What Are the Best Piano Brands?

Piano Lessons / myths / What Are the Best Piano Brands?

So What Are the Best Piano Brands?

The country of origin is often the best indicator of the quality of pianos. Since piano production began in Germany and the United States, these represent the very best piano brands.

The United States only has 3 manufacturers left although there used to be hundreds of piano companies building in America. Today we have only:

Steinway

is Steinway the best piano brand

 

 

Steinway makes about 2500 pianos a year

 

 

 

Mason & Hamlin

is mason and hamlin one of the best piano brands

 

 

Mason & Hamlin builds only 250 pianos per year

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Walter

Charles Walter, one of the top piano brands in the united states

 

 

Charles Walter is a relative newcomer which builds only about 65 pianos each year.

 

 

 

 

 

The best European pianos come primarily from Germany:

Bechstein

Bechstein is one of the best piano brands in the world

Bluthner

Bluthner pianos are one of the best brands

Bosendorfer (from Austria)

Bosendorfer is one of the best piano brands in Europe, they are based in Austria

Fazioli (from Italy)

Fazioli from Italy is one of the best piano brands in the world

The Eastern European pianos are not as refined but offer excellent value:

Petrof/Weinbach

(The same company produces both pianos.)
petrof and weinbach are among the best piano brands

Estonia

estonia is one of the best piano brands in europe

Japan makes the best Asian production pianos. There are 2 companies which are the largest and second largest manufacturers of pianos in the world:

Yamaha

Yamaha is one of the best asian production brand pianos

Kawai

kawai is one of the best piano brands in Asia

Both companies have factories throughout Asia (not just in Japan) and the best pianos they build are made in Japan. They offer everything from budget instruments to hand-made pianos rivaling the best German and American pianos.

Korea has been making pianos for quite some time. While not as refined as the Japanese pianos, they continually improve. There are 2 Korean piano manufactures both of which have factories in other countries:

Samick

samick is a great piano brand, is it one of the best?

Young Chang

young chang is one of the best asian piano brands

Samick sells pianos under many different brand names including Kohler and Campbell, Knabe, Sohmer, Pramberger, Remington and many more. These are referred to as “stencil pianos” since the original manufacturer is either out of business or it is a made up name. Young Chang sells pianos under the Weber name.

Best Piano Brands YouTube Video

Best Piano Brands

93 thoughts on “What Are the Best Piano Brands?”


 
 

  1. Thank you so much for the WONDERFUL concert at Dorina and Michael Popa’s home last evening. It was an ‘instant heirloom’ memory for me and everyone in attendance. You have stimulated me to start practicing again, at my vintage age.
    My parents bought me a Krakauer piano when I was very young. We didn’t have furniture, but they bought me the piano. I’m saving it for my grandchildren, if I am ever blessed enough to get them! Are you familiar with the brand? It is not a baby grand or a grand; but it does have a lovely sound. I believe very few of them were made. Not sure. I do know they were hand made and I believe the keys are ivory. Not sure of that either. People sometimes grow up with family ‘legends.’ But I do know my parents sacrificed greatly so that a piano would be in the house. Again, thank you for the wonderful concert. I just hope you got home safely because you had to be exhausted; Mission Viego is a long drive from Los Angeles. It was a treasure of an evening. You are very talented and very generous with your time and talents. Sincerely, ADria Schumann

  2. HI Im from malaysia
    sorry need some help~~
    want to buy a piano
    just want to ask it is KRIEBEL PIANO is from japan?
    The model is 39584 hight is 132cm sell at RM5300 it is ok??

    1. Kriebel pianos were made in Berlin, Germany and stopped production in 1934. It is very possible that the instrument you saw was a stencil brand, an Asian production piano with the old Kriebel decal on the front. If not, be sure that the instrument is checked out by a piano technician to see what work it might need since the piano is quite old.

    1. Kohler & Campbell is a stencil piano. The company went out of business in 1986 and the Korean company Samick bought the rights to the name. They also produce lower line pianos like the KC-131 in Indonesia. It is a cheap piano, but the manufacturing is not bad. Just don’t expect it to last a long time or have the most beautiful tone. If you are on a limited budget, it could be a decent choice

      1. Hi bob
        I’m looking at a kohler & Campbell skg-600S baby grand piano. It’s 5’x5’5″. Is this a decent piano. They’re asking 3600 for this. Is that a good deal? I played piano for 12 yrs but haven’t played in 12 yes and want to pick it up again and teach my 6 yr old daughter. I don’t want to spend more then that price honestly but am wondering if there’s anything else better to look oit for on Craigslist etx. (of course having a piano tech come along with me to check out the piano)
        Would love your I out and help!

    1. Richmann is not in the Pierce Piano Atlas which lists just about every piano manufacturer of all time. In researching on the Piano World website, it appears that it is probably a Chinese stencil piano, meaning that it is manufactured by one of the large Chinese factories and Richmann is a name stenciled on the fall board.

  3. Is there such a piano brand called Schnabel. We tried searching it online but couldnt find a link. If there is , what is its origin? When & where was it manufactured?

    1. The Pierce Piano Atlas lists a Schnabel, Ludwig, Austria, at Prague. It also lists Schnable & Hints, or Hintz, in 1876. That is the only information. The vast majority of pianos in the Pierce Atlas have lists of serial numbers with corresponding dates of manufacturer. So, these are extremely rare pianos. It is possible that it is a stencil piano. Schnabel is a more preferable name on the piano than some Chinese city and the company is long gone so there would be no legal hassles in using the name.

  4. hi could you please give me your opinion on this piano (1924 Kranich & Bach baby grand piano) I am interesting in purchasing… is it a good brand and how is it compared tho the others top brands.

    1. In 1924 there were hundreds of American piano manufacturers and Kranich & Bach was a respected company. The big issue is the condition of the instrument. It is rare (but not unheard of) for a piano that old to be in good playing condition. It is possible that work has been done to the instrument somewhere in its history. You may want to hire a piano technician to assess the condition if you have doubts. While there were many companies making fine pianos prior to WWII in this country, resale of these instruments can difficult because most people are unfamiliar with the names. So be sure that you love the piano since if you ever need to sell it, it could be difficult.

  5. hi could you please give me your opinion on this piano ( serial number is 38600, 1910 Brambach baby grand piano) I am interesting in purchasing… is it a good brand and how is it compared tho the others top brands.

    1. The piano was manufactured in 1920. Brambach was one of hundreds of companies making pianos in this country at that time. (Today there are only 3.) It was a good piano, however, be sure to carefully assess the condition since rebuilding costs thousands of dollars. If you like the piano, the condition is good and the price is reasonable, it could be a good choice. However, there are a handful of older American piano companies that are widely respected so resale value would be higher. These include Steinway, Baldwin, Mason & Hamlin, Knabe, Chickering and Sohmer.

  6. I am assuming, after having listened to your video, that buying a Yamaha here in Brazil, would be sufficient for my 13-year old son, who has just begun taking piano lessons?

    1. Yamaha has a very wide range of pianos from hand built, to cheap, Indonesian production pianos. However, their manufacturing is first class and if the instrument is fairly new, it should be fine to start out learning. You should avoid older Asian production pianos because the lifespan is much shorter than hand-built American and European pianos. If you think long term, and have the budget and space, a grand piano or baby grand is much more satisfying to play and students develop better technique on the superior action.

  7. I’ve played on a Kawai 6 ft grand all my life. My parents purchased it for me when I reached 12 (1967). I knew right away it wasn’t a Steinway.

    3 months ago, after many years, I began to search for a replacement. Steinways were my benchmark, and I could easily have afforded one. I didn’t like the Bosendorfer sound. Nor did I like the Fazioli or Yamaha sound. But in searching for a Steinway, I made an unusual discovery: Hailun…

    And that’s ultimately what I preferred. I purchased a 7ft 2in Hailun piano that I can quite frankly say was easily the winner up against two Steinway Bs (just under 7ft in length), recently built and more recently rebuilt! These pianos must be heard to be believed. They are NOT typical Chinese pianos. Larry Fine does not give them their due. They are fantastic instruments by any measure, easily as good as the best the Germans can create.

    john lewis grant

    1. I just wanted to confirm the praise for the Hailun piano in the above post. While I own and am happy with my RX5 6’6 Kawai, I’ve recently had the pleasure of playing several Hailun grand and up-right pianos here in Australia… (they are sold here under the name, Bernstein). I’m so impressed by these instruments that I’ve recommended several students to highly consider them when purchasing a new piano.

      Two students have recent acquired the 178cm and the newer 180cm grands. They are both very beautiful instruments, fast and responsive action and a very pleasing warm tone, deep tone – similar to the more distinguished German brands. I find I can achieve more variety in tonal colour with the Hailun than compared with a Kawai or Yamaha instrument. Also, the tonal consistency and graduation moving down towards the low bass is very good… something not always the strongest point with Kawai’s RX models or Yamaha’s C series.

      I am also very impressed with the Hailun mid to upper range up-right pianos. Again, very pleasing consistency in the whole tonal range and a responsive action.

      Add into the equation that the Hailun pianos can be purchased significantly cheaper than the Japanese rivals makes their appeal even higher…

      If I were to purchase a new grand at this point in time, I would most likely chose the Hailun 7’2 over the equivalent Kawai or Yamaha models. Even if the price were identical, I would still favour the Hailun… the tonal characteristics of these new pianos and their fine action win me over.

      Expect to hear a lot more of the Hailun piano in the coming years – they are beautiful pianos.

  8. I recently came in ownership of a Vose & Sons Upright Piano (serial # 43074) I was told that it has the original ivory keys and may not have ever been restored. I know ablsolutely nothing about pianos. I am looking to sell the piano and could use some help.

  9. Stay away from Kranich and Bach and Brumbach pianos at all costs! Both pianos had their own action designs and it is nearly impossible to get parts for them today. Also, small Brumbach grands have common problems with their cast iron plates sometimes breaking when tuned to full pitch.I have seen more than one with this problem, and it is not repairable!

  10. Hi,
    I am quite interesting on one YAMAHA LU-90 PE upright piano.
    The serial number is#1537147
    Asking price is AUD 2500.
    There is on chip on the bench and scrach (fading color on one black key)
    Could you please advise the price range about this piano?

    Thanks,
    Ariel

    1. While I am not familiar with Zeitter Winkelmann, from the serial number, the piano was manufactured in 1928. So, condition is paramount to the value of the piano. Also, whether it is a grand piano, upright and what size, finish and other details will determine the value of the piano.

  11. I have a piano made I believe around the turn of the 20th century. All I have on it is a name of Chas S. Norris in Boston Mass. I don’t have the serial number for this email but it is available. Do you have any information on this maker or the value of this piano.

  12. We are purchasing a baby grand for a small Methodist church. We are looking at a Boston 5’4″ show room piano 2 years old , Pearl River 7 foot ( 7 years old piano major’s'( School of the Arts ) instrument who moved up to a Steinway and a 1939 Story and Clark. All from different dealers. What would you suggest?

    1. There are several considerations for which piano will serve the church best. First, the acoustics of the space comes into play. Even a small room that has carpeting and other sound absorbing material may be acoustically dead and requires a larger piano to provide enough sound. Also, the type of music is an issue. If the piano has to balance with other instruments such as drums, then a larger grand would be best even if the piano is miked. Also very important is the condition of the pianos. The Pearl River was owned by a piano major so it has had substantial use. These instruments aren’t as robust as some others anyway, so it could need some attention such as regulation, hammer filing and possibly even new action parts if the instrument was used extensively. Since the Story and Clark was built in 1939, its condition must be considered. Where the piano has lived, how much it has been played, what restoration and care has it received? You must determine all of these to evaluate its worth. Also, you didn’t mention its size.

      Knowing nothing else about these pianos, if I were to make a determination blindly, I would probably choose the Boston since it is newest and a decent quality piano. However, there is the possibility that one of the other instruments could provide a better fit for the church if they are in suitable condition.

    2. if you did not make a purchase yet, chose Boston. I have this model and very happy with the sound and touch. Put damp chaser and watch humidity in the room, should be 45-55%.

  13. I am shopping to buy a used piano, is Willis & co. a good brand? I used to play it years ago and as I am nearing retirement, would love to take lessons and play all the classical music I can get my hands on. Thank you,

  14. Hi!I am going to buy my first piano.I live in west of Iran and in this part of my country you can find only two brans of piano…WEBER and SAMIC…what do you think about these brands and which one is better to buy?

    1. Petrof pianos are manufactured exclusively in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, see http://www.petrof.com. It is a company with 140+ years of history in piano making and all instruments have a great deal of hand made. To my opinion, these piano can fully compete with other europian and american brands. Petrof is holding many important patents on pianos and their flagship P284 Mistral can to my feeling compete with D274 Steinway top model (As the model number suggest, the Petrof is 10cm longer than the Steiway).

  15. I bought a beautiful used Apollo upright grand in Malaysia at a fair in 2003. As i moved overseas, the piano was in storage for 5 years and was not tuned for 6, but the dehumidifier was plugged in 24/7.

    The tuner today told me that this was a cheap upright grand and he could not consider tuning in and would take it for rm100 which is a steal (us$30). He also showed me the red tags that have been replaced and most were about to rot. The hammers look great to me though. Ive been playing it fine although its out of tune but the body is still superb.

    Is Apollo really a cheap brand and not respected? Im not ready to let it go just yet.

  16. We are researching baby grands for our first piano. In the process, we are finding many restorers have beautiful looking pianos but the question is; how do I know a restoration has been good or not? Should we stick to something newer as we are learning? Thanks in advance.

  17. I plan to purchase a new piano, I come down to 2 choices between Charles Walter Traditional 1520 and Yamana U1. The price is on Charles Walter $1500 more. Please help me to decide which is better to buy.

    Thank You.

  18. With due respect, I think you forgot one of the great names, Schimmel Pianos, Berlin, Germany. They also make the enclosures for one of the world’s best and most original loudspeakers, the Voxativ Ampeggio.

    You’re welcome.

  19. I have an Irmler piano with serial number 19403 which roughly corresponds to the year of production 1911-1912. The piano was produced in Leipzig, Germany, but not in China. Some serious companies selling pianos even are not aware of the fact.

  20. I am looking to buy a new piano for my son. We currently have a 2nd hand knight piano (ex school) so are looking to update.

    There are currently 3 pianos we are looking at all for a similar price around £3,000. They are the Kemble K113. Yamaha B2 and a lesser known Wilhelm Steinberg P 121 E.

    Which of these would be the better buy in your opinion.

    Many thanks for your time
    Noel

  21. Hello,

    I was wondering if you have some information about an Waldeck Piano. I can’t seem to find anything on the internet. Thanks you so much!

    Maaike

  22. i need help very quickly! I am looking online to purchase a babygrand piano amd i need to know which brand i should choose tohave upmost quality and sound. price does not matter i just need the best.

    1. Melville Clark was one of hundreds of piano companies producing pianos in the United States in the 20th century. They stopped producing pianos in 1937. Spinet pianos represent the bottom of the piano line. However, they can be a good choice for people with arthritis or other hand problems because they are easier to play than other pianos.

  23. Any opinions on a daewoo “sterling” piano, what is it’s quality and what is a reasonable price to pay for one that has not seen much use.

    Thanks,

    Dk

  24. we are currently looking for a piano for our church service use. We don’t have very high budget so we are currently looking at used pianos. We have come across the following model and it would be great if Bob could provide expert advice on which one is the better one:

    Yamaha MC10A

    Weinbach serial number 149862

    thank you Bob

    1. Both Yamaha and Weinbach make good quality instruments. From the serial number, you can determine that the Weinbach was manufactured in the Czech Republic before it was acquired by Petrof. Since you don’t have the model number of the Weinbach, I will assume these are both similar style upright pianos. In that case, the better piano is the one that is in better condition. There are many factors that come into play.

      You can determine how much use the pianos have had by looking at the grooves on the hammers. Deeper grooves mean the piano has had more use. The hammers also may have been filed. Look at how much felt is left particularly on the highest notes of the piano. Also, you can wiggle the keys back and forth. If there is a lot of play or worse yet clicking sounds, this indicates that the piano has been played substantially.

      Another important factor is the environment the piano has been subjected to. An extremely dry or humid environment can damage a piano. Definitely look on the back of the piano at the soundboard for detached ribs, warping,or open cracks. (Tight, hairline cracks are not a concern.) Look for rust or corrosion on the strings. Yellowing of felt parts (hammers and dampers) also indicates parts that are more weather worn.

      It is a mistake buying a piano you think will be fundamentally different after it has been serviced. Unless you have vast experience with pianos, you would be taking a tremendous risk. Ultimately, how the piano sounds and feels is paramount since this is probably what is most important to you.

      1. thank you for your response. We recently come across a new Kawai k3 on sale in a piano store. What’s your view on this piano? Is this piano suitable for use in church (i.e. with sound that surround the space)thanks

  25. Hi, could you please tell me what you think about the August Forster piano. I am planning on getting an antique one and the model number is 104-i antik, the serial is 229346 and it says herstellungs(i dont know what that means). Its colour is a dark cherry, and it was bought in the 93’s. And it is an upright. Please help me!
    Thanks!!!:)

    1. While I don’t have any personal experience with August Forster, I know it to be a fine Czech piano. They were later produced by Weinbach, also a Czech company. When Weinbach was sold to Petrof in 1985, they were produced by Petrof. According to the Pierce Piano Atlas your piano was manufactured in 1986, so it was built by Petrof. The East European piano companies aren’t on the level of the finest German, Austrian, Italian and French pianos, but they represent good value in non-Asian pianos. You say that the piano you saw is antique. Either the serial number is wrong or there is some other confusion.

      When buying a used piano condition is paramount in importance. It may be a great deal or it could be a total waste of money. There is no way for me to know without inspecting the piano or getting more information about its history. If you get more information about the instrument, I am happy to advise you.

  26. We are looking for a piano for a methodist church. We came across a new kawai K3 and a 1990 kawai BS2A. Which is a better piano for church considering that the piano would have to be miked and sometimes played on its own and sometimes played with other instruments like drum and our church is carpeted.

    thanks

  27. I am choosing between a (12000SGD) and a petrof 125. Price is higher 5% in the latter . I am a bit concern for maintenance the petrof as I live in Singaore . Please give your valuable input to help my decision making

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