer to the Glee cast.  Not every piano brand can associate itself with that cool a cool crowd. B)


1. Steinway & Sons



We’ve finally reached the big whammy. The best of the best, the ripest of the crop, the top piano brand name out there.  The grand winner of this title is Steinway and Sons, a brand that since its founding in 1853 has received every prestigious piano award out there from New York, Paris and beyond. Other than the high-end Steinway & Sons brand, Steinway boasts two budget brands that, should this list have been slightly longer, would have ranked here as well. Such is the power of the Steinway. The first of the two is Essex, a piano fashioned for the entry-level market and Boston for the mid-level market. But regardless of which level market the piano is intended for, the one thing that is undoubtable is that anything Steinway & Son touches is bound to create music of gold. 🙂

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  1. […] have some spare change (times a million) lying around. Will you spend your precious cash on just a regular plain brown Yamaha? Absolutely not! You will only invest your loot in a piano that is nothing short of extraordinary. […]

  2. Stephanie

    Thanks for the info! I grew up with a Baldwin and absolutely loved it. I have an old Wellington upright right now, but I miss my Baldwin. Though, the Wellington is more than sufficient for the time being. The sound is still rich, and it doesn’t have that problem some of the newer uprights have of being made of cheap particle board. It’s solid wood.

    My parents have hinted at giving me the Baldwin in the future, which I couldn’t be more excited about. I’ve begun teaching my son to play, and love the idea of having him learn on the piano I learned on. We’re doing one-on-one lessons 2 times a week, and supplementing with a program.

    Anyway, I’m rambling now. Thank you for this informative post. I’m happy to know that the piano I’ll be getting and teaching my son on is one of the best on the market! 🙂

  3. Nice information on Pianos.

  4. I feel like Kawai, Yamaha, and Baldwin should be taken off the list and replaced with names like Bluthner, Beckstein, Schimmel, Estonia, etc. But I guess it all boils down to personal preference. Bosendorfer certainly belongs higher on the list than any Asian instruments.

    1. “Bosendorfer certainly belongs higher on the list than any Asian instruments.”
      Why? Yamaha bought them. Also, Shigeru Kawai pianos are one of the best made instruments ever. They use old and highest quality wood for them.

  5. I am glad to read this article. I was in an awesome perplexity to discover the best piano stores in Toronto. This rundown of the list of best pianos has precised my decisions to purchase the best piano now.

  6. S Johnson

    Mid-tier? Hardly. Steinways are found in every major conservatory, university, concert halls and recording studios. The piano of Horowitz, Rubenstein, and contemporary giants like Lang Lang mid-tier??

  7. Stephen madigan

    I agree with several messages above. There are Steinways then there are Steinways. I own a Petrof concert Grand and like the more balanced sound than many of the other brands. Steinways had great and not so great years.

  8. Nikolas Kostenko

    What about Mason and Hamlin? Equal to, and in some cases superior to, Steinways. The most underrated pianos.

  9. And Baldwin hasn’t made pianos in the US since 2008. They’re all made in China now.

  10. Cobrun Sells

    You left out the two best brands with the cleanest and clearest tone…Stuart and Sons and Steingraeber and Sohne.

  11. Looking first to buy used upright — no luck so far with that want under 500, already in tune, not ready for the scrap heap!

    So now trying to rent. In a small town, but music stores — nothing but portable keys. Same with with large-city college town nearby. What can I do? Thanks.


    PS. Took lesssons as a child and a few classes in college, but starting from low level. Would rather not go with one I can’t look up and research on net.

    PSS. Delivery or shipping would be nice, but at this rate, I’ll be lucky to find anything at all!

    1. OnlinePianist

      Hi Jen,

      It seems you’re looking for a used beginner level upright piano with a limited budget. With that in mind, we can recommend 2 options, although please note that it would be higher than the budget you mentioned.

      1. A good used upright piano can be found with a bigger budget, usually about $1000. You can look for Japanese, American or European brands. We’re not entirely sure about rental options, but it’s possible these are available.

      2. Electric Pianos. There are some good brands under $1000 – like Casio Privia PX series, and some Yamaha P or YDP models. Some of them can come with a furniture stand, more suitable for home use in one fixed place. Furthermore, for electric pianos there are more rental options.

      We hope the feedback helps. 🙂

  12. I think it really depends on what sound you are looking for, what style of music you like best. It is good to get a piano that is flexible with most compositions or songs.

    If you like loud fast songs- An American brand- Steinway and sons

    If you want smooth and quiet and elegant- A European brand- Blüthner (I like)

    1. I believe Steinway and Sons was actually founded in Hamburg, Germany

  13. Ric Overton

    I just came across your blog for the first time and it is very cool.


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